ESNG exhibition 2018 #4

We’ll start today with a few shots of people.  It was good to see Kerry and Invicta there, and they seem to be selling a few things.

John and NScaleCH didn’t do as well….

BH Enterprises must have had a fantastic day.  Not only is Bob awake, but Ray is smiling….  I’ve really valued our ‘regulars’ for traders over the years, and made some good friends in the process.

The main N-mod team, Ian, Michael, Simon and Dave were helped by others through the day.  They not only kept a constant flow of trains running, but also swapped stock around to give plenty of variety – even down to some little Japanese trams.  In the foreground is Derek’s upgraded ‘Goonhilly’ module.  The radar domes used to be a couple of jelly baby container tops salvaged from Stuttgart, but they also attracted a few ribald comments….

And of course the catering team (plus Maxine, who must have been hiding.)  Lily looks a bit shocked at the strawberry cream cake.

Paul and Bruno were operating Paul’s Kato Racetrack.  I think that he had three four-way controllers there to keep things moving.

It’s always a pleasure to host our friends from the West Sussex N Gauge club.

Something new was a visit from the ambulance service, after a visitor fainted and fell off his chair.  We’re not sure whether that was due to the coffee, seeing the strawberry cake, or thinking of the low/high (delete as necessary) prices on the trade stands.  He was taken to the East Surrey for a few tests, but I understand that there were no problems and he was discharged.

That’s the ESNG 2018 show over, and I can now carry on arranging 2019, and the other shows through this year…..  Slight panic Monday, when we found that our usual Stuttgart hotel was fully booked in November.  I have no idea why it’s filled up so quickly.  So some rapid booking was needed at the nearby IBIS.  At least it’s all booked and I got the flights really cheaply….

Posted in ESNG, ESNG meetings, Exhibitions, Out and about | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

ESNG exhibition 2018 #3

On the Wednesday night after the show, we thought that there might be a low turn out of members.  Correct, just the six of us.  However, we had thought ahead and asked Paul to bring some Kato track along.  We set up a four track loop on the hall tables and had a pleasant evening chatting and running a few trains.  Certainly a useful idea for future meetings, too.

So back to the show….


As usual, ESNG had a modular layout in the centre of the main hall.  It was a large four track N-mod circuit this year, with no N-club double track modules on show.  We changed things around with Dave’s new canal basin module, and brought Raysden back after a couple of years off.

ERIC the Roundhouse was, of course, there and Neil filled it with his Southern Railway locomotives – and a 2BEL in a siding.  I like the line of Terriers – including an Isle of Wight example second from left with the enlarged bunker.

Sean and Forrestone were there.  I think I’ve taken this shot a number of times, but it’s always worth it – Sean keeps adding more details.

Martin’s St Elizabeth Street is now a regular on the exhibition circuit, and he has now added locomotive sound to the layout.  The diesels sound pretty good, but I am yet to be really convinced by steam engines.  The real challenge is to also include the real lineside sounds, like the clanking of an unfitted goods train after the locomotive has passed.

I loved Stoughton Road.  Folds up and can be tucked under the arm!  At 5′ x 2′ it will sit on a table and provide a pleasant hour’s running.  Again, never say that you haven’t room for a railway.  And the mugs are, of course, slightly out of scale, but a testament to the quality of tea and coffee on offer.

Berry Town ran a DMU service all day.

Maxwell was full of interesting scenic touches, including this bus museum.

A final look at the show follows on the next post.

Posted in ESNG, ESNG meetings, Exhibitions, Out and about | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

ESNG exhibition 2018 #2

We were fortunate to get into the school early, at 4pm, as Derek’s influence remained, despite retiring as caretaker, and he was entrusted with the keys.  The rooms that we were using quickly took shape thanks to the good number of club members who were there early.  We even took a break around 6pm for a fish and chip takeaway supper.

What was unusual was the number of people who set their stands and layouts up on the Friday night.  Whilst we put the ESNG N-mod together, St Elizabeth Street and Maxwell were also going up in the main hall.

I was pleased this year to book two layouts that have impressed me.  The first was City Basin Goods.  This ticks a lot of boxes with me, British Railways, lots of parcels stock, compact in size, and working hands-free uncoupling that did work.

My pictures didn’t come out quite as expected, but I hope you get the idea.  I’ve included the track plan for future reference.

The second layout was Ian Morgan’s ‘Freshwater’.  This again ticks a lot of boxes – 2mm finescale, Isle of Wight, and again compact in size.  And again hand-free uncoupling.  The layout is gradually getting the correct rolling stock – and the locomotive on display was a Dapol Terrier with a new chassis – but for now there is a wider variety, snuck over from the mainland.

The model is to scale length, and models the station in the 1930’s after the Southern Railway rationalised the original track layout.  One extra siding is retained to improve operations.  Again, I’ve included the track plan below.

Before the show, Ian asked whether his son could bring his ‘box file’ layout.  In three A4 boxes, this little model showed that you always have room for a railway.

In the same room as Freshwater was Duncan’s Nm Fichtelgergbahn.  (It wasn’t deliberate to put the ‘funnies’ – non-N gauge – layouts in one room, just worked best that way.)  The Fichtelgergbahn is a 750mm gauge Steam railway in Saxony, close to the Czech Border. The arrangement on show modelled the line between Vierenstrasse and Kretscham-Rothensehma stations, in the correct plan shape from aerial photos. The model climbs at 2% (1 in 50) overall, while the real line is over 3% (1 in 30).  Duncan’s layout mainly uses re-gauged Kato Swiss stock for now, until he finds the time to build the correct stock.

Two Marks.  Osborne on the left is admiring his turntable loop – it will eventually rotate to take in trains from any four directions – but not at the same time.  Fielder on the right either looks amazed or confused….

Mark Fielder brought along his Nm ‘pizza’ layout, built to see whether it would work.  It’s a lovely little layout in its own right.

That’s todays pictures.  More next post.

Posted in ESNG, ESNG meetings, Exhibitions, Out and about | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

ESNG exhibition 2018 #1

Well, that’s another exhibition done and dusted.  I’ll report more fully through the week, but here are my initial thoughts.

Numbers were a little down on last year.  This was probably due to it being the last weekend of the school holidays but especially because it was the first warm, sunny, day for weeks.  I understand that all the shops – even places like Bluewater – were empty, and the parks were heaving.  Even so, we had enough people through for it to look busy for parts of the day, finance should be on the positive side, and we had a lot of fun playing trains for the day.

Our members were great, and turned out in force to make setting up and running the thing very easy.  It also helps knowing the venue well.  In one sense it will be a shame to move next year, as I will have to start thinking again – but a larger show will offer new challenges and will be bigger and hopefully better.

I was also pleased to widen out the show just a fraction to include other parts of the 2mm family.  We had a 2mm finescale layout and and Nm layout.  We don’t want to move into an all-gauge show, but I’m afraid that I have no time for the blinkered ‘N only’ approach.   It’s all about the same size, and I welcome the contrasts and inspiration from what other modellers are doing.  I certainly came away with a few ideas from all the layouts on display.  All I have to do is find time to build them….

A couple of good comments appeared on NGF:

“Well done, chaps! That was an excellent little show. Only small, but at least everything was interesting. It was the first time I have managed to attend – until this year the domestic authorities have always commandeered the car on a Saturday morning”

“I think you’re right this show was a very nice little show and every time I had a wander round there was ALWAYS things moving on every layout .”

The odd comment like this always makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Thanks to Brian for this excellent video of the show.   I’ll post my photographs from the show through the week ahead.

We did get some complements on the catering.  Not surprising with this array of home made cakes to choose from….

Of course, I ended up buying a few odds and ends.  Apart from the cheap Oakwood and RCTS volumes that it would be rude not to help move, I also picked up a set of Farish Kentish private owner wagons, a Farish Seacow (hen’s teeth) and a USA tank kit from BH Enterprises.  Plus the odd pieces of cake though the day, but these are unavailable for photography.

And so onwards and upwards to next year….

Posted in ESNG, ESNG meetings, Exhibitions, Out and about | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Links whilst we play trains

A few links for today.  I’ll hope to get a first report of the ESNG show up on Monday.

How about a model of Kim Jong-un’s armoured train?  You make have difficulty modelling his haircut in ‘N’, though.  Lots of articles on the web, but try here and here.

This is just like a normal club night….

Indian runaway train takes 1,000 passengers on engineless journey

India’s railway ministry said a “ghastly” accident had narrowly been avoided after 22 passenger carriages carrying about 1,000 people became detached from a train engine and sped backwards for miles before being stopped.

The runaway carriages rolled for seven miles in the north-eastern state of Odisha before being brought to a shuddering halt by rocks placed on the tracks by railway staff.

Like the ‘rocks placed on the tracks’.  Might be useful on club nights to slow down some of our boy racers!

And two map links from the sometimes interesting CityMetric site…

Literally just 11 London rail maps from the mayor’s transport strategy

Some interesting ideas on London’s transport strategy, with maps.

And what if it would be like if DB took over Transport for London?  “Some German fella has made a map of London’s “S-Bahn” network, and it’s glorious”

Posted in Inspiration, Out and about, Prototype, Weird and wonderful | 1 Comment

Getting very close!

It’s getting very close now. All seem to be organised (barring an outbreak of plague in Redhill, or WWIII due to world leaders with dodgy haircuts). The home made cakes are getting made, and I’m off to buy the (real) coffee tomorrow.

We’ve just got to make it happen.  The only issue might be transporting the fiddleyard to the school, as I’ve got rid of our venerable Berlingo that would swallow any model railway.

We’ve even got to the stage that the Cha(I)rman is getting the traditional post-exhibition curry organised.  At the moment it looks as if we’ll be taking over the Ruchita…

If you pay us a visit, look out for me doing the headless budgie imitation around the show, and say hallo to Bob on the BH stand. It should be a fun day, as always!

Posted in ESNG, ESNG meetings, Exhibitions, Out and about | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

On my workbench #8

Not much to report on the workbench….  Too much thinking and not enough modelling over the past month.  And too much exhibition organisation.  But I have thought again about my N-club modules.  I decided that I really did want to be able to operate the layout from both sides, and be able to look from the ‘outside’ when the layout is at home, allowing the buildings to form a backdrop.

Rather than duplicate the point switches on the other side of the layout, I have gone for the expensive option, DCC operation of the points.  A package of Cobalt gubbins arrived last week, and I need to build a control panel and rewire.  Disadvantage – cost.  Advantage – layout with control panel is reversible, just two wires control all the pointson the layout, and the control panel is connected to the layout by a single Ethernet cable rather than a 20+ way multipin plug with all the attendant wiring.

The track is still very much DC controlled, though.  We’ll see what happens…..


This month’s copy of British Railway Modelling is worth the purchase – especially when it can be picked up for 99p.  There are three excellent layouts described in detail.

Treneglos models the old Southern ‘Withered Arm’ in North Cornwall.  Lovely modelling in ‘OO’ and interesting to see how the layout evolved.

Windsor Hill is in ‘N’, based on part of the Somerset & Dorset.  A scenic, rail fan, layout to watch the trains go by.  It’s distinguished by the use of FineTrax code 40 track, that makes the layout difficult to distinguish from its larger scale cousins.

Finally, one of my favourites, Albion Yard in ‘OO’.  A small shunting layout, set in the Forest of Dean, this article is again interesting as it describes the evolution of the layout.  I especially liked the semi-scenic fiddle yard, that allows some view into the hidden area, but allows stock to be changed unseen.

But I especially liked the letter reproduced below.  Not only for the level of detail on modern models, but also for the fact that there’s still someone in the trade and hobby with a sense of humour.  It may offend the occasional rivet-counter, but we need more details like this!


And don’t forget the ESNG show in Redhill on Saturday!

Posted in ESNG, Jon's layout ramblings, On my workbench | Tagged , , | 1 Comment