ESNG meeting – 1 February 2023

Back again for the Wednesday meeting.  It was a slow start, so we waited to set the layout up, but members then started to arrive, so we ran trains.  In the end eight members came through the door (and left again later.) 

With the new fiddle yard, the 2×0 layout is easy to set up and scenic all the way around.  It will probably be the standard for Wednesday evenings.  Sunday afternoons, we have a bit longer to meet, and usually a little more energy to set up a larger circuit.


Simon was bulk testing diesels again, and Neil and Martin ran their usual long trains….

More American diesels on test….


An oil train with Revolution Class A and B tankers.  I managed to reduce the weight in the Class A’s, that makes a longish train possible.


Martin’s tiny – and surprisingly noisy – O8 on its own and on a PW train.


More power, more PW, from Neil


And Chris’ slightly older PW train….


Finally a German intruder!


Yes, they ARE enjoying themselves…..


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A sort of Minories of my own – 22

Not too much progress on the layout.  I have had a large sort out of my boxes for storing wiring and switches and rationalised them both – and found a number of things that I had lost.  And the good weather this week has forced me out into the garden for a massive tidy up, and a start to pruning the trees.

You may recall that I had extended the layout by 200mm to ease the track plan.  It occurred to me that the black facia would be an ideal location for a control panel for the layout.


I then made a second executive decision – I have reverted from DCC to DC control.  The layout is small enough not to need DCC, and the point control can work just as well under analogue control.  I also happen to have a twin DC controller picked up second hand at a show.

Further thought about the electrics suggested that the points could be operated with just the three DPDT switches, one on each platform.  Connected to a diode matrix, the switch can set the route for ‘up’ or for ‘down’ running.  Next, I remembered that the Cobalt point motors have two switches attached.  One will change the point frog polarity.  By using a common return for the two controllers, the second switch can select the ‘up’ or ‘down’ controller.  So the layout can be operated by the three DPDT switches, plus isolating push buttons at platform end, and a switch for the loco spur point.

I think it will work…..  It will be interesting to see what happens.  Here’s the control panel, and the controllers that will fit in the white square.  I’ve had it printed on photo quality paper, to be durable and to look good.


Note that the layout now has a name – Ludgate West.  Like Waterloo East, it will be the secondary platforms to a larger station.

Allan and Derek visited the Eastleigh show last weekend, and Allan passed on a few photos.  The large American layout below caught their eye.  It was a four sided layout, but not a continuous run – as you can see, the layout ended with loops on one side, leaving room for operators to enter the centre of the layout without any nasty bending and stretching.  Maybe an idea for the ageing ESNG members?

And Westcliff looks to be an excellent layout.


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ESNG meeting – 29 January 2023

Not a good start to the afternoon when I received this photo from Allan & Derek, returning from the Eastleigh exhibition…..


A car fire (seen in the distance) had held them up on the M3, but they rolled in to the meeting only 20 or so minutes late.  And in the end we had a busy afternoon, with 11 members in attendance (and a good curry to finish.)

A fair size circuit was quickly set up…


And trains were soon speeding around the main line.  (Faster with some operators than others!)

Little & Large #1.  Phil brought along this lovely O gauge Heljan Class 33 diesel.  It came from his late brother, like Phil a train fan, but modelling in O.  He worked for the Crompton company during development of the electrics for the Class 33s (alias Cromptons.)  Although like Phil a steam fan, this loco was a must for him.  A wonderful model (makes you want to go into the senior scale) and a precious family memory.


Little & Large #2.  No comment!


Trains running included items from Lucas….




Simon (with sound)….


And Brian…..

Doctor, I keep seeing blue elephants……


And as ever, Brian took some good footage of the afternoon.

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Erith MRS exhibition 2023

Saturday, and another morning in the company of Mr Dawes.  Collected early to have time for a breakfast – as a retired milkman, I’m convinced that Allan knows every cafe in the south-east…..  Even after a top-up of tea and coffee, we had a queue to get into the show, but we were able to have a good look around before it filled up.  I haven’t got pictures of everything, but here are a few items that I especially enjoyed…..

First the Minories department.  Hallam Town is classic Minories in 2mm finescale, but moved north into the Midlands.  If I recall correctly, the layout was built over a weekend at a show.

And St Saviour Street is a slightly developed Minories in N.   Again, simple but effective scenery.


I enjoyed Seaton in P4, modelling the station in LSWR days, with a more complex track plan than when the Southern rationalised it.  And some excellent old goods wagons on show.


I’ve seen Barryconnell Road before, but it’s another layout always worth a look.  It’s circular, and models Irish 5′ 3″ standard gauge (with the correct scale track gauge) in 3mm.  Great modelling!



Lots of lovely overhead in HOm on the RhB Santa Maria.


I liked Sheepcroft in EM – a simple minimum space plan but well modelled throughout.


Fawcett Street offers plenty of shunting in a small space, with a clever track plan…


Lots of snow on Que’vy….


Light railways in O and in Kent with Sarre.


A Scottish River on Mertonford…


And to finish, a rather ethereal picture of Ray and Anna, who as usual brought their living room and coffee table to the show.


There were a number of layouts that seemed to have just moved on from Canterbury last week.  I haven’t repeated the pictures….

Erith is billed as one of the biggest shows in the south of England.  It lived up to that billing.  Masses of trade, though mainly selling second-hand OO stock.  And perhaps too many generic OO layouts for my rather fussy liking.  But a good morning out, and we ran into a good number of friends at the show – exhibitors, traders, or just good honest punters and ESNG members.

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Three interesting layout designs….

‘Ian from Cumbria’ linked to his layout blogs on RMweb.  He has developed three excellent plans, and I reproduce them here.  The location is somewhere in the West Country, but the principles could be moved almost anywhere.

First, Tredethy Wharf, a what-if on the Bodmin and Wadebridge….

Though Tredethy Wharf has been a good introduction to Scalefour modelling it has not been a layout that I’ve been tempted to operate at home. When set up at home it’s normally just there as a static diorama collecting dust. That said I have enjoyed taking it to shows along with helping out on other layouts at shows. I’ve become to realise making an exhibition of myself in front of a layout is a rewarding experience. Meeting up with friends who help, the meeting of fellow modellers along with the public who ask questions, or just seeing peoples/children’s facial expressions makes the whole event worthwhile.


Next, Rospeath Lane MPD, a GWR engine shed.

Rospeath Lane was been design to give me these challenges but it is a layout that has not really been designed as an exhibition layout. With two main baseboards being 4’6”x3’ it will be difficult to handle and transport by myself. By the time it’s in a state to exhibit I’ll probably be too infirm to manage it. Even though progress has stagnated during the last 18 months I’m still very committed to continuing with Rospeath Lane but only as a home based layout.

Rospeath Lane v18

And finally, Boscarne Junction, a real junction in deepest Cornwall….

Back in April 2020 I posted a blog titled ‘Deciding on the next project’. At that time all five were designed to fit in the ‘Man Cave’ at the previous house. In revisiting these ideas one stands out more than the others as a possible exhibition layout….. the project to look at in more detail as a successor to Tredethy Wharf is Boscarne Junction. It will follow on nicely from Tredethy Wharf, keeping in the family so to speak. All the rolling stock I have build and likely to build for Tredethy Wharf will potentially be used on Boscarne Junction. More importantly it will give me many new challenges to overcome especially represent a real location.

Boscarne Junction 12wagon exchange siding-layout only

Boscarne is an interesting location, not least in that it doesn’t have a station there.  Though I did rather like his earlier simplified version of Boscarne.  Smaller, simpler, and something of the atmosphere of that IOW favourite, Smallbrook Junction.

Templot Pages

Templot Pages

So three, rather four, excellent track plans to generate some more layout ideas.

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Potpourri #1063

Slow progress on the Minories – I’ve had a few days reading some good books.  But I have made up and laid the track for the three platforms.  The 4-CEP is to check that it will fit into the shortest platform and to give an impression of how things will look.  Room for a buffer stop at the platform end.  I’ve started to build the next crossover, but I’m taking it slow to avoid mistakes… 


Potpourri follows!  Can’t remember whether I’ve posted this layout by Andrew Knights before.  Southern third-rail junction, with a lay-over track on the branch.  Very simple, but looks good (I saw it at an exhibition last year.)  Halving dimensions for N gives a very compact layout.


Whoops #1 (Photo: Adrian Thompson.)


Whoops #2


Whoops #3.  Pinched from RMweb – can you get penguins in N for a similar cameo?


Cannon Street in 1958 with a Hastings DEMU leaving (photo: Richard Riley.)  Hopefully my Minories will give similar vibes, albeit on a smaller scale.


A loco that I’d love to have on the layout.  CC1 passing Merstham in 1941.  Note the way the windows have been reduced in size with steel plates in case of shrapnel. 


And a Maunsell shunter would be preferable to an O8!


A T9 in early BR livery (as a Royal Engine?) at Dorchester.


And to finish, a video about that most elegant of fairly modern EMU’s – the Wessex electrics.

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Canterbury MRS exhibition 2023

Last Saturday, I paid a visit to the Canterbury show with Messrs. Dawes and Atfield.  Visiting shows like this is also good for the drive there through the countryside.  Saturday was no exception, and a cold, sunny morning was best viewed from inside the show.

There was a good selection of layouts on view, included a selection of N gauge and plenty of small layouts – probably a result of covid!  There was also a minor crisis when we adjourned for a bacon roll – the caterers had run out of the stuff!  When will school and outside caterers learn that at the average show the exhibitors can eat their way through the usual bacon supplies, even before the doors open?

Great Endon in OO, set in Lancashire, is in some ways a routine continuous layout, but it had some interesting cameos, including this PW depot.  Mr Dawes commented that he’d love to see the track machines made in N.


The Lemanis Light Railway in OO9 is an excellent first narrow gauge layouts.  We saw it at the Bredgar show, and I commented then that it was a ‘real’ narrow gauge railway with no hint of ‘twee’.


I’m a great fan of micro layouts, and there were a few on show.  Hoppers End in OO had (predictably) hops as main load for the goods yard.  This little layout was set apart by the home designed and 3D printed buildings.


The ‘Docklands LIKE Railway’ in OO does what it says on the can.  A fun little operating diorama.


So to Graham Bridge’s ‘Southwark Bridge’ in N.  Graham has continued to develop this lovely layout through the pandemic – to the extent that it now has real EPB’s on show.  Mind you, Dr Who is yet to escape from the area.  We’ve booked this layout for the September ESNG show, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with it.


Tanners Hill in N is very compact but again captures the feel of the suburban lines out of the south London termini.  It models the Network South East era, rather than Southwark Bridge’s BR blue.


Some N gauge American running on Cedar Canyon Junction, and more OO micro shunting on Lancaster Lane and Lockdown Sidings.

Prize for the most unusual layout, and some lovely modelling on ‘Ulvaryd’ (hope I pronounced that right!)  Modelling a southern Swedish 2′ gauge in HOe, some of the stock does look familiar as the line opened with imported locos and rolling stock – available in HOe.  I really liked the harbour, and the way the layout has been split diagonally to include a fiddle yard.


Freshwater in 2mm fine scale is a perennial favourite of mine, and it has been great fun watching the model develop with more and more scenic detail, plus more and more accurate rolling stock for the Isle of Wight.  Every time I see it, I want to build something off the Island in 2mm!


Sybil Road in OO is a working diorama with some good scenic work.


Medway Quay in O showed the detail possible in the senior scale.  But as Mr Atfield sagely commented, it’s no use having a glowing firebox in your Terrier, when there’s no crew…


I liked Parrot Hall in OO, set somewhere in South Manchester.  Small, but well executed, and I always enjoy blue electrics and detailed overhead wiring!


Holt Street in N is the Canterbury club layout.  Very much a work in progress (and from the exhibition guide the design has changed from time to time.)  But there’s a lot of promise here, and the loco shed area shows what they will achieve.


Finally, Wellbridge in OO.  Again, a fairly standard continuous run, but a chance to entertain with a string of trains passing by.  I guess that’s what we do with the ESNG modular layouts, anyway…..


We also ran into a few old friends, and made some minor purchases.

Overall, a good exhibition, and a pleasant morning out (except for the bacon.)

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ESNG Open Day 2023 – publicity!

Here’s the flyer for April.  Black and white so that I can run them off at home – though of course my laserjet cartridge gave up when I tried to print a batch.

2023 open flyer - small

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s running session included a slight problem away from the fiddle yard.  Note the slight step in the rail in the extending joiner between boards.  A quick repair needed….

And here’s another bit of bad tracklaying….

And let’s finish with the ultimate prototype for everything!

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ESNG meeting – 18 January 2023

Another working afternoon trying to debug the fiddle yard.  A few broken wires, a few dry solder joints, and some incorrectly wired plugs.  We’d just about given up, then a plate of fish and chips gave new inspiration, and suddenly it was all working – this week, anyway!

Five members turned out, plus a flying visit from Ian, that was probably longer than expected once he started chatting.  We tried out a 3×0 layout, with the full fiddle yard on one side.  This worked very well, and will be repeated on club nights.  No room to work inside the circuit, but it leaves plenty of room outside to operate and circulate.


Simon was testing large numbers of Santa Fe diesels, mostly in multiple….

Allan ran some continental stock…

I had just brought the T9 and train I ran on Sunday….


And Derek ran a short GWR goods train….


And as four of the five members present had been there from 2pm, we packed up at 9pm and went home, quite pleased with the day’s work.

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ESNG exhibition 2023 – what’s happening

We were (or rather, I was) a bit slow getting a show together for April, so we’ve moved our annual show to the end of September this year, and will hold an Open Day at our usual time around Easter.  More details to follow……

East Surrey Open Day 2023

We will hold a club Open Day on Saturday 15 April 2023, 1000-1600.  As last year, it’s at our regular meeting place, in Redhill. The hall is close to Earlswood station and bus routes, and an easy walk from Redhill station. It has level access and plenty of local on-street parking.

We will be running a modular layout (including our new fiddle yard) as we do most club nights.  We have a guest appearance from the original Königshafen plus one or two other layouts.  These will be supported by the club second hand sales. Refreshments (including the famous cakes and real coffee) will be available.  For more details,

Details of the Open Day are:

East Surrey N Gauge Open Day
Saturday 15 April 2022, 1000-1600
Earlswood Baptist Church, St Johns Road, Redhill, RH1 6DZ
Entry: Adults £2.00 Children £1.00 Family £5.00.

East Surrey Exhibition 2023

We will hold our annual exhibition on Saturday 30 September 2023, 1000-1600. It’s again at our regular meeting place, in Redhill. The hall is close to Earlswood station and bus routes, and an easy walk from Redhill station. It has level access and plenty of local on-street parking.

Work is in progress on the show, but there will be around 6 ‘N’ gauge layouts on display, including an N-club modular layout from East Surrey N Gauge. These will be supported by 2 specialist traders and second hand sales.  Refreshments (including the famous cakes and real coffee) will be available. For more details,

Details of the show are:

East Surrey N Gauge Open Day
Saturday 30 September 2023, 1000-1600
Earlswood Baptist Church, St Johns Road, Redhill, RH1 6DZ
Entry: Adults £5.00 Children £2.00 Family £10.00. (TBC)


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