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The Model Railway Club Blog

There's always lots happening at the Model Railway Club. Keep up to date by following our Blog. If you would be interested to edit a blog and you are an MRC member please contact the webmaster.

Recent blog posts

Posted by on in Ingatestone
An update from Ingatestone - Aug 2018

 

Chris Ibbotson has been busy bringing a Hornby Class 90 up to a better standard. This model was fair representation when first released many years ago but suffered from many of the issues that are a result of Hornby's wish to produce a product that was both a toy and a model.  But this has been over come by many hours of work and the installing of DCC, with lights to come. 90 001 “Crown Point” will make a fine addition to our Intercity fleet of MK3 coaches in their  mix of liveries reflecting the moden age we live in of changing franchises and colour schemes but Chris has captured well the Abellio Greater Anglia house colours which are simple but striking.b2ap3_thumbnail_IGS-Aug-18-20180709_190945.jpg

 

We will only go so far with this model as we await the release of Bachman's  much up dated and fine detailed new model.  

 

90 001 will be a star turn when we have Ingatestone  back up in full in September. We are also working to have the last major pieces of woodwork done that will expand and infill the landscape of the layout .

 

Our experience at the London Festival of railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace in March  was positive and proved the potential of Ingatestone to be an eye catching layout. We identified a whole batch of other things we need to address, including some reworking of the landscape and some improvements to make the OHLE robust on a mobile layout.

 

We continue meeting on Thursday Club evenings and on most Mondays, as there is still much to do – it’s a great time to get involved

 

Posted by on in Orchard Wharf

 In June Empire Mills was sold. Following its departure the space it occupied was cleared out and the baseboards for Orchard Wharf moved in. Thanks to the Lacey Dale team we now have a space for both groups to work in.

NB look out for the writeup of Empire Mills in the August 2018 BRM magazine.

We are now focused on building the dockside track, designing the control system, and planning the major components of the scenery.

Control: DCC and CBus

The layout team decided earlier on to use DCC for loco control. We have now decided to use MERG’s CBus for controlling point and signal servos and for the control panels. We’re currently working on the detailed design.

Track and scenery design

We thought we would forge ahead on the dockside trackwork but we've realised there is much to do to design the scenery. There are two reasons: firstly, we have to conceal the exits from the fiddleyards; secondly, we need to capture the atmosphere of the locality and provide reasons for all the rail activity on the wharf. Until we have the building lines settled there is little more we can do on the track. You can see the track components already made using John's innovative design if you pay us a visit -- the pointwork, using T-section angle for the flangeway, is unusually complex and quite challenging to build.

Get involved

All members are welcome to get involved with the layout. Talk to us on a Thursday evening,
email us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or join us for a Friday evening session.

 

 

Tagged in: 4mm EM gauge

Posted by on in Orchard Wharf

In the last month we've had several good meetings, including a 'kick-off' to refresh everyone's acquaintance with the project, two meetings focused on aspects of the design, a site visit to Poplar, Canning Town and Silvertown, and a much-needed clearout of the space we need to start work on tracklaying and electrics.

I would like to thank everyone who has come along to join the team so far. It looks as if we have a good spread of interests that will stand us in good stead. It's also been great to have contributions that broaden our knowledge of the history of the area, giving us a wealth of prototype information from which to work.

We will soon set up a regular work afternoon/evening on Fridays. If you want to come along and are unsure whether there is a meeting please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I'd like to finish this update  with a YouTube video found by our team member James documenting a train journey from North Woolwich to Palace Gates in 1960. Rather than a 'cab ride', it's an assembly of several different viewpoints including from within the train, and gives a very good impression of the railways and much of the dockland area for those of us who couldn't be there at the time.

Tagged in: 4mm EM gauge

Posted by on in Empire Mills
Wagon repair shop on DVD

Back in February, we had a wagon demonstration next to Empire Mills at the Doncaster exhibition. During the show Phil Parker from BRM interviewed Ben W about the wagons he was fettling, and the result is on the DVD that comes with the June edition of the magazine.

Whilst there was a wedding and some footy on TV, our crack crew of electricians were at Keen House, continuing the rewiring of the layout.

 

The lines are now all working correctly and the new loop on the Down Main is live and running (track will need a bit of fettling). The end of the day should see the Up Main loop connected at the back, but the front Gasworks Board track will need droppers and of course the point motor installed.   Our electrical challenges are being resolved quicker than I feared, so we’ll soon be able to concentrate on the “nice” interesting stuff.

 

Our next booked session is the 8-10th June, please let us know if you are joining us. Then our next exhibition continues a recent Club theme of exhibiting surrounded by the prototype at the LT Museum in Acton on 7/8th July

Posted by on in Minories
Minories goes to Derby Roundhouse

On the 12th and 13th May, Minories headed north to the historic Derby Roundhouse - for the Michleover Model Railway Group exhibition. John, Rob S and Tom headed north on Friday in a transit van (which came with a special adaption to first gear to keep the driver awake), where we met up with former chairman and now local resident Richard to set up.

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The layout is still developing into its circular format, and it took us a while to get it set up. However it worked considerably better than its previous outings. Smithfield housing estate is developing, and at the other end Steve's new pub, tube station and office block is taking shape.

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Rob N (another local) joined us on Saturday which gave a bit more flexibility in operating, and gave the other Rob a chance for a cup of tea. With the local knowledge we navigated through downtown Derby to enjoy Italian and Nepalese cuisine (the latter only marginally affected when the Charlie DC Kits / Legoman Biffo came in for their dinner). The parcels and freight stock got a chance to stretch their legs, along with some interlopers from the Club's new layout Orchard Wharf from an era before yellow warning panels. And along with the normal Mk1 suburbans and we had all 4 of the DC Kits Cravens units running on the layout on the Sunday.

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Posted by on in Orchard Wharf

First meeting Friday 18 May 2018, 18.30 in the Library

The build of Orchard Wharf is now under way. We propose to meet regularly on Friday evenings (with a possible earlier start for those available in the afternoon). The first meeting is on Friday 18 May. All members are welcome to attend.

We’ll provide another introduction to the project for those who may not know about it, and we will review the work ahead of us on storage, track, electrics, scenery and stock.

If you cannot make this meeting and would like to get involved or for any further information please get in touch. Talk to us on a Thursday evening or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted by on in Ingatestone

In the months since our last update much has been done to the layout and the common fiddleyard shared with Putnam (H0) with the main goal of taking Ingatestone (00) to the London Festival of Railway Modelling in March 2018 at Ally Pally. We intended to show the full layout, under construction but with roundie-roundie working of trains.

Our first time out of Keen House was always going to be a milestone and a learning experience for the team. We all pulled together and everything fitted and plugged in OK. The fiddleyard, which is now computer controlled,  worked well too. We had had little time to practice operating the layout, and during the show we discovered that an element of roleplay was good. With one team member as signalperson and two as drivers, things worked well and operation was fun.

Tagged in: Catenary Essex

Posted by on in News
Mons Meg

 

After a month in the paint shops we now have an ex-works engine, called “Mons Meg”.   This engine was named after the medieval cannon resident in Edinburgh Castle and the engine, when new, visited King's Cross a few times - it should look at home on Copenhagen Fields.  

There are a few more little jobs to do, but today I’ll probably make the cab windows on the MRC Demonstration Stand at Ally Pally.

Our next exhibition is at the LT Museum Depot at Acton on 7-8th July.  We'll be putting the layout up after the open day on 29th April, when we'll continue the southern end re-wire and energising the new loops for the central bore of Gasworks Tunnel.

 

 

We now have a layout email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. So one less excuse not to get in touch.

Tagged in: EM gauge

Following a presentation to club members at the beginning of the month, our new EM Gauge project Orchard Wharf  (set in London's docklands c. 1960) was shown off to the public for the first time at last weekend's London Festival of Railway Modelling. The layout formed just one part of The MRC's extensive demonstration stand. John Jesson was the anchorman over the whole weekend, and used the opportunity to get started on constructing the dockside track, which will all be inset into the surface of the wharf. I divided my time at the show between explaining the benefits of the club on the membership stand and discussing the finer points of 1950s British permanent way specification with John and several knowledgeable visitors to our display.

The boards, the track, and the approach to planning and design all came in for scrutiny and discussion. We will give more details, and post pictures of the boards, which are a stressed-skin construction in laser-cut birch ply, in a future post. Meanwhile, thanks to all those who came to chat with us; we look forward to seeing you again soon.

If you are a club member and would like to get involved in construction of the layout, we want to hear from you. Track building, as noted above, has just started. Electronics work starts soon. Scenery needs research and design. We don't yet have our own email address so please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or speak to John Jesson or me, Ben Weiner, at the club.

Tagged in: EM gauge

We had a great trip to Doncaster back in February -- thank you to those who stopped by to see the layout and chat. The layout ran flawlessly (well, a cable did come loose on Sunday morning but that was it). I am grateful to the rest of the operating team, Hugh and Tom, for their contributions.

On Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 April we'll be attending Trainwest Model Railway Exhibition at the Springfield Community Campus, Corsham, Wiltshire. We look forward to meeting you there, as well as hopefully getting a chance to look at the other layouts attending -- once again we are in excellent company.

This is likely to be our last trip out with Empire Mills. Our new EM layout Orchard Wharf takes the team back to London's East End. Boards have been assembled and you can catch up with track building at the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace on 24 and 25 of March.

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This weekend, 10 & 11 February, we're attending the Festival of British Railway Modelling at Doncaster race course. We're in the company of some pretty impressive layouts, not least in EM gauge. Look forward to seeing you there!

Tagged in: EM gauge Empire Mills

Posted by on in News
MRC Test Tracks at Warley 50

It's  been a busy first day at Warley for the MRC Test Tracks. A constant stream of locomotives kept the test team busy, with new owners were being reassured to see their purchases successfully  running round the tracks.

A handful of non-runners were identified, these were returned to suppliers for replacement or refunded.

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Posted by on in Minories
Minories November 2017

We've had a busy few weeks, leading up to two exhibitions over consecutive weekends in November- Tolworth then Wakefield.

It would be fair to say we weren't quite ready for Tolworth Showtrain - so apologies to the Hampton Court MRS and those who came on the Saturday morning. However with perseverance we fixed the key issues throughout Saturday and by the Sunday operating rather better. It was rather like taking a layout to its first show, and I forgotten how much energy and effort it requires. We also confirmed that the layout only just fits in my car assuming we have no overnight bags, and that was with loading in the last few bits through the windows.

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Copenhagen Fields - November 2017

Space is always tight in our lower layouts hall, but we've got a few weeks available to have the whole layout up, which gives us the chance to carry out some of the more major projects on track and wiring.

We have had an incredibly productive day today with both new fast line loops completed on the "Sopwith Camel" board as well as a substantial re-wire of the electrical feeds.  The move of the control panels is also set to commence.  

As can be seen in the photo, the loop turnouts on the big fiddle yard board are roughly in place but will need connecting mechanically & electrically.  The track across the joint has been Araldited in situ and will be cut on Sunday. 

Tim

 

 

Posted by on in Empire Mills

Little jobs can be very time consuming. Firstly the uncoupling magnets are now powered by a relay, which hopefully means we won't burn out the switches on the controllers any more. Secondly the uncouplers which were incorrectly identified have now been fixed, so reducing a pernicious source of operator confusion. And finally a mystery short circuit which spread across the layout was (after pulling everything out and turning the boards on their sides) ascribed to a loose blob of solder that emerged from under a switch rail as the troubleshooters were beginning to lose heart.

We will be running on Thursday 30 November (though this depends on some loaned cables being returned) so drop in and say hello!

Tagged in: 4mm EM Empire Mills
Ingatestone Autumn Update: There is some good modelling happening

After a long summer with all the boards of Ingatestone up in the MRC workshop, a lot of progress has been made on both track and scenic elements.   

The scenic crew has been hard at work on the platforms, and after their recent trip through the paint shop when they are added to the layout you suddenly begin to see a station!  We'll need to remove them again at a later date to install the platform lighting.

Eric Sainte has been making progress on the 1880's up side station building:
 
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Because this building is going to sit on the viewing side of the layout, Eric has opened up the main doors so we can see in and through which means young and not so young viewers will be able to see the trains passing by through the doors as if you were really entering the station! Next up for Eric is the interior and roof parts.
 
Another major component of the layout is going to be the overhead catenary, which because of the history of the line there are a variety of different styles of masts and gantries all the way back to the original style erected during the 1950s electrification of the Great Eastern.
Tagged in: Catenary Ingatestone

Posted by on in Lacey Dale
Scenery Update

As it has been some time since the last update, I thought I would post some images of the layout. This is more a pictorial update on the progress so far than a detailed account of what has been happening. This will be covered in future posts.

To summarise, all the bare patches  on the baseboards have now been covered over, and it is time to get down to some fine detailing. I hope you enjoy the photos.

 

The header image shows a hard used WD Austerity running into the station on the low level.

We follow this with a view from the station looking North, where the low level track runs under the high level main line from Derby to Manchester.

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Following is a view over the goods yard, looking back towards the station.

 

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Posted by on in Empire Mills

Growling pains? Bachmann/Kernow cl. 37 awaits the future in the exchange sidings

The Summer months were quiet for Empire Mills. But like the proverbial duck, beneath the water there was plenty of paddling. We were giving a lot of thought to the best way to develop the layout and, perhaps more importantly for the long term, to retain and increase interest in EM gauge modelling in the club. We'll share more on this blog when our plans are more concrete.

Meanwhile, Empire Mills will be operating on Thursday 21 September so drop in and say hello!

Tagged in: Class 37 EM