The Model Railway Club

The Model Railway Club

Members log in here

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 Empire Mills
When you want water on your layout...

Water runs down hill. So, front and centre should be the wettest part of the layout because it it the lowest. I always find myself drawn to water on layouts so I thought I'd add something. The first problem is that there is no space for a sizable water feature. Adding to this, most of the basic landscaping had already been done, the hills are in place along with brambles and a tree so really all that can be done is the hint of water beyond the layout. The edge of a pond or marsh, even a small stream, just out of sight.

Started off simply enough.

Posted by on in Empire Mills
Grass laying on Empire Mills

Early on we decided to cover the front and back of the layout, most of the actual scenery, with carpet underlay. This produced a good effect, especially with a little bit of effort. It did, however, leave us with a dilemma about the middle of the layout. We tried a few different techniques for the ground cover round the various sidings, static grass, ground foam, but these didn't really produce the effect we wanted. There was too much contrast between the different materials and the change in colour certainly didn't help.

Empire Mills - Getting ready for Portsmouth

I haven't posted for a while - this doesn't mean we haven't been doing anything we have - well I haven't but the team has. However, with an exhibition looming we have had a burst of activity that quite frankly puts our gentle summer progress to shame.

The show - its all about the show after all - is the South Hants MRC's exhibition in Portsmouth on 21 November 2015

Posted by on in News
Latest Library additions

Our library is one of the most extensive in the UK, with a wide range of prototype and modelling titles including back issues of some of the key historical magazines. Members and visitors are welcome to browse most Thursdays from 7-9pm (unless there is a lecture) and on our monthly open-afternoon.

Some of the latest books to be added to our catalogue include:

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Update - Track laying and Carpentry.



Above we see a couple of pictures taken by Lawrence Robbins this afternoon at Keen House. These show the great progress being made on Ingatestone. Mo, Tom and Kevan are seen building the base for the new dollies that will take boards 5 & 6 in due course. The second photo shows boards 5 and 6 which connects into the country end of the fiddle yard that will be common with Putnam.  The mock up of the bridge prepared by Bob Allaway has been a great help in getting track centres spot on and avoiding side-swiping on the curves between Mark 3 coaches (the longest vehicles that will run on Ingatestone).  Once the last piece of trackwork has been done, we will turn to soldering the main power buses to the power droppers. Come and drop by and meet with us - we will be in most Thursdays and the next couple of Sundays !

"Blacklade" - an OO gauge layout by Stephen Siddle




Welcome to BR's "crumbling edge of quality". “Blacklade” is the surviving station in a small Midlands county town, served by local trains to Nottingham, Birmingham (both ex Midland) and Sheffield via Chesterfield (ex GC). Trains are worked by elderly 1950s diesels reinforced by new Sprinters.

Posted by on in Calshot Road
U2Can in filming debut

Several times a year, we get asked to provide a model railway for some sort of filming – TV news, feature or advert. We oblige whenever we can, assuming we can adapt one of our layouts to suit the brief (or the brief can be adapted to suit our layouts!).


We were asked to provide a layout for a film for the charity “Action Against Cancer”,



Narrow gauge railways are not to every enthusiast’s taste, many believing that locos and stock to the small dimensions necessary to run on such lines could not possibly do very much of a job of work other than potter about hauling tourists along a short length of track. Yet the Sittingbourne & Kemsley, built to 2’6” gauge, was an intensively worked railway which was operated 24 hours a day 7 days a week right up until 1969, as members discovered on the MRC’s visit there in early September.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Ingatestone Summer progress report.

The last few weekends have seeen further progress on both tracklaying and making handholds. All boards have now had the handholds routed out, which will be a major safety and comfort feature on the layout, enabling a firm grip to be kept when manoeuvering the boards around.  The first track on boards 5 and 6 has been laid, with the rail being soldered to adjustable small brass screws at the board edges to provide a solid base and hopefully will avoid bent rails ! Tom and Mo spent yesterday constructing the first set of drawers that will sit in the two stacking units to allow layout building and stock to travel safely and securely in the future - see the attached photo. Check back for more progress reports in due course.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
A busy weekend for Ingatestone.

A gloriously sunny Saturday June 27th saw Mo, Bob, Tom, Kevan and Chris head for Ingatestone to take measurements for the next stage of the 4mm layout: The buildings.  After checking in with the Station Manager, we measured the footbridge piers, the station buildings before turning to the level crossing. With the assistance of the ever helpful Crossing Keeper, the barriers were measured. This will help Lawrence with the procurement of a 4mm version from Heathcote Electronics in due course.

Sunday saw the group working on the baseboards - see the attached picture of handholds being cut into the sides for safe and comfortable carrying.

Come and join us either on a Thursday evening or at our bi-weekly Sunday working sessions - next ones are July 12th and 26th !


Posted by on in Ingatestone
Ingatestone on track !

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG-20150625-WA0003-2.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG-20150625-WA0002.jpg

Progress has continued on tracklaying on Ingatestone, with most of the running lines now down and soldered securely to screws at the board ends. In the pictures you can see work in progress last Thursday night. Improvements made to the baseboards have seen additional bracing added to remove some of the twistability from them. Handholds on the sides have also been added for ease of carriage (and less damage to the scenery)!

Tomorrow (June 27th) sees our next outing to Ingatestone, where, armed with copious amounts of pen, papers, measuring devices and cameras, we will get the last measurements of buildings and structures to get the layout as accurate as possible. Come along and catch up with us either tomorrow, or most Thursday nights at Keen House !

Tim Watson's epic trip to Brighton on Frederick

Our President, Prof Tim Watson, has successfully completed an 80 mile road-run with "Frederick", a coal-fired, steam-powered, 1/3rd size Burrell Showman's Road Locomotive, to raise funds for Parkinson's UK. Now he has recovered he writes:


We set off from St Albans at 0600 (delayed an hour by a leaking HP valve chest gasket) in the pouring rain on the 13th June, going up to London on the A5, where we had an unscheduled stop because of the atrocious road surfaces in N London.  

Posted by on in News
New in the Library

The MRC's library is one of the largest libraries of its kind, with a wealth of information for modellers. It is open on most Thursday evenings from 7-9pm, unless there is a lecture.

Some of the new titles that have recently been added to the library are listed below.

Progress on Ingatestone's corner boards !

Today was a day of progress for the layout: A working party including Tom Slade and Lawrence Robbins worked on Boards 5 and 6 (the corner boards) to core the stretchers and prepare them for reinforcement. In the pictures, Lawrence is seen at work with the corer fitted to the power drill.  If anyone is interested in joining our group and helping us to keep up the great progress, speak to any of the team members or email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted by on in Minories
Baseboard Joints


Baseboard joints are a necessary evil if you ever have to move your layout. Scenically they create what is often an obvious rift line across our otherwise beautiful handiwork, but operationally they can be a major cause of unreliability. So I try to make the joints as unobvious as I can, but robust enough to stand the knocks and bangs that happen to all portable layouts and maximise the chances of good operation.

It is very difficult to make a board joint better later – so I spend time getting the basics right.

Posted by on in News
Ingatestone Away Day !

On Saturday June 27th, the Ingatestone team will be heading to Ingatestone (where else!) for a measuring, drawing and photographing session. From the station area to the Cricket Pavilion, we'll be busy getting the detail as accurate as possible for our layout. If you are in the area from mid-morning onward, come by and see us!

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Welcome to the Ingatestone Blog!

This is the first blog by the team that will be bringing Ingatestone to life in 4mm scale. The team are: Chris Ibbotson, Tom Slade, Bob Allaway, Maurice (Mo) Beanlands, Lawrence Robbins and Kavind Patel. We are at Keen House most Thursday nights from 19:00 and also have Sunday working sessions from 11:00 that will be advertised on here.

We welcome new members irrespective of their skill level - we all have to start somewhere. Drop us an email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to contact us!

Posted by on in Empire Mills
Empire Mills post Ally Pally 2015

Yesterday we had our first official layout group meeting. Probably should have done it sooner, but better late than never. In this we discussed follow up from Ally Pally, things that went well and things that didn't. We also covered what needs to be done before our next outing (Portsmouth in November) and who is to do what. Up until now the layout has gone in the back of a 7.5T truck with other stuff/layouts for AP, but this has to change. We had originally intended to have the layout fit in the back of an estate car, and now I have six months to figure out how to do it. This will possibly include some modifications to how the layout goes together so that it can be set up more easily and by fewer people.

Duncan produced a comprehensive list of all the tasks that need doing and they have mostly been allocated. They range from simple things such as "This building needs a bit more detail around the base" to middling difficulty "We need a box for the large clay dry to transport and store it safely" to the complex "How on Earth do we fit all of this into the back of a car?"

After the current option had been "finished" we moved on to discussing what we wanted to do next. The layout is designed so that

Tagged in: EM gauge layout

Posted by on in Lacey Dale
Welcome to the Lacey Dale blog

Welcome to the blog for the MRC n gauge project 'Lacey Dale'.

Here we will be posting information and updates about the project. Please comment and/or subscribe to receive updates. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section and we will try and respond as soon as possible.


Posted by on in Empire Mills

Well I've spent the day making bushes and a hedge. I've found a pretty straightforward technique that gives pleasing results.

To start off, we had already placed rubberised horsehair around the layout as a first step. It had all be sprayed brown before placement but they didn't really look that good. So here's what I did to improve the looks.