Saturday, 28 May 2011

Sussex Downs 009 Members' Day 2011

Today was the Sussex Downs 009 group's members' day. Although I wasn't showing one of my layouts this time (I did at the last two, in 2007 and 2009), four other group members had layouts there, so I knew I'd be helping out somewhere.

As it happened I spent most of the day helping with Mark Holland's layout "Spirit of Welshpool". I've operated this layout before, and Sparsholt last year, but since then Mark has progressed the scenary, particularly the town area. Also he had (just) written an operating timetable - well, sequence at least. The idea was to give some order and meaning to operation, and given that the track layout is based on the real thing (albeit with serious compression) that makes sense. There were some hitches as the sequence was de-bugged, clarified, and operators were educated!

The above photo shows the station and goods yard. Mark has now built one of the W&L Pickering coaches (with several more to build), and has models of the original locos Earl and Countess, although not yet fully working. However this has shown that the track layout was based around more compact stock, leading to some tight clearances and the loco and carriage sheds are too small!

The Dovey Valley railway by Dick Wyatt (above) is one of my all time favourite layouts, featuring in an old Model Railway Constructor album I had as a teenager, and an inspiration for 009 modelling. You may remember it as the one featured in the Two Ronnies sketch!

Charlie Inslay's Kinwardine Wharf is a great little layout, the first time I had seen it in the flesh, although it was in Railway Modeller a couple of years back. Charlie has some lovely locos and stock too.

The award for "Best Unfinished Layout" (on the basis that no layout is ever really finished) was awarded in memory of Alan Fall, a group member who passed away last year. The most votes went to Martin Collins' Llandecwyn, a deserving winner. This layout is Martin's home layout and I last saw it at the first Member's day 4 years ago, it has made some progress since then but is still far from finished. However the quality of Martin's modelling is superb and this photo gives some indication of how good it will look when the layout is complete.

Martin was also responsible for much of the organisation of the show, along with Tim Sanderson, with much work done by Mike and Theresa Fox, and Doreen Fall in the Kitchen. Thanks to all of those, the exhibitors and visitors. The number of visitors was a little disappointing, probably not helped by being a bank-holiday and half-term weekend, and a rather remote location. However everyone seemed to be having fun. I've uploaded pictures of the rest of the layouts, please click on the link below.
Sussex Downs 009 Group Members Day 2011

Saturday, 21 May 2011

SWING Show Bognor

Just a few of the better photos from the St Wilfred's Industrial and Narrow Gauge (SWING) show put on by the South Downs group of the 7mm NG society in Bognor today. A change of venue meant the St Wilfred's part is no longer valid, but hey, why change a witty name? Anyway a good friendly show with some interesting narrow gauge layouts.

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Monday, 16 May 2011

Sussex Downs 009 Members' Day

The Sussex Downs group of the 009 Society present a
Members' Day Exhibition
Saturday 28th May 2011
Wivelsfield Village Hall
Eastern Road, Wivelsfield, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 7QH.
10.00 am - 4.00 pm

Featuring Dick Wyatt's iconic "Dovey Valley" (above), and ten further layouts from members of the group, friends, and associates from the local area. All are narrow-gauge and many are rarely if ever been seen in public.

An award for "Best Unfinished Layout" will be made in memory of late member Alan Fall. Since no layout is ever truly finished, all exhibits are eligible!

There will be trade support from suppliers of 009, and the infamous 009 Society Sales Stand. Also refreshments will be available. The venue has ample parking, and is a short drive from the A23.

I shall be busy helping out, although I won't have one of my own layouts on show this year. Please come along if you can, it promises to be a good day for anyone who enjoys model railways and narrow gauge!
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Friday, 13 May 2011

Farm Buildings Progress

Progress recently has been slower than I'd like, as I said in my last post, but also I find making model buildings does take a long time. It would be easy to rush, but time spent getting brick courses to line up at the corners for example, it worthwhile when the model is complete. Anyway the main farm buildings are just about ready to be painted.

The construction is plasticard, with Slaters brick laminated over 20-thou cut to form window and door frames, and 40-thou black plasticard for strength. There are lots of internal walls and floors to ensure rigidity, however there has still been a little warping. I think it is controlled and minimal on these small buildings, but I can see why stronger, more stable materials such as Plywood and Foamcore board are commonly used for larger buildings in 7mm scale.

This project is further complicated by the buildings having to come apart to allow the lid to close, and provide access to the point switches and electrical connections, as well as being shaped to fit in the box (not always parallel to the sides), with openings for the trains!

Tonight I have added final details such as lead roof flashing using tin foil, and door handles from staples. I need to make a set of doors for the loco shed/smithy too. Window glass will be added after painting.

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Friday, 6 May 2011


There have been a number of distractions from model building recently, including a short business trip to Holland. My word, it's flat. I mean I knew that - but having driven from Amsterdam to Eindhoven (about 1 3/4 hours) and not seen a hill of any sort, it makes Norfolk look like Snowdonia!

Holland is also known for it's canals, but I hadn't realised how extensively the network of canals spread across the country. They are not like Canals in the UK either - limited to narrow boats and now only used by holiday makers, or overgrown and full of old shopping trolleys. No these are very much in use for large barges carrying goods around the country:

This barge was actually quite unusual as most seemed to have a car strapped to the roof of the cabin, with a derrick to lift it off! Mind you, cars have to wait while the barges pass as you can see. Again ...

Mind you, these lifting bridges are quite attractive, this one in a town centre was feature-lit at night!

It's great to see these canals still being used for their original purpose, and keeping freight off the roads. Talking of transport, Amsterdam Schiphol airport is well-connected with a railway station under the concourse. It is a massive airport, I must have walked a good mile between the front door and the gate. Mind you that was nothing compared to what the plane had to do to take off, of the SIX runways my plane had to taxi to the furthest, 7km from the control tower, and crossing TWO motorway's on the way! I was beginning to think we would need a ferry to get home ...
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