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September 2017

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Modelling Staff

Editor Sarah Palmer Contributors Tony Stratford, Lucian Doyle, Nigel Burkin, Ian Lamb, Michael Watts, Bernard Gudgin, Brian Sharpe Production editor Pauline Hawkins Senior designer Holly Furness Picture desk Paul Fincham, Jonathan Schofield Advertising manager Sue Keily Publisher Tim Hartley Publishing director Dan Savage Commercial director Nigel Hole Subscription manager Paul Deacon Circulation manager Steve O'Hara Marketing manager Charlotte Park

To advertise, contact: Lynsey Young 01507 529454 Fiona Leak 01507 529573

Where to find us

Editorial, advertising and administration Mortons Media Group Ltd, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6JR Tel 01507 529529


© Copyright Mortons Media Group Ltd. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, without prior approval in writing is prohibited. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for errors in articles or advertisements, or for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations.


Mortons Print, Horncastle, Lincs. Tel 01507 523456

Next edition

Find stockists online at www. October's RMM is out on September 29, 2017.

Sarah Palmer Editor

From the editor


his month saw Channel 4 air Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds. The idea of taking a group of pre-schoolers into a retirement home is not a new one as it was imported from America, but it made for lovely viewing. It brought to mind the number of letters and emails I’ve had from grandparents who are building model railways with their grandchildren and the resulting enjoyment the hobby has brought to both parties. In modern busy lives there often isn’t the intergenerational mixing that there was years ago, but as this programme was testimony there is so much to be had by both young and old when it

does occur. Happily modelling railways is one of those hobbies that allows older generations to pass on knowledge, and younger generations to come up with new ideas to the benefit of both. And talking of new ideas and encouraging youngsters into the hobby, in this month’s Ask a Daft Question RMM reader Laurie Calvert has sent in his unique sci-fi take on encouraging the next generation of modellers; it’s out of this world! We’ve also got a feature on the many faces of Flying Scotsman, the engine that’s fast becoming a railway icon for all generations. Tony Stratford has also written some advice for those who may have modelled railways in their

A poster appealing for young modellers to come along to Keen House, home of the Model Railway Club in London. Turn to p14 to read the full story.

younger years, but are now wanting to return to it later in life and finding that it seems to have changed somewhat!

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September 2017


Have you got a story y for us? Email: RMModelling

British Railways’ road vehicles Two attractive 1:76 scale vehicles for two different BR time periods, produced under the EFE label, have just been released to the shops, writes Nigel Burkin. A very useful model offered under the Exclusive First Editions (EFE) label (acquired by Bachmann in October 2016) is the longlived Bedford TK truck, which became as ubiquitous on the roads of the 1960s as the Mini and Ford Anglia 105E. Production first started in 1959 and carried on until the 1980s, being produced in a variety of forms including the two-axle flatbed variety represented by No. 423 PRO, which is the truck recently released in BR maroon and cream under the EFE label. The trucks were light in weight and used for a variety of purposes by the railways including engineering, permanent way and also for commercial practices. The vehicle represented by the model of No. 423 PRO was used for light haulage of packages between parcels depots to customer premises and similar commercial purposes and that is represented on the model as a tarpaulincovered load consisting of a number of small, less than wagon-load packages.

The model is finished in pristin ne condition with a slight shine to th he paintwork. The body is of die-casst metal with plastic fittings includin ng glazing, wheels, tyres and the flatbed load. A planked effect is moulded in the flatbed itself and there is a cab interior with right-h hand drive controls. The vehicle carriess the cab number ‘5871 BO M’ and has its registration number and Bedford d logos clearly and neatly printed on the model. Its catalogue number for ordering is 23406 and the model has a suggested retail price of £31. A second EFE die-cast vehicle release in 1:76 scale this summer is the secoond model of a 1980s BR training bus, which h follows on from the very popular E381199 version (registration BNU 679G) released d earllier in 2017. The second model is registered as AYG 941H and was used as a BR plant and machinery training vehicle in the 1980s – in effect a mobile training vehicle that would have travelled to any railway site where it was required. It carried an identical livery to the first version of the model except for the lettering on the side.

Family fun day at Strathspey The DAVA Project Group supported July’s Strathspey Railway summer family special weekend by displaying their model railway training layout Chawton in Aviemore Station’s waiting room. Quite a few young visitors took the opportunity to operate the layout and learn more

about the background to the model, which featured elements from The Railway Children and Titfield Thunderbolt films based around a Somerset & Dorset Railway theme; all locos having been linked to that sadly missed line from Bath to Bournemouth, writes Ian Lamb.

All kinds of traction at Boat of Garten. Ex-Caledonian 0-6-0 No. 828 about to depart with the 10.30am from Aviemore to Broomhill at the Strathspey Railway summer family special weekend. IAN LAMB

GWR live-steam models at auction Two GWR live-steam 71/4 gauge models are to go under the hammer at Dreweatts’ sale on September 20. The models of No. 4708, a mixed-traffic 2-8-0, and No. 6806 Aberporth Grange were made by model-maker David Aitken and are estimated to fetch £200,000. A third live-steam model is also part of the same sale; LNWR George Fifth class 4-4-0 No. 5000 Coronation, an inter-war model believed to have been made from Bassett-Lowke castings.

GWR 2-8-0 No. 4705, resting between duties at Newton Abbot on August 17, 1961, recorded the highest mileage of the nine-strong class during a 41-year career, clocking up 1,656,564 miles. A 7¼in gauge model of classmate No. 4708 will be going under the hammer at auction on September 20, with a top estimate of £100,000. GEOFF COURTNEY

Product details: Bed dford TK light truck with h a flatbed in British Railways’ livery. Bristtol VRT double-deck bus in BR livery. Manufacturer: Excllusive First Editions (Bac chmann Europe Plc). Summer sees the release of two new models from EFE: a Bedford TK light truck in British Railways’ livery and a second model of a 1980s BR training bus in the form of a Bristol VRT II. Both are die-cast mod dells wiith pllasttic fittings in 1:7 76 scalle.

The bus consists of a fine die-cast body and chassis fitted with flush plastic glazing, some of which is blanked out with yellow panels in the same manner as the full-size vehicles – it being a training vehicle after all! The finish has a light shine to it and there is no weathering applied to the model. An interior on both decks is visible

through the remaining windows and the driving cab together with the entrance door area is well detailed. No. AYG 941H could have worked alongside No. BNU 679G and is likely to be popular with collectors as well as modellers. Its catalogue number for ordering is 23406 and is priced at £37.50.

New Crowood Press releases Modelling the East Coast Main Line in the British Railways’ Era by Tony Wright and published by the Crowood Press, has 224 pages and follows the construction of an ECML layout in OO gauge based on the Little Bytham prototype priced at £19.99. Also available is Weathering for Railway Modellers Vol 1: Locomotives and Rolling Stock. Written by George Dent, it has 208 pages and retails at £18.99.

Kit version of BR Mk.1 corridor Electrifying Trains has released both ready-to-run and kit versions of its latest O gauge model – the BR Mk.1 corridor First FK. The release of a kit version is a new departure for Electrifying Trains, which has focused exclusively upon RTR models until now. The RTR model will be available in all BR standard liveries with more recent, complex liveries available to special order. Visit for more information.

OO Works' ex-GS&WR J15 OO Works has announced production of the ex-GS&WR 101 (J15) class 0-6-0 locomotive. It will have an all-metal cast locomotive body for maximum weight, fitted with a high torque M05 coreless motor. Models will be available in a choice of black or grey livery and will come with a sheet of transfers with different numbers and CIE logo. Black livery will be £290 plus p&p, and grey will be £295, plus p&p.

Railway artists' annual exhibition The annual Railart exhibition run by the Guild of Railway Artists is being held in Kidderminster Railway Museum at the Severn Valley Railway. It opens on August 26 and runs until October 1, and admission is free.

Steam returns to Kingsbridge Quay STEAM returned to Kingsbridge nearly 53 years after the GWR branch line to the South Hams town closed. In 1969, a U-shaped 71/4in gauge miniature railway was laid around the quayside at the head of the estuary in the town, with a GWR saddle tank as its motive power. The much-loved half-mile-long Kingsbridge quay line itself closed in 1991. However, in 2014, Steve Mammatt, a director of local firm ActionWest Business Systems, drew up a plan to revive the line, and received the backing of the town council. In 2015, work on laying a new track to 5/71/4in dual gauge began. The 6mph railway has sufficient clearance so that it avoids any conflict with pedestrians and cyclists using the pavement, protected by a cover when not in use. In July steam made its debut in the form of a freelance 0-4-0T brought by its owner while returning from a steam event at Launceston.

Miniature line saved by sale THE future of the Watford Miniature Railway has been secured after it was sold by its retiring owners.

Scale: 1:76 6 scale suitable for OO gauge layouts. Price: Bedford TK: £31. Bristol VRT: £37.50. Web:

The 101/4in gauge line, which opened in Cassiobury Park in 1959, has been bought by Southern Miniature Railways Ltd, a company specialising in engineering work for small-gauge railways. Trains will now be running every day throughout the summer. Poole Park appeal for volunteers THE reopened Poole Park Miniature Railway has taken delivery of a second locomotive, and has appealed for new volunteers to run the 101/4in gauge line. The Friends of Poole Park has borrowed 2012-built steam outline diesel Hasty from its builders the Hastings Miniature Railway, to run alongside Princess Swee’Pea which has also been borrowed from the Sussex outfit. The Friends group is looking for volunteer train drivers, relief drivers, permanent way managers, kiosk staff and a team appointer to help manage the rostering of volunteers. Visit www.

Farnham’s children’s layout

Farnham’s model railway club has constructed a children’s layout with the intention of raffling it in aid of a local charity – Parkside – which supports children with learning difficulties. The layout is OO gauge and mounted on a

self-contained 4ft x 3ft board. Raffle tickets go on sale to all visitors to the club’s 43rd annual exhibition to be held at the Alderwood School (formerly known as the Connaught Centre), Aldershot, on October 14-15, 2017.

The Parkside layout has been on show locally and has attracted many admiring comments.

September 2017

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September 2017

in What's the shops

Simple coach lighting project Bring your coaches to life with interior lighting! Nigel Burkin demonstrates how you can fit interior lighting to OO gauge coaches using the Bachmann suburban coach as an example.


ow can new modellers enjoy interior lighting and other lighting effects in their coaches without having to install complicated wiring and pick-ups? Use a lighting strip! Interior lighting is a great way to add character to model coaches. Bachmann is now offering coach models with the interiors detailed with seated figures – passengers in other words. Interior lighting enhances this additional detail to good effect, bringing the coaches to life. In the past, installing lighting in a OO gauge model was a complicated business involving soldering and current collection pick-ups, something that might not appeal to newcomers to the hobby or those not confident with assembling lighting circuits. Automated coach lighting by Train-Tech, which consists of sophisticated lighting strips, provides as close to realistic lighting as is possible and can be installed in less than an hour in most OO gauge coaches. The great thing for the new modeller is that no soldering or wiring is required to make it work. They are self-contained units with everything a modeller needs to illuminate a coach for night-time running.

Train-Tech offers a range of interior lighting strips to suit different types of coach, including a cool light version for modern coaches and warm lighting for traditional coaching stock. Some strips provide both interior lighting and sockets to incorporate additional features such as an illuminated tail lamp or spark effect for EMUs. This article shows how the CL22 warm white coach lighting strip is fitted to a Bachmann Mk.1 suburban compartment coach and the techniques I used here will apply to a wide range of OO gauge coaches. How Train-Tech lighting works Lighting circuits need a power supply and the Train-Tech lighting strips rely on battery power to keep the design fully self-contained. Lighting is provided by LEDs, which draw very little current, meaning the supplied CR2032 battery will last a long time. No on-off switch is provided, further simplifying the installation of the lighting strip. The unit has a motion sensor that detects the slightest movement and turns the lights on. When the coach comes to a stop, the lighting will remain illuminated for a further four minutes so the coach remains lit when the train stops at signals

or a station. The independent power supply makes the lighting strips very flexible to use. They need no track supply, making them suitable for both traditional direct current and DCC layouts. No current collection pick-ups have to be fitted to the wheels and bogies and no holes have to be drilled in the underframe to accommodate wiring. In effect, the Train-Tech lighting strips are as plug-and-play as they come.

Tools and materials:      

     

Tweezers Modelling knife and spare blades White paper Scissors Double-sided adhesive tape Blu Tack or sticky pads as an alternative to double-sided adhesive tape Self-healing cutting mat Wooden lolly sticks Scraps of styrene card Wire cutters Jeweller’s screwdrivers Modeller’s file

Interior coach details such as seated passengers can be brought to life with interior lighting.

If you choose to buy a lighting strip with added tail-light feature, fitting the rear lamp will need two small holes of about 0.7mm-1mm in diameter drilling through the end of the coach to accommodate the legs of the supplied red LED. The legs of the LED are then plugged into the sockets at the end of the lighting strip without having to solder them in place. The more experienced modeller can take advantage of numerous solder points along the length of the lighting strip to move

the connection to lighting effects if so desired, a modification that will require some soldering work. However, the additional tail lamp effect can be enjoyed without having to resort to soldering. Cutting the lighting strip to length to suit shorter coaches is quite easy to do and the instructions provide advice on the location of suitable cutting lines, which are marked on the lighting strip. Use sharp wire cutters or sprue cutters to cut across the lighting strip and clean up any rough edges with a fine file.

September 2017


Carefully remove the coach body by locating the position of the retaining clips and using pieces of styrene card and lolly stocks to release the clips.

Train-Tech has designed its lighting strips to be powered by a battery instead of track power, making them suitable for both direct current and DCC layouts.

Simple installation It is necessary to dismantle the coach model to install lighting of any kind. Usually, this can be as simple as removing the body from the underframe by releasing the body clips. More complex models may be secured with screws and clips – it pays to check the underframe first to see if there are any retaining screws before trying to release the body. Once inside the model, remove the interior seating moulding and see how much space there is in the roof of the model. It is worth doing a test fit of the lighting strip to check there is room between the top of the interior moulding and the inside surface of the roof itself before fitting the battery, particularly if you are fitting the lighting strip to a compartment coach. Some trimming of the interior moulding may be required in some models, but not the Bachmann Mk.1 suburban coach used as the example in this article. Open stock, on the other hand, should present few, if any, problems. Once satisfied with the fit, consider brightening the inside surface of the roof with white paint or a piece of paper to act as a deflector. I fitted a slip of paper, secured with double-sided adhesive tape, to the suburban coach to reflect as much of the light as possible.

To that, I added a length of tape to secure the lighting strip in place. Before installing the lighting strip, the battery was fitted to the holder and the strip tested on the workbench by leaving alone for four minutes to allow the lights to switch off automatically. A quick prod with the fingers will soon show if the strip is working correctly as the motion sensor switches the lights back on again. The strip was fitted to the test coach used in this article with the battery concealed in the guard’s compartment. It was shortened along the first cut line from the end sockets (opposite end to the battery holder) to ensure all of the LEDs would line up with as many compartments as possible. Had I wished to use the tail lamp feature, the strip would have to be fitted the other way round so the tail lamp LED terminals could be located at the guard’s van end of the coach. To illuminate as many compartments as possible with the five LEDs fitted to the lighting strip, I cut away some of the plastic from the top of two of the compartment dividers using a sharp modelling knife. The modification has allowed greater light distribution and is not visible from the exterior of the coach. The lighting strip can be cut into short lengths along the indicated cut lines to better distribute lighting along

Many coaches are simple to take apart and are only held by body clips. Other models may be secured with screws, which will be located in the underframe.

a coach or to get round obbstructionss in the coach roof that cannot be remooved or modified. Such modifications willl require the shorter lengths to be joineed with short pieces of equipment wire to complete the circuits, soldered into th he solder pads located along the length off the light strip. Care must be taken not to damage the pads or to twist the strip p when making the cuts. With the installation complete and tested, the body is refitted to the coach underframe. The slightest move will switch the lights on, so modellers may wish to remove the battery for long-term storage or transport. The supplied CR20322 battery is readily available from most shops and will be as simple to replace as it is to take the coach body off the model to gain access to the interior. Done! In its simplest form, this conversion should take no more than an hour and provide some great-looking results. The installation is simple to complete, may be done with simple workbench tools and is a project perfect for newcomers to railway modelling. Little or no modifications are needed to the models unless the modeller decides to add tail lamps or other lighting effects supplied with some Train-Tech lighting strips. The dark interior of a coach can be brightened by either painting the inside of the roof white with acrylic paint or simply adding a strip of white paper secured with double-sided adhesive tape.

Test the lighting strip by installing the battery (supplied) in the holder. The LEDs should light up once the circuit board is moved. A tail lamp LED may be plugged into the black sockets in the end of the strip located at the opposite end to the battery holder.

Contact details: Web: Email: Tel: 01953 457800.

The Bachmann short-frame Mk.1 suburban eated passengers, coach is now offered with se which show better when the coach is fitted with internal lighting.

The lighting strip was shortened to fit the Bachmann Mk.1 suburban coach to position the lighting strip LEDs over as many compartments as possible.


September 2017

in What's the shops

A powerful and reliable wireless control system for traditional analogue layouts is now available from blueRailways for less than the cost of a typical cased twin track controller and transformer. It has enough power for the largest of OO gauge locomotives.

Simple wireless model railway controller blueRailways has brought conventional analogue control up to date with a smart but simple-to-use wireless control system. Nigel Burkin takes a good look at the system and its benefits.


t is easy to forget that there have been major developments in traditional analogue (DC) control in recent years with advances in the design and functionality of controllers to include wireless handsets and advanced levels of control. Finesse has come to traditional analogue control and blueRailways has been a leader in this field with some innovative product development. So why is there a continued interest in traditional analogue control? It is fair

The system is based around a wireless receiver that will communicate with a dedicated handset or mobile devices. This is the Model 522 which is a twin-track receiver.

to say that analogue control remains a valid choice and a logical one for many modellers, partly for reasons of cost and partly for simplicity in setting up a layout. I have come to recognise that traditional analogue control remains a good choice for those making a start in the hobby too. Being able to run trains straight from the box without having to first install decoders is something that the newcomer to the hobby is likely to embrace and the blueRailways’ system brings contemporary control to the

For those modellers who do not wish to use mobile devices, a conventional-style handset is available. The Model 720 wireless controller is a transmitter with controls for two-track operation that will communicate with a Model 522 or two Model 601 receivers.

layout with the use of mobile devices, apps and a wireless handset with traditional tactile controls. blueRailways realised that the demand for quality analogue control systems had not died out and DCC has not swept the board in the manner that many have expected. It has also recognised the growing interest in using smartphones and portable devices as controllers, making the operating experience more enjoyable for analogue layouts. In reality, the blueRailways’ system has brought one of the hitherto exclusive-to-DCC controller interfaces to traditional analogue control and it has done it well. Furthermore, the power output used by blueRailways’ devices is Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) instead of a variable-voltage output, which is an ideal way of controlling the power to motors in model locomotives. It will do a great deal to bring out the best in your older models with less sophisticated motors. Wireless control Wireless control using traditional model railway electronics of powering the rails of a layout (both analogue control and DCC use this basic concept) comes in two forms: radio control using transmitters and receivers (sometimes using exposed

dongles) together with infrared. The former is generally preferred by most modellers because it does not require ‘line of sight’ and generally has a greater range than infrared-control systems. The key benefit of wireless control is not bein ng ‘tethered’ to the layout and it is this key benefit that prompted blueRailwayss to explore the use of mobile devices to work as wireless controllers on analogue layouts. blueRailways’ system blueRailways first experimented with wireless on-board locomotive controllers designed to work with analogue control but found that the idea suffered from many of the same challenges as DCC decoders – miniaturisation and installation issues. The controller receiver was relocated to a simple control box called the Model 601, which needs an external power source to power the layout, usually from a wall-mounted transformer. It is connected to the layout wiring in the same manner as any other analogue controller. In addition to working as a receiver for commands transmitted from mobile devices for which a dedicated app has been written, it is a traditional analogue controller

Battery power is usually an issue with wireless controllers because there is no connection to the layout for a source of power. The Model 720 is designed to be very economical with power and battery life can be as long as 1000 hours. The handset has an on-off switch to conserve power between operating sessions.

in its own right with a control knob and selector switches. The concept of wireless control has come to analogue control and the use of mobile devices made it a very economical way to control a model railway. Perhaps one of the most interesting features of the Model 601 controllerreceiver is the ability to ‘programme’ CVs for acceleration, deceleration, start voltage and maximum voltage, or maximum speed if you like. Changing these settings can be achieved for individual locomotives and is undertaken through the use of the app.

September 2017


The two track outputs can be wired into a layout with block sections which allow two-train ‘cab control’ operation using switching to power each block from either one. Common rail return is not recommended for this type of controller because there is only one power source for both track outputs.

Perhaps one of the surprises encountered by blueRailways during the development of this system is the realisation that not everyone wants to use a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet for model railway control. This saw the development of the Model 720 twin-track wireless controller handset that independently controls two locomotives at the same time as long as they are separated by electrical blocks. In reality, the Model 720 is a transmitter that sends control instructions to either two Model 601s or the new twin-track receiver: the Model 522. It is the dual-track combination of Model 522 and Model 720 that are reviewed in this article. Model 720 twin controller/ transmitter handset Weighing just 120g including a set of batteries, the Model 720 wireless controller is not going to fatigue your hand during a long operating session. It is designed to operate with either two Model 601 receivers or a Model 522 receiver to control a layout. The controls are simple and consist of two tactile control knobs, which are smooth to use and offer a high level of controllability. Reversing switches are also fitted together with an on-off switch to conserve battery power. The Model 720 is not tethered to the layout like a conventional handset and has no source of power other than two AAA batteries fitted to a conventional battery compartment in the rear of the handset. Power consumption is so low that a fresh set of batteries will last between 500 to 1000 hours depending on the battery type – as long as you remember to switch the unit off after playing trains! I particularly like the fact that the handset is compact and fits neatly in the hand. There is no antennae to get tangled up in your layout scenery and the box in which the controls are

Simple testing of the Model 522 and Model 720 combination using a variety of models. All ran smoothly on the Pulse Width Modulation power output. There are only six terminals at the rear of the Model 522 receiver unit: one for a power supply, usually from a low-cost wall socket transformer. The other two pairs are for track 1 and track 2 respectively.

mounted is composed of tough plastic. While you should avoid dropping it during an operating session, the box will be very durable with normal handling. On the face of the handset is a single status indicator LED located beside the on-off switch. When the handset is switched on, it will indicate whether it has established a link with a receiver. A red indication tells you it is searching for a receiver while a flashing red indicates that it has failed to make a connection with a receiver. The transformer powering the receiver should be powered before turning the handset on to ensure a connection is made. When a connection is established, the LED flashes green at four-second intervals to show everything is running normally. A more rapid flash and lack of any locomotive movement on the track means that a direction switch has been changed before the control knob was turned to the zero position. Model 522 receiver The power for the layout is connected from a wall-mounted transformer or similar through the Model 522 receiver, which has six screw terminal connections in the rear of the unit. Two

Mod dells as smalll as the Hornb by ‘Peck kettt’ and d the Bach hmann ‘Wiick kham’ trollley perfformed d well with the blueRailways’ control system. The Model 522 receiver may be programmed in the same manner as the Model 601 using the app to change CVs such as start voltage and maximum speed.

accept incoming power and four are for the two track outputs. The instructions are very clear about the importance of keeping all of the terminals completely separate from each other and the Model 522 is not suitable for common rail wiring. Two-rail wiring should be adopted as standard. One indicator LED is used to show the status of each of the outputs and to show that power is connected. When a controller is set to reverse, the track output LEDs will glow orange while a forward setting will see a green indication. An LED marked ‘BT’ also shows the status of the two-way communication between the receiver and handset, be it a Model 720 or a mobile device. The box itself is quite small and discreet, measuring 75mm by 655mm and 28mm thick, presenting few difficulties in incorporating it into the smallest layout concept. Yet that small box is quite a package of functionality and it too has the same CV setting capability as the Model 601 to enhance the performance of individual models.

first’ basis when the system is powered up. The practical reality is that one Model 522 is powered up first and one handset switched on beside it. The second Model 522 is then powered up and its handset switched and so on, thus pairing them up. The Model 720 handsets should remain powered throughout the operating session or the connection will be lost. The pairing will remain in place until the Model 522s are powered down or in the unlikely event that the handset goes out of range. Speaking of range, I was interested to see how much the Model 720 handset transmitter had until the connection was lost. blueRailways states that a range of up to 50m of ‘free air’ is possible. I found myself standing well into the garden, watching the test locomotive run over the test track (with the help of an open window) before there was any hint of a disconnection. This means that the range of the wireless connection is well within the size of a typical layout room.

Setting up: blueRailways does not provide a transformer to suit either the Model 601 or Model 522, which leaves it to the modeller to find a suitable power source. That is far from a bad thing because there are so many suitable and very low-cost transformer units available for technology devices and small appliances that will do the job admirably. I keep transformers from old devices just in case they should come in useful for ancillary model railway use and I powered the Model 522 using a 4A, 12v transformer once used to recharge an old Sony laptop. Wall socket transformers are cheap to buy and as long as your choice of transformer will supply 12 to 15v (ideally) and a minimum current of 1000mA, it will do the job! Having found a power source, connecting the Model 522 to a test track was simple. The Model 522 is powered up first before the handset is switched on so it has a receiver with which to make a connection. Once paired, the connection will be strong and unlikely to be affected by other devices in the room. On investigation into the use of multiple Model 522s for operations involving more than two independently operated trains, it is possible for there to be more than one in use on a layout. Connection is achieved on a ‘nearest

Driving trains blueRailways’ wireless control brings a completely new driving experience to a model railway. While controller handsets have been available for analogue layouts for a long time, they have had to be plugged into the layout at locations equipped with a suitable connection – usually a DIN socket set into the layout fascia. Although multiple plug-in locations can be set up around a layout, ‘plug and chug’ can be a cumbersome way of driving a train! Tetherless control is liberating: you can operate a train from any position around the layout and be on top of the action at all times. Shunting a yard? Be there with an uncoupler and your

There are indicator LEDs fitted to the compact wireless receiver that show the status of the power supply, communication with the handset or mobile device and track power. Green shows the power is set for forward running and orange is for reverse.


Wireless control system with twoway communication and apps for conventional analogue layouts.

Manufacturer: blueRailways


Suitable for any scale up to and including O gauge (note maximum output current track).

Power output per track: Model 522: 500mA. Model 601: 750mA.


App: details?id=com.bluerailways.ian. bluerailways&hl=en_GB Not suitable for iPhone or iPad.

Suggested retail prices:

Model 522 receiver: £39.50. Model 601 receiver/controller: £49.50. Model 720 Twin track transmitter/ controller: £44.50. Model 522 and Model 720 package as reviewed: £79.50.

shunting lists. Mainline action? Follow the train around the layout, from scene to scene, and enjoy it from different angles rather than from a small number of fixed points. Finally, a wireless controller is perfect for undertaking repairs and maintenance to the layout – you can have controls right where you need them when testing new or repaired track or looking for the cause of a persistent derailment. The beauty of the blueRailways’ system is that it brings affordable wireless control with two-way communication together with refined PWM power output for refined operation to analogue layout control. Use a mobile device and the Android app (not iPhone or iPad) and the cost of adopting the system is limited to buying Model 601s or Model 522 together with a suitable power supply. Add the Model 720 twin track handset and the cost is still competitive with the price of a quality cased multiple track analogue controller and transformer and with considerably more refinement.


September 2017

Great (model) train robberies When you enjoy a hobby, whether it’s modelling, cycling or woodworking, there is always some collection of ‘kit’ involved, and invariably that kit costs money, and thus, sadly, could become attractive to thieves, writes Sarah Palmer.


odel railway collections have often been built up over decades and develop into a substantial financial investment and as such it’s worth protecting them. Immobilise is a service that is primarily supported by revenue derived from sales of marking products that are available via the company’s website and several retail outlets, so each product you purchase helps provide the free service. An ImmobiMARK UV pen set is available to buy for £15.99, and it allows you to mark your property and make the details viewable on the Police National Mobile Property Database (NMPD). If you use eBay then it may be worth checking out the company policy on stolen goods if you think you may have spotted something that needs further investigation: policies/stolen.html “With increasing collectors (as against the basic train set operator) there is probably a need for insurance. From my own recent experience re water damage (and certainly my model railway collection is worth more than what it cost to replace the house damage) perhaps insurance should be considered,” says RMM’s Ian Lamb. Magnet Insurance’s managing director, Tony Bound, says that accidental damage to locomotives/rolling stock as well as theft, particularly from outbuildings where model railways are often housed and operated, are the most common claims for his company. The largest single theft loss in the last three years was settled at more than £7500 and the average accidental damage claim settlement was around £500. But not everyone’s model railway stays in the shed; there are a lot that go travelling around the country to exhibitions, for which Magnet also offers cover. “The largest single loss in the last three years was more than £4500 for damage caused to a hired exhibition venue, the polished wooden floor was damaged by an exhibitor dragging equipment across the floor, and the largest single exhibition insurance loss the company has ever dealt with was more than £8500,” says Tony.

Turn to page 22 for an out of this world layout

Sadly, arson is something that hits some railways, if they are accessible to the public, such as model railway clubs, with the largest loss paid to date coming to more than £100,000 for fire damage to a club building. “Layouts are often kept, stored and operated from outbuildings. As outbuildings are often not brick-built but sometimes made from timber or poorer construction materials, they are more susceptible to water ingress and storm damage,” says Tony. “Theft is often more prevalent as these buildings are often fitted with inadequate physical security and are away from the main home, making it less likely that burglars will be

disturbed. Thieves are looking for soft targets, such as garden sheds and outbuildings, where the physical security is lower than fitted to the main house and often unprotected by a burglar alarm. Movement sensor security lighting as well as high-quality physical security are good deterrents,” he adds. It could be a laborious task but it’s worth taking the time to do an inventory of your collection, along with photographs and a rough guess of how much it’s worth and updating it regularly with any new additions. Chances are that you’ve got more, and it’s worth more, than you realised! Also, in the event of a loss, e.g. theft, there is a readily available record to help insurers reach a quicker and fairer claims settlement.

September 2017



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September 2017

in What's the shops

Eight N gauge pick-rollers means that a large steam locomotive such as the Graham Farish GWR Castle Class or similar can be tested and run in.

Flexible rolling road

An essential part of fine tuning and maintaining a collection of locomotives is a rolling road. Nigel Burkin looks at the KPF Zeller rolling g roads available in the UK from Ten Commandments Models


rolling road is a static test unit for model locomotives and multiple unit testing and running-in and has proven to be a very useful piece of equipment to have on my workbench. Setting up the layout just to test a locomotive or to run a new locomotive in after purchase, something that is strongly recommended by the manufacturers, can be a bit of a chore. A rolling road is a quicker and often better way of achieving the same end. Experienced modellers, particularly those who build locomotive kits or spend time undertaking modifications to ready-to-run models will routinely use a rolling road for testing models. Testing can be done conveniently at the workbench, under very controlled conditions, and without having to follow a model around a layout. The dust sheets and covers can remain over the layout while the rolling road is used with a controller. A great deal of fine-tuning can be achieved by watching how a model runs on a rolling road and fine adjustments can be made accordingly. The manner in which the motion of steam locomotives is working can be observed for tight spots or binding, which is easier to detect including the point at which it happens. Less-thanconcentric wheels may be identified, together with a whole host of other small defects that would be harder to see when testing on a layout. In addition to test running and running in, rolling roads allow those modellers without a layout (possibly owing to space constraints) to give their models a good run and to appreciate the sophistication of modern mechanisms and high-fidelity digital sound too. I have frequently tested new decoder and digital-sound decoder installations using a rolling road and have picked up problems at an early stage before damage could occur.

Introducing the KPF Zeller rolling roads High-quality finishing is a feature of the KPF Zeller rolling roads being offered by Ten Commandments Models in the UK. Not only are they well engineered, there is a version that will suit most modellers and each design has the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of models in its own right. They are available in two different lengths for each scale except O gauge (which has an intermediate length) to suit mainline steam locomotives (400mm long for OO/HO) or, if you are modelling a branch line theme with short tank engines and shunting locomotives (300mm long for OO/HO for example). The model described in this article is the ‘Professional Standard’ rolling road, which is 600mm in length, and has pick-up rollers for OO/HO and N gauge. Such a model would suit professional builders; those modellers with a foot in both the OO and N gauge camps together with decoder installation experts, to mention a few. The design of all the rolling roads is based on two strong side bars secured parallel to each other with special insulating brackets. The bars are very neatly finished, allowing the various tight-fitting spacer brackets to slide along them; they are also bevelled at the ends to prevent snagging. The various pick-up roller units sit on the bars and are secured in place with a thinner centre bar. The pick-up rollers slide along the bars so the correct position for the driving and bogie wheels of a locomotive can be selected. The pick-up roller units are beautifully engineered with metal rollers that are conical in shape to match the profile of model locomotive wheels. This ensures good electrical contact and keeps the model steady on the rollers during testing. The N gauge rollers are different in design and have a groove to accommodate the wheel flange that allows the wheel tread to run on the outer par of the roller. The inner flange acts like a check rail, keeping even the lightest N gauge model running well and without falling off.

Product details: Rolling roads in all popular gauges (N, TT, OO/HO and O gauge). Manufacturer: KPF Zeller. UK sales: Ten Commandments Models.

Scale: Reviewed model is fitted with pick-up roller units for both N and OO/ HO gauge. Also available for O and TT gauge. Sample prices: OO and N gauge ‘Professional Standard’ model: £130. OO gauge standard model: £75. N gauge ‘Mini’: £55. Additional OO and N gauge pick-up roller units are £7 each. Additional O gauge pick-up roller units are £12 each. Driving wheel cleaning attachment is £18 including cleaning fluid.

Web: http://tencommandmentsmodels. miscellaneous/rolling-roads/

1. The OO/HO gauge pick-up rollers are shown in this picture. There are four rollers per unit and power is transmitted from the side bars to the rollers through the extended axles. 2. The idler or static unit for supporting the front bogie of larger steam locomotives.

3. The N gauge rollers are grooved to ensure that even the lightest model remains safely mounted on them when in operation.

September 2017


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 Benefits in summary The KPF Zeller rolling road range is designed to deliver the same benefits, regardless of the size and length of the model.  A static test unit suitable for kit builders and professional modellers.  Flexible: it can be used for a huge variety of different models.  Available in different lengths to suit a modeller’s collection.  A table-top running unit for modellers without a layout – models still can be enjoyed.  Use it to prepare models for a club night or exhibition.  Test-run models without having to set up a stored portable layout.  Watch the motion of a model to detect binding and tight spots.  Run-in new models in a controlled manner for the best performance.  Fine-tune models for fine running – other modellers will want to know how your model runs so well!  Test models following repairs and use the rolling road for fault finding.  Use the wheel-cleaning attachment as part of routine cleaning and maintenance.  DCC conversion experts will find a rolling road ideal for testing installations and performance after a decoder has been fitted.  Locomotive sound effects can be enjoyed to their fullest extent when a digital sound-equipped loco is run on a rolling road, especially if the modeller’s layout is of a restricted length.

Each of the various versions is equipped with a combination of pick-up roller units and idler unit (front bogie rest) for unpowered wheels depending on the model and the length of the rolling road. For example, the standard OO/HO model is supplied with seven units together with a front bogie rest. The N gauge ‘mini’ is 200mm long and has six pick-up roller units. The reviewed ‘Professional Standard’ rolling road is equipped with a very useful mixture of front bogie rest and seven units for OO/HO together with eight units for N gauge. You will have to give careful consideration to your likely needs before making a choice of rolling road package! Electrical power is conducted through the two side bars to each pick-up roller unit – in effect they are power buses as well as structural elements of the rolling road. The units make contact through the ends of the roller axles, four of which are fitted to one pick-up roller unit. The rods are separated by insulating brackets, which also keep the rods the correct distance apart. The middle rod also has an important function in this regard and provides a pick-up bus for the three-rail models that are more popular in Europe than in the UK. Flexible design One of the big benefits of this design of rolling road is its flexibility. The pick-up roller units slide along the side bars allowing them and the front bogie rest (when supplied) to be accurately positioned to match the wheels of a particular locomotive. The rolling road worked perfectly with models ranging in size from the Bachmann Class 20 (both gauges) to large Bachmann tender steam locomotives such as the Stanier Mogul, which is shown being tested on the rolling road in this article. The pick-up roller units are also used to support the tender wheels of such models because they too may have current collection wipers and also work perfectly with four- and six-axle diesel loco models.

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4. Running in the Bachmann LMS Stanier Mogul and its lovely motion is shown in this picture. The wheels sit squarely and securely on the conical rollers. 5. A useful and interesting accessory is the driving wheel cleaning attachment, which makes wheel cleaning very straightforward and should be part of the running-in and maintenance routine. It is a modified pick-up roller unit that fits the rolling road in the same manner as a standard unit. 6. To fit the driving wheel cleaning attachment, remove the end spacer and one or two roller units.

Operation Operation is simple but needs a little care in setting up. Place the rolling road on a flat, level surface and push the pick-up roller units roughly into the position they are needed. Power is introduced to the side bars using the supplied plugs, which plug into the end of the rolling road. Normal variable DC power (analogue) and DCC power can both be used with the rolling roads – it does not make any difference. Ensure the power is off before mounting a locomotive on to the rollers. A little care is needed to ensure the model is sitting properly on the rollers before applying power. Power should be applied gradually – too much acceleration and a loco could jump off the rollers. When running in new models, do not subject them to more than half power or speed until the mechanism quietens – running-in is a whole subject in its own right and one I intend to cover in a future article – it is important in obtaining the best from the high-quality mechanisms now fitted to models today. Do not

7. Slide into place – it fits in the same way as the standard units and collects power from the side bars too. 8. The cleaning pads are securely held in place with simple clips, which are teased off with tweezers, making it easy to replace the pads once dirty. 9. A single drop of track cleaning fluid on each cleaning pad is all that is required. 10. It never ceases to amaze how much dirt collects on the driving wheels even when the layout appears to be clean and is protected by dust sheets. A cleaning attachment is a very useful addition to the KPF Zeller rolling road range.

leave models unattended when running them on a rolling road – if there is likely to be a problem such as a seizure of a mechanism, you can guarantee it will happen when your back is turned! Inevitably, the rollers will start to collect dirt from extended loco running sessions in the same manner as track becomes dirty during layout operations. Ten Commandments Models tells me that KPF Zeller recommends that the pick-roller units are removed from the main side bars and placed in the cutlery tray of a dishwasher for a normal washing cycle – an interesting solution! An ultrasonic cleaner designed to clean jewellery would also be an effective cleaning method. Driving wheel cleaning attachment An elegant and simple accessory for the KPF Zeller rolling road range is the driving wheel cleaning attachment that easily and quickly cleans locomotive driving wheels.

 The one designed for OO/HO gauge is demonstrated in this article and is a modified pick-up roller unit, which can be fitted with the same cleaning cloth pads as used on the KPF Zeller track cleaning cars. The wheel cleaner is fitted to the rolling road by removing the end spacer and one or two of the pick-up roller units. Slide the cleaning attachment into place and also return the pickroller units. Refit the end spacer and plug the power back in. The pads are soaked with a drop of track cleaning fluid dispensed from a dropper (10ml is supplied with the attachment and a drop on each pad is all that is needed) and the model mounted on the required roller units to support it. The attachment is positioned under the wheels requiring cleaning and everything carefully seated before operations commence. Each pair of wheels on one axle are cleaned one at a time. The model is run gently

on the rollers, being held by the fingers to ensure the wheels being cleaned are making contact with the cleaning pads. Remove the loco, replace the cleaning pads if necessary and mount the model again with the wheel cleaning attachment under another pair of wheels. Rinse and repeat, in effect. I found wheel cleaning to be simple using this method and although it has the potential to be messy, placing some kitchen towel under the rolling road and starting the model running gently during cleaning prevents mess on the workbench. In all my dealings with rolling roads such as the KPF Zeller, being careful with setting up and use always delivers the best results. The wheel-cleaning attachment is far more effective than the old soaked kitchen towel and track method, which can be very messy, and also has the potential of damaging a model if one is not careful.


September 2017


A world record-holding club An O gauge St Helens Railway No. 21 White Raven 2-4-2T built by the late Geoff Della-Gana and part of the MRC Collection.

Sarah Palmer visited Keen House, the home of The Model Railway Club in London, to learn more about its history and progress.


n a year for world-record attempts in railway modelling in the form of the Biggest Little Railway, I visited Keen House in London as the MRC had just finished hanging up its certificate from Guinness World Records. Mike Lloyd, the MRC’s deputy chairman, explained about this rather unexpected plaudit. “The club has been around since 1910, and the Guinness World Record came through just this year. We are now officially the oldest model railway club in the world. It was completely out of the blue, and unprompted by us. “We had to show original documentation to prove our claim and fortunately we had a copy of a letter printed in the September 1910 issue of the Model Railways and Locomotives magazine about an inaugural meeting of the club so that helped with the case for the world record,” says Mike. The result of this letter in 1910 was a meeting in the following December, resulting in the formation of a committee with Henry Greenly as its chairman. The objectives of the club were stated as being to bring together ‘those interested in model locomotives, steam engines, electrical apparatus, tools etc., employed in the construction and working of model railways, the exhibition and trials of models; and to arrange visits to places of interest.’ At the time the MRC was founded, Edwardian England was becoming increasingly affluent meaning that there was more money around for hobbies and pastimes. Famous names abounded in the club; as well as Henry Greenly being a former member of the MRC, so was Bassett-Lowke, and it was a member of his staff who designed the club badge. It represents Hermes, the god of communications, studying a model steam locomotive. “There’s a who’s who of people from the history of model railways who were members of the club,” says Mike, “including names such as Peter Denny and Cyril Freezer. They were all members as the MRC was right at the heart of the hobby. It was one of the few modelling clubs, and the most well known. Now there are hundreds of clubs and societies. All the great Chie f Mechanical Engineers, Gresley, Stanier, Maunsell, visited the club at one time or another. It was a time when every child had a train set and it was the place to come.” Former chairman Leslie Bevis-Smith adds: “Some people ask why we call ourselves The Model Railway Club. That’s easy, when we were founded in 1910 we were the only such organisation!” During the Second World War most of the club’s assets and records were lost during air raids, so the MRC was very lucky that enough documentation survived for it to verify the claim to being the oldest model railway club. Today the MRC has around 250 members ranging from expert modellers to the novice in all age groups and from a variety of walks of life, and the club’s layout projects reflect a wide range of skills and interests. There’s also a monthly Saturday-morning youngsters’ model railway group.

 1. The framed Guinness World Record certificate proclaiming the MRC to be the oldest model railway club in the world. 2. The handwritten notes from the inaugural meeting of the MRC in 1910. 3. MRC members, former chairman Leslie Bevis-Smith, Tony Cox and Mike Lloyd in front of the club’s Guinness World Record certificate.

September 2017




Copenhagen Fields is in 2mm Finescale: “I think Copenhagen Fields is like a work of art, it’s like a landscape painting. It’s been to the Blue Peter studios at least three times,” says Mike. The area modelled is the main line and environs just to the north of King’s Cross station near to the MRC, so trains such as the ‘Flying Scotsman’ and ‘Silver Jubilee’ work up the gradient under the North London Railway’s electric train. By means of false perspective the scale reduces towards the back of the layout. It is usually booked for exhibitions several years in advance. Lacey Dale is in N gauge: To complement the townscape of Copenhagen Fields this layout is designed to enable commercially available N gauge models to run in a realistic setting, where the original Midland Railway was forced through the limestone hills of Derbyshire on the route from St Pancras to Manchester and beyond to Scotland. A special form of computer control is being installed to assist running and, as on Copenhagen Fields, use is being made of CCTV so the hidden sections can be monitored. Ingatestone is in OO gauge: This is the latest MRC layout. It’s a station on the London to Norwich and Felixstowe line of the Great Eastern Railway. It is being modelled ‘as now’ and so will have 25kV overhead catenary with bi-directional colour light signals to control the varied and frequent trains on this line. Right: The MRC’s N gauge layout, Lacey Dale.

Despite the club’s claim to an enviable heritage Mike is keen to point out that the club is very keen to get youngsters into railway modelling to protect the future of the hobby. “We seem to have a missing generation as there was a ‘computer games’ generation in the late 80s/early 90s and a lot of those people, who would now be in their 40s, skipped, as a generation, railway modelling. “When kids get to see a model train operating they love it, that hasn’t changed at all, but you do have a generation of parents who haven’t done any modelling. If you can keep children interested in modelling once they get past the Thomas the Tank Engine stage, and keep them at it until they’re teenagers, you can probably keep them interested forever,” says Mike. “The club is very forward looking. We have the young modellers’ group and we also teach modelling skills. The young modellers will take a while to roll out, but we’ve also had parents join the club as a result of bringing their children along. We insisted that parents had to stay and didn’t just drop the kids off at the club – they had to stay and learn how to do it themselves. “If you go on a typical heritage line you’ll see loads of children of around six or seven and then they start not coming along. The same is true with the modelling, so you have to actively do something to encourage youngsters. We are also very conscious of a loss of skills, so we run skills-transfer courses and these have included tree-making courses, construction courses, and teaching soldering skills. Keeping these craft skills going in an IT-world is really important, so for youngsters we offer that practical hands-on stuff, skills that older people take for granted because they learned them at school.” As well as attracting new blood to the hobby the MRC’s main asset is the library, which houses around 4000 railway and model railwayrelated books. It’s probably one of best places for anyone starting a model railway to come to research. It’s open from 7-9pm on Thursday evenings for people to come and visit the archive material. Again this is something else the club wants to make available to a wider audience. “We’ve been looking at how we could make the library more available online as it’s our biggest resource. Young people expect to find everything they need to find online these days. People still like coming to a club, but we need a greater online presence to attract a new audience. “Outside of the National Railway Museum I would imagine that this is the largest archive of railway material available to modellers. One of the main attractions for people wanting to come here is their ability to research. They can come and sign in twice as guests but if they want to keep doing it we do encourage them to join!” says Mike. On the day I visited the MRC, the members I met, including Leslie, and Tony Cox, the current chairman, were all very pleased to be able to show me around the King’s Cross premises of the MRC. For the first 50 years of its life the club was peripatetic and went around lots of locations including an ambulance room in an arch under Waterloo station, Caxton Hall, then a room owned by London Transport by the side of Hammersmith station. In the late 1950s a site at King’s Cross, which had been a wartime water tank used as an emergency supply for firefighting became available and the MRC was in the financial position to be able to buy it and build Keen House, which was completed in 1960. It is named after GP Keen, who was a stalwart of the club for 54 years and was elected

chairman in 1921. His hard work had led to the club acquiring its own premises and so it was named after him. The club logo is also unofficially named ‘Percy’ in honour of Keen’s middle name of Percy. The King’s Cross area has changed enormously over the time since Keen House has been built. It was run-down and still bearing the scars from the Second World War nearly 60 years ago, but this down-market environs meant that the site could be bought for a cheaper price at the time. Things have changed considerably since the redevelopment of the King’s Cross area, and Keen House now finds itself in a much more salubrious and upmarket part of London than for most of its history. “So many clubs and societies meet here, it’s not just the Model Railway Club, lots of other different historical societies meet here; Keen House is almost like the home of model railways. You speak to most people involved in modelling or heritage railways and they’ve been to Keen House at some point. We own the building so we can keep the costs down for clubs and societies. We do have a stairlift appeal going at the minute though, as we do have older members, and the building does have a lot of stairs, which pose a problem for more infirm visitors and members who want to be able to get up and down the building.” Mike and the other members of the MRC really are passionate about modelling and encouraging people to take up the hobby. “We want people to reconnect with wanting to make things as we spend so much of our time on screens. It’s beyond playing trains, it’s about making things and it’s about craft,” says Mike.

The MRC used to run a modelling exhibition in London that everyone used to come to. It was a major event on the calendar along with Lord’s and Ascot, but now every weekend there are exhibitions all over the country. The club is still involved in the big annual exhibition held at the

Alexandra Palace but it is now run by Warners as running an exhibition on its own is not financially viable for the MRC. The club chooses the layouts and Warners does the commercial side of it. “That arrangement has worked well and it’s been going for about 15 years now,” says Mike.

The MRC has several different scale layouts under construction and holds regular meetings on a Thursday evening when any visitors are welcome. Keen House is a short walk up Pentonville Road from King’s Cross/St Pancras stations. Young MRC is a young modellers’ club, a Saturday morning meeting for 8-14-year-old-modellers. The cost is £7 per child (price includes one child and one adult). For more information email, telephone 020 7837 3686 or visit www.themodelrailwayclub. org

 4. This S scale model of a Midland No. 999 was built in 1919 by C Wynne and is on display at the MRC. 5. The test tracks available for members’ use at Keen House in King’s Cross.

Other model railway world records

The largest model railway engine is the Thomas the Tank Engine character James, which is 264.3cm high, 149.6cm wide, 652cm long and weighs nearly 1.5 tons. The model was built by BBC Visual Effects (UK) for a Thomas the Tank Engine tour in 2003. The largest collection of model railway vehicles made by one person is the JP Richards Collection owned by the National Railway Museum in York. There are 610 models in the collection handmade to scale by James Peel Richards. The heaviest train carriage hauled by model locomotives weighed 47 tons. The motive power for the carriage was provided by 200 electric model locomotives Märklin BR 143, which, moving along 50 parallel rail tracks, hauled the carriage for 10m, at the DB-Gelände in Munich, Germany in 2007.

The MRC and exhibitions

6. The well-used workshop at Keen House.


September 2017

Letting off

steam Keeping things simple...


am not one who will broadcast to all and sundry about my interest in model railways. This is not because I am ashamed of my passion but I have become rather tired of trying to explain my hobby to those who clearly have no desire in knowing more but prefer to pull my leg, thinking they are the first to do so. Therefore, having kept my interest in models and full-size railways much to myself, I was somewhat surprised when a casual acquaintance of mine knocked on my door several Saturdays ago and asked if I could help him build a model railway. Having invited him in I asked if it was for his children and he said no, the layout was for him. He explained that all he wanted to do was just manoeuvre several locomotives from one part of a simple layout to another, because what appealed to him about model railways was, in simple terms, the logistics. He felt that being immersed in the movement of locomotives would help him to switch off from thinking about his job. I prefer not to reveal my visitor’s occupation but what I can say is that his profession is incredibly stressful and should the stress not find a release then his work-life expectancy could be limited.

The Hornby Select, which I had recommended as being suitable for my friend.

"Do you want the layout to have scenery?" I asked. "No," came the swift reply. "Well, how large do you want it?" I enquired. My friend then proceeded to explain what he was looking for. "I am a bit limited on space but if you can make me a baseboard, say 4ft x 3ft 6in, that would be perfect. I then require a series of straight tracks equally spaced with each running the full length of the board. Six tracks would be great with each section of track connected by points so that I can move a loco from the bottom track up to the top one. I would like each track to have two electrically operated uncoupling ramps with each point fitted with a point motor." I quickly drew on a piece of graph paper six horizontal lines equally spaced, each connected in turn by a series of points and having done so showed him my sketch. He looked at my drawing for a brief moment and said that I had got it exactly right. I then asked him how he would like to control the trains, adding that he could use just a standard analogue controller with the operation of the points and uncoupling ramps being controlled by a series of switches. "On the other hand," I said. "How about a digital system?" The moment I mentioned ‘digital’ his eyes narrowed and I could see a hint of concern flit across his face. "Don’t panic," I said, "you will not need an all-singing, all-dancing unit but something simple like the Hornby Select." I told him that the Select would easily do what he wanted and on top of that it would be so much easier when it came to wiring up the points etc. I also told him there was not that much difference between a high-end analogue controller, plus switches etc and the Select. However, I did say that he would need four accessory units and, of course, each loco would require a decoder but I was confident he would find his layout much easier to operate and maintain using digital than analogue. I did have a Select unit to hand that I quickly wired up to a small test track and showed him how it worked. "Perfect," he said, "that is what I will go for." I gave him a list of items that were required and told him that once everything had been purchased he should give me a call so we could arrange to meet and start building the layout. I told him that in the meantime I would construct

This month Lucian Doyle helps a friend create a layout to help him wind down after work.

My six-track sketch of what my friend wanted from his layout.

the baseboard but insisted he should help me assemble the track work, adding that it was all part of the ‘experience’. A week or so later I received a call from my friend who said he had been to his local model shop and managed to collect all the track, point motors and uncoupling ramps on the list but when he asked for the Select the retailer had said that the unit was not NMRA certificated and that he should buy a more expensive unit with many more features, which did conform to the NMRA standards. My friend was naturally confused but I explained that NMRA stood for ‘National Model Railroad Association’ and that it had laid down a series of protocols to which digital controllers and ancillary accessories should, in its opinion, comply. I explained that it seemed the retailer was trying to ‘up sell’ by creating an air of doubt where the Select was concerned and that the unit was in my judgment perfect for his needs. I further explained that the Hornby decoders that were destined to be fitted in his locomotives were NMRA

compliant as were the accessory units and that combined they probably had more relevance in being certificated than the unit itself. My friend bought the Select from another retailer and both of us put his shunting layout together over a couple of evenings, and speaking to him some weeks later he could not have been more pleased with the end result. Apparently what he does now after a difficult day, rather than reach for a glass of wine, is disappear into his ‘den’ and focus purely on shunting wagons or moving locomotives from one track to another. The perfect wind-down after a hectic day. No doubt the retailer had his own reasons for not wishing to sell my friend a Select but in my opinion he should have at least attempted to fully appreciate what was required rather than try to blind my friend with technical waffle. True, the Select is not NMRA certificated but frankly that has no real relevance when considering my friend’s layout and its function. Not only did the retailer lose sales but also my friend’s trust and future custom.

September 2017



Another Wow! moment Ian Holloway talks about his highlight moments with discovering model railways.

1. 5in gauge coaling stage and yard crane. 2. 5in gauge goods shed from Prestige Model Railways, which is based on a late 1800s goods shed.

Hornby clockwork British Railways’ locomotive number 82011 (Locomotive No. 50) supposedly a BR standard 2-6-2T class 3. TRAINPHOTOS/FLICKR/CREATIVECOMMONS.


expect that like myself there have been occasions when something has happened or you have seen something so spectacular that you have said ‘Wow!’, or at least thought ‘Wow!’ if saying it out loud would have been inappropriate. I have had some ‘Wow!’ moments with model railways. For instance, when I visited the Glasgow Show in the early 1970s, after a lapse of perhaps 10 years from the exhibition circuit, there had been a huge change in the presentation of model railways. Instead of layouts dense in track and operation but barren in scenery, except perhaps for a station, signal cabin and footbridge, they had less track running through carefully modelled rural and industrial landscapes. Atmosphere and realism abounded. Wow! In October 1979 I read about a 7mmscale layout – ‘Little Duckport’ – in the magazine Model Railway Constructor, and later in the year I viewed the layout in the majestic Guildhall at Newcastleupon-Tyne. This long, end-to-end model railway oozed atmosphere. The scenic treatment was impressive and by using

the technique of ‘forced perspective’, with 10mm-scale buildings and figures in the foreground tapering to 7mm towards the track and the rear, the layout seemed wider than it really was. Viewing interest was immense. Everywhere you looked there was something special or surprising to see. The layout was busy and the operators were obviously enjoying themselves. This was railway show modelling at its very best. My loudest outburst was reserved for a garden railway built near the historic village of Blanchland on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. The scale was 16mm/ft with the stock running on 32mm-gauge track. Motive power was provided mainly by using Hornby O-gauge clockwork locomotives with additional bodywork made from cardboard to give a narrow gauge outline. Live steam power was provided using a Bowman ‘pot boiler’ locomotive suitably re-bodied. These Bowman models were similar to the more familiar Mamod stationary steam engines but in working methylated spirit-fired locomotive form. The date was the mid-1970s, before Malins

produced its excellent locomotive which made 16mm/ft narrow gauge modelling so special and indeed before the formation, in 1977, of the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers. The beauty of this line was that the model blended perfectly into the rugged countryside and with little imagination the railway appeared to be doing a real job of work in the harsh North Pennine environment. So, Wow! indeed. My latest railway Wow! moment is recent but before writing about it let me first describe how I choose to categorise ‘railways’. Model railways are those too small to carry human passengers. Estate railways, narrow gauge lines and standard gauge lines are those with gauges upwards of 15in while miniature railways are human passenger-carrying railways with a gauge covering the range from 3½ to 9½in. To my eye anything from 9½in upwards looks well in a full-size natural landscape while model railways need specialised scenic treatment to make the model look realistic and to provide atmosphere. It is the miniature railways

that I think lack the all-important atmosphere that I seek and I think I know why. These railways tend to be the preserve of the ‘real’ model engineer. The locomotives, often steam powered and coal fired, are the creations of people who have the skill to manufacture engineering masterpieces, often taking many years to build. I marvel at the results but the ground level lines usually remind me of pre-1970 Dublo railways with lots of track but little atmosphere because these lines often lack railway buildings and railway structures while providing superb running for the locomotives which, to be fair, is what is intended. So it was indeed a recent Wow! moment when I chanced upon the website for Prestige Railway Models. The owner, Peter Hood, manufactures, from his base at Coalville, Leicestershire, the most Wow!-inducing structures for outdoor ground-level 5in-gauge railways. The style and fine detailing of his models complement the skill of the engineers producing the locomotives and rolling stock. Peter builds his models using cabinet-making skills and traditional

materials, such as high-quality plywood for the basic shells, which are then super-detailed to bring them to life. Having built and weather-proofed the basic structure, realistic brickwork is added using a painted resin saturated card overlay. Doors and windows are multi-piece, finely detailed wooden items while the individual aluminised bitumen roofing slates are very realistic. Fine details include brass door knobs, guttering with copper tube down-comers with brass wall brackets, and telegraph insulators! The finishing processes result in a realistic building which should be robust and weather resistant and Peter supplies a weather cover for each building. I invite you to view and enjoy the accompanying images of the structures and to visit Peter’s website at www. Perhaps 2017 will not only be the year in which the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers celebrates 40 years of successful modelling but may also be the year when 5in-gauge groundlevel railways embrace modelling in a scale environment.


September 2017

The many faces of

Flying Scotsman

Flying Scotsman’s popularity continues unabated after its return to the main line last year, but just why is Flying Scotsman the world’s most famous steam engine, asks Heritage Railway’s Brian Sharpe, and what options do modellers have?


he Great Northern Railway A1 4-6-2 was the biggest express steam engine ever to have been seen in Britain in the early Twenties when it was built and as such was chosen to be displayed at a major exhibition at Wembley in 1924, for which it was given the name Flying Scotsman, although before this it was simply No. 1472, the third of a class of steam locomotives that was eventually to number 78 engines. It hauled the London & North Eastern Railway’s first King’s Cross-toEdinburgh nonstop express in 1928 and was the first steam engine in the world

to officially break the 100mph barrier in 1934 although unofficially this speed had been achieved 30 years earlier. Flying Scotsman was perhaps becoming the best-known of its class, but none of its record feats actually stood for long. In 1935, Gresley’s original Pacifics were superseded by the A4s; streamlined engines with more speed and power, and these raised the speed record first to 112mph, and later to 126mph. From then on, Flying Scotsman was just one of many engines that played a vital part in hauling East Coast Main Line expresses between King’s Cross, the north and Scotland, for another 30 years,

but it had no more claim to fame than any of the others. It still had its name though, and, when the final curtain came in early 1963 and British Railways withdrew the engine from service while it awaited imminent scrapping, it was purchased by a businessman who had every intention of keeping the engine running. Flying Scotsman was certainly well known from the early years of its main line career, but it was 1963 when it really started to hit the headlines – after it had retired. This might not have happened had the engine not had such a memorable name.

It has since become the one steam engine in the world of which many people know the name, and that most people would recognise. It was briefly the only main line steam engine running in the whole of Britain, and it has travelled across the Atlantic and across America. It has circumnavigated the globe, steamed across Australia, broken the record for a nonstop run with steam (again), and been sold for easily the highest price ever paid for a steam engine. But it has had its downsides, too. It has had several owners, some of whom have bought it on the strength of its earnings potential. This value has perhaps been overestimated, and two of Flying Scotsman’s one-time owners have been bankrupted. It has been said that the engine’s fame is such that it should have

No. 4472 approaching North Woolwich in 1984 with the Queen Mother on board. JOHN TITLOW

been preserved when a large number of steam engines were preserved ‘officially’, many of which are now on display in the National Railway Museum at York as part of the National Collection, but Flying Scotsman was simply not considered unique or historically important enough at the time to be included. In 2004 though, its ongoing 40 years of fame (if not fortune) finally earned it a place in the National Railway Museum collection and, after an unprecedented fundraising campaign and a National Heritage Memorial Fund grant, the museum was able to clear the enormous debts of the engine’s then owning company and acquire Flying Scotsman for the nation, and for a British public that clearly holds the engine in high esteem.

September 2017


The many faces of Flying Scotsman 1924 A1 LNER 4472: apple green, single chimney, 180psi boiler, GN coal rail tender, shortened chimney, cab roof etc. 1949 A3 BR 60103: blue, single chimney, 220psi boiler, LNER full-size tender. 1951 A3 BR 60103, Brunswick green, single chimney, 220psi boiler, LNER full-size tender. 1961 A3 BR 60103: Brunswick green, double chimney, smoke deflectors, 220psi boiler, LNER full-size tender.

If it had not acquired fame, largely as a result of its name, in the 1920s and 1930s, then maybe Alan Pegler would not have had the enthusiasm to purchase it in 1963. If it had been scrapped, what would then have become Britain’s most famous steam engine? The question now is whether Flying Scotsman can run forever. The answer is probably yes, at a price. Like any steam engine, it is a mechanical object, built of steel. As parts wear out they are replaced. Little of the original engine now exists and there has been much rebuilding and improvement carried out, before and after 1963. In fact Flying Scotsman could qualify for Theseus’ paradox – a concept that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. But, it’s back. No one expected it to take 10 years of toil, but the National Railway Museum finally has an engine to be proud of. The legend that is Flying Scotsman can run forever; and will be recognisable as the ultimate in British express steam design elegance. It may not be all the original steel, but the legend goes far beyond the engine’s physical characteristics.

1963 A3 LNER 4472: apple green, single chimney, no deflectors, 220psi boiler, LNER corridor tender. 1994 A3 BR 60103: Brunswick green, double chimney, smoke deflectors, 220psi boiler, LNER corridor tender. 2000 A3 LNER 4472: apple green, double chimney, smoke deflectors, A4 boiler, LNER corridor tender. 2016 A3 BR 60103: Brunswick green, double chimney, smoke deflectors, 220psi, A3 boiler, LNER corridor tender.

What’s available for modellers?

After a £4.2-million refurbishment Flying Scotsman is back on our tracks, but with an engine with such a long history, what versions are available to modellers? I believe that there were 21 incarnations over the years from its building in 1932 to its current appearance as No. 60103 in Brunswick green with double chimney and smoke deflectors. A unique aspect of locomotive design on the LNER was that of the walk-through or corridor tender allowing for crew changing without the need to stop. Hornby does an OO gauge DCC ready set with the engine numbered 4472 in LNER apple green and three LNER coaches to evoke this era in the engine’s history. There was a lot of umming and ahhing and debate about how the new Scotsman would appear post its overhaul. In the end the NRM opted for a 1961-1963 era Scotsman as the engine has a double chimney and so that era and the Brunswick green with No. 60103 was opted for. Smoke deflectors are also a requirement for the engine to run on the main line. But this 1960s era wasn’t the engine’s golden age; that was 1927-1937, basically up to the building of the A4s, which stole Scotsman’s thunder. A Hornby RailRoad OO LNER 4-6-2 ‘Flying Scotsman’ A1 Class with TTS

Flying Scotsman: A Legend Reborn written by Brian Sharpe is available in WHSmiths for £7.99, published by Mortons Media Group.

I saw Flying Scotsman twice last year, writes RMM editor Sarah Palmer. The first in steam at the NRM, when queues were snaking round the block of the museum to see this grand old lady, and secondly on a railtour in June when the sight of it coming into my hometown station was frankly breathtaking. Happy faces lineside waved and cheered us most of the way to Newcastle; it was a sight and a day not to be forgotten.

No. 4472 at Wembley in 1924.

Sound is available for pre-order on the Hornby website. Dapol does an N gauge version numbered 4472 in LNER apple green with four Gresley teak coaches, DCC ready/6-pin socket. This model represents the engine in its 1927 single-chimney phase. An LNER wartime black version by Dapol is also available, DCC ready/6pin in N gauge numbered 103 with its long dome, showing its new boiler and shorter chimney. During the Second World War this engine worked away from its home territory but hadn’t yet been converted into an A3. Express train haulage was at an end for the duration of the war, but like all steam engines Flying Scotsman was set to work hauling troop trains and even munitions and coal trains, and not necessarily on normal operating routes. Flying Scotsman changed depot in 1944 more times than most LNER Pacifics did in their entire working lives, moving first from Doncaster to New England at Peterborough, then over the onetime Great Central shed at Gorton in Manchester, briefly back to King’s Cross but then to New England again and finally back to Doncaster. N gauge modellers are spoiled for choice with a good spread of options including a BR blue single-chimney version of Flying Scotsman numbered 60103 from around 1949. During

early Nationalisation after 1948 all express engines were painted blue under the new regime, but when it came to retouching engines the paint showed up a different colour and so instead of small sections an entire engine had to be repainted. The blue paint was hence short-lived and was quickly followed by a repaint into Brunswick green. This model also reflects the long dome and new boiler it emerged from Doncaster Works with in 1947. An as-preserved version of the iconic engine is also available in N gauge from Dapol numbered 4472 in apple green but with double chimney and smoke deflectors. It was in this condition that Dr Marchington purchased the famous locomotive in 1996 for £1.5 million, and spent another £1 million over the next three years restoring it at workshops in Southall, West London. Despite retaining the double chimney, it was turned out in strictly non-authentic LNER apple green livery as No. 4472. Numbered 60103 Flying Scotsman features in this BR green with early emblem and comes with four Gresley teak coaches in crimson and cream livery. This is how the engine appeared in the early Fifties, although the shorter dome doesn’t look right, the engine had its new boiler by then, but it pre-dates the double chimney.

20 |

September 2017

September 2017



22 |


Septe ember 2017

Do kids know w what coal is?

proach One RMM reader has an out-of-this-world app to getting youngsters into railway modelling. I was wondering what the future of this hobby holds for us, especially in attracting the younger generation, says Laurie Calvert. Then it hit me. I could make a futuristic layout. Why not? Sciencefiction has been a hobby of mine for longer than trains have, so it was only natural for me to combine the two – something, it seems, that is very rare. I began with Executor, a small Caledonian Belle conversion that all of a sudden was adorned with laser cannons, flame throwers and a gargoyle type of character firing a Gatling gun on the roof. Then it needed a track to go on. After that my local railway club, Romford Model Railway Society, agreed to fund a sci-fi layout called Clash at North Ridge. This demonstrated early interest at our own show but was too large to take to other shows. It was then that Cato Pass was made. ‘Cato Pass’ fits in my car, and I can operate it on my own (friends are hard to find), often wearing a steampunk

sci-fi costume for added dramatic value. The layout tends to knock kn n people for six when theyy see it. An underground rocket silo on a moon of Saturn called Enceladus certainly strikes a contrasst with a GWR branch line. It is in a cavern, orange in theme, and wiith several all animations and buttons for kids kii of all ages to press. It certtainly is different. It has lots off videos on YouTube, has won a Besst In Show trophy, and is doing seveeral shows around the country, culminatingg in Warley in 2019. Here is an interesting thing. Kids Kii might not remember steeam, or even know what a lump of cooall is. But they do know sci-fi, so if this gets them into the world of modelling, then why not? Anything to help keep our wonderfu ful u hobby alive. Laurie is looking to display further around the country durring 2018 and so if any exhibition n managers are interested can they email him at calvertfilm@ntlworld.coom

Laurie in his steampunk attire with Cato Pass.

View of a rocket on the Cato Pass layout.

The Executor complete with gargoyle!

A sci-fi fantasy in model form, complete with a herrerasaurus.

A view through the launch hole on Cato Pass.

September 2017


Spe ectacular view of the launch pad woven around with tracks.

The Cato Pass layout’s four tracks.

Trackside view of this sci-fi layout.

24 | LETTERS: Get in touch by emailing: or send to: The Railway Magazine Guide to Modelling, Mortons Media Group, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6JR.

More record-breaking models

Dear RMM, The collection of records you published in the July issue of RMM is impressive. May I offer some older ones, which are not the biggest, but are significant nevertheless. Firstly, at an exhibition that ran for the whole of September in 1936, at Manchester City Library, the trains clocked up 98 statute miles operating with strict bell codes and signals on what was probably an end-to-end layout. The gauge was O and the engines scratch-built. Secondly, as part of the Festival of Britain in 1952, Derby Museum ran an

exhibition for 18 weeks, open six days a week, and a Midland locomotive running for five 30-minute spells per day clocked up 550 statute miles. On examination the only signs of wear were the carbon brushes, which were in need of replacement. The base plate had also worked loose and this was easily repaired. Another locomotive running in the same exhibition completed some 100 miles and was on loan from Manchester Model Railway Society. This locomotive then took part in December of that year in the Manchester Model Rail Exhibition.

Counting the rivets

HMRS London meetings

Dear RMM, I have rather mixed feelings about rivet counters (Lucian Doyle article, RMM July 2017). I regularly visit Pendon Museum in Long Wittenham ( where all the models, including buildings and landscape, are almost works of art although some will complain that it uses EM track rather than P4. The late Guy Williams’ book on 4mm locomotive construction (including many for Pendon) shows how much can be achieved by those with skill, patience and attention to detail. Some rivet counters, though, are utterly different as Lucian points out. A friend of mine did volunteer work on the Ffestiniog Railway where a double Fairlie had corroded side tanks, which were repaired by welding with cosmetic rivets added afterwards. Someone not involved with the railway then studiously looked over their work before saying, “you’ve got the wrong number". His comment was met by helpless and irreverent laughter by the people who actually worked on the locomotive. Somehow I suspect he was neither a modeller nor willing to contribute to work on the real thing. I admire perfectionists in many different walks of life but people who actually model (or even attempt to) are surely more praiseworthy then those preaching solely from the sidelines. Iain Climie, via email

Dear RMM, As the HMRS London area organiser of the HMRS London area group I read with interest your article in the July issue of RMM about the HMRS. However there are a couple of errors in your article. Firstly, the HMRS not only held London area meetings at Keen House – it still does. Our meetings are normally held on the first Monday of the month 6.30pm for a 7pm start with a finish at 9-9.15 pm. Secondly, before it went into store before the building of the HMRS permanent headquarters at the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley the HMRS library was located at Keen House until the late 1980s/early 1990s. It moved when the MRC wanted more room at Keen House for its own library and was located within Keen House where the MRC office is now. Andrew Jones, via email

Dear RMM, I have been intending for some time to write and congratulate you and your team on an excellent, engaging and informative magazine. Even as an ‘old hand’ I find your articles bring a new perspective and new information to topics I think I know. Your readers’ letters etc. are also stimulating and rewarding. Overall, in a competitive and limited market your publication already has a very effective and rewarding identity. Paul Sykes, Skegness

Francis Gordon, via email.

Editor: Please turn to page 14 to read more about Keen House and the MRC.

A couple of tips… Dear RMM, Don’t throw away empty coffee jars etc. as filled with water they make excellent weights for holding items down, such as track, while the glue dries. Coffee filter papers are coarse and strong, and wrapped over a finger are great for cleaning track. Cheap and very effective. Gordon Walker, via email

Your DCC questions answered Dear RMM, I am a fairly new convert to DCC and purchased the Digitrax DCS51 controller at an exhibition, (having had it demonstrated against others by the salesman). I have found this very easy to use, when either programming or controlling trains. It also has the added advantage that two of my old analogue controllers can be connected to it as auxiliary slave controllers. Having read all instructions within the manual (and other DCC booklets that I have purchased), I can find nothing that states how many locomotives can be on the track at any one time – not running, but just sitting in sidings or a loco shed. Does a basic loco (no lights or sound) sitting in a siding take power and if so, how many locos can you have on a layout at any one time? RMM’s Nigel Burkin replies: “Yes, it does – decoders are always active and drawing current so they can

remain in constant communication with the command centre. Decoders have to be active as they ‘listen’ for instructions issued by the command station at all times and then only respond to those with their unique address. The current draw is minuscule, however, if no on-board systems are active i.e. lights, sound etc. The number of locos sitting on a layout at any one time will depend on a great number of factors: how many are running, how many have on-board systems active and so on. There’s no easy answer. Most systems are more than adequate for a typical model railway. If more power is needed, then consider dividing the layout into two or more power districts with additional boosters.” My second question is: Can too many locos on the track at the same time have adverse effects on either the control of the layout, or the locos/decoders themselves?

Nigel continues: “When the current level of a system is exceeded, some decoders won’t respond or the system may shut down until the current load is reduced. “It will not cause any damage as the system will have over current and short-circuit protection built into the power station/booster unit. The same rules of current consumption also apply to traditional analogue layouts. The difference with a DCC layout is there is the potential to have more locos drawing power at any one time. If you run out of power, remove some engines in the short term and plan to install a second power district in the medium term. However, for a typical system, you must have a heck of a lot of locos on the layout at one time to exceed current draw if the majority of them are stationary, or the layout must be very big with a lot of trains running at one time.”

Trix article filled in the gaps

Marklin memories

Dear RMM, Tony Stratford’s article on Trix in the July issue of RMM was most revealing and filled in information that I had been seeking for a long time. I once had Trix models of Flying Scotsman and the BR Standard Five, which I eventually replaced when the more accurate Hornby and Bachmann models came along, simply donating the Trix ones to the TTRCA. I believe it was in the mid-1950s while walking through the Grassmarket in Edinburgh that I noticed in a pawnbroker’s window two Graham Farish OO gauge locos (a King and a Bulleid light Pacific) plus a Pullman coach. Fortunately at that time I had enough money to make a bid, so acquired the lot! The Pullman coach really impressed me, being very solid and heavy compared with today’s models. The locomotives had strange tender power unit transmissions,

Dear RMM, I am intrigued and interested in the content of RMM. In my teenage years I was a trainspotter at Apperley Bridge on the Leeds-Carlisle line, and in my schooldays at Harrogate on the Leeds-Northallerton line. In 1947-1949 my father worked in Hamburg in West Germany, and he bought an interesting model railway. It was a table-top set, a Marklin OO threerail, which combined two track circles, and points, both electric and hand. There were two engines including an 0-6-0 electric German overhead pantograph. This was intriguing as it had mid-body a small switch that would allow you to run the engine either on overhead pick-up or centre rail pick-up. I also had a 4-6-2 typical German railway steam and tender loco, with centre rail pick-up. There was freight rolling stock and two passenger coaches. When we returned to the UK in late 1949/early 1950, we lived in East Sheen London, and I would, as a youngster of six or seven years old, scour the local railway toy model shops for any Marklin rolling stock, but this proved fruitless. After this the train set became damaged and had to be scrapped. However, I always dream of th he pantograph engine doing circuits on th he layout. It was way ahead of its time. I remember two other families in H Hamburg: They had electric OO three-rail T Twin sets. The engines were steam Trix 0 0-4-0 steam German shunting engines. H however, the centre rail was the Here, n neutral so one could run double-header trrains; one controlled on the LHR Live and o controlled on the RHS Live rail. one I wish your writers, publishers and reeaders well in the future.

First attempt at building since I was a lad Dear RMM, Seeing the article ‘Station for a Fiver’ really inspired me to take up card modelling though I wanted to start with a goods yard. I’ve just completed my first ever kit, a Metcalfe model. I started with a degree of trepidation but really enjoyed it and it gave me a good feel for how these things go together.

September 2017

I’ve always wanted to try to recreate Cumbernauld station, where I grew up. I’ve been researching old photos and it would make a wonderful model – but a lot of scratch-building would be needed. At 68, it’s my first attempt at model-making since the e odd Airfix model as a lad. Iain Fairweather, Nairn, Scotland

which were extremely unreliable, so it was not long before I disposed of them at a swapmeet, but hung on to the coach for quite a while until the plastic began to buckle, and newer locos couldn’t cope with the weight. Nevertheless, it was far superior to the underscale Tri-ang version that was available at the time. I can’t remember what happened to it. Looking at my Hornby ‘Devon Belle’ and just-acquired ‘Queen of Scots’ sets it is amazing what quality and standards can now be achieved by the main manufacturers. Long may that trend continue. Today’s modellers don’t know how well off they are compared with 60 years ago when we had to use our imagination a great deal in terms of true scale and realism, but maybe that’s why we are still modelling, rather than just accepting ‘off-the-shelf’ products? Ian Lamb, via email

D David Freeman, via email.

September 2017


The Model Stop Guide ork Britain is blessed with a netwo of great model shops and outlets, who are always keen to help and advise. Here are som me you can turn to... simply look for the number nearest you on th he map, and find their details below: 1. Redcar Models & Hobbies

Location: 130 High Street Redcar Cleveland TS10 3DH Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 10am- 5pm Saturday 9:30am 5pm 01642 494912

2. Jacksons Models

Location: 33 New Street, Wigton, Cumbria, CA7 9AL Opening times: Monday, Tuesday 9am-5pm Thursday 9am-6pm Saturday 10am-3pm 01697 342557

3. Hattons Model Railways Ltd

Location: Unit 17 Montague Road Widnes WA8 8FZ Opening times: Monday to Sunday 9am-5pm 0151 7333655

4. Chester Model Centre

Location: 71-73 Bridge Street Row East Chester CH1 1NW Opening times: Monday to Friday 10am-5pm Saturday 10am5:30pm Sunday 11am-4pm 01244 400930

5. Church Street Models

Location: 10A Church Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 7QE Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 5:30pm Closed Tuesday www.churchstreetmodels. 01256 358060

6. Tutbury Model Shop

Location: 5 Tutbury Mill Mews, Lower High Street, Tutbury, Staffordshire, DE13 9LU Opening times: Monday to Friday 10am-4:15pm Sunday 11am2:30pm 01283 814777

7. Digitrains Ltd

Location: 15 Clifton Street, Lincoln,Lincolnshire,LN5 8LQ Opening times: Monday to Friday 10am-5pm Saturday 10am-4pm 01522 527731

8. Gaugemaster

Location: Gaugemaster House, Ford Road, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 0BN Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5:30pm Saturday 10:30am - 3:30pm 01903 884488

9. Morris Models

Location: 80 Manor Road, North Lancing, West Sussex, BH15 OHD Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9:30am - 5pm 01903 754850

10. Collectors Cellar

Location: 11 Hencotes, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 2EQ Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4pm closed Sunday 01434 601392



To advertise on the map please call Lynsey on 01507 529454 or email  27. DCC Supplies

Location: Unit 17A, Top Barn Business Centre Worcester Road, Holt Heath, Worcestershire, WR6 6NH Opening times: Monday to Wednesday 10am-5pm, Thursday 12pm-5pm, Friday 10am - 5pm, Saturday 10am-4pm

 01905 621999

28. Alton Model Centre

Location: 7A Normandy Street, Alton,Hampshire, GU34 1DD Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 9am-5pm, see website for Sunday opening hours

11. A C Models

Location: 7 High Street, Eastlleigh, Hants, SO50 5LB Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm

 01420 542244 02380 610100

12. Going Loco

29. Caistor Loco


Location: 38 Potovens Lane Loft House Gate Wakefield WF3 3JF Opening times: Monday to Friday 10am - 5pm Saturday 10am - 4pm

Location: 8 Market Place, Caistor, Market Rasen LN7 6TW Opening times: Monday to Friday 10am-3pm Friday late night 5pm7pm Saturday 10am-5pm 01924 824748

01472 859990

30. Edwinstowe Trains & Things @ Benhams

13. Ron Lines

Location: 342 Shirley Road Shirley Southampton SO15 3HJ Opening times: Monday to Friday 10am-5pm Saturday 9am-4pm


Location: 45 High Street, Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire NG G21 9QR Op pening times: Monday 10:30 am – 3pm m Tuesday to Saturday 10:30am to 5p pm

 02380 772681

14. Carnforth Models

www 3 822302 01623


Location: Unit 5, Carnforth Station, Carnforth, Lancashire, LA5 9TR Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am - 3:45pm


 

  01524 730101

15. World Of Model Railways

Location: Meadow Street Mevagissey Cornwall PL26 6UL Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10am to 5pm Closed Saturday 01726 842457


16. Flair Rail

Location: Unit 7 Springfield Nursery Estate Burnham On Crouch Essex CM0 8TA ay Opening times: Monday to Frida 9am-4pm Saturday 9am-3pm

  01621 786198


17. Crafty Hobbies

Location: 54 Cavendish Street Barow In Furness Cumbria LA14 1PZ Opening times: Monday to Fridayy 9:30am-5pm Closed Thurday and d Sunday

  01229 820759


18. Trains & Planes Ltd

Location: Unit19b, Airport Industrial Estate. Kingston n Park Newcastle Upon Tyne NE3 2EF Opening times: Mond day-Friday 9:30am to 3pm Satturday 9:30pm 0am to 4pm to 5pm Sunday 10


 



www.trainsa 0191 286 41 175

19. Buffers Model Railways

Location: Colston Cross Axminster Devon EX13 7NF Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 10am - 4pm, Saturday 10am-1pm

www.buffersmodelrailways. com 01297 35557

20. Wellingborough Trains & Models

Location: 26 Market Street Wellingborough Northamptonshire NN8 1AT Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 9:30am- 4pm thelococentre 01933 274069

21. Mac’s Model Railroading

Location: 4-8 Reform Street Kirriemuir Angus Scotland DD84BS Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10:30am - 4pm Closed Thursday 01575 572397

22. The Sport and Model Shop

Location: 66 High Street, Dingwall, Ross-shire, Highlands, Scotland, IV15 9RY Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9:15am - 5pm

www.sportsandmodelshop. 01349 862346

23. Agr Model Railway Store Ltd

Location: 9 High St Mews Leighton Buzzard Bedfordshire LU7 1EA Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm Saturday 9am-4pm

www.agrmodelrailwaystore. 01525 854788

25. High Lane Model Railways

Location: Stockport Indoor Market, Market Place, Stockport, SK11 1ES Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 4:30pm Closed Monday, Wednesday and Sunday www.highlanemodelrailways. 07955 362105

26. Aspire Gifts and Models

Location: 87 St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, KY1 2NW Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am - 5pm

Location: Unit 4, Court Farm Business Park, Buckfield Newton, nr Dorchester Dorset DT2 7BT Opening times: Monday 2pm- 5 pm Tuesday to Thursday 10am - 5pm 01592 651792

www.aspiregiftsandmodels. 01300 345355

24. Scoonie Hobbies


Location: CPS Shopping Centre, Common Lane, Culcheth, Warrington, WA53 4EH. Opening times: Opening Hours Mon-Fri 8:15am - 5pm Sat 9am 4pm, Sun 10am - 4pm www.holdercollectables. co.uk01925 899959

32. SCC 4 DCC

Location: Sunningwell Command Control Ltd, PO Box 381,Abingdon SO, OX13 6YB Opening times: 09:00 to 17:30 hours Monday to Saturday 01865 730455


September 2017

Supporting your layout

Martin R Wicks takes a pragmatic approach to baseboard support, with some ready-made products. So for those without the prerequisite carpentry skills, or perhaps the time to dedicate to baseboard supports, nil desperandum!


ome model railways for the joy of modelling, some for the joy of operating, some for the challenge of electronics, electrical control systems and their design, some to recreate, in miniature, the past world of their youth. Whatever the reason for our individual model railways we all have one thing in common; we all need good solid foundations for our layouts! Trestles and baseboards may be a boring necessity, but if they are not fit for purpose, good quality and stable in use – throughout their life and the life of the layout – then it can be argued that all other effort and expenditure on a layout (e.g. track, electrics, scenery etc.) could be a waste of both time and money. Even with supposedly well-crafted wooden layout supports/ legs, I have seen – and heard – more than one layout come crashing to the floor at exhibition – a gut-wrenching sound to say the least! For the indoor, scenic section, of our basic 7mm trunk-line BLT (garage-garden-garage) layout, Down Ampney, we had fabricated heavy-duty baseboards from 9mm WBP (water and boil proof ) hardwood ply on top of 18mm birch hardwood ply bracing. As our layout didn’t need to be portable – but one day removable – the method of construction was a tad more heavy duty than normal; in the main, this was to cater for such things as the heavyweight – mainline – diesel RTR outline locos by Heljan (weighing in at 3kg and upwards). While we have made some provision for weight saving as the layout would not be portable as such (all built, however, with a future house move in mind), we were more concerned with longevity and robustness, as the baseboards would be sited within a garage. While the garage is very weatherproof and has some insulation etc. it isn’t a ‘room’ as such, so when modelling in this environment these things have to be kept in mind and built accordingly (with humidity and temperature changes taken into consideration) almost akin to our outdoor/garden baseboards. There are three baseboards at 4ft x 2ft 6in in size with two more slightly smaller curved baseboards for the ends

of the scenic and non-scenic aspects of the layout and all of these will be used, in effect, to support the extruded foam scenic boards and an NG line. We had placed, inboard from the back edge of the baseboards, the main cross-members/bracing, so that the top rear edge of the baseboards could be secured to a batten affixed to the garage wall (there wouldn’t be any scenery in this area as we initially may place one or two, hidden, 0-16.5 NG sidings in this ‘void’). We had long pondered the issue of legs/supports/trestles for the layout and our requirements for such in terms of materials, cost, stability and weight. During this time, I perused many books and magazines for ideas and methodologies. I had seen, at that time, two well-known tool manufacturers/ suppliers advertising metal trestles (150kg loading for each trestle) priced at £50-60 per set; while the load ratings may not have been an issue the price, for me, was. Heavy-duty paste table In the meantime I procured, from our local Toolstation, a folding, metal and laminated MDF, heavy-duty, paste table (by Rodo/ProDec) for us to operate – from a seated position – Draycott Camp Halt Sidings (Draycott). The main baseboard for this layout is made from extruded foam and is ultra lightweight. Yet while these foam boards can support track (classic ‘tuning fork’ type track layout design) and scenery, they are not, per se, self supporting, hence the use of the Rodo/ProDec table. Another option would have been to make up a hinged framework with a solid top, one that fitted over adjustable metal trestles so as to provide a truly portable layout of three separate parts (baseboard/ fiddle-yard, two trestles and the fold-up boarded framework). All-metal trestles Approximately six months later, I noticed that a company had started to offer the heavy-duty versions of the all-metal adjustable trestles (400kg loading and capable of taking scaffold planks, each trestle has a 200kg loading limit) at a much more reasonable, and thus affordable, price.

1. The trestle: note the ‘end-stops’. A baseboard could be made, as with the original intended use of the trestles (i.e. for scaffold planks) to fit within these ‘end-stops’, however, we have chosen a different method for Down Ampney as we made our baseboards before sourcing the trestles. 2. Note the sturdy locking mechanism for this heavy-duty product.

3. Additional locking mechanism so as to keep everything safe and secure. 4. One of Down Ampney’s main baseboards, heavy-duty personified. I am glad that we don’t intend to exhibit the layout, yet such heavyduty boards will support the weight of Heljan locos, ballast and other such necessities – maybe even a ‘fat controller’ or two!

5. A modified trestle with plywood insert awaiting affixing using CSH coach bolts (cup, square, hex bolts). Note, just visible in the background, one of the main baseboards for Down Ampney, with the plywood inserts being test fitted.

September 2017

After a measure-up and a couple of chats with the supplier, we worked out how many trestles we would need. But so as to be sure we decided to procure just one set (two trestles) to start with while taking advantage of the preferential rate and the option to buy more if the first set was fit for our purposes. Trestle dimensions and specifications  The trestles have seven different height positions ranging from 800mm to 1300 (32in-51in).  The overall size is W: 680mm x D: 580 (max) x 1300mm. Maximum weight loading is 200kg per trestle (400kg per pair of trestles in total).  The width at the crossbar (which would support a layout) is 680mm (within the ‘end stops’ in the up position is 646mm).  The A-frame (viewed end-on), at full stretch, is 580mm from footpad to footpad. Opening the box and the trestles in use Value for money as opposed to ‘cheap’ was what we required – and that is what was delivered. There is a minimum amount of assembly required for initial set-up and, of course, the trestles are foldable when not in use and ideal for use for exhibition layouts. For our purposes, however, and as the layout is only semi-portable, the trestles are to be affixed to the baseboards which are fairly manageable, yet sturdily made. When building a layout for 7mm scale models, consideration needs to be given to the weight of the newer, ready-to-run mainline diesel outline locos. While our baseboards are a fairly heavy-duty set-up, it has to be remembered that some 7mm/1ft scale mainline diesel outline locos range, in weight, from 3kg-6kg each. Yet even in other scales and gauges, consideration needs to be given to weight, as ballast etc. can become quite weighty when added to larger layouts in greater quantities. Some basic modifications As the scenic section baseboards had been already constructed – in the main by my father (he is the woodworker in the family) ably assisted by other family members and sometimes, yours truly, some time before the purchase of the trestles we realised that the top bar of the trestles wouldn’t quite fit in between the front and rear edges of the boards. We modified the top bars of the trestles to suit, which means that the scenic section trestles will have to have a very small amount of material (steel box) removed from each. A small section of steel box can be removed from either end, equidistantly, with a hacksaw, followed by a light dressing of the top-bar ends with a file. This modification may also void the warranty, yet, as we wanted the trestles to sit within the confines of the baseboards for neatness and security of fit, then we had little choice – this modification shouldn’t affect the structural integrity of the trestles though.


In addition we also added a strip of 18mm plywood to the tops of each of the trestles used on the scenic section, so as to allow easier attachment of the scenic section baseboards to the trestles. Adding such also helps to spread the load/weight of the layout by providing a slightly larger surface area on which to mount the baseboards. Our initial idea was to bolt the plywood strips to the trestles and then bond the plywood to the underside of the baseboards with a No More Nails-type product. Not the perfect solution, yet relatively neat and semi-permanent. We may refine the trestles further, by adding more holes, thus refining the height adjustment yet further.

6. What the hobby is all about, for many anyway, the scenic angle and that of the role of nostalgia. I learned to drive a tractor aged 10 and a Morris Marina van when I was 13 (all on private roads I hasten to add). One can just imagine a diesel loco from the era breaking the silence and bursting into view any minute (cameo scene on Draycott Camp Halt Sidings). 7. Rain clouds coming in from Liddington Hill and heading down towards Draycott Camp Halt Sidings while a well-worn 'Shark' (ballast plough) has taken refuge here, before night working later that evening, up the line, towards Swindon. In reality, even with good-quality baseboards, if they’re not supported correctly,

Paste table in use In effect we created a heavy-duty paste table (laminated surface) with a steel, foldable, frame (total size 60cm x 200cm), similar wooden heavy-duty paste tables can also be purchased. When not in use it folds up into a neat case with a carrying handle and is very lightweight. Adopting the Keep it Simple, Stupid (KISS) principle, one merely uses these stronger, more robust and thus more stable paste tables as a base for the, in this case, lightweight baseboards of ‘Draycott’. The table can be disguised with a throw or old curtain when used for exhibition purposes and is ideal for seated layout operation. I would NOT recommend the use of the more commonor-garden, standard-duty paste tables for the task of supporting layouts as they are, in my humble opinion, much too unstable and not able to support the weight of the layout, particularly for 7mm layouts, locos and stock.

then everything else, including time, effort, materials, not to mention costs, are all in vain. Draycott’s ultra-lightweight boards still need a good foundation for reliable operation as strong as they are. 8. Biscuits (from Huntley and Palmers in Reading) have been part-unloaded at Draycott for RAF Wroughton’s NAAFI and Princess Alexandra's Military Hospital RAF Wroughton, with the remainder for onward travel to RAF Down Ampney – for either the NAAFI there or airlifting abroad. A sturdy and reliable basis for our model railways is a must – baseboards, allied with an appropriate support structure, are two of the four basic cornerstones of a successful layout.

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 9. The ProDec Paste Table – a view of the underside and the heavy-duty hinges. Rodo/ProDec 10. ProDec paste table locking mechanism on underside of the table. Rodo/ProDec

In conclusion The Rodo/ProDec paste table came ready made and is lightweight and easy to use. While the initial outlay for the trestles was more than we had originally budgeted for they are, in our opinion, well worth the value-for-money price. The usual caveats apply with reference to our relationships with any suppliers mentioned, in that we are just happy and satisfied customers.

11. The ProDec paste table at full stretch. We have been using ours for just over a year or so now and it is pretty easy to live with (in the up or down positions). One does have to ensure that the floor is level or use minimal packing under one of the feet from time to time, (if the floor is, indeed, uneven). When not in use, the table folds, neatly, into an oblong ‘case’ for easy storage and ultra-lightweight handling. Rodo/ProDec


September 2017

Returning to the fold Modelling is one of those hobbies often taken up in childhood and dropped in adolescence, often taken up again later in life when time and funds allow. Tony Stratford talks as someone who has learnt the lessons the hard way!


erhaps retirement is looming or the children have flown the nest, releasing space to pursue something that you have been keen to rekindle since your childhood – building a model railway. Nothing stays the same for long. Often we hear from potential railway modellers who find themselves confused by a hobby that is different to the one they last encountered in childhood. This article aims to help you avoid some of the pitfalls.

Brand loyalty – past Back in the author’s early days, there were five main brands of model railways available. What you received was usually dependent on what the local toy shop, newsagent or even bike shop stocked. For me the local shop was very much in the Tri-ang camp, so Tri-ang Railways became my choice. The early OO gauge systems had different coupling systems and also two-, three- or four-rail operation. If you had a Hornby Dublo system you could not operate on two-rail track as the wheels of wagons and coaches were not insulated and caused short circuits. Whatever system you bought, or received as a present, meant that you had to stick with it. Toy or model? Up until the 1970s the model railway items on sale in shops were undoubtedly toys, but the appearance in 1977 of Mainline Railways and Airfix changed things, offering scale models at affordable prices. Not surprisingly both were manufactured in Hong Kong before it became part of China. Airfix was

absorbed by its competitor, Palitoy, owner of Mainline Railways, in 1981 when the Airfix company found itself in financial difficulty. Mainline Railways ceased to exist in 1985 but with the tooling remaining the property of its manufacturer Kader Industries; the company set up Bachmann Branchline in the UK in 1989, having released some of the previously available tooling for a short period through Replica Railways. The old Mainline models with improved chassis formed the basis for the initial Bachmann range. The old Airfix tools passed to Dapol and then to Hornby. China remains very much at the forefront of model railway manufacturing today. There is no comparison between the toy trains of 50 years ago and the current products from today’s manufacturers, which are, in mostt cases, top p-qual alility scal ale l models. 

Collector or operator? Some purchasers of model railway items buy them to put in cabinets or to keep for sentimental reasons. The growth of train collecting started in the late 1960s when those who no longer had models from their youth had disposable income and wished to collect again what they once had. Many were not bought just to be viewed but to be used. In recent years we have seen the growth of vintage layouts in all the major scales, many from manufacturers whose products are no longer available. These are now popular additions to all the major model railway exhibitions, where visitors are often heard exclaiming: “I had one of those!” A number of organisations support collectors and operators of older trains. These include:  The Train Collectors Society (which caters for all brands and gauges)  Trix Twin Railway Collectors Association  Hornby Railway Collectors Association  The Tri-ang Society

Brand loyalty – now In the UK market brand loyalty no longer applies as all current productions of British outline models are interchangeable. All run on 12v DC utilising two rails. Brands such as Bachmann, Dapol, DJM, Heljan, Hornby, Oxford Rail and Vi-Trains can be used on layouts and mixing and matching locomotives, rolling stock and accessories is now commonplace. Two things you should look out for when buying new are that the model is DCC compatible (locomotives) and has NEM coupling pockets. DCC compatible locomotives contain a decoder socket to allow the fitting of a 6, 8, Next 18 or 21 pin decoder. As long as the right type of decoder is fitted into the socket, the end result is the same. All DCC decoders should comply to NMRA (National Model Railroad Association of America) or NEM (Normen Europäischer Modellbahnen (German), Normas Europeas de Modelismo (Spanish) or Normes Européennes de Modélisme

1. The Whitehall Hornby Dublo three-rail layout by Roger White and Don Hall at the recent Train Collectors Society exhibition. TONY STRATFORD

2. Two Princess Royal Class locomotives showing the differences in standards from different eras. The top model is a Tri-ang Railways model from the 1950s and its successor the modern Hornby version. Not only is the modern locomotive longer, it has much more detail and finer wheel standards. TONY STRATFORD

September 2017


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 (French) which set the standards for the European market. You may not want to contemplate the digital age right now but you may in future and purchasing a locomotive with a socket will cover both analogue and DCC options. If you are staying with analogue (non-DCC operation) then do nothing and leave the blanking plug in the socket. Not all manufacturers’ ranges are 100% compatible at present although as each year passes the number of non-DCC compatible locomotive models diminishes. Nearly all recent introductions have DCC sockets if space permits to build them into them in the planning stages. Today we are no longer reliant on the type of coupling fitted to the purchase model. With an NEM (see last month’s RMM for a thorough explanation about NEM-362 couplings) socket you can now pull out the existing coupling and fit any NEM-compliant coupling that meets your specific requirements. Not all manufacturers have fitted NEM coupling boxes to every available item in their ranges. Symbols are often found on manufacturers’ websites and catalogues to assist purchasers. Alternatively, your retailer will be able to advise you on both these matters. Found in the loft It is not uncommon to find that returning modellers have retrieved some of their former well-loved possessions from their loft but often this results in disappointment and frustration. Don’t be surprised if the track is rusty, as steel was used before nickel silver became the norm. Locomotives and rolling stock may also require considerable attention such as cleaning and lubrication to get them going again. Pre-1966 two-rail items are unlikely to operate on modern track. It is surprising how many old Tri-ang Princess Royal Class locomotives are put on today’s track standards only to run along the sleepers as they have deep wheel flanges. Unless you are going to spend a considerable amount of time and money converting wheel standards, then these items are best sold on to those who operate vintage layouts. To test the results set up a simple oval of modern track and run them. If there is no apparent hitting of the sleeper chairs which hold the rail to the sleeper, then the item is fine. Should the opposite be the case then you have to make a decision either to operate the items you have as a vintage layout, keep them for display or sell them on. Fifty years ago track was much heavier, with deeper rail sections in order to hold the deep flanges then used to keep everything on the track. Today those standards are much finer.

Buying second-hand or pre-used models A visit to any toy fair or model railway exhibition will find a selection of traders offering models with previous owners. Some may be in unused perfect condition and will be priced accordingly. Others may be low-production, limited-edition models and again that will be reflected in the price asked. Items can also be found unboxed in a mix of conditions from good to battered or with parts missing. The obvious thing to do is to look for damage externally. Check couplings, buffers, wheels, chassis and bodies for damage or wear. Also check if the item is suitable for running on the track you have. If the item has deep flanges or in the case of old Hornby Dublo three-rail model wheels that are metal and not insulated, then ask the stall staff if they are suitable for your particular situation before parting with your cash. If the stallholder is not prepared to answer the question or does not know – then you can draw your own conclusions. Many of the well-established model shops provide second-hand models in addition to new ones. This caters for those looking for elusive items to add to their collections and in many cases items that are cheaper to purchase than new ones for those on limited budgets, although rarer models are never cheap. The growth of the internet and auction sites has made collecting easier but has led to increased prices in many cases. Until you have gained the necessary experience required then resist what seems a bargain on an auction site.

3. Hornby O Gauge at one of the Train Collectors Society events at Sandy in 2012. The society caters for all types of model and toy train systems with a TOMY system in operation in the background.

No longer available new It will soon become apparent that secondhand retailers will carry stocks of items that are not of current manufacture. These include British outline models by Airfix, Fleischmann (HO), Graham Farish (OO scale), Hornby (O gauge), Hornby Dublo, Liliput (British outline), Lima (O/OO/HO/N), Mainline Railways, Playcraft Railways (HO), Replica Railways (former Mainline tooling only), Rivarossi (3, 8mm), Tri-ang (OO and TT), Tri-ang Hornby, Trix, Wrenn (also Tri-ang Wrenn on some boxes). Check that they are two-rail and that the wheel standards are suitable for your chosen track. They will not have DCC compatibility but in many cases decoders can be hard-wired in for DCC operation.

Before you buy Before jumping in it is best to check out what is on offer. This can be done in a number of ways. If you have a local model shop stocking model railway products, then have a good look at what they have on offer. Do they stock more than one


4. The two locomotives showing the wheel standards in close-up. Modern trains run on much smaller profile track. PHOTO BY TONY STRATFORD

5. Modern trains are usually fitted with NEM coupling pockets as seen in this image with the component parts displayed. NIGEL BURKIN

6. Some of the different coupling options available for use with NEM coupling pockets. NIGEL BURKIN

manufacturer’s products and do they stock the track and accessories that you will need as you develop your plans? Many shops offer friendly advice and are willing to help newcomers or returners to the hobby. Some offer part exchange deals for your old items if you have them. While you may save a little by purchasing online, nothing beats having a friendly local shop to visit. Manufacturers’ websites often list their stockists by region. Local directories will also help you identify any local dealers (see RMM’s Model Shop Guide on page 25). The model railway press often lists exhibitions for you to visit. Many are organised by local clubs and take place on an annual basis. Such exhibitions give you the chance to see products in operation. Layout operators are often happy to discuss how they have built something or to offer advice but please choose your moment to ask. The middle of a serious shunting operation is not usually a good time! At the bigger

shows some of the manufacturers will be in attendance with their stands. It provides a good opportunity to see new models under development and to discuss them with the manufacturers’ representatives. All exhibitions will have trade stands selling items. At the larger shows specialist retailers and small manufacturers will also be present. If you have a local model railway club, then contact them and see if you can visit. There are several hundred clubs in the UK and an internet search or your local library will provide the necessary contact information. Most clubs are happy to welcome potential members and to show them the facilities they offer. Returning to a great hobby With all the information to hand, it is much easier to rejoin our great hobby. Hopefully we have steered you clear of any pitfalls and in the direction you wish to go. There has never been a better time to participate in the model railway hobby.


September 2017

Cab control, testing and ballasting






Bernard Gudgin and Michael Watts are experienced teachers and trainers. They have several decades of modelling and exhibition experience across the gauges from T (scale 1:480) to 16mm live-steam (scale 1:19), as well as narrow-gauge. They are often seen at exhibitions where they provide free advice to newcomers and returnees under the brand name of Oxford TRAINing.


ven on a small layout you may want to move more than one locomotive at a time. For example, you may want to shunt in a goods yard while a passenger train arrives at a station. This is most easily achieved using something called Cab Control. It follows exactly the same principles of wiring and switching that we have already described but it gives more flexibility in operating your layout, but you do need two controllers (cabs) – one to drive each locomotive – and this is then called twocab control. The operation of your points and their power supply remains exactly the same as with a single controller. You can have cab control for any number of locomotives all operating at the same time, but the switches become a bit more complicated and maybe your layout is not that big – and you have not got enough hands! We have previously described how each of the separate track sections of your layout is powered via switches – either on or off. Each track section has its own switch between the (one) controller and its section. As a result you can apply power to only those sections that form the route for your train. Any locomotives on other sections remain electrically

isolated and hence unpowered. This is the situation for one controller – that is one-cab control. If you want to operate two locomotives at the same time, each on different track sections, you will need to add a second controller so that you now have two cabs – hence the term two-cab control. Each controller operates one locomotive on its route over sections of track selected by switches. But you do now need to change each of the section switches to a different type – from single-pole on/off type to single-pole double-throw centreoff type. These are the same physical size but the dolly now has three positions. This gives you the additional facility of a centre-off position when no track section is connected and so is electrically completely isolated from either of the two cabs – useful when checking wiring, and valuable to completely isolate a locomotive on a particular track section. These switches are the same physical size as before, but have three contacts on the underside, and cost very little extra. You will be able to upgrade your previous control panel to two-cab control fairly easily by just replacing the track section switches, adding a second controller and a bit more wiring.

Fig. 1. Switch symbols Electrical switch symbols as used in diagrams for track section wiring. Left to right: singlepole single-throw (SPST) or on/off; single-pole double-throw centre-off (SPDT C/Off) on/ off/on. Common abbreviations in brackets.


HELP! We all need help. It’s true for all of us, however knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced we think we are. We are all learning, all of the time. Just admit it … Here is an opportunity for us to learn together, and from each other.


Fig. 3

A typical wiring diagram for two-cab control applied to three-track sections using SPDT C/ Off switches. Note that Cab 1 is shown with the switches connected to track sections A and B, while section C is switched to off – not connected to either Cab 1 or to Cab 2. For more track sections just add additional section switches and extend the wiring harness. In many published track wiring diagrams the return wiring is not shown at all, since it is standard to use common return wiring to both cabs as shown here. It also simplifies the diagram to provide focus on the switching aspects.

When you have done this upgrade you will be able to energise a route of track sections to the controller (Cab 1) to drive a locomotive on its route through those sections. Similarly, some other sections can be switched to your second controller (Cab 2) to drive another locomotive on its different route. Note 1. It is essential that your controller Cab 2 is electrically completely independent of Cab 1. It must either be a stand-alone mains-powered controller, or its mains transformer supply must not be the same one that is supplying the 16V a.c. to Cab 1. There are commercially available mains transformers that do have two completely separate and electrically independent secondary coil outputs – but always check that the two outputs are really independent before buying. Note 2. Cab-control switching ensures that it is impossible for the one locomotive to run into another locomotive, however clumsy you may be – providing you have followed our track section isolation, switching and wiring guidance! TESTING When you have wired the low-voltage side of your layout it is very important that you test it to ensure that all intended connections are good, and

Fig. 4a a. a digital readout type, and

that there are no short circuits. Even on the simplest layout it is all too easy to make a mistake and the time to find that out is now. It is so much harder to correct anything after the ballast is laid, scenery installed and buildings fixed in position. To test the layout, turn off all track sections; place a locomotive on one of the sections and another locomotive on another section. Switch on the power to the first locomotive’s section and make sure it moves when you turn the controller – and check the other locomotive does not move! Repeat this for every section and with every point position too. If you can afford it, it is worth buying a small multimeter. This is a device that can measure the voltage (and usually the current and the resistance) at a particular place on the layout. They come in two basic types, digital and analogue. The digital type displays numbers whereas the analogue type has a moving needle. Either type will cost about £10. Some include an audible continuity tester – this ‘bleeps’ if there is a continuity for the circuit you are testing. The most useful ranges, whether you buy an analogue or digital meter, are shown in this table.

b. an analogue readout type.

Fig. 4b Do check that the available ranges for volts, amps and ohms match your needs before buying. You will probably not need testing facilities for transistors etc so don’t pay extra for these. A ‘bleep’ sound is a good option for checking that your wiring connections provide good electrical continuity. The leads shown here are the typical probe type with metal points to make contact, together with substantially insulated hand-holds, and with plugs to inset into the meter. Note that multimeters require an internal battery or batteries for resistance testing and continuity bleep. Always turn the range control to off when you have finished using it or risk the internal batteries going flat. Do note the battery type(s) required and keep spares!

Useful maximum range of ranges for a modeller's multimeter

Fig. 5






























Fig. 2 Single-pole switches. Left to right: single-pole single-throw (SPST) or on/off; single-pole double-throw centre-off (SPDT C/Off) or on/off/on. The photographs show all the dolly positions of both types of switches. Note that the SPDT C/Off has the centre-off dolly position straight up. In the front are some switch dolly push-fit covers that can provide a variety of colour coding for your track section and point motor switches – very helpful in reducing errors when operating.


Sep ptember 2017


Fig g. 6

Do use good-quality well-insulated electrical leads with your multimeter. If they have crocodile clips then it is best to have insulation around them and if probes, they need to be long enough so that your hands are well clear of the metal test points. Most of your testing will be with low voltages, but inevitably you will need to test the 250V a.c. mains at some stage, and it is best to be well prepared and protected.

Continuity testing Hearing a bleep from your meter is practical and reassuring especially if you are stretched out under your layout and can’t see the meter. With an analogue meter switched to read resistance, for good connection/continuity or a short circuit the needle will indicate zero or near zero on the scale. For an open circuit or no connection, the needle will indicate full scale or nearly so. With a digital meter you will need to be cautious about interpreting the readings. A 0 or low reading like 0.5Ω means a good connection/continuity. A high reading like 1,000Ω or greater means an open circuit – no connection. If you don’t have a multimeter, you can make something almost as good with a bulb in a holder with two wires. Put one wire on each track and the bulb will light if there is a good circuit. Warning: most torch bulbs are 3V and if there is 12V on your track, they will burn out! Put crocodile clips on the ends of the wires to make it easier to attach them to the track. Ballasting the track As we said back in the June edition, some people like and use foam ballast inlay and this has the advantage of holding the track while simultaneously ballasting it. The downside is that it can deteriorate and, depending on where you keep your layout, this may occur relatively quickly. The alternative is to ballast your track once it is laid. Ballast stone is available for the most widely used scales from several suppliers including Peco, Javis and Attwood Aggregates; they are actually small pieces of crushed stone (so it is real ballast, although often larger than true scale) that can be laid over and around your track. You will by now be committed to foam ballast, or track with or without underlay. This diagram suggests a suitable guideline width for underlay so that

the ballast forms a prominent shoulder without revealing the underlay edges. Before you use this ballast you must either sieve it or wash it! In manufacture and transport there is inevitably some dust created and this can seriously damage your rolling stock and locomotives. When you have sieved or washed and dried the ballast, you need to spread it carefully and evenly around your track. You may well see ballast spreaders for sale. These aim to spread an even layer of ballast around your track. We have tried them and they work well on clear, open track but in practice we find it is as easy to spread the ballast by hand. Warning! Never, ever, ever put ballast anywhere near the point blades or the tiebar – the bar that connects the ends of the point blades together and moves them. It takes only the smallest speck of stone to stop the point blades moving and then all your hard work motorising them will be for nothing. When you have put the ballast down the next step is to fix the ballast to the baseboard and to the track. You will have

guessed by now that we glue it using white wood-glue. This time the glue is diluted glue:water about 1:5. Firstly, using a small spray (the sort for spraying indoor plants) dampen the ballast all over, ideally by spraying upwards so very fine droplets fall on to it like rain. If you are using Peco Grey Stone ballast it will change colour and it is easy to ensure everywhere is wet. Then, with a small dropper, spread glue evenly over the ballast, paying particular attention to the shoulders – the edge of the ballast where it meets the baseboard. You may hear people say it is necessary to add drops of washing up liquid to the glue mix. In our experience if you have wetted the ballast first, this is not necessary and does not help the glue to flow, which is usually the rationale given for adding it. Once you have added the glue, leave it for 24 hours to dry and don’t prod it! Repeat this procedure three or four times until the ballast is really secure. When it is finally and thoroughly dry there will inevitably be some ballast that escaped the glue. To deal with this we use a vacuum cleaner. A small hand-held cordless is by far the most convenient or even one of the small battery-operated ones made for cleaning computer keyboards. Whatever you use, make sure the collecting bag is clean and empty as you can reuse the ballast you collect. If you only have a full-size vacuum, put it on the minimum ‘suck’ and use a piece of cheese cloth or old stocking over the pipe to act as a collector. When you have finished vacuuming, you will see some patches where you need more ballast. This is not a problem, simply add more dry ballast and then glue as you did before. One final word before we finish, if any of this sounds daunting, try it on a small piece of old or second-hand track and points. Even a yard of track and a single point on a piece of wood as the baseboard makes an excellent test-bed on which to try these techniques, and to test your locomotives too. PLEASE NOTE that Michael and Bernard are on holiday next month (October’s issue) and will return in November.


Fig. 9 Peco Grey Stone ballast. This brand comes in different grades – Fine, Medium and Coarse – and you need to decide which suits your model. It should be sieved or washed to remove the dust. Some uniformity in ballast size speeds application to the track and reduces the tendency to scatter about. The dust can damage your locomotive gears, and it also inhibits wetting when gluing it in place.

Table of ballast sizes for different model railway standard gauge scales

Fig. 10







Common name






Ballast size in mm






Assuming you are modelling British mainline then the typical ballast size is about 2½in or about 65mm. Simple arithmetic scaling results in the sizes for model ballast as shown in this table. However, as we have said elsewhere, a slightly smaller size often looks better, and is often easier to lay. Do not assume that the ballast packet is correctly labelled – apart from anything else every bag of ballast contains a range of sizes from large down to dust.

Fig. 11

Fig. 8 A section across some model track showing some underlay packing material under the sleepers. This is sometimes used to raise the level slightly and emphasise the shoulder of ballast either side of the sleeper edges. This effect is most pronounced along a main line, but much less so in a station or goods yard area where it is often negligible. The width of your underlay is important to get a realistic representation.

Fig. 7

A couple of low-cost home-made devices for low-voltage testing only. Left, a bulb in a socket with a couple of lengths of wire, and right, a similar arrangement with a dry cell included. It is practical to put a crocodile clip on the end of each wire so that a quick semi-permanent connection can be made at least at one end – or you may run out of hands! The bulb for the left-hand device should be a 12V one or you may blow a lower-voltage one from testing power on your tracks, which could be up to 12V. The battery-powered device needs only a 1.5V or 2.5V bulb that lights up sufficiently brightly from the 1.5V dry cell when used for continuity testing. You will find, by Murphy’s Law, that the wires are always too short for your needs – make them long – at least 3ft in total – and then they will get tangled up!

Spreading ballast by hand is quick, easy and effective when you have had a bit of practice. Always try everything first – in this case with a spare bit of track! A piece of thin card folded as shown here with a smallish amount of ballast will be easy to tap into place. Put on less rather than more, and then only add a top-up where necessary. Work down between the rails first and then along each of the shoulders. A dry finger can push most of the stray bits into position between the sleeper centres, and a short rule can be used to tidy up the outer edges. Here's a section of Hornby Set Track with Peco ballast being tapped into place. A yard of 16.5mm gauge track will take less than 10 minutes to place the ballast. Slightly smaller than scale-size ballast is easier to apply, and it tends to look more realistic – this is probably to do with the brain’s perception of small scales.

Fig. 12 A sample section of ballasted and glued track – 16.5mm standard-gauge. In this case the track is raised on a strip of approximately 1mm thick cork. Strips of white Plastikard limit the ballast edges mimicking drains or communication ducts and control the shoulder ballast as it is applied to produce a neat edge. It is worth practising your technique with a section like this.


September 2017

Datesfor your diary


Compiled by Jon Longman. Send details of your events to


Amersham & Chorleywood Model Railway Society. Welcomes new members. Our clubroom is located in Chorleywood with layouts in O, OO and OO N9 scales. Meetings on Mondays 2pm-4pm and Wednesdays 7.30pm-10pm. Please contact Roger on 01494 726449 for further details.

Open daily until October 1 World of Model Railways. Meadow Street, Mevagissey, St Austell, Cornwall. 10am-5pm. Adult £4.50, concessions £4, child (5-17) £3.50, family £14. Disabled access.


Open Tuesday to Sunday Brighton Toy and Model Museum. 52-55 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, West Sussex BN1 4EB. www. 10am-5pm (Saturday 11am-5pm). See website for admission prices.

Open Saturday-Monday Famous Trains Model Railway, Markeaton Park, Derby. Nearest postcode for sat nav users is DE22 3BG. 11am-4pm. Largest OO-scale model railway in the East Midlands plus other layouts. Famous Trains also has a shop in the model railway building, which has the same opening hours as the model railways. Members are present to give expert advice to visitors. Open most weekends and bank holidays Pendon Museum of Miniature Landscape and Transport, Long Wittenham, Abingdon, OX14 4QD. Features models to show life and railways of the 1930s. An invaluable resource for the experienced and new modeller alike. Guides show railway operations; also audio guides and tea shop. www. for more details.

AUGUST 19-21

Famous Trains Model Railway Summer Trains Event. Markeaton Park, Derby. www.famoustrains. 11am-4pm. Event includes the largest OO-scale model railway in the East Midlands among other layouts. Famous Trains also has a shop, in the model railway building in Markeaton Park, which has the same opening hours as model railways. Members are present to give expert advice to visitors. The railway is open to the public every weekend and Monday (11am-4pm). Bridport Model Railway Exhibition. Bridport United Church Hall, East Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3LJ. 10am-4.30pm. Adult £3.50, child £1. Layouts.

AUGUST 26-27

Hayle Model Railway Club & Duchy Railroaders Summer Exhibition. Hayle Day Care Centre, Commercial Road, Hayle TR27 4DE. Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am4pm. Adult £4, children £2, family (2+2) £9, under 5s free. Disabled access. 11 layouts in N, OO and O scales, demonstrations and trade stands.

Inverness Model Railway Exhibition. Jurys Inn, Millburn Road, Inverness IV2 3TR. Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 10am-4pm. Adult £5, child £2, family (2 + 2) £10. Working layouts, traders, second-hand stand, disabled access, juniors' photo opportunity to be the controller at the Thomas the Tank Engine stand and adults can try their hand at the shunting puzzle.

AUGUST 26-28

Gainsborough Model Railway Society. Florence Terrace, Gainsborough, Lincs DN21 IBE. www. 1.30-6pm (Monday 10.30am-6pm). Adult £4, concession and child £3, family £10. Layout: The East Coast Main Line from Kings Cross to Leeds Central.


Burgess Hill MRC Exhibition. Burgess Hill Girls’ School, Keymer Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0EG (close to station). www. 10am-5pm. Adults £5 child £3, family (2+2) £13. Around 15 layouts, trade support, second-hand stall, refreshments, car parking, disabled access.


Aln Valley Railway Model Railway Exhibition. Lionheart Station, Lionheart Enterprise Park, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 2EZ. 10.30am-4.30pm both days. Adults £4, concessions £2, family £10. Twenty layouts, trade and society stands and displays.

Leigh Model Railway Society Exhibition. St Joseph’s Hall, Chapel Street, Leigh WN7 2DA. 10am-5pm both days. www. leighmodelrailwaysociety.wordpress. com or LeighMRS Adult £5, under 15s free (must be accompanied by an adult). Free parking, refreshments, disabled parking. More than 11 layouts, trade stands. Contact: 01942 895030. Andover MRC Modelex 2017. John Hanson School, Floral Way, Andover SP10 3PB. www. 10am -5pm. Adult £5, senior £4.50, child £1. More than 20 layouts covering all scales, trade stands, demonstrations, children’s layout, refreshments, disabled access, free parking.


Exeter & District MES Modellers (mainly railway) open day. St Katherine’s Priory, St Katherine’s Road, Exeter EX4 7JY (four minutes walk from Polsloe Bridge station). N, OO, OO9 & G scale layouts. Live steam, 5in gauge railway, traction engine rides in the grounds. Pop-pop boat demonstrations.


Romiley Methodist Modellers’ 27th Model Railway Exhibition. Romiley Methodist Church, Stockport Road, Romiley, Stockport, Cheshire SK6 3AH. 10.30am-4.30pm. Admission by donation. All proceeds to Action for Children. External layouts exhibiting include N Gauge Enngage (Rainhill MRC),

O Gauge Scola Green (Morecambe and Heysham MRC), OO Leeds Weeklyn Hill (E Farms), 16mm Fflugen Station FR Layout (C Mckenzie), WW2 theme wargaming (East Lancashire Historical Games) and many other RMM club layouts. Many drive-it-yourself layouts and other interactive features as well as the traditional don’t touch fully scenic dioramas. Please leave the on-site parking for those with limited mobility. There are large car parks 500m from the venue and at Romiley station.


Faversham Model Railway Club Exhibition. The Abbey School, London Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8RZ. Saturday 10am-4.30pm; Sunday 10am-4pm. Adult £5, child £3, under 5s free. Free parking. Disabled access. 18 working layouts in various scales, trade and society stands, sit-on train rides. www. International N Gauge Show. The Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, The Fosse, Fosse Way, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV31 1XN. www. Saturday 10am5pm; Sunday 10am-4pm. Online booking: adult £10, concession £9, child (5-14) £4.50. On the door – adult £10.50, senior £9.50, child £5.


The White Horse Model Engineering and Garden Railway Show (organised by the West Wilts Society of Model Engineers and

to raise funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance). White Horse Country Park, Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 4LX. www.thewhitehorseshow/org 10am-4pm. Adult £5, children free. Offering 5in steam train rides, engineering exhibits, 16mm railway layouts, stationary and model traction engines, trade stands, bar and refreshments, free parking.


Ninth Culm Valley Model Railway Club Exhibition. Willand Village Hall, Cullompton, Devon EX15 2PL (between M5 J27 & 28). www.cvmrc. 10am-4.30pm. Adult £4, child £1.50. 15 layouts featuring all gauges from T through N, HO, OO, O to 5. Live steam, refreshments, disabled access. Trent Valley Model Railway Society Lichfield Model Railway Exhibition. The Life Church Netherstowe Lichfield WS13 6TS. 10am4.30pm. Adult £4, concession £3, child £3, family (2+2) £11. Disabled access. Hot and cold food. 16 layouts.


Cleveland Model Railway Club, Unit 2, The B-Hive, Skelton Industrial Estate, Skelton, Cleveland, TS12 2LQ 10am to 4pm. Day membership: adults £1, children 50p. On show are 8+ layouts working and under construction from 2mm to 7mm scales, with displays, demonstrations of modelling skills and club sales stall.

September 2017


Layouts This garden layout was sent in by RMM reader Paul Barnard. It's OO gauge, measures 58ft x 35ft with four main lines. He runs DCC and Hornby live steam, and a DC layout built 40 years ago.

My wife Pauline and I have built an exhibition layout with buildings, locomotives, wagons, carriages, people, road vehicles and some of the track, all original Airfix products with added scenery to enhance the look, writes Terry Brooks. This layout is based on the Airfix railway system. The company began in 1939 and the first

construction kit, a Ferguson tractor, was produced in 1949. In 1957 Airfix started production of 00 building construction kits, most are shown on the layout. In 1975 the company decided to enter the model railway market. All engines and many of the wagons and coaches are used on the layout. Most engines had five-pole motors, the track was code 100, made under

an agreement by Peco, and as early as 1976 Airfix offered a multi-train system using a chip in the loco allowing several engines to be run at the same time. The layout is 11ft long including fiddle yard, and a foot wide. It runs on a DC system and requires two operators. The layout can be seen at the Bury St Edmunds show on Saturday, September 9.

We want to dedicate these pages to your inspirational, unusual, well-loved layouts and models. So please do get in touch with us by emailing or visit our Facebook page to like and share your photographs. Find us at:

railway magazine guide to modelling

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September 2017


Mergers and takeovers of various brands have already featured in this series. Tony Stratford sets out to unravel the mystery that begins with Airfix in the mid-1970s and is set to get increasingly complicated over the coming months.


he name Airfix is synonymous with plastic construction kits and is often the generic name given to any plastic kit irrespective of who has manufactured it – just as all vacuum cleaners are referred to as Hoovers! The story begins just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, when a Hungarian refugee, Nicholas Kove, set up a company in London to manufacture inflatable rubber toys. These required air to be inserted in them to fix them. Kove, working on a limited budget, realised that if he called his company Airfix it would be the first to appear in any trade directories. Kove was born in 1891 as Miklos Klein (Nicholas Kove is a translation). He served as a cavalry officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War and was captured by the Russians from whom he eventually escaped. After serving as an assistant minister in the postwar communist government, he emigrated to Algiers in 1922. In 1934 he moved with his family to Barcelona and founded a plastics company. War once more intervened in the form of the Spanish Civil War, enforcing a move to Milan, Italy. In Milan, Kove developed a process for stiffening shirt collars, which was called Interfix.

He moved with his family to London in 1938 and when the Second World War came to an end in 1945, Airfix was the first UK company to introduce a plastic injection-moulding machine in 1947, which was used to produce plastic combs. One of its biggest customers at that time was the retail giant FW Woolworth, which had opened its first British store in Liverpool in 1909, and was subsequently found in just about every major high street up until the closure of retail premises in the UK in early 2009 with the closure of 819 stores. The original company was founded in the USA in 1878 and the Woolworth name remains in use across the world. Airfix supplied a number of items to Woolworth, including sink draining boards and other kitchen equipment. In 1949 Airfix was commissioned by Harry Ferguson (head of Ferguson the tractor manufacturer) to make a cheap model of his TE20 tractor for use by the Ferguson sales force as a promotional tool. In order to produce it, the tractor was split into a number of components for assembly by Airfix staff. Moulded in acetate, it was handassembled for distribution to Ferguson sales representatives. To increase sales and lower production costs, the model was sold in kit form to FW Woolworth’s retail stores.

 1. Official Airfix press photo of the Airfix 14xx 0-4-2T that first appeared in the catalogue in 1978. 2. One of the first catalogues for the ready-to-run range.

September 2017

In order to keep the production costs down, Ferguson agreed that Airfix could sell them as toys under its own name. However, it was decided that instead of getting Airfix staff to assemble them that they could be offered in component form. Airfix was soon approached by Woolworths with the suggestion that it should extend the range and use polystyrene, rather than acetate, placing the components in a plastic bag with a paper header, the inside of which contained the assembly instructions. In this format they could be sold within the 2/- (10p) pricing policy then in place at Woolworths. Despite public perception, Airfix was not the first company in the UK to produce plastic construction kits. This honour fell to International Model Aircraft, which had introduced its FROG Penguin kits in 1936 to support its FROG (Flies Right Off The Ground) range of flying models, which were driven by rubber bands. As the new range did not fly it was branded FROG Penguin (as Penguins cannot fly!). The range was marketed by Lines Brothers from the outset and later became part of the Tri-ang Group. With the Airfix tractor now doing good business, Woolworths was keen to expand the concept. In 1951, it persuaded Airfix to produce a model of the Golden Hind ship, and this was followed by a Spitfire aeroplane a year later. Soon production encompassed other subjects including cars, figures and military subjects and expanded quickly with new models being introduced every month. Such was the growth that Airfix became a public company in 1957. Its founder Nicholas Kove died on March 17, 1958 shortly after the death of his wife. His daughter inherited his share of the company. During the 1960s the Airfix company expanded to become a leading supplier of plastic construction kits and toys,


with ranges including the brick building system Betta Bilda, which was eventually surpassed by Lego. The model railway connection In 1956 Airfix released the first of its models aimed at the railway modeller. These were OO/HO scale building kits comprising of a country inn, detached house, service station, bungalow, general store and a model of Oakham signal box, which is probably the most modelled signal box in the world! By 1981, when the company was in financial turmoil, 31 kits had been released in this series. In 1959 the Rosebud company based in Raunds, Northamptonshire produced the first of its locomotive and rolling stock construction kits. The company produced dolls and diversified into the growing plastic kit market and specifically targeted the model railway sector. In the space of three years the company produced 34 plastic construction kits of locomotive and rolling stock in TT and OO scales. It aimed to produce a new model each month, which was in the long term unsustainable and affected both the company’s finances and production capabilities. Although the series included a number of overseas models, for some reason most were tooled in OO scale rather than the HO scale used everywhere else in the world, therefore restricting their sales potential outside the UK. In 1960 the first Airfix rolling stock kits were released in July 1960 and comprised a 12T B Type tank wagon and the Presflo cement wagon. A model of the four-wheel Park Royal rail bus appeared shortly after. In 1962, the company acquired the tools from Kitmaster and some were incorporated into the Airfix range. The vast majority of models did not, however, see reintroduction and perhaps the biggest loss was

the range of Mk.1 coaches which, until the introduction of the Bachmann models in 1999, had not been surpassed. The TT range was not reintroduced. The Meccano acquisition In 1971, the Lines Brothers' empire collapsed, resulting in the sale of a number of companies. One of these was Meccano, which appeared in our Issue 3 in February 2017 (available online) and its successor Tri-ang in Issue 4, March 2017. The Meccano factory in Binns Road, Liverpool, which had previously produced the famous Hornby O gauge trains and the later Hornby Dublo OO range, made its last trains in 1964. In addition to Meccano, the factory still produced the Dinky Toys range of die-cast vehicles and aircraft. This acquisition made Airfix the largest UK toy and model company. What it lacked, however, was a ready-to-run model system and the decision was made to develop one.

3. Kitmaster GWR 61xx on the left which was taken over by Airfix and re-released by them. It was also the subject of a ready-to-run model in 1977. On the right is the Airfix kit box containing an unbuilt model of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Pug Class 0-4-0T. 4. The third catalogue for the ready-to-run range.



36 |


Ready to run At the 1976 Toy Fair in Brighton, two new ranges of ready-to-run model railway equipment were unveiled for the first time. One, from Palitoy under the name Mainline Railways, which will be covered in the next issue, was well advanced with running samples; the other, Airfix, was showing only some hastily assembled hand-built mock-ups. It was not the auspicious start that the company had hoped for but when examples were released to the model railway press for review purposes, the products were everything that the Brighton publicity material promised. Initially, the Airfix range incorporated some Kader American HO products produced for Bachmann USA. These were included in one of the two action train sets that had been developed in addition to being sold individually. The rest of the range was produced by the Sanda Kan factory, which along with Kader was located in Hong Kong. Both factories were already producing model railway products for other customers. During the late 1970s Airfix built up a range of six locomotives, six coach and 10 wagon types. Production of Airfix models was now split between Sanda Kan and another Hong Kong company, Cheong Tak. In 1979 the model railway brand name was changed to GMR (Great Model Railways), to avoid confusion with the Airfix brand of construction kits. By the late 1970s the company commenced moving manufacturing back to the UK and planned to switch rolling stock production to Charlton in south-east London, a move too late to save the company from its impending demise. Meccano Ltd in Liverpool was continuing to haemorrhage money, resulting in the closure of its Binns Road, Liverpool factory in 1979, followed by the demise of the Airfix company itself in 1981. In the 1980s the plastic kit modelling hobby went into decline. This was blamed on a number of factors such as the introduction of computer games, precision die-cast models becoming available, a rise in oil prices (which affected the price of plastic) and declining birth rates. These issues, combined with heavy losses in Airfix’s other toy businesses, meant that the company was forced to declare itself bankrupt. The new purchasers of the Airfix company were General Mills, the owners of Palitoy, and the Airfix model railway range was immediately incorporated into Palitoy’s Mainline range. The Airfix kit tooling was transferred to another General Mills factory in France, although the model railway construction kits were added to the Mainline catalogue rather than the Airfix equivalent. 

September 2017

Under development but not produced At the time of the sale to Palitoy, Airfix had a number of projects under development. These included the following, which were released by other companies through which they passed: LNER N2 Class 0-6-2T (1) LNER B1 Class 4-6-0 (2) GWR 43xx 2-6-0 (3) SR Lord Nelson Class 4-6-0 (4) War Department 2-8-0 (4) LMS Hughes Crab 2-6-0 (4) (1) Developed by Airfix but did not arrive in the UK until after the company had been acquired by Palitoy. It was released in 1981 as part of the Mainline Railways’ range. (2) Subsequently developed by Mainline but not released by them. Replica Railways released the model in 1987 after Replica funded completion of the tooling by Kader. It was released by Kader-owned Bachmann Branchline in 1994 after the agreement between Kader and Replica ended in 1990. The relationship between Kader, Mainline Replica and Bachmann Branchline will be explained in future articles. (3) Model developed by Mainline Railways and released by them in 1981. The Airfix model would have duplicated the Mainline model and as a result was not developed further. (4) Subsequently released by Bachmann Branchline. The following items, which were also reported to be in development, were not produced by successor companies of Airfix (although in most cases they have been produced by other companies such as Hornby, Oxford Rail and EFE). Only the SR U Class and J69 have yet to appear in ready-to-run form in OO scale. SR U Class 2-6-0 SR Schools Class 4-4-0 LNER J69 0-6-0T LMS Compound 4-4-0 LMS Black 5 4-6-0 LMS 8F 2-8-0 LSWR O2 Class 0-4-4T (Adams Radial Tank) London Transport 1938 Tube Stock (four-car train) Sold again, again and again! Four years later Palitoy quit the UK toy and model market and Airfix was again for sale. The kit division was bought by the Hobby Products Group of Borden which also owned other brands such as Heller (the Frenchbased plastic kit manufacturer) and Humbrol (producer of modelling paints and accessories). The Mainline and Airfix model railway brands, together with the construction kits, were sold to Dapol and as we shall see in subsequent issues the story takes a confusing twist that we

will attempt to unravel! In 1995, Borden then sold the Hobby Products group (which included Airfix) to an Irish Holdings Company called Allen McGuire and continued to operate under the Humbrol name. In 2006 Humbrol Ltd went into administration, resulting in Hornby Hobbies Ltd buying both the Airfix and Humbrol brands in November of the same year.

Not the end – just the beginning Although it was produced for only five years, there are still a lot of Airfix/ GMR ready-to-run items available on the second-hand market. As we shall see in forthcoming issues, some of the range still lives on today, albeit under a different name and having passed through two other pairs of hands on the way.  5. A kit-built model built many years ago by yours truly! 6. The GWR 61xx Class large prairie tank dates from 1977. 7. This model of the GW 14xx 0-4-2T caused a sensation when it was released in 1978. A matching auto-coach was released in the same year allowing the smallest Great Western Railway (later British Railways Western Region) trains to run on layouts. 8. These two wagons were released ready to run in 1978.

September 2017



















September 2017

The importance of level crossings From a modelling perspective, a level crossing is almost a mandatory structure at the end of a station platform. Probably the most famous one associated with railway modelling is that at Oakham, mainly because of the original Airfix signal box kit, writes Ian Lamb.


n my layouts LEVEN and OAKHAM I used PECO kits, but I have been very impressed with the latest Bachmann Scenecraft structure and the four-lever open ground frame. These models are timeless and very eye-catching. Such structures have been part of everyday life since railways began, and can be seen in all parts of Britain; some still operating today, especially on many heritage routes, although increasingly they are being done away with. It is certainly worth looking at the extensive level of accuracy and detail within the Scenecraft range, and carefully determining how these items will fit into your layout plans. At first glance you may be satisfied to simply add these items to the layout and quickly run trains, but the level crossing alone is such an attractive model that it is well worth personalising. I decided to loosely base the diorama on that at the end of Oakworth Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. Shades of the film The Railway Children. Starting with the level crossing (and bearing in mind that Oakworth is a double-gated structure) it was noticed from the film that only one side gate existed – linked to Perks’ House – so the one on the model was removed and replaced with a fixed fence to match the others while the footpath was covered in green scatter to represent overall grass. A piece of fencing was curved and located behind the gate, leading to the main road. As my station was some distance from the level crossing, Oakworth Station was replaced by a length of white fencing as an extension to that adjoining the gatepost. However, the other side of the track had no obstruction so in due course it would be modelled as near to the real scene as possible. Meanwhile the exquisite four-lever ground frame was tried out in various places before adjoining the gate where it seemed most appropriate. Before being secured into place, a small cameo comprising a grass base and a

length of fencing all helped to make that item appear as part of the overall level-crossing structure. The next stage was to ensure that the level-crossing diorama merged well into the overall layout and atmosphere of The Railway Children. Appreciating that a few years ago Bachmann actually modelled Oakworth, pictures taken at the time were used for reference and inspiration on this project. Trees, foam hedges and fencing are very much generic items on most layouts with lots of manufacturers such as Harburn Hamlet, Javis and Ratio providing them in many guises. The ploughed potato field is very simply constructed from scrap material, and how it was made will be shown at a later date. Overall this layout is more southern England than Yorkshire so buildings would tend to reflect that part of Britain. Perks’ House is forever associated with Oakworth level crossing, therefore choose an appropriate one. You can build one from a kit, obtain one for next to nothing from a ‘swapmeet’ (as I have done) or select a Scenecraft model. The rural workers' cottages would suit the scene admirably. A splash of red from the telephone box adds a little authenticity to the project. Continuing on the theme of developing the train set, it is likely that the modeller will be on limited means. Nevertheless the diorama must be supported by a convincing backscene stuck on to a 1ft (30.5cm) sheet of hardboard, and for beginners since time immemorial, PECO has done just that. Its versatile scenic background sheets, still available today, cover a wide range of locations from industrial cities and docks to small country towns, and they are carefully designed to be assembled in many combinations. The village scene sheet was chosen, though only the middle part was used. Magazine cuttings can also be used effectively, being overlapped as necessary to appear as one realistic frieze. Side items such as trees and bushes located hard on to the back

 1. An appropriate village scene linking back- and baseboards. 2. The level crossing can be clearly seen here with the four-lever open ground frame to the left.

scene give the illusion of distance and depth of field. Short of actually visiting the place being modelled (recommended if at all possible), try to obtain as many pictorial sources as possible for reference. Eventually the bare patch will be transformed into a small field of horses, but for the moment deciding on what should be placed next to the level crossing had to be given priority. Various buildings were tried out – including hotels, garages and workshops – but all were too big, overpowering the scene. Once again in resorting to the scrap box I came across this rather attractive Post Office stores. After stripping down the damaged structure, it was rebuilt and located in place, balancing well the overall scene. Such a humble structure like a level crossing can be a very attractive part of any layout; go for it!

3. Accurate painting of lamps (1) and brackets (2). Attention to detail is always important and can make a tremendous difference to any model, as shown here. 4.Oakham station, Rutland, and level crossing in the 1950s. What a wealth of useful detail is in this photograph. Not only have the period vehicles probably all gone to the scrap yard, but the former agricultural auction site to the right is now occupied with modern housing. 5. Oakham level crossing today as a Cross Country Cl 170 DMU accelerates away southwards. Lifting barriers have replaced gates.

September 2017



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September 2017

The Railway Magazine Modelling September 2017  
The Railway Magazine Modelling September 2017  

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