Group Report

 This being the holiday season, a very respectable attendance of 20 persons-of-narrow-gauge-interest confirmed that not everyone had gone to their garden railway near a Spanish beach.

First to be seen ‘holding the fort’ in sunny-at-times West Midlands was Maggie Pestridge who brought along her new test track – which was running her Paul Windle tram loco ‘Merlin’ acquired from the 009 sales stand – together with current loco and coach kits newly primed, inside and out in the case of the coach.

Tim Williams presented his impressive ‘Chwarel Tegid’ (Tegid Quarry) layout, complete with working double-track incline, working water-wheel, working loco-shed-doors and working Blondin ropeway as featured in the current issue of 009 News. And on the night – they all worked. The magnetic grab as the ropeway hanger set the transitory wagon onto the rails was fascinating to watch. If you weren’t there, you missed it. Tim had previously only brought parts of the layout to meetings, so it was good to see the entire production all together. It comprises two boards each 110 x 20cm plus corner section and 40cm fiddle yard, almost all of which was covered in scale-size real slate. An interesting track layout was the only slate (slight?) relief. Motive power was two quarry Hunslets – ‘Lola’ (Lilla) being a 3D Robex kit on Minitrains chassis and ‘Alice’, a Brian Madge kit, plus a Brian Madge Ruston 48. Most of the wagons were RT Models kits. What a treat – worth the entrance fee on its own.
Running on Peter Hardy’s test track was John Brookes’ hybrid freelance loco consisting of an Alan Law Minimum Gauge diesel kit on a Kato chassis but with an Airfix Pug boiler and saddle tank grafted on in front of the diesel cab, all still in the metal/plastic.
Peter Cullen displayed his rebuilt and rewired linear test track. At 4ft x 9in with passing loop, three sidings and now incorporating an inboard two-road traverser, it’s almost a layout. Surface point motors were available for inspection in a series of lineside huts with roofs removed. Traffic on the night included a Minitrains Ns2f diesel re-painted in Royal Navy blue, a Minitrains wing tank Bagnall also re-painted and a Paul Windle Sentinel, each hauling a varied collection of goods stock with interesting loads.
Angela Baker showed a full-size (4mm scale that is) 1800 x 750mm plan for the possible new group layout ‘West Midffordd’, being an amended version of the initial A4 design seen at previous meetings, which now indicates four ‘quarter’ baseboards, details of track setting out and incline gradients and incorporating space for members’ ex-Bowleggett Manor scenic insert boards. An A4 sketch sectional view showing the different track levels at the station was also shown.
Catering conduct – well, hot drinks and biscuits – was performed by Maggie Pestridge and Peter Cullen. Thanks both.
We meet at Moorfield Hall, Hartshill Road, Shard End, Birmingham, B34 6QX from 7.30 to 9.30pm on the second Monday of every month. There is a nominal charge of £3.00 to cover the costs of hall hire and refreshments. Our next meetings will be held on 11th September, 9th October and 13th November 2017.
If you have any queries, please contact Julien Webb at