Group Report

Report of Area Group Meeting at 7.30pm on Monday 9th October 2017
Our October meeting drew a sizeable attendance of 24 persons, which included a welcome visit by Charlie Forbes, former West Midlands member from the early days, now affiliated to East Midlands. Other welcome visitors were Nicholas Wheatley of M5M50 area group and our ‘minimum gauge’ associates Allen Law and Andy Greenslade. Sadly absent, however, was Shirley Harper, who sent Geoff along on his own to report on her accidental hospitalisation; we wish Shirley a speedy recovery and suggest she avoids kicking the cat in future.
With such a crowd (and let’s face it, a mixed bunch) business was brisk indeed. Peter Cullen brought along the club layout Bowleggett Manor, which was running intensive traffic including (1) Peter’s Chris Ward 3D Leek-and-Manifold-style tank loco christened ‘Lady Barbara’ (that’s Mrs Cullen to you) hauling a brace of Austrian coaches, (2) Peter’s O9 3D kit ‘Avalon’ internal combustion loco with scale-10ft-high canopy, (3) Peter’s Chris Ward 3D double-Fairlie-style loco, (4) Andy Foster’s Paul Windle Futwah-Islampur Manning Wardle 0-6-2T and (5) David Churchill’s Hudswell Clarke 4-wheel diesel Worsley Works kit based on a New Zealand 3ft 6in gauge prototype still in the metal on a Meridian Models belt-drive chassis with shortened wheelbase. Are you keeping up here? David also brought along his Avonside scratch-built 0-4-0 loco of 45-year-vintage on 1960s Minitrains chassis, based on ‘Sezela’ at Leighton Buzzard, which he inherited from the late Pete Smith, now with Mashima motor and converted to outside frames but awaiting cylinders and motion. And all STILL un-painted!
Peter Hardy’s test track hosted Rachel Humphrys’ Minitrains Ns2f diesel in dazzling hi-vis lemon yellow hauling a Minitrains Zillertalbahn coach and Steve Mann’s Dundas Ffestiniog brake van – an eclectic consist. Steve also showed his Shapeways 3D ‘Lilla’ 009-sales-acquisition in smart matt black livery awaiting Minitrains chassis (plus strategic ballast) and Charlie ran some of his RNAD diesels and a variety of bogie stock.. Peter Hardy brought along his Five79 freelance Peckett loco for which he had built a freelance chassis incorporating a Nigel Lawton midi motor. Just the cylinders and motion to add before visiting the paint shop.
Mike Wall displayed his latest layout, formerly with working title ‘Stonebridge’, but now entitled the Wallsend & Brookesbridge Light Railway, which was running a Minitrains Bagnall with a brace of long-wheelbase open wagons. Now substantially complete with (removable) dwelling, stables and campsite, Mike plans to produce many more interchangeable buildings to create 27 scenic varieties!
Tim Williams brought along his digital photo-viewer showing scenes from his ‘Bryn Tegid’ layout – a heritage railway in a spiral circuit with devilish-clever automated running and synchronised automatic crossing barriers – which will be showing at Andi Nethercoat’s Narrow Gauge Modellers Mega Meeting on Sunday 19th November at Wellesbourne Village Hall.
Mac Strong presented the castle from his fledgling estate layout, a structure composed from two Russian kits and intended to be the estate’s mansion on his 2000 x 660mm figure-of-eight 009 Heywood-esque estate railway. Also on show was a New Zealand logging loco, a vertical boiler loco and a Paul Windle Hunslet-style 0-6-6-0 Mallet from Dewi Philips.
During the ‘Parish Notices’ segment of the meeting Peter Cullen proposed formal congratulations to Nicholas Wheatley for his successful organisation of the M5M50 Open Day exhibition last Saturday at the larger venue of Tewkesbury School, which was wholeheartedly endorsed by the meeting in the traditional manner. In response, Nicholas expressed grateful appreciation of the support of West Midlands members (too numerous to mention, but they know who they are). It was a great show – if you weren’t there you missed it.
Armchair modelling on the night was facilitated by reading material in the form of two volumes of Angela Baker’s collection of magazine cuttings of heritage railway articles, together with her photo-report of a recent visit to the Welsh Highland Railway, plus Julien Webb’s book sale recurring from last month’s meeting.
Teas’n’coffees were efficiently dispensed by Mac Strong and Julien Webb but when it came to the washing up Maggie Pestridge seemed to pull rank. Great teamwork anyway. As Peter Cullen was present this month, so were the biscuits (but not for long). Good onyer Peter. Do ‘ave one yerself.
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 13th November and 11th December 2017 and then 8th January 2018. That’ll be next year already. The shows must go on.
If you have any queries, please contact Julien Webb at