What we did late 2023

Week-ending 29th December 2023

No meetings on Monday and Tuesday, for reasons of which you may be aware, but on Wednesday LBH, cognisant of the Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae‘s imminent appointment on Monmouth, snuck into the clubrooms for a little extra-curricular.

The result was the the completion of the fencing and access gate on the the path to the halt ‘platform’.

Friday saw our last meeting of the year.

Wagonman is working on an ex-SECR birdcage brake 3rd – Blacksmith Kit – to be completed as departmental mess & tool van – (one or two of these found their way to the western region stock in the 1960’s), on the right you can leads running to a motor that MrChairman is giving a run to see if it quietens down (it did).

Left (if you are viewing on a large screen) Paul W is working on the the base for the boundary wall on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae.

Below you can see the article in place on the layout.

Week-ending 22nd December

Sunday (!) and Monday LBH was working on the access path the halt platform on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae (more here),with help from MrChairman (more ballasting) and Paul🏅(relocating the control panel from the west fiddle yard to a freestanding panel).

Here is the ballasting, starting on the left with the exit into the fiddle yard. This won’t be very visible as there is a view-blocking building to go to the left. Then to the right is the main area of work in the small goods yard. The finished area can be seen in Tuesday’s report below.

The last section of track that was not completed on Friday was laid in on the test track. The chipboard is really tough and easily bends the track pins used for fixing, even though we drill pilot holes.

Tuesday saw us split our forces – meetings both in the clubrooms and on Zoom

At the clubrooms Luke continued laying track on the 16.5 mm gauge running track, almost completing the second circuit.

On Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae LBH installed a field gate (where there had been a road) and Fred used his wizardry mixing and applying paints for the chairs.

Elsewhere Wagonman continued work on his O gauge Coal Tank, Paul🏅worked on mounting the Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae control panel and Andrew J assembled cassettes for Lyne Road, but all evaded our cameraman’s lens.

Meanwhile on Zoom we were occupied by some pictures of the S&DJR centred around Highbridge station and the works. Extra information came from MikeE (temporarily named S&Dnutcase) and the ever resourceful SteveB with signalling diagrams for the tricky situation where the S&D crossed the GW mainline on the level. Then SteveB presented a selection of his own photos from the early ’80s in a variety of locations.

Friday saw our annual Christmas Party / Running Track session.

Here is a selection of what ran on the main test track. The MR 0-4-4 T has been seen before but now had a chance at an extensive run which it did really well. Also stretching its legs was the streamlined railcar, a relatively new purchase. Below we see American stock from MikeE and a Heljan Mogul that has been in a box for quite a long time.

The evening ended with our traditional imbibing of cold tea.

Week-ending 15th December

Can you guess where the walnut is?


Mr Chairman has relaid the recalcitrant length of track on ABB and is applying the final touches before reballasting.

Having sorted out ABB MrC dug out a project box (© Bill Handy, 1982) containing a kit for a NBR GBV, which bearing a very close resemblance to an ADR GBV, will see service on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae.

Paul🏅 fitted a 16″ extension to the Fiddle Yard on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae.

And elsewhere on the FY LBH fitted the run-in for the cassettes

Tuesday and it was Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae‘s east fiddle yard’s turn to be extended. Here we see Paul🏅, ably assisted by Fred, adding the front board.

The ballasting hopefully complete now. The railhead looks weird because it has globules of water on it from the soaking spray. The board and white card protect the area around from the spray. Dilute PVA was applied from a well loaded brush. Next session the area will need a vacuum over and hopefully no extra material will be needed.

Wagonman has added more detail to his Coal Tank. The close up shows the springs in place behind the splasher and parts of the motion between the frames. There’s also handrails, ejector pipe, sandbox and pump since the last picture. The shot below shows the cab roof detailed with rainstrips and also has spring clips inside to hold it in place.


Friday. Luke, Ed and MrChairman progressing the tracklaying on the OO running track. We hope to have it ready for our Christmas do next week.

Later in the evening MrC was seen ballasting on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae

Week-ending 8th December

Monday and the saga of the uneven track continues. The replacement track is now stuck down in place with some good chunky weights to hold it in place and one of our long rulers checking alignment.

This time I remembered to solder on the wire droppers before sticking down. It would have been tricky and possibly damaging to solder them later so near the platform edge.

Having been turned to the dark side, Ed is building this 7mm scale GW brake van from a Parkside/Peco kit. It seems to be going well as no expletives or groans were heard as he worked on it.

Paul🏅and TAFKATYS took some unloved chipboard, cut a hole in the middle to provide a base for 16.5 mm gauge running track that will be able to accommodate OO, HO and O16.5, for example the recently acquired Lynton & Barnstaple stock

A bit of headscratching for LBH trying work out how to fit in a goods shed, intended to create a scenic break on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae. More here

Tuesday evening was a Zoom session being the first Tuesday of the month. The first item continued with the parcels train theme from the last session as Steve B ran us through pictures showing the huge variety of vans and lengths of train. Then Albyn presented some pictures and drawings on the delightful topic of corpse or coffin vans. We ended with part 2 of the ‘Guess the Station’ quiz from Luke. Working from maps with names blanked out plus the occasional photo we had to identify the location and sometimes give the station name. I drew a blank when it came to the Glasgow question and there were 3 points available there! Wagonman far excelled the rest of us, getting an unrivalled 26 points from a maximum possible 30.

Friday now and the tracklaying is nearing completion. The spirit level has the track level, confirmed by running a test wagon across the area. To achieve this the left pic shows the rail soldered directly to the sleeper. The sleeper was a bit too thick but the soldered joint is stronger and preferable. A cosmetic chair will cover this. On the right the gauges are holding the rail whilst the glue sets. Yes, I know there’s an extra chair, I usually have one threaded on in case any of the others break. It’ll be cut out later.

Week-ending 1st December

This website doesn’t just happen, you know. Here we see a training session on the new WordPress software we are using.

Monday saw LBH removing the BR insignia on a Dapol Pannier Tank in preparation for repainting in GWR colours. After the pic was taken the smokebox door number was removed and the tank vent straightened.

He used IPA and a sharpened coffee stirrer to remove the old transfers. Hopefully sometime we’ll see how that turns out, e.g. if any of the original transfer’s texture is visible.

Now, who can suggest a number of a Newport Pill-shedded Kerr Stuart-built pannier?

Tuesday and Wagonman was in attendance and continued working on his ex-LNWR Coal Tank in O gauge.

When LBH laid out the new bases for the cassettes on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae’s fiddle yard it became apparent that more space would be required to accommodate anything like a decent train so Paul🏅S set to to extend them by 15″. Here’s the start.

After ABB came back from the Farnham show we started investigating why coaching stock uncoupled in the main platform. Use of a straight edge showed a 2mm dip over 400mm. Not excessive but over the length of a coach enough to make the couplings separate. The baseboard itself is solid and there is a crossbeam underneath for support.

So the best solution is to lift the track. Next session will add some packing and then re-lay.

Friday saw Mr Chairman deftly replacing the formerly dipping section of track on ABB

And in case you were wondering what ‘rationalised resources’ as mentioned in last weeks update actually means. Here is Mr Chairman rationaliseing some PVA from one bottle into another.

Meanwhile LBH was messing about with the Fiddle Yard on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae.

Week-ending 24th November

Four at the club on Monday.

Paul (S) primarily and LBH worked on the baseboard and support modifications on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae. More pics here.

Rhobat continued with his building painting while Mr Chairman rationalised resources

Working from home Sam drawn and printed these GWR rail built stops.

Already they have piqued other members’s interests leading to queries if they can be produced to 4mm scale.

Morgan, woking on Shaftesbury Road and got all its points wired and working. It just needs tidying up…

Tuesday’s meeting was on Zoom and we had a pair on very interesting talks, first on Pre-grouping Scottish locos by Albyn, very well illustrated by his own collection of (primarily) 4mm scale modes resplendent in their independent company liveries. This was followed by a wide ranging overview on the stock on parcels trains over the last century.

Wednesday brought with it the Paul S had been presented a Platinum Jubilee medal in recognition of his services to the Queen. We also and a bit more progress to report on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae , PaulS brought along the assembled Fiddle Yard board for Lyne Road and Morgan started assembling the Fiddle Yard cassettes for Shaftesbury Road,

Friday Andrew J, Morgan and LBH spent a little while sorting it out who the various components for the cassettes on Lyne Road, Shaftesbury Road and Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae belong to.

Week-ending 17th November

Away from the clubrooms Sam has been working on this for a while. BLA wagons aren’t available in N either RTR or as a kit so he a go at drawing and 3D printing it himself. This was the second iteration having adjusted the bogie pivots to drop the ride height by 0.5mm. It runs well but will need loads to add enough weight. He also wants to move some of the print supports as they snapped the I beam detail when being removed.

Also at home Paul S has resolved a long-standing problem with the triangular supports (affectionately known as Toblerones) that we use on ABB and Pavilion End. They weren’t exactly the same height but with the aid of his circular saw Paul has got them all even.

Not only that but Paul has recycled a LMJ baseboard as Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae’s fiddle yard too.

Monday and we’re shifting what is left of the old LMJ baseboards closer to the doors and hopefully an early exit.

With an exhibition every month in the new year we have to make sure we have enough space available to work on each layout.

Tuesday sew a good turnout at the club.

LBH has started some re-modelling/vandalism on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae.

More of this week’s updates on Tŷ’n-y-Coedcae can be found here.


Wagonman’s ex-MR 1P is fast approaching completion.

Much too much done for another ‘spot the difference’!

More layout moves with Frecclesham being erected to allow some electrical maintenance.

Week-ending 10th November

We, Andrew N, Mr Chairman and LBH, were at the Missenden Modellers’ Weekend. to eat, drink and socialise. But some modelling was done as well!

Rod's workbench with ScaleSeven locos under construction
The chairman  counting stepboard supports for a coach

Here is Mr Chairman’s ex-H&B coach

LBH made a bit of progress with his B&MR Class 9 2-4-0T. After fabricating and fitting some filler caps it became apparent the holes weren’t in the right place, so they needed to be moved. Its chassis can be seen on its back on the shelf behind

Monday saw a few at the club, Paul S modifying an LMJ baseboard to provide a new Fiddle Yard for LBH’s new train set. Rhobat painting buildings and Mr Chairman and LBH recovering from the weekend.

Tuesday’s meeting was on Zoom and centred around Luke’s innovative proposal for a P4 layout (as yet too secret to divulge in public) and a series of fine pre-grouping images atom Mr Chairman

A reasonable turn out on Friday with half a dozen in attendance, but the activities proved to be camera-shy.

And in case you hadn’t spotted it the difference between the two images of Wagonman’s 0-4-4T was the addition of an ashpan.

Week-ending 3rd November

One more on the Monday this week – Paul S joined Rhobat and LBH. No pics I’m afraid, Rhobat was working on buildings and LBH and Paul pondered alterations to LBH’s S7 layout.

Tuesday night and maybe most of our members were out trick-or-treating as only four appeared at the club, however those who did got some useful work done. TAFKATYS continued with the electrics on Lyne Road and LBH started adding additional switches for the electro-magnets on his S7 layout (which may have lost its name) to allow operation from the front.

Wagonman continues with a scratchbuilt addition to his Ex-MR 1P 0-4-4T

Here are before and after pics – can you spot the difference? Answers on a postcard please to …..

All will be revealed next week.

Meanwhile Sam has been beavering away at home on Somerton. More of the story here

Morgan, too is busying himself at home, perhaps with a little help from granddad.

Friday the clubrooms are dark, with several members having other commitments that night.

Week-ending 27th October

Saturday and Sunday saw club members taking their layouts to the Cardiff Model Railway Exhibition.

Bernie took his EM layout, Orfe Quay, and TAFKATYS answered an eleventh hour call to provide a layout and took Bwthyn y Rhosod, seen here with Morgan assisting. Stephen Bell and Luke provided help on the Sunday, all tuned up at very short notice.

Monday and only to of us, Rhobat and LBH, made it to the club, Rhobat busied himself painting a laser-cut platform shelter and LBH pottered around with some wagon springs.

A better turnout on Tuesday, Mr Chairman made up trial 6′ section of O gauge cassette so that we can test its practicality for possible future fiddle yards while Luke brought a Lionheart Lynton and Barnstable Manning Wardle to the club which was much admired.

LBH assembled his new acquisition, a S7 layout built (very well too) by Ian Roll. Plans are to add a halt and give it a bit of a south Wales flavour. It may be rechristened Y Draethen.

Friday – The third-place place play-off in the Rugby World Cup was no impediment to many turning up on Friday.

Among other activities Luke discussed a fascinating suggestion for an entry in the Scalefour 1883 challenge (no spoilers on this website).

TAFKATYS installed the servos on Andrew J’s Lyne Road

LBH added droppers on to some Alex Jackson couplings on a few wagons.

Week-ending 20th October

An enjoyable weekend was spent in Aldershot for the Farnham & District Club‘s show. ABB was on show and compliments were heard about the effectiveness of the buildings and backscene.

Week-ending 13th October

Preparation work for the Aldershot exhibition was completed and ABB was set up on Friday evening, after the crew had taken a detour to visit the Watercress Line.

Week-ending 29th September 2023

With ABB’s next exhibition fast approaching much of the effort this week has been directed towards preparations- tweaking a new timetable, making the electronics more resilient, checking couplings, soak testing stock etc.

Bernie Baker was promoting Welsh interest at Scaleforum

LBH made some progress on warehouse to go behind the station building on ABB. Guttering, downpipes, surface finish to be finished.

Further discussions resulted in a decision to go with WordPress for getting a web site up and running again. It will be some while before it is fully functional.

Week-ending 22nd September 2023

Monday we were discussing whether WordPress would be suitable for our new web site: no conclusions were reached!

Rod was busy with a new building for ABB, Steve was up to electrickery, and Rhobat was working in a West Highland Railway platform building.

Tuesday we has a Zoom meeting largely given of to a proposal for a Running (not a Test) track combined with a model of Llanishen Station.

Weekend 19th and 20th August 2023

This weekend saw Pavilion End on show in Ross

Week-ending 18th August 2023

With the hangman’s noose hanging over the club website postings are drying to a trickle, but we do have this image of a fine crane, which Bernie has built for ABB

Week-ending 11th August 2023

An all-clubroom week.

A good turnout on Monday, but Tuesday only two stalwarts present. Pavilion End is still up prior to its visit to Ross next week. Found on it on Tuesday were the devilishly good ex-ADR No 34 Victory Tank 666 and a new Lowfit with (heavy) load.

Away from the clubrooms planning is underway for the enforced website migration.

Week-ending 29th July 2023

With the brass H&B coach progress has led to the sides now being fully laminated and joined to the inner box. Moving on to the ends the three layers here are together with the steps neatly fitting through from behind. 

By the end of Tuesday the ends were attached to the body and test fitting of handles done. They’ll be attached after painting

A cheer went up as Rhobat completed the final step on the Engine Shed. Here it is proudly displayed on ABB.

Finally, all the currently available coaches for the workman’s train are together on Pavilion End. The goods brake van is actually there to provide the Dingham
couplings at that end, though fictionally it is later used with the loco on a freight working. Eventually it will be replaced by the H&B coach.

And by Friday LBH had got this far with the Taff Vale van.

Week-ending 22nd July 2023

On Monday the Chairman brought along his Sentinel shunter destined for the factory on Pavilion End. This has been radio control fitted by TAFKATYS, Dinghams applied and a repaint from BR livery into some gaudy blue colour which looks worse in real life. The area where the BR emblem was removed stands out in the photo. This will require remedial work and maybe a nameplate. It was photographed away from the clubrooms.

The centrepiece of Tuesday’s meeting on Zoom was a presentation on Swansea Victoria station and discussion around its suitability os a prototype for an 7mm scale model.

LBH is still plodding on with his Iron Van and has got as far as adding the curly safety loops distinctive of the the TVR.

On Friday some more coaches for Pavilion End’s workman’s train arrived, courtesy of Wagonman. Unfortunately the other coach was away being detailed so we still haven’t seen the full formation. The 12t van at the front is to provide Dingham couplings.

Week-ending 15th July 2023

Above we have two more from Wagonman’s ‘Continental Selection Box’. The locomotive is from Fleischmann in 3.5 mm/ft scale running on TT track so a scale 1 metre gauge. The prototype is from the Bavarian Railways, built after 1880 and an example lasted in industrial use into 1964. The coach is from the rail way in the Harz Mountains that still operates as a tourist attraction up the Brocken mountain. This came up in discussions whilst we were at Welshpool last week.

Below are two progress reports, firstly Rhobat’s engine shed is getting close to completion with fiddly detailing being done today. The ridge tiles and chimney took a lot of time.

The Chairman’s workman’s coach (ex LBSCR) is also close to a finish. Here it is temporarily coupled to the autocoach for trialling.

Tuesday and Wagonman brought his Minerva D9500 Diesel Hydraulic for a run on Pavilion End and also another HO offering, this time a Bavarian Railways Mallett.

On Friday we needed to create some more space for moving LMJ boards around. We’d arlier decided that the largest and most awkwardly shaped board had to go. So board 13 also know as the Trouser Board was despatched. Thor’s trusty hammer was used in the process of course. The wood will be recycled and useful fittings were retrieved along with that stretch of mainline track.

Week-ending 8th July 2023

Monday saw four of us at the club, and with the hottest June on record over, the conditions in the clubroom were more pleasant. Wagonman has almost completed his Cambrian PBV, seen here on Pavilion End where it also proved useful in providing clearance checks should it be required to run passenger stock into the works (you never know!).

Tuesday night was Zoom night and we discussed the recent club survey on future club layouts, discussed various possibilities for signalling cable runs on ABB and indulged in a short picture survey of the GWR 517 Class.

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