Well, February. A thoroughly damp and miserable month. And one in which an inevitable frost did no favours for my daffodils and hyacinths which had flowered unseasonably early. But my garden woes are nothing compared to Hornby’s latest worries, with a departed Chief Executive and predicted massive losses doing little to foster market optimism. None of this was a surprise to those in the trade, but one hopes that Hornby will remain on track and not go the way of so many other iconic British companies.
However, whatever fate befalls Hornby, it is really good to see a Swansea company – Oxford Rail – making a strong new entry into the model railway market with their recently well-received Adams’ Radial tank and news too of their plan to release a detailed, loco-driven 2301 Class Dean Goods later this year [something for which GWR modellers have been clamouring for years]. Oxford will be just one of the traders present at the SRMG National Waterfront Museum show later this year: a Swansea company with Great Western plans and who are also sponsoring our exhibition, that’s three reasons to actively support them !
The Club’s wagon commission
February has also seen continued planning for the proposed SRMG/Dapol limited edition 7-plank coal wagon in the livery of Harry D Evans and Rogers, local coal factors. The Rogers concerned was Philip Rogers, the grandfather of John Rogers, one of our club members. The model will be available in O, OO and N gauges and further details will follow [watch the club noticeboard to order one / some]. This commission is a significant development for the club and I am sure that strong member support will follow.
A photograph of the wagon is shown below to illustrate the livery, a sign- writer’s nightmare !
I mentioned in the last newsletter a need to amend standing orders to reflect the recent £5 uplift in club subs [the first increase for over ten years]. A number of members have still to arrange this and it would be appreciated if this could be attended to as soon as possible. Please pay any £5 arrears due in cash to the club Treasurer. Many thanks, and I’m sure that you’ll understand the importance of this in terms of club finances and planned developments.
The last newsletter mentioned that two outings are being planned for this year, one in April and the other [to Didcot and Pendon] later in the Autumn. The date for the April event has now been finalised, Tuesday 12th. April, and the venue will be the 25 mile round-trip Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.
As a 37 seat coach has been hired for the April event, early booking would be advisable. The cost will be £30 per head, the price including coach travel and an ‘All Day Rover’ ticket allowing repeated travel throughout the line with booked seats on the first train out of Cheltenham station.
The coach will depart promptly from FOYD at 7.30am with a 5.00pm departure from Cheltenham to return home. A booking deposit of £10 is required, to be paid to the Treasurer by Thursday 24th March. The balance will be required by Thursday 7th April. Please contact David Williams for further information [his photograph is on the members’ board in the lift foyer].
If you wish to travel, please put your name on the booking form on the Test Tracks room notice board.
For those who are unaware, the library recently received a large donation of books and other publications from club member John Hammond [for which many thanks, John]. The library is situated just beyond St David’s Wells and contains a large collection of books covering ‘The Big Four’ as well as British Railways. Members may borrow books as they wish. Current editions of the Welsh Railways Research Circle’s Journals and Newsletters are available there also. The current newsletter contains an interesting short article on the collapse of Cockett Tunnel in 1899.
Just two items to update you on this month......
a new member to be welcomed, Tim Bull [Mumbles]. Tim’s interests lie in G Gauge and 4mm. Be sure to introduce yourselves when you see him.
Nick Kerslake reports that around 50% of the data protection forms he recently distributed have yet to be returned. Could all outstanding be returned, signed, to Nick asap please. Thanks.
The club has recently invested in two new items of essential equipment for those who wish to build locomotive chassis in OO: a wheel press / quartering jig and a wheel / worm puller. Whilst these may be signed-out by members, they were very expensive items and so will not be left in the club’s tool box. Please see me if you wish to borrow them.
Hywel Trick also built and supplied an effective wheel cleaner for HO / OO use [but not for use with traction tyres please !!]. He is currently making further wheel cleaners for N, O and G gauge use. These should be available for use by the time that you read this. If you have any questions about their use, please contact Hywel in the club.
Also from Hywel is this note :
‘...just a reminder that you can have your very own china mug at the club. Order forms are now available for personalised mugs which can show your name and, if you wish, a photograph of your favourite loco.
Many have ordered their own already but we need a minimum order of 10 to obtain the special price of £4.50. If you are interested, complete an order form and pass it to Hywel...’.
Just the thing to accompany your club sweat shirt and apron !
Child and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Guidelines
This was mentioned in the last newsletter but you may be wondering why a railway club needs this.
As a hobby group, and one which does not employ staff to undertake any form of membership supervision, members are not required to undertake Criminal Records Bureau checks. Good practice suggests that to ensure that the club promotes the safety and best interests of children and potentially vulnerable others at all times, some form of guidance is in place however and is available to all members.
The Committee agreed with this suggestion and, noting that our membership is now very nearly 100, and diverse in terms of age and ability, a policy and guidance statement has been agreed by the Committee for immediate implementation.
If you have any questions about this please raise them with a Committee member.
At the last AGM it was agreed that a gauge rep. would be elected to represent each of the gauges modelled in Committee meetings. This has worked to an extent but given the number of layouts, the different speed of their development and the fact that not all of the members involved are always available, communication has been difficult. The Chair and others have had to rely on e-mail / letters to try to advise all of developments / expectations and whilst all of the members involved have been covered, that too has not been effective. Consequently, the Committee has now agreed a different procedure......
Gauge reps. will no longer exist and in their place each layout / build will elect its own ‘shed master’. David Lane has been co-opted onto the Committee to chair the Layout Control sub- committee which the various shed masters will attend. He will convene a meeting of shed masters in due course to explain the role and purpose of the sub-committee but, in essence, its function is three-fold:
- To ensure that all proposed builds are costed and fully planned prior to gaining sanction and funding to proceed
- To provide the Committee with a regular update in terms of progress and spend, and highlight any difficulties or unforeseens which may impact on developments
- To ensure that builds proceed within budget and do not involve unapproved expenditure
This may seem to some a sledge- hammer to crack a walnut. However, with five builds currently taking place [and at least one likely to be extremely expensive], the risk to club funds of unplanned or uncontrolled expenditure is substantial. By costing everything as far as possible in advance, and then working within approved budgets, much of this risk can be avoided.
Community Support Initiative
Club member Phil Skinner is keen to develop links with the Swansea Autistic Society to allow some of its members the opportunity of visiting the club and drive trains / see trains running. Planning for this is at a very early stage and it is tentatively envisaged that group visits would be monthly and at a time to suit the club.
Visitors would be accompanied by their own carers but volunteers from within our membership are being sought to give time and help with the running of trains, etc.
Please think about whether you could assist Phil in this worthy venture. If you think that you could, contact him directly: he’s with us most Thursdays.
There’ll be more to come on this in due course.
FOYD Summer Fête
Volunteers are needed ! But not for anything onerous.......
The FOYD fête is on the 9th July this year. We usually run trains in the club for their visitors and it’s good to have as many layouts functioning as possible. If you can spare the time it would be good to have you involved – it’s a chance to show off your best rolling stock to a wider audience and it helps us to contribute towards making the fête a good day for FOYD.
Make a note of the date and more on this in due course.
2016 Modelling Competition
As an update to the item on this in the last newsletter, on the 8th. April the competition cups will be presented by the club’s President, Jim Law.
Jim is the longest serving member of SRMG and was the founder of one of its constituent groups nearly 20 years ago. Jim has supported the club with great generosity over the years but is now unable to attend as regularly as he would like because of poor health. Inviting Jim to present the awards at the competition night will allow him to view the progress made in recent months and for those of you who have yet to meet him, the 8th. April will be your opportunity to do so
Railway Modeller Magazine Article
An unmissable opportunity to publicise the club to a potential audience of some 40,000 has arisen as a consequence of Ted Hylton recently meeting Steve Flint, the editor of Railway Modeller magazine. Steve commented favourably about the quality of our website and the fact that it was routinely updated – something not all clubs bother to do these days. He was also interested in our continuous growth, again something which seems to be bucking the trend.
The upshot of the discussion was an invitation for us to provide him with 500 words about the club and its facilities.
The article is well in hand and the publication date – when known – will be circulated to all.
If you have not looked in recently – and you should ! – new articles include an excellent review of some new Heljan O gauge ballasting wagons by Richard Grigg, an article by Michael Sarsfield on helpful tips for painting figures and some updated photographs taken by Gwion Davies.
But do remember, it’s your website. If you’d like to submit an article or review, or show photographs of a model you’ve made, speak to either Gwion or myself. And if you don’t know who we are, our photographs are on the lift foyer notice board !
Locking up on Thursday nights works well because we have a rota: all those with keys take a turn but as there are now so many of you, your turn will be infrequent to say the least !
The current rota expires in late March and I shall prepare a new one once I have received an up to date list of key holders. This will be e-mailed to you and placed on the notice board adjacent to Elsbridge. In the meantime, watch this space !
I know that all members will join me in sending our very best wishes to John Hammond who is currently recovering at home following a significant operation. We hope that your recovery is successful and look forward to
seeing you back in the club one day soon John.
- March 1st - Club lecture – ‘The Gwili Railway’
- April 12th - Club excursion – Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
- April 28th - Last submission of models for modelling competition
- April 29th - Open night and judging of modelling competition
- July 9th - FOYD Summer Fête
- October 1st & 2nd - SRMG Annual Exhibition at the NWM
Best wishes all !