Club Update - January 2017

Cross country express at Ulan Bataar, central Mongolia. Photo by Tony Richards.


With Christmas and the New Year’s celebrations safely out of the way, and with us all probably just a little festively plumper, you can forget any ideas of losing weight! This month’s edition will challenge you to both lose weight and then gain even more simultaneously, excite you with news of bookings for the 2017 exhibition, thrill you with information about the new opening hours and finally leave you in a frenzy of nervous exhaustion with details of the 2017 Dapol wagon commissions. 

And how will this be done ? Read on [but get some health insurance first]..... 

The next club open-night and the Dapol commissioned wagon launch 

Put this into your diaries because it is imminent! The Dapol wagons have arrived! 

The next open-night will be on the 2nd. February and will be held to launch the club’s 2017 wagon commissions. The Wagon-Meister, Noel Blows, will be attending with all of the colours and all of the sizes, so be sure to bring your wallets and help make this year’s enterprise a great success. A light buffet with drinks will be available from 7.15pm in the first floor Chapel room and wagon sales will take place in our clubroom. 

Of the wagons received, more than half have already been ordered, so a delay may be fatal! To remind you of the competitive pricing once again [and remember, these cannot be ordered from anywhere else]: 

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The above prices are, of course, for single wagons. So, be sure to attend and lose weight from your wallet but add pounds through the buffet....... 


There’s always something new in our website so be sure to catch up with developments on there. The Members’ Projects section includes an LNER Box Van build and a GWR coach re-build. Why not contribute something yourself too ? 

The 2017 Show section will be continuously updated from now to show layouts attending and traders booked. 


A quick note to let you know that Marcus Lambert has resigned his membership after some years with us. Marcus cited working in Cardiff as the main reason but we may still see him from time-to-time. 

Extended Wednesday opening 

Just before Christmas I contacted all members with e-mail to advise that we were strongly considering extending the opening hours on Wednesdays, following many requests to do so. The e-mail asked whether any member would be prepared to help with a Wednesday locking-up rota to enable this to happen and well over 80 e-mails were sent. A hugely disappointing 9 replies were received: somewhat fewer than the number of requests I had received to keep the club open for longer in the first place. 

However, eight members have now come forward to offer their services for locking up: Noel Blows, Steve Giffard, Mike Brook, David Williams, Ted Hylton, Phil Skinner, Rober Bowen and myself. Consequently, for an initial 3 month trial period, commencing on the 1st February, the club will open formally at 2.30pm and close absolutely no later than 9pm. The ‘lockers-up’ will attend by 6.30pm and may close earlier if no members remain until 9pm. They will not be responsible for opening-up however, that will fall to those who currently undertake this task. If the plan is successful, it will become permanent after the trial period has elapsed. 

Members wishing to avail themselves of this development should also note: 

The club may well be open earlier than 2.30pm on Wednesday. This cannot be guaranteed however and consequently, if you do not have keys and arrive early, you may have to wait for someone else to arrive. 

Remember to use the club’s mobile phone number [posted on the ground- floor door] if you find you cannot gain entrance. Be patient though, sometimes it is not heard. I’d also ask members who hear the phone ringing [in the club room] to answer it: sometimes this does not happen. 

So, we have managed to provide a positive response to your wish for extended hours. Be aware though that new initiatives sometimes present teething problems and do be prepared to be patient. I’d also like to thank my seven colleague ‘lockers- up’ for agreeing to be part of a one-week-in-eight rota: this extra commitment is really appreciated. 

Friday opening plan 

Some good news here, too... 

You’ll remember from both the last newsletter and Noel Blows’ comments at the AGM that the possibility of opening on Friday afternoons was being considered to enable modellers from a wider area to attend: we were hoping particularly to attract modellers from further west in Wales, where clubs are few and quite small. 

After further discussion, it has been agreed that from Friday the 24th. of February, and then on the last Friday of each month for a 3 month trial period [which may be extended to 6], the club will be open from 11am to 5.00pm to enable distant guests to attend. At around 12.30pm, soup and a roll will be provided for those attending. Visitors will have access to all of the club’s facilities and we are hoping that this initiative will bring in new members who themselves will contribute to club developments. 

Noel Blows has agreed to co-ordinate efforts and contact potential guests from further west. You will be kept updated via this newsletter. 

Club room development 

For those who have yet to see it, Mal Rowe recently donated a flat-screen TV/DVD player to the club and Steve Giffard has installed it in the club room. It works well and many thanks both for your contributions. 

The Thursday locking-up rota 

This is due to expire in a week or two and I shall prepare a new one for circulation within the week. When you receive it, please read it carefully to take note of your day’s duty. Thanks all. 

The 2017 show – who’s coming so far... 

First of all, I am delighted to announce that Oxford Diecast has once again agreed to sponsor our show. Its support is really appreciated and will contribute hugely towards our success. Many, many thanks Oxford.

Scott Rhodes and David Lane are now booking the layouts and the traders respectively: both have been really busy chasing commitments to attend and, for traders so far, it looks as though we have Ray Heard [quality O and OO kits and r-t-r], Squires [extensive tools and sundries] and the Hereford Model Centre [r-t-r]. More to follow of course. 

For exhibitors, amongst others booked we have the Soar Valley MRC’s huge ‘OO’ exhibition layout ‘Dorehill St Stevens’ as the signature exhibit [if you ‘Google’ Soar Valley MRC, you’ll find videos of it easily. It’s impressive and requires a large team to run it] and ‘Blower’s Green’, a large ‘O’ gauge BR blue diesel-era layout. More to follow, too. 

Sweeping up 

It has been noted on a number of occasions that controllers have been left ‘live’ or even ‘on’ after use, and have been left like this for several days. Please ensure that you pull the plug if you are the last person to leave the layout room at locking- up time. The risk of fire, however small, is always to be avoided. Thank you. 

Work is proceeding in earnest on the club’s large ‘O’ gauge layout, ‘Kingston’. Given the scale [both ‘O’ and its sheer size!], ‘Kingston’ will take a mighty effort to complete. If any members wish to be involved with this interesting layout, in either the buildings or scenery aspects, or even helping with the electrics, please do contact Noel Blows or Scott Rhodes. 

And Hywel Trick has advised that he has been provided with off-cuts of both Daler Board-type mounting card and 3/5mm plastic sheet off-cuts by ‘House of Frames’ and ‘Charterbrook Signs’. These materials are ideal for model making and for the two companies they are little more than industrial waste. The companies have indicated that they can supply more and if anyone is interested in this offer, please contact Hywel Trick for more information. A generous gesture... 

Finally, the diary update... 

  • February 1st - Wednesday late opening commences
  • February 2nd – open night and launch of 2017 wagon commission 
  • February 24th – Friday opening for distant modellers commence

Best wishes all.

Mongolian State Railways 2-10-0 No. L-3167 plinthed at Ulan Bataar Railway Station, Mongolia [Trans-Mongolian Railway]. Photo by Tony Richards.

The manufacturer’s plaque. Photo by Tony Richards.

The manufacturer’s plaque. Photo by Tony Richards.