Club Update - February-March 2017

A moody Snowdon Mountain Railway, Photo by Tony Richards


A combined issue this month: unfortunately, poor health [man flu] prevented February’s edition arriving at your screens but there’s a lot in today’s issue, as well as a reminder that this month is competition month. Details of the event are given below.


There’s always something new in our website so be sure to catch up with developments on there. The Members’ Projects section includes a recent brief account of building a ‘OO’ Victorian GWR coach. Why not contribute something yourself too? Speak to Gwion Davies if you have something which you’d like to share with other members.


Many of you will already know Alison and Phil John from the open nights that we hold. Alison provides the excellent catering, ably assisted by her husband Phil. What you probably don’t know however is that Alison and Phil give their time to these events at absolutely no cost, and have done so for many years, contributing significantly to their success. To recognise their generous support, the Club has given both Honourary Life Membership and we look forward to seeing them around the Club more regularly in the future.

Extended opening times

Extending the opening times on Wednesdays has proved to be a popular development and the numbers attending [and the length of time that they stay] are increasing week-by-week. Although extended Wednesdays have been running for only a few weeks, experience has shown that it can be now made permanent. The rota for locking-up on Wednesday nights ends at the end of May: at that time I’d like to include some more names to the rota to help share the load more fairly. If you would like to assist, please let me know.

The plan to open to distant modellers on the last Friday of each month has met with a little less success although it has only run for one Friday so far. The plan is to continue with the pilot for another three or so months to see whether demand is sufficient to justify its continuation. The next Friday to open will be the 31st. March. Members are also welcome to attend and run stock [between 11.00am. and 4.30pm. approx.] and have a cup of soup for lunch. If visitors bring their own stock to run however, please give way to them.

Locking-up at the end of the night on both Wednesdays and Thursdays has become an issue again however. If you are rota’d for this duty on either day, please be sure that you remain as the last man in the building or, if you are unable to attend, arrange cover for yourself. Thank you.

The current private owner wagons commission
[and another matter !]

Noel Blows reports that sales are proceeding well and many will have seen the recent short article about the pair [with photographs] in the recent Railway Modeller. This has resulted in further sales [as did a note in both the N Gauge Society and The Welsh Railway Research Council journals]. The numbers remaining unsold are now diminishing rapidly: if you have not yet secured yours but still wish to purchase, you are advised to do so quickly. Once gone, these wagons will not be re-released for many years.

Strong consideration is also being given to a further local wagon commission this year, to coincide with and be launched at our 2017 show and, so, be available to a much larger customer group than our ‘normal’ commissions are. This will require a properly costed budget plan and Committee approval before it can proceed but if it goes ahead, it will be a quite special and interesting development. Further news in due course...

The 2017 modelling competition

Now just days away, all entries must be in for judging by 6.30pm on Thursday the 30th. March 2017. To remind you again of the categories, they comprise:

  •   Kit-built models
  •   Scratch-built or very heavily modified ready-to-run models
  •   Dioramas or Micro-layouts in any gauge [max 4ft x 2ft]

The rules governing entries were contained in the October/November 2016 newsletter and they will apply on the day. If anyone still requires a copy of the rules, please e-mail me and I will forward you the original update.

For the night of the competition, the test tracks will be closed for use [entirely] and covered for the first two categories to be displayed on [as in preceding years]. Dioramas and Micro-layouts will need to be displayed in the large room at the other end of the top floor. All entries should be accompanied by a note explaining exactly what they are but omitting the modeller’s name so that they remain anonymous. Voting slips will be distributed for members to make their judgements as last year. Winners and Runners-Up will be announced towards the end of the evening and cups presented [although engraved plaques for the cups, with names, will follow at a later date]. Gwion will be there with his camera and details of winning entries will appear in the next newsletter.

Finally, whilst the Test tracks will be closed, all other layouts will be in operation. It has also been suggested that winning entries should be displayed on the Club stand at our 2017 show.

Come on – make this one a good one and spoil us for choice...

The ‘Suburbia’ mixed-gauge layout

Currently languishing in the ‘Cwmfelin Parkway’ room is a rather sorry-looking and generally under-used ‘Suburbia’. Given its current state and limited use, it has been suggested that the Club now disposes of this layout to both free-up valuable space and also ensure that we only keep what we actually need. The Test Tracks will soon see improvements in terms of switchable analogue/DCC running on the existing ‘OO’ tracks [initially] and ‘St David’s Wells’ continues to be available for ‘OO’ use also [including the interesting turntable/engine shed area, a shunter’s paradise]. Consequently, disposing of ‘Suburbia’ might not be seen as a loss or a reduction in facilities.

However, your Committee decided that before taking a decision on this matter, members’ views should be canvassed first. If any member feels that ‘Suburbia’ should be retained, please e-mail me with your views [or speak to me at the club] no later than the 10th. April 2017. All views provided will be given to the Committee before any decision is taken.

Club security

Whilst there have been no further reports of doors left open, equipment left on or items removed, this matter has been discussed a number of time at Committee and, recognising that sooner-or-later a problem may arise again, a solution has been agreed.

FOYD installed CCTV throughout the public parts of the lower building some time ago although, for ourselves, this did not provide particularly useful cover as the lift areas were unseen and so not recorded. Consequently, individuals can enter the building and use the lift to access the top floor without being seen entering our premises. We have now been lucky enough to have been offered a very special rate for CCTV coverage of the lift landing area and are extremely grateful to Steve G for arranging this. The plan is for two cameras to be installed by the lift on the top floor, one each to cover entry into both ends of the club. Notices will be placed adjacent to the camera areas advising of their existence and there would only be any need to examine recordings should there have been an incident of some sort. There will be absolutely no general access to recordings.

Members will be advised when work will commence on installation.

The 2017 Club Show

The Exhibition Manager [David Lane] has asked me to include a number of items in the current newsletter:

Stewards for the show.

If any member is interested in volunteering to be a show steward, please contact David later in April to advise of your offer. A number will be required to cover the two days and details of the role will be provided by David on application [he’s currently on leave]. Stewards will receive free entry to the show and also have their parking charges refunded. Ten stewards will be required to work shifts over the two days.

Advertising in the show brochure

Should any members know of any traders who might be persuaded to buy advertising in the show brochure, please contact that person to secure their interest/agreement and provide David with details of who we should then write to, to firm up the agreement.

Finally, the diary update...

Thursday 30th March – modelling competition
Friday 31st. March – Friday opening for distant visitors

Best wishes all.