Club Update - May 2017

Yet another bleak day on Snowdon. Photo by Tony Richards.


Congratulations to the Railway Modeller magazine which, after nearly 70yrs. of publication, has just celebrated its 800th edition. With a good number of model railway magazines having fallen by the wayside during that time [remember Model Railway Constructor and Miniature Railway Modelling?], this is no mean feat and it remains the largest selling magazine in the hobby.

We haven’t been in print for quite that long but we are always full of developments too and this edition is no different. The lead story this month involves our next commission for private owner coal wagons. We stay with our south Wales colliery theme but the next run will be truly different and very ambitious. I have also included some requests for members to volunteer some time and help with one or two projects. Read on....

SRMG’s private owner wagons commissions

First of all, the current commissioned pair of wagons has sold both well and quickly: there are no more O or OO gauge wagons left and only 10 pairs of N gauge wagons remain unsold. Pretty much everything has gone in under 4 months and with orders still being received for the sold-out gauges, it shows the importance of getting in there early!

This exercise has been extremely beneficial for the club in terms of both boosting our image nationally and raising much-needed funds. SRMG remains unique too in commissioning wagons in all 3 gauges: we lead where I am sure others will eventually follow.

Before turning to ‘what next’, it would be extremely remiss not to thank Noel Blows for the unstinting effort he has given to ensuring that all of our commissions have been successful. Without his entrepreneurial effort, none of this would have happened.

So, ‘what next’ indeed?

The third SRMG limited-run commission, now approved by your Committee, will be bigger and better than before. Again in all 3 gauges and timed to be released for our 2017 annual show, Noel will be working with Dapol to produce the ‘Tirdonkin Trio’, a triple set of wagons used by the Tirdonkin colliery during the early years of the 20th. Century. The photographs shown below [apologies for the rather poor quality] illustrate 2 of the wagons to be produced.

Tirdonkin colliery was situated to the north of Swansea and had, in fact, a rail link directly to the Cwmfelin Steel and Tin-Plate works. Consequently, these wagons would have been seen at various times very close to the Club’s buildings: a nice connection.

All 3 wagons will be produced in liveries as close to the originals as possible: 2 in shades of red and 1 in black. Obviously, all 3 will also have different running numbers. Once again, whilst pricing has yet to be finally agreed, the cost in each gauge will remain competitive.

Special packaging to hold all 3 wagons [at least in OO gauge] is being explored. Further information on this exciting development will be provided as it becomes available.

Extended opening times

As most of you will know, the Club opens on the last Friday of each month [11.00 – circa 3.30-4.00] to allow visitors from other parts of south and west Wales to attend. Free soup and a roll is provided at around noon. Whilst take-up rates have been slow to develop, the Club has attracted a new member through this and it has been decided to continue this once-a-month venture for the foreseeable future.

Volunteers are needed however to man the layouts and run stock to show-case what we have. St David’s Wells and Elsbridge need operating as, currently, everything tends to centre on the test tracks. This will require your time for only a few hours once a month. If you could assist, it would be very much to the Club’s benefit and it would be appreciated, too. Please let Noel Blows or myself know if you are able to assist and note that the next Friday event will be on the 26th. May. Thank you.

Pontypridd model railway show

I recently received an e-mail from David Gwyer, the Assistant Curator at Pontypridd Museum, advising that the museum will be hosting a model railway exhibition on the 25th & 26th of November, 2017. David is enquiring whether any members with portable layouts would like to exhibit at the show. He is inviting expressions of interest and can be contacted at:

I can think of several members who have exhibitable layouts: over to you......

A school boy memory...

Seeing the photograph of the Great Western Railway ticket at the foot of the last newsletter, Club member John Grey collared me the other day with some memories of travelling to school by train. Training in daily from Redland to Lawrence Hill stations in Bristol, his late 1950s season tickets were still taken from Great Western Railway old stock, more than 10 years after the company had ceased to exist. He provided photographs for the newsletter:

John remembers often being late for his train home after school and watching a King-hauled ‘Bristolian’ flying through Lawrence Hill under full throttle. A 125 today doesn’t quite do it though, does it?

Club security

The recently installed CCTV in the lift and foyer area has already proved its value. Ted Hylton called at the Club recently to collect some items and found the entrance door unlocked although the club was empty. Not knowing who had ‘visited’ and rightly concerned about security, he asked for the CCTV to be checked.

When viewed, the recording showed two individuals, not Club members, entering and leaving the premises. Not a problem this time as they were legitimately installing fire extinguishers [although unknown to ourselves]. However, the premises were left unlocked and so insecure. This has been taken up with FOYD.

The planned stock sale

Remember that this is on the Thursday the 8th June [so do your voting first !]. It is possible that the commission side of the sale will be larger than thought also as we may be offered more stock to sell [the vendor is currently deciding].

However, for the members’ sale [no commission charged so it all goes straight into your pocket!], I need to know who will be selling and how much stock you would like to dispose of. Without this information I cannot determine how many tables we will need to supply. Please do not delay on this: let me know no later than Thursday 1st. June. It is planned that the sale will be held in the old Chapel room on the first floor. This will be confirmed.

Also remember please that you will be solely responsible for manning your stall and taking your money; the Club cannot accept responsibility for this aspect of the sale. Thank you.

Suggestion box

It was recently proposed that we install a Suggestions Box for members’ use [politely, please!], to involve you all more in the running of the Club. The best place for this would seem to be in the signing-in area and a box will be sourced as soon as possible to enable this to go forward. If anyone has a suitable box however, and they are prepared to donate it, please do let me know.

All suggestions will receive attention and results from discussion around them will appear in the newsletter.

Test track for show

Steve G is looking for volunteers who might wish to develop, improve or just use their skills in assisting with the build of a basic test track for use at the annual show. This would enable show visitors to test any stock that they have purchased and this type of facility has proved very popular at other shows. It is likely that the build will take place on Wednesdays because of space constraints on Thursdays. If you are interested in helping, please contact Steve directly.

Kingston and South Dock O gauge layouts

Both of these large projects urgently require volunteers also. Scott Rhodes for Kingston and Ted Hylton for South Dock are the people to contact. Typically, assistance is needed with building scenery, buildings and platforms, laying ballast, assisting with electrics, etc.

Again, both of these projects provide opportunities for working in the ‘Senior Scale’ [as they like to think...!] whilst also helping to develop general modelling skills. Working in O gauge is most definitely not limited to those who run in O gauge. Give it a thought.

The 2017 Club Show

The Exhibition Manager [David Lane] has asked me to repeat this item from the last two newsletters:

  • Stewards for the 2017 show.

‘...If any member is interested in volunteering to be a show steward, please contact David 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. 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...’.

It really is important that we are able to steward the show efficiently. I am sure that convenient rotas can be devised to suit those who can only offer the odd couple of hours so do not be put off by the notion of it requiring a whole weekend’s commitment. Thank you.

Finally, the diary update...

  • 26th. May 2017 – next Friday monthly-opening event
  • 8th. June 2017 – members’ and commission stock sale

Best wishes all.