Club Update - September 2017

Vale of Rheidol Number 8. Built by the GWR at Swindon Works in 1923 and at one time named 'Llywelyn'.

Photo By Tony Richards


As the last newsletter to go out before our annual show, no-one should forget the weekend of the 7th and 8th October! Much hard work has gone into planning this event and whilst there have been some small changes in terms of the traders and exhibitors attending, our website now has what [we hope!] will be the definitive list of who will be there.

Fliers and posters have been left all over Swansea [and well beyond], and adverts have now appeared in all of the major railway modelling magazines. The Evening Post will carry a notice a little closer to the date. If any of you can think of any other suitable locations for posters, please let Scott Rhodes know urgently. Swansea Sound has been covered, as has the DVLC, a number of supermarkets, County Hall and most libraries.

If you would like to donate a raffle prize for the show, please speak to Scott Rhodes.

The success of the show will mean success for the club and the certainty of another big event next year. Bring a friend with you!!

A thank you.... member John Rogers for providing a key for the donated O gauge clockwork Hornby tank mentioned in the last newsletter.

The Tirdonkin wagon commission

Notices have now been placed in a number of national magazines concerning the current wagon commission. The October edition of the ‘Railway Modeller’ carries a particularly prominent article which includes the artwork for all three wagons. The upshot is that almost 40% of the commission has already been sold, evidencing that interest in this set is strong.

Noel Blows will provide those members who have already paid for their wagons with their stock at the club on Thursday the 5th. October. If you want to get in on the act, move quickly and pay up!

O gauge developments within the club

For some time now there has been discussion amongst club members regarding the expense and the future of ‘South Dock’ and ‘Kingston’, the club’s two developing O gauge layouts. Comments have also been left in the suggestion box and I have been contacted by individual members with requests to explain the status of both layouts. This matter was discussed in detail at the September Committee meeting and the following should clarify matters and, hopefully, allay members’ concerns.


It is recognised that the majority of the original project members have withdrawn and a sufficiently large building team no longer existed. There has been progress however and Malcolm Shore and David Williams have worked diligently over the past few weeks to wire the existing track, a particularly complicated task because of the complexity of the Markway set-piece junction. This work is nearly complete and thank you both for working hard on this matter.

Kingston currently has no Shed Master. Malcolm Shore has volunteered to take on this role – and many, many thanks for this Mal – but he clearly cannot undertake the build alone. He will act as Shed Master however as long as other club members – and particularly those who model or wish to model in O gauge – assist in Kingston’s development. O gauge modellers within the Committee have agreed to support him and now look to others within the club to assist.

Kingston is unlikely to require any great additional expenditure: some track will be required and another controller. The scenic attention should not demand a great outlay however. What is required is committed assistance from not just the surprisingly large number of members who already have O gauge stock but also those who have general scenic development skills [it is not necessary to be an O gauge modeller in other words]. But, if you have O gauge stock and you wish to run it on a large, well laid layout, step up to the plate.

We will review the progress of Kingston again in a few months: its future is entirely predicated on members’ involvement however so please do come forward.

South Dock

South Dock was a brave attempt to build an outstanding exhibition layout illustrating Swansea’s maritime history throughout the years and featuring shunting and goods movements through Swansea’s South Dock in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

It still requires a great deal of work to bring to completion and an estimated £1500- £2000 to achieve this. As with Kingston, the number of members actively involved in its construction has dwindled and it is far too ambitious a project for one or two to complete in a reasonable time scale.

But a further serious and, frankly, terminal problem for South Dock is its sheer size: it will always be far too large to assemble within the club and storage will become an increasingly more difficult issue to resolve.

Consequently, after discussion within the September Committee meeting, it was agreed that no further resources would be committed to South Dock. At his request, its project leader will be allowed to purchase it to continue its development elsewhere in due course.

The club will not be disadvantaged in terms of the selling price and negotiations are currently underway to ensure a settlement which is fair to both the club and the purchaser. There will be no ‘fire sale’.

Whilst lessons have since been learned with regard to the development of large and ambitious projects, in fairness to the proposer, he was given full support by the Committee of the day. As ever though, hind-sight is a wonderful thing.....

Hopefully, these notes will now manage the concerns raised by a number of members over the club’s O gauge developments.

The recent Gwili Railway outing

Michael Sarsfield has provided me with a note of the above for inclusion in this newsletter. The following is a summary....

‘...On August the 11th, 13 club members, with friends and families, went to the Gwili Steam Railway to sample their cream tea and visit the new part of the line [which was opened on the 1st of July 2017].

The day went very well with the rain staying away for a change! The group was able to learn more history about the line from fellow Gwili/SRMG members Richard Grigg and Mike Sarsfield. The loco for the day was Welsh Guardsman and, on this rare occasion, members were treated to have on the footplate the railway’s first female fireman, Jemma Laurence, who had only passed earlier that week.

Everyone who came enjoyed themselves and said that they would come again to support this local line. I would recommend anyone to come along to either the cream teas or other days to visit the Gwili Steam Railway. It really is worth a day out!...’.

Thanks for this note Michael. I know from other’s comments that the trip was enjoyed. Maybe you could keep the club informed about other events?

Friday opening

A brief note to advise that this month’s Friday lunchtime opening will take place on Friday the 29th September.

The Christmas Do

I’ve been asked to remind all members who wish to attend this event but who have yet to sign up to put their names on the form on the notice board.

The locking-up rota for the balance of September and October


Wednesday lockers-up please note that the new rota commences on the 4th. October. A four month rota will be sent out shortly but please note your October duties below. Thank you.

Finally, diary date reminders...

  • Annual show 7th&8th October
  • Next stock sale 26th October

Best wishes all