Club Update - March 2018

An absolute beast: 4-8-4 express locomotive [1952], Madrid Railway Museum.


An extremely active month approaches for the Club: an outing to the Severn Valley Railway, the annual modelling competition, a lecture on coal and the railways in south Wales and a small stock sale. During early April, major redevelopment work will commence on the Test Tracks too, probably the single biggest project undertaken within the Club since we knocked down the walls and combined two rooms to create the Test Tracks in the first place. The update on the Test Tracks is the main item in the March newsletter in fact and hopefully will answer any questions that you have about the project. There will, inevitably, be a little disruption to normal Club activities but this will be kept to an absolute minimum. Any questions not answered below, just ask!

The Test Tracks

The Test Tracks enjoy near continuous use when the Club is open and for many the tracks are the reason that they are members. They are now quite old however and following complaints from users that the track-work was becoming worn out and the boards had warped badly in a number of places, leading to frequent derailments and stoppages, it was decided to completely redevelop the area.

The proposal is for a complete re-build leading to 1 O-gauge, 7 or 8 OO-gauge and 4N-gauge tracks with purpose-built, self-contained controllers and analogue/DCC compatibility throughout.

All of this will not come cheap and a budget of up to £2000 has been agreed for the work to go forward. This does not mean that all of the £2000 will actually be spent [it is not a target!] but the budget does allow for the potential resolution of unforeseen problems as until the track has been lifted and the ply boards removed, it will not be known just how much rebuilding of the main framing will be required. It is planned to lift the existing track very carefully and we anticipate that at least 50% of it will be reusable [and possibly more, but that will be down to luck].

So, when will the project start and how long will it take?

The project team, led by Mal Rowe, will start lifting track on Friday the 6th. April. Removal of the ply boards will follow [they will be replaced by boards of twice the thickness] and then adjustment, any required repair to and bracing of the main frames will follow. Once the frames are felt to be satisfactory, the new boards will be laid and painted and track-laying can then re-commence. This will be a big job and members need to see the Test Tracks as being out of use for at least the whole of April. However, running facilities will still exist and for N, Ashcombe and Cwmfelin Parkway are available and for OO, St David’s Wells and Elsbridge can be used by any who wish. It is important that any who keep stock permanently on these established layouts remove it to enable wider use of them by other members.

As well as time, this project will require people. Mal Rowe has a number of volunteers signed up to help with the work but a minimum of at least four committed members will be required to make the project a successful reality. Consequently, we very much hope that those who attended the short meeting held to discuss this project after the recent AGM will still be prepared to make themselves available. Please contact Mal Rowe directly to offer your services [before he contacts you!].

Regular updates will be published as the project proceeds.

SRMG recent Annual General Meeting

30 members attended the AGM in February. The minute of this meeting will be distributed to all, shortly. In the meantime, and for those who were unable to attend, the following members were elected to serve on the Club’s Committee for the 2018- 19 season:

  • Chair: Noel Blows
  • Secretary: Tony Richards
  • Treasurer: Ted Hylton
  • Member [for membership]: Mal Shore
  • Member [for exhibition management]: Scott Rhodes
  • Member [for layouts and fabric]: Mal Rowe

John Allnutt, Steve Giffard and Nick Kerslake stood down from their Committee roles after many years of service and grateful thanks for their contributions are given.

Stock sale

We have been given a small collection of mixed stock to sell for a third party. There isn’t really sufficient for a normal stock sale event and it is planned to hold the sale in the clubroom on the 26th. April. Usual rules apply:

  • Stock is sold as seen but described honestly.
  • Stock is sold on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Stock cannot be reserved in advance.

Amongst others, the sale includes a good Hornby BR A4, an unused and mint Hornby Class 56, a very good Dapol N gauge GWR Pannier Tank, a Farish N gauge GWR Railcar [first type] and several American HO diesels [the US diesels at around £10 each].

Severn Valley Railway outing – 17th. March 2018

This is very close now and this is just a quick reminder for all travelling on the day:

  • If you are leaving your car at FOYD’s car park, please park as neatly as you can alongside the fence which is adjacent to Carmarthen Road. Consider car sharing if possible as the car park will be in use by others, too.
  • The coach will leave no later than 7am, so do be on time.
  • One or two members still have to pay the balance on their tickets. Please bring this in on Thursday this week.

The 2018 modelling competition

The last reminder for you all of this event. The competition will be judged on Thursday, March 29th. 2018.

The 2018 Exhibition

A quick update now that planning is well advanced and bookings have been taken....

Scott Rhodes advises that 13 traders have been booked and have confirmed their attendance and, so far, 11 layouts will be attending [with more to be booked]. The number of traders attending this year will be limited to 15 as priority will be given to layouts and entertaining the public.

Sponsorship has been agreed and both Dapol and Oxford are our sponsors this year.

Advertising flyers have been printed and are ready for distribution. Scott is also asking for members to sign- up to help as Stewards, etc., to assist with the management of the event over the weekend. Please see the notice Scott has put up in the Club on the board adjacent to ‘Elsbridge’ and contact him directly if you feel that you can assist.

Locking up rotas – problems with regard to compliance and attendance

Unfortunately, the inevitable has happened. In spite of frequent newsletter reminders to those on the locking-up rotas to meet their commitments, a number still fail to turn up or leave early. On Wednesdays this has caused particular problems as rota’d members have also arrived to lock up to find the Club empty, so wasting a journey. From now on, the following arrangements will apply to Club use on Wednesdays:

  • There will be no further locking-up rotas issued for Wednesdays.
  • A club member, Malcolm Shore, has kindly offered to lock up the Club [entirely] at 6.30pm each Wednesday.
  • Anyone who wishes to stay in the Club beyond 6.30pm on Wednesdays must have a full set of keys and be responsible for locking up when they leave.
  • A set of keys may be purchased from the Club for a refundable deposit of £20.

This somewhat inflexible arrangement is regrettable but inevitable. It could be revisited if sufficient Wednesday users [with keys] can arrange a rota between themselves to ensure locking up after 6.30pm but, until then, the arrangements stand.

I’ll ask again that those on the Thursday rota check when they should be present and attend or arrange a swop. There is 90% compliance currently.

Finally, Malcolm Shore has advised that on Fridays he will be at the Club between 2pm and 6.30pm., working in Kingston. Others may attend at that time also but he will be locking up no later than 6.30pm.

Club website

Always worth looking at, this month sees two new reviews posted in the Blog section: a ‘OO’ gauge GWR 1361 Class Saddle Tank [Kernow/DJ Models and left below] and an ‘O’ gauge GWR 57XX Pannier Tank [Minerva and right below]. Later this month there will also be a photo review of Oxford's latest Dan Goods release.

Gwili Railway Craft Fair – a diary note

Over the long weekend on the 26th – 28th May, The Gwili Railway is holding a Craft Fair at which we shall possibly have a table to promote the Club and sell our limited edition ‘Tirdonkin’ wagons. The Gwili will also be running steam that weekend. Further details in due course.

A forthcoming club lecture

On Thursday the 12th. April, Terry McCarthy will be visiting the Club to give a talk on Coal and the Railways of South Wales. The talk starts at 7pm and the venue will be advised shortly [probably the old Chapel on Floor One]. Admission will be free and Terry may be able to return later in the year to provide another talk. Please do support this event.

Diary dates

  • 17th. March – Severn Valley Railway excursion
  • 29th March – modelling competition
  • 6th. April – work on Test Tracks to commence
  • 12th. April – Club lecture
  • 26th. April – stock sale
  • 26th-28th. May – Gwili Railway Craft Fair

Finally, the Thursday locking-up duties for March and April


  •         15th. – Gwyn Harwood
  •         22nd. – Ken Lewis
  •         29th. – Simon Durrer


  • 5th. – John Meredith
  • 12th. – John Gray
  • 19th. – Gwion Davies
  • 26th. – Randall Morris

Best wishes all


Fabulous cut-away 2-8-2        Madrid Railway Museum

Fabulous cut-away 2-8-2        Madrid Railway Museum