Club Update - March 2019

Ex-GW '8750' 0-6-0 pannier tank banking an empties train at Duffryn Junction towards Maesteg.
View north-east up the Duffryn valley on the ex-Port Talbot Railway line - at 1-in-40 - to Maesteg and Pontyrhyll, which was closed to passengers on 11/9/33 and to goods on 31/8/64. The banker is Collett '8750' class 0-6-0 No. 9634 (built 1/46, withdrawn 5/64).

Photo: Ben Brooksbank (Wikimedia Commons)


Unfortunately, I have to open this month’s newsletter with some very sad news indeed. Ted Hylton [the club’s treasurer] has advised that his wife, Viv, passed away in her sleep very recently. I have been in touch with Ted to pass on all of our condolences and to offer our sympathies to him and his daughter, Gwen. Ted will let me know of the funeral arrangements in due course and I shall pass them on to the membership by e-mail. In the meantime, it is unlikely that Ted will be at the club for some weeks so please do not be surprised if you do not see him around. Should anyone wish to contact Ted personally, please let me know and I will forward you his e-mail address.

It seems a little brutal to follow this sad news with general club business, but there are a number of items to share this month, starting with…..

The imminent curry night

This is proceeding as planned on the 16th. March. We need at least 30 attending to make it viable, so please ring Noel Blows on 0777 589 5054 if you [and a guest] wish to attend but have yet to book yourself in on the form. Curry nights at the Patti Raj are always a great success and we hope to make this a really good club night out.

Membership matters

First of all, Niel Clements will soon be preparing a membership pack to introduce the club more effectively to new members. This has been on the cards for a while [years, actually] and we are grateful to Niel for agreeing to take it forward properly. Given the number that have recently joined the club, a pack is long overdue.

And secondly, you’ll have probably noticed that the members’ photo board has been relocated and the photos removed. There was no sinister motive behind that decision, it simply reflected the fact that it was no longer felt to be effective: ex-members’ photos were left up for too long, new members never got photographed and it was originally warranted because of a heavy influx of new members at that time. In future, rather than relying on a possible mug-shot, the Committee aims to be more diligent in introducing newcomers to you all. It’ll be better for them and better for the club.

The Modelling competition

A plea from Competition Grand Master Simon Durrer: if you intend entering the competition but have yet to submit a form, please do so by Thursday this week [14th. March]. The forms are simply to assist Simon in planning the night and an indication of numbers in each category will help with the layout of the event.

Simon has posted yellow notices around the club to remind all of the competition categories and the prizes which apply.

Club purchases for layout builds, etc.

Recently, SRMG spent just over £100 on some new points to help with the completion of the Box build. Shortly after the purchase was made, it was discovered by chance

that a number of new and unused points had been found elsewhere in the club. Had the existence of these points been know before the purchase……

Whilst the club has savings, it also strives to be careful with its funds and not waste money unnecessarily. In future, Mal Shore will co-ordinate stock held against possible purchases to avoid duplication and unnecessary expenditure. Please talk to Mal if you need to purchase items for layout builds from now on: this is not to prevent the purchase but, simply, to advise whether there is already something on hand which might negate the need for it. Thank you.

Kingston O gauge build

Given the growing number of members who have O gauge stock, Mal Shore has advised that from very early May [possibly the week following the 3rd – to be confirmed], one full circuit of Kingston will be available for members to run their stock. This will continue regularly on the first Thursday of each month with additional circuits becoming available when completed. Kingston has been in build for quite a while: it will be good to see members’ stock at last being able to stretch its legs. Further information will follow in due course.

St David’s Wells

SDW is the club’s oldest layout and it still enjoys a great deal of use. It is beginning to show its age a little however and some of the infrastructure has taken a hiding over the years: buildings have been damaged, chimney pots knocked off, trees levelled, passengers unstuck and dust is everywhere!

It is not as bad as it sounds but some careful and gentle remedial work is necessary. Volunteers are sought to undertake this task. If you are interested, please speak to me at the club one Thursday [soon!!].

The Test Tracks

It is hoped that an Idiot’s Guide to using the DCC functions on the test tracks will be prepared shortly. Programming and addressing locos to enable various functions does appear to be more difficult than it needs to be, and this will be addressed, too.

In the meantime – and this is extremely important to avoid potential damage to analogue stock – would all Test Track users please ensure that the analogue settings are the default settings for the banks of controllers. In other words, should you see a track set for DCC but not in use, please re-set it for analogue.

Thanks for your help with this. We had smoking locos recently: not a problem if the smoke came from the correct place on command, it didn’t however!

Railway By-ways of Germany: an e-booklet on minor German railways

Occasional club visitor, Peter Collis, recently sent me a copy of a profusely illustrated e-booklet that he has written on the above subject. You can find a copy of it here. Please ensure that you credit Peter Collis fully with the copyright should you pass it on. And many thanks Peter for sending it.

Some diary dates

I mentioned last month a forthcoming model railway exhibition in Port Talbot on Saturday the 1st. of June and I now have the venue and times for this. It will take place at St. Agnes Church, Forge Road, Port Talbot SA13 1US between 10.00am and 4.00pm. Further information about the show will become available in due course.

I have details of two further South Wales shows also:

Pontypridd MRC Annual Show – Saturday 27th. April [10 -4] at Llantwit Fardre Community Centre, Crown Hill, Llantwit Fardre CF38 2NA [admission £3.50, up to 2 children free].

The South Wales O Gauge Show – Saturday 6th. April [10-4] at The Lysaght Institute, Orb Road, Newport NP19 0RA [admission £6, usual concessions £5]

Exhibiting layouts at exhibitions or other clubs

To try to ensure some consistency in arrangements for exhibiting layouts, and to avoid misunderstanding from occurring, the committee has agreed the following policy:

  • Exhibiting the club’s own layouts – SRMG members involved should seek to charge expenses to the host club / exhibition [and not SRMG] at a rate of 40p per mile travelled, and van hire if appropriate. Overnight accommodation should also be reimbursed by the host area for distances in excess of 50 miles from home. This should be made clear to the host area before final agreement to exhibit is given. This is essential to avoid members from being left out-of-pocket.

  • SRMG members exhibiting their own layouts are recommended to use club rates for reimbursement also although this has to follow from a private discussion between the member and the host club. SRMG would not interfere in private arrangements unless it became known that excessively high claims were being sought, and only then as the club’s reputation would potentially be at risk in such circumstances.

Some long-disappeared Swansea history: the 14th. July 1956 sees this Swansea District SLS Railtour hauled by ex-LMS Jinty 47479 stopping at Upper Bank Station (the first stop north from Swansea St.Thomas).

Absolutely no trace of this station remains and the site is now – inevitably – buried under a housing estate. Prior to the housing development, the area near the site was home to the Swansea Vale Railway Society.

Courtesy of the D Chandler collection, with many thanks.

Finally, those pesky locking-up arrangements to the end of April

  • Mar 14 – TBC

  • Mar 21 – B James

  • Mar 28 – N Kerslake

  • April 4 – J Mages

  • April 11 – R Pendry

  • April 18 – S Rhodes

  • April 25 – T Richards

I hope this this finds you well and best wishes all