Club Update - Jul 2019

On a damp late-June afternoon at Towyn Station,‘Douglas’ simmers, awaiting release on the last train out of the day. For me however, the jury is certainly out with regard to the livery....

Photo: Tony Richards


An auspicious occasion this, the Club’s 100th newsletter and a considerable milestone too. How many other clubs have achieved this? We were wondering the other day how best to celebrate this event and decided to mark it with a surprise bonus for one lucky Club member! Between now and next month’s newsletter, one member’s name will be drawn out of the metaphorical hat and that person will receive a cheque for £20 to spend as they wish. It could be you [so don’t cancel your membership!].

But an event tinged with some sadness too, as member Gwyn Harwood passed away very recently, and peacefully, in his sleep. Gwyn, a long-time member, was part of the Cwmfelin build team but will have been known to most members too. The Club and his membership of the Salvation Army both featured large in his life and he will be missed. His funeral will be held on Tuesday the 23 July at 12.30 at the Salvation Army, Morfydd St., Morriston, Swansea SA6 8BN and thence 2pm at Morriston Crematorium.

Tickets, please......

This month, a mint Third Class single ticket issued at Penally [a request stop just west of Tenby] for travel to Swansea High Street [not dated, but probably just post-war].

The 2019 private owner wagon commission [and a bit of history...]

Noel Blows has asked me to let you know that the Dapol commission should be with us during August and, as mentioned in June’s newsletter, sales are going well: so well in fact that no further O gauge wagons may be pre-ordered as enough have to be withheld for sale at the September show. Hopefully, the August newsletter should have the first photographs of this new release.

This year’s wagon is the Club’s fourth exclusive commission. In 2017, we released a double set, featuring wagons of the Clyne Valley Colliery and W Craven Llewellyn [coal brokers]. Neither of these wagons had been produced in ready-to-run form before, although the Craven Llewellyn example was released as a kit by Peco during the1950s. It was, in fact, one of their earliest ‘Wonderful Wagon’ kits and is now quite scarce. A true multi-media affair, it featured an alloy base, wooden sides and ends, embossed paper overlays, Dublo-type couplings and sprung buffers and axles boxes. At a time when the available r-t-r competition was poorly scaled and often incorrectly liveried, these Peco wagons must have seemed the latest thing.

After looking for many years on eBay, I recently acquired one of these wagons in quite good condition and it now awaits a light restoration. Here it is below [on the right], alongside another built by late member John Rogers, with our own commissioned release underneath.

The Club still receives regular requests for ‘back numbers’ of all of our commissions. The runs are extremely limited however and this set has only appeared once on eBay, and then for an astronomical sum. Whether it sold I cannot tell.

These vintage Peco wagons are obviously more of interest now to collectors than anyone else, but those of a certain age will remember them well: in their day they were pretty much ‘state of the art’. Their Craven Llewellyn wagon had only a fairly limited run however and was not reissued: maybe it didn’t sell as well as the other releases?

A possible Club excursion

Later this year, there is the possibility of an excursion to Pendon Museum [and maybe one other location] with the coach hire being fully subsidised by the Club if sufficient members travel. The visit will take place mid-week with Pendon opened exclusively for the Club. The logistics involved in organising such an event are considerable and before commencing, we need to know how many would attend. A notice will soon be placed on the Club board for those interested to place their names.

Unfortunately, for exclusive access, visits have to be mid-week. I do appreciate that this may be difficult for those in employment but, hopefully, by giving as much notice of the date as possible, leave could be booked to attend. The cost would be limited to Museum entry and refreshments, with a non-refundable £10 deposit taken to cover entry tickets and help defray transport costs in the event of a no-show.

For those who have not visited Pendon before, it is probably the largest, most perfect and best modelled example of a railway in its wider setting anywhere in the country. Set in the 1930s, where is it forever and bucolically mid-summer, it portrays the Great Western Railway running through the beautiful Vale of the White Horse. The scenic detailing is without parallel and the architectural modelling, based on prototypes, exquisite. It really is not to be missed. Book early!

A magnificent photograph of the South Wales Pullman, seen at Platform 4 of Cardiff General in 1966.Photo by Robert Masterman and gratefully acknowledged.

The refurbishment of the clubroom – an update

A short note to advise that roller-type window blinds are being costed for the five south west-facing roof lights. The recent sunshine and heat has caused some track disturbance on the test tracks once again and the strong UV has bleached parts of St David’s Wells. Further information in due course.

An update from last month’s note about the March 1962 ‘Model Railway Constructor’......

Member Bernie Baker contacted me with some information about this. Apparently, this was the second club in the Swansea area [an earlier version is alleged to have existed in the Uplands area]. The club met above the 'Continental Grill' in Wind Street, but was closed down by the fire authorities [late 1960s] due to having no emergency exit. Mr King then exited the scene.

There seems to be a gap in further knowledge of the above until the appearance of the Gloucester Place club in the mid 1970s. John Rogers, Ieuan Morgan, Alan Toulcher and Alan Cosker [all once members of SRMG as well] were members when Bernie joined about 1979.

Bernie also advised that Redana’s was run by an Israeli gentleman named Kutcher. He believes that it originated in High Street Arcade, before moving to Plaza Buildings in The Kingsway. He remembered going there once to buy some Britains farm animals. Following the demolition of the Plaza, the shop could then be found in Oxford Street, near the bottom of Picton Arcade - now part

of Rowberry's. Bernie believes that Mr Kutcher then returned to Israel, passing the stock and goodwill to Atkinsons Model Car Centre [also long gone] in the Picton Arcade. Surely many of a certain age will remember this.

A stunning photograph taken in July 1963. Hymek D7085 is heading a rake of SR green-liveried Mk 1's on the mid-day SO Portsmouth & Brighton to Swansea, calling at Newport High Street at 16.15. A useful reference photo for weathering that pristine Heljan Hymek you have safely boxed away, too.

Photograph posted by kind permission of Christopher Gwilliam.


A brief note with a plea. Those who pay their subs in cash rather than by bank transfer, please remember that unless some other arrangement has been agreed by the Chair and the Treasurer, payments need to be made quarterly in advance and due on the 1st January, the 1st April, the 1st July and the 1st October. Alternatively, why not just set up a standing order and forget all about this? See the Treasurer for details. Thank you.

Help required

Most will have noticed that ‘Box’, our large N gauge exhibition layout, is now nearly complete: very little scenic detailing remains to be undertaken and the wiring-up will commence shortly. However, thought also needs to be given to safely transporting the layout to our 2019 show [and others]. A van will be hired [probably] but a timber skeleton framework will also be required to contain the larger sections without them being damaged in transit. Mal Shore has kindly agreed to lead on this but has asked for the assistance of at least one other competent carpenter to lighten the load. This is an important task and help from others would be very greatly appreciated. Please speak to Mal directly if you feel that you can assist. Many thanks.

A remarkable photograph of Tonypandy Station taken during the floods of 1979.One wonders what the members of the ‘Wattstown Skins’ are doing now?

Photograph: origin unknown but used with thanks.

Some diary dates

For those of you who might find yourselves on holiday in the south-west during the coming months:

  • 27th July Bridport Model Railway Exhibition, Sir John Colfox Academy, Ridgeway, Bridport DT6 3DT. from Sat 10.00am - 4.00pm.

  • 3rd August Minehead Model Railway Exhibition, The Minehead Eye, Mart Road, Minehead, TA24 5BJ. from Sat 10.00am - 4.30pm.

  • 17th August Exeter Train & Toy Fair, The Matford Centre, Matford Park Road, Exeter EX2 8FD from Sat 10.00am - 3.00pm.

  • 24th & 25th August Burnham on Sea Summer Model Railway Exhibition, King Alfred School, Burnham Road, Highbridge TA9 3EE. from Sat 10.30am - 5.00pm / Sun 10.00am - 3.30pm.

  • 24th & 25th August Hayle Model Railway Exhibition, Day Care Centre, Commercial Road, Hayle TR27 4DE. from Sat 10.00am - 4.00pm / Sun 10.00am - 4.00pm.

These shows are all organised by clubs who are members of the Wessex Association of Model Railway Clubs [SRMG is also a member].

Finally, the locking-up arrangements to the end of August

I hope this this finds you well, enjoy the summer [while it lasts] and best wishes all.