News and Views from the
TYNESIDE SOCIETY of MODEL and EXPERIMENTAL ENGINEERS
October wasn’t a bad month weather-wise, though the first Sunday was a bit of a shocker after the previous one when Jim Stephenson evidently smiled down on the righteous.
Most club days have seen a goodly turnout of stalwarts, all still prepared to (mostly) brave the outdoors. Locomotives have been seen running on all tracks and site works have been progressed.
With reluctance, a Christmas Tea will not be held again this year. Although the Clubhouse is open, albeit cold and draughty, it will only comfortably hold a dozen or so people if some measure of social distancing is to be maintained.
Steve Lowe continues his tidy-up of the workshop and its facilities. It seems there’s been a floor in there all along …
Norman Blacklock and John Lazzari are busy fitting the hydraulic ram to the scissor lift so it can be left in-situ permanently. A lockable steel cover will protect it when not in use.
Signalling Upgrade – Ground Level Railway
The relay interlock system fitted to the ground level railway electro-pneumatic points is now operational and should be activated when signals are rigged and more than one locomotive is operating. The system is designed to prevent inadvertent point movements during the passage of a train over a point, this being detected by track switches built into the railhead. Most track switches have an associated colour light signal nearby.
Careful positioning of the track switches has also provided “block sections”, the track switches controlling both block entry and exit. The current upgrade will use these block sections to ensure that the associated signals prevent following trains from entering an occupied section. Essential with a train stopped in the station but also a useful way of maintaining adequate separation between following trains.
Currently the Signalman has direct control over just three signals; the others are set automatically by the point selection. Manual switches will be added to the mimic panel to allow the Signalman to force a red aspect on any signal if required.
Garden Railway Extension
Work has started on extending the garden railway. The extension will roughly double the track length and improve the steaming- and storage siding capacity. The sketch below shows how the new track connects to the present layout.
Limiting factors affecting the final design were :- incorporating as much of the existing layout as possible, maintaining the minimum radius of curves, proximity to the hedge for gardening purposes and keeping good clearance from the ground-level track railing. A further complication was the position of the underground mains cable from the footway box to the Clubhouse (located courtesy of Jim Scott’s archive photographs) which runs along. but not parallel to, the hedge. None-the-less, the final scheme matches the original idea quite closely.
Marking out the ground for the new base slab began in August, and digging started in September. One unexpected find was a concrete slab, a relic of the Club’s original steaming bays, and this was broken up and removed. Further work was postponed until after Jim Stephenson’s memorial day. October saw work recommence with the remaining turf sliced off and a trench around the perimeter of the new slab dug out to the required depth to establish the slab boundary and level.
In the background, estimates were made of all the materials required to build the new steel support frames. This was ordered, along with the rebar for the new slab, and has now arrived on site.
On November 2nd, a mini digger arrived to dig out the pit for the new slab. All the rubbish around was cleared and everything was piled against the hedge. This will be removed in due course by a grab-lorry from the Town Moor side,
All the turf and a lot of the topsoil has been re-used elsewhere on site to even out the grounds. More topsoil has been retained for remediation purposes once the slab is cast.
Honourable mention must be made of Dave Nesbitt who took the original plan and turned it into a workable and detailed scheme, estimated all the materials required and organised the ordering and delivery, and did much of the initial digging. Able assistance was provided by Jim Scott, Lindsay Oliver, Robert Hopper and River Temlett. Stu Davidson organised the digger.
Junior Engineer Sam Yeeles continues his run of having his line-side photographs published.
Welcome to River Temlett, who joined us recently. River hails from darn sarf and is a member of the Surrey Society of Model Engineers. He is reading Marine Technology at Newcastle University..
Urban Green, the body now responsible for running Newcastle’s parks, has announced events in November (14th) and December (28th) which will have some impact on vehicular access to the Club. Whilst the road will not be closed at any time, users are asked to be extra vigilant and ensure they observe the speed limit at all times and have their hazard lights on.
That’s it for another month, and a tad late. I waited for the last-minute rush of copy for publication, but, guess what, nothing arrived apart from Jim Scott’s update on signalling. Ah well, I work with what I have. Hope springs eternal that there will be ample material for a bumper December/Christmas issue, so get writing ….
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Headquarters and Multi-gauge Track – Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PZ