Earlier this year Stuart Davidson stood down as Newsletter Editor, having held the position for a decade. Our ever-beguiling Secretary asked me if I would like to take over the role and I agreed to give it a shot. After a few weeks, I’m finding out just what a fine job he had done – sourcing editorial content, cajoling contributors and doing all the work necessary to compose the finished article. So, thank you again Stuart.
Around and About the Club
There have been several significant developments at the site over the last six months or so.
Peter Newby and his dream-team of helpers (principally John Lazzari, Norman Blacklock, John Rowley and Dave Nesbitt) have been busy with a number of projects. The most obvious of these are the new flagged patio area and associated retractable awnings. These offer a useful outdoor space for those days when the sun shines and outdoor activities beckon, but grass underfoot is unsuitable.
Excavation of the patio area produced several cubic metres of a rather poor mix of earth and rubble. This was sieved and the good soil distributed around the site. The turf was re-used to tidy up the ground adjacent to the Garden Railway track. The rubble was skipped.
As the awnings could not be attached directly to the building, a steel frame consisting of three uprights and a single horizontal beam was constructed from rectangular-section tube. This is concreted into holes in the “moat” at the bottom and tied back to the roof with straps near the top.
Anchor points have been cut into the patio to secure tie-downs to prevent the wind (an ever-present problem at the site) from lifting the awnings overmuch.
An ingenious arrangement of pulleys and ropes assisted the task of raising the (heavy) assemblies into position and securing them in place. The reverse can be quickly rigged should they ever need to come down for attention.
Elsewhere, the completion of the Carriage Shed and Signal Boxhave much improved the operation of the ground-level track and rationalised some storage issues. The fitting of shelf brackets inside one Carriage Shed wall allowed the relocation of various “long” materials which had hitherto been scattered around the site.
Operationally, another coach (using the bogies from the old “disabled” carrier) has been added to one rake and two Guard’s Trucks constructed. Apart from freeing up two coach seats, these provide Guards with a much better view along their train and are fitted with a brake.
Robin Evans has initiated a programme of improvements to the track signalling and point control systems. The point by the “Tin Hut” which gives access to the Station loop now benefits from additional train detectors installed in the track to lock it whilst a train is in transit. Track-circuit reliability has been improved by welding short stainless-steel strips into the railheads opposite the detector contacts. The associated circuitry is in a new cabinet in the hut. Similar improvements are to be made to the two points leading from the Station loop to the main line.
Three of the four outside benches have been repositioned to improve the seating arrangement in front of the Club House. Being much better aligned, this has also simplified installation of the temporary “chaining” which is used to cordon off the public area on running days.
Our gardeners Jim Scott and Malcolm Phillips continue to keep the grounds looking trim and decorous, and visitors to the site frequently remark on how nice it all looks (better than Exhibition Park !).
Finally, the Club House received its annual clean-and-spruce-up, all done behind the scenes and without fanfare. Kudos to those involved !
To further improve operational and storage matters, a few projects are pipelined for the near future.
The Club’s 7-1/4” gauge electric locomotive has been fitted with new batteries after its performance was beginning to fade, but the hoped-for improvement did not materialise. The reasons for this require further investigation.
Another Carriage Shed to accommodate the raised-track riding trucks is to be built adjacent to the swing-bridge that gives access to the steaming bays. This will eliminate the clart-on of railing them every time they are needed and get them out of the “Tin Hut”, freeing up much-needed storage space. Construction will be similar to that of the Signal Box.
The Locomotive Shed (“Bunker”) is to have its door widened so a 5” track can be laid beside the existing 7-1/4” rails to accommodate the Junior Engineer’s 5” gauge electric locomotive. A small traverser will be installed just in front of the door to provide the dual access.
Also proposed is the construction of some 5” gauge carriages for use at ground level.
Both ground-level and raised tracks employ timber sleepers beneath the rails, and timber requires regular treatment to maintain its integrity. It is proposed to organise a working party to get this done, possibly on a Saturday (with lunch provided) to minimise disruption, and preferably sooner rather than later whilst everything is still reasonably dry.
Public Running Days
These continue to attract good attendances and are a welcome source of additional revenue. They also “fly the flag” for engineering, stimulating conversation and, maybe, inspiring future generations.
It has always been the intention that the Workshop be available for members to use the machines in pursuit of their projects. To this end, Steve Lowe, Workshop Manager, conducted some basic instruction in Workshop Safety and Procedures. Potential users were asked to record any previous experience as a basis for further one-to-one instruction as and when appropriate.
Doncaster Model Engineering Show
TSMEE continued its tradition of exhibiting at Doncaster this year. Linda and Brian Nicholls and Peter Newby were in attendance on all three days manning the stand. The response of visitors was generally very favourable, and why shouldn’t it be? On offer were …
John Rowley’s 3” Fowler R3 Road Locomotive, Brian Nicholls’ 7-1/4” gauge Koppel, Sean Bowler’s 5” gauge LNER A3, Keith Pardy’s 5” gauge LNER A4, Eddie Gibbons’ 5” gauge LNER K3 & GNR H4, Gordon Bullard’s 3-1/2” gauge “Maisie”, Jim Scott’s 5” gauge Terrier, Joe Gibbon’s 5” gauge GNR Stirling chassis, Michael Jordison’s 1/16thscale K1 Garratt, Peter Newby’s 16mm scale DeWinton “Alice” & Finger Plate Clamp and the Junior Engineer’s kit-built 16mm scale Roundhouse “Lady Anne” with a rake of wagons built by Robert Hopper, Ethan Morrison and Sam Yeeles.
Elsewhere, on the Competition Stands, was Ian Spencer’s recently completed 5” gauge LNER V2, which won him a Silver Medal in the “5” Gauge & Up” category. Well done and well deserved !
Photographs of the show can be viewed on the TSMEE website under the tab “Events” and you can read about it in articles in “Model Engineer” and “Engineering in Miniature”.
I Mech E Day
This annual event for I Mech E members was blessed with fine weather and attracted a good attendance of individuals and families.
Plenty of locomotives were to be seen on all the tracks – Garden Railway to Ground-level – and there was a fine static display showcasing a wide range of engineering and modelling skills. Rides were on offer on the main line with Dave Henderson’s “Angkor Thom” in charge, and hospitality was completed by a splendid buffet lunch provided by the catering stalwarts Liz Evans, Mary Tomlinson and Helen Yeeles.
When the Hoppings is in town, the City Council provides for the schooling of the Showmen’s children. TSMEE hosted two groups of youngsters – fifteen Nursery and Reception (3-5 years old) and twelve Key Stage 1 (6-7 years old) together with several accompanying adults – providing them the opportunity to see and interact with some aspects of Club activities.
The very young ones were only present for around fifteen minutes, just long enough to give them all train rides.
After a Safety Briefing and Introduction from Linda Nicholls (using Christopher Vine (“Peter’s Railway”) material), the Key Stage 1 children were divided into two groups. One group watched and helped Dave Henderson fire “Angkor Thom” in the steaming bay whilst the other watched Jim Scott and Stuart Davidson prepare “Lady Anne” on the Garden Railway track. Several of them also had a go at the controls.
Ironically, the children are too young to go on most of the Hoppings’ rides so they thoroughly enjoyed trips behind “Angkor Thom” and the Club’s electric loco in the care of Dave Henderson, Robin Evans, John Lazzari and Brian Benton. The whole event lasted around one-and-a-half hours.
The hosts were impressed by the good behaviour of the youngsters, who showed a keen interest and enthusiasm despite the cold !
At the conclusion of the 2019 AGM, the Committee is composed thus …
Chairman – Jim Stephenson, Secretary – Linda Nicholls, Treasurer – Ian Spencer, Site Manager – Peter Newby, Workshop Manager – Steve Lowe, Programme Manager – Malcolm Phillips, Lay Members – Brian Nicholls, Stuart Davidson, Robin Evans, Brian Benton, John Lazzari and Norman Blacklock
Stuart Davidson took over from John Bolter (to whom belated thanks for past services) as Librarian, with Helen Yeeles as Assistant. Mike Maguire took on the job of Newsletter Editor.
Boiler Inspectors are presently Ian Spencer, Brian Nicholls, Eddie Gibbons, Stuart Davidson and Gordon Bullard. Anyone requiring their services are asked (firmly!) to make their requests with reasonable prior notice so the work can be sensibly scheduled.
Steaming Bays – operators of locomotives are reminded (again, firmly!) that they must clean up and dispose of any mess arising from using the bays.
Park Access – in an attempt to manage the growing amount of vehicular traffic using the roads in Exhibition Park, the Council has installed a controlled barrier (one of the two original iron gates) at the Park entrance on Claremont Road. Operation is by number-plate recognition, so only those who are registered with the Council (in our case, via TSMEE) are admitted. There appear to be teething troubles presently, with the gate permanently open, but don’t count on it remaining so. If your car is not yet registered, you can do so by contacting the Secretary. The other rules about safe and courteous road usage within the Park still apply. Remember that access is a concession, not an entitlement, and malpractice could have dire consequences for us all.
New Member – A warm welcome is extended to Tim Macdonald who recently joined the Club. Tim has a rather fine 5” gauge GWR 14XX 0-4-2 Tank Engine.
Newsletters don’t write themselves – they require input. Acknowledgement and thanks are given for contributions from Peter Newby, Robin Evans, Linda Nicholls and Stuart Davidson.
As this is my first effort, it’s entirely possible that there are errors and omissions. If so, please point them out and I will address them in the next issue.
Contact info …
Newsletter Editor – Mike Maguire – firstname.lastname@example.org
Club Secretary – Linda Nicholls – email@example.com– 01670 816072