CAG Meeting Reports 2011

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Will L
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CAG Meeting Reports 2011

Postby Will L » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:16 am

With the start of a new year, I’d like to welcome you all to a new chapter of my blog of the Crewe Area Groups activities.

One of the features of the classic blog is that it allows the reader to have their say too. I would point out that there are “Post Reply” and “Quote” buttons scattered liberally through each thread which will allow registered forum members to add your contribution. All are welcome to do so, regardless of whether you are a CAG member or not. Visitors too may comment, but only by visiting the guest book and entering your comment their. I would encourage all Scalefour Society members to register to use the forum and have your say, and all non members to consider joining the society.

While the Crewe Area Group is, apparently, comfortable with me publicizing our activities in this way, please remember that the opinions expressed are mine and are not necessarily representative of other members of the group.


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Meeting 9th January 2011

Postby Will L » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:28 am

A new year a new beginning
You have to have an AGM sooner or later.

This meeting was our AGM which had been held over from last year, mostly because the guy who writes the minutes, Area Group Organiser David (AGOD), had taken himself of to the antipodes. Now he is back we could delay no longer and so an AGM and a ritual collection of subs were in order. Even given that demands for cash were inevitable, we had a very good turn out of 11 members, only 3 short of a full house.

To get us going, AGOD reminded us what fun we’ve had at the various meetings held in the last year, then spoiled it by talking about money. It seems we had spent a whole £5.62, or there abouts, on running the group for the year, and rather more than the rest of the subs income on the layout. Meaning our reserves have had a marked but not overly significant fall. The meeting agreed to keep the subs at £5 a head, (greeted by a mass release of wallet moth), and further agreed that should expenditure on the layout extension exceed the subs income by too much, the begging bowl might be passed round again before the end of the year. Personally I think that makes being a member of the group about the least expensive aspect of my hobby and excellent value.

As the meeting progressed we were moved to discuss the ownership of Knutsford East. While we have always shown the layout under the Area Group banner, it is theoretically the property of one of the members, and was originally planned as an extension of an existing layout. Further developments, made to the layout over time with exhibitions in mind, have meant this arrangement now makes much less sense. As a result it was suggested that the layout should become the property of the group. A corollary of this was the question of what should become of group assets should the group fold. It was suggested that the simplest solution, to what could possibly become a divisive issue, was to add to our constitution a statement that any group assets remaining after the fall should be passed on to the Scalefour Society.

This proposal we formally agreed, proposers seconders votes the lot, the only thing that got such full treatment all day, but, in turn, it lead on to a discussion of our constitution. Of course we don’t actually have a written constitution, and there was some disagreement as to whether we actually needed one or not. Having determined we had several options, we obviously felt we had made enough decisions for one day and deferred the issue to another time.

All this took rather longer than we had expected, far longer than a Scalefour AGM for instance, and we still needed to discuss what to do at our meetings over the next 12 months. A number of ideas were aired which, despite a certain amount of bet hedging and reference/deference to SHMBO, should give us another good years entertainment. We left AGOD to correlate all the suggestions into a program which he will publish shortly. Details will filter through to this forum in due course.

The formal part of the day finished with various votes of thanks. The most deservedly was to AGOD, who soldiers on year after year despite the point blank refusal of all other members to consider relieving him of the job. Also honoured was layout gaffer Dick, without who’s efforts Knutsford East would have long ago have gone west, and finally me for doing this blog, though quite what that tells you I’m not sure.

The formal part of the day was now over, and with those who expected to be able to go home at five o’clock starting to get restive, Dick moved us on to considering a work plan for the completion of our extension to Knutsford. This plan listed a plethora of jobs to be done and a timescale for their delivery. By dint of a little healthy arm twisting he got many of them allocated. For instance, I now a have a nice drawing of a point, some sleeper strip and some rail, and instructions to get on with it! One happy outcome of this, for those of us who like a practical side to our meetings, is that we are likely to have additional layout meetings during the year.

Even given that the meeting was proving to be rather longer than usual, we still found time to look over a few bits and pieces brought along by various people. Adrian contributed a substantial buffer height gauge that also allows you to check your AJ’s are at the right height.
Jan meeting 1.jpg
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As one who builds stuff commercially, you can understand that he probably has a need to get this right. He also brought along a nice Notty box van which, surprise surprise had perfect buffer height and AJ adjustment, according to his gauge. Finally he had on show a nice bit of Blood and Custard, running on Bill Bedford sprung bogies which, one gathers, were a fiddle to assemble but did seem to run nicely.

On the topic of bogies, Dick had along a modification to a pair from MTJ.
Jan meeting 2.jpg
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This replaces the original single torsion bar with two. I gather the thinking is that the original design was vulnerable to breaks in the solder joints at the ends of the torsion bar which provides the flexible suspension, holds the two sides together and is subjected to twisting stresses. The revised bogies are just as flexible but not so likely to fail. Dick was keen to show this advance to us, and in fact had brought these bogies to the previous meeting too, but I had apparently failed to notice them.

Photo's, as is often the way, by John Sherratt.


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Meeting 18th January

Postby Will L » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:00 am

Let There Be Points - Layout Meeting

On Tuesday 18th Dick Ron and I met at Dean Hall, the Manchester Model Railway Society club rooms, to start the process of generating the points needed for the Knutsford extension.
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Knutsford's track work is unashamedly P4 traditional, that is steel rail on riveted ply sleepers. Chairs are cosmetic and added after the event. And that event was what this meeting was for. Dick, who has some experience at this sort of thing, see MRJ 203, had prepared the point templates and Ron and I were going to manufacture the points. For me this was by way of being a P4 conversion course, I've done this before but only in 00. As we only had one punch/rivet press available it was convenient to get together to start the building process. So while Ron and I punched, riveted filed and soldered away, Dick busied himself adding more bits of track to Slattocks Junction which was up in the club room behind us.

We were made most welcome by the Manchester Society Members who were about, and spent most of the morning chatting with Dave Booth, who was kind enough to take the photo for me.

Anyway mine is now done, there should be another meeting soon to start applying cosmetic chairs.
Meeting Jan 2.jpg
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Meeting February 13th 2011

Postby Will L » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:31 pm

I'm a lumberjack...

Our February group meeting was dedicated to afforestation. The extension to Knutsford we are working on will have woodland, and the idea is that we should all provide a tree or two. Dick was providing the expertise and explained how, I provided the stranded brass picture wire we used, and six of us spend a happy afternoon twisting wire.

I first came across this style of tree when I was a member of the Hawker Siddeley MRC in Hatfield in the seventies. Then the club was run by Dennis Moore, who certainly did much to propagate this method of tree production, even if we can argue the toss over whether he originated it or not. He used aircraft control cable, which was a b****r to cut and plays havoc with you finger tips when your manipulating it. I still have a small supply which he gave me at the time. but I chickened out and used the brass picture wire like everybody else. The aircraft wire has finer strands which ultimately will produce a better tree, and the toughness of the wire meant you could sit on one of Denis’s tree’s and not damage it much. The brass picture wire variant will not survive this sort of treatment.

The meeting was at Dick's home, and we all had so much fun making trees we didn’t have time to pop up stairs and play trains. We were so engrossed it was the quietest meeting for I think I can remember. Here we all are doing it. Tea, coffee, and chocolate biscuits are properly in evidence, as befits one of our meetings.

meeting feb 1.jpg
Ron, Tony and David twisting away. Yes some of the track work started at the previous meeting is there ready for painting in the centre of the table.
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Dick Phil and me getting thoroughly engrossed.
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meeting feb 3.jpg
To give you an idea of what we were up to, the following picture is of my effort. The wire has been twisted into tree shape, and there is a basic cover of masking tape over the major limbs. To come is a layer of PVC rich polyfiller pre coloured gray, further painting including a fine coat of moss green, and foliage from Woodland Scenic’s (or what ever it is called today) foliage mat. Knutsford’s woodland is assumed to be recent growth and the trees are meant to be low and scrubby, so we are not attempting to produce big specimen trees.
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Meeting 25 to 27th March

Postby Will L » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:52 am

Ambergate Revisited

The normal monthly meeting this month got subsumed into putting up and playing with Ambergate. Tony magical managed, for the second time. to arrange this for a weekend on which I was committed else where, and just when I had a yen to find out just how long a train my O4 would pull. Are well I suppose I had better blame his landlord, and wish myself better luck next time.

John Sherratt was there and has provided both words and pictures. Actually lots of pictures, so at least the selection was mine.

"March 2011 saw the Crewe Group helping out with “Ambergate” which was set up courtesy of Tony Montgomery’s Landlord, who kindly made a vacant industrial unit available for the weekend. Friday afternoon saw Tony W, David and me move the baseboard’s round from Tony Montgomery’s workshop where they are usually stored, to the vacant unit. Ambergate is heavy! You have to admire the crew who were responsible for carrying it and setting it up during its exhibition life.
David’s VW Touran and my Land Rover came in handy for moving the boards and other equipment round to their home for the weekend, before I had to disappear for the evening.

When I came back on Saturday morning, most of the boards had been set up by Tony W, Tony M and David, and much of Saturday was spent trying to remember how all the controls work as it is 18 months since the railway was last set up, putting right some track niggles and tracing one or two electrical gremlins.

Sunday morning saw us joined by Dick and by some guests and following further work by the two Tonys and David, it was possible to run trains right around the layout. Stock varied from a LNWR C Class 0-8-0, Super D, DX and a Chopper Tank, to a GWR Saddle Tank, a NSR D Class tank and even a Western Region “Bubble Car” in Green with speed whiskers.

Those of you who can remember seeing Ambergate at exhibitions in its EM days or have read Tony’s article in Model Railway Journal may perhaps have an idea of just how impressive and big it is – not easy to do justice to in photographs. A rough timing suggests that a goods train running at something like a scale speed will take at least 4 minutes to traverse the whole layout, see:

I understand Tony has plans for a permanent home where Ambergate can be left set up and that there are also plans to add to add an extension to Buxton, both MR and LNWR stations but no doubt Tony can reveal more about that in due course.

Thanks are due to Tony’s Landlord for the use of the unit for the weekend and to Tony himself of course for inviting us along to work on the layout with him and run trains too."

March 11 meeting 1.jpg
Just to give you an idea how big!
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March 11 meeting 3.jpg
Some thing a little atmospheric. I like shots like this.
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March 11 meeting 4.jpg
The bewhiskered item that John commented on call at the triangular station that is the centre piece of Ambergate
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Next month our meeting coincides with Scalefour North so members wishing to meet will probably do so leaning on the metaphorical gate overlooking Burntisland

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30th April/1st May Liverpool Exhibition

Postby Will L » Sun May 01, 2011 10:09 pm

Knutsford goes Scouse

Presumably some of the Crewe Area group did meet at S4 North on our normal meeting date, but I wasn’t one of them, so as far as meeting reports go, I will draw a veil. However we have had a couple of pleasurable days this weekend showing Knutsford East to the public at the Liverpool show, so we will have a report about that instead.

The Cheshire Lines Committee served Liverpool, and an unusually large percentage of the visiting public knew exactly what the CLC was and what it was supposed to look like. A number even seemed to be making models of CLC stations and we had a number of queries as to exactly where you can get proper CLC coaches from.

The answer being
-Bill Bedford, some early Doncaster built coaches designed for CLC use;
-Comet, in as far as some later standard Doncaster built Gresly designs were used on the CLC; and
-Perseverance in as far as their GCR clearstory full third kit, long out of production, if built without the clearstory, comes out just like coaches built by the GCR for the CLC.

Somebody also spotted the rather unusual CLC style signal arms which have their spectacle plates the opposite way up to most other companies.

It was very gratifying to get a number of compliments on the grubby state of our rolling stock and the all pervading air of the run down post war railway. Just what we are trying to achieve, honest.

John Sherratt brought along his camera on Saturday and a few of his photos follow.
Meeting april 11-1.jpg
John’s been playing with his special effects again, this rather atmospheric drivers eye view is the result.
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Meeting april 11-2.jpg
Knutsford East as it can be appreciated when the viewing punters are not 4 deep. Adrian, Ron, myself and Phil R have all got our heads down and are concentrating hard. I’m sure flawless operating resulted, pity nobody was watching but John.
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Meeting april 11-3.jpg
A montage of shots from a busy Fiddle yard. The 4F (top left) and the C12 (Bottom right) were both on their first time out with the layout. They have both been the subject of previous S4forum posts. The 4F features full inside valve gear and was discussed and illustrated in the report on our meeting on this subject last year. The C12 is currently coming up in CSB related posts.
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meeting april 11-4.jpg
A busy moment in the transfer sidings at Knutsford. Here trains due to travel over the ex LNWR branch line to Chelford await their turn. In the mean time, the Black Pig (B7) sets off with a Chester to Manchester train on the CLC main line. The presence of the remarkably clean J11 on a train due to travel over the LMS branch is a little surprising, but presumably it has been borrowed following the failure of the more normal 4F.
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Meeting May 8th 2011

Postby Will L » Thu May 12, 2011 10:49 pm

Knutsford East Extends Eastwards

Our May meeting was held at Dick’s home and it gave six of use an opportunity to check up on the progress of the extension to Knutsford East that is under way.

The changes to our sub frame to take the extra board are completed, and the board itself is already well advanced as the attached picture shows. Track laying cannot long be delayed.
Meeting may 11 - 1.jpg
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The extension is at the country end of Knutsford East Junction and carries the connection to a Ministry of Supply depot set up in World War II, which we hope will add interesting new freight movements. Just the end of a running loop and the entry track, serving the depot, will be modelled. The most significant features will be four new points including a single slip, a “temporary” steel girder bridge which carries the access road to the depot over the main line and the sidings, and a significant length of security fencing round the depot through which the access track will have a gated entry. There will also be some new signals.

Having inspected the handiwork to date, we all sat down and went through the work schedule designed to meet our deadline of having the board ready for the Manchester show in October. Suitably inspired, many of us now have things to do.

Following the meeting Don Roland gave further exercise to his editorial talents by produced a New Layout Newsletter, relevant sections of which I have reproduced in the Group News and Chat thread.


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Meeting June 12th 2010

Postby Will L » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:14 pm

Tradition Observed, No Matter What the Weather

To demonstrate that membership of the Crewe Area Group may be as much to do with eating as anything else, the June meeting was our, now traditional, summer cream tea meeting. The objective was to enjoy a garden, the fine summer weather, and indulge in a cream tea. We even invite the ladies along to enjoy the fun. So we congregated at Tony M’s. The garden is such a credit to him and to her, obviously not always, indoors. It has fine views of the Staffordshire countryside, the Trent and Mersey Canal, and the Stoke-on-Trent arm of the West Coast main line. However the view was rather obscured by the downpour.

None the less Denise, clearly as competent in the kitchen as in the garden, had laid on a fine spread of scones, alternate sorts of cream, jam and real strawberries. We all enjoyed tucking in, even if we could only do it in the comfort of the living room chairs. Numbers where not all that we might have hoped for, as only 7 members and 4 WAGs made it. Most of out more northerly members claimed to be away and so unable to attend, and Ron wasn’t with us as he had had a tumble and didn’t feel up to it. The result was plenty of scones for all. We do hope you feel as right as rain quickly Ron.
Meeting jun 1.jpg
John contemplates the spread while next door out better halves have yet to get stuck in.
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The ladies sat in the conservatory putting the world to rights, only having to raise their voices a little bit to overcome the rain drumming on the roof. The rest of us sat in the living room and had a pleasurable afternoon, discussing various possible outings, trying to get our heads round the complexities of Tony’s combined Ambergate and Buxton track plan, and comparing various part built locos. Some of these were Ebay rescues, but also there was John B’s Robinson 4-6-0 which has developed more boiler fittings since it's last appeared in the thread dedicated to it. The only real disappointment of the day was that the weather did not allow us to explore the footings of Tony’s new railway room which have not progress much due to a slight hitch with the local planning department

Altogether a very pleasurable afternoon, which just goes to show that the permission of the weather was not necessary. Out Thanks to Tony and particularly to Denise.


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Layout Meeting 21st June

Postby Will L » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:43 pm

Knutford's eastward extension makes further progress

Five of us met at Dicks to bring together various bits of track, and other things, that we have been progressing individually. We were able to see real progress with the main line more or less complete across the new board, and the branch track already for laying by the end of the week. This just leaves the sidings to be laid. I took along my rake of CLC coaches so we could check it ran happily along the new track and through the new point work on the main line, which it did. There has also been progress on various ground works, plus the construction of the retaining wall between the new sidings and the branch line's embankment, and the footings and abutments for the new bridge.

Regrettably I have no photos as I forgot to take either camera or phone.

Over a welcome brew, augmented by home made fruit loaf and a chocolate wafer biscuit (thank you Fay), we were able to discuss the jobs which remain outstanding. This heavily featured Phil's plans for wiring and such topics as exactly how many pins we will need on the link plugs between the new board and the existing layout, and to the new industrial siding control panel. Also discussed were, how we will manufacture all the fancy fence post we will need for the security fence, and who might want to produce a pre-war diesel shunter to work the siding. We don't seem to have any takers for this second one so far so it seems well have to borrow a passing main line loco to start with.

It was a useful meeting which clearly we were enjoying as it went on rather longer than expected. Having forgotten my phone, I couldn't let SHMBO know when to expect me, and she was getting hungry by the time I got home!


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Meeting 10th July 2011

Postby Will L » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:39 pm

Out July meeting was held in the plush surroundings of Tony M's extension, which if you read back, we have visited before. The normal facilities, tea coffee and chocolate biscuits, were expertly provided.

Further East at Knutsford

The star of the show was the new Knutsford board which now has all its track laid and basic ground works completed. The photo below (which is the best my phone could manage, my camera and John S being else where, sorry) shows it butted up to the next board along. The centre two tracks belong to a war time MOD storage depot added between the main line and the LMS branch at some point after 1938. Most of the depot is presumed to be off stage in the fiddle yard, and yes the baseboard does actually get slowly wider .
July 11 meeting 1.jpg
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Road access to the depot is via a new over bridge, the abutments for which you can just see at the bottom of the picture. This and some trees will form the scenic brake on the way into the fiddle yard. The slightly lurid ground colour is, in part, an artefact of the so called camera in my phone which has exaggerated the colour a bit. However a yellow brown colour will be just right when it is mostly hidden beneath a good layer of the beige under felt fibre judiciously coloured green which, on Knutsford, does service as basic long grass ground cover.

Much of the meeting was spent discussing the various things than need completing before our first outing with the new board. Things like
    the electrical wiring;
    lots of basic green ground cover
    cosmetic chairs on much of the new track
    the changes to the signalling implied by the additional overall layout length and operation over the additional points;
    a new control panel to give the fiddle yard operator control over the depot sidings;
    a long run of chain link fencing, including operational gates, which will divide the deport from the railway company land that surrounds it (and whether lost wax was the way to go for producing the posts);
    the pill box which guards the depot entrance, and exactly how it should be arranged around the bridge abutments so it has a field of fire in all the right directions;
    the lengthmans hut which will sit on the white spot about half way down on the right;
    the rail built buffer stop which will terminate the spur; and
    the ground frame hut which will sit right beside it.
We also spent time trying to decide if an LMS calling on arm, installed during the war, would have had a red or a white spectacle glass (CLC signalling in our period was in LMS hands). Then there is also the small matter of the point rodding which is needed to connect the ground frame with the new point work on the main line, but I suspect we may not get to that before the first outing.

To see how much we actually do get done, you will need to visit the Manchester show the first week end in October.

John Loves to Bogie

Those of you who have been following the snooze articles by John B on producing kits for GCR 4-6-0s in the Snooze, will be interested to see the photographic evidence that he has been able to get his hand on a slightly larger example of the sort of bogie he illustrated in issue 173.
July 11 meeting 2.jpg
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Actually the example Dick brought along is a Midland design, but it is in most respects very similar, just to a slightly larger scale than John had in mind!

Next Time

We''ll be back at Adrian's doing more work on our lining technique.

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Meeting 14th August

Postby Will L » Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:00 pm

Drawing On The Straight And Narrow

For our August meeting we returned to Adrian's and continued, under his expert tutelage, to extend our knowledge and experience of the gentle art of lining. This was an extension of his painting and lining session last year which had started on spray painting, and didn't have enough time to cover lining in full.

Six of us sat down to be given the benefit of Adrian's professional experience, tricks, tips and practices. Little gems like:-
- only trying to draw curves that go with the geometry of the joints in your hand, so only your fingers move and not the whole of you arm,
- how to remove bits of line you didn't want with nothing more than a modified cocktail stick
- when a ruler strait line looks right and when its best to line parallel to the edge, strait or not, and
- which lines the eye looks at ,and which ones you tend to overlook, and hence perhaps do not need to be quite so finely done.

Adrian gave a teach in on the fettling of lining pens and bemoaned the disappearance of Crocus grade emery cloth, which is the ideal thing for polishing the inside of the jaws of the lining pen, if only you could get hold of some. See update under Matters Arising

He gave instruction on the proper consistency of paint for lining, which is very much thicker than you need for spraying, and, one last tip, explained that when the paint becomes too thick even for lining, it would best be regenerated by using the oil off the top of a fresh can of the same colour that had started to separate out.

Once Adrian had imparted his wisdom, three of our number tried hard to put the teaching in to practice.
Aug meet 2011 - 1.jpg
Adrian shows David just how its done, with the pen following the panel edge on a coach side
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Aug meet 2011 - 2.jpg
David, Tony and Don, three now much wiser modellers, hard at it.
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Thanks Adrian for a interesting and instructive afternoon.


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Meeting September 11th

Postby Will L » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:27 pm

Surveying a survey

This months meeting was hosted by Don. He was a little concerned that the September sun might make spending time in his conservatory, which contains Alpraham Sidings, uncomfortable. He needn’t have worried, sun and summer have not been close associates this year.

The meeting turn out was low by our standards with just six members in attendance. Partly this was because some of our more northerly members were busy doing things to Knutsford in preparation for the Manchester show. This is only three weeks away now, so they had better be excused. We can probably also excuse the member who was busy renewing his marital vows, not something you do every day. However, what should we say of the member who chose to spend the day at Expo EM north?

In practice the delights of Alpraham Sidings went largely unsampled. Nor did the days topic, the use of CAD packages, receive the intended airing. Instead we settled down to discuss Chairman Jim's survey of Area Group (AG) opinion concerning, what the Society could do for AGs, and what AGs could do for the society. Crewe AG organiser David has already produced a summary of our discussion for the Society Committee to ponder over, come next Wednesdays committee meeting. I shall do no more than summaries his summary!

Among the things discussed were:-

    1. How can we recruit more young people into the society?
    2. What do we mean by young people? Does this mean beginners, or younger members from the ranks of existing modellers, as they acquire a taste for higher standards of modelling?
    3. Should the society sponsor products designed to help aspiring P4 modellers acquire the necessary skills and knowledge? Particularly for modern image where an “easy 4 wheel wagon kit” isn’t really relevant.
    4. Also to encourage younger modellers more inclined to favour modern image, should we sponsor the development of flat bottom rail point kits?
    5. Why is the comment that “P4 modellers are elitist” a put-down when other elite groups, e.g. Olympic athletes, are looked up to?
    6. Could the society help with things like storage facilities for AG layouts?
    7. Should we have a list of AG members who would be happy to do guest speaker gigs for other AGs?
    8. Should the society be visiting local clubs to talk about/demonstrate P4?
    9. Could these last two points be connected?

Once we had got that lot out of our system, we just had time to pop into the conservatory to review, and probably steel, the way Don’s system for randomising the shunting on Alpraham Sidings works and it was time to go home.

Our thanks to Don for hosting the day and providing particularly nice chocolate biscuits.


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Layout Meeting 18th September

Postby Will L » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:37 pm

Preparing For Manchester

As has been mentioned else where, Knutsford east has been extending eastwards. One boards length to be precise. It is due for its first outing at Manchester on October 1st and 2nd so you can probably imagine the scene.

At times like this we hold additional Area Group meetings to help progress the work. Thus 6 of us met at Dick’s last Sunday.

Knutsford was all over Dick's hall and living room. Many things have been done. The track has been down for a while and now has power. The necessary amendments to the lighting units and back scene are well on. The remarkably large bank of relays needed to activate the new points and correctly rout the traction current is completed, although the point motors have yet to be fitted. Significant lengths of chain link fencing have been fabricated with much skill, the first stretches have been installed and most of the rest is ready to go on. The ground frame box, with custom etched window frames, and the ganger's hut, ditto, are both already in place. The adjacent fiddle yard board has been extended to match the new wider baseboard, and the entry tracks modified to suit. There is a very nice new “temporary” bridge guarding the entry.

The declared purpose of the day was to install some of the bits and pieces that have been progressed away from the layout. So David’s much discussed and research pill box arrived, as did my tree, some rather natty ground signals from Tony, and Ron’s extension to the crossing keeper’s cottage garden. This is required because, one board further down, the mysterious off white wall is no longer right outside the crossing keeper's back door.

The picture below shows the nice new bridge with pill box, just installed, guarding the bridge. If you look carefully it also includes a view of a couple of lengths of chain link fencing. There will be more, much more.
August layout meeting 2011.jpg
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You will also observe that ground cover has not yet achieved the coverage you would hope for. By the time the Manchester show comes, we are hopeful that the point motors will be in and bussing, the remaining lengths of chain link installed and ready to keep out any unauthorized 4mm men who happen to wonder by, and the rest of the ground cover will be covering the ground.

What will not be there will be the new running line signalling, so presumably there will be a lot of little men with red and green flags about. Also missing will be the gates in the chain link fence that will, in some future time, swing open to allow the freight trains into the depot.

Higher things

Once all the progress had been thoroughly inspected, and we had ascertained that none of the 4 coupled locos present could get more than 3 of Dick substantial coaches up the grade on the branch line, we settled down with a cup of coffee and a biscuit and fell to discussing the Area Group Survey.

Those present at this meeting tended to agree that the new young members we would all like to see in the society might to not be all that young in absolute terms. There was also a feeling that if, to attract new members, the society needed to be something other than what it currently is, we were not certain that new members was what we wanted!

Well see you all in Manchester wont we.



Re: Layout Meeting 18th September

Postby craig_whilding » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:38 pm

Will L wrote:Preparing For Manchester
Once all the progress had been thoroughly inspected, and we had ascertained that none of the 4 coupled locos present could get more than 3 of Dick substantial coaches up the grade on the branch line, we settled down with a cup of coffee and a biscuit and fell to discussing the Area Group Survey.

Apologies if it was mentioned elsewhere but what was the grade of the incline out of interest? Im aware of the substantial weight of Dick's coaches having had a rake of them on Slattocks.

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Re: Layout Meeting 18th September

Postby Will L » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:16 pm

craig_whilding wrote:Apologies if it was mentioned elsewhere but what was the grade of the incline out of interest? Im aware of the substantial weight of Dick's coaches having had a rake of them on Slattocks.

You'll have to get the theodolite out next at Manchester next Saturday, Craig, alternative we can ask Dick


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Re: CAG Meeting Reports 2011

Postby scfcphil » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:32 am

IIRC the branch line rises at 1 in 70


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Manchester Show 1st/2nd October 2011

Postby Will L » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:59 pm

Knutsford Extra or Extra Knutsford

The 75th Annual Manchester show was the chosen venue for the first public appearance of the extended Knutsford East Junction. After considerable efforts had been put in over the last few weeks, it was in a very presentable state, and, after a few hiccups early Saturday morning, it ran very well. So, well done to everybody who had a hand in its preparation, particularly Dick and Phil your efforts were worth while.

The picture below shows the full run of the extended layout, the new board is the bit that gets hard to see in the distance. Getting used to the extra length didn't take long, and, by the end of the show, it felt like it had always been that long. The layout that is.
manchester 2011- 5.jpg
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The rationale for the new section is that it represents just one end of the trackwork for a temporary War Department deport. This deport, which still remains in use in our period, was built early in the war using the ground between the main line and the branch, where it curves away south towards Chelford. Exactly what is stored there remains classified. What ever it is arrives, or possibly departs, in otherwise anonymous box wagons. There is a loop siding off the main line with facing and trailing access at both ends. We can only see the end of the loop closest to Knutsford station. Also at this end is the connection to the private internal siding via a short shunting neck. This private siding is the province of the deports own shunting engine.

The loop entry point work, the shunting neck, the shunter, the hut containing the ground frame which controls the points at this end of the loop, and some of the considerable length of chain link fencing that surrounds the deport, are all in this picture.
manchester 2011- 6.jpg
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Due to the apparent theft of all the fixed signals in the area, all movements at the Manchester show were controlled by the signal man with the flag out side the ground frame hut. The proper deport shunter is apparently one of those new fangled diesel things but wasn’t available on the day. A replacement had been arranged but its use was prevented by the one fault we found on the new board. The rest of the new track work and electronics performed faultlessly. Here is the O4 delivering another train of anonymous vans into the deport loop.
manchester 2011- 12.jpg
Picture John Sherratt
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The road to the deport crosses the main line by a “temporary” bridge which crosses four tracks, the up and down main lines, the loop and the deport entry road. This bridge, which is just peeping in to the photo above, has been exquisitely modeled by Dick. In doing this he had a bit of a head start because it is an, only slightly modified, version of bridge 24, built over the Sandbach to Northwich line, which Dick himself designed when he was still doing his day job.

I can’t comment on the quality of the prototype, but the model was good enough to amass an array of awards in the Manchester Club competitions. It won a Gold award in its model category, the Nuttal Trophy, and the Prescott Shield. This last one is a new award donated by Adrian to encourage scratch building and came with an additional award from Eileen’s Emporium of a voucher to cover further purchases from Eileen’s. This does seem appropriate given the amount of brass section that went into the model in the first place. In the picture, the current reincarnation of Eileen, Derek Russan, is presenting Dick with his voucher.
manchester 2011- 2.jpg
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This bridge continues a run of competition success for Dick, who is a Manchester Club Member as well as a stalwart of the Crewe Area Group. Last year also saw him gain quality awards plus the Championship Cup for both ends of Knutsford's Motor train, that is for the 2P tank and the auto coach, in their respective stock building categories. In the following photo we see the self same 2P Tank climbing the branch past that bridge.
manchester 2011- 3.jpg
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Also worth of mention is the pill box which guards the bridge and depot. David spent a considerable time researching the model and achieved a very realistic looking cement finish. It so impress the gentlemen from the Pillbox Appreciation Society (probably not the right title but it will have to do) that he was inspired to seek out David, who was trying to sell stuff on the Brassmasters Stand at the time, to talk pill boxes.
manchester 2011- 10.jpg
Photo John Sherratt
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Our most northerly member Peter (the Crewe Area Groups catchment area appears to include Aberdeen) had provided some nice new scratch built wagons serving one of the areas major industries. These wagons eluded the photographers while out on the line and are captured here “en fiddle”.
manchester 2011- 9.jpg
Photo John Sherratt
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Given that the inside of the Up fiddle yard is generally all of the layout that I get to see at a show, and I’ve documented it before, I thought I’d finish off our own private Manchester show retrospective with a view that shows how Knutsford’s extension has caused change behind the scenes too. Not only is the Up yard now slightly wider, it now includes a control panel to work the deport sidings. This deceptively simple panel actually controls more relays than the main layout panel.

Oh and those Seddon’s Wagons have popped up in this view too, and the otherwise elusive award winning Autocoach is in the yard as well.
manchester 2011- 7.jpg
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Anybody who missed the extra bit of Knutsford at Manchester will get another opportunity to see it at the Hazel Grove show on the 29th and 30th of October.


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Re: CAG Meeting Reports 2011

Postby jsherratt » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:20 am

The Crewe Area Group took Knutsford East Junction to the Hazel Grove Exhibiton over the weekend of 29th and 30th October, and in the abscence of our usual correspondent, Will, it has fallen on me to put together a few words here for the blog. This was the second outing for the layout in a month, and followed the invitation to the Manchester show at the start of October.

The weekend went well, Hazel Grove is a friendly show and the Club made us feel welcome. Attendance (at least on the Saturday when I was there) seemed quite healthy, and Knutsford was voted the best layout in the show. The fault which prevented full use of the new siding in to the Depot at the Manchester Show had been corrected, but by the law of "sod" a minor glitch with one of the controllers again prevented full operation of this new trackwork on Saturday. This was corrected for Sunday, so the new extension was fully operational for the second day of the show and worked well.

I took a few photos and have picked some out that hopefully do not repeat those already posted on here too much.

After taking Knutsford out twice in a month, there now seems to be a bit of a gap in our schedule and (subject to confirmation) the next outing may be to the Stockport show in May 2012.

John Sherratt
Will's 04 2-8-0 waits on the main line with a goods train, while the former Midland Railway 2P Number 378 heads a cattle train down the branch towards the junction
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The crossing over the branch, the bridge over the main line is in the background.
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The D9 waits on a passenger train in the platform. Former Midland Railway 2P number 378 (making only it's second exhibtion appearance) has backed its cattle train over on to the "wrong line" and is waiting to head up the branch.
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A view looking from the layout under the new bridge, into the fiddle yard. The siding in to the depot goes off to the right of the picture. A disembodied hand can be seen "shunting" in the fiddle yard.
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CAG Meeting 6th November

Postby Will L » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:09 pm

Christmas Is Coming...

Though that can be hard to get you head round when you've just returned from a rather belated summer holiday. Non the less the 4th of November saw the
CAG congregating for its annual pre Christmas Lunch, as tradition dictates, at the Crewe Arms hotel. Also becoming traditional is the collage of those attending, so I wouldn't want to disappoint. There are 22 faces and I'm hoping that was everybody. I have managed to include both photographers (John and myself).

nov meeting 2011.jpg
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To prevent the odd stray remark about the quality of the catering also becoming traditional we may consider a different venue next year, that is assuming we can think of somewhere. Leatherhead perhaps?

Next month when Christmas really will start to encroach we will be eating mince pies, on this occasion somewhere in Wales.

Have Area Group will travel

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CAG Area group Meeting 4th December 2011

Postby Will L » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:22 pm

..Christmas Is Still Coming…

The last meeting of the year took place in a new venue for us, at John B’s establishment. This is not, as suggested last month, even in England, but for CAG the concept of popping over the nearest boarder is not too foreign. So a good turn out of members had the pleasure of enjoying a seasonal helping of mince pies.

This photo somehow captures the ethos of the event, and unfortunately my preferred shot, of a pie disappearing into Jeremy, just isn’t of publishable quality.

December Meeting 11-1.jpg
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We didn’t have an official modelling related meeting theme this month, unless the planned dispatch of mince pies is considered modelling related and reading back over the rest of this thread may suggest there is some sort of connection. At this point it seems apposite to mention that the household authorities had also provided cream, for use with said pies, copious supplies of tea and coffee and the surprise addition of sausages, both rolled and on sticks. A welcome change from packing loco kits? For these things the assembled CAG membership was both appreciative and thankful. None the less, this lack of a theme didn’t seem to dent our enjoyment, or prevent a steady flow of model related topics of interest to discuss and items to inspect.

The Bachman 3F in the photo above did get a thorough once over, you will note it has been disassembled. Also, being at its home so to speak, we gave the bits from one of John’s Fish Engine (B5) kits a good inspection. We had a long chat about the possible uses for fast prototyping machines to print 3D bits for kits, the B5 has a printed back-head for instance. There seems no hope at the moment for printed chimneys, so still no alternative to hand turnings or metal castings, when the CNC equipped manufactures don’t seem interested in batch sizes of less than 300. Then there was a discussion of the comparative merits of various firms of etchers of whom several of those present had collective experience. It seem they all use subtly different CAD file inputs. While on the topic of etched brass, we considered the implications, for the kit producer, of over and under cooked etches, and the best way to spot you've got one when it arrives back from the manufacturer.

Altogether a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and we must thank John and his wife for their hospitality. Next month we will be back in Crewe and it will be AGM time, so wallets to the ready chaps. Also I'm sure David will be very happy if you come equipped with offers to host meetings, and ideas for meeting themes.

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