CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

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Will L
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CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

Postby Will L » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:02 pm

Another year another thread and it is time to start 2013. This does give me an opportunity to remind you all that this is my blog, and doesn’t necessarily represent the collective view of the Crewe Area Group, although they don’t seem to want to stop me doing it. As always, I'm quite happy if CAG members, or any other S4 members for that matter, want to add their own two pennies worth.

While I’m here it is also a good time to say that the Crewe Area Group welcomes new members or occasional visitors to our second Sunday in the month meetings. Anybody who feels they would like to attend one or all of our meeting should contact area organiser David Burton, see the blue sheet, or PM me, and we’ll tell you where to find us.

Happy 2013

Will

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Will L
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Meeting 11th January 2013

Postby Will L » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:20 am

Another Year another AGM

I’m not sure why, given that our official year either starts or ends in September (another thing I’m unclear about), but our AGM now occurs in January. Whatever the reason it is so, and two Tonys two Johns, a Ron a David and a Will were forgathered in Tony M’s palatial new railway room to review last year’s activities and establish our "trajectory" for next year. Our numbers were a little depleted by health concerns and perhaps a little trepidation about the weather, it was snowing when we left, but none the less we were filled with an enthusiastic urge to do the deed, not least because Ambergate was sitting invitingly behinds us, waiting for the talking to finish.

It seems we were comfortable with what has been, and were disinclined to make any radical new suggestions as to what we might do next. The accounts were passed without any objection; the existing executive team, if David doing everything can be described as a team, was re-elected for the next year; Dick’s responsibilities for Knutsford were renewed in his absence; and I was given further licence to document our doings from my own view point. Various possible activities and meeting places for next year were discussed, and once David has documented these to his own satisfaction, I may well publish them on the forum. We discussed the possibility of purchasing one of the video recording wagons, currently for sale on ebay. While there were no voices raised actively against purchase by the group, the consensus was that perhaps it was best limited to a shared purchase between those who might have something they could run it on.

The stated reason for the days meeting having been met, our minds turned to other things.

Ambergate in luxury
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© John Sherratt
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This was our first Area Group meeting to be held actually in Tony M’s new railway room. Regular readers will know we have visited before and will have seen previous descriptions of this room, which is, let’s say, generously sized, before it was completed. There is also a thread on the forum which explains Tony's master plan. Incomplete no more, it is now giving Ambergate a permanent home, in carpeted and heated splendour. It made an excellent venue, being well enough insulated that a modest amount of heating produced a comfortable environment on a cold winters evening. There’s many a club who would consider themselves lucky to have accommodation like it.

Ambergate is now set up, in accordance with the master plan, in approximately its final resting place where it will form part of a larger layout that will feature a model of Buxton as its centre piece, and Ambergate isn’t small. It will be modified to suit its new role over time, but for now Tony is concentrating on turning what was an EM gauge layout into fully functional P4. All things considered it is remarkable how far work has already progressed, with all the relevant track gauge converted, though the geometry of some bits of the track work still requires fettling. This is of course much facilitated by it now being set up permanently somewhere comfortable. A further tranche of work is also required to complete his understand the electronics.

Ambergate is a model of that rare thing, a triangular double track junction, with a station sitting on/in the triangle..
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© John Sherratt
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The layout was, we understand, originally conceived as a Y shape with three fiddle yards. For a DC layout, there are considerable electrical implications in the fact that trains traveling in the same direction when they leave one fiddle yard, would be traveling in opposite directions, electrically, when they arrived at the alternative end points. This was covered by a fine array of polarity change switches on the main control panel. At some point two of the fiddle yards were extended to meet in the middle and form a single continuous fiddle yard, and thus a continuous run taking in one side of the triangle. It seems that the wiring was extended rather than rethought. The net result was another fine array of polarity switches in the fiddle yard; an equally fine puzzle for the operator not fully versed in its peculiarities; and significant doubt about which way a train in the continuous fiddle yard will go when you turn on the power.

Tony’s master plan involves both, severing the link between the two arms of the Y that is the continuous fiddle yard, and, perhaps thankfully all things considered, the conversion to DCC. However the same desire not to rip out a lot of fully functional wiring leads to the need to clearly understand what is there, before its conversion and integration into something different. Given that this master plan introduces yet further opportunities for trains to meet themselves going the other way, one can only wish Tony good luck and an uncluttered mind.

So the rest of the meeting we were gainfully employed sending trains round the tracks, partly to find, and hopefully correct, places where the track geometry had yet to reach perfection, and partly to further illuminate the polarity nightmare. It also presented some nice photo opportunities for John Sherratt to demonstrate his photographic skills, not to mention the general excellence of the layout. All the photo’s in this post are his. I’ll leave you with a couple more.
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John understandably focused in on his rather nice Knotty tank...
© John Sherratt
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... and a pair of LNWR chopper tanks compare notes in Ambergate platforms 1 (for Manchester) and 2 (for Derby).
© John Sherratt
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Andy W
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Re: CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

Postby Andy W » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:26 am

It looks wonderful.

".... where it will form part of a larger layout" !!!!!!!! Crikey!
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

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Will L
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CAG Meeting 10th February 2013.

Postby Will L » Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:23 pm

It was a slightly depleted Crewe Area group of 6 that met at Dick’s house for our February meeting, with the prime purpose of operating a few trains on his railway. Well it is February, so it is understandable that some of our members might have health and weather concerns. It was some recompense that our numbers were bolstered a little by the presence of Editor James who, as well as enjoying the pleasure of our company, was giving various people interesting things to do.

Before progressing to the nub of the day, we did have an opportunity to sit down and discuss a few other items of business. To this end we further refined the list of the coming years meetings; considered in more detail the purchase of the roving video camera van mentioned last month; and generally enjoyed the confusion engendered by the picture on the front of this month’s Snooze correctly captioned as being at Knutsford Junction.. See this post and the next 7. This topic may come up again, shortly.

We were also putting some meat on the bones of3 our plans for the upcoming appearance of Knutsford East Junction at Scalefour North. The groups layout, you will remember, is deemed to exist to the immediate east of where the A50 crosses the CLC Chester Manchester line in Knutsford. Beyond working out the usual basics, like bodies attending and cars available for transport etc., we also gave thought to the engineering possession scheduled to occur on Sunday 21st April. Brief details of this have been given in the Scalefour North guide, though quite why the LMS is issuing details of an engineering possession on the CLC remains unclear, the LMS service into Knutsford being unaffected.

Knutsford Junctions Explained.

Once the business of the day had been transacted, the urge to play trains could not be long delayed, and we soon adjourned upstairs to view that other Knutsford Junction. In this case, the proposed, but never actually built, junction for a branch to Knutsford from a point between the current Chelford and Alderley Edge stations on the LNWR Stockport Crewe line. The photo shows how the LNWR Knutsford branch might have swung in from the north west to join their main line.
2013 Feb 2.jpg

For purposes of illustration, the next photo shows Branch Motor trains having just departed from the Knutsford CLC station.
2013 Feb 3.jpg
It was later caught standing in the bay at Knutsford Junction (LNWR).
2013 Feb 1.jpg

Why should that be confusing?

A Haulage Challenge

I’m told that south of Wilmslow the LNWR line from Manchester to Crewe has a ruling gradient of 1 in 300, uphill being on the down line to Manchester. Dick is one of that stalwart bunch for whom the P4 strap line “getting it all right” was no more than a plain statement of their modelling intentions, so it should be no surprise that the model duplicates this gradient. The layout of Knutsford junction (LNWR) is a classic continuous run with the landscaped model of the Junction and associated station to the front, and a fiddle yard to the rear. So that the gradient can run smoothly through the scenically developed section, the layouts high point is where the track appears from under a road bridge and enters the station, or about where the 13th coach is in the attached photo. N.B. it is the Junction to Knutsford that the Loco is just passing over.
2013 Feb 5.jpg


The implication of all this is that there has to be an up slope too, and it is on the section from the fiddle yard round to the high point at the front. This is at least as severe as the visible 1 in 300 section and on a 180 degree curve to boot. It’s a main line railway, and Dick’s locos are expected to pull as many as 13 coaches up and over this hill. Nor did he seek to minimise the challenge by populating his layout with flyweight RTR rewheels. His coaching stock is robustly constructed from quite a lot of brass and they are noticeably heavy, on average about 200 grams a piece I’m told. You can see that the effort required from his locos to haul these trains is not insignificant. They are built with carefully designed all axles compensation to give equal distribution of the loco weight across all the driving axles, and they are weighted to suit their job, featuring such things as milled brass chassis blocks which are great way of getting adhesive weight in the right place.

One of the objectives of the day, beyond having a chance to run stuff round and round a bit, was to check out the weight lifting abilities of some of my CSB fitted locos. While they have shown they are able to perform smoothly and reliably running back and forth on the other Knutsford, the short fiddle yards on that layout mean that none of the trains present a significant haulage challenge. This was my first opportunity to find out where their limits lay. First up, for the sake of comparison, was Dick’s un-rebuilt Scott(4-6-0). With 13 on, and given sufficient speed before it hit the grade, it was master of the job, although if you got it wrong it would slip to a stand at the top of the grade. Next we tried my O4 (2-8-0). Bearing in mind I didn’t build or ballast it with mountain climbing in view, what would it do? Well 13 coaches was beyond it. It slipped to a stand before it reached the summit, and the picture above was taken after it had been “assisted” from the rear. However 11 coaches were circulated happily without any sign of difficulty. Then for luck we gave the C12 a go (4-4-2) and found that 9 on was not a problem. The picture unfortunately only shows 6.
2013 Feb 4.jpg


A rough calculation, available adhesive weight divided by coaches pulled, shows their performance to have been comparable, with the O4 performing marginally better. Unfortunately I don’t have the adhesive weight of the Scott to hand to make further comparisons.
While we were playing this game on the up line, David was attempting similar things on the down, using some strange green saddle tanks and a long and surprisingly heavy freight train.

Other Points of Interest.


Also visiting Knutsford Junction, was a diesel mechanical shunter which, once painted, is expected to work the MOD private sidings at Knutsford proper. For those interested in such things this started out as a kit for a post war prototype which has been suitably modified to represent a pre-war cousin. My apologies for failing to ask Dick the right questions so I could more accurately describe it’s parentage.
2013 Feb 6.jpg

Our thanks to Dick for hosting an interesting day

Will

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Will L
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Not an CAG Meeting Monday 8th of April 2013

Postby Will L » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:52 pm

The more observant among you may have notice the CAG has been unnaturally quiet for a while. And truth to be told, we did miss a session last month when the agreed meeting fell through too late for an alternative to be arranged. So perhaps it was surprising that when nearly all of us met together this Monday evening, and despite it being the best members turn out we’ve had for a long time, we decided not to have a group meeting. Our choice is best understood when you realise that the occasion was Denise and Tony’s wedding and we didn’t think the bride would be amused if we hijacked her wedding reception. There is also the fact that we all had our better halves in tow, but the question remains, having so chosen did we manage to stick with it?

Regular readers will know Tony for the size of both his railway room and the layout which it contains, and Denise for her provision of cream teas. Both featured in last year’s June meeting report.

My first picture shows the happy couple doing some impromptu scenic development work on their wedding cake.
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While our intentions were good, and generally speaking we did what wedding guests are supposed to do, I’m afraid old habits die hard. The rot set in when the body of the industrial diesel, which will service Knutsford’s new MOD siding, surfaced. Newly and impeccably painted and lined by Adrian it was being returned to Dick so it was ready for its first public appearance at Scalefour North. We all needed to have a look. Here it is sharing the scene with an appropriate table decoration. The completed loco was last seen in pure brass form in the previous meeting report.
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You will notice those lovely fine lines betwixt green and black. Adrian is of course the expert on the use of a lining pen, how to fettle them so they work, and how to wield them to produce excellent results. Before you could say P4 Adrian was in mid lecture with a rapt audience of CAG members.
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The diagrams relate to the correct shape for the blades of the lining pen, honest guv.

In any event, we all had a very pleasant evening what with the good company, liquid refreshments, "hog roast" pork baps and slices of proper fruit wedding cake. All that remains is to wish Denise and Tony the very best for a long and a happy marriage. Now you don’t see that on the Forum every day!

Will

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:01 am

Congratulations to Denise and Tony, I always enjoy meeting them whenever they visit the LRM stand at shows.

Sadly, Denise never brings any of those wonderful cakes she provides for the CAG meetings.

Jol

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Will L
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Knutsford East to Scalefour North 20/21st April

Postby Will L » Sat May 11, 2013 10:18 am

Operational Niceties

We had no scheduled meeting in April, instead we took Knutsford off to Scalefour North for the weekend. So this month’s report will be illustrated by a couple of pictures at an exhibition, and some thoughts about layout operation which arise out of something we did.

While there is no doubt that exhibiting a layout is a pleasure in itself, the process of trundling the same trains back and forth across the same relatively short stretch of track is not without a certain element of tedium, particularly when the feet start to hurt. To leaven the loaf, the normal approach is to invoke the need for some traffic moves that are more out of the ordinary.

On Knutsford I’m afraid we do still subscribe to a number of apparently old fashioned ideas, including adherence to the “getting it all right” approach to P4. Thus we do try to operate in a reasonably prototypical way, even if, at exhibition, we are implementing the sort of train frequency that London Underground aspires to. Therefore all moves are appropriately signalled and our T&S includes running and ground signals, facing point locks locking bars and associated point rodding. We leave it up to you to observe which of these we have failed to make operable.

It follows that all moves, including any that are unusual or out of course, should be operationally reasonable and obey the signals. To illustrate the point take the rather busy seen below captured on Saturday afternoon. You will notice that the Manchester Central bound CLC train leaving the Up platform is doing so under clear signals; that the signal man has already returned the Down signals to danger to protect the CLC freight disappearing in the general direction of Northwich and Chester; and the LMS suburban train, presumably Manchester London Road via Stockport, is waiting in the bay for signal clearance to depart up the branch.
2013 April s4 6.jpg

These are all usual moves repeated at regular intervals throughout the day, but, once it’s all gone quiet, the move designed to keep the operators awake happens.

The LMS freight, whose crew has been enjoying a shovel top fried lunch while waiting in the exchange sidings, is also to be routed away up the branch. However it can’t leave from the bay as this is required by the branch rail motor. This train sets off down the branch from that other Knutsford junction on the LMS Manchester Crewe line (see our February post) as soon as the Manchester London Road train arrives there. As a result the freight will have to depart from the Knutsford Down platform. This is a move not covered by the fixed signals and definitely not available to passenger trains because the trailing point between branch and the main line, visible above where the receding CLC freight has just passed over it, has no facing point lock.

While awaiting the arrival of the rail motor, and during an appreciable lull in the service on the main line, the freight will be called forward from the exchange sidings to the Knutsford Up starter, then backed through the crossover visible just in front of the loco of the main line train illustrated above, and hence into the down platform. An acceptable move for a non passenger carrying train and fully covered by ground signals. From there it will be hand signalled up the branch once the rail motor has arrived. Those with a particularly vivid imagination will observe the signalman waving a green flag from the box.

You will see that operating the track formation we have in accordance with the rule book can add a dimension or three to the general experience of running our model railway. However, as the number of days exhibition running grows, even the oddball out of course moves become increasingly familiar. So when the idea of an engineering possession leading to single line working on the main line came up, we couldn’t resist it.

Notice of the intended possession was posted in the Scalefour North exhibition guide (see snooze 181), and arrangements made for a special piece of rolling stock to pay the layout a visit. The possession was planned, one just has to say it, prototypically for Sunday morning, and we checked that the stock could be relied upon to perform the necessary backing manoeuvre faultlessly. If you’d like to know how we got on, well there was media interest which I expect to bear fruit in the next issue of Snooze (183).
2013 April s4 4.jpg
Until then I will just wet your appetite a little with this picture of our visitor. Longsight’s 15 ton Cowans Sheldon breakdown crane, model out of D&S by Ron Dickenson.

Caveat Lector

When reading the above please remember it was written by a rail enthusiast not a railway man, so if my understanding of the correct terminology or practice is, to the really knowledgeable, clearly flawed, then please enlighten me, nicely!

Will

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Will L
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CAG Meeting 12th May 2013

Postby Will L » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:52 pm

My apologies, I have been most remiss in not getting this report out sooner. I must have been doing something else; I’m just not sure what. It has already passed the date of our next meeting, which I was, most regrettably, unable to attend, but I'm hoping that publishing this might illicit a little something about the June meeting too.

2D or not 2D that is the question.


Our May meeting was held at Tony W’s in his pleasant new extension. The subject of the meeting was 3D CAD and we had the pleasure of a presentation on this topic by CAG member John B, him of Great Central Models fame.

Most of us are now only too familiar with the initials CAD, and will be aware that this represents Computer Aided Design, a series of computer tools and facilities that have more or less completely displaced the drawing board from modern engineering. Of course, having heard the term does not mean you have any clear idea how you might exercise a computer so as to produce anything to match one of those lovely General Arrangement drawings, that we are always being told are indispensable and which are almost indecipherable when we have one, or any other drawing for that matter.

CAG member Dave B (Part of Brassmasters) has in the past lightened our darkness a bit on CAD by showing us how he used it to generate things like the etches for the like of the 3F Easichas. But that was 2D CAD. John’s talk was to take us on from the 2D CAD David had demonstrated and to lead us into the wonderful world of 3D CAD. So perhaps a little explanation of what that last sentence implies will be worthwhile, for those like me for whom drawing office skills formed no part their working life, and particularly for those whose schooling in this area did not extend beyond a little light geometry.

2D CAD covers a set of computer tools that are able to reproduce the paper drawings that would have come from the drawing office, like the aforementioned GA drawing. If your schooling did include Technical Drawing you will remember that engineering drawings, though definitely two dimensional* were presented in such a way that, to the trained eye, they represented a three dimensional object well enough for the chap with the shop full of machine tools to create a full size physical object that matches the drawing. (* unless you pressed really hard with that sharp chisel ended 4H pencil.) I nearly wrote “Fully Represent” in that preceding sentence, but that would have been far from the truth. Those two dimensional drawings could easily fail to elucidate exactly what happened on any other side of the object from the one the draughtsman had chosen to illustrate. In practice 2D CAD does little to aid the design process, beyond what the drawing office has been doing since the industrial revolution began. It could, perhaps, be better described as Computer Aided Drawing.

So while 2D CAD, does no more than represent on the computer an image of an object seen from a particular direction. 3D CAD takes that vital step of enabling the computer to “know”* what shape an object is in all three dimensions. Therefore if you want to find out what the other side looks like, all you have to do is to get the computer to turn the image round. At that point all that skill and knowledge the drawing office brought to the design process by being able to visualise the 3D object from the 2D drawing, and vice versa, has vanished up their digital pathway, and CAD really has become a valuable design tool. (* A useful, but inappropriate, turn of phrase that persists in my head even after a life time spent in the computer industry. A computer is not equipped to “know” anything.)

Clearly 3D CAD is a large topic and, in the time allowed, John was never going to be able to do more than illustrate a few general themes. He was usefully able to talk about what tools are available, ( and how much they cost!) as well as some of the more basic things you can do with them once the investment has been made. It all made for a most illuminating meeting which the assembled CAG membership fully appreciated. This post is illustrated by a picture of John in mid present making valuable use of Tony’s tastefully decorated white walls. At this distance in time I can't remember for certain which bit of a GCR Atlantic is being illustrated (probably the firebox cladding), but you will note that it will be located on the model by tabs and slots, who's size and location can be verified from the 3D drawing before the part is flattened out and translated onto the drawing of the etch.

2013 may 1.jpg
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Next month

Actually last Sunday as I write this, our next meeting will be a visit to the Central Cheshire Lines new accommodation, somewhere in Staffordshire, at the home of the lines new owner, John S. Over to you John.

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jsherratt
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CAG Meeting 9th June 2013

Postby jsherratt » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:56 pm

Thank you, Will. Our usual reporter was unable to attend the June meeting of the Crewe Group so I have been asked to put together a few words and pictures for this forum.

As is customary, wives and girlfriends were invited to the June meeting of the Group which was blessed by unusually kind weather by the standard of the last few summers in GB, which allowed drinks and refreshments to be enjoyed out of doors, as shown here.

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Enjoying the refreshments
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Many thanks are due to Vicky, Beccy and Jo for all the baking and preparing the food.

After a suitable gap, Crewe Group members moved inside to inspect the Central Cheshire lines in its new home.

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From left to right, Phil, David, Ron, Bill, Tony, Don and Jeremy
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Please note the carefully placed comfy chair for moments of contemplation or thinking through any especially knotty modelling problems.

Hopefully, an enjoyable afternoon was had by all.

John

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Will L
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CAG Meeting August 2013

Postby Will L » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:45 pm

For reasons to boring to relate we had no formal meeting in July although a few may have been tempted to use the occasion as an excuse to visit the Foxfield Railway Gala. Whether there were ever enough of the group there at one time to constitute a meeting I don’t know.

To make up, four of us did get together with some other like-minded souls to do an evening’s work on CAG member Tony M’s railway empire, where the work to integrate the gauge converted Ambergate into greater Buxton is gathering pace. While Ambergate did come with some documentation, it being basically one large reversing loop does give rise to some very “interesting” electronics. These are going to need to be unravelled, or at least understood, to support the conversion to DCC and extension to Buxton. Dave B has been helping Tony for a while to sort out exactly what all the switches on the control panel do, exactly why this combination of switches does work while that combination does not, and which way the loco is likely to go. It’s a big reversing loop remember, polarity is a significant issue. So on this evening I was pictured joining David in a game of trace that wire. Thanks John.
2013 aug 1.jpg
Photo John Sherratt
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Will

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Will L
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CAG Meeting 3rd August

Postby Will L » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:47 pm

I was on Holiday for our August Meeting, which was a pity as it was a trip to Preston, and there is nothing I like better than getting to grips with Mike Norris's signalling. An enhanced experience now that Mike as block instruments. Are the bells....

Unfortunately I wasn't alone and our numbers were somewhat depleted, I do hope Mike wasn't put out. None the less Don has provided a meeting report.

Visit to Mike Norris's layout

It was a very select group who turned up at Mike's Preston layout on 3rd August, namely David Burton and myself. Since it needs nine to operate it that could have caused problems but luckily Mike had a spare crew who saved the day, two of whom were signalmen on the big railway, and it showed.

David and I were rostered for Preston No1 signal box with its enormous one hundred and umpety-ump lever frame at the south end of the station, controlling two Up and three Down lines, all worked on Absolute Block. Thankfully David had been there before and he did the lion's share of the work because it was well into the shift before I got the hang of things. And I had done my homework too, mugging up a bit on Bell Codes and Blocking Back only to find that the codes had all changed since my Basford Sand Sidings days and all the pilot's moves were signalled as trains rather than blocking back. So, there!

We were working to the 1965WTT, starting at 00.01 and at the end of a three-hour shift had got to 01.49. Please explain. I have never thought much of this idea of Model Railway Time which runs about two and a half times faster and I was glad Mike does not use it either. Fine, no doubt, if you are running a train set type layout at an exhibition but doing things properly we needed every minute. Now for the superlatives.

That was the most exciting, enjoyable and exhilarating visit to a model railway I have ever made. I was shattered at the end of the shift and slept ever so well that night but it was worth it. Sincere thanks then to Mike and his wife who were excellent hosts and to David Burton for the work he did and for providing transport. And if we are ever invited again you can put my name at the top of the list.

Don Rowland.

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Will L
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CAG Meeting 3rd August - Part II

Postby Will L » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:14 pm

And then these was this from David B

There was quite a shock for Don and myself, after a pleasant introductory cup of tea and biscuits in the sun, when we turned up at Mike Norris’ to run his Preston layout. We were to work the busy Preston No.1 box with its 160+ levers!

Don arranged himself at the lower end of the frame, with the bells and instruments for communicating with Ribble Sidings box, up and down fast, up and down slow and through line (a total of 5). I was at the upper end looking after the instruments for up fast platforms Preston No.3, down fast platform to Preston No.2 and up and down slow lines and up and down through lines to and from Preston No.2A (a total of 6).

Fortunately, Mike had produced a simplifier which showed which levers needed to be pulled off, and in which order, for each movement. We both tried working this out for ourselves from the box diagram at first, but with trains waiting we reverted to the simplifier for most of the movements, and certainly for putting everything back afterwards. At first Don looked after the down trains, and I looked after the up, but that caused a problem because this meant having to ask the other person to bell trains out to the next box. However, we soon worked out a working method, as I the original signalmen would have done, and trains began to flow. Interesting use of the word flow there, but we managed.

All too soon it was time for tea, and Don and I realised we hadn’t actually taken much notice of the trains running past other than to pass them on to the next box. So we had a good look round after everyone else had left, until we were summoned by notice of bacon butties being ready.

Was it fun? Well like everything else, with a bit of practice it would be a lot easier, and we both said it would be interesting to revisit sometime now we knew the ropes. But yes it was fun, even if we were both kn’ck’r’d at the end of it. It is certainly worth a visit.

Oh and one surprise, even though you could hear the bells for all the boxes in the room, it was surprising how soon you became used to the sound of your own bells and all the rest seemed to get filtered out.

David

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Will L
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CAG meeting October 13th 2013

Postby Will L » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:41 pm

It was a very select gathering of 5 members who met at my home on Sunday the 13th. Some are known to be on holiday, and there having been, for a variety of reasons, a sparsity of meetings over the summer perhaps some of us may be getting out of the habit. Although I shouldn't complain as I missed a meeting or two myself earlier in the year. Never the less we had a very pleasant afternoon, each of us having brought along something we have worked on to talk about. This was the happy group.
2013 October 2.jpg
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After we’d taken the group photo a 6th member arrived, but somehow we didn’t manage to redo the photo, sorry Tony.

Having drunk tea or coffee to taste and absorbed the odd chocolate biscuit or savoury pastry twist, we got down to having a good look at what everybody had brought along.

I had the first of my Buckjumper chassis on show. This was to illustrate both the use of Exactoscale wheels, and how I'd fitted CSBs to an existing chassis kit. Subjects I will return to, elsewhere, shortly.

John B had departed from his normal offerings of quite large lumps of GCR motive power and brought forth a little 0-4-0 tank, who’s parentage I regret I did not take note of. It was this loco which gave rise to his recent enquiry on the forum about the right gauge of PB wire required for pickups. He also had a painting problem on which opinions were sought.

Don had a Brassmasters (I assume) LMS Stanier 4000 gallon tender into which he has managed to squeeze the electronics necessary to implement radio control, and a battery big enough to power a loco for a respectable amount of time. So now his planned radio controlled layout can be populated by the fair variety of LMS classes that used this style of tender. Apparently a 3500 gallon tender wasn't big enough. Also on show was a parachute water tower that doubled as a recharging point, the hose plugging into a socket hidden under the water dome on the tender.

Dick had brought along a new etched coach under frame suitable for standard LMS coaches, which demonstrates a number of things, such as; a level of robustness not available in designs where the coach floor is sacrificed as a source of metal for most of the other etched components on the under frame; an interesting and convincing way of modelling the angle iron trusses; and that Comet LMS coaches are ever so slightly under length. The under frame comes from Palatine models, as do the torsion bar suspended bogies described in Snooze 184, which are Dick’s design and of course were fitted to the under frame.

Finally Ron, who was responsible for many of the buildings on Knutsford, has often told us about a model of his daughters traditional Cheshire farm house, from which members of his family still practice what it says on the tin. He brought along this model for our delectation and delight.
2013 October 1.jpg
2013 October 1.jpg (180.16 KiB) Viewed 9859 times


We also went over the arrangements for the October 26th/27th weekend where Knutsford East will be out and about at the Merseyside Model Railway Society “Wirrel 2013” show. Perhaps we’ll see you there.

Will

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Will L
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Merseyside Model Railway Society show 26th and 27th October

Postby Will L » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:33 pm

Knutsford Out and About.

On this particular weekend Knutsford was doing its thing in public for what, on current plans, will be the penultimate time. The venue was the Merseyside Model Railway Society show which actually happens in that cul-de-sac that is the Wirral peninsular, just before dry land gives way to the Irish Sea at Birkenhead. This did seemed to be a good show, they invited us after all, but being a bit short handed it wasn’t possible for the Crewe crew to take more than the briefest sample of the delights available. Just to mark our place, here are a few interesting operational moments which were photographed on the day.

Met upon the way
2013 oct mside show 1.jpg
Something is amiss, and all the signals are at danger. Trains in both directions have been stopped at the signals at the east end of Knutsford Station. The crew of the west bound down passenger train have pulled up just short of the signal to have a quick word with their mates on the east bound freight. It isn’t recorded whether this is to discuss exactly what the blink Control is up to, or to agree what time they will meet in the pub, assuming they ever get where their supposed to be going that is.
2013 oct mside show 1.jpg (445.4 KiB) Viewed 9644 times

What's that doing there
2013 oct mside show 3.jpg
A Knutsford to Stockport LMS service as clearly running very late and is still occupying the bay. This was probably caused by the earlier disruption on the main line preventing the LMS loco from running round its train, a process which requires access to the main line. Typically the LMS rail motor off the branch arrives into, and departs from, the bay platform. On this occasion, with the Stockport train still occupying the bay, the bobby has had no choice but to rout the arriving rail motor into the main line down platform. This is a perfectly reasonable and fully signalled move, but it is unusual and has attracted a local photographer, who, knowing a rare event when he sees it, snapped this photo.

From an operational viewpoint it is what happens next that is most interesting. The rail motor can’t depart from here. There is now a facing point with no lock between it and the branch. There are two choices. Either it waits where it is while the Stockport train departs and, eventually, clears the single line section at the other Knutsford junction on the LNWR main line. Only then can the rail motor set back empty onto the branch past the home signal and back into the bay ready to entrain its passengers. Or, it can retire to the exchange sidings on the other side of the up main line and await an opportunity to regain the branch and the bay when traffic on the main line permits. Either way the problems for the bobby in the Knutsford East Junction box are obviously not over yet.
2013 oct mside show 3.jpg (381.46 KiB) Viewed 9644 times

A little bit extra
2013 oct mside show 2.jpg
Double heading isn’t generally required to work the Manchester bound trains. As both loco’s were in good order, one must assume that, after the disruptions that occurred earlier in the day, the pilot loco was required somewhere else and this was the easiest way to get a path. Alternately the fiddle yard operator was getting bored and was seeking a way to amuse his partner at the other end.
2013 oct mside show 2.jpg (507.64 KiB) Viewed 9644 times

A view from the inside
2013 oct mside show 4.jpg
Talking of the fiddle yard, this is the operator’s eye view of the down yard at Knutsford. The yard is fully up to date, and there is nothing more the operator can do now until the up passenger departs. You can’t see it from this angle but there is no available cassette to accept a down arrival. Once the up passenger has gone the empty cassette will be moved over ready for the next down arrival. Then the operator must decide if the freight or the second passenger train will be next away, or is there some other little surprise that he can cook up for the man at the other end?
2013 oct mside show 4.jpg (447.5 KiB) Viewed 9644 times

Last Chance To See

As I said, current plans are that Knutsford East will appear in public just one more time. That will be at Scaleforum next September. While we are still getting invites to shows and the layout is still relatively young and in good working order, the same cannot be said for the current CAG exhibiting team. The decision not to accept any more bookings is based on our failing ability and willingness to remove from storage, pack, transport, erect, operate over two days, dismantle, transport again, unpack and return to storage, the layout. What will happen to the Knutsford after next September has yet to be decided, but if you would like to see the layout, either again or for the very first time, better start planning a trip to Aylesbury next September.

Will

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Will L
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Meeting 2nd November 2013

Postby Will L » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:46 pm

Annual Dinner

Our November meeting was, as tradition dictates, our annual dinner, held, again as tradition dictates, in the company of our significant others. A very pleasant and well-presented meal was enjoyed by the 17 people present, in the convivial surroundings of The Cottage at Allostock in the heart of rural Cheshire, the second year we have used this venue. The photographer, or more accurately the photographers camera, being absent, there is very little more to be said.

Next Month

Its mince pies at David’s, and then Xmas will really be upon us.

Will

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Andy W
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Re: CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

Postby Andy W » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:27 am

Nice pics Will. We'll miss Knutsford when/if it retires.
Make Worcestershire great again.
Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

DougN
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Re: CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

Postby DougN » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:46 am

Will, have to agree with Ealing Knutsford is looking good and I think it would be. A shame to retire it. I would love to see it in the flesh so to speak. No doubt it will find a permanent home where it can be kept warm and running. All year round. :D
Doug
Still not doing enough modelling

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Will L
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Meeting 8th December 2013

Postby Will L » Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:51 pm

2013 decl 1.jpg
2013 decl 1.jpg (99.64 KiB) Viewed 9456 times

David was down to provide the traditional fodder for our December Meeting and so it was that twelve members of the Crewe Area Group actually met in Crewe. Attendees were invited to bring along their latest playthings, and so a happy afternoon was spent chatting about this and that, and passing various models, complete and not so complete, round the circle. The most fetching of these, a Rebuilt Scot out of a Brassmasters kit was deemed not yet ready to be photographically documented, so you had to be there to see it.

Among the members not there to see it was Adrian Prescott. Adrian had a stroke some months ago but, as those who saw him at the Manchester show can attest, he had seemed to be recovering well. We had high hopes that he would be with us for the mince pies. Regrettably late in the week he emailed us to say he wouldn’t be able to attend. Many of you will now know that Adrian subsequently had another, this time fatal stroke on the following Monday night. Our thoughts of course go out to his family, particularly his widow, and we will be poorer for the loss of the fund of skill and knowledge which was so readily shared with all who asked. We’ll miss him. His funeral is next Thursday lunchtime (19th Dec), details are available if you need them. Those who knew him well, and of his career history as a police driver, will not be surprised to hear the event will include a last drive by of the Oldam Nick.

Will

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:49 pm

Will,

I am most saddened to hear of Adrian's passing.

A lovely man and super modeller, I didn't get to Manchester this year so missed seeing him there.

Jol

martin goodall
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Re: CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

Postby martin goodall » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:43 pm

I must issue the strongest possible protest at the proposed retirement of Knutsford.

This is a truly inspirational layout, and I think we ought to be given the opportunity to see it at least once again at Scaleforum, not to mention other venues.

This layout is just too good to hide from public view. It may perhaps have been seen around various northern shows, but we in the effete South would certainly welcome the opportunity of seeing more of it.

I invite like-minded preservationsists to bombard CAG with demands to save this line!

martin goodall
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Re: CAG Meeting Reports for 2013

Postby martin goodall » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:47 pm

That should read "MORE" than once, (i.e. not just next time.) ;)

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Tim V
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Re: Merseyside Model Railway Society show 26th and 27th Octo

Postby Tim V » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:01 pm

Will L wrote:As I said, current plans are that Knutsford East will appear in public just one more time. That will be at Scaleforum next September. While we are still getting invites to shows and the layout is still relatively young and in good working order, the same cannot be said for the current CAG exhibiting team. The decision not to accept any more bookings is based on our failing ability and willingness to remove from storage, pack, transport, erect, operate over two days, dismantle, transport again, unpack and return to storage, the layout. What will happen to the Knutsford after next September has yet to be decided, but if you would like to see the layout, either again or for the very first time, better start planning a trip to Aylesbury next September.
Will


Despite what others have said, I for one can understand that with a heavy heart, one gets to the point where exhibitions are just too much like hard work. None of us is getting any younger, and it is perhaps wise to finish on a high.

Looking forward to seeing it at Scaleforum, and I expect it will be available for "private" viewings in the future.
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor


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