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About KAG

Posted: Wed May 06, 2009 11:32 pm
by Rod Cameron
(Adapted from notes by Simon Bass, KAG coordinator, on the website)

The Kent Area Group (KAG) of the Scalefour Society is a subset of the Cobdown Model Railway Club based in dedicated premises at Ditton, near Aylesford.

KAG was formed in 1997 and has a small nucleus of 5-6 members. These range from experienced modellers to relative beginners. Activity is devoted to building (but see below!) the layout 'Eridge' - a representation of the real station in East Sussex as it was in the 1950s. 'Eridge' Mk1 was successfully exhibited at Scaleforum 2000 as a layout under construction and subsequently at St Albans, Brighton Modelworld, Leatherhead (Carshalton & Sutton) and Beckenham.

The original layout was 22ft long with fiddle yards at each end with wiring undertaken by Rod Cameron (also of the Devon Riviera Group) who despite what he tells us, obviously moonlights wiring up Airbus A380's. Suffice to say, when it went wrong (which it didn't often) we left it to him to sort out!

We have (well Mike Ainsworth, S4 General Secretary and KAG member has) some most interesting stock, much of it of a Wainwright persuasion (although unfortunately not in Brunswick Green) but also some more modern items, largely of a Southern / Southern Region nature but every so often he succombs to something rather inappropriate, currently being tempted by that NER 2-D-2 electric loco kit. He hasn't yet succumbed to anything Swindonish yet, however.

Chris is currently engaged on the heroic task of completing the canopies before turning his hand back to the scenery - he may find time as well to provide a suitable Maidstone and District omnibus as well. I'm working on the other buildings before plucking up courage to have a stab at my D3 kit.

Rod, although a 'visiting' member, is working on the signals in between travel to the most far flung places imaginable and Mike Allen has assisted us with some proper engineering knowledge and building enough trees to build an entire Nelsonian fleet, if we decided to change the focus of our modelling.

More recently we have been pleased to welcome Al Crooks (Pinkmouse) to the team, and he hasn't run away yet.

Where we are now...

Unfortunately, despite spending a great deal of time on what turned out to be some pretty robust trackwork, the trackbase suffered from some serious warping in a couple of places. We undertook some remedial work but after a great deal of consideration, we took the heroic / foolish decision to build a 'New Eridge'. This will be an entirely different construction, viz:-

Lightweight but strong and well supported ' Mosquito' type plywood baseboards
Glued construction
Three eight foot long 'core' baseboards underpinning the track, with lightweight scenery sections slotting on to the sides
Building all the woodwork in one go
Trackwork transcribed from official diagrams / maps onto Templot, printed out by a roll printer and glued directly onto the trackbase
Probably digital control

This means that there is a lot of work to do but a lot has happened since Eridge 1 was started in 1997 which should make the task much easier. Much more is available by way of track and Templot assists greatly as well. Building three long but light and rigid baseboards using glued construction means construction should be very much quicker than last time around. There will be fewer joints, speeding up construction and building everything ion one go simplifies construction and means skills do not need to be relearned.

There are other advantages as well:-

Starting with Templot means we can map out all the baseboard joints, signal post positions (<cough> - Rod ), signal wire and point rodding runs and so on and build them in from the start
Using DCC enormously simplifies the wiring and means if Airbus speak to Rod nicely they can probably get the A380 back on track
It will be much lighter and easier to move around and dismantle / mantle

Of course, the more imaginative amongst you might ask, why not choose another project, having done Eridge? We did think about this and indeed did consider others but have decided to redo Eridge because:-

It remains a very good prototype, with Southern enthusiasts often pleased to see it when we have exhibited it
We have all the stock and buildings
Building Lewes with third rail would mean that all certifiably insane members would need to be conscripted into this one project which would have deprived everyone else of their valuable help. (Check out the track layout if you aren't familiar with this particular prototype.)
It can be done quickly and maybe we can get back on the exhibition circuit quickly!

Where we are and all that stuff...

The clubrooms are shared with the well-known 00 S&D layout 'Wouldham Town' and its successor, currently under construction, as well as an embryonic 0-fine layout of an ex-LNWR engine shed being built by another Scalefour Society member. The KAG group generally meet on Thursday evenings, although the rooms are also used on Tuesdays. Club sessions finish with a drink at the 'King and Queen' in East Malling which has a fine range of beers unlike our previous hostelry which had a rather unfortunate knack of running out of beer.

Interested in helping?

There is now plenty to do again! If you are interested in helping on 'Eridge', or just want to come and see what we're up to, contact Simon Bass by email on kag at

The pressures of the real world outside does preclude us sometimes meeting up every Thursday so if you do want to come along, you are advised to contact first.

(There are already some Eridge-related topics on here which I will link to in due course. Subsequent developments will be shown in this part of the forum).