February 2021 meeting report

Six made it along to the February online meeting thanks to Tim Williams, though some concerns were raised as it appeared that the efforts in arranging things had made Tim’s brain overheat with steam appearing to issue from his head! This was, however,  put down to the video background he had chosen (filmed taken whilst he was signalling at Llangower on the Bala Lake Railway).

Tim had been working on a working diorama based on some photos of snow clearance at Cwm Croesor on the (standard gauge) Ffestiniog to Bala branch. Built on some foam core boards the design incorporates a tray to catch the ‘snow’ as his 009 quarry hunslet Alice cuts through a snowdrift with a snowplough that Tim had 3D printed. Initial snow clearance trials using polystyrene balls had shown the concept worked, but Tim was looking into other snow substitutes, and how he might add snow to a model of Ivo Peter’s Bentley to add to the scene.


With Tim’s Diorama and the day’s fall of snow discussion turned to other snow moving equipment, and Julien Webb showed an article on the Jull Snow Excavator – essentially a big, rail-mounted screw that was turned to throw the snow off the tracks. Julien then showed the continuing work on the loading gauge busting loco collection, having cut new sets of connecting and coupling rods from nickel silver for the pair of 2-8-0 tender locos and pair of 8-coupled saddle tanks being built from converted HOn3 kits.



Ben Powell had added a custom turned chimney to the Sena Peckett to finish off the body, but the chassis had been sidelined by a bearing issue and Ben wasn’t sure it could be fixed without obtaining a new 3D printed chassis block, which might take a bit of time as its printing would have to fit in with Narrow Planet’s own production. In the mean time Ben had built another batch of flat wagons from Dundas Vale of Rheidol coach chassis and plastic U channel and had been fitting brick cladding, windows (laser cut wood and a nice hand-made round one for a gable end) and hand-cut header arches to the buildings on his industrial layout that is now dedicated to making beer. Ben also showed us some photos of a rather nice Peckett 0-6-0 tender loco and large 0-4-2 ST he had come across that might become future projects.


Mac Strong showed us his corrugated iron engine shed that had recently been glazed using liquid “Glu’n’Glaze” but he wasn’t happy at the results, so there was a little discussion as to how best to remove this so he could replace it with clear plastic sheet to get a more plate glass effect. He was also working on a 5′ long HOe shunting plank for his son-in-law, and had recently acquired a 3D print to make a Whickham armoured railcar similar to those he vaguely recalled from his childhood in Malaya.


Charlie Forbes joined us again to show us a few more projects. These included a Polish kit for the LxD2 bogie diesel, an Indian ZDM4a diesel from a Shapeways 3D print, a bogie snowplough made from a card kit and mounted on some cast white metal war Department bogies and a weed killing train made up of a pair of water tank wagons (TT tanks on Peco 15′ n-gauge chassis) and a concentrate tanks wagon with hutch at one end for the operator, all being linked with pipes made from black elastic and 2 mm magnetic couplings.



January 2021 meeting.

Ten made it along to the first online meeting of 2021, including Mike Allen (attending his first online meeting and second group meeting) and Charlie Forbes from the East Mids group.

Blair Hobson’s new HOe layout, a Central European fantasy based on a plan
by Giles Barnabe from 30 to 40 years ago. Image © Blair Hobson

Blair Hobson had been working on a new HOe layout, a Central European fantasy based on a plan by Giles Barnabe published in Model Railways magazine 30 to 40 years ago. The track runs over 2 baseboards with an overall size of 6′ by 3′ 6″ and is a bit or a rabbit warren (whatever that is in the local dialect!). Most of the lower level tracks had been laid, but things had stalled as Blair was contemplating the best way to make reliable electrical connections between the 2 boards and demountable control panel(s).



Mac Strong’s new engine shed made by modifying an Auhagen kit with Slaters corrugated iron sheets. Image © Mac Strong

Mac Strong had been modifying some Auhagen engine sheds to something more UK in outline with Slaters corrugated iron sheets, and had also finished painting his Hudswell Hunslet diesel featured last month.




Charlie Forbes showed us some coaches he was building using Worsley Works etches for Campbelltown & Macrihanish stock with some modifications (essentially arc roofs instead of the domes ends of the prototype) and a freelance 3-part railcar set using Hornby Pacer bodies with new home-cast resin ends and other parts.

One of Charlie Forbes’ coaches made from Worsley Works etches for Campbelltown & Macrihanish stock. Image © Charlie Forbes
Brake coach made by Charlie Forbes from Worsley Works etches for Campbelltown & Macrihanish stock. Image © Charlie Forbes







Charlie’s Railcar 1.jpeg & Charlie’s Railcar 2.jpeg – Charlie Forbes’ freelance 3-part railcar set using Hornby Pacer bodies with new home-cast resin ends and other parts. Image © Charlie Forbes
Charlie’s Railcar 1.jpeg & Charlie’s Railcar 2.jpeg – Charlie Forbes’ freelance 3-part railcar set using Hornby Pacer bodies with new home-cast resin ends and other parts. Image © Charlie Forbes









Tim Williams had been working on his sheave incline on Bryn Tegid and some 3D printed Dinorwic wagons, with the Thomas train set he won at the virtual Warley show still packed and up in the loft!

Tim Williams’ sheave incline with 3D printed Dinorwic wagons. Image © Tim Williams
The top of Tim Williams’ sheave incline with the traverser feeding the next (transporter) incline. Image © Tim Williams
The drive system on Tim Williams’ sheave incline. Image © Tim Williams








Ben Powell’s Sena Estates 0-6-0 Peckett nearing completion. Image © Ben Powell

Ben Powell’s latest loco, the Sena Estates Peckett 0-6-0ST was looking pretty much finished running on a rolling road, though ben said it needed a little fettling to get back to smooth running after he had replaced the pick up wires for thinner material.




Buildings taking shape on Ben Powell’s new industrial layout in foamcore board with slaters embossed plasticard skins. Image © Ben Powell

Ben had also been cutting 5 mm foam board to make building shells for his new layout to be clad in Slaters English bond brickwork. He had began cutting holes for the windows and doors, but was still looking at options for these.





Julien Webb had taken the lack of events as an opportunity to do some work on his large Baldwin 2-8-0 “Victoria” with a new brass chimney and a North West Short Lines re-gear kit. Image © Julien Webb
Alongside “Victoria” in the workshops was “Matilda”, a second Roundhouse/MDC 2-8-2 being converted from HOn3 to 009. In addition to the brass chimney & re-gear kit fitted to “Victoria”, “Matilda” is getting replacement crosshead castings and new rods cut from Nickel Silver sheet (the drilled blanks shown front right). It’s intended that “Victoria” will also get these upgrades at a later date (when the cast crossheads can be obtained). Image © Julien Webb

Julien Webb had been going through the box of lost projects and unearthed his second large 2-8-0 “Matilda” as a sibling to Victoria, and had also taken the opportunity to update and partly rework Victoria with a cast brass chimney and a North West Short Line re-gear set to match the modifications to the new loco. He also discussed his plans for a new Bachmann N-scale Percy (recently purchased from Ben Powell), with the front runners being the Oakhill Brewery’s Bagnall Mendip or the Fletcher Jennings 0-4-0 ‘Townsend Hook’.





David Churchill had not been doing any physical modelling but had been working on a set of drawings for some Howra-Amta 4 wheel coaches to go with his Fourdees loco. These were of the early 13′ long stock with under-hung springs, but David was unsure whether to make them to scale width (being narrow vehicles even for for 2′ gauge) or to make them wider and based on some similar 2′ 6″ gauge stock supplied to India which would make a better match to the Fourdees model that was wider than scale to accommodate its Kato chassis. Once the drawings were finished his plan is to build at least six, probably in either etched brass or laser cut plastic.

Mike Allen had been stocking up on Dundas GVT-style coaches but was in need of a Round Tuit (like many of us!) to get things started.

December 2020 meeting.

Seven of us (8 if you include Diego the dog!) made it to the pre-Christmas get together online, with apologies from Tim Williams for the late start, as without his logging on to start the meeting nobody else could get in either!

Mac Strong had fitted an N-Drive chassis into the Hudswell diesel body shown last time, and was surprised to have learnt something after a suggestion on NGRM-Online about using a permanent marker pen to blacken the wheels.


Ben Powell’s workshops had been busy, with work on the Sena Estates 0-6-0 Peckett progressing well though a little delayed awaiting delivery of handrail knobs, alongside a Kerr Stuart Tattoo using a mix of Meridian and RT Models parts to fit working Hackworth valve gear to an N-Drive chassis. This had been laid aside until Ben’s acquisition of the latest “Wheels of Industry” bookazine inspired work to resume. 


Ben had also been working on his industrial layout with the development of card buildings.


Tim Williams had been working on the incline section of Bryn Tegid, with replacement carrier trucks (3d printed with better detail, finer supports and blackened wheel sets) and a new arrangement at the base of the incline involving a sheave incline to take trucks up from the layout level to the main incline loading dock (similar to the set up with inclines V1 and V2 at Dinorwic).


Tim had also been working on his 3D prints of the new Bala coaches with the addition of LED lighting powered by coin cells, and he had also been giving some thoughts to a revised track plan for Insulation Lumber (Tim’s HOf layout).


Julien Webb had not been up to much actual building, but recent purchases included a Bachmann WHR Baldwin with factory-fitted sound (due to donate it’s chip to one of his War Department locos) and a Triang “Dock Authority” OO gauge 4-wheel shunter for nostalgic reasons that he plans to fit up with a 9 mm gauge chassis made up from some Worsley Works chassis etches for a 3 mm scale 03/04.


David Churchill had managed to obtain one of the new Bachmann N-scale ‘Percy’ locos. David reported that it ran very well and seemed to be smaller than the Tomix version, but his plans to use the chassis to make an 0-4-0 Bagnall saddle tank have ben somewhat scuppered until David can obtain a second one after his young grandson caught sight of Percy during a Zoom birthday party !


Seasonal best wishes from theWest Midlands 009 Group, and here’s hoping that the New Year sees us being able to get back to meeting as normal.

November 2020 Meeting.

Thanks again to Tim Williams for setting up out online meeting via Teams, where five of us were able to see the following:

Tim Williams had unearthed Bryn Tegid from it’s long term lockdown slumber and we were able to see it running with a variety of stock, including Tim’s new 3D printed models of the (also) new Bala Lake coaching stock, somewhat in advance of the prototypes!


Mac Strong had been sorting out some Hudson Hudswell diesel locomotives, including one built as a cab less version by Paul Towers that lost its overall roof in a mishap and another (with cab) built by Mac that was awaiting a suitable chassis from Neville Kent at N-Drive.


Ben had been continuing work on his new layout with wiring up the track power so for this meeting we were able to see things move. Ben is still undecided as to whether the site is a brewery or foundry, but perhaps the suggestion of somewhere making Iron Bru (girders go in, containers of bright orange liquid go out) would combine both themes… Ben had also been busy with rolling stock, with a pair of heavy-duty bogie flat wagons made from Dundas VofR coach chassis needing completion and the final touches (nameplates) being fixed to his model of Oakhill (Peckett 1021/1904). Ben also mentioned that plans for a model of an 0-6-0ST Peckett based on the locos supplied to Sena sugar estates.


October 2020’s online meeting report

With thanks to Tim Williams for setting up our online meeting seven of us were able to see the following:

Tim had been working on Insulation Lumber, having started track laying with a mix of Busch and home made (3D printed based and Peco Z gauge rails) track . Also, experiments operating points through wire in tube with remote servo actuators seemed to be paying dividends.

Julien Webb hadn’t been up to much other than painting some figures and cargo for his Os.Kar. Emmina railcars.

Blair Hobson had been preoccupied with his recent house move, though this did mean that he now had a space ripe for a new workshop, bookshelves and accompanying layout(s).

David Churchill had been working on drawings of DHR station buildings for a forthcoming book. He had also treated himself to an “Elizabeth” tram loco from Fourdees, based on a 2′ gauge Howra & Amta 0-4-2T and powered by a Kato 11-109 chassis, and a long wheelbase chassis from Japan for his scratch built DHR railcar.

Ben Powell had been busy fixing down the track for his new Industrial layout, based on a typical foundry works. He had also managed to acquire an original Peckett catalogue for some inspiration for new loco building projects.

September 2020 group meeting – not quite what we had planned….

We had hoped that we might be able to get back to meeting at Moorfield Hall, but a combination of tighter national Covid-19 restrictions for England, and more stringent conditions covering Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull coming into force resulted in this being cancelled at short notice. However, our back up plan was available so we met online using Teams, with 5 members making the meeting.

Trevor Street showed us his latest layout – a doughnut track from Jelly Models fixed to a wooden Waitrose Turkish Delight box and powered by a variable transformer. This was set to 4.5 volts to allow an RT Models Lister Autorail powered by a Kato Portram bogie to run very smoothly.

Trevor's new layout 1
Trevor Street’s latest layout – a doughnut track from Jelly Models fixed to a wooden Waitrose Turkish Delight box (© Trevor Street, image used with permission)
Trevor's new layout 2
Trevor Street’s latest layout – a doughnut track from Jelly Models fixed to a wooden Waitrose Turkish Delight box (© Trevor Street, image used with permission)


Mac Strong showed us progress on his modular base boards having recently finished some slotted legs to fit his curved return boards.

Mac's return boards
Mac Strong showed us progress on his modular base boards having, recently finished some slotted legs to fit his curved return boards.( © Mac Strong, image used with permission)


Julien Webb had unearthed Xavier’s Creek so that he could test run a pair of Os.Kar. Emmina railcars – one for passengers and one for carrying goods – bought as a set via eBay.

Julien's Railcars
Julien Webb recently purchased this pair of OsKar railcars, seen here posed on his layout ‘Xavier’s Creek”.( © Julien Webb, image used with permission)


Tim Williams updated us on Insulation Lumber, his HOf project on an off-cut of insulation board. Landscaping work had started (including 3D printed girders for a bridge) and Tim had been making extra points using a mix of 3D printed plastic bases and code 65 rail from Peco. There was also some discussion as to how to operate the points (wire-in-tube versus point motors / servos).

Tim William's new layout Insulation Lumber
Tim Williams’ new HOf layout “Insulation Lumber” as a work in progress.( © Tim Williams, image used with permission)
Tim William's new layout Insulation Lumber
Tim Williams’ new HOf layout “Insulation Lumber” as a work in progress.( © Tim Williams, image used with permission)
Insulation Lumber bridge
Tim Williams has 3D printed this girder bridge deck for his new HOf layout “Insulation Lumber”.( © Tim Williams, image used with permission)
Insulation Lumber Points
With a combination of 3D printed plastic bases and Peco rail Tim Williams has made a number of HOf points for his new HOf layout “Insulation Lumber”.( © Tim Williams, image used with permission)


Ben Powell also joined us after his weekend firing locos at Statfold Barn to show us a mock up of a new industrial 009 layout and his essentially finished model of Peckett 0-4-0ST ‘Oakhill’. It was surprising just how big this loco as, being about the same size as one of Hornby’sW4 locos for OO. Also in the works was Ben’s second 0-4-4-0T mallet and a Kerr Stuart NG4 4-6-2T using a 3D print body and Farish 08 chassis.

Model Oakhill built by Ben Powell
Model of Peckett 0-4-0ST “Oakhill” for 009 built by Ben Powell ( © Ben Powell, image used with permission)

There was also some discussions on lighting up and cleaning full-size locos (paraffin- versus diesel-soaked rags) and the effects that the Covid restrictions are having on preserved railways amongst other things.

All to soon our 2 hours were up, and as Mac sank slowly into the West (or his chair at least!) we all signed off until next month.

An august August meeting in 2020?

Our August meeting had 5 attendees (so not so august perhaps?), but a shift from Skype to Teams as a meeting platform did allow participants to share computer screens. This allowed Tim Williams to show us some photos he had taken whilst manning the Bala Lake Railway stand at the Statfold Enthusiast Day (8th & 9th August), and Andy Foster was able to share some photos of the Zillertalbahn U class 0-6-2T running on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway that he took on a recent visit.

On the model making front things had been fairly quite for those at the meeting.

Mac Strong had been working on a system of legs for his Freem009 modules along with ways of stabilizing the 4″ wide boards, and had also purchases three of the tiny Japanese Tsugawa TU-9A chassis for a project involving an oval of track with 2″ radius curves he had aquired.

David Churchill had also bee on a bit of a spending spree having bought a Narrow Planet Keef K12 locomotive via NGRM-Online built by Mark Greenwood (who designed the kit) and the new Mosskito Ruston Hornsby 27/32HP kit.

Julien Webb had a pair of Tsugawa TU-DB158 chassis that he had re-motored, replacing the original 3 volt motors with 12 volt ones from Tramfabriek and reducing the chassis’ gear diameters, these modifications being detailed in the instructions for the Narrow Planet kit for the Baguley McEwan Pratt ‘677’ 10HP Class 0-4-0PM.

July 2020 (virtual) Meeting

Five made it to the July Skype meeting.

Tim Williams (our tech supremo who set the call up) was at the Bala Lake Railway, helping with their reopening after C-19 shutdown, but as a result of being busy with 1:1 scale railways and full time work was having very little time for model making. It did mean that we got a brief tour of the storage shed containing Triassic, Nesta, Alice, Winifred, 2 Rustons, a 1:1 scale kit of Holy War and the Model Rail model of the proposed new station at Bala.

Mac Strong also hadn’t been modelling much, other than giving thoughts to designing some legs for his Frem009 modules and a few ideas and suggestions were discussed by the group.

Julien Webb had also not been up to much, but had been progressing some of the 009 Society wagon kits through the paint shops and photography studio to produce images for the Society’s website.

David Churchill also had not been doing much model making, but instead had been spending time working on a new book about Darjeeling & Himalaya Railway rolling stock as an accompanying volume to his worn on the DHR B-class locos.

Blair Hobson also joined us briefly as having only just moved into his new house he didn’t have a decent internet connection. He also hadn’t been up to much on the model railway front due to the house move.

Thankfully bucking the trend of not doing much was Ben Powell, whose models of Oakhill (Peckett 0-4-0ST) and Jatibarang No.9 (the Statfold Barn 0-4-4-0T Mallet) both being scratch built from brass sheet and sections on rtr chassis (N-drive and Minitrix respectively) had been progressing very well indeed.

Other topics of conversation covered the vagaries of firing Quarry Hunslets and the possibilities (or not) for the rest of the 2020 events calendar.

Quick update – July and August 2020 events.

Due to the current pandemic and ongoing social distancing guidance the next 2 meetings at Moorfield Hall (13th July and 10th August) have been postponed.

These physical meetings will be replaced with an online alternative through Skype, the links for those meetings being sent out to those members who have subscribed about 24 hours before the meeting.

We have also cancelled our biennial members day, Narrow Gauge Midlands, that was due to take place at Four Oaks Methodist Church Hall on August 15th 2020.  Again this is due to issues surrounding Covid 19. We plan to arrange another similar event at some point in the future and will update our website accordingly.

June 2020 (virtual) meeting

9 attended the June Skype meeting.

Lee Allen told us about progress on his planned layout and there was some discussion about using copper clad sleepers at base boards joints.

Tim Williams showed us the latest additions to Chwarel Cwm Bach 2.0, including a transporter incline with a pair of transporters and some track that had been 3d printed. There was also some discussion about how wagons were put on and taken off the various types of inlines.

Ben Powell showed us progress on his Ironstone layout, including an engine shed based on an example on the Stewart & Lloyds system and scenic work on the tipping dock.

Steve Metcalfe showed us progress on his Bowaters layout, including finished track work on the Kemsley incinerator loop module and plans for the other modules that make up the layout.

Mac Strong revealed plans for some more Frem009 modules that include a turntable and engine shed.

Julien Webb showed a scratch-build project (another from the ex-demo pile) of an Andrew Barclay 0-4-0T built for Fiji built on a Minitrains F&C chassis along with a selection of 009 Society kits going through the paint shops.

David Churchill had been continuing work on his two C50 locos, including detailing as it would seem from David’s research that no two of the 200 locos built were the same! There was some discussion as to how the headlights might be made – each loco needing 6 of them! – but nobody could better David’s suggestion of starting with a EM gauge pin point bearing.