October’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 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?

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.

May 2020 – Virtual Meeting

9 managed to attend the May virtual meeting (or virtual May meeting?) via the wonders of the Internet.


David Churchill showed us a pair of C50 Hungarian 4 wheel diesel locomotives built using some special order HO scale 3D printed bodies by James Hilton (based on his OO scale prints) running on Tomix TR-02 chassis that have been cut down to fit.


David had also progressed with the new Minitrains tram loco with the Tramfabriek conversion so the etched brass plates had been fitted along with some lining and it was awaiting a final coat of varnish.

Blair Hobson showed us around his new HOe Layout “Ostrovia” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41e9UzLHjNM), where scenic work is progressing well, along with a selection of stock that included a pair of Posch Modell HOe C50s to compare with David’s and a blue MAV coach from the same source.

Mac Strong showed us progress on his 2 009 layout modules. These were seen at the February Moorfield meeting, but now one – a scene with the line crossing a small river – is largely finished and the other – a small station halt – is progressing well. Mac also discussed issues he has had with the Kato Portram chassis of his latest kit built loco, a Narrow Planet Alan Keef K12.


Tim Williams had been busy with his 3D printer, having made a new winding house for the slate quarry diorama (due for display at the Bala Lake Railway’s museum) along with a selection of ‘bar’ section rail. He also discussed a possible alternative power source for the HOf layout ‘Insulation Lumber’ seen last month in the form of a Wilsco D20 stationary steam plant linked to a dynamo.


Steve Metcalfe announced that the Grainge & Hodder baseboards for his planned industrial layout based on the Bowater’s (Sittingbourne & Kemsley) system and showed us the first buildings, including an incinerator plant, made from American HO kits left over from his earlier modelling career.


Ben Powell showed us progress on his new layout, an Ironstone system’s narrow and standard gauge interchange, that will include a Corgi face shovel that he had repainted from its LMS livery and weathered, along with a selection of narrow & standard gauge Pecketts.

Bens diggerBens-LayoutBens-layout

Julien Webb had been digging about in his lost projects box and had come up with some South African Railway’s 2′ gauge stock as a change from the brace of Gamecocks he had been working on. The wagons – a B class from a Worsley Works kits and a pair of DZ wagons from the Boston Largs kit – had been sprayed in a red oxide livery and the V-16 class guard’s van (Worsley) had been fitted out with full interior details (thanks to a set of plans from Will King) and was slowly progressing through the paint shops. Julien had also been keeping his kit stash restocked with the purchase of a pair of the new Narrow Planet Baguley McEwan Pratt ‘677’ 10HP Class 0-4-0PM kits and the requisite Tsugawa TGW TU-DB158 chassis from Japan and 12v motors from Tramfabriek.


April 2020 – Virtual Meeting

West Midlands Narrow Gauge Group virtual report, 13th April

Thanks to the IT knowhow of Tim Williams 9 of us were able to take part in an on-line meeting, a week after a trial run on our scheduled meeting night (April 6th) ironed out a few bugs.

Tim showed us progress on his latest project, a HOf logging line on a 1m by 45 cm piece of foam insulation board, including some log carrying bolster he had 3D printed at home (including the 6.5mm gauge wheel sets) and some pointwork bases at considerably less cost than the Busch versions. Tim had also been using his 3D printer to make some bespoke tracksettas for Lee Allen for 6″ and 9″ curves to help Lee with track laying on his planned new 6′ by 2′ layout “Mawddach Sheds”.

Blair Hobson was able to join us briefly until his phone’s battery ran down and showed us progress on his new HOe layout “The Kingdom of Ostrovia” and his latest acquisition of a 3D printed Resita locomotive body on an 0-8-0 chassis built by Ben Powell using a Farish 08 with RT Models parts to add a 4th axle and working valve gear.

Julien Webb eventually managed to get a working connection and was able to talk about his current workbench projects rather than just listen to everyone else! These include some figures for his Nechelles Government Railway directors saloon (that’s only been waiting since 2005 for passengers after being built from an Eisteddfod coach for a Chairman’s Challenge), a brace of SRB ‘Gamecock’ chassis that have been progressing very slowly as demonstration stand fodder, a pair of RT Models ‘Chattenden’ diesels (one from the late Pete Smith’s collection) that need finishing and the chassis for the next build. As a change for ‘old’ stuff he also showed a chassis that Ben Powell kindly built from a Farish 08, Robex printed cranks and RT models valve gear for a Dundas SLGR 85 / W&LLR 14 white metal loco kit.

David Churchill had also been busy, having wired up a small pizza test track that allowed us to see his latest model running. This was one of the new Minitrains tram locos which David had enhanced with the even newer detailing kit from Tramfabrik that includes brass nameplates, coupling rods and other enhancements.

The plan is to try to continue with some form of monthly online meeting during the current crisis, and these will probably be taking place on the ‘usual’ meeting nights.

Nechelles Government Railway

Julien Webb Writes:

Whilst the regular monthly meetings of the West Midlands Narrow Gauge Group are on hold, as are all the events (both full-size and model railway), due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak we thought we might try blogging about what group members are up to with all the free time we find ourselves with.

So, for our first post welcome to my workbench – and yes, it is tidier than usual! 

So far I’ve been trying to catch up on some things that need finishing and one of these is the Nechelles Government Railway (my “freelance colonial 2′ 6″ gauge railway” that I’ve yet to build…) that was converted from a Dundas Eisteddfod coach kit for one of the 009 Society’s Chairman’s Challenge AGM competitions a number of years ago. Whilst well detailed inside it lacked any VIPs so I’ve spent the past few days painting and fitting some…

These have come from the Monty’s Models range from Dart Castings (no connection other than a satisfied customer), and I’m also working on a Steward figure (converted from a ‘Station Staff’ figure by carving off his hat) to go into the galley kitchen.

March 2020 Meeting

The 009 Society

West Midlands Area Group

Report of Area Group Meeting at 7.30pm on Monday 9th March 2020

by Angela Baker, Model Reporter

After the record excesses of last month’s 25th anniversary bash, we settled back to an almost dignified attendance of 21 persons for our March area group meeting. But there was still plenty of narrow gauge business to conduct, so that’s what we did.

Peter Hardy’s test track offered the usual dependably dignified service. Will King gave another run-out for his Saltford Models vertical boiler large Penrhyn Port class 0-4-0 loco, now sporting black livery and a highly dignified Victorian driver. Will also ran his WHR Vulcan 0-4-0T by Spooner & Co, a Brian Madge custom chassis with a Robex 3D body currently in red-oxide primer. Again awaiting the road with dignified patience was Peter Hardy’s white metal ‘Linda’, now with ‘tender behind’ – a Dundas kit with one of Peter’s ‘own-brand’ scratch-built chassis (hopefully Peter’s locos do at least get a test run when they’re at home!) Similarly side-lined was David Churchill’s Groudle Glen consist of 2-4-0T (white metal body with Minitrix chassis by Brian Clarke) with a brace of brass coaches, all permanently coupled for pick-up purposes – a 1990s acquisition from the 009 Sales Stand given some judicious DC fettling. In the RTR division, Steve Metcalfe’s more recent Fourdees Bowater Bagnall 0-6-2ST ‘Triumph’ was running with dignified smoothness after a spot of motion fettling by our Resident Locomotive Clinic Superintendent Ben Powell. Almost missed, but not quite, was Will’s tiny brass LNWR baggage cart from London Road Models, a nifty accessory which didn’t get a run as it happened to be at least 10mm gauge and wasn’t motorised (nor likely to be).

Not yet ready to go anywhere near a test track was Steve Mann’s Golden Arrow kit of the Welshpool & Llanfair Earl/Countess loco, a deadly serious combination of white metal body castings and daunting etched brass chassis components, plus Tenshodo motor. This was nothing like ‘still-in-the-metal’ – it was still in the box. Much debate ensued as to alternative assembly strategies such as sub-contracting. Steve had made more progress with two very nice Dundas wagon kits – a GVT goods van and Corris guards van No. 6 in Talyllyn livery sourced from ‘Rails Along the Fathew’ by Ian Drummond.

In our occasional library zone, David Churchill showed his newly acquired ‘Sentinel Locomotives and Sentinel-Cammel Railcars’ by John M Hutchings and Richard Johnson offered two volumes for the browsing thereof – ‘The Stonebridge Railway’ written and autographed by Roger Waring and ‘The Snailbeach District Railways’ by Andy Cuckson. Definitive works all, well-thumbed on the nite.

Our metre-gauge department was comprehensively covered by John Davies, who presented a fleet of his scratch-built locomotives on a length of 12mm gauge track, including ‘Secundus’, (now in black livery), a Marne Corpet-Louvet 0-6-0T in ‘pomme-verte’ livery (that’s apple-green to you and me), a Cote d’Or Corpet-Louvet 0-6-0T in sexy light-grey-n-black livery (as per Chemin de Fer de L’Ouest) and still-in-the-brass ‘Cambrai’, a Corpet-Louvet 0-6-0T used on the Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway, all of which have adapted Berliner Bahn chassis. Supplementing that lot was a Gem Beyer-Peacock 2-4-0T IOM loco, which will become No 6 ‘Fenella’ and a sizeable selection of assorted kit-built IOM passenger and freight rolling stock (3ft gauge, which is MUCH closer to 12mm track at 4mm scale than metre gauge, by all accounts).

Conducting kitchen duties as effectively as their loco-kit productions were Peter Hardy and David Churchill – thank you gentlemen.

We meet at Moorfield Hall, Hartshill Road, Shard End, Birmingham, B34 6QX from 7.30 to 9.30pm. There is a nominal charge of £3.00 to cover the costs of hall hire and refreshments. Our next meetings will be held on 6th April (first Monday, to avoid Easter Monday), 11th May (back to second Monday) and then 8th June 2020. If you have any queries, please contact Julien Webb at julienwebb@westmidlands009.co.uk

Update from Julien Webb, group coordinator:
Since publishing this report the Covid-19 virus has rather more of an effect than anticipated, and we have therefore taken the decision to postpone the meetings scheduled for April 6th, May 11th and June 8th to try to reduce the spread of the virus amongst our members, their families and the wider public.
Hopefully we will be able to resume our monthly meetings from Monday July 13th, but if this is not the case we will inform our members via e-mail (if we have you address), update the calendar pages and post a message on our website, and we hope to be able to keep this website up to date with all the things we have been up to instead of going to our meetings, model railway shows and full-size railway events. As always, I can be contacted at the usual e-mail address (above) if you would like further information of the groups activities including updates as to future planned meetings.