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Meeting 4th October 2017

Posted 10/10/2017

Narrow gauge in the public eye By Trevor Hughes

    Trevor gave us a most entertaining evening, starting with his seeing and being inspired by Derek Naylor's Aire Valley Railway in a back number of the Railway Modeller, through to his current layout, Crowsnest Wharf. His early attempts at narrow gauge modelling were to 4mm/ft running on 12mm track, followed by a brief dabble with P4, but dissatisfaction with with the components provided by Studiolith saw a return to the narrow gauge.

    In the1990's an S-scale model of Tan-y-Grisiau station on the Festiniog appeared on the exhibition scene. Surveying for this layout started in 1977 when much of the infrastructure was still in place. The models were constructed in skimming plaster, cast in rubber moulds. A stippled effect was produced with wet and dry paper in the mould, and the resulting plaster was scribed and painted with watercolours. An additional material was 'mudstone' from the Pennines, which was cut with a hacksaw and knife, and walls built up with little pieces stuck with PVA. Methods of locomotive construction owed a lot to the influence of Sid Stubbs, and followed 2mm finescale principles of split frames and stubb axles.

    The current layout, Crowsnest Wharf, is 12 foot long and to 7mm scale and based on the Snailbeach Railway. Use was made of hairspray to fix scenic materials to trees etc, but over time the scatter material falls off, and is now fixed with dilute PVA applied with a brush, followed by a final spray of matt varnish as a fixative. For best scenic effects static grass should be used in the foreground and scenic scatter to the rear. Locomotives (Baldwin no 4) are scratch built and there are 2 identical trains, one loaded, the other empty to run on and off the scene. Wheels are made by Stan Garlick's method with 2 saw discs separated by the thickness of the spoke, cutting 2 slots in the wheel disc, mounted on a dividing head. The formed spokes were pressed into a tyre turned with a form tool. Axles are either plastic (knitting needles) or steel set in a plastic tube. Motors are Escap and North West Shortline gearboxes favoured. Sealed ball bearings are used on the driving wheels.

    Recently 3D printing techniques have been used to produce fine details such as chairs for track. The final comments were on baseboard construction. MDF was not liked, Trevor's preference being for plywood, stiffened by the use of geodectic triangles. The layout is supported on Draper Trestle units with 2/3 metre beams between them. This provides a secure flat base on which to place the layout.


Stephen Duffell