Dec 2018 Newsletter

The Chairman's Dribble.

Hello Everyone! 

Well, another AGM has been and gone. I feel honoured to have been voted Chairman again for the coming year and hope that I can keep everyone happy.

Also, Mick W is still Secretary and Mike S, the man who looks after the money is still our Treasurer. I would like to welcome Stuart Fletcher and Geoff Bethell to the committee and look forward to their input. I would like to thank Paul Bailey who has worked hard as chief boiler inspector and has now decided he would like a rest and I have now taken his place and hope to keep up his good work.

Your Chairman Dave M

The Secretary's Report.

Another year has passed and one or two changes have been made to the committee, lets hope new blood will mean new points of view and more ideas for making BDSME even more successful.

We have the dinner to attend on 13th January 2019 at The Olde Windmill Inn at Great Cressingham. We also have the London Premier Model Engineering Show at Alexander Palace during the weekend of 18th 19th and 20th of January 2019, advance tickets are available.

We are still working at the track every Monday, Wednesday and play/work on Saturdays, so you are all most welcome on these days to come and help, or just to come and see where we are up to in the track work.

Let me please say subs are due from Nov 1st, and welcome to all in 2019. mw


The Track Report

As I hope you will all know, the basic ballasting of the track has been completed . We have two projects on the go at the moment, this is:

A. Mike H and Paul B have with some help, rewired and updated the signals. 

B. We are building two 7 1/4” gauge  style pits for maintenance and dropping the fire for the larger 7 1/4” gauge engines. I will start with B.

B. The two pits, first one has been put to the left of the moveable rails leading into the Loco Shed. Geoff E has built a new set of points which have been installed in the track just before the Ladies Toilet, this give us a branch, left into an Eight foot by Five foot pit which is lined with blocks and then the two sides have a railway type size sleeper on end at the sides giving the loco men an eighteen inch deep pit to fire and maintain their engines. The floor has been tiled with slabs, and at present Geoff E is welding up all the steel work, all found available under the Work shop, once all is welded, we will lift it out and paint it to stop it rusting. We are digging out the soil from the points to the pit so we can lay a new ballasted layer of track for the rails to be laid on and welded into position.

When this is complete we will do the same type of pit along side of the lift pit, this will require a three way set of points, but when it is finished it will certainly move us into the large engine capability, so watch this space in the future.

Top left, Geoff B cutting the frame for the track bed.

Right, The position of the new points, still some work here , but this gives us our branch to the 7 1/4” pit.

Below, Only the  “ Health and safety things to finish, and the track back to the points and we are in business.


A. Signal Report

Mike H continues to make progress with the modernisation and upgrade of the signal  system. Based on the original work undertaken by Myles C, the new system closely follows his prototype system, but with a few changes.

Now housed inside the hut and protected from the elements, the control cabinet houses a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). Mike H tells me that this device can control the movement and priority of train automatically. You can see from the photos below that the whole thing is compact and incorporates a mimic board to one side so that the state of the signals can be seen at a glance. Various functions can also be selected from push buttons on the front of the panel. Paul B has reconfigured the batteries to give the correct supply to the new cabinet and has taken the opportunity to tidy up the adjacent cables.

The track sensors, all but a couple, have been replaced with stainless steel versions and it is hoped that this will eliminate the issue of corrosion seen on the  old brass types which should help reduce the number of bad contacts. To help overcome this problem Mike H has also included additional sensors so that where necessary a loco passing over the sensor will have more than one opportunity to  make a connection. Belt and Braces, maybe? These additional sensors also allow better separation of the trains going over the diamond crossover.

New cables have been laid around the track and the two cabinet’s, one at the foot bridge and the other at the gantry now only house soldered connections back to the control cabinet. Gone are the old screw terminal blocks which were prone to corrosion and failure.

Mike H say that he hopes to be ready to start testing by February 2019.

The Box inside the Hut with the Repeater on the left, needs to be seen to get the full potential of  the work.



Thank you Dave Beeken for sending me these photographs of Brandon track through email; this was when Dave came along at the Anniversary Sunday.  

If anyone can throw any light on any of these people, please let me know.

Thank you MW