May 2021 Mardle No.20

The Chairman's Report.

Hello everyone, here we are again and things seem to be looking up and the tunnel is starting to look a lot lighter. If you don’t already know The Weeting Rally seems very much as though it is going to happen, so barring any mishaps, it will go ahead. So keep everything crossed, for any details we will know nearer the date.
As per the emails sent to everybody, the new station is well underway, this was due to wind damage to the old station during lockdown, so it has to be replaced, so for the rally we should have a new station.
Can I remind members that if the rally goes ahead some will need steam tests, so please get in touch with Mick W or myself so we can arrange things. On this note I have in the last week been in touch with the Boiler Registrar to see if due to the covid situation if they would relax the 10 year cladding removal, bearing in mind we have not been able to run. The reply I received was NO this could NOT be done, he said, because engines were not used, this did not stop the deterioration of boilers, so any steel boiler that is 10 years old must have the cladding re-moved to be safe and comply with our insurance. I hope everyone has been keeping safe. See your all soon. Dave Moore. Chairman.

The Secretary's Report.

Once again out of Lockdown and we are at the track Mondays ,Wednesdays and Play day Saturdays, but you must ask me for a slot, please. As you probably know June 21st is the date the Government will be updating us on the future, I hope it will be good news and if it is then we need to start planning for the future. The Weeting Rally if it is good news will be on, 16th 17th 18th July 2021.
So if its good news then we should also be looking towards the future. Perhaps September 4th and 5th a 42nd an-niversary? October 14th 15th 16th 17th , just one day say Saturday a day out to the Midland Exhibition. October 31st a Halloween running day with Fish and chips. Wednesday November 3rd AGM, Thursday 4th reality again, Christmas meeting 1st December. January date to be advised for Alexander Palace. Back to normal.
If 21st June is a disaster, and lock down, OMG I cannot even contemplate this so I am being positive. If you have any more suggestions get them in and we can see what can be done.
If you want to run a traction engine or steam loco it has to have a boiler certificate and so again start looking to the future because it will be June 1st soon and 5 months of 2021 has already nearly gone.

Brandon & District Society of Model Engineers.

The last 12 plus months have been a real trial, no meetings, no running days, no Weeting rally, all in all a real test which has been hard. Several members have tried “Skype” and/or “ Zoom” and the like and alt-hough it has been interesting we have never been able to get a bevy of members together to have a real chat.
Lock-down last March 2020 lasted till Christmas and in that time we were only allowed 6 members at the field at any one time, this created a logistical problem of each member had to book a slot, a record kept on everyone’s attendance. With a work force of sometimes 10 members it was often difficult when trying to do the work we were doing, i.e. the crossing, but we all worked to get the job done and by the time the next lock-down came , we had completed the crossing and also built a tool shed between the two metal containers at the top end of the field. This will give us a lot more room in the workshop, all the garden tools and equipment being placed in the tool shed.
November 2020 we were unable to have our usual AGM and all the officers and the committee stayed on until we are able to get together and have another AGM.
We lost our friend John Cartwright, not to covid, and we were not able to go to his funeral. But a first certainly for me to watch a friends funeral on my laptop.
We also lost a member from way back, that being Jeff Broad, Jeff died of old age and was not a covid casualty.
We lost three members this year who did not renew their subscription’s, Peter and David T, and also Mike B who unfortunately has become ill and has lost his licence to drive so he said he would not renew his subs.
We did however produce the annual accounts and although we had no meetings, no income was accrued so we need to be frugal in the future , until we have built up the funds again. As I said above we lost three members ,but during last year we had three new members so the insurance was covered without a worry.
We are back at the track, Mondays and Wednesdays work days with Saturdays a play day, so please get your slots booked for the future. Dave M is also doing boiler tests so please book this with him or me.
We are going ahead with The Weeting Rally, the Weeting committee are saying providing the Government don’t pull the plug then Weeting will go ahead, so we are working towards this, please remember also that if you have no boiler test certificate, then you do not have much time. Please speak to DaveM.
In the mean time we are still working hard to get the field ready the track ready and have every single thing finished and arranged so we can continue to work and play efficiently and safely under current ‘Elf and Safety’ rules.
As the weather gets better please get your slots booked and come and see us down the field, we do NOT yet do tea or coffee but that might ease soon, get your boilers tested and passed and come and play trains or planes or traction engines or boats or what every you have to play with. You would all be very much welcome to your Model Engineering club. BDSME. mw

Insurance concern during early 2021

Dave M our chairman wrote a letter to The Model Engineer and it was published in Vol 226 No 4659 11th March 2012, in the section Postbag.
Dear Martin, Over the last few days, it has been brought to our attention that our club insurance will be falling due once again. We are being asked “ As no activities have been allowed due to Coronavirus, Just what was the insurance for?”
We understand the need for building and equipment cover, that should stand, but the general public third party insurance cover is definitely suspect as NO public running days have taken place, as they are not allowed. Surely a reduced premium in this case should be offered. To someone who takes insurance very seriously, to pay for a £5million third party public insurance cover, when nothing is happening and no-one is present is somewhat one sided.
The same would apply with personal insurance for officials within the club. Also any cover that is for events outside the club that are not allowed to take place should , we think, be offered at least a 50% discount for the duration of these special circumstanc-es directed by the government. I understand the insurance company offering the cover is operating as an agent for the under-writers but, surely, a small bite of the cherry is better than nothing at all.
I would be interested in what other model engineering clubs have to say.
Best regards Dave Moore. Chairman. Brandon & District Society of Model Engineers.
In the same magazine Martin Evans the editor also added a piece in “Smoke Rings”
He wrote” Dave Moore Chairman of the Brandon Club, writes( see Postbag, Page 332 to point out that, with fewer days of pub-lic running in clubs this year there must have been a sizeable drop in Public liability claims, This surely represents a bit of a wind-fall for our insurers so it is perhaps reasonable to suppose that they might share some of this with their customers in a form of a discount on this year’s premiums. It seems a little tough that the clubs have had to pay, effectively for insurance that they can-not make use of, Now, of course, I don’t know how much of the claims paid out is for public liability, but it’s worth asking the question, isn’t it?.
Model Engineer Vol 226 No 4662 22nd April, reply from Mick Funnell Chairman Bright & Hove Society of Miniature Loco Engineers
Dear Martin,
Dave Moore’s letter (Post-box ME 4659 26th Feb) struck a chord as our treasurer and committee have expressed similar views in recent weeks as we await the insurance renewal request. I am sure that other clubs within the hobby feel as we do that the public Liability element of our premium should be adjusted to account for the closure of our miniature railways over the past season and, what looks likely to be, a considerable chunk of this coming season.
Another organisation( not model engineering related), of which I am a member , has similar concerns and has received an advi-sory leaflet from the brokers prior to the renewal date which details ‘ Special Consideration for Insurance Renewal in 2021’. On the matter of Public liability insurance, the leaflet states ‘Even if your activities have reduced, your risk of a significant claim remains, even with remote and/or online services.
Am I being cynical, or is this a way of saying that the public liability element of the premium remains, without adjustment!?
Could we persuade our insurance experts to give us their views on this matter. Our annual insurance premium’s take a large chunk of our annual income and I have no doubt there will be some smaller societies who will be struggling to cope with having lost at least a year’s income.
Fortunately, my own society had sufficient reserves to make up for our loss of income due to Covid, but the prospect of another full premium charge before we are able to (hopefully) re-start public running operations will make a big hole in what remains.
Best regards Mick Funnell, Chairman
Brighton & Hove Society of Miniature Loco Engineers.
We will have to see what the outcome is?

A Bit Of Nostalgia

Paul Bailey has found some old reference to our club in some old editions of Model Engineers.
Thanks Paul! Here goes.

January 1990

It is a long time since we heard from The Brandon DSME. However a new editor of the news Journal has been pressed ganged into service is pleading pitifully for someone to write something. As far as the club matters are concerned it seems that they intend to move their track because they cannot combat the continuing vandalism. It is now a matter of deciding whether or not the new one will cater for 7 1/4” or indeed if there will be two tracks. An interesting snippet from the society is that the Burrell Museum in Thetford is making pro-gress and it looks like being a very interesting project.

May 1990

The track of The Brandon DSME has been lifted and transported to Weeting where it will find a permanent home on the rally field. This follows a situation where continued vandal-ism has kept the members constantly repairing and replacing sections of it. The new home should be better located to prevent further problems, there being a regular security patrol on the estate. The move came just too late to prevent the concrete slabs from which the station is constructed being stolen a day or so before. Members of the society are also in-volved in the proposed Burrell Museum at Thetford and we understand that this too is coming along well.

June 1990

The move of The Brandon DSME has started with a lot of hard work by members, but rapid progress is being made. Three of the club’s senior citizens showed their mettle by shifting thirty two trailer loads of stone blocks from the old site to the new. A member has cut and supplied several hundred new sleepers for the track, so there is every chance that at least some track will be available for the club to use when the Weeting Rally takes place.

August 1990

Brandon DSME are making very rapid progress with their new track. All the civil engineer-ing is now complete, as well as the main track circuit. The old track site has been complete-ly vacated and was well tidied up before the club considered themselves finished with it. Apart from a good effort on the track the members are also well involved with the new Bur-rell Museum at Thetford. The club is only small and it is quite incredible the percentage turnout they get for their various projects.

March 1993

The AGM of the Brandon DSME saw the committee re-elected en-bloc. There has been a new post created, that of a safety Officer, this is because of the anticipated forthcoming legislation on the subject. The clubs efforts at the annual Weeting Steam Rally last year ap-pear to have been well received and progress at the site seems to be making good pro-gress.

May 1993

Improvements to the tunnel have been under discussion by The Brandon DSME. The pre-sent structure is not thought to be in accordance with the safety regulations which now ap-ply. The alternative is to remove it, but no decision has yet to be made as to which course of action will be adopted

August 1993

We don’t often hear of a model engineer who is also a fitness enthusiastic . Chris Raines of Brandon DSME ran in the recent London Marathon and certainly fits (oops!) the description. His first ever try at such an event, Chris completed the course in less than four hours, a time which would have done credit to many more experienced runners. It is possible that awareness of a healthy lifestyle is moving up the agenda? Brandon DSME has announced that smoking will be banned on future coach trips. To ensure economic use of coach space, guests are invited to accompany members on these trips. It seems that some guests have objected to members disposing of their old socks in their pipes during the journey!

November 1993

Brandon DSME played a prominent part in the Weeting Steam Engine Rally, their perma-nent track is on the showground. The model tent was well stocked with more than 100 models displayed. The awards were made as follows:
The Dick Brown Cup: Malcolm Roberts for a 4” scale Burrell Agricultural Engine.
Brandon Traction Engine Tankard: Richard Morgan for a 4” Scale Foster Traction Engine.
Brandon Model Tankard: Eric Best for a fleet of Fowler B6 locomotives

March 1994

Work is progressing on the track at Brandon DSME, it caters for three gauges at ground level: point work construction in these circumstances is always something of a problem. They have decided to use electrically controlled traverser type point work, which should give a smooth transition to locomotives of any gauge. The footbridge has been raised to give a better clearance, and steaming bays with a transporter that can be raised to assist off loading of models from vehicles is part of the project.

June 1994

Track improvements have been made at Brandon DSME, Lights have been installed at the level crossing, which should reduce the problems of drivers of traction engines who have been known to say they did not know when trains were coming. The steaming bays are also progressing. Moles have caused some difficul-ties, leaving mounds of earth everywhere, fortunately, as far as is known, they have not decided to come up under the track itself. To save having to run a generator to charge the batteries at the steaming bays, the site not having electricity installed , a couple of solar panels have been purchased to take care of the job. They say, the sun shines on the righteous, so lets hope the members remain on their best behaviour.

August 1994

Mid-May saw the official track opening at Brandon DSME. This was designated as an open day for members, friends and relatives. Club President Mr Richard Parrott cut the ribbon to allow the first official train to pass under the footbridge. The track was given a thorough test before The Weeting Traction Engine Rally. Solar panels have been installed in the roof of the club house, These charge the steaming bay batteries. A good idea for any society with out mains electricity at their track, it mean the batteries do not have to be removed for charging.

I hope these items brought back some old memories!

Ask the expert

Andy Turner, partner at Mercer & Hole is here to help.
Question: Will I pay tax on profits from my hobby?
Answer: You will NOT pay tax on a hobby. But if it is classed as a business activity you may need to pay tax. HMRC looks at a number of factors together to determine whether an activity is a business activity or a hobby. These in-clude.
Is there a profit seeking motive.
The number of transactions.
The nature of the asset or product that generates the income.
Existence of similar trading transactions.
Any changes to the product or asset held that may make it more marketable.
The way the sales are carried out.
The source of finance.
Interval of time between purchase and sale.
Method of acquisition.
The government has also introduced a £1,000 trading allowance to cover small scale ventures such as selling home made items like food, arts crafted products or toys. This mean as long as your gross income from this activity does not exceed £1,000 you should not have to have to pay tax or national insurance contribution.

The Crossing

The crossing is basically finished, The warning lights are still to be rewired, but it has been rather cold for this sort of work. We have sewn the grass seeds to the entrance and this is growing and we are watering it as the rain never arrives when you want it. 

Couple of pictures.

Boating Pool. i.e. water level

The boating pond has filled up during the winter, see the level as at 17/4/2021, there is no algae in the water and Dave M continues to put in the powder which keeps the bad things from happening, so this has been a success.

Saturday 10th April 2021

Saturday 10th we started boiler testing and as Saturday is now a PLAY DAY a couple of our members came and played, we will soon be at a point were we can invite you to run an engine, still a lot of crud to remove but this is on going, just book a slot and come and see what you may have missed over the last 12 or so months.

Chris H with his Eric S made stationery engine, bee redesigned in Eric’s memory, Chris has had a plaque made to show this. As always a super model. 

Kevin’s crane, super super 
“LITTLE and LARGE” Well done.

The Site:

The winter months have spread lots of leaves and broken twigs, which we are gradually collecting and disposing of, Three weeks ago we started to cut the grass, Thanks Stuart F and Geoff B is gardening at ever opportunity, new plants , Steve HW has been like a garden centre with plants, Thanks Steve. Still lots to do, so very much work in progress.

The Station:

The station canopy was rather damaged during the last few months. When lock-down finally ended all we could do was to dismantle it and save the metal for the future. We had been collecting material for a new station for a while and after surveying the area we decided to build a station 9 metres x 4.2 metres. We used the 3, 4, 5 method to make sure it was square, but as the station is on a curve it might look odd. We have installed the eight posts and fitted the side struts and have four out of the six roof trusses on and fixed , so, work in progress.

Play Day May 2021

Really cold, but we had some members still turn up: Norman H train, Ralph R red engine, Geoff E paddle steamer, good turn out. GREAT