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Newsletter October 2007



Once again sorry for the long delay between newsletters. It is always the way that when you are busy with lots of things to report then you never get time to write them down.


The Middleton Garden Railway

Since the last newsletter we had a very successful open day. The addition of a feather light signal to the bottom set of points seemed to help the drivers negotiate the points. We currently have a section of track lifted out next to the pond to allow installation of a new siding.

Clark and Paul with the new pond pump My mum is finding the garden harder and harder to manage and the installation of this new siding will help reduce the work load. It will also make it so much easier to clear the tracks of stock allowing for both loops to be used with little effort.

In the picture to the left, not only can you see Clark using the new pond pump, but to the left of the picture is the start of the works for the new siding.

On our open day it soon became apparent that having a large lever frame wouldn't work given the train frequency. Therefore the lever frame is up for sale in our shop section. I will be making a large loss but throwing near full size levers for 3-4 trains a minute would be impractable. The plan is to build mechanical levers but more like the power box styles but the design will inlcude interlocking to protect points and our lower crossing.

If your club could make use of a 10 lever frame then please get in touch. While I do not want to make a total loss on the project I would be happy to negotiate.

With the success of our track circuiting we are now in the process of have modules commercially produced. These should be ready towards the end of November/ early December.


Portable Track

We have had the portable track out twice in the last month -

Romford - St Edwards C of E School

Chelmsford - King Edward Grammar School

My dad made front page news with his picture appearing on the cover of the Chelmsford Weekly News.

Although the Romford show was a two day event if suffered from poor attendance. The same could not be said for the Chelmsford show. The train was running nearly non stop and raised 165 for the Hospice. I think that the Chelmsford show had the advantage of tapping in to the town centre trade.

Interestingly both tracks finished touching doors at the end of the corridor - both 55m long.

We will be having the track out at Marshalls Park School, Romford, on November 10th for a railway exhibition. Do come and see us there.


Orders

Yes once again I am running behind on orders. We currently have a 3-4 week lead in time for locos and coaches. I was told that October to December are your quiet time when you wonder if business will ever pick up again. We if the quiet time comes I will fill it with the work on our new engines (see Hunslet below)

Quarry Hunslet - progress

As I keep stating I cannot realistically work on future products while I have outstanding orders to complete. That said I have managed to update the drawings and sort out a few design issues.

I am hoping in the next month or two to order the materials for 5 engines. I will them build the first to get an accurate labour cost and work out a final retail price.

Left the rear safety valve assembly for the Hunslet.


Bespoke Work

I will be updating the bespoke section soon but just a couple of items of interest.

25 deg angled crossover in steel
Above - made from a sandwich of 8 and 5mm steel this 25 deg angled crossover has been made entiley from laser cut components. While it is high on material costs the use of the pre cut steel kept assembly time to just under 2 hours. This one is destined for a railway in Warwickshire.
Custom Hercules
Above - Customer order for a Hercules chassis with steps. This chassis also has 8mm steel buffer beams and flush sole bars to the sides.

Financial News

Finally we got our VAT number. It took them over three months to write back with a letter accepting our application but could we provide proof of business. Why it took three months for that letter beats me.

I suppose we should be grateful position of having to pay VAT but it does rather affect labour costs. If I buy items in then they do become cheaper but any labour charge now has 17.5% deducted from it. Add National Insurance and Income Tax then bang goes over 50%.

Still death and taxes - the two things that cannot be avoided.


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