1 Year On (in the work shop)
The 10th of March marked the end of our first
year in a rented workshop. The decision means we have to find
nearly £1000 a month for rent, insurance, rates etc, but we are
still here and could not have managed half the work out put over
the last year with out all the space and new bits of plant.
When we moved in we spent around three weeks
building benches, shelves, entrance doors, decorating etc. At the
end of those three weeks I think I had a couple of orders to work
This year in March we have so
many orders we are struggling to keep up.
We have tried subcontracting work out in the
past, but I have never really been happy with the results. So we
would rather keep production in house and keep an eye on quality.
The flip side is that we currently have lead in times for orders
of up to 4-5 weeks.
To keep track of orders I now have software
which lets me create quotes, orders and invoices. Using this
software allows me to print up a works list which we work through
in the order we receive the work. The only exceptions are for
small & quick items which won't delay other work. This would
also be for on the shelf stock but we have sold all the items we
spec built in quieter times.
While our output has increased over the last
year so we have seen material prices go up by as much as 30%.
SORRY - We will be putting
prices up at the end of April by 5%. (orders placed before will
be at the old price)
Ride on Railways - Back in to
After a gap of many years we are going to be
producing a few items for 7 1/4" Gauge.
1st off is a medium duty bogie.
pair (two bogies)
Due to the amount of metal
involved in these bogies, they will be made to order only.
Estimated delivery time will be 2-4 weeks.
Yes once again Faith gets her
own mention. With the good weather at Easter Faith finally got to
ride on the train. At 4 months I don't lnow what she thought of
it. Picture below left to right - Jasper, Drena, Faith and
Jasper and Clark on an open
wagon. I have included this as we have put end rails and long
cushions on ours. We have found this ideal for the younger
riders/drivers as it stops them sitting hanging off the
front/back end. The handles are also useful for picking up the
body by. The extra seats means we can squash 3-4 youngsters on a
Historically March/April have been
quite months for us. With this in mind I lined up a couple of
projects that would help us through the leaner months. Well just
goes to show what we know about market trends.
One of the projects is for a 16
lever power frame.
||The original design brief
grew from our standard design with two layers of
interlocking to something much more complicated. The
final design has 8 horizontal layers of interlocking.
Along with all the layers of sliders we have
also got to provide electromechanical interlocking which
will lock point levers in position as well a a mid
position lock for signal levers.
The mid position is to mimic appoach
locking which is used on London Underground.
|Eventually the whole frame
is to be wired in to a gauge 1 railway which will be used
as a training tool for signal men. The scope also
requires for the station our frame is destined to control
to be run by computer so the frame will be interfaced
with the computer.
function of being able to lock levers in different
positions has proved a tricky challenge but in the next
few days we will know if we can get it all working.
||Each lever has 3 micro
switches on it. 1 for actual switching and two to control
the solenoid. We use profile plates that move the
microswithes as the lever is pulled. As things are bound
to change, these plates can be extracted and changed by
simply unbolting them from the vertical lifter.
I will post pictures as further progress
||Yes these coaches are huge
and no they are for 5" gauge.
As we do not have facilities for bending/rolling
large sheet I put these coach bodies out to tender.
Having had a few experiences with
subbing out work, we were able to get a good result at a
good price. Instead of being laser cut the fabricators
puched out the windows.
|Due to the flex of the
body, the sides were made of 1.5mm steel while the roof
is formed from 1.2mm sheet steel. Not having used steel
before for sit on coaches we were not sure if they would
be strong enough with out the need for additional
Well to say they are
strong would be an under statement. We could almost just
bolt the bogies straight to the bodies.
With the current work load and an
understanding customer, these coach bodies are on hold
for a few weeks.
Next step is to build the chassis and
sort out the vacuum braked bogies.
Cash - NO - The bank
charges us extra to pay cash in to the account. 10p per
Bulk - NO- We are already
building in bulk to keep the margins down. Obviously if
you are are buying 5 plus of the same item then get in
Credit Card - NO - add
3.5% on top please and we can take the card through a
"I'll go else where
if I don't get a discount" - That is your choice and
the joy of a free market.
After quitting the building
industry to take RoR on full time, my wage is nearly up to 1/3 of
what it used to be. Once we have paid all our bills the wages
account for around 25% of our takings.
So if you bought something from us
for £100 a 5% discount would equate to a 20% reduction in our
Hope you understand that we are
not being mean- just trying to earn a living.
Don't forget -
Merstham Show - May 16th/17th
6th June RoR openday - 10 years
of the Middleton Garden Railway