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Newsletter April 2006

Welcome to our news update

I had thought about the sales pitch of a new product a month for 2006. Problem with this is I can't wait to get new products out at the soonest possible moment. Some projects take months to develope and don't seem to obey deadlines. So I will publish details as and when we are in a position to give release dates.


    New Products for 2006

    Jasper - Electric Loco

    Our new 0-4-0 electric loco is now in production. I have ordered up bodies from the fabrication company we use, so all being well we should see these engines being shipped/ready for collection just after Easter. I will have the prototype running on Saturday 8th April, for the O Gauge exhibition at Marshalls Park School, Pettits Lane, Romford.- come along if you fancy a drive.

    Engine number 2 has already been reserved. This will be a 4 motor version and destined for the Isle of Man. See 11th March update for pictures.


    After the response from the pictures last month, I have had industrial style couplings cut which can be retro fitted to engines. I do not have prices yet but they will be available in 1, 2 or 3 slot versions.

    The construction is from steel and has a 8mm hole for the pin. 5mm nuts and bolts are included for fixing.

    Pullman Coach

    We are currently working on our prototype Pullman Coach. Roughly based on a coach I rode on the Welsh Highland Railway, we hopefully will have this one fully painted and glazed in the next week.

    Braked Bogies

    Today we have been playing with our new prototype braked bogies. Initially I have had the type with a plunger running up through the centre of the bogie mounting bolt. The test brought back memories of over 6 years ago as the test chassis was run with a milk crate as a seat.

    The above pictures show our test chassis, which is why the crank axle is secured using two penny washers. After todays running I now have enough information to make design changes and order up an initial production batch. It also raised design issues of where to put the brake lever. It was quite easily to lock the wheels in a 4 wheel skid.


    Focussing on garden railways we have been developing ideas to help cope with the extremes. For the last month we have had our DMU coach on bogies which have plastic spacers on the wheels. The axles are cut to allow the wheels to turn independently . Wasn't too sure of the benefits until we drilled holes in to the plastic and flooded the tube with oil.

    The coach handles noticeably better on the curves and points with the benefits of reducing the wear to the rail.

    Drilling out the bar is hard in our lathe so we are going to go out and get some prices for these sleeves.

    Website News

    Recent changes -

    • Garden Railways section - Cronk Aashen Railway.

    • Gallery - I have added a section of general pictures. These untitled pictures are ones which we have or are going to use for publicity purposes. I am hoping to add additional galleries possibly one using pictures which people have emailed me over the years. The first two pictures are of a Industrial Hercules with cranks and the new coupling.

    • I have created a new directory to file away these news updates. Rather than waste all this effort I will be filing them away and creating an index. You may notice I have stopped promising dates for deliveries and releases as I know filing these pages they will be quoted back.

    Other Bits

    We are not doing any shows this year. By the time you finish with a three day show we end up out of pocket by around 1000, and that's not allowing for time lost of 4.5 days. We aim to keep our prices low and costs like these would have to be passed on.

    Price rises. Yes I keep saying they are coming. Well they are, I just need a few hours to work them out. To help keep costs down we will be breaking down the price structures on some items.

    • Control panels on the engines - we will be offering a variety all at extra cost. More often than not the control panels are not used so why pay for them if you don't intend to use it.

    • Plate for battery isolator switch will be optional extra

    • Ready to run coaches will be offered at the current price in primer with the new price being for fully painted.

    I have previously published guide prices for engine building services. Having now had time to design and build jigs, we can now offer the Hercules and Trojan with fully welded cranks. This should eliminate the risk of an engine throwing a crank. Email me if you want more details.

    Credit Card Service - coming as soon as I sign and return the paperwork.

    Postage and Packaging - as we ship more and more items we are actually having to buy packaging materials such as boxes. Unfortunately these costs and the cost will have to be passed on. As always PLEASE come and collect. You can play trains, handle items, but more importantly we do not have to spend time packaging.





    Petrol power came to the Middleton Garden Railway this month. An impulse purchase from Ebay resulted in us owning a lovely 0-4-0 2 stroke engine. Its simple design is quite clever. Transmission is by a belt drive to a lay shaft which is linked to the front axle via a chain.

    The belt is engaged via a lever in the cab which raises a tensioner pulley. For starting there is a manual clutch so the belt can be engaged with both pulleys stationary.

    There is a slight problem with the design. The chain needs a tensioner pulley + the cog on the axle is slightly too big which means the chain catches on the concrete on out path section. It either needs reducing in size or using on a raised track. To be honest you don't notice the chain catch on points just on the crossings.

    So with regret I will be putting this engine up for sale. The engine has good compression but needs a good service. I am sure this will make some one a great renovation challenge, I just don't have the time.

    Maintenance & Construction

    We are still waiting for the warmer days to arrive so we can get on with some track replacement. The 11' radius curve near the house is nearly 7 years old and has taken its toll. The outer aluminium rail is badly worn and the track is now badly out of gauge due to the wear and the screws letting it spread slightly. We have blown our budget and splashed out on PNP Railways plastic sleeper system which we will be laying with 21mm steel rail.

    The warmer days should also encourage us to replace the pond bridge and install a turntable in front of the shed with the hidden siding. If the turntable is successful I may re order and market them.

    Rolling Stock

    Not one to hang on to old stock, we have had a clear out.

    • Original panel coach has been sold and has gone to join its brother (John Oxlade's old coach) and our old Y6 at a railway in the Bristol area. To be replaced by one of the new panel coaches which Andrena has promised to paint in Isle of Man colours.

    • One of our original 4 wheel riding trucks along with a tender and coach body. Makes way for another one of my dads coal wagons and possibly another ply van.

    • We may sell one of our other bogie coaches to make room for the Pullman Coach.


    Don't forget

    April 8th - O gauge show

    May 20th Open day

    June Canvey Club visit


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