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Newsletter November 2008


Raised Riding Truck

Anyone who has been trawling through our products or prices pages may have noticed the "under redevelopment" on the raised riding truck items. Usually when I have been invited to run at a clubs I am with my family so given the choice we opt for ground level running so we can run with the boys.

This year I have had the raised riding truck at three different clubs and to be frank, fitting the running boards is a bit fiddlely.

We also planned to build and photograph the ground level body, but everytime I found the time to produce one, I seemed to get a sale and off it went.

So coming soon -

  • New style lift on/off side skirts - no bolts (unless you want to)
  • New style lift on/off running boards for ground level running
  • New ground level riding body (currently 3 under construction)

Braked Bogie

Coming soon - new rigid frame braked bogies. Designed around 4" wheels and using brake shoes, I am hoping the new design will be a success. So confident that the new design will work I have ordered 3 pairs for testing. Having talked to several people about design solutions, we have come up with a cable operated system. This gives flexibilty in lever position or even the potential for air or vacuum brakes.

Out and About

Having decided that model engineering shows are not necessarily our target market we still enjoy taking out our portable track to a few local exhibitions.

This year the Ilford and West Essex Model Railway Club's exhibition had help in promoting the show from "Jack the Cat".

With some of the advertising aimed at school children and the offer of free rides attendance seemed to be well up from last year.

It was also the first time we used our new coaches and we managed to take 133 over the two days. Up from just over 50 last year.

Once again Chelmsford show really popular. It seemed that the railway was running nearly none stop. For a change we swapped the Hercules over half way though the day and gave the Hunslet a good run.

For those who read comments on my Youtube videos, there isn't a steam noise unit in there, it was just the bad meshing of the gears. These have been sorted and she runs like a sewing machine - OK a sewing machine that can pull 10 people.

The new coaches were an amazing success and we raised over 233 in the day (100 more than last year). Big thanks to James for helping out with the driving.

At the exhibition I was fortunate to bump in to Mark Found of The Railway Channel. Mark is currently trying to set up a weekly internet show called "Railway World". Any one who has documentries on their Sky box will surely recognise him from "Trainspotting" (the series on trains not the drug film) or his much talked about garden railway show. The filming at Chelmsford features on No.6 which can be found on the website "The Railway Channel".
I have to add that I thought the episode after Chelmsford was not up to the standard set up to this point and sent an email expressing that thought in a less than subtle way. Don't think Mark will ever talk to me again but to me, episode 8 was much better. Anyway go check it out. It is an interesting venture which if they can get the viewing figures up to 5000 a week may be the start of something big. Use it or lose it - as thay say.

Party Time

For anyone who has been following the site from early days, may have picked up on odd snippets on my family. Well just to make us all feel old Clark started school this year and had a joint party with Jasper (3yrs) to celebrate his 5th birthday.

Unseasonal warm weather meant it was trains all afternoon.

Given the success of our public running coaches, we added full length cushions and end handles to our two open coaches. This meant we could squash a few more on.

Right - Clark 5 years ago.

Andrena has just gone on Maternity leave as we are expecting a little girl mid/late December.

Can't think of any names yet but I have been informed there will be no railway or Christmas connections.

One big bonus is the tax people have sent the company her wages through to April. Fantastic, now all I need to do is work out how to do payroll , paint coaches, collect materials etc.

Bespoke Work

Having been asked to produce ends for a Wisbech coach last year, I had a spare pair cut in case there were any problems. Rather than canilbalise a panel coach for the body, I drew up and had a body cut more in keeping with the original.

As a change I also spray painted the body before highlighting the panelling with brown stain using a sponge.

Other work -

Not so exciting, I have been cutting and bending up literally hundreds of aluminium brackets for the window fitters who are in the unit opposite ours. The workshop has been very multi cultural as the boss is Polish and his labourer is from Slovakia.

Still working with interesting materials - some of which may appear on our products in the not to distant future.

Winter Work

Ever since we took on the workshop lease we have had the worry that in winter the work may slow down and how will we make ends meet.

Well once I have finished -

  • 3 open coaches
  • 2 public running coaches
  • Hercules to Spain
  • 1 bogie chassis
  • Captain Howey
  • Braked bogies
  • 3.5" gauge points
  • Quarry Hunslet
  • Working Semaphores
  • Possibly 6 Indian Coaches (braked)
  • I might find time to worry about it. All I have to say is THANKS.

    Barking Park Light Railway

    Now coming back as a 7.25" gauge railway (was 9.5"), mainly through the efforts of one man, the Barking Park Railway is up and running again. Ray Armsted (who used to own a Hercules and Trojan), is working with the local council and has so far crossed numerous hurdles and actually got 350 yards of track down. There are even plans to extend in the future.

    If the website looks familar in style, no prizes for guessing who put it together. Rather than just wish him luck, do one better. Go and pay him a visit. Official opening is Easter 2009.


    That's all for now.


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