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Newsletter April 2009

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 on.

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 7.25" Gauge

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.

  • Wheels from 5" blanks

  • 22mm wide wheels

  • 300mm wheel base

  • 20mm bolt

  • Seff aligning bearings

  • 1" axles with pressed on wheels

525 a 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!

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 standard chassis.

Bespoke Work

Lever Frame

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.

Having the 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 happens.

Indian Coaches


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 support.

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 10.

  • 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 touch.

  • Credit Card - NO - add 3.5% on top please and we can take the card through a Paypal account.

  • "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 wages.

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




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