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Newsletter May 2010

Sorry for the late update, but as always things have been manic.

Merstham Show

Once again we had a great weekend. Once again this little show was packed with a great variety of model themed trades, layouts, demonstrations and rides.

With a trailer tent on one car and a trailer on the other we finally managed to get through the Friday night M25 traffic to arrive, set up and have beans on toast before 8pm. The only trouble is being early May, the nights are cold and Drena forgot to pack the double sleeping bag. We had a duvet but ended up raiding the cars for travel rugs.

A big thanks to Ryan Manning for bringing and lending me his excellent Y6 tram engine.

Another thanks to Simon Pugh who allowed us to borrow his Quarry Hunslet which was in the workshop having a bit of paint work being done to it.


Due to work changes Simon has decided to sell his Hunslet. It has only had a few days running and with its new paint is in as new condition. If you are interested in it please get in touch. Given the extras of brake lever, reverser lever, coal bunker, whistle, pressure gauge,water gauge and a smoke system in the smoke box, asking the list price is more than reasonable.


The driver is a Busy Bodies man which I bought with some Christmas money. He is not for sale but if you are interested you can find details on their website -http://www.robbennett.org/
Merstham was also the first public appearance of the improved 7 1/4" gauge Hercules.

Improvements include -

  • Lifting the deck by 20mm
  • Extending the deck by 75mm
  • Extending the rear bonnet by 75mm


The initial idea of the large gauge Hercules was to use the 5" gauge parts as much as possible. With modifying the chassis and body I was starting to think the whole project was a bit of a waste of time.

Having driven it at Merstham for what was estimated to be over 10 miles I have grown to like the loco.


What it offers is a loco that can whizz about, pull a reasonable load but most importantly it went to and from Merstham in the back of a car.


With car insurance, service and house insurance all coming up in the same month I was under strict orders to not spend any money. I did treat myself to one thing - an Underground destination board.

Under the sticker of Mill Hill East was the embossed enamel of Elstree. Bit of a gamble but the sticker came off and with a bit of solvent I was able to reveal the name which is in a fairly good condition.

I never did see the Aldenham bus works which was supposed to be a tube depot but the few reminents and history of the Northern Heights extentions have always fascinated me.

A big thanks to the organisers of the show and especially the Merstham Valley Railway group who very kindly let us play trains up until 11pm on the Saturday night. In all there were only two things which spoilt the weekend. During Saturday night/Sunday morning some of the traders tents/awnings were broken in to and quite a few bits were stolen. The other thing was packing the tent away in heavy rain.

Finally on Merstham Tuxcraft - thanks for putting up with Clark, Jasper and Faith who seemed to use your stall as a meeting point. Your kindness was much appreciated, although I still do not know why Clark wanted a concrete letter box and Jasper wanted a concrete oil drum.

7 1/4" Gauge

As mentioned above the new Hercules had a really good thrashing at Merstham. I think most of the people who had a drive were taken a back by its speed and performance.

I also took to Merstham a prototype 4 wheel driving truck I have been working on.

  • 5" diameter wheels on 3/4" axles
  • Disk brake to leading axle
  • 6mm steel frame
  • Self aligning take up bearings
  • Adjustable running boards

The plan now is to construct a second to sort out a few early issues before commissioning a batch. The main issue I have is the weight but then if we are moving in to 7.25" gauge I need to get used to it.

Jasper in the prototype 7.25" truck

Big to Small


After playing with 7.25" gauge I have also taken things down a size. Intially planned as a base entry loco with 1 battery and 2 motors, a conversation with a fellow club member lead to what can only be described as a wolf in sheeps clothing.

The small tram engine is based around a Jasper chassis (520mm x 250mm deck). We have constructed 24v Jaspers before but the larger body makes it a bit easier getting everything in.

For this one we had to cut a hole in the deck and poke the wires from the control board down in to the chassis.

One new feature was a battery powered front light. Before painting I welded a pocket in the roof to take a AAA batery pack to power the LED in the front light. This means there are no wires between the body and chassis.

The new motor mounts now include a drop down piece which acts as a guard to help protect the main delrin gear.


And Finally

The Hercules sales are going from strength to strength. We currently have 3 in the workshop and an order for another, all ready to run. We are also now being asked for extras.

As can be seen from the picture on the right, adding all these extras can get pretty complicated. The 4qd relay board is not powerful enough to drive the hi lo horns so we end up putting in an extra set of 30amp relays.

All this takes time.

coming soon-

Trax Controls "Sound Box". This will be a prewired box with easy connections -

  • Hi lo horn
  • Engine noise which ties in with 4QD controller
  • Accessory relay
  • Full control from 4qd bell throttle controller
  • 24v supply
  • Speakers supplied with phono plugs on 300mm leads (for body mounting)
  • Box mounted seperate volume controls for horns and engine

Price TBA.

Open day 22nd May. I will try and remember to take some photos. Promise of steam.


All the best for now - Paul

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