Dear Members

The committee met on Wednesday to discuss the re-opening of the club. It is hoped that we will be able to reconvene on Wednesday 2nd September but for this we are waiting on the approval of the church and a risk assessment being carried out. There will be strict restrictions and procedures  that we will have to adhere to, these will be notified to you nearer the time.


Phil and Nigel

Please email all submissions to  or



The Flamsbana Railway, Flam, Norway


Flåmsbana has been described as one of the world's most spectacular train journeys, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Norway. The train runs from the end of Aurlandsfjorden, a side arm of Sognefjorden, and up to the high mountains at Myrdal station. The journey shows the beautiful nature of Western Norway from its best side.

In a short hour, the train takes you from sea level by the Sognefjord in Flåm to the high mountain station Myrdal which is 867 meters above sea level. Myrdal is also a station on the Bergen line, and the Flåm line corresponds with trains between Bergen and Oslo.

Flåmsbanen is one of the steepest train lines in the world on normal tracks, where almost 80% of the journey has an increase of 5.5%. The train ride goes through spectacular nature, past Rallarvegen, steep mountain sides, foaming waterfalls, through 20 tunnels and has so many vantage points that for many, one ride up and down is not enough. 

National Geographic Traveler Magazine has named Flåmsbanen one of the top 10 train journeys in Europe, while Lonely Planet Traveler in 2014 went even further, and named Flåmsbanen the world's best train journey!


Anyone who has traveled on the Flamsbana will know that half way up they have a surprise for you.

I've included a few interesting pictures from the Railway and Flam Museum which included a very nice model railway.















The following article sent to us by Julian appeared in the Railway Modeller, does anyone know when?












Planning Application for our Collaborative Community Projects
I hope that you’ll be as excited to read the following as we are to be able to share it!
Following encouragement from a District Councillor, Frances Leonard (who happens to be a Member of our Society), on Tuesday evening, 28th July, we held a meeting @ Smallford Station following which we agreed to put in a formal Planning Application for our Collaborative Community Projects to –

  • Improve the Environment around Smallford Station
  • Renovate and Restore a Goods Van Body (currently located at Oaklands College), to create storage for our exhibition and some of our collection of artefacts, site it close to Smallford Station - thereby making it available to the public.

Note: You may recall from previous emails that we’re in discussion with Staff at Oaklands on involving students in these projects; we're pleased to report that these discussions are progressing well.
Two key people, a local Town Planner, David Lane, and an Architect, John Clemow, were present, have agreed to support us and will generously be providing their services for free! They’ve also agreed to meet with students @ Oaklands College as and when this is appropriate. Frances has agreed to meet the cost of the Planning Application!
This is obviously a very important and exciting time for us!
If you:

  • would like more details of these projects
  • would like to be actively involved (design, implementation, maintenance…)
    and it would obviously assist us if you would let us know how you would like to be involved together with any particular skills and interest that you could offer.
  • have ideas/suggestions to contribute….
  • would like to make a donation towards the costs of these projects….

Please contact us in the usual way - via



Heritage Open Day: Sunday 13th September
As the National Trust has given the go-ahead for this year’s Heritage Open Days, we hope to hold our Exhibition on Smallford Station Car Park on Sunday 13th September, and are seeking permission from SADC.
Should this (hopefully!) go ahead, perhaps you’ll come to visit us to –

  • meet the team
  • see our Exhibition illustrating much of the history of Smallford Station and the Hatfield & St Albans Railway it served, two delightful models (of Smallford Station and Nast Hyde Halt as they were around 1960) and some of our collection of railway-related artefacts
  • see and discuss our exciting plans for the future

Please Note: Unfortunately, we do not have access to Smallford Station itself.
If we are able to proceed, this will obviously provide an important opportunity to both publicise our plans and to raise some funds towards the costs – currently estimated as somewhere between £5-6,000.


Jeff Lewis



MIDDLETON Circa 2002


The following pictures were sent to us by Julian. I apologise for the quality of these low-res images.









Underground Ernie Mk2


The photographs show an Underground Ernie layout that I built last year for the Grandchildren.

The origins of this go back about ten years when I was on holiday in Bridlington visiting my wife's sister. I found in one of the discount shops an Underground Ernie set for £20 which included a Circle line train, a circle of track with a siding, a controller and assorted other accessories. It seemed to good to miss and along side it there were two other train packs for £5 each. These were a Hammersmith and City line train and a Bakerloo line train.



The next time the Grandchildren visited the track mat was set up in the only space large enough which happened to be the dining room floor. As it is 8’ x 4’ it is not easy to fit in.  As they were all fairly young then it kept them amused for quite a while.

Over the next year or so additional trains were added as and when they could be found on E bay etc.

The biggest problem was the time in setting up which included clearing space in the dining room and transporting everything downstairs from my model railway room. So last year I came up with a plan to build two pairs of 4’ x 2’ hinged base boards which joined together would give the 8’ x 4’ required. These would need to be erected in the garage as that allowed more space. Along the way the boards became much heavier than I had hoped and required six new trestles to support them.



The track was laid, wired up and then tested. This was where the first problem came to light. Underground Ernie track being on a grey base doesn’t take kindly to being cut across the board joins and it is very difficult to keep it aligned. After much fiddling it was possible to run the layout reasonably well but derailments would still occur at some board joints usually after running successfully round several times.

However the Grandchildren that were by now still interested in it enjoyed running it but it meant I had to regularly re rail trains for them. The other problem was that as I have mentioned the layout was quite heavy and still took some time to set up which rather defeated the object in the first place.



So this year during lock down with time to spare I considered three options 1) Leave it as it was and live with the derailments. (2) Give up and scrap it (3) Change the track to Hornby with correctly aligned joins positioned with copper clad strip.

Finally after some consideration option 3 was chosen. New track was purchased together with copper clad strip , new connectors for the board joints, new alignment dowels, a new controller and case clips for the centre board join to avoid the need to bolt them together. Needless to say this was the most expensive option as the others would have cost nothing.

The old track was lifted and some that hadn’t crossed joins was saved. The new Hornby track was laid keeping as far as possible to the original plan on the track mat allowing for slightly different geometry. The joints were correctly aligned and wiring completed.



Finally came the day of reckoning. The layout duly ran well with only a couple of issues which were quickly resolved. After a full afternoon of running with my Grandson, once we were able under the government rules, proved the value of the work undertaken. As a bonus my Thomas stock will run on the layout as well which it wouldn’t on the Ernie track.

Another bonus the salvaged track will still make a circle much as the original did and so could still be run if required.












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