Dear Members

I am sorry but this week we start with more doom and gloom, apart from Trump contracting the virus!
Its cold, its wet, Corona virus restrictions have been stepped up, and lockdown continues apace.
We still have no idea when we can return to our club. Nothing has been heard from the church and government advice continues to be ambiguous and open to misinterpretation. Looking forward to 2021, it is looking even more likely that we will not be able to hold our annual exhibition in April.

In the meantime, if we are to continue with this newsletter don't be shy, we are now in desperate need for more of you to send in articles, photos, memories, jokes and quizes and any other interesting snippets you come across.
We are taking a break next week, so you have 2 weeks to put something together for fellow members to enjoy and continue reading.



Phil and Nigel

Please email all submissions to  or



The lock down has affected local businesses. 


Bra manufacturers have gone bust.
Submersible makers have gone under.
Food blender companies have gone into liquidation
Dog kennels have called in the retrievers.
The origami paper makers have folded.
The Heinz factory has been canned. They couldn't ketchup with orders.
Tarmac laying companies have reached the end of the road.
The bakery has run out of dough.
The clock maker has wound down and the owner gone cuckoo.
The Chinese restaurant has been taken away.
The shoe shop owner has put his foot down, and given his staff the boot.
The laundrette has been taken to the cleaners.
The dentist is looking down in the mouth.
The plumbers have gone down the tube.
Opticians are on the blink.
The broadcasting companies have called in the receivers.











So after much head scratching and negotiation with the household authorities you have managed to find a suitable location (well location anyway) for your proposed new layout.
Before commencing how to build the baseboard(s) perhaps we should just reflect on a few aspects of your design. Firstly have you considered where the fiddle yard/ hidden sidings are going? You did? Great. If not it could be back to the drawing board.
For those of you not familiar with the terms fiddle yard or hidden sidings let me explain. The fiddle yard is not an area for storing your violin. It is where you fiddle the trains from one track to another to convince the viewing public that this is where the rest of the country is. If no one is watching it doesn’t matter as you will only have yourself to please. Hidden sidings are much the same but there is no fiddling done.
Many years ago at exhibitions fiddle yards/hidden sidings were always hidden behind screens so that the public couldn't see what was coming next. Nowadays they are mostly on show and indeed attract more interest than the layout itself. This is because it is often more interesting to watch the operators trying to work out what is supposed to happen next, rail the correct train, try and set the points, then watch as the whole train sets off at rocket speed and promptly derails. Far more amusing than watching someone shunt a few wagons around in the goods yard.
 But I digress. From your plan of a layout 6×2 you will need to allow space at one or both ends for aforementioned fiddle yard. If you are proposing a 90 degree curve (as is quite common) bear in mind that most loco’s and stock do not like negotiating 6inch radius curves!
Secondly if you have decided to have the baseboard hinged along a wall, perhaps in the garage, bear in mind that you will need to leave space for the scenery. If you don’t it will make a horrible mess. More of this when we come to building the scenery.
Next if you have decided to have the baseboard suspended on ropes and pulleys from the ceiling just be careful to make sure the fixings are secure and that the ceiling will take the load. Explaining to the household authorities why there is no longer a ceiling in the spare bedroom may result in yet another world cruise in recompense.
Lastly if by chance you decided on say a 6×4 or even 8×4 board just remember that you can’t actually reach the back when the layout is fixed to a wall.
So at last you have your plan and baseboard size. So what are you going to use for the  board? Options include MDF, plywood, hardboard and many others. So lets look at each in turn. MDF is OK but rather heavy. Plywood is quite often recommended. Hardboard although cheap will bend nicely which will help when trying to get it home from the DIY store but has nothing else in favour for it unless you want a flexible layout.
We will assume here that you have settled for plywood. You will now need to decide how to build a frame for it as without one you will still end up with a ‘hardboard’ type layout. The usual method is to use 2x1 for a frame and it is usually recommended to have this arranged in 12 inch squares. So you will need 3 x 6ft long lengths and 7 x2 ft lengths (work it out for yourself). You will also need legs of some sort and 2x2 is quite often used for these. However in order to avoid trying to explain how to cut and fit these I am going to take the easy option and suggest that you purchase 3 or 4 saw trestles as these  A Frame plastic stands save a lot of time and misery and are quite cheap albeit a little low. Add assorted screws, nails, glue etc. to your list and you are ready to go.
Now assuming that you haven’t sold the car to locate the layout in the garage you have a means of transport. Trying to bring long lengths of 2×1 and sheets of plywood home on a bus can prove a little difficult.
Once you find the timber section in the DIY store you will quickly discover that they don’t have any 6 ft lengths of 2 x1. This is because in the years since you were at school someone decided to introduce a foreign system called metric which only the young understand. At this point it may be useful to call upon the support of your grandchildren. Anyway as you remembered to bring a tape measure just in case all you now need to do is to measure the timber where upon you will find that the metric measurement is basically imperial anyway (no I don’t know why either). There are now however two problems. Firstly the 6 ft lengths are actually 5 ft 11 ¾ inches. The next available size is give or take 8 ft or something like that. I am not at the DIY shop measuring it here. The next problem is that all of the individual lengths of 2 x1 are warped. This is standard DIY practice to make you buy a pack of 8 lengths in the hope that you may find a few lengths that aren’t warped. You will also have to take into account the 2 ft lengths that you need which they most certainly don’t have so I hope that you are able to use a saw.
So having settled on  pack of 8×8 ft lengths of 2×1 your next problem is to find the plywood. This will also present you with problems as they won’t have a 6 ft x 2 ft size. They will have 4×2, 8 x 2, 6 x 4, 4 x 4, 8x4 etc. so now you have to make another decision as being environmentally friendly (or tight fisted) you won’t want to cut too much to waste. So let us assume that you select 6 x 4 as all you will have to do is cut it in half (hopefully the right way). The other half will come in useful for the fiddle yard anyway when you work out how you are going to do it.
You now have the timber and plywood and hopefully have managed to find the screws, glue etc. that you need (unlikely). Having struggled back to your car you now make another important discovery. Yes you guessed. It won’t fit in the car. However if you open the front window and leave the tailgate open you can just about squeeze the 2 x 1 in. If you haven’t got a tailgate you are now in serious trouble and I can’t help you further here. But still you have a problem. A 6 x 4 sheet of ply will not fit in no matter how you bend and twist it, drop the seats etc. There are two options here. You return to the shop and buy a saw with which to try and cut the board in half or you purchase a long length of rope and settle for tying the sheet to the roof somehow. A word of warning here. Mr Plod doesn’t look favourable upon long lengths of timber hanging out of a car and if you drive to fast the plywood on the roof will act very successfully as a wing. This will reduce your petrol consumption and may impede your ability to turn corners. A very slow and careful drive home is recommended.



So having reached home safely hopefully and without the intervention of Mr Plod you are now ready to start actually building the base board. The first task will be cutting the 6x4 plywood board in half. Just remember to cut it in half lengthways or you will be returning to the DIY shop again. This is not easy and it is best to recruit some assistance. However I suggest that you do not ask your other half as it is best that she does not know what is going on and will probably only criticise your efforts anyway.
Assuming that you now have a 6 x 2 plywood board careful measurement will show that it is actually only 5ft 11 and 7/8th inch’s anyway so you could have got away with the 6ft or so lengths of 2x1 after all. There are now two ways to proceed. You can either construct a frame from the 2x1 and then hopefully fit it to the plywood or you can lay the plywood on a suitable surface (not the dining room table) and fit the 2x1 onto it. This method will ensure that it will fit (?).
So now you need to place three lengths of 2x1 onto the plywood (no lengthways, come on now). These can then be screwed and glued to the plywood but if you do the next stage may be nigh on impossible. You will of course need to add the seven 2x1 cross members between the length sections. At this point I suggest acquiring the assistance of one of your grandchildren to work out the lengths of the cross members as simple calculation will prove that they are not of course now 2 ft., unless you are going to use cross halving joints. Those of you who did wood work at school will probably know how to do this. If you did metalwork or something (cookery perhaps?)  then using big nails may prove easier.
You can of course just place the cross members inside the lengthways members and screw them in (or nail if you can’t be bothered) but this may cause problems with the middle piece. Back to cross halving? Failing that you will need to cut them in half or so and fit each piece separately. If you have already glued and screwed the lengthways member to the ply then you will have no option in this case.
If you have followed so far you should hopefully now have one board roughly 6ft x 2ft. You will of course need others for however you are going to arrange the fiddle yard but I’ll leave you to work that one out.
In next weeks exciting instalment (yawn, yawn) we will work out what track you need and then start to lay it.
In the mean time happy modelling.






Whilst tidying his cupboard, Keith found this 
1978 exhibition programme.

To see the whole thing click the picture below. 







I am sure most members have travelled with HRT and UKRT over the years and may be interested in the attached article that appeared in the July 2020 Railways Illustrated.

To read the article please click on the photograph below.










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Answers next week.


  • 1. What was the name of the butler in TV's "Downton Abbey"?

  • 2. How many horses and riders make up a Polo team?

  • 3. In which year was VAT introduced in the UK?

  • 4. Which North Wales seaside town has the longest pier in Wales?

  • 5. Which songs with "Summer" in the title were UK top twenty hits for the following artists,[a] Calvin Harris (2014), [b] Acker Bilk (1960), [c] Another Level ft. TQ (1999), [d] John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John (1978) and Biddu Orchestra (1975)?

  • 6. A deficiency of Vitamin B1 in the diet can lead to which medical condition?

  • 7. Which organ in the human body is affected by hepititis?

  • 8. In which English county would you find the Quantock hills?

  • 9. Who in 1998 followed Ruud Gullit as Chelsea FC manager?

  • 10. Which two Nobel prizes were awarded to Linus Pauling?

  • 11. What name did the Romans give to Portugal?

  • 12. Which five countries make up the Nordic Council?

  • 13. By what name were the secret police in the former East Germany known?

  • 14. Who wrote the "Twilight" series of novels?

  • 15. As at 2020, which three Finnish drivers have won the Formula One World Championship?

  • 16. By what name is singer/actor Dino Paul Crocetti better known?

  • 17. Which English county was the birthplace of Nelson?

  • 18. Who wrote the trilogy of plays entitled "The Norman Conquests"?

  • 19. On which of the Great Lakes does the US city of Green Bay sit?
  • 20. Where was composer Ivor Novello born?



Answers to last weeks Quiz.