Dear Members

This week we have some good news, we were pleased to hear from Rachel regarding her house renovations and I am sure we all send our congratulations for her forthcoming wedding in December.

Second lockdown has also meant more decorating in the Bicknell household, front room completed dining room to follow. Even welcomed regular (or frequent) visits from the nice people at Amazon.

Your committee have also been getting ready for a very different AGM this year, reports have been written and accounts completed.

Until then, our newsletter has more excellent items and photos for you all to enjoy.
As always keep safe ( Wash hands , wear mask , keep distance ) .

Phil and Nigel


Please email all submissions to  or



Industrial Railways


Hattons recently sent me an email advertising the latest release of Hornby’s Peckett industrial locos and I thought that I should look at my collection of industrial railway photographs and share them with you.
On my journeys by train to and from university in Bradford there were several collieries close enough to the line to see some steam locos working. Another area with a high density of industrial railways was between Crewe and Runcorn, the centre of the chemicals industry based on the salt mining. Unfortunately, such scenes were too difficult to capture with the basic camera I had, along with the need to be hanging out of the train window.



Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0ST Elizabeth, works no. 1888, of 1958.


The Student’s Union Railway and Electric Traction Society organised a visit to the City of Bradford Sewage Treatment Works at Esholt in the Aire valley. When the works was built in 1910 the city’s effluent contained a large amount of wool fats and by products from the wool processing mills that provided the city’s wealth. The sewage treatment had a step involving addition of sulphuric acid made at the works to the effluent and then filtration by large filter presses to remove the resulting sludge. The filter cake was dropped into rectangular buckets on flat wagons that were then taken out to be dumped within the works grounds to break down. The lanolin and other wool fats were separated out and used to fire some of the steam locos operating the railway system. The weathered filter cake was then removed in open wagons and despatched for use as fertilizer from a short siding on the Leeds-Skipton line that runs with the Leeds and Liverpool canal along the Aire valley.


The railway had a number of steep gradients and the track was rather rough by the 1970s.


The railway system in the 1930s ran to 22 miles in total with 11 locos. By the time of our visit in late 1975 the railway was down to one loco and it closed completely in 1977. The last two locos both went to local museums, Nellie to Eccleshill Industrial Museum and Elizabeth to Armley, along with the reconstructed engine shed. A diesel shunter that worked in the final year went to a Bradford scrap yard where it shunted the wagons next to the Bradford Foster Square – Shipley line.



The sewage works hosted a number of rally stages as it was easy to restrict public access. And if you are wondering if the works produced a strong aroma, well yes it did, and it could hang around in the valley. For Emmerdale fans, the village of Esholt close by the works was used for filming until 1998. It was said to have been selected by the producers as the aroma would put off crowds wanting a view of their soap stars. The village was reconstructed on the Harewood Estate, near Leeds.
Little now remains of the once extensive railway system. There are bridges over the river and canal. The sewage works continues now operated by Yorkshire Water.



The rail mounted crane tipped the cake on to the latest dumping site.



Rachel's Ramblings


Hello! Greetings! 
Long time no speak, cannot believe how long it’s been since we’ve all been at club! Going to miss the fish and chip AGM! 
Hope everyone has been keeping well, and it’s been great to hear updates via the newsletter. 
Life in the Porter household has continued! Graham is still working, and still looking forward to the day he can retire! But fear not I am keeping him busy. 

As I’m sure, along with many during lockdown, we have been doing lots of DIY on our house. 
We’ve completely redecorated our loft room: 



Re-wired, new lights, paint and new carpet... and whilst I couldn’t get away with it as a full model room, we compromised; this end is the TV/gaming end, and the other is the modelling/craft end, but not set up yet! 

We haven’t stopped there, as the weather got warmer we completed the hard landscaping of our garden, and we were finally able to get the BBQ back out of the garage... weighing in at 90kgs we needed to ensure a firm base that wouldn’t collapse. 


(An in progress pic - still getting that pathway right) 


The garden is now complete... 
isn’t that enough? 

We decided to do our kitchen too... first stop... replace and reposition boiler... then everything else. And I mean everything. Even to the floor being re-screeded. I tell you, we have found some absolute howlers of bodge-jobs in this house! 

Here’s a picture of the new boiler in situ.. 



And then the gradual demolition of our kitchen... 





This was a nice surprise... finding the water main in the middle of the kitchen... 



We also managed to electrocute our plasterer a little bit. At the final count we found FOUR redundant electrical circuits embedded in and around the kitchen. None had been capped off. 
All being well - looking for the installation to start 23rd Nov and finishing early December. 
But not only is the kitchen the big project on the go... we decided that big renovations inside and out the house were not enough, plus a global pandemic going on around us, and having moved out of our house for two months (because no kitchen!), and working full time...
We decided to get married too! That’s the plan anyway. In amongst the murk and the mire that has been 2020; we decided to plan our wedding - and so, all being well, lockdown 2.0 finishing as expected... Monday 21st December, Matt and I become Mr & Mrs Austin. I can rest assure you that dad has got a plentiful supply of jokes for his father of the bride speech, and that we are getting him prepared to wear a dashing suit on the day. 
I’m working out if I can have a small scale model train on a track going round the wedding cake... 
Missing seeing you all, and all those cups of tea. 
Stay safe xx









Now that you know that the layout works it is time to turn your thoughts to adding scenery. As the layout is supposed to at least represent Kings Cross then there won’t be much greenery to add, other than the weeds of course which only applies if you are modelling modern image. Predominantly there will be nothing much other than brick walls which makes the back scene easy at least. But to start with I suggest building the platforms.

First of all you will need to find your longest coach and mark pencil lines along the line of where the platform is to go. Providing that you manage this successfully the coach will not hit the platform when built.

There are several ways of making the platforms. The easiest is of course to buy ready-made plastic ones from the likes of Hornby (available from KS Models – got you another plug Ray). Alternatively, there are cardboard kits available as well. However, you will soon find that these will not fit where you want them. In fact, unless you build the layout around the platforms they will never fit. At least the cardboard kit can usually be cut around and may be of use.

So what are the alternatives now? You could use solid pieces of wood of suitable thickness. The platform is of course supposed to be up to the carriage foot boards and not at ground level or for that matter half way up the coach windows, both of which I have seen! If using wood then it will need to be shaped to the curves and also for the ramps. Of course it will now be many months since you used the tools to build the base boards so you will now have to locate them in the garden shed where they will by now no doubt be suitably rusty and blunt. At least that will give you a break from modelling whilst you clean them up. The next issue is of course that, as you may have noticed, platforms have the top stepped out and the piece of wood doesn’t. You could add cardboard to the top to portray this but unless you have already thought of this the height will now of course be wrong again.


Keith cutting a suitable piece of wood.


Moving swiftly on another alternative is to make the platforms out of cardboard which is of course easier to work with but does have a tendency to sag after a while unless well supported.

We will assume that you have now managed to build the platforms and glue them into position and now need to prove that the coach that you used to mark out actually fits into the platforms. I can assure you at this point that it won’t. It is another one of sods laws. It doesn’t matter how carefully you measure and make the platforms the coach will always hit them. So now it is time to saw/cut/file about 1mm off the offending edge. This will undoubtedly take several attempts and it is at this point that you wish you hadn’t glued the platforms down so well. They will of course come unglued but only after you have proved that the coach now clears the edge.

With the platforms now completed you can consider the next move. As I am sure that you all know Kings Cross has two curved overall roofs and a flatter one over the suburban platforms. Conveniently Hornby amongst others make suitable curved overall roofs. You will however find that they, and indeed any other kit, will never fit between the points on the platforms where you need them to go. If you want to persist with these then you will need to make them from scratch and I wish you luck with doing this. There is of course another problem with overall roofs. Unless you are using automatic couplings you will need to get underneath the roof to uncouple the incoming loco, let alone sort out derailments and cleaning the track. Gone off of the idea yet? If you have you could use ordinary canopy's but its not quite Kings Cross any more is it, although the old platforms 14 and 15 on the suburban side did have an ordinary canopy so you could use this as an excuse.

Using ordinary canopy's is still not easy as any of the ones you can buy or indeed from kits will inevitably again not fit where you want them to. More cutting and sawing required here to make them fit somehow.

The back wall of Kings Cross is of course the support for the overall roof so that is easy to do. A piece of cardboard and some brick paper and its done. Other buildings tend to be brick built offices etc. so you can take the easy option and just stick brick paper all of the way across the back scene. It will look a bit bland but after the compromises already made no one is really going to notice any more.

I will leave you to work out what other buildings you can fit in dotted around the layout. A few weeds dotted around will add some colour to an otherwise drab scene but don’t over do it as firstly the trains will not run over it and secondly in days gone by the railway actually used to clear the weeds away. I do however seem to recall that back in the sixties the area around platforms 16, 17 and the milk dock together with the loco yard were fairly weedy.

Any bare bits of board etc. can now be filled in with suitable dirty colours but do not try to do this with a 6 inch brush unless you now want the entire layout daubed with the same colour.

Finally add people, platform trolleys, luggage etc. and the layout should be looking more or less complete, not that a layout is ever complete as there are always improvements to be made. I am sure that in time you will see many ways to make what you now have better not least scrapping the entire thing and starting again with something much simpler.

Now all that remains is to enjoy running the layout and in the final article (stop cheering) we will consider the pitfalls that you will now undoubtedly find.




91119 Passes Tempsford on the East Coast Main Line working 1D14 from London Kings Cross to Leeds back in the later months of 2018.


A Twenty first Century Trainspotter. Part 3


“Do we go EAST or WEST?


For us all, whatever we may decide to follow, we must start off from the lowest level and learn the ways as they call it to how something may work or to be able to gain knowledge of a particular subject. This principle doesn’t rule out trainspotting because to be able to fulfil what we desire when we do go spotting, you must start from the bottom and work your way up in some respects.
As I began my journey into the wonders and thrills of trainspotting, I began to explore more not just in terms of trainspotting, but also exploring different parts of the UK and finding out about places which most of the time I had no knowledge that they even existed. We all have that moment at the very beginning known as ‘The Newbie’ Yes that’s it. You feel very small and you try to gain knowledge from the ‘big dogs’ shall we say and gain confidence and understanding of what you’re about to research into. The main factor of this is that whatever you do, you must learn and find out information before you can necessarily begin to find out more about what you’re interested in.
As you have found out so far, I began my journey by just using the basics and staying around my local stations and only seeing the very few classes of trains which I took interest in. However, as the days, months and soon years began to pass on by, it was getting to the stage where I was saying to myself: ‘Right let’s start exploring more and seeing what the railways had to offer for us’ as this started I had very little contact with people, so with the help of the good internet and the handful of contacts I did have then, I started to find different locations in the East and West of the country. Specifically located on the two major railway lines known as the West Coast Main Line and the East Coast Main line.
Having started my journey within the confines of the east coast main line, it was good for me to be able to go much more beyond where I had been before. Rather than just going to places such as Hitchin, Welwyn North or Hatfield, I started to get more involved with the ‘bigger’ stations, where most of the best workings and variety would be filmed. Some of you will know and as I’ve written about before, I have a very strong friendship with Daniel Turner who is part of the model society and with his help over the almost ten years we’ve known each other, this is what helped me to find out more about the railways I so love.


220022 arrives into York station working 1V60 from Aberdeen to Penzance on the 14th July 2017.


Peterborough was a station on the ECML where me and Daniel would go quite regularly, and this proved to be a point where my knowledge of the railways somewhat increased. After being so used to seeing the same stock time and time again, being at Peterborough proved that this was the beginning of a huge adventure. New types of classes of trains would begin to appear, at this time trains which I had never seen before and it made my mind bubble with questions and amazement because of the realisation of what I had been missing before.
I personally do love seeing huge variety of trains and especially when it comes to freight trains. Peterborough was a great starting point to seeing a mixture of freight trains and what the railway network is capable of transporting. The intermodal trains would and still are my favourite type of freight working because of the shear colour that some of these trains con produce. Passenger stock is good too but as I found out before, this became very repetitive after some time because you knew what you were expecting every hour. But with freight trains, this proved to be more like a game, and this was when the principal of ‘Number taking’ was introduced to me. Now to this day I have several rail guides with list upon list of numbers and kind of like ‘fill the gap’ because I am missing a certain class 66 or class 70 etc you will understand where I am going with this.
Peterborough had and still is a great place to go spotting, but just like before if you keep going back again and again, you have an idea then what you’re going to see, unless there are some VSTP or STP workings which have suddenly appeared in the day’s timetables. So, in 2012, Daniel and I decided to take a trip to the city of York, for an event going on known as ‘Railfest 2012’. This was an event held by the national railway museum where a huge variety of traction and trains were on display for the public. These units consisted of a class 395 javelin and class 380 Desiro to trains such as class 43s, class 50s and the star of the show being what is now 91110 “THE BATTLE OF BRITIAN MEMORIAL FLIGHT’. I remember the day being very grotty and rainy, but the weather did not put us off and the fact that we were able to get up and close to some of the mighty machines which run along Britain’s rails.


91110 ‘Battle of Britain Memorial flight’ passes Cow lane in Biggleswade, working 1S28 from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh on the 17th May 2016


The highlight of the day was seeing 91110 being unveiled in the beautiful livery which it still has to this day and to just be able to stand there and marvel at the striking paintwork it has. It was events and moments such as this which made me continue with my interest in the railways. As RAILFEST 2012 ended we headed back to York and boarded our service back to Stevenage and thereon home. After this many more days out were planned to destinations such as Newark, Doncaster, and Newcastle, but as the tracks were marked off and covered on the east coast mainline, it was time for us to shift somewhere else.
I remember Daniel telling me about some of his favourite spots to go and get trains and many times did he mention about the West Coast Main line and its traffic from the suburbs of London to the major cities of Birmingham, Preston, Manchester, and Glasgow. The East Coast and West Coast main lines are two of the most important railway lines in the country serving the capital city of London with connections to the far north to other major cities such as Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Stirling. However, the lines maybe of high importance, but the main lines have some major differences which to this day I’m still learning more and more about. The ECML is a very straight main line with very few curves compared to the WCML which must negotiate round much more of the country than the ECML does. However, in terms of factors such as revenue and Freight movement, the ECML is more focused on passenger revenue with some paths for freight traffic, whilst the WCML has a higher frequency of freight traffic spread over much of the line, whilst the ECML has freight workings which may only stretch between the two major stops of York and Peterborough.
If you were to split the ECML and WCML into sections for its freight services and locations, you would maybe have something looking like the below:



66434 passes Cheddington working 4L48 Daventry DRS to Ripple Lane F.L.T on Monday 1st June 2020.


Genuinely to this day, the WCML is more renowned for its intensive freight traffic in comparison to the ECML. This is where the title of ‘Do we go EAST or WEST’ is explained because Yes, these two lines are both very good in terms of its traffic but there are different in their own ways. Yes, there are other main lines in the country but for the purpose of this article we are purely focusing on the West and East coast main lines.
There was a time when I didn’t even know anything about the west coast main line and its whereabouts and what I was in for when I was to adventure to the main line for the first time in my journey on the railways. I remember to this day when Daniel and I travelled from London Euston to stations along the west coast main line such as Watford Junction, Harrow and Wealdstone and Cheddington and the first thing which was immediately apparent was just the sheer number of trains which ran along the tracks.


66729 passes Kiln lane just south of Ely north Junction working 4M29 Felixstowe North GBRF to Birch Coppice back in July 2016


Where I had been so so used to the trains on the ECML back at home, it had become a case of I purely could not keep up with the number of trains passing. Cheddington was a great station and still is a great station and time after time I would be back and forth on the island platforms filming Pendolinos and mainly freight passing through the station. Yet and as Daniel will recall also you would find that the time would go much faster because you were constantly watching out for trains and taking down numbers, photos, and videos wherever possible.
As a beginner this was a time when I was thrown into the deep end, but sometimes you realise that it is better to be thrown into the deep end when learning new things because the main outcome is that you will learn much more. To me the East coast and West Coast mainlines are two of the most important artery routes for the United Kingdom and two of my favourite lines which I like to film. However, there’s not just two main lines which the whole country relies upon, but in fact the UK has one of the safest, yet comprehensive railway networks in the world and to this day there are still part of the railways which I have not even touched upon and yet to find out.
Next Time, we look upon the railways in different regions of the country, from the commuter lines, to the rural secluded railway lines which we may not know about but have just as much importance and how the railways play their role in the running of the country, especially in situations such as the current times being the LOCKDOWN.





THE AGM Newsletter will be on 20 November 2020









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Answers next week.


1. What hunts most, the male or female lion?
2. What is the national sport of Japan?
3. Who was Henry VIII's last wife?
4. What main character in a Disney film never speaks?
5. What national team won the first ever football World Cup in 1930?
6. Why is Kopi Luwak the most famous/infamous coffee in the world?
7. What is a baby elephant called?
8. What is the main ingredient in black pudding?
9. Before marrying into the Royal Family, what was Meghan Markle most famous for?
10. Who became the first black manager of a Premiership football club in 1996?



Answers to last weeks Quiz.


1. 1840s
2. RAF
3. The Knights Templar
4. 1431
5. Catherine of Aragon
6. Michael Corleone
7. Gary Oldman
8. Ben Hur, Titanic, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - each scooped 11 awards
9. Moana
10. When Harry Met Sally
11. 1977
12. Jerry Lee Lewis
13. Michael, Tito, Randy, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon Jackson
14. Crazy In Love
15. Ron Wood