Dear Members  

The UK is again in Lockdown and life now has become a chilling, and depressing, sense of deja vu. Last time we could be outdoors in the warm sunshine, this time it's darker and colder. Looking back at 2020, it's definitely been a year to reflect and probably for most, a year we certainly wouldn't want to repeat. I am sure if we all think back over the last twelve months there have been highs and lows, but we can remember the positives.
Many of us of us were given back time to spend at home with our families and we adapted as best as we could. Whether it was looking after grandchildren, mastering the art of baking bread, shopping for flour and toilet rolls, becoming DIY enthusiasts - decorating the house, developing green fingers - pulling up weeds and cutting the grass, embraced new technology - keeping up with family and friends on Zoom, plus much more.
Communities came together for the weekly clap at 8pm for the hardworking NHS, carers and frontline staff. We have all made food deliveries to vulnerable friends and neighbours, collecting prescriptions for those shielding and the list goes on. We also lived-in hope of a vaccine which has now arrived. We understood what was important to us as time stood still and adopted new ways of living and working.

Fortunately, our model railway hobby and interest of railways in general has kept our sanity and many of us busy. It was with this in mind and to provide a forum for members to keep in touch we started a weekly newsletter and have now produced 38 editions.
This has only been possible, with many thanks to a small number of contributors who regularly send in articles and items of interest together with many photos. Unfortunately, we must announce that from now on we shall be moving to a fortnightly edition as our resources have run out and we do not have enough items to continue issuing a weekly edition. We know there are many members who read the newsletter but to date have never submitted anything. We are looking for stories and articles from all of you. They do not need to be about club activities or railways, but anything you are happy to share with members. Maybe even, some jokes or cartoons found in magazines. Members have layouts in sheds and lofts that have never been seen and or projects they are working on at home since lockdown - send us some photos.
Finally, we look forward to hearing from you and wish you all a Happy New Year and hope 2021 brings back normality of a kind and a return to club meetings!

Further to the Flinn appeal, we received an email printed in this weeks newsletter and would like to thank Julian for his generous donation. Once again, if any of our members has any 00 gauge items they can spare please let Steve or Derek know and they will keep us updated on progress.


Stay safe

Phil and Nigel



Please email all submissions to  or





de Havilland Model Railway Society Exhibition  
Saturday 24th April 2021.

It is with great regret that once again, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to cancel our exhibition.This has not been an easy decision, but in view of the continued uncertainty over lockdowns and social distancing we feel it is the right one to make and by next year we can return to more normal times. I have written to all the exhibitors and traders, most have replied saying they will be able to come to our next exhibition.
This will be held on Saturday 23rd April 2022 please put the date in your diaries now

In the meantime we hope to have a club open day in September /October 2021






Part 1


After the success of the trip to Poland in 2015, reported in the Newsletter earlier this year, Phil and I decided to try and find a suitable tour for 2016. Having looked through several of the railway touring companies we found Railtrail. They seemed to have several trips that looked interesting and at a reasonable price. We finally selected a tour entitled ‘Northern Germany & Baltic Coast Steam’ which was booked for the 1st August.

The tour started at St Pancras at 9.30 am, where we met the Railtrail representative at the wine bar (shades of things to come?), and the other tour participants. Altogether about a dozen of us, so not a large tour. The Eurostar departed at 10.58 and arrived in Brussels about 20 minutes late at about 14.25. This resulted in a mad scramble to cross to a domestic service platform to find the ICE bound for Cologne at 14.25! Fortunately they held the train and everyone made it aboard safely.


ICE at Cologne


We arrived at Cologne at 16.15 and changed to an Inter City train departing at 16.46. Our destination was Gutersloh where arrival was at 19.04. Here we checked into the Holiday Inn Express for one night bed and breakfast. Dinner was provided at a nearby Brauhaus.

Day 2 Tuesday 2 August

After breakfast, where we met further tour participants who had made their own way there, we transferred by coach to a narrow gauge railway at Muhlenstroth. This railway has been built in the middle of a field by enthusiasts from scratch and there was no previous railway there. A pleasant morning was spent there after it stopped raining with both passenger and goods trains run for our benefit.



The track has a continuous run around the outside of the field with a triangular junction leading to a small terminus shown in the first picture. However the line usually runs now as an end to end as the circle crosses a level crossing at the entrance to the site which is potentially hazardous.

Picture 2 is of the only loco in steam that day, No. 5 Arthur Koppel, a 0-4-0T built by Orenstein & Koppel in 1936, on the far side of the field.



Picture 3 shows No. 5 Arthur Koppel leaving a small intermediate station at the far corner whilst picture 4 shows No. 5 approaching the station.

The railway has several other locos in the shed which we were able to visit and photograph, although as ever it is never easy to get a good photo in the cramped conditions and with poor light.

We left Muhlenstroth at 11.15 returning via Gutersloh and via several trains we arrived at Schwerin at about 16.15. Here we visited the steam museum before finally catching a train at 17.48 for our destination for the day at Rostock where we arrived at 18.50. The accommodation for the next three nights was the Inter City Hotel adjacent to the station.

Photo’s in Schwerin Museum -


89 008 0-6-0T                                                                64 007 2-6-2T


The museum has a mixture of exhibits                         Part of a signal box display


The next few days were perhaps to be the highlight of the tour and I will talk about these in the next article.





On the top parapet of the bridge over the railway near our house there are these two cast iron mountings. Anyone know what they were for? Anything that size would be fairly obvious, so perhaps needs including in a model.






Following on from Keith’s excellent account of single line signalling on the ex London Underground line to Ongar, I thought you might like to see some of the equipment mentioned in situ on the branch lines of Ireland. Sadly, almost all of these lines have succumbed to centralised signalling, leaving the boxes out of use and all the semaphore signals consigned to history. Thankfully Ireland has a policy of retaining its railway buildings in the great majority of cases, so the boxes survive with the levers left in place. Note the green lever that operates the distant signal. There are two levers with the key locks visible close by and two more by the signalman’s foot.


This is Rosslare Strand box in 2005. There are three staff instruments as it is a junction with the line to Waterford, now out of use.



Enniscorthy box on the Dublin-Rosslare line. The box can be switched out and the signals set for through running as described by Keith, hence the rather odd looking box in the upper photograph. The starters for both lines are operated by one lever each, the points doing the setting of which signal is pulled off. So, if the points are set for the Up loop, then pulling the Up Starter lever will put the Up Loop Starter signal to the off position. The mechanism for this is shown in the next photograph. The point rod operates a locking bar inside the two cylinders, allowing one or the other signal wires to be pulled. Simples, eh?



I learned about signalling at my local station, which was a double track line with a branch line, so we had a Tyers Patent tablet machine in the corner of the box and two block instruments on the shelf over the levers. The electric train staff reigned supreme in Ireland, whereas the North was entirely Tyers Tablet. These were still exchanged at full speed in the early 70s on the single line between Ballymena and Londonderry, an impressive sight at close quarters! There wasn’t much room for error as the pouch was only about 12 inches between the two ridges and the jaws of the Manson catching apparatus were a good inch deep. I have not been able to find a good photograph of the pouches used, so I have drawn one from memory. The pouch to be snatched by the train was held in a spring clip on one side of the lineside apparatus and the same on the train. The jaws were set sideways and simultaneously the pouches were exchanged. The key requirement for success was good track. Any significant swaying or pitching of the train and the exchange would be likely to fail. Searching for the lost token could be quite a time-consuming process!!



Token working was still in use on the Aberdeen to Inverness line in the early ‘80s and here are two photos on that line. It was a skilled operation. By contrast, where token working ended and the crew only had to get rid of the token, there might be much less care taken of where it went! I recall seeing the hoop hurtling across the platform as the train sped by, the crew disappointed at missing anyone’s legs!




One of the largest boxes I visited was the magnificent Waterford Central which spanned the tracks of the through lines. It has been retained following a complete simplification of the layout and centralised signalling.  Although Mullingar box had more levers, when I visited it in its final years there were only a handful left in use.





Unusually the signal wires and point rods were mounted vertically, something for modellers to consider.
And finally, a sight to gladden any signal enthusiast. The approach to Aberdeen had a wonderful set of gantries still in use in early 80’s. The train was the Night Aberdonian with a 47 at the front. It left Kings Cross with a Deltic which was taken off at Edinburgh, I would think. It is about 6 in the morning.








Hope you your family and all in the DHMRS have a good Christmas and a better New Year.
It was a nice warming piece to read in the newsletter about members of the club helping Flinn and his family.
I’d like you pass on my respect for those individuals taking this on. There have been a number of similar activities undertaken by members of the G Scale Society and having spoken to both those doing the week and the individual’s benefiting, it seems both sides get quite a lot out of the meetings and actions. Unfortunately I can’t help directly with your efforts but I’ve taken the liberty of transferring a small donation to the club account to help with the good work. (Hope that’s alright with you Phil?)
It was also nice to see you could report more happy news with Rachel’s wedding taking  place. Sandra and I send our best wishes to both of them.






A few pictures of St Albans Station have appeared on Facebook recently.









Also, they included a picture of St Albans bus garage, now a housing estate.






The Chairman has just discovered a way of combining his interest with Austin Sevens and trains. 





Now you know why it's called 'O' gauge.







If you have missed one of our Newsletters you can find them on our website



Answers next week.


1) What is the capital of Chile?

2) What is the highest mountain in Britain?

3) What is the smallest country in the world?

4) Alberta is a province of which country?

5) How many countries still have the shilling as currency?

6) Which is the only vowel not used as the first letter in a US State?

7) What is the largest country in the world?

8) Where would you find the River Thames?

9) What is the hottest continent on Earth?

10) What is the longest river in the world?