Dear Members.

We hope you are all keeping safe and well. We are pleased to say we have heard back from some of you and that you are enjoying our newsletter. Many thanks to those who have contributed this week with another range of interesting stories. 

Phil and Nigel

Please email all submissions to  or






As I spent most of my working life travelling, I never seemed to find the time to build a model railway layout. My interest started at the age of about 5 when I lived in a village called Old Ynysybwl about 3.5 miles from Pontypridd. Old Ynysybwl halt (above) was the terminus of the branch line from Ponty and it was situated in the valley opposite my house. As soon as I heard the whistle of the Pannier tank leaving Ynysybwl town I would run to the halt to await its arrival. With a friendly “come on then boyo” I would be up on the footplate for a ride to the first bend where the driver would drop me off.
The steam bug had bitten so after pestering my dad, a train journey to Cardiff for a birthday treat was arranged. After my little pannier tank it was quite a shock to see great big engines some with names as well.
A move back to Birmingham again I could watch the Kings and Castles roaring through Acocks Green station on their way to Snow Hill or Paddington. However, on my first bus trip to the city centre the bus crossed over New Street station and from the upstairs window I saw engines that looked a little different from what I was used too.
New Street beckoned so with my new combined ABC book, notebook and pencil, not forgetting the sandwiches and Tizer. Compounds, Black 5s & Jubilees became the norm, the thrill of awaiting for ‘The Midlander‘ normally with an immaculate Stafford Road Jubilee, there was also another stranger that used to have a number starting with a 6 that arrived on the Pines Express. I particularly remember the engine called Mayflower on this train. After these sights the Castles & Kings took second place.
By now I was old enough to join a railway society so trips to Swindon, Crewe, Derby, and many days out to Tamworth to the famous field where the sights of Semis and Princess Royals on all those famous trains sent us in raptures.
But what of these locos that started with a 6 that were sitting unlined in my ABC.
A society trip to the NE was approaching so extra paper rounds and odd jobs were necessary. The first stop was Heaton shed and there stood in front of me a beautiful streamlined A4 Merlin, what a sight for a 12yr old, so now the ER bug bit.
Three years later 1955 found me moving once again to this place called Welwyn Garden City. A trip to the town for my father’s interview at Murphy Radio, I was dropped off at what I believe was called Hunters Bridge wondering what region ran through WGC. The first train I saw was an up working pulling into WGC station hauled by a standard class 5, and then a down train with a Black 5 in front. Ok I thought it’s back to the Midland, but then the signal went up and I was faced with A4 Empire of India on the ‘The Elizabethan‘ was I pleased when Dad got the job.
From that day to this Gresley, Thompson, or any loco number starting with a 6 became my favourites.
At the end of steam I joined the WGC model railway club with Jim Armstrong etc and started modelling till work and family took preference.

 Mick Worsley.



More sad news I'm afraid. Rob from Express models passed away suddenly last night. Jeanette, his widow is having terrible trouble letting friends/customers know (she's not tech savvy) so anything you can do to let the wider modelling world know would be greatly appreciated.






Picture above - Windermere Station. the overall roof and the "extension" platform canopy


My 00 layout up in the loft is/was a representation of the LMS mainline through Oxenholme and the branch out to Windermere in a space about 17ft by 9ft.



Picture above - A higher level view of Oxenholme showing the south end crossovers just before the overbridge.


My aim is not an accurate model but to capture the flavour of both stations and their track layouts. Space limitations meant that the branch to Windermere had to be downgraded to single instead of double track. Track is ordinary standard code 100 for speed and robustness. My fiddle yard is hidden behind a hillside which the branch line runs in front of before going into the terminus.



Picture above - Shows the fiddle yard hidden behind the Windermere branch scenery


There’s a mix of three different makes of signal box all LNWR prototype. Oxenholme station was built from a series of Hornby’s basic station kits. The overall roof is made from 5 Airfix station canopy kits. For Windermere station the roof is scratchbuilt using plastruct girders constructed in a little jig.



Picture above - A higher view of Windermere showing the mainline swinging around the back of the station


Unfortunately, it’s all dismantled at present waiting for the lockdown to finish so we can move! Fortunately, I never got as far as ballasting as it would have made the breaking up for transport more difficult as I didn't wire the boards separately. I'm afraid I've never had a proper photo session, so apologies for the clutter as these are pictures either during construction or just prior to dismantling (so I know what goes where when re-erecting!).



Picture above - The north end of Oxenholme with the branch train shed





The Trials of a Heritage Railway Cleaner


Saturday 14th September 2002.

This was the Gala weekend with 92 Squadron and the J94 in steam together with the class 31 and class 40. I had rung Gerald the loco superintendent during the week to see if it was OK for Wayne (No.1 son) to come as well and this was agreed. Wayne had joined the NVR at the same time as I did and we did the induction together but he had yet to do a turn, so this was his first day.

We arrived at 8.15 (I can’t remember why we had a late start) and found Peter the driver and Dave the fireman already on the footplate with the fire lit. Having introduced ourselves Peter said that there was no cleaner on the J94. We walked over and it was agreed that I would go on the J94 with Bill the driver and Terry the fireman, although Terry was a little reluctant at first as all the cleaning had been done!

Off shed at 10.40 but this was different as the class 31 backed the goods train onto us. We then pushed it out of the yard and back into platform 2. We then ran through to Orton Mere with the ‘ticket’, passing the class 40 on the Mk1 rake and onto Peterborough.

Perhaps I should explain the ‘ticket’ to those not familiar with signalling. On a single line a staff or tablet is carried to ensure no other train can be on the single track at the same time. With a tablet there is more than one and these are kept in a tablet machine with one in each signal box at either end of the single section. Only one tablet can be removed from either machine at a time and is released by the signalmen to ensure again that only one train can be in the section at any time. Between Wansford a staff was used and as there was only one. As you can see only one train at a time could run in each direction. To overcome this at least to a certain extent a ‘ticket’ (a small metal plate) on a chain is usually attached to the staff and when two trains are required to follow each other through the section the first train carries the ‘ticket’ having been shown the staff and the following train carries the staff. As per the tablet the staff also need to be released from a machine in the signal box by the signal men at either end.

So having now arrived at Peterborough we had a quick run round and returned to Wansford passing the class 31 at Orton Mere with the DSB’s (continental rake). At Wansford the goods train was parked in the yard and we then had an hour to spare before taking the DSB’s to Yarwell and then Peterborough and back to Wansford.

Bill found that on the way to Yarwell that the brakes were dragging and at Wansford we ‘pulled the strings’ to release the brakes. This was particularly noticeable as the goods train had been so light. (Pulling the strings, which are found underneath the coaches, releases the air pressure from the brake cylinders which can sometimes become overcharged and apply the brakes against the release pressure from the loco).

Once back at Wansford at 14.49 our next duty was again the goods train at 15.10. This was again pushed into the yard by the class 40 and we pushed it back out as before. Once at Peterborough the goods was shunted into the rarely used bay minus the last brake van. The points into the bay are not connected to the signal box which is never used. Therefore the points are clipped and padlocked and need to be released, switched by hand and then re clipped and padlocked. (a point clip is a bit like a G clamp. It fits under the stock rail and switch rail and prevents the switch rail from moving under a train. It is padlocked to prevent unauthorised use as you can imagine).Whilst the guard was clipping the points he inadvertently got soaked by the injector on the drivers side. A total accident!

I had fired on the way to Peterborough. Quite easy as the goods is such a light train. We set off back to Wansford with just the brake van. At Ferry Meadows on the first trip I had jumped off to push the button that activates the level crossing lights with out the loco stopping. If the loco is moving slowly it is possible to jump off, run ahead and push the button and jump back on the footplate without the need for the train to stop. However this time the platform staff had pushed the button for us. It was quite a change to run through Ferry Meadows both ways without stopping.

At Wansford the brake was shunted into platform 1 and we ran onto shed and disposed over the pit before moving in behind Dora to be out of the way for 92 Squadron by about 5.00. I cleaned up around the yard and waited on the platform for 92 Squadron to return with Wayne at about 5.30. Eventually it arrived back about 25 minutes late at 6.15. The Mk1’s were moved to platform 3 behind the DSB’s before 92 Squadron was disposed of over the pit. I wandered over to talk to the crew and help with the clean jobs. We left Wansford at 7.30 and arrived home at about 8.30. Another 12 plus hour day. Not sure what health and safety would have to say about this!







Just thought you might like see my loco storage improvement. For a long while some of my locos without boxes were stored in whisky tins acquired cheaply in a charity and just wrapped in bubble wrap. Thoughts turned to giving the locos better protection. I had 2 sheets of placard material (a paper foam sandwich) so I cut them up with a scalpel and fitted the tins on all sides plus a top which is obviously held in by the lid when closed. There is a central strip 13mm wide under the loco glued to the floor to locate it centrally. The side pieces go the full length so if a different loco is ever stored in the tin all that is required is 2 new end pieces to suit. All the pieces just lift out to give access to the loco and are easily replaced when the loco is back in the tin. I have done four locos so far. Not very scientific or exacting but it works!




Memories of the Club over 18 years – Part 1
by Keith Stalley


At the CMRA exhibition at St Albans in January 2002 I picked up a leaflet for the DHMRS and duly phoned to enquire about joining. I think that it was Malcolm that I spoke to. At the time the club layouts were still in storage, having moved out of the old hut on the Aerospace site which was being redeveloped, and were waiting to moved into the new sport and social club building at the back of the new University Campus off of St Albans Road. I think it was a couple of months later when Malcolm called back to say that the new club room was now ready and that the layouts had been moved in.

The club met on a Tuesday evening then and so I arranged to meet there the following Tuesday. Having found the club room on the first floor I introduced myself to the members that were there. I can’t remember many of them now but I recall that Malcolm was there and I think Colin was treasurer then. Unlike our current treasurer he didn’t try to extract money from me on the first night and said to visit for a few weeks before joining. (only joking Phil honest!). The subs then were £15 per month payable by standing order. The committee had decided that this was the amount that was required to be able to pay the rent to the Sports and Social club every month. This was I believe much more than had been paid on the old site.

The new club room had no windows and tended to become very hot and stuffy after a while. At the far side was a small room which was were the lighting, sound etc. for the hall beneath was worked. Sometimes a technician would have to access this which meant that we always had to keep a clear path through which was not always easy with Middleton erected.

Others that I recall being there were Denis Moore who had started the club, Brian Rolfe and Brian Barbour, none of whom are with us now sadly. I seem to recall Ken, Chris and of course Eric.

Havil was part erected towards the rear of the room and the old Middleton was part erected across the front. When Middleton was fully erected it more or less across the entrance to the room and either necessitated squeezing round the end or crawling underneath. Havil, as I am sure that you all know from the plan in the club room, had to be shortened so the front boards were assembled and I remember assisting with this. Of course two new ends were required and a completely new fiddle yard.

On the left hand side the layout reached only as far as the station and then only part of it. The trams were of course also cut short at the station bridge. Ideas about how to complete this end were discussed with Denis of course leading the way. The plan was then, if I remember correctly, to build an overall roof on the platforms, which would extend to the side edge of the board and suggest that the tracks ran straight on and hide the curves towards the new fiddle yard. This would be covered over and the trams extended across this through a new town. This is not of course how it ended up. I have no idea when or why the plans were changed but I think it may have been decided that it was too complicated.

On the right hand end the first of the corner boards could still be used and this is the one still there now with the tram turning circle on it. Beyond that new boards were required as not only was the length reduced but so was the width. I remember working with I think Ken on this and slowly producing a plan. The end of the layout is of course higher than the other and the gradient would therefore have to be adjusted to ensure that it reached the same level as the flat fiddle yard. The result of this is as you can see now and has always caused some problems for some locos slipping etc.

Track laying in the fiddle yard was now underway and I recall that Chris was working on this. I worked with him over several weeks laying the track which proved to be quite difficult to get the geometry right and the tracks aligned correctly. I don’t recall who did the wiring but I think that it was probably Malcolm and Tony.

In the meantime Middleton came together with various parts needing repair where damage had occurred during transit and storage. On at least one evening we operated Middleton which, as those who did it will recall, was quite complicated. The old Middleton, for those of you who didn’t see it, had the station at one end with the line meeting a cross country line at Prospect Fell Junction. This was based on Prospect Hill Junction at Whitby and was a very close model. Prospect Fell was worked by a miniature lever frame which had the points and signals fully interlocked. If you got it wrong nothing would move. For those of us who enjoy signalling it was fascinating to operate, for the rest it was something of a nightmare! I believe that Dick designed and built this and was the only one that really understood it if there was a problem.

Beyond Prospect Fell was a fiddle yard. Underneath Prospect Fell ran a hidden line which went to hidden sidings under Middleton Station. The cross country line from Prospect Fell ran into the sidings. It was therefore possible for full mineral trains to operate from the hidden sidings via Prospect Fell to the fiddle yard and return hidden underneath whist empties ran the other way.

Brian Ralph busied himself putting up shelves around the club room and I spent a few weeks helping with this. This sort of thing was always Brian’s Forte.

In due course an exhibition was arranged which used the hall on the ground floor. Middleton was stored to one side of the club room and Havil which was just about workable was made presentable. As the visiting public couldn’t be allowed upstairs it wasn’t possible to show Havil generally but small groups of interested visitors were escorted up to see it. I  think this was the only exhibition held there before the club had to move again but more on this in part 2.




Those of you who have read the latest Hornby Magazine will know that the next issue will have the article on our very own Middleton-in-Teesdale.





Answers next week.


  1. Which railway company was founded in Bristol in 1833 and appointed Isambard Kingdom Brunel as chief engineer?
  2. Luas is a tram and light rail system in which European city?
  3. What is the standard gauge of railways in Great Britain?
  4. The National Railway Museum is in which city?
  5. Which locomotive broke the world speed record for steam locomotives at 126 mph on 3 July 1938?
  6. Give the brand name of British Rail's diesel-powered High Speed Train fleet from 1975 to 1982?
  7. The train involved in the 1963 Great Train Robbery was travelling from which city? And in which county was it stopped by the robbers?
  8. What's the acronym of France's intercity high-speed rail service?
  9. What was the name of the report in the early 1960s that reshaped the British railways?
  10. The Night Riviera sleeper train, one of only two sleeper services in the UK, runs six nights a week between London and which town?
  11. Which station is the London terminus for Eurostar?
  12. In which rock musical does a child’s train set magically comes to life with engines competing to become the 'Fastest Engine in the World'?
  13. What's the iconic name of the famous sleeping cars built and operated on most American railways from 1867 to 1968?
  14. Which station is the starting point for Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express? And what's the number of the secret Platform between platforms 9 and 10?



Answers to last weeks quiz.


  1. Bullet trains
  2. The Bradshaw Guide. Presented by Michael Portillo.
  3. (a) Temple Meads, (b) Waverley, (c) Waterloo, and (d) New Street
  4. Paris and Istanbul (originally called Constantinople)
  5. Aberdeen and Penzance
  6. Russia. Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
  7. Rocket
  8. The Cairngorm Mountain Railway
  9. Waldorf Astoria Hotel
  10. The Flying Scotsman
  11. Charles Dickens
  12. From Russia, with Love



Railway Modeller article about Middleton


Railway Modeller article about Havil