Dear Members.

Once again the sun is still shining, and we are still in lockdown.

Hope you are all still obeying all the rules and not making 200 mile dashes across the country; except Colin who is no doubt busy advertising our 24th April 2021 Exhibition on the back of his bright orange van!

Congratulations to Bob our prize winner who is looking forward to spending his prize money on another item for his Triang layout. In the meantime there is a lot to read and see in this edition of the newsletter and as always we look forward to hearing from you with any articles ,anecdotes etc etc.

Phil and Nigel

Please email all submissions to  or











Bobs Shed Layout















Arthur's Reminiscences


Hawker Siddeley Hatfield / De Havilland (Hatfield)
Sports and Social Club Model Railway Section.

I first heard of the club whilst a member of the W.G.C.M.R.C. which I joined in the ‘60’s. A member told me that there was to be a show at Hemel Hempstead, so I cycled over there to see it. One of the layouts was Havil Junction. Can’t recall now if it was all of the original layout or just the station & fiddle yards. Whatever, it was quite impressive. Then, in March, 1973, I started at H.S, and of course promptly joined the Social Club. Cheap beer!  Additionally discovered that there was a Model Railway Section and remembered Havil and went to the next meeting.

In those days the Club was at the north end of the site and the section was in a wooden hut that was behind the Sports Club’s building. We only had part of the hut at that time, the rest was occupied by the Slot-car track and the gardeners machinery store. The Amateur Dramatics section had a small area in the middle part for their props store. So Havil Junction was still in its original short form, with the bridge with shops at the right hand end of the station. It was rather cramped in there as we still had some of the old Nottingham layout stored in it, a big vertical engraver and the Midland Railway waiting room seating bench. When the Slot-cars and the Amateur Dramatics left the dividing wall was removed and the layout split at the bridge. The viaduct was put in at the front, an extra board in the fiddle yard and the Trent Bridges at the rear. Denis Moore and the committee had a lot of fun designing it all. When the tram track was extended the hardest part was laying the granite setts. Two moulding stamps had been made (one of 10 setts for between the rails, the other had 18 for outside) when the original tram circuit was done, but this was quite short and part was hidden, so relatively easy to do; NOT the case this time! Rather like making the sleepers back when the club made its own rails. This can be seen on one of the club films.

Generally speaking, the only time that the layout was seen by the public was on the airfield Open Day, when the clubroom was one of the places opened up to site visitors. At some time after the expansion it was realised that the hut’s exterior could do with sprucing up before the next Open Day, so what was left of the original paint was cleaned off and painted by Denis and Colin at lunchtime.

At this point we discovered its original purpose.


the painted notice said. It had been a crew hut for the Air Transport Auxiliary, The men and women who flew new and repaired aircraft to the fighter and bomber squadrons.

Havil Junction was designed for cabin control – nothing moved until all the right signal and point levers had been pulled. One Open Day we had a visitor who watched for 15 minutes or so, remarked upon this, was invited inside the layout and was soon operating it. Turned out that he was a B.R. signalman!

When H.S. became part of B.Ae., the Social Club had to change its name. So an E.G.M. was called  to change us into B.Ae. Hatfield S & S C. Not a popular idea! It was proposed, seconded and carried by acclamation that the club should have its proper name back. So that’s how we became the D H (Hatfield) M R S.

The company supported the club in a number of ways, not just financially. I understand that the Havil baseboards were made in the Wood Shop, for instance. All sections had a budget and we were one of the few who had a positive balance, since any money made by holding an exhibition was paid into our club account.

When it was announced that the club was to move to a new building at the south end we were given to understand that we would have a room in the basement that would be large enough to take Havil as it was. Then, that there would not be a basement, but we’d still have a big enough room elsewhere, then, finally, that we would have a room, but not quite big enough! Heigh-ho – re-shape and reduce. No particular memories stand out from our time there. And no pleasant ones from the time we were thrown out until, thanks to Jim Armstrong, we settled at the Methodist church.




Phil's Technical Tips on Bondage






The Trials of a Heritage Railway Cleaner


Sunday 27th October 2002.

There were gales forecast overnight and for today. Leaving home at 5.15 having remembered to put the clocks back I arrived at 6.15.

Terry the driver was in the mess and Andy the fireman arrived soon after. After a cup of tea we set about preparing the ‘J94’ 75006 over the pit. With a fire soon going Terry oiled round whilst I cleaned as usual. Off shed at 10.00 with Dora coupled in front we backed onto the coaches to provide steam heat.



By now the wind seemed stronger and it was raining quite heavily. We were told that a tree had blown across the line at Peterborough and a decision was made to only run as far as Orton Mere. However this meant we would have to take water at Wansford on each trip. As the plan was for us to uncouple at the inner home bracket signal and allow Dora to pull the coaches into the platform before re-coupling onto the rear to top and tail to Yarwell this now wouldn’t work as the water tower is at the other end of the platform. Therefore Dora double headed from the inner home instead.

We set off double headed with Dora to Yarwell at 11.00 keeping a careful eye out for fallen trees etc. By now it had stopped raining although it was still very windy. Surprisingly it was quite warm until the wind cut straight through the cab.

At Yarwell Dora ran forward and we followed. We then ran round whilst Dora re coupled to the back. We then topped and tailed back to Wansford where Dora uncoupled but banked us out of the platform.



We set off from Wansford under a caution from the signalman. Keeping a careful look out we arrived at Orton Mere and stopped at the signal box for further information. There was some idea that we might run light engine to Peterborough to check the line but this now didn’t happen and we ran round to await normal departure time at 12.06.

At Wansford we stopped at the inner home whilst Dora coupled on the front. We then ran double headed into the platform and then uncoupled and pulled forward to take water. By the time we recoupled to the train we were some ten minutes late.

Now Andy is a passed fireman and Terry asked if he wanted to drive. Needless to say Andy was happy to get the practice. Terry then asked if I wanted to fire. I jumped at the chance and so to Yarwell where Terry did the uncoupling, points etc. Whilst I kept an eye on the fire etc. We repeated the same exercise as before with Dora back to Wansford.

Terry is a very good teacher and I fired all the way to Orton Mere where the signalman stopped us with a red flag. We were now to run light engine to Peterborough to check the line. This we did and were now able to take water at Peterborough. We ran back to Orton Mere, re coupled to the train and left for Wansford. Terry asked if I wanted to keep firing. Needless to say I did.

We repeated the double heading with Dora into Wansford. This time we didn’t need to take water. Terry asked if Andy wanted to keep driving and me firing. This was agreed. We repeated the trip to Yarwell and back with Dora as before and then set off for Orton Mere. This time it was OK to run to Peterborough which we did and again took water. I was still firing on the return trip and now felt reasonably confident. By the time we returned to Wansford we were getting quite desperate for coal and couldn’t have gone much further.

On shed by 4.10 we disposed with Andy letting me have a go at cleaning the fire with the dart. We signed off at 5.00 and headed home in the dark with now not quite so windy roads.

Another eventful day!






In 2012 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which had to be removed. Before and after my operation in November 2012 I was fortunate enough to be supported by Macmillan nurses. In April 2013 I had the opportunity to take part in a classic car rally from Cabo da Roca, Portugal to Cape Cornwall. The rally had been run bi-annually in support of Macmillan by a guy who had lost his wife to cancer. My opportunity arose thanks to my cousin and fellow classic car nut Martin, who owned a rally prepared Rover 3500 V8. His idea being to carry the names of relations of people who had suffered or died from cancer. To this end the car was covered in white tape with their names written on in magic marker pen. More white tape was added throughout the Rally.



We started our journey in convoy with friends in 3 E Types an XK120 Jag  and believe it or not, an Austin Minor pick-up (yes! An Austin Minor). We drove to Portsmouth to take the Ferry to Bibao, journeying on to Salamanca for our first of two night stops. Another days drive followed with a night stop at Cascais. Eventually arriving at a Hotel at Condeivia a Nova which is a short drive from Cabo da Roca. All our cars had all gone well on the journey except our Rover which tended to be a V7 for a lot of the time. With all the entries now arrived, a very impressive display was parked outside the hotel where running repairs were carried out prior to the start the next morning. The rally organizers had a mechanic who was very busy sorting out various problems, he also was to follow the rally in case of problems.
The start was from the headland car park at Cabo da Roca the western most point in Europe. The weather was dry but a gale was blowing so hard it was difficult to stand up and even more difficult to open the car door without it blowing away.



Day 1 was approximately 162 miles with a prior arranged coffee stop and a visit to the Mafra National Palace on route. Each night we stayed at some of the poshest hotels in Portugal and Spain. This first night it was Pousada de Santa Cristina in Condeixa-a-Nova.

Day 2, 240 miles on to the Pousada de Viana Do Castelo. The route was given to us in the form of a roadbook and points were deducted for missing checkpoints, some of them hidden. We also had what they call Regularity sections where you have to travel over a set route in an exact time, points being deducted for being too fast or too slow.



Day 3, 222 miles which included a trip to the top of a mountain, Monte Farinha, Santuario de Nossa Senhura da Graca, with twisting roads all the way to the summit, more fun was had coming back down.  We stopped this night at Parador de Santa Estevo, having crossed into Spain.

Day 4, 286 miles. We left the hotel in good spirits but the weather by now was deteriorating. We were climbing in the Picos mountains, the higher we went the worse the snow.  Part of the route had to be cancelled as the road had become impassable. Eventually and with great relief we arrived at our Hotel the Parador de Cangas de Onis.



Day 5, 110 miles. Our final day in Spain. We travelled via Camporriondi and Cobaril via a torturous route to stay at Parador Fuente De.

Day 6, We took the Santander ferry to Plymouth. Remembering to drive on the other side of the road we made our way to the Moorland Garden Hotel at Yelverton where we were able to relax for a while. The evening was taken up with a meal and charity auction.



Day 7, 126 miles We started our final days rallying with a hill climb, the Ruses Mill Classic Trials Climb. It wasn’t really suitable for classic cars but we made it without problems until the petrol pump decided to give up the ghost. Luckily as the car was rally prepared there was another already bolted in place and we just had to swap the pipe over. After lunch we made our way to the Royal Cornwall Showground where they had devised all sorts of driving tests not restricted by the laws of the land. The final leg took us to the Finish at Cape Cornwall where we all managed to celebrate and talk to the local press. The last night was spent with more celebrations and goodbyes at the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth with a bubbly reception, gala dinner and awards evening.



We had quite an adventure, with some lovely roads, beautiful scenery, herds of goats on the road in Portugal, stray horses and cows and landslides in the mountains. We had also made friends with some likeminded people. The icing on the cake being the two and a half thousand pounds we had made for McMillan Cancer Support. The rally had up to that time made an astonishing £550k.
We of course didn’t win, not even close but we did win a shield for The Spirit of the Rally, that white tape with all the names had done the trick.




If you are completely enthralled by this, you can see more pictures and videos by clicking the button below




Memories of the Club over 18 years – Part 3
by Keith Stalley


As I mentioned in part 2 Moth Eaton was started about 5 years ago whilst work was still ongoing on Mosquito Falls. As I was and still am ‘project leader’ on Mosquito Falls how did I also become heavily involved with Moth Eaton?

It all started when a new member Bill Shackell joined the club. Now I already knew Bill from Datchworth, particularly as an ‘O’ gauge member although I knew he also modelled in ‘N’ gauge. I think that it was Phil Bicknell, who also knew Bill from Datchworth, who suggested building an ‘O’ gauge layout along the tops of the cupboards, which is where it resides now.

On one particular Wednesday evening I found Bill sitting alone at the tables looking rather dejected. I learned that he was trying to plan an ‘O’ gauge layout but Phil who had offered to help wasn’t there (probably on holiday again!). I sat down with a cup of tea, and a couple of other members joined in as well, and by the end of the evening the plan for Moth Eaton was born. I said that I would help Bill in between working on Mosquito Falls, most of which was being done by Andrew now anyway.

The base boards duly appeared courtesy of Steve if I remember correctly, the track plan was drawn out full size and track laying commenced. Now Moth Eaton only has four points and by coincidence the club just happened to have four Marcway points donated by someone (can’t remember who now, may have been Phil). Somehow I seemed to do much of the track laying on both Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoons. Not sure where Bill was.

With track laying complete I started wiring using ribbon cable and connectors which seemed a good idea at the time. I also built the control panel and wired it at home. This was designed to be turned upside down with the labels both ways so that the layout can be operated from the front or back. The later intended for exhibitions if we ever go to one.



Sometime during this period Bill left the club and so it became my project. As you know I have continued to work on this now for the last five years with help from a few others, for which I am always grateful, not least as It proves or otherwise that I am heading in the right direction. The scenery is now approaching its first pass completion so that the layout now looks reasonably presentable. In due course a second pass will be carried out adding static grass, more detail etc.

Having mentioned the ribbon cable and connectors above, just a quick addition to say that after many attempts to ensure that the connectors provided continuity, with the wires constantly coming adrift, the decision was made to replace them with soldered connectors. As the ribbon cable all went to tag strips it only required new wiring from the tag strips to the new plugs so not too much work required. The layout has been tested in situ but never fully run. We did once assemble it on trestles in the other room and try it with a few wagons. We need to master three link couplings before it can be operated successfully. The club has a collection of wagons and a few coaches. David has done a great job on weathering most of the wagons which look very good. Several of them need new three link couplings before they can be used.

When Moth Eaton started I had no particular interest in ‘O’ gauge not least because of the cost. However Dapol then produced the delightful model of the Terrier at a very reasonable price. I couldn’t resist it and duly purchased one in KESR blue. This gets run at Datchworth regularly. Having started I have now acquired a dozen locos and an assortment of wagons all of which run at Datchworth.

So from one Wednesday evening we now have an ‘O’ gauge layout and I have a collection of ‘O’ gauge stock. Funny how these things start!






Answers next week.



  1. Woolly perhaps?  Single file across here.
  2. Frank Bruno hopes it doesn’t happen to him
  3. Old fashioned haystack.  No not a woman’s.  A famous perfume company
  4. More than enough.  Have in the past.  Tasty with pineapple
  5. Part of a traffic light.  A little brook.
  6. Something to do with Tylers’.  Cross the river here.
  7. Heavenly instrument.  French Preposition.  Lair of a wild beast.
  8. A small river.  ? Best friend.  Put your car here.
  9. Part of a baby’s lullaby.  Some rather deep.
  10. Agricultural crop.  Choice cut of bacon.  The end of Hampstead.
  11. A tiresome person.  A bad actor.  A walk with bears.
  12. Flanagan’s partner.  Many people disapprove of this.
  13. Plenty of this at Southport. Along the top of the hills.
  14. Does he need a wig.  Almost a Scotsman.
  15. Connected to 26th Dec.  Wisdom they say increases with
  16. Not sick and came in first.
  17. Two brickies – D and D find this very useful.
  18. This may be found in a warm house to rent.
  19. Keeps the life blood going for Anna to
  20. Feel a proper wally on this heath.



Answers to last weeks quiz.



The first person to send in the correct answer was Bob Barker who apparently struggled with question 7.

The prize will be presented to Bob when the club reopens, that's if Phil hasn't spent it by then.