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First meeting after Lockdown

The first day of the next stage of the Government’s road map, Monday 17 May, coincided with a possible Group meeting. Mike H checked that we could gain access to our club rooms, and eleven members gradually gathered. Although it was about a year since most of us had met we carried on where we had left off. It was very refreshing to just chat about models, and the real railway, and the cracks on the Hitachi 800 sets operated by GWR and LNER – and other non-Covid related topics.

Prior to Lockdown, there were two projects in hand which were basically conducted by two different groups of members. These are:

  • a model of Parkstone in 16.5 mm finescale, set in the early 1960s, and
  • a fictional terminus at Chitterne in EM gauge for the EMGS Chairman’s Challenge and set in the Big Four period.

In both cases, some development work had been carried out by individual members working at home. On Monday, we very neatly split into two groups, of five and six, with each team in a separate large and airy room with the doors open. As a result, each group was able to see the physical outcomes of what had been discussed electronically during the intervening year and carried out away from the clubroom.

Parkstone Group

Jeff, our master woodworker, had produced baseboards for the large fiddle yard and Clive and Mike H had each laid track on these. For the first time the fiddle yard was laid out in its entirety and the size of the layout really became apparent. For the station itself, various members from both groups have produced buildings from drawings and photographs that had been obtained. Some of these can be seen in the post for 29 January 2021.

Chitterne Group

During the past year there had been much discussion whether the new layout should be main line or terminus, and also prototype or fictional. In the end we have a fictional terminus. Designing the track plan by email was quite a challenge for those with the appropriate skills but Rob, our Templot guru, and Chris B, who can sketch what the layout could look like, produced a design with which we are all happy.

While this was going on, Chris H was building the lightweight plywood baseboards and accompanying trestles. When we met, Chris B brought a printout of the Templot plans scaled to fit our baseboards. To do this he had to go into his office for the first time in many months and remind his commercial plotter how to produce large scale drawings. Chris H erected the baseboards and Chris B put the plans on top of them, together with one of his sketches – and suddenly we all began to see what is possible.

Sketch of Chitterne by Chris B

Both groups have much to do but it is great relief to be able to talk things through with fellow members face to face. Let us hope that we can continue in this manner for the next few weeks and months.