September 2021 Report

Following the easing of Government restrictions we have returned to our (more or less) fortnightly meetings. Most members have attended at some stage and there has been much catching up of personal experiences in recent months.

The test track has been brought back to life and has seen a variety of locomotives in action. New member Clive R brought a Kernow/DJ models ex-LSWR O2 0-4-4T which performed very well. This was followed by Jeff running a Heljan ex-LMS Beyer Garratt with a suitably lengthy wagon train. He explained that, although his own layout is of a GWR country station, he grew up beside the Midland main line with all the Garratt hauled coal trains on their way to and from London. What price nostalgia?

Work has continued on both projects with most activity taking place on Chitterne. the Group’s entry for the EMGS Challenge. Chris H has finished laying the track, point motors are installed and operate smoothly from a control panel built by Rob.

Attention has now turned to the station buildings and here Lawrie has excelled himself. He first produced some quickly built cardboard prototypes which enabled us to decide on exactly what buildings we wanted and of a size that would fit in the space available. Two weeks later a set of very fine plasticard buildings appeared.

There has also been work done on station furniture and a crane and winch for the goods yard. The proposed end loading dock has been considered and we are unsure whether to include a rail built buffer stop within it as occurred in some locations.

Most discussion has been about crossing the Chitterne Brook which today is a small chalk stream which flows south from the Plain into the River Wylye. Although it is a ‘winterbourne,’ Chitterne suffered a major flood in 1841 which destroyed two houses and damaged two others. With our mid 1930s period, we envisage a relatively small stream to be crossed whilst being aware that there may be periods of higher water levels due to heavy rain. Chris B is making progress on the abutments while Richard S has offered to build the girder bridge, rivets and all. With such considerations taking place it sometimes feels like ‘a bridge too far’. But then it is a challenge.

This report – written by Joe Newman – appears in issue 230 of the EM Gauge Society newsletter.