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We are now coming up to the time of the year when I suppose at least some of our members think about sitting in the garden with a G&T (or other appropriate tipple) watching our favourite locos slowly trundling around it whilst the rest of us get on with the more mundane task of cutting the grass and pulling up weeds. This takes me nicely onto the topic of our own garden which hopefully has now been transformed by Derek and his worthy assistants from a weed invested wilderness to a neat low maintenance one (garden not wilderness).
For those who may not be aware, this year the Club will have been formed 40 years and next year will see our 40th exhibition. We plan to mark these milestones with some special events, but more of this later.
At the forthcoming AGM (13th April), to be held at the Bowling Club on Falkland Road (off Scarisbrick new Road), we will be saying goodbye to Peter as an active (although some may wish to disagree) member. He has decided to quit the bustling Merseyside metropolis for the bucolic charms of Cumbria (as an engine driver on the Ratty would you believe). Peter has been a Club member for many years and latterly has been both secretary and chairman – we wish him well. As well as the more formal components of the AGM, we will be joined by John Pavitt, Membership Secretary of BRMA (British Railways Modellers of Australia) who will give us an illustrated talk about his Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway Exhibition Layout. If there is time we may also take a trip on the Shimla Toy Train as a comparison with the recent trip on the DHMR.
Good morning all from a slightly wet Cumbria (it must be a bank holiday). I am writing to you for the last time as Chairman. On Friday 13th we will hold our Annual General Meeting at Scarisbrick Bowling Club and my thanks go to Terry for organising the venue for us. We will welcome a new Chairman and I’m sure that you will give him your full support as you have supported me over my time as Chairman. This is our main chance to discuss issues as a group and air future plans that we have made. There are some things that we all need to talk through and make decisions, I will go into detail at the AGM, but it’s important that you make every effort to attend. I will let you know in more detail what they are in my Chairman’s address at the AGM. I know it’s not possible for everyone to attend, but try your best. If you cannot make it, can you let Ian know so he can note your apologies.
Other News, I have now completed 3 weeks and over 400 miles of driving Northern Rock. Despite me knowing the route well, I had to relearn the route with relation to gradients etc and then gradually learning to use the two injectors at the correct time. Then add the radio side of things and report in using the pioneering radio system now used in the Highlands of Scotland. I am now driving doing all three bits together only with the occasional prompting. It’s been a steep learning curve but one that I have enjoyed.
See you at the AGM.
Our next illustrated talk is by Tony Kuivala and since it is a sequel to an earlier talk is entitled ”More confessions of a footplate junkie”. It will be held on Tuesday 17 April (venue 73 Sefton Street, PR8 6SH commencing at 7.30pm. Catering will be cold buffet & cheese board).
On Tuesday 13th March we also had a sequel talk. This one by Allan Trotter continued on from the talk he gave back in November on making non-DCC model railway electrics simple (not that this implies that DCC electrification is necessarily any simpler than that for analogue layouts). As with the earlier talk, this one showed that with a little understanding of how electrical flow works (always takes the easiest route), then much wiring and many switches can be dispensed with.
There will be a committee meeting this month, again starting at 6.30.
Portland Lower: Plans are afoot for the Boarded Crossing and subway and continuance of the back scenery.
Portland Upper: No current activity in hand at this point. Available for running.
We now have the Gaugemaster controllers in position on the control panel and they are connected up to the east and west boards. In fact we have tested out both up and down lines using a 2-8-0 and they seem to work perfectly. That is more than can be said for the fiddle yard point motors – these will work from an external power source, but not via the control panel. What is more puzzling is that the control panel will operate a set of independent points but not the fiddle yard ones. There must be a crossed wire somewhere but is elusive.
The trackwork has now been ordered and should be delivered soon. So hopefully activity will recommence and soon some locos will be running.
The first draft of the 2012 footprint was received positively. All layouts are accommodated including two Triang – Thomas and Dublo Done. These offset Hornby Tinplate from David Howel which is deferred until next year in order to grace our 40th exhibition. Wallsgrove in O Gauge cannot be with us. Included in the myriad of other activity are four new traders plus our old stalwarts. Plans are agreed in principle to provide a heritage bus service between Hillside and Ainsdale stations.
Work has commenced on landscaping our garden. The grass has gone, shrubs and gravel are on site and the weed resistant membrane has been acquired. The intention is to complete this project as a ‘quick win’ before moving onto the other major outside activities. This means we will have a pleasant area to rest in whilst we contemplate the other work and possibly plan for BBQs if weather is kind.
At the start of our 40th year as a model railway club, we thought it would be nice to recognise the life of Ken Lamberton, who, whilst not a Club member, was instrumental in providing us with our current magnificent premises. Jim has provided us with the following biography:
Kenneth Lamberton 1928-2004
Ken was a railwayman all of his life and this photograph shows him seated at the chaos of his desk in Rail House, Lord Nelson Street, Liverpool, not too long before he retired in 1993. It was Ken who was instrumental in obtaining access to the Old Station House for Southport and District Model Railway Club when it had been spotted derelict and unused by his son-in-law, Dr Jim Ford, then Chairman of the club.
The building which you see today was little more than a shell, having been occupied by drug addicts whilst vacant and given psychedelic purple paint. The windows were all broken and the electricity wires and pipes had been stolen. It was only standing because the British Rail Property Board had been quoted £20,000 for taking it down literally brick-by-brick as it lay within the loading gauge, and none were aware of its historic significance as the last part of the Liverpool Crosby and Southport Railway’s original 1847 Eastbank Street station.
Following a site meeting with officers from the Property Board, the club was granted a maintaining lease, at an almost peppercorn rent. Ken’s longstanding friend, the late Sam Porter, advised the club committee gravely of the Board’s requirement for them to renew the chain link fencing bordering the rail line, but magically this was replaced a few weeks later before the documents had been signed. It was later revealed that the head PW ganger had (after a tip-off!) reported it as in a dangerous condition and in need of immediate replacement!
Ken was a man of many resources and maintained an informal carrier service between his office and Southport by which items destined for the family in Southport would appear in the PW offices by the “Bradford” siding in Southport so there was no requirement for waiting in for parcels in those days. He also “arranged” for the conversion of an ex LMS brake third coach into a special mess and engineering van for use on the inspection trips through the Mersey Tunnel, fitted with fluorescent lighting.
As often as he could, Ken would accompany the District Engineer on the latter’s perambulations about the north-western railway network by inspection saloon, acting as pooh-bah for the whole trip, which included a silver service dinner for this dignified officer, usually in a quiet siding tucked away from the mainline. On one memorable occasion he arranged for his son-in-law to join him on the train which not only visited the Bootle branch as far as the Seaforth Container terminal, but also the now closed Mickle Trafford line and transited the Birkenhead Docks system, perhaps the last train to make this journey.
Ken occasionally spent his weekends participating in 'bridge jobs' when a possession would start after the last train on Saturday night and the men in the team would take great pride in getting home for tea on Sunday, with ‘job done’ even though the possession was booked until Monday morning. He swore by the Liverpool crew which contained several ‘roughnecks’ but which was in Ken’s view streets ahead of the ‘Mancs’. With the Liverpool bridge crew there would be little likelihood of bus replacement on Monday morning because of an over-run as is common today.
Sadly, Ken died in 2004 after a modest retirement, shortly after a holiday and with another one in mind. He is survived by his widow Eileen, his two daughters Fiona and Alison and his son Anthony. The Southport and District Model Railway Club’s library is dedicated to his memory in recognition of his part in obtaining a permanent and historically significant headquarters building for the club which as a result flourishes to this day. He also provided the club with several historic items including a ticket office seat and an Edmondson ticket punch.
Dr Jim Ford
A party of eight ventured eastward on Saturday 7th April to the York Exhibition – more of this next month. A smaller group ventured over to the National Garden Railway Show at Peterborough on 31st March. Two cars were required to transport purchases home, via Great Central’s 1960’s Steam Gala.
Excursion - Italian Railways Society winter meeting.
On Saturday the 11th of February 2012 two members from Southport MRS, Jim Ford and Allan Trotter, ventured boldly to the deep south for a day all about Italian railways. Departing early morning we changed trains in Liverpool and boarded the 08:58 Pendolino to London Euston. As we were travelling first class, coffee and biscuits were served on route but no wine was forthcoming, this being Saturday and Branson is a bit skint. Of this we were well aware therefore after a decent time had elapsed a bottle of Frascati was produced from our bag and morning aperitifs were partaken. We arrived in London right on time giving the illusion that Benito Mussolini had been reincarnated and was now in charge of operations on Virgin Trains. It was then a short walk past the refurbished St. Pancras building, which used to be a seven-platform railway station but is now just a shopping mall with the odd train or two.
The meeting was held in Keen House, the bastion of the London Model Railway Club and on arrival we were made most welcome by the twenty or so ItRS members that were setting up the event. There was a Society sales stand with a good selection of books on offer and another table offering pre-owned models for sale. The offers were too good to miss and many purchases were made. Access was also give to the multi-gauge test track belonging to the LMRC and a fine and varied display of Italian trains were observed in operation. To get that old cliché out of the way, no they were not going backwards.
Coffee and snacks were than taken and in the afternoon we all settled down to an audio-visual presentation of Italian railways around 1959. The variation of the types of steam locos is hard to believe, some with chimneys and some without and others with inside cylinders and outside valve gear. Some later pictures from the 1970’s showed a FIAT built ALn 668 920 railcar in America operating on the Rock Island Railroad (Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific RR). Now as Rock Island passenger trains names ended in Rocket, the Italian railcar acquired the nickname Ravioli Rocket. Much exchange of information and memories of visits to Italy took place and the meeting closed at 16:00.
As we were not due to depart London until 18:07 we were left with a couple of hours to pass. What to do? A unanimous vote proposed a visit to the Doric Arch where we immersed ourselves in some fine ale. Arriving on the concourse of Euston Station at 17:45, we inspected the departure board for our train which was displayed but no platform was indicated. This information was not posted until 18:00, resulting in a mad stampede to platform 18 which just happens to be the furthest one from our location. We were barley seated when the doors were closed and we were off.
Having previously replenished our wine cellar, we than partook in a cheeky little Orvieto to start off our return journey. Coffee, biscuits and crisps were again served and a further bottle of our Chianti accompanied by a pleasant debate finished off our journey back to Liverpool. A short stroll down to Central and it was the 20:38 to Southport and home. A great day was had by all, Ciao.
Dr Jim Ford
13 April SMRS AGM at Scarisbrick Bowling Club, Falkland Road.
13/15 April Barrow Hill Fab 4 Event. Tornado, Blue Peter, Flying Scotsman, Mallard plus 12 other LNER locos. (see Joe for details)
17 April More confessions of a footplate junkie (Tony Kuivala)
15 May Victorian Railway Expansion (Richard Jones)
12 June Railway signalling practice (Keith Gregory)
10 July Irish Railways (Mike Sharples)
4/5 August Woodvale Rally (final outing for Saltash)
14 August A4 & other Streamliners of the LNER (John Rimmer)
18/19 August Midland Railex, Butterley
1/2 September Blackburn MRS exhibition
11 September IK Brunel (Ian Shulver)
29/30 Sept SMRS Annual Exhibition
16 October Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (Peter Mills)
20 November Scratch building using Card (Ian Shulver)
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