Simple Control Panel

Sometimes ideas come from the most unexpected places. I was browsing around The Works, a shop that sells art marterials, when I saw this wooden box.

I thought the base of the box might make a good control panel. At only two pounds it was hard to resist. I brought it, took it home and disassembled it.

I painted it white, added some black lines to represent the track, drilled some holes and fitted the ‘push to make’ switches. I wired the switches to a ‘Plug and Socket Terminal Strip’ connector and, ta da, here’s my control panel.

Some modellers have raised making control panels to an art form. Mine isn’t in that league, but it’s was quick to make, it will do the job and it will allow me to start running some trains!


Like Layout ‘lectrics

If you like high quality electrics, look away now.

If you can tolerate a bit of bodging, read on.

I have given all of the electrics a bit of a tidy up using small black clips and pieces of electrical tape.

Additionally, I’ve added the wires for the point switches to the layout. These are the yellow wires. I’ve tried to keep them neat and tidy by running them down one side of the layout.

I want to build a detachable point control panel that I can easily connect/disconnect from the layout and I needed a connector for this. On the NGRM forum ‘Dave’ recommended these ‘Plug and Socket Terminal Strip’.

I liked the idea. They are simple, easy to wire and quick to connect / disconnect. I will use these to connect the control panel and I’ve added one half of the connector to the underside of the layout.

Now I just need to build the point control panel !

The Modelling Bureau

I do most of my modelling in the garage, which is kinda cold in the winter. I saw an old writing desk on ebay and I thought it would make a great modelling bench. I brought it for ¬£30. The writing surface / closing top was broken off so I had to repair the wood and replace one of the hinges but this was easy to do. It was a very dark brown colour so my daughter and I sanded it down and gave it a few coats of paint. Here it is. I’m rather pleased with it.

The drawers will be useful to store all the odds and ends that I’ve accumulated.

The front folds down to create a work surface. How many modellers can say they have a leather coated workbench ūüôā Best of all I can close it and the bits and pieces of whatever I’m working on will be hidden from view. My family approve!

I will use the pigeon holes to store things like styrene sheets.

In the middle are some small drawers…

.. which will be ideal for storing essential supplies for long modelling sessions !

Kirklees Light Railway

On a misty day in April I visited the Kirklees Light Railway a 15 inch gauge line in West Yorkshire. It was a quiet, mid week timetable and the rostered loco was ‘Hawk’ a very elegant 0-4-0+0-4-0T Kitson Meyer. The main station is Clayton West and I arrived to find Hawk being turned on the turntable.

The KLR runs on an old standard line, built by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1879 and closed to passengers in 1983. The line was reopened as a 15 inch gauge line in 1991, and grew in stages until it reached its present length in 1997. The driving force behind the creation of this miniature railway was Brian Taylor. He must have been quite a guy. Not only did he get a light railway order and construct the line but he built four steam locomotives that are still used on the KLR. Hawk is one of these locos and was inspired by a 2’5″ gauge Kitson Meyer built by Andrew Barclay Sons for export to Chile.

A nice view of the cab.

A close up of one of the ‘bogies’.

Clayton West is a very well appointed station. Here’s the shed and the turntable.

Sitting patiently in the station was Jay, a 0-4-0 diesel.

The line runs for approximately 3.5 miles to the other terminus at Shelley. It’s a great ride, along the wide ex-standard gauge trackbed, under the original bridges and through the 467 m long Shelley Woodhouse Tunnel. I’m told this is the the longest tunnel on any 15¬†in gauge line in Britain, and that wouldn’t surprise me!

On arrival at Shelley, Hawk uncoupled from the train and was turned on the turntable.

A nice bit of steam, probably enhanced by the misty day!

Note the buffers on turntable.

I liked the simple, but functional water cranes on the KLR. The rust is crying out to be modelled ūüôā

The KLR has some very elegant closed coaches.

There are even cushions – luxury for a 15 inch gauge line.

I like the conversion to a guards van.

..and the guards compartment.

It is often the little things that make a visit to a railway extra special. At the KLR your ticket is valid all day and you can travel as much as you like. I did two round trips, pausing only for an excellent saugage and onion bap in the Buffer Stop Cafe at Clayton West. In the Cafe they were playing a nice mix of Motown music, including the marvellous Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

I would have liked a book on the KLR but, strangely, the shop didn’t have one. Instead I brought a book on the Fairbourne Railway (!).

I had a good day on the Kirklees Light Railway and I’m very tempted to return for their Steam and Diesel Gala in September.


Layout Legs Eleven

My family are away for a few days and I’m using the opportunity to push on with some more woodwork.

I’ve made legs for one of the baseboards. The legs are 44mm x 44 mm timber and the bracing is 43 x 20 mm. They are joined together with 40mm screws.

Next I added some 8mm bolts and wing nuts. (I brought these from Bolt World on ebay. I couldn’t resist a shop with a name like that!)

I added a couple of horizontal pieces of 43 x 20 mm to create a frame.

One of the baseboards can be placed on top.

Yeah, it works!

Now I need to repeat the process for the other baseboard.

Beds and Bucks Narrow Gauge Modellers Open Day 13th May 2018

The Beds and Bucks Narrow Gauge Modellers are holding their annual Open Day on Sunday 13th May at Barton le Clay Village Hall, Hexton Road, Barton Le Clay, Bedfordshire, MK45 4JY.

We have these layouts:

  • Longstone¬†¬†¬† Gn15¬† Graham & Caroline Watling
  • Achalraj (Himalayan Mountain) 009 Malcolm Harrison
  • Samsville and Surrey Mines¬† 009¬† Garry Edwards
  • Farr End¬†¬† 009¬†¬† Peter Cullen
  • First¬†¬†¬† 009¬†¬† Stephen Clulow
  • Launceston Steam Railway 009¬†¬† Richard Holder
  • Lesobeng 009¬†¬† Paul Spray
  • Coleford 009¬†¬† John Wilkes
  • Bridges¬† 009¬†¬† Hugh Milward
  • Rokeby¬† 009¬†¬† Peter Blay
  • Angst-Lesspork¬† 009¬† Hugh Norwood
  • St Ozmond’s Bay 1:35 by Chris Krupa

And these Associations and Traders:

  • Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society
  • Model Roads and Tramways
  • Narrow Planet
  • 12 volts DC
  • James Corsi
  • A1 Models
  • The 009 Society Sales Stand

There will be refreshments and the Beds and Bucks team to help you throughout the day.

Opening Times: 10.30-16.30. Admission £5.00, accompanied under 16s free.


I hope to see you there…