Some work is going have to be done to the back wall of the Old Chapel - our club hut. There is some cracking of one of the support beams on the rear wall. Builders are looking at what needs to be done and we expect the Council's Surveyor to have a look at it too. Meantime we can continue to use the building.
To allow the builders to get access to the area internally the 0 gauge layout has had to be partially dismantled.
We are hoping to show the club's exhibition layout - Quarry Halt - at Amersham's Heritage day on 4th September. So it is currently out on the floor of the hut making sure all is working alright.
Running sessions have now expanded to twice a week. They are on Monday afternoons (1400-1600) and Wednesdays (2000-2200); they will not be dedicated to running or working specifically at the moment. If you hope to run something you may find the track occupied temporarily while a problem is fixed!
The AGM of 6th December has decided that the society should continue. There were three resolutions as follows:
1. A decision on dissolving the Club was postponed until March 2022.
2. As per an e-mail to members, the subscription on account for this year is £35, but may be increased in the light of circumstances next Spring. However, members attending are asked now to make an additional voluntary contribution of £35. The simple arithmetic is that the likely cost of electricity alone per month is more than the subscriptions of three members!
3. If we decide not to dissolve this year, there will be an increase in the 2022/2023 subscription in any event.
Basic "rules" for Covid at the club are:
- wear a face covering if it makes you or your fellow members on the Club premises feel more secure
- socially distance as you and others feel comfortable with
On the '0' gauge layout (Dewhurst) work has temorarily halted because of the building's structural issues. However work has in the meantime started on replacing the backscene between the running lines and the storage yard along the whole length of the layout. New backboards have been constructed by PeterM and JohnB. They incorporate a roadway directly in front of the backscene and this allows one of the storage lines to run through under it. Following the track being relaid behind the new backboards, some electrical 'oddities' have been resolved and running should start soon!
On the '00' gauge layout we have had a lot of problems with the heights varying between the 'new' station baseboards. They seem to have shrunk vertically by over 2mm. It is probably due to the heat of summer but it has concerned Geoff who made them with Malcolm a few years ago. Interestingly during the recent lockdowns they didn't move much.
We could also be victims of our desire to lift the boards easily for maintenance (they are hinged along their long side). This means we cannot use dowels to lock boards together horizontally where they join; so they are free to expand and contract vertically. The unexpected result is this misalignment of the tracks across the join, despite being firmly soldered to PCB strips - in a lot of cases just one rail has become out of line, very puzzling.
More scenery has been completed with static grass fibres applied around the station platforms, the area to the right of the station and up behind the West Yard, where Geoff has installed the coal staithes. He has now moved on to the station platforms with improvements to the surfaces. At the same time he has started work on the lift up flap improving the look of the level crossing. He is getting ready to plant Fred's little crossing keeper's hut alongside.
The branch line is now energised. It has also been tested and proved OK to be driven by DCC. There is a Gaugemaster Prodigy handset that plugs into the normal controller socket, so DCC is a bit crude at the moment! A simple remote control operates the points in the branch side of the station and provides on/off switches for the sections.
The development of the electronics for the layout has stopped for now because of the uncertainty of the club's future. However if our future is more secure MikeB intends to provide two control panels, one for the goods yard together with the inside main line; and the other for the Branch and outer mainline. The stumbling blocks to finishing the control system stem from the requirement to be able to cross from mainlines to either the yard or the branch without having to change controller. It is this complexity of providing different controller supplies to each of the many sections in the two areas that is delaying the installation. However MikeB is hoping MERG's CBUS system will come to the rescue, partly by reducing the number of control wires to each baseboard and by providing some simple automation to the switching between controllers. In addition this CBUS system will provide point position indication on each control panel, and enough connections to have plenty of track sensors and uncouplers.
In the meantime MikeB has put together temporary control panels without any automation for the goods yard and the branch.