Chatham MRC – 3rd/4th June 2017 – The Victory Academy, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham ME4 5JB
This was Mauch Chunk’s first outing since 2011 and the first with operators from the Barrowmore club. More significantly, in the past six months, 13 of the 17 baseboards have been built from scratch as well as the lighting gantries and control system. This was also the first time we used Big Bear and TeamViewer to control the layout from two laptops.
Because of the high standards used in the Barrowmore club, the layout ran reliably and well and proved popular with the somewhat disappointingly sparse crowd. Over the course of the weekend, the Barrowmore ‘fettling’ table got ALL the locomotive stock running smoothly – the first time ever. The novice operators seemed to find the layout easy to operate on the whole and put on a good show.
As a result, steam power – mainly brass but including the two kitbashed mikados – was to the fore, as were brass double enders and babyfaces. Many plastic F3s, RS3s and several switchers were also in evidence. Everything on the layout was from the era between 1945 and 1955.
This was a good start to Mauch Chunk’s new life as a Barrowmore layout and bodes well for the future – once the long fixing list is completed!
Mauch Chunk at Chatham on YouTube
photos by Richard Oldfied, Steve Hales and Continental Modeller
This was Mauch Chunk’s second Exhibition with the Merseyside MRS team and the first off our home turf. We exhibited nearby (about 20 miles away) in Warrington at the Warrington MRS’ annual exhibition, making transport and organisation relatively easy.
The layout generally ran very well: Paul and Chris cleaned wheels all weekend and Ian cleaned the track almost continuously! Paul had modified the electrics over the year to separate the electrical supplies to the two sets of tracks, so that shorts only affect one track. He had also modified some kit built by another club member (Derek Jones) that enables us to run locos that draw more power. As a result disruptions from shorts and overloading the system were reduced. As well as our CNJ stock – brass and plastic – We again ran Paul’s Philadelphia F3s and our two BLI Mikados (hat have not yet been turned into CNJ M3s).
The sound-chipped Mikados and F3s proved very popular with all the visitors, not just the youngsters. The new lighting gantry designed and built by Chris, and allowing us to lose the central pillar (see the Merseyside MRS October 2011 exhibition photos) worked very well, and gave a clear panoramic view of the model. New fascia and pelmet improved the look considerably as well.
There are five of us now in the Mauch Chunk PA team – from L to R in both relevant photos: Chris Bennett, Gordon Young, Dave Williams, Steve Hales and Paul Rees – although we couldn’t coordinate a smile from all of us in a single photo! We were also ably helped out by Bob Powell from the club, Ian Clark who is ex-club and Nigel Baker who was visiting Steve.
Here’s a selection of photos of the layout over the Exhibition weekend. I’ve used a retouch tool to lose the baseboard joins so apologies to the purists – but they just look better.
For its first ever model railway exhibition outing, Mauch Chunk PA attended the Merseyside Model Railway Society exhibition – i.e. home turf.
On the whole the layout ran very well: Nearly every problem could be solved by cleaning track or wheels and Paul’s electrics proved robust and faultless. We inevitably ‘shorted’ the track many times by running into switches set the wrong way so Paul will modify the system to reduce this. We were running a number of non-CNJ locomotives (including some BLI Mikados that will be turned into CNJ M3s at some point).
This is Chris and Steve being presented with the cup by the Chairman, Mike McManus, and a couple of photos of three of us (Chris, Steve & Paul) with the layout. Dave wasn’t present on the Sunday when the photo was taken.
The sound-chipped Mikados and F3s proved very popular with the visitors and may have been the clincher in our winning the visitors’ cup for the public’s favourite layout (of 12) at the Exhibition! Here are some of the visitors enjoying the experience and lots of photos (probably a self-indulgent amount) of the layout over the Exhibition weekend – all mixed up! Note that the central support will be removed for future exhibitions and the backscene and associated buildings will be prepared anew.