Mauch Chunk has now attended four exhibitions in its current configuration; It is proving popular and has won two awards. As a result of Coronavirus restrictions, several exhibition were cancelled. As Mauch Chunk has now returned to the Barrowmore MRG, new exhibitions are being planned. Watch the space below!:
Warley National Model Railway Exhibition – 22nd-24th November 2019 – National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham B40 1NT
Again the work on Mauch Chunk had taken place a good while ahead and the layout was dismantled before Mostyn went to Gaydon. All new point motors (MP1s) and control system in the fiddle yard, a new signal on the locomotive servicing track (DCC controlled), new telegraph poles – some hollow and etched. A long wheel based Luton box van proved more than spacious enough and loading proceeded smoothly.
There were no changes to the stock which had not even been removed from their boxes since Glasgow. Sadly, some of it – particularly the locos and passenger stock – misbehaved causing shorting and loco failures. This was diappointing. Otherwise the layout ran well – the new cooling system for the Lenz control system worked well and the MP1 point motors in the fiddle yard throat also worked flawlessly. The crowd was excellent on both days, and some really liked the layout.
Warley confounded warnings and was actually a pretty pleasant place to exhibit. The exhibition team was Steve Hales, Richard Oldfield, Gavin Liddiard, Dave Faulkner, Mike Rapson and partner Becky.
This video was taken by a visitor (Nealos101) and is available on YouTube:
A bonus was winning the Continental Modeller ‘best non-British layout’ award.
Model Rail Scotland – 22nd – 24th February 2019 – Scottish Event Campus (SECC), Glasgow, Scotland, G3 8YW
This time the work on Mauch Chunk took place a good while ahead and the layout was dismantled a week ahead of the show ready to pack – much less stressful. New etched fencing to the road at the west end of the layout, rebuilt fences along the trackside (now more to scale), many more trees and many new telegraph poles were the main scenic changes.
As impactful were the changes to the stock: the locomotive stock has now mostly been weathered – particlularly the steam locos, which many at the show noticed. Passenger cars had corridor connections added and other stock, particularly smaller tank cars, were repaired and weathered. There were again more customised NE cabooses – making 24 in all. Some more recent diesels have not yet been weathered as considerable detailing will be carried out before this is done.
Behind the scenes, new 4:3 ratio monitors were used for Big Bear and this greatly improved the operator experience – Peter Thurston who wrote the software visited over the weekend.. A CCTV system was used for the Westbound operator to see the uncoupling magnet. Finally, Phil Sutton drew and Richard and Gavin applied new fascia lettering and symbols. This transformed the layout and made it look nicely professional.
Gavin and Mike had fun loading the layout into a short wheelbase Luton van rather than the long wheebase van we had ordered (don’t ask). It was rather tight!
The layout ran well initially, but later the Lenz control system overheated on several occasions. The Peco point motors in the fiddle yard throat also began to fail on day two and needed considerable fettling to keep them working. The crowd was excellent on all three days, and many were very complimentary.
We ran several ‘multi-occupancy’ roads in the staging/fiddle yard and this allowed us to run several short consists and light locomotives, giving more of the loco stock a viewing to the public.
It felt as if Mauch Chunk had come a long way since previous exhibitions and it was more enjoyable to operate. The exhibition team was Steve Hales, Richard Oldfield, Gavin Liddiard, Mike Rapson, Gareth Evans and Dave Millward.
The final bonus was winning 1st prize in the ‘non-association’ layout category. Photos inlude shots of the working side and one of Peter Thurston who wrote Big Bear software, is based in Scotland and visited us in Glasgow.
Model Rail Scotland interviewed me (Steve) and you can see the result (!) here:
Chiltern MRA – 13th/14th January 2018 – Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage SG1 1LZ
We prepared the layout for this exhibition right up to the night before and beyond. All the pointwork has been rebuilt on the scenic section and all the track except 14 feet relaid. Much of the scenery has also been reworked and has been extended round the curve at the right hand end, as has the fascia – see the progress pages for more details.
Most notably, Richard finished the signal gantry built from a custom etch and on the Friday night he and Gavin got its 3-position semaphore working. We again used Big Bear and TeamViewer to control the layout from two laptops and introduced a tablet for additional control.
Once a few pointmotor niggles had been sorted in the fiddle yard, the layout ran exceptionally smoothly over the new track. We had a guest operator from the NMRA on the Sunday and he was most impressed. The crowd was good, especially on the Saturday, and reflected the very high quality of the show.
Again, steam power – mainly brass – was to the fore, as were brass double enders and babyfaces. There was particular interest in the camelbacks after the recent article in the January Continental Modeller.
Mauch Chunk showed its potential and was enjoyable to operate. The exhibition team was Steve Hales, Richard Oldfield, Gavin Liddiard, Mike Rapson, Kevin Bays and Philip Sutton. Gareth Evans also helped out.
Claude Doussot took a video which he has kindly allowed us to post on YouTube :
The photos show us packing the van and putting up the layout, as well as operating it and the fiddle yard – and of course lots of photos of the scenic section!
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.
The exhibition team was Steve Hales, Richard Oldfield, Gavin Liddiard, Mike Rapson, Kevin Bays Gareth Evans and Dave faulkner.
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 public’s favourite layout 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 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.