Saturday, 13 April 2019

April 2019 meeting

We had a fine sunny Spring day for our April meeting. Jim, Alisdair, Alistair, Andy, Gordon and Graham gathered at Simon's house in Glasgow. The occasion was the first viewing of Simon's recently-completed loft conversion, a vast, airy, sunny space which he plans to fill with various parts of the Mallaig Extension in BR days. A 2mm scale plan of Mallaig station covered part of the floor, and we were shown the start of the Glenfinnan station baseboard and detailed drawings of the well-known curved viaduct just south of that station. This project should keep Simon out of the pub for many years (or maybe it will drive him to spend more time there ...). We look forward to occasional progress reports.

This month's Short Talk was by Jim, who explained how he'd made the signal wire pulley stakes and the telegraph poles for his Kirkallanmuir layout. He designed a fold-over etch for the signal wire stakes: in practice, the etch (on the right of the laptop screen below) proved insufficently sturdy to be removed from its fret, never mind built and installed.

Not to be defeated, Jim adapted the etches using slices of 0.4mm copper wire as pulleys, and produced a workable design which he installed on Kirkallanmuir. He had brought a further set with him which he added to Sauchenford later in the day.

The characteristic Caledonian Railway A-frame telegraph poles were made from 1.5mm brass rod, tapered using sandpaper and a mini-drill (a suprisingly lengthy process: 10 or 15 minutes per post). Flats were filed at the top of the posts so they could marry to form the "A". The poles and etched cross-arms, again of Jim's own design, were assembled in a card jig made so the cross-arms could sit accurately and square to the posts while they were soldered up.

The insulators includes detail like heavier-duty spindles to lead wires off to lineside cabinets and to signalboxes. A ring of wire at the base of each pole allows them to be easily located in baseboards and removed for transport and track cleaning. Jim sprayed them with black acrylic paint from a rattle can before touching up with dark brown paint, with a dab of slightly-let-down white for the insulators.

After Jim concluded his talk, we lunched on bacon rolls (Simon raised the bar slightly by adding seasoned tomato slices: it's these wee details that matter in the FCAG, and we will be interested to see the response from future hosts) and two kinds of cake. Then it was back to the layout room for Jim to install his signal wire stakes and Alistair to install a few more trees on Sauchenford, and for the rest of us to get on with etched kits and styrene sheet buildings. Jim, ever productive, made a start on another of his own etches for a Caley lattice footbridge for Dunallander (different from the last one). By the end of the afternoon he'd already completed one side of it. You can follow his progress with this model here.

Thanks, Simon, for hosting us so spaciously (not that we're jealous or anything ... ). Next month we plan to meet in Edinburgh, at a venue to be confirmed.