Where have the last three months gone? Well in my case I was digging for drains, but that’s already far too much information. The even wetter weather is back with a vengeance and it’s time to take cover and contemplate a new modelling season.

In the middle of July – fully in line with government guidelines we re-commenced our meetings at CS2. Hand sanitizer, masks, social distancing, hand washing/wringing, recording attendance – by now you know the score. Since the rule of six came in we have observed that too by spreading our attendance over two afternoons.

Our featured image shows the running session on Evercreech New that we held on 22nd July for Sheila Alderman and family to showcase Bob’s handiwork. Below some of Bob’s wonderful work waiting for the off:

On 27th July we bade farewell to Bob. Bob Alderman was a founder member of Yeovil MRG and made a huge contribution to the success of our club. Twelve members formed a socially distanced guard of honour at the Crematorium entrance presenting soldering irons in a tribute that we think would have appealed to him. Sheila and the family no doubt used to the odd ways of railway modellers seemed to appreciate the gesture. The touching funeral service was planned in great detail by Bob, and many members were able to gather just outside the entrance lobby for the ceremony.

At 19:00 on 12 September Bob’s ashes were ejected from Tornado’s blast pipe as it travelled over Lesbury Viaduct – exactly as he wished. Just after the deed was done Tornado spelled out ‘RA’ in Morse code on her whistle as the train entered Alnmouth station:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ju62erynxh74moq/VID-20200913-WA0002.mp4?dl=0

A 3D CAD design for the body of Bob’s GT3. In the process of producing it DaveS is steadily getting to grips with Fusion360. In 7mm scale it proved a little too large to be printed in one piece on any of the 3D printers immediately available to the membership, but could be filament printed in two parts with a lot of supports. DaveS was on his way home after picking it up and took it to show him on the day Bob died.

From the pen of the mastermind of Kingsferry, this stylish drawing of the branch local at Pitcombe in late summer 1964 was taken from a photograph in the book ‘Heyday Of The Somerset And Dorset’. Apparently to some this is a ‘Baby Castle’ – who’d have thought it? I’m now looking forward to running a ‘Baby Nelson’! Allan’s sketches and drawings, mounted and some framed, with those of his partner, will be on exhibition at Pitcombe Studio near Bruton for two weeks at the end of November (details below). All will be for sale and will include limited edition prints.

Much admired at CS2 in August, this exquisite engine is awaiting plates, with the varnish at this point just touch dry. Almost entirely scratchbuilt with a few castings thrown in, Dave had cut the frames three years ago almost to the day. He’s glad it’s not the only thing he’s been up to, but it’s sometimes felt like it! What got lined, and particularly what didn’t, according to the somewhat idiosyncratic Deeley lining scheme, has been faithfully reproduced! We can report that tested on Evercreech New (EN) this engine runs as well as it looks. Packed with lead it is very sure-footed and can haul six bogies and five 6-wheelers.

On South Junction Pete’s tiny Planet chassis was run in for far more miles than the prototype would ever have done. Above are the pictures of the Planet chassis and what it will eventually look like.

The superb new bracket signal on South Junction in fully working order.

Tracklaying continues apace on Heyno Junction.

And so to the current state of play at the Prestleigh Viaduct end of Evercreech New (EN). DaveS thought he’d do a bit of terraforming. It’s all held together with masking tape and so is easily removed/changed/forgotten about. Because the viaduct has the correct orientation to the station, the land in front of the viaduct needs to rise up towards the viewer outside the layout. It looks good to us!

And to prove it, covered with a thin film of plastic the recreation is nearly there. The original photo does look a little squished and the exposure could have been better, but there’s no going back for another try now!

Rob glued up the last scenic board behind PV (well almost the last – apparently there might be another one). The picture shows DaveH being permanently built into the scenery by Rob. This way he’ll always be available for viaduct maintenance…

The work John did on the fiddle yard approach board means we now have a flat approach to the viaduct both ends. DaveH (EN Chief Honcho) continued his obsession with getting the track joints and sleeper spacing looking right – he’s finished the inside line, with outside line still to do. Once that’s done and proved the running again, then the rails will be sprayed with grime colour and Jim can get ballasting.

After much deliberation we will be laboriously producing our own ballast using Morris & Perry stone dust from their Gurney Slade Quarry. Ballast for the S&D seems to have been sourced from the nearby Emborough Quarry which is a nice touch. The raw stone dust is passed through kitchen sieves (retired), removing the large stuff with the coarser one and then as much dust as possible using the slightly finer one. A 25kg sack at £2.50 or so yields about 5kg of ballast and 20kg of mostly dust that can still be used to repair walls. The colour of the ballast doesn’t quite match the station area but the Chief Honcho think it’s better, and may even be a suitable substitute for that other railway’s ballast from Dulcote Quarry.

Our plan for Prestleigh Farm when it was a farm is largely garnered from an aerial photo and some stale estate agents particulars. The farm and house were much changed when it later became a dwelling only, with the ‘catslide’ roof to the rear of the house replaced by a pitched roof extension and all outbuildings removed.

We have all wondered why Jim went all the way ‎to Aberdeen a year ago to collect an unwanted 30ft long 18 road fiddle yard in 2mm FS. He couldn’t possibly have enough trains to fill it, we said?
Well, slightly bored during lockdown, he unboxed all his RTR stuff (Dapol, Farish, C-Rail and RevolutioN‎) and filled all 18 roads of the middle board (sitting on the 7mm station throat).  Only 59 merry-go-round wagons are showing – they are another 40 sitting in boxes! Excluded are the kit projects sitting in the gloat cupboard – one day! Asking for a friend, it turns out that all but the most recent purchases (mostly C-Rail and RevolutioN) have already been converted to 2mm FS!

Next month there will be progress on Verwood to report, in fact this has already happened (in October) and you’ll just have to wait!

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