Bob Alderman

Bob (and Ruth) at the YMRG 10th Birthday Bash

It is with great sadness that Sheila has asked us to tell you that Bob passed away peacefully last night after a courageous battle with Motor Neuron Disease. She has asked not to be contacted by phone for the time being.

Bob was a founder member of YMRG, and for many years our Secretary. He was a prolific and inspirational modeller, who has passed on his skills and knowledge via books, magazine articles, Missenden, the O Gauge Guild and EMGS manuals.

His company and friendship will be sorely missed, and our thoughts are with Sheila, David, Ruth and family at this sad time.


June 2020

June 2020

Gardening and other pursuits seem to be distracting some elements of the club from the really important activity of railway modelling. At the start of the month there was an outbreak of helicopter spotting. This started with n Ex-RN SAR Mk5 Sea King being seen (and heard) over Odcombe, making a change from endless Wildcats and Merlins. Over another part of Odcombe this was followed by a sighting of an Ex-RN SAR Wessex flying from its base near Crewkerne to Westlands and back, with speculation that it might be the Lift West bosses’ new toy to go with their Whirlwind.

With some relaxation of lockdown taking place during July, there is the welcome news (to some at least) that we are working towards a safe re-opening of CS2 following all the rules, with lashings of hand sanitiser and strict social distancing – not too hard in a 7000 sq ft clubroom!

This month there have been further additions to Bob Alderman’s Modelling Musings this time covering such interesting topics as ‘landscape and the model railway’, ‘modelling steam locos’, ‘chemically blackening components’, ‘building a Roxey gear box’ and his thoughts on testing locomotives and test tracks in general – points not essential!

At last, 995 is ready for painting! The model is entirely scratchbuilt except for motor, wheels, tender axleboxes, smokebox door, buffers and a few detail castings. Nickel silver sheet was used for the platework, and other parts are turned brass. It has an old Sagami can motor fitted with a flywheel and a Zimo DCC chip which together make it run well, and it will start seven of Bob’s heavy metal bogie coaches with lead packed in fore and aft. The tender is weighted and bears on the back of the engine.

The 990s were the mainstay of express running on the Settle & Carlisle until the late 1920s, and 995 was loaned to the S&DJR briefly so it can legitimately appear on EN as well as the Summit (note splash guards – see below).

700 hours have been logged on the build spread over nearly three years which is slightly horrifying – unless we take the view that it kept Dave off the streets for the whole of that time! It just needs paint now, and luckily exactly what constitutes Midland red/crimson/lake is another world of pain… The model breaks down for painting into twelve parts plus a few detail bits that will be glued in after painting.

Our featured image is an expected arrival from the Southern at Kingsferry, but above is an unusual visitor from the LMS, also from the days before colour photography. The eagle-eyed may spot that one of the splash guards is missing and this triggered much discussion as to whether it should have none or both. It was suggested that the missing splash guard would only turn up once the other one was removed!

In the discussion that followed it seems splash guards were progressively removed when the Black Fives and Jubilees were introduced in the 1930s as this almost eliminated double heading. The purpose of the splash guards was to protect the oily bits on the bogie of the second loco from spray while picking up water from the troughs. Sometimes a train headed by one of these larger engines would need help which was more likely as not provided by a 4-4-0, but to retain these splash guards would be more trouble than they were worth, and to fit them to the new engines was deemed unnecessary.  No doubt they would have to be removed to inspect the bogie bearings on a regular basis. 

Next up is an actual working ground signal built for our 0 Gauge Evercreech New layout. It sits in a tubular socket with a weight and paddle which will be pushed up from below by a servo underneath, the signal returning to danger by gravity. The etched kit from MSE is ‘challenging’ and needs a lot of work. If you don’t want it to work and be lit then the new cast brass kit from Scale Signal Supply is much better and less taxing to solder up. Making these signals work, be lit, and be removable for track cleaning is a real “what was I thinking” job but it looks like it can be done. The tiny LEDs used in ‘The Shed’ (see May2020) should push up inside the lamp casing so that will be tried first.

The SB diagram for Evercreech New shows seven ground signals.  Two each on the crossovers, two on the goods shed entrance crossover and one on the lime kiln siding entrance. Just six more of the blighters to go! Only the ones facing away from the SB need back blinders (because they showed the signalman when the signal was on), so that’s four of them by our reckoning.

This apparently incomplete point is a finished handbuilt GWR style trap point for Heyno Junction. The guard and wing rails are a scale 2″ higher than the running rails so the switch rail runs up a gradient that takes the wheels over the top of the mainline running rail. It saves the expense of constructing a crossing (V) and the mainline rail is unbroken so you don’t get the wear that a crossing suffers. It seems to work even in model form with the out of scale wheel flanges.

This superb DCC Sound fitted BR Standard 9F in 0 Gauge has just been allocated to a local shed. Built from a DJH kit bought twenty years ago; it will be very appropriate both for Evercreech New, and the S&D themed garden railway it will normally work on.

This is the finished goods lockup for a Coombe Town a very promising new layout that we haven’t featured before. Just awaiting weathering now, but we understand it may be some time before Dom plucks up the courage to do so! 

Even more dirt on Kingsferry; these are Ratio’s GWR 4-wheel brake third and all third coaches with additional detailing, notably full interiors not included in the kits, and heavily weathered – by the time these were in use on the branch they were reaching the end of their lives!

Lastly this appeared at Yeovil Junction on the 10th June.  It was used for testing and route learning the Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Pen Mill link as it hadn’t been used for a while. Talking to one of the drivers, he said they were supposed to do four trips but had decided that three were enough before returning to Exeter.  They were bemused by the train crew depot, apparently they’re still trying to recruit staff.  The Class 37 is nearly 60 years old, i.e. considerably older than a lot of locos they replaced.

May 2020

May 2020

The splendid weather in May seems to have led to rather more socially distanced activity outside in member’s gardens than inside at their model railway workbenches, with a number of claims being made about the wildlife to be found in member’s gardens.  It looks like a grass snake going for a swim trumps slow worms, and chickens given the opportunity eat wood mice and chase dogs – so now you know!

First up we have a Morris Commercial Parcel Van by Springfield Models for Kingsferry.  Not an easy kit to build, but then it was a whitemetall kit soldered using a normal temperature soldering iron – so actually quite an achievement! Those with x-ray vision will spot that the propshaft is ‘in the post’. Our featured image also comes from Kingsferry with a not quite so big green engine arriving with a Comet Collett coach in tow.

Progress continues to be made with the Deeley 990 Class with a very handsome cab interior being produced.  It’s based on a Slaters backhead and castings but modified quite a lot as the Slaters one is for a smaller engine.  A photo of a MR Compound cab was used as a guide, assuming the 990s were the same.  Lots of bits knocked up from bits of tube and scraps of metal, plus the contents of Bob’s scrap and castings box. The very nice oil box castings are from the same hoard.  They are by Microcast, and they are very, very good castings.  The rest is copper and brass wire plumbing and a bit of plywood planking. 


The Modelling Musings of Bob Alderman continue to grow.  Most recently his thoughts on baseboard construction and a set of hints and tips for model construction have been added.  Both of these are in presentation format and run to around 50 pages.  Bob’s thoughts on Baseboard Construction feature a lot of previously unpublished views of YMRG layouts and it’s probably fair to say that dear old South Junction falls firmly into the ‘how not to do it again’ category! 

The last time we showed you what was going on with Bob’s GT3, attaching the bogie to the chassis was the next job.

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After some thought about the pivot bought for GT3’s bogie, it was decided that more movement was needed (side to side). Although Bob’s method of bogie attachment would give up/down, yaw and side to side, there was no pitch. The pivot had it all (up/down, yaw, pitch) but no side to side.  In a simply brilliant bit of model engineering a way was found to combine the pivot with Bob’s springs. The end pictures show the result installed in the laser cut ply and MDF chassis.   The bogie frame has been 3D printed.  The next update may see progress on the loco body for GT3.


And I think that’s probably enough excitement for now…

April 2020

April 2020

Much has been achieved by club members in April. We have held virtual meetings via Zoom, and there has been much socially distanced railway modelling with some of the highlights below.

The GT3 gained some novel home made split axles using two very different methods. This enabled it to be run for the very first time as captured on this video.

There was some serious progress on the Deeley 990 which gained cab, chimney and dome, until some real actual work turned up for the builder just as many other people were being furloughed.

The dome was quite easily turned but is close to the limit of what a Peatol lathe can do, since for 0 Gauge at least it starts out as 1″ bar. Fly cutting and filing the bottom part to flare it all in was the hardest bit – Dave had never tried fly cutting before, but found it easier than he thought it would be.  The chimney was more complicated to turn but not such hard work, it required Dave to make a boring tool which for some reason his partner found very funny….

There has been huge progress on the farm bridge for Evercreech New. The main and centre girders for the farm bridge have been 3D printed complete with the stanchions for walkway and railings.

The brick built piers complete with the V irons to hold the end bricks of the capping on, have been designed and 3D printed too. Once all this is installed just painting to do to complete the farm bridge!

For Heyno Junction some test pieces for two of the types of diagonal bracing needed for the girder bridge were drawn up and printed to get some idea of what will be possible. In total there are three basic types of diagonal, and three basic types of vertical struts!

With the nice weather the Pines Express was photographed in action in Simon’s garden.

On Gary’s garden railway the fine weather got the photographers out to record the constant stream of Royal Mail trains required to handle the increase in mail order with lockdown in place.

Further impressive lighting effects have been created for Holly Junction – the houses are lived in, and not just by spiders!

A splendid new signal and lots of lovely arty photographs of Kingsferry have been circulating via e-mail. To see them all you will need to become a member and join our rejuvenated e-mail distribution list.

A whole new page on the website showcasing Bob’s musings on matters modelling. Some excellent downloads covering various facets of building, loco and wagon construction.

From a Yeovilian whose workbench is currently in Kent comes a super little hand lettered truck with local connections, and the start of a beautifully constructed shunting layout that will feature many realistic, but subtle changes in level.

To finish an impressive attempt to combine outdoor exercise, high class heron hospitality and model railways. Note the fine brick built viaduct with terracotta arch detail.

March 2020

March 2020

Huge progress was made earlier in the month on Prestleigh Viaduct and the new scenery boards for Evercreech New.  The updated layout page with further pictures can be found here.


In what are proving to be ‘interesting times’ our safely spread out members have been busily enhancing their mental well-being with a bit of railway modelling.  It goes without saying that our planned Open Day in July has been postponed.  To illustrate what is proving to be a productive period for the membership there follows a selection of photos from my e-mail inbox:

Progress on the 7mm GT3 for Bob Alderman showing the chassis laser cut from MDF with brass hornblocks being fitted:

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A beautiful scratchbuilt Midland Deeley 4-4-0 taking shape – nothing even remotely wonky on this model!


A GWR Diag N6 horse box emerging from a box it will never fit back into.


An LMS coach completing a rake of coaches for a Manchester train from Kingsferry.

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Early days for a 7mm Peco Toad.


Some seriously balmy weather encouraging some members out into the garden, but probably not a lot further.


Many of our members are busy in their gardens and I’ll finish with a seasonal photo of a home made propagator basking in the glorious Spring sunshine – perhaps looking for its next meal?!SRS_2020-03-23_344



February 2020

February 2020

Another long gap between updates, but with Christmas and New Year well out if the way it’s suddenly time for the YMRG AGM.  This will be the last update with DaveS as Chairman, and time for someone new to boldly chair us into what will be a busy year with South Junction going out twice and Halsdon Road going out for the first time in its extended form at least.   Not to mention scenics for Evercreech New, and all that track laying on Heyno Junction to do…

Track laying continues apace on Heyno Junction and The Bank (TB).  If it’s a race between them to get a loco to complete a circuit, then our money is on TB at the moment.


The Holly Junction crew got the lights to work under the scenic cover of their fiddle yard, and very bright they are too.

It was easier for Peter to remove the viaduct board of South Junction to sort out the wiring for the new signals.  Pictures show the board out of position and also some of the excavation needed to fit the signal and the rather fine bracket signal that is being fitted.    Peter is also in the process of adding a replacement operating mechanism for further end of the viaduct crossover – after only 35 years the original scale functional point rodding (with temperature compensation) now has too much cumulative wear to throw the point fully.

The huge job of painting Prestleigh Viaduct is now well advanced and it has been removed from its baseboard so that the underside can be painted and weathered.  And yes, Dave H is standing inside the baseboard – just shows how slim he is!    Not to be copied we also show the correct way to hold the very large and hot soldering iron so that should it slip, someone else’s hand will get burnt not yours.  Good health and safety to the fore at CS2!


New member Robert hasn’t hung around since joining us and EN has had its front extension made and fitted as a result!   The scheme for the rear scenic boards has also been produced, and at this rate it won’t be long before they make an appearance too.  T-nuts and bolts have been purchased for attaching the boards to the EN originals.


Just before Christmas we have Bob operating the completed Hobson’s Brewery with joystick helped by Dave H – more details here.

And finally Allan has completed his Kingsferry layout and very good it looks too – just those two viaducts to paint on Evercreech New to keep him out of trouble now!

All Set for Taunton Rail-Ex

Very much in line with the  ethos of the club, what are probably the largest baseboards in the UK travelling together on the same giant stillage, with four normal sized boards for company.  This behemoth (which is the size of a small family car) will hopefully be lifted into the 7.5T lorry via the tail lift – which seem to be shrinking just as we need them to grow!



Evercreech New will be exhibited as a work in progress – this not being the first unfinished YMRG layout to debut at a Taunton Show!   There will be no layout lighting, no backscene, and our ambitious scenery is incomplete.  What we will have is the finished station area, and a representative ‘Speedy & Delightful’ weekday service with the prospect of DCC sound and all operated via tablets and smart phones.

August 2019

August 2019

Doesn’t time fly, and despite the lack of updates to this website, much is happening in the largest model railway shed in the west!   In July we had a very successful Open Day with fantastic catering, lots of favourable comments and some new members.

A few weeks ago the BBC Points West team visited CS2 to film a feature on Bob Alderman, who had lost his voice through MND, being given his voice back by his son David.  A shortened version of the clip is here.  It’s a heartwarming story, and there are trains, but not as many as in the longer clip that was broadcast.

In preparation for the upcoming appearance of The Summit at Fareham Railex in early October, Evercreech New has been taken down and The Summit re-erected for some remedial work and to play trains.

Work on Evercreech New continues however ready for its appearance at Taunton Railex in late October.  EN_PV_IMG_3771Painting of Prestleigh Viaduct continues with the MDF now primed and painted in a mortar colour.  The engineering brick colour will be dry brushed on, with individual bricks picked out in green and brown, and finally the mortar runs applied.   A test piece is shown showing the stages that will be required to achieve the effect we want.  Prestleigh Viaduct was a very scruffy item close up!

Previously it has been stated in this blog that the widened side of Pecking Mill was on the south side which has even sized arches on brick piers.  Following perusal of OS maps from before and after the widening it is now clear that the viaduct was widened on the north side where the uneven arches are founded on stone piers.  This would explain the presence of what are now obviously the old abutments at the end of the blind arch, the north side being narrower than the south side, and the need to use uneven arch spacings on the north side to make up for the skew of the road crossing.  What threw us was use of brick for the original  piers and stone for the piers on the widened side.

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The card etches for the brickwork on Pecking Mill Viaduct have been drawn up ready for laser etching.  However much closer to the bleeding edge of home based technology;  the long girder bridge spans for the A371 crossing and short spans for the adjacent occupation bridge have both been drawn using QCad and OpenSCAD.   The longer A371 span is the featured image at the top of the page, and a capture of the 3D render for Allen’s bridge is shown above, with the base of the rear girder rebated to fit the plywood trackbed.  Both spans are heavily skewed, but in opposite directions.  These girders will be printed using stereolithography in a resin bath.  The print will include the distinctive walkway supports using details lifted from the surviving girder bridge at Radstock.  The walkway support without the upright is behind one of the brick piers due to the extreme skew.  The girders at Pecking Mill differ from the surviving bridge at Radstock in that they have a deeper girder, three handrails and a wider walkway.

Also taking shape at the Pecking Mill End is the farm occupation bridge known to a select few as ‘Allen’s Bridge’.  No laser cutting for this chap just a pull saw, plane and rasps.  There was very little splay on the wing walls to the south, but a much larger splay on the north side.

Tracklaying has started on Heyno Junction, with the right hand picture showing the laser etched mock up of the Heyno Junction trussed girder bridge installed for Open Day.  Our ambitious plan is to 3D print the truss frame and bracing to achieve the more open effect of the real thing.  An interesting challenge as we only have detailed drawings from the original build – and we will be modelling it after the 1961 rebuilding.  This raised the track to put it in a ballast trough, and required the original top bracing to be placed on uprights and otherwise modified to restore sufficient headroom.

HJ_IMG_0121Holly Junction has gained a splendid canal lock complete with narrow boat entering; this will lift what is now a canal into a marina complete with suspension bridge over.

KF_IMG_3770Amongst the privately owned layouts there is an update to Kingsferry where the station area is now – allegedly – complete.

In the near future will be a long overdue update on Verwood with some upgrades to the Black Motor, an actual model of the rail-built LSWR loading gauge and a 3D CAD design for the  distinctive yard crane, plus potentially an alternative column design for the upcoming Modelu LSWR platform lamp.


Of Viaducts and Other Things

Of Viaducts and Other Things

In the absence of our esteamed Chairman on his extended trip to the very edge of the British Isles, lots of progress has been made on Pecking Mill and Prestleigh Viaducts.  The Pecking Mill carcass that was designed in QCad has now been expensively laser cut.  On Wednesday the track bed was removed from the connecting board and taken up into the Mendip foothills to be have the viaduct built onto it.


This side is the original viaduct with the two smaller arches – rather nice.


This is the more regular side that was built on when the line was doubled and that the public will see.  Streams run through the left arch and the centre arch on the right, the road goes through the middle.  The real thing of course is only on a very slight curve at the Evercreech New end so adjustments to the piers have been made to place the whole on an even curve.


When the line was widened the original small arch was blocked to become a blind arch.  Also showing is the aluminium plate joining two sections of trackbed together that replaced a 9mm ply splicing plate – doh!


At the other end the two mismatched arches that resulted from the widening exercise.  Counter intuitively the original bridge was narrower than the extension.


Amazingly for a one off everything fitted!  The next step is to apply the parapet wall inner lining and the piers/buttresses on the outside ready for cladding in a right old mixture of stone and blue brick.

IMG_0862The cladding is well advanced on Prestleigh, although one mistake has crept in on the pier cladding, but nothing we can’t live with.  An attempt has been made to represent the red brick repairs that had been made to the north east face of the viaduct which will face the public on our model.  Both the blue and orange laser etched card will be toned down in due course.  This is actually the widened side (brick piers), but some poor quality stone.  In this context it is interesting to note that it was the ‘new’ side of Bath Road Viaduct that collapsed in 1946!


And the side (with the stone piers) that could be seen from the main road.  Experiments are now being made to work out how best to paint the card, plastic and MDF used to get the right effect including the heavy lime mortar staining.

IMG_0866In other news Holly Junction is gaining a canal.







Refurbishment of South Junction continues in readiness for Open Day.

Heyno Junction is having cork applied, the N gauge layout gets ever longer with ever more track being laid, and ballast is being beautifully applied to Jim’s 0 gauge plank.

March 2019

March 2019

EN_IMG_0840Sausages!  We are always amazed at the fund of (an adjective escapes us here) knowledge that the members of the Yeovil Model Railway Group have and can conjure up at a moments notice to enlighten the inexhaustible quest for  knowledge of the rest of the membership!


So what happened to the delicious Palethorpes?  In 1969 the company was bought by the Bibby Group who sold it on to Haverhill Meat Products which then became part of Northern Foods.  It was then passed on to an outfit called Vision Capital. The various owners stopped using the Palethorpes name in 1986.  The vans will be run with some horse boxes to add a little levity.

It appears to be the cork laying season in CS2.  Both Heyno Junction and the N gaugers (NGs) are at it.  Simon will be looking for volunteers to assist him with the corking of Heyno Junction.  It must be British Summer Time at last as the NGers have come out of hibernation from the workshop and set up two of their boards at the end of the main room!

And so to Evercreech New.  Prestleigh Viaduct continues to be clad and some gravity defying shots show the progress being made.   Pictures show use of laser etched card (blue) and MDF, also Slaters stone and brick sheets.

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With 13 weeks to Open Day we need to get the track laid on the new boards soonest so we can at least run trains, oh, as well as continuing with cladding and Pecking Mill arch generation.

Finally some of the terra-forming that’s been going on at the Pecking Mill end of the layout.  Those of the membership who know Douglas will see him at the back of the last two pictures.

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