Saturday, August 31, 2013

Swaynton at Woking

I wish that I could find time to report the activities at Swaynton and the NWSAG of the EMGS. Sadly life gets in the way. Meetings are held regularly on the second Thursday of the month in the North West Surrey area. Members of the EMGS are welcome to attend and that also applies to potential members as well.

The last few meetings have been dedicated to installing the new disc signals onto Swaynton. By the way these are available as kits at £2.50 each plus postage. Please contact me via the website, as replying by this blog doesn't seem to work.

A decision to cut down the number of disc signals from the original plan was due to several reasons. These being;
  • That the prototype locations didn't have that many.
  • That the prototype only had so many levers available including push-pull levers.
  • The limited time we have available to install them.
  • That at every location we found a baseboard support in the way. (of course)
However we now have the critical signals working. Lets see if anyone spots it at the next outing.

Which brings me to our next outing. This is the REC show at Woking on 14th & 15th September 2013. Apart from the disc signals installation other preparation has begun. For those who are not aware of the activity behind the scenes here is a rough run down of events;

  • About 18 months to 2 years before the show we get an invite. Forms are filled in and the details of the layout are sent off.
  • Some time after this, normally about a year before the show, we receive an acceptance.
  • Around six months before the show the "Gaffer" starts to invite operators. Ideally 8 operators for each day. Not only do the operators have to be able to commit to attend but they also have to be competent. So if we have a new operator, they will have to undergo training to become "passed out".
  • About a month before the show the transport is booked. That is a van for the layout and cars for the operators.
  • At the same time the owners of the rolling stock start to clean wheels and check couplings.
  • A week before the show a schedule is published showing who is booked to work the layout and what they are doing. We operate on hour shifts with one operator at each fiddle yard, two operators driving trains on the line, one up one down, and an operator who controls the goods yard. The latter following the rule that something must be moving. So thus we have five guys moving trains. Behind the scenes we may have one or two guys spare who are available to repair stock at critical times and talk to the public.
  • The day before the show. The hire van is collected and is then driven around to pick up the layout the lights and facias as well as all the electrics and the team who set the layout up.
  • The van with the layout arrives at the hall as soon as it is open and we locate the position of the layout, unload and start to set it up. This takes around two to three hours.
  • On the morning of each day, clean the track and on the second day clean wheels, set up and check the signals and all the electrics. As well as checking that the boards haven't settled overnight.
  • Then we play trains
  • Before doing the reverse on Sunday evening.
All of this to ensure smooth running.
If you are at the Woking please do come and say hello. Also if you take any photos or video of the layout we would love to post them on the website.

See you there.

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