September 2017 Newsletter is now available to download.

Hi.  September already and our newsletter is now available for download:

September 2017 Newsletter

If you like this and want more please look here for back-issues.

In this month you will find:

  • How to get standard gauge freight cars on narrow gauge tracks:
    • A great article from Udo showing how the narrow Gauge railways of Germany and Switzerland got around having to move goods between wagons at exchange yards by using this ingenious system.
  •  A journey not to be missed- Worth Double:
    • Looking back to 1961, Vic remembers the trip to Aberystwyth and Devils Bridge. Worth double meaning cheap at twice the price!
  • Peak Forest in a Cellar (part 2)
    • Dave continues on with showing us his fantastic layout.  I’m particularly impressed with how he created his Ballast and wagon loads, though I think I’ll keep buying mine.
  • Wolfe Lowe travels to Perth:
    • Wolfe Lowe recently went to the Perth Model Railway Exhibition.  Shaun gives us the lowdown on the weekend.
  • The Georgetown Loop Railroad:
    • While on holiday in America, Dominic visited this amazing railway, quite a feat of engineering.

August Newsletter

Augusts newsletter is now online.

Please feel free to have a look.

August 2017 Newsletter

In this months issue there is:

Ian continues with part 2 of “LEDs For Railway Modelling”, another excellent article on how to light up your layout and models. Ian again does a fantastic job of dispelling s some of the myths mysteries around using these types of lights.

“How Do They Do That? Keeping Your Rails Clean” How do you keep your rails clean and why? Dirty tracks can cause issues with running locos, Mike explores some of the different methods for cleaning your tracks .

“Peak Forest in a Cellar” Part 1 of Dave’s layout in surprisingly his cellar.

“Penny Project” make a track side hut.  Mike shows how easy it is to produce a card building with this home grown card kit. Mike is pushing the idea of Penny Projects and is interested in hearing from anyone who has similar ideas. If you use his kit, please send us a picture and it can go in the newsletter.

There is also the usual fun and jokes so please have a look, also if you want to look at any some of the back issues please check them out here.

Julys newsletter

Hello again!

Yes, July’s newsletter is available to download. Please free to have a look.

July 2017 Newsletter

In this months edition:

Dominic visits The Weisseritztalbahn (a German narrow gauge railway). This looks like an amazing day out, but a little far for me to travel! At time of writing the line was 15 km in length but a final section has been rebuilt, so if you find yourself  near Dresden with a day to spare why not go and visit it.

Part one on LEDs and Model Railways. A great introduction to adding illumination to your layout. Ian has done a fantastic job, with just enough information for anyone to have a look and experiment with lighting streets and buildings. I look forward to the next instalment.

Of course if you liked this edition, please feel free to download previous issues from here.


June 2017 Newsletter

Late again I’m afraid…..

But cause for celebration, our newsletter is now four years old! Thanks to Mike for all the hard work.  Please feel free to download it:

June 2017 Newsletter

Past news letters can be found here.

In this month you will find:

  • ‘Loxley’ – an ’N’ gauge layout in Germany.
  • More Wintry Shots of Steam in Saddleworth.
  • How do They do That? Building a Jetty (part 2).
  • Snow and Rain; a few pictures from the internet.
  • A challenge (or a plea); following on from the show. The editors final word is a challenge to see what we can do to help children move on with the hobby, beyond the loop of track on the carpet or dining table.


Mays Newsletter!

Well, we’re well and truly into May now.  The newsletter is up and available to download:

May 2017 Newsletter

In this months issue:

Shaun takes Wolfe Lowe to Nottinghams 2017 Exhibition

Udo gives us a view of the hobby in Germany.

Udo also tells us about “Die Modelbahnwerkstatt in Wuppertal” which is the club he is a member of, without giving to much away; this is a great article explaining how a model railway group in Germany and is quite a different model than we use at MaccMRG!

Mike tells us how the jetty for Purgatory Junction was made.  I’ve seen this “in the flesh” and it is quite extraordinary. A lovely piece of model engineering!

On top of this is the usual extras and thanks again to Mike for putting together a fantastic newsletter.

If you liked this newsletter and would like to see what else we’ve been up to, please feel free to see our back issues here.


Aprils Newsletter


Its been a busy month for me and I nearly missed this one, so apologies; better late than never!

Our monthly news letter is now available for download here.

In this month we have the exhibition report and congratulate the new owner of (what was) our Sutton Central Layout.

Kind of related to the exhibition is an article on Mechano WD 2-10-0, its use at Diggle and also the two Mechano locomotives at the Exhibition.

Back fully to the Exhibition; Udo who had a layout at the exhibition gives his view of the our “show”.

There is also a report of our recent club AGM/

On top of all this is the usual humour and remarks from the internet, thanks again to Mike for editing and producing a fantastic magazine.


Macclesfield Model Railway Exhibition 2017

I’m sure that April 2017’s newsletter will contain a complete review of out 2017 Exhibition but in the mean time, just a few words about our show.

And what a show it was! This year we did very well beating last years figures for attendance, and it was observed that we seemed to have more families attending this year with Sunday being busier than usual.

So thanks to the the owners and operators of the following layouts:

  • Bottle Kiln Lane OO9
  • Foster Street N
  • Barton Road N
  • Deansmoor N
  • Glenuig EM
  • Grime Street (Trams) OO
  • Chebstone OO
  • Happy Valley OO
  • Kepier Colliery OO
  • Sutton Hilltop OO
  • Sutton Central OO
  • Beech Mount OO
  • Weaver Hill OO
  • 29th Street Wharf HO
  • Marmagne HO
  • Kleinbahn Wuppertal: Loh – Hatzweld O
  • Eaton Hall GN15
  • The Mecanno demo

Also thanks to the traders and their teams:

Thanks, also to the exhibition committee, fellow members, friends and family of Macclesfield Model Railway Group for the hard work organising and on the day.

Finally a big thank you for all of you that took the time to come and visit us, we hope you enjoyed your time with us.

March Newsletter

Our March Newsletter is now available for downloading:

March 2017 – Newsletter

In this months newsletter you will find:

  • Jubilees at Diggle Junction;
    • Recollections on Diggle Junction and the Mickelhurst Loop from Ken.
  • Final Report from Al Facer’s ‘Man Cave’;
    • Mike gives a fantastic tribute to fellow enthusiast and club member Alastair Facer who passed away earlier this year.
  • Those Confusing Computer Thingies;
    • Colin has a look at how we utilise the internet may be raising the profile of the club and is pleasantly surprised by just how Facebook has helped with this especially with advertising the exhibition.
  • A Gift and a Promise;
    • When he received a call asking for help with a N gauge layout Mike was astounded by what he found.
  • Attention all Coarse ‘O’ Gaugers;
    • Need some O gauge track?  We have been contacted by someone wishing to sell some. Please see the newsletter for more details.
  • Show time – The Final Round-up
    • One last preview for our Exhibition on the 11th and 12th or March.

If you like this newsletter please visit our newsletters page for back issues.

Semaphore Signals Bounce!

Mike here.  I’ve been asked by some of our newsletter subscribers to dig out an article from the July 2015 issue. Dave Fenton who some of you might know from MegaPoints Controllers wrote an article on adding servo control to Dapol semaphore signals including the bounce.

If you want to see it working see below or visit our exhibition on the 11th and 12th March 2017.

So without further a do; over to Dave.

Adding Some Bounce to Dapol Semaphore Signals

I recently acquired a pair of broken N gauge Dapol semaphore signals and thought they would make for an easy upgrade to add some realistic semaphore bounce. The standard mechanism is incapable of bounce and had failed with differing symptoms on both units.

Undeterred at the small size of N gauge and my big fat hands, I acquired some HK- 5330 Ultra-Micro Digital Servos from HobbyKing. At just over 1 cm long and about 6mm wide, I thought they would make an excellent replacement drive unit. These have the added benefit of not twitching when power is applied thereby preventing any over stressing of the tiny linkages at power on time. Fitting a servo means that you loose the simplicity of a 14mm mounting the Dapol unit affords as it will need modifying to a rectangular hole so the servo can be navigated through the baseboard. I ended up cutting a hole 24mm x 17mm which would allow the new servo assembly to pass through unobstructed.

Work began by removing the lower screw at the base of the thread and splitting the motor housing. The circuit board was carefully prized out of one half and the wires to the built in LED cut leaving the longest possible length. On one unit the piano wire remained in place and was held under tension with a built in spring and capped with a plastic collet. The second unit had a different arrangement with the collet on the opposite side of the spring. It appears the design had altered between the manufacture of the two units making installation slightly different for each. Undeterred, I proceeded to cut the piano wire on the latter unit leaving enough room to solder a new piece to it when ready. I decided that on the first unit all I needed to do was position the servo with a cut down arm acting as a cam on the base of the spring retaining collet.

The second unit was going to have its own piano wire bent into shape and soldered to the remaining wire connected to the back of the semaphore arm.

Before installing any of the servos I glued in place a small square piece of balsa wood to make a base to attach the servo to. After it had set I sliced the top of the balsa to form a level surface with the opposing sides of the threaded shell half.

The servos were positioned in place and a couple of drops of super glue used to secure them into position. The second servo had the additional piano wire attached before fitting to help with its placement. As I had previously set the servo arms to their mid point with a MegaPoints Controller I only had to ensure the semaphore arms were in the middle of their travel before the glue set. This was to make final adjustment easy. The second semaphore had the two piano wires soldered together.

To current limit the LED I used a rather safe 150 ohm resistor and connected the LED in parallel with the servo
connector power leads (red & brown). To do this I crimped the LED leads into the servo connector housing and then tie wrapped a servo extension lead into place to secure. Had I had 100 ohm resistors available I would have used them as I suspect they could be brighter without risking any LED damage. Setting up was completed on the MegaPoints Controller within a few seconds and the semaphores cycled a few times to test their operation. The bounce is very realistic and can be clearly observed at this fine size. You can also clearly make out the cable slack being taken up as the signalman places his second hand on the lever prior to applying the big pull. To see a video of these modified Dapol signals being cycled do a YouTube search for “MegaPoints Dapol bounce”. The first unit took about 40 minutes to complete and the second about an hour. Not bad for under two hours work…

Mike again. This article can also be found here: Dapol ‘Bounce’

Its a Matter of Scale

The Scale or Gauge of is or should be one of a modellers main considerations when thinking about investing in the hobby.  True there are other things to think about; like location, time period and even things like method of control. But the gauge that you as a modeller choose will generally dictate the size and type of layout that will be built and also how far your money will go. There is a dazzling amount of different gauges but I’m going to look at the big three within the UK; these being O, OO and N.  These gauges tend to be the best supported by manufacturers and suppliers.  The image below isn’t to scale but should give some idea of the differences is size between gauges.

Size comparison of Gauges

O gauge is the largest of the three, also unsurprisingly the most expensive to buy. A lot of modellers build garden railways at this scale but I have seen some very good micro layouts as well.

OO is the most common gauge in use within the UK (Continental and US have HO) and is the scale that people are familiar with as this is the “Hornby” scale.  Between the three OO is the “Cheapest”.

N is the smallest gauge and the second most popular scale in the UK.  Models tend to be more expensive than OO but cheaper than O.  Being half the size of OO, layouts usually are either smaller or have capacity for larger trains and scenery.

TT, Z and T.  I’ve included these more for information, TT is a halfway house between OO and N but does not have the manufacturer support for UK outline models, Z and T are super small and again there is not much in the way of support for UK ready to roll models either.

There is no right or wrong way. There are modellers who collect different gauges either changing over time or even collecting at the same time! Most people start off with OO In my case I had a OO layout as a teenager but when I came back to the hobby I started with N simply because I didn’t have the space for anything else.

What if you find you started with the wrong gauge? Don’t panic, look at what the issue is and see if there is a way around with the stock you have already invested in, if not there is always eBay. But try not t o get to that point. All I can advise here is choose carefully, try to get a look at the scale you want work with either at an exhibition (ours is on the 11th and 12th of March, see the exhibition page) or in the local model shop. If you are still unsure contact your local club and trawl the web.