The Roundhouse Journal December 2004

EDITOR'S NOTES (or Words from The White House)

At the end of the running season, it is my great pleasure to wish all members a very happy Christmas and New Year. I am looking forward to getting my steam engine (Samantha) back on the track after her overhaul, it should be soon, God and Paul willing!

Visiting Club day was a great success on and off the track, despite very little advertising.

Stuart Wilson has been correlating his questionnaire the results of which will no doubt assist the social secretary in compiling next years programme.

At a productive meeting, held at short notice of loco owners and interested parties, it seems that the club committee will soon be in a position to publish a set of rules for the roundhouse.

Thanks to all the contributors but I'm afraid that some articles have had to be held over until the next edition, however, we still need your articles, letters, sales or wants.

The Hon. Treasurer has a number of cap (£7.00) and lapel (£4.50) badges for sale, if you would like one please contact Mike Evans.


I can be contacted at: The White House, 8 Sandy Lane, St Ives,

Ringwood, Hants BH24 2LE

Telephone: 01425 474395 E-mail:

SANTA Special 2004

Yes it's that time of year again. Santa Special is on the 12th December and we need your help.

People willing to help on the day will be provided with a free lunch. Please add your name to the paperwork on the notice board in the clubhouse.

Should you have added your name and find that you will be unable to help. Please contact Stella on 01892 525313, so that your lunch can be allocated to somebody else.

Last year a few members ordered lunch and then failed to turn up. These meals are prepared on the Saturday and take the ladies of the club a lot of effort to prepare. So please ring before the Saturday if you cannot make it.

Help is also needed in erecting the Grotto on the Saturday if you can assist, please contact David Wilkins or Peter Pullen.

Last year the Raised Track put on a good show of motive power. If you can run this year please contact Steve Gray.

Mike Evans

Tim is an old Malden member who emigrated to the States some 10-15 years ago. Both Tim and his father Phil were active MDSME members. Tim is now president of SCRR railroadA case of how well an "old MDSME boy" has done. Tim comes over to the UK every couple of years to visit family and usually visits MDSME, often driving on our 7/4" gauge line.

Mark Adlington



How time flies, with the delights of being back at school and so I find myself writing up what the juniors of our club have been up to. Since the last edition, much work has gone on and around the tunnel. A considerable amount of soil was removed from the footings for one of the retaining walls; this was placed on top of the tunnel, on the side next to the National Rail Network. Steven and Bradley Henley, Riley Clements and I have all taken turns in ferrying this earth about, making much use of Mark Adlington's electric loco. Following this, the footings were filled with concrete; again, a number of people were involved in this.

Danny Moses spent a Sunday back in the summer with his pressure washer cleaning in the area of the maintenance shed to Hampton Court Junction. Signal gantries, walls, ash pits and the apron outside the roundhouse were cleaned up. This, however, caused me a problem as when the gantry at Hampton Court Junction was cleaned, it was stripped of some of its paint, making it look worse than when he started. Never mind, I gave it a full repaint and found another use for my painting jig... propping up the mesh while it was painted. Currently, I am repainting the gantry next to the maintenance shed, my time is restricted at the moment with exams looming, any volunteers to help?

In a battle against weeds trying to reclaim their ground, and give me somewhere to be able to paint without getting in the way, the area around the paint store cabinets is to be concreted. Two thirds of this has been done, the last area has to tie in with the compressor shed, as this is to be extended at some point. I must thank lan and Pat Tiplady, James Mottram and Bradley for their help in digging, filling and harrowing as they have all helped at some point or another... of course, how could I forget, the helpful and watchful eye of our experienced hole digger and concreter... John Mottram, who advised on how best to do things! It was nice to see junior members helping out during this year's running season; I look forward to seeing many of you again helping out on Santa Special (take note of the hint!), that's if you are not helping out at the club at some point before.

Jonathan Wright

To all ground level locomotive owners and operators

As you have been aware from previous newsletter articles on the ground level braking system, society members has been busy installing vacuum brakes on all its ground level passenger rolling stock to enable the new Alps Line to be used for passenger hauling.

The work on the passenger vacuum braking systems is now largely complete, and we are now in a position to start using the Alps Line for public passenger hauling at the start of the new season which is Easter 2005.

As of Easter 2005 ALL locomotives will need to be capable of providing /vacuum braking to control the passenger coach brakes. Any locomotive lot fitted with a suitable vacuum braking system will not be permitted to operate on a track day from Easter 2005.

my vacuum brake testing on a loco will be part of the loco's fit to run exam. The braking system is designed to run at between 12-15 inches of vacuum.

help and advice is available form Dave Wilkins, Peter Pullen or Mark Adlington for any society member on any practical or technical aspects of e vacuum braking system. The Society will provide a suitable vacuum connection for loco owners as and where necessary {see Dave / Peter or Mark}

This notice is to ensure that all members are notified, and that all members have enough time between now and Easter 2005 to do the necessary work on their loco's.

Dave Wilkins, Peter Pullen & Mark Adlington
for and on behalf of the committee 8th October 2005


The club Website is being extended. Mark Adlington has been making several additions to the public facing side of the web site, there are new photographs and more content. It is well worth a browse.

Martin Baker has begun the process of building an internal club library. You can get access to this by visiting the members only link at the left of the main page of the main site window. Access to various parts of the Library is controlled, and so what you can see is dependent upon how you log on. The basic level is to log in as guest and this gives you access to public information about the club, including Memorandum and Articles, Club Rulebook, Wheelset Standards and references to external sites related to the administration of the club.

Other areas of the site are categorised for access only to members and to committee. If you want access to these other areas then follow the link to the Administrator on the Library Home Page - you will need to provide your membership number and a password in an email.

Once inside the library you have access to up to 160 pages of content (growing quite quickly) and to a search facility to help you find what you want.

This Library is still under development with some facilities still in need of completion. In the future we will expand the library to enable you to manage your personal details (e.g. change of address) and to optionally record your interests (so that other members can search those with like interests or skills).

New sections can be created for specific areas within the club - there is already an area for the Main Committee and for Ground Level Track Signalling. Another one is being considered for the Roundhouse and we are open to suggestions for other areas. These new areas can be given their own access right zone if required.

Recently suggested is an area to where people can record change notes for public designs to record fault, omission or lack of clarity - for where the original author or publisher is not doing the same.

A further idea is an advertising facility for members, where you can list things wanted or for sale, or events. This could also be combined with presentation of selected ones as adverts that appear at random within the site web pages.

Your comments on the merits of doing these things will be appreciated. We do not want to do the work and then not have it used or find that there is an objection to it.

Ground level signalling.

All this years signalling work has been concentrated on 'Tunnel Junction' location both sides of the tunnel with 85% of the work being concentrated on the facing junction location. This location was completely stripped out and replaced with new equipment for two reasons, firstly the location was of 1986 vintage, getting on for some 17 years old! and secondly the old equipment did not leave enough room to install the control system for the new junction with its trailing points and signals located on top of the tunnel.

Picture shows all the relays and air control gear and the tons of cables to connect to all the associated point ends and 4x4 aspect coloured light signals.

John Mottram has been refurbishing all the 4 aspect signals used in the signalling in the Hampton Court Junction and tunnel junction areas of the track, new lenses, with baffles tubes have been fitted between all the coloured aspects lights, this is to prevent any stray light appearing to light up the wrong lenses. Also metal work has been renewed where necessary to strengthen the fronts where the white route indicator lights are fitted, plus a rewire and new plugs where necessary.

Thoughts on the Raised Track by Steve Gray

I am responding to the committees concern that there have been operational difficulties on the Raised Track and I have therefore put forward my personal views and proposals. The problems of the raised track stem from the lack of available locomotives rather than a shortage of manpower. The track is demanding and is taking its toll of these little engines, as in very short succession we have lost six or seven locomotives. All of these, except the MDSME
Maid, were recent regular runners and leaves basically two locomotives, Gerald Todd's "Matilda" and Denver Watkins' 15XX. I had hoped that Pixie could have 'saved the day' but sadly not.

The Croydon Club have been persuaded to run their Royal Engineer and "Arthur Hale" from time to time but their constitution dictates that such running must be a 'Club Event' and there is a reticence to use these locomotives when bookings need fulfilling and when their back-up engine is indisposed.

I have no doubt that there are other 5" locomotives within the club but their attendance is rare and responses to my letters have typically been "No". As an owner, I have no objection to running my Maid of Kent with light loads over a couple of hours. Personally, I find the 2pm until 5.30pm too much. The work is non-stop, I fear that I am wearing out my Locomotive and the engine becomes perilously close to failure during the last 90 minutes with clinker and blocked tubes. If other owners share my views, then one priority is surely to make a track day event less onerous and convert these "No" replies to "Yes".

I can see that the only solution is to implement the following: -

1. The club needs to own more locomotives. Engines such as Netta and a Diesel profile electric would be excellent and popular. They should also be made available for every track event even if the 'keeper' cannot attend so that they can be used for club activities by competent members. Engines would also need to be rotated during the afternoon to prevent the 4.30 failures. In this way, members would not be trashing their locomotives which as mentioned above, is a problem

2. The club could also change its membership rules to insist that a duty is a condition of membership.

3. The club could also provide practical help to get some failed locomotives back on the track. Members who currently require repairs but do not possess either the facilities or skills could have the odd job carried out by other club members. Other larger projects could be shared, 2 workshop hours donated by 10 members equals 20 hours. This would be an ideal way of dealing with Club Engines where the task may be too much to expect of one 'keeper'.


On a personal note, public running is a mixture of anxiety, pride and pleasure. The interest shown by our passengers and the complements received make you feel that all the work is worthwhile. The problem is, that with so few locomotives running, the queues are long and there is no time to stop. The loads are also heavy and my engine cannot cope with the gradient unless full regulator is used. Anything less and I cannot replenish the water and maintain pressure. Unfortunately, the blast then draws sparks and I am always anxious that I will be confronted by an angry passenger who may have collected one of these. In an attempt to alleviate these problems I am aiming to double-head next season.

My continued interest in club activities is assured but I have always been a better follower than leader. As next year is likely to be a busy one for the Gray household, I will not be putting my name forward for re-election although I will attend when I can. I feel that I have made a good start but an injection of new blood will ultimately be welcome a benefit to the club and allow this good work to continue.

Steve Gray

Greyhound 30709 by William Knox

Chapter 1

Peter was pleased with his purchase. By chance he had been passing the window of the new model railway shop that had recently opened in the High Street, just as the owner was placing the latest model by Diepole Engineering on one of the window display stands, of a Drummond T9 London and South Western Railway 4.4.0. locomotive, known as "Greyhounds" to railwaymen, due to their acceleration and smooth running.

Peter had seen the enthusiastic review about the company's latest product, in the last issue of Model News, the monthly magazine avidly read from cover to cover by the serious railway model enthusiasts. Peter was thrilled that at long last a really well engineered model had been produced of the locomotive that he had had his first footplate ride on at the tender age of seven. The detail was perfect, right down to the correct number of rivets and the simulated fittings on the backhead of the boiler. The toolmakers at the Hang-Laowe factory in China had pulled out all the stops on this one.

As he walked home towards the new housing estate built on the site of the old goods yard in the town he cast his mind back to the days just after the war when he had spent many happy hour train spotting at Tulse Hill Station, during the school holidays. One morning he had bagged a double headed freight train headed by two grimy Ql class austerity 0.6.0.'s shortly after arriving there, but apart from that and a very clean Merchant Navy fresh from the Brighton works, the traffic was mainly electric multiple units heading towards the London terminals or mid week excursions to Canterbury and other south coast resorts.

Peter had recalled to himself that he had been sitting on a stack of packing cases close to the water column, made a bit more comfortable with some sacking from a pile from further down the platform. A large puddle of water had been formed on the platform edge, due to a blocked grill over the drain from a constant drip from the canvas hose bag of the water tenders or side tanks on the various locomotives that needed replenishment of their water supply. It was very warm, the temperature had risen steadily since his early arrival in the day. Peter's Mum had made him a large wad of Marmite and tomato sandwiches, this together with a 7 penny bottle of Tizer and some digestive biscuits served him well, Dad had given him a bit extra for his pocket money as well as the normal half a crown, as it was the school holidays. The kindly refreshment lady had also given him a large chunk of slightly stale apple cake left over from the day before to go with his cup of tea. So life was not so bad. The station porter knew him as one of the regular bunch of loco spotters who congregated together with their ABC Spotters guide and notebooks at the ready to cross out the numbers and type of engines that passed by the platforms leading to the junctions at the north and south end of the station.

Peter suddenly became aware of a locomotive drifting up towards the water column. It was a T9 running light engine, still in its wartime livery of black and looking splendid in a light coat of cleaning oil. The lads at Stewarts Lane had done a grand job of making her look a real "greyhound" of the rails. Peter quickly jabbed down her number in his notebook 30709. What a cop; he thought to himself. The fireman leapt down from the footplate, one of his size 11 boots splashed down into the puddle that had been formed from the drips from the faulty hand wheel valve, "sorry mate" said the fireman with a grin on his face as a splodge of water splashed half way up Peter's stocking leg.

The fireman got on with the job of lifting up the sack and pulling round the cast iron arm on its swivel, meanwhile the driver climbed up onto the tender, opened the filler cap and began to tuck the canvas tube into the water tank of the tender.

Peter forgot all about his soaking wet leg and looked on as the driver and fireman carried out their respective duties, such as turning on the injectors to fill the boiler with water from the freshly filled tender and pushing coal forward towards the front of the eight wheeled tender.

Peter also managed to get a couple of three-quarter view shots with his box camera. Eventually the tank filled. "OK Bert, that will do fer now" the driver called and began to heave the sack out of the filler, the fireman

began turning off the the rust streaked leaky valve and then began to pull on the chain swinging the arm back into its normal position over the platform. " How you doing lad?" the driver called to Peter.

Peter told him of his recent ventures and cops that he had enjoyed during the school holidays. The driver was really nice, relating various adventures of his time with the railway.

" Fancy a trip on the footplate son?, it will help dry your socks out" the driver said. Peter could hardly believe his ears. " Look we're booked to go up to Nine Elms to collect some wagons to have a few minor repairs done back at Selhurst works. As we will be running through Wandsworth Common station on this line and its getting a bit late I'll drop you off there and you can return on one of the local trains back to here, so you don't need to worry about getting back in time for tea. If anyone asks any questions, just tell them that Tom Martin knows you.

Chapter 2

Peter turned the key of the two year old home that he and Janet moved in to shortly after their marriage. He had remembered that it was her late night working at the local doctors and he had an hour or so to try out the T9 on the model layout that replicated the very goods yard that had been on the site before the property agents moved in to develop a new housing estate. He made a quick cup of tea and went up into the railway room. The model layout was built on a framework at a comfortable height, with drawers for tools and part built models that he had made over the last year or so. He carefully removed the T9 model from the expanded polystyrene packaging and read the warning notes about operation and types of oil to use, then gently placed it on a long section of track that formed the head shunt from the main line into the goods yard on the south side of the layout. Peter picked up the remote control unit and gently turned the control knob to start the model. The flywheel drive responded and the T9 gently moved up the length of track towards the buffer stop at the east end of the line. Several times he just traversed the model up and down the track just stopping before the turnout point that led to the main line. Peter sipped his tea. Time to negotiate some point work he said to himself.


The control panel for the signals and points where mounted as a separate unit screwed to the front of the frame with the control switches operating the points and signals electrically. Each section of track also had insulating gaps to prevent other locomotives from being unintentionally now cold as he ran the locomotive back and forward over the point work, he flicked over the switch to run the T9 into the goods yard and it responded by drifting gently towards the loading gauge situated by the signal box controlling the yard. Suddenly it stopped, dead on the tracks. Blast! He mumbled to himself, must be dirt on the track. He slid the model back and forward gently and tried again. The model stopped again, exactly at the same spot. After the tenth attempt using cleaning fluid and the track cleaning abrasive pad, still no response. Peter was feeling a bit miffed. He also tried several other loco models, they all ran over the track and into the yard without a spot of bother.

"I'm home love, I've got fish and chips for supper" Janet called from the bottom of the stairs. Peter munched away at his rock salmon in between relating to Jan about his purchase of the T9. "Never mind love, I expect one of your friends down at the railway club will have an answer." Little did they know what kind of answer lay ahead of them.

Chapter 3

Tom Martin had worked on the railways all his life, starting as a cleaner at Stewarts Lane Works the day he left school. Railways to him were the only things worth living for. Over the years he was steadily promoted and proudly became a top link driver on the main line runs to Bournemouth and on the East Coast ferry routes. At the age of 49 he began to have difficulty in breathing and it gradually got to the point over a period of months, that the Shed Master arranged a visit to the company's doctor for a medical appraisal. After a few weeks waiting and subsequent visits to hospital a letter arrived at his home in Old Town. Tom trembled as he opened the letter......

Dear Mr Martin

We regret.......

Tom could not read any further, he repeated over and over to himself, we regret, we regret, that was all he needed. It was the end, no chance, gone forever. The rug under his feet absorbed the tears from his tired eyes. He slumped down on the settee in the corner of the room"49 end of the line" he whispered to himself.

To Londoners and many others who lived in the home counties the winter of 1953-54 was remembered for one thing, smog! Due to adverse weather conditions and low cloud, smoke particles from industry, and the many thousands of coal fires in domestic dwellings and also from the railways, became trapped under a warm cloud, creating extreme loss of visibility especially toward the winter evenings. Hundreds died in the thick yellow pall of death. Undertakers worked 24 hours a day. There were rail delays, aircraft were diverted from London finishing their journeys at Bournemouth Hum or Prestwick airports and some even landed at the continental airports over the Channel.

Within all the chaos the railway still played an important task in delivering both passengers and freight to various destinations.

The regular goods pick up normally started from Guildford yard in Surrey. However, because of a derailment on the Portsmouth line, the wagons had been shunted ready for pick up were made inaccessible and urgent telephone calls resulted in the locomotive being sent light engine to Epsom, its intended next pick up via Effingham and Leatherhead Junctions. The journey was very slow mainly due to the poor visibility. The smog was so thick in places that the signal lamps were hardly visible, even when stopped by the side of them in the gathering gloom of evening.

Chapter 5

Tom Martin was feeling down, he had been indoors all day. He usually managed to get down to the Railway Hotel most evenings for a strong nightcap, it helped him tolerate the rasping pain that gnawed away in his windpipe. He had been given up to a year to live and having been a thrifty man with money, his sickness pension and a bereavement gift from his sister had left him fairly well off. He opened the door to his two up two down cottage, the smog drifted into the passage, thick as ever. He buttoned up his overcoat, pulled his scarf round his face, checked that he had plenty of cash to spend at the hotel bar and buy his ay towards oblivion, then stepped into the night. He never got there.

The pick up goods loco got as far as Leatherhead, the smog density had eased a little on the journey but was beginning to thicken up again. Dick Evans the driver reported to the signal box to see if any problems lay ahead. "No you're OK to proceed to Epsom Old Town Yard as it stands, just take your time, all the EMU's have cleared the up Sutton line."

Tom stumbled on towards his refuge and suddenly found that he had lost his way, he literally could not see a hand in front o his face. He bumped into a high fence and began an unsteady walk feeling his way, then it came to an end at a thick baulk of timber half hidden in the gloom, he stepped forward towards a glimmer of yellow light, hoping that it was the hotel.

The driver of the pick up goods pulled back on the locomotives reverser to enter the goods yard tender first. He had got the fireman to walk slowly in front of the tender towards the signalman who was holding a multi aspect hand lamp just in front of the buffer beam on a short rake of goods wagons. Just as they got to the loading gauge the first cry of terror rang out. The driver shut the regulator and quickly applied the brake, the locomotive stopped almost immediately. Both men were on the north side of the train, Tom Martin was on the south!

At the inquest into his death, Tom's letter from the medical board was read out by the coroner. The relevant verses in the report also said "and your deafness"

Chapter 7

Peter invited one of his pals round who was into electronics, to sort out the T9's running irregularities. After several attempts he exclaimed "I haven't a clue, its beyond me I've checked everything possible." Peter was at a loss, many of the members of the club aired their different views but no way could anyone get the T9 to cross into the yard area, every other loco did, why not this one? Peter learnt to live with it, the loco was still a perfect model invoking all the memories of that wonderful footplate ride on a sunny summers evening in 1949.

It was now late summer and Jan and himself had booked a package tour to Italy. They had a good holiday enjoying the food and other attractions and phone had a number of messages on it needing replies. One of them was from a club member who worked for a local newspaper. "I think I've found something of interest for you, can I come round?"

Chapters 8

Dave Willson was an archivist for a Surrey group of local newspapers and had a keen and inquisitive mind. He said that he had found an article and Coroner's report while clearing out some old files, they covered details about the accidental death of an ex railwayman who lived in the town and not only that, there was a copy of an old large scale Ordnance Survey map of the old town goods yard that showed the exact layout and detail of all the railway buildings and structures, such as the signal box, plate layers hut and signal gantry. The Coroner had requested a copy of the goods yard map to establish Toms movements before he tripped and fell on a railhead and was then struck by the wheels of the tender and then the coupling rod of the locomotive involved. Dave explained, "I found a modem site plan of your housing estate that one of the papers had used for an article about the housing development, I traced some of the details and overlaid them on the copy of the plans that were presented at the inquest." Furthermore the report gives times of arrival at the yard box and the exact position where the locomotive stopped by the loading gauge. Peter and Jan were stunned, hardly believing what Dave was saying. Dave went on, "it also gives the number of the Loco involved, the same number that I believe is printed on your model made by Diepol." Peter felt a river of ice flow through him, he reached out and opened one of the drawers under the frame of his railway layout and took out the battered remains of his old spotters notebook. He trembled as he turned the grubby pages and found that special entry.

"Had a grand time today at Tulse Hill, a driver called Tom Martin gave me a ride on the footplate of his T9 Greyhound. 30709"

copyright © William Knox 2004