13 DEC 16

The latest Southern Federation newsletter is available here


A selection of pics from today’s highly successful Santa Specials at Eaton Park, featuring two Santas, (but which is more convincing?) a kiosk elf and various other assorted elves, including the Elfenmeister  himself, Brian Baker, members in the hospitality tent sampling the wares , and some rather unusual footwear!



Three pics (below) from the final dry run before the real thing on Sunday 4th. But, who’s the Santa?



A message from Barry Fane, Chairman,Dear Members,I am very sad to report that Frank Coles, former chairman of the society, died 13th of November aged 96.The funeral will be held on Thursday 1st. December at 15.30 at St Faiths Crematorium. Family flowers only but donations can be made to Marie Curie Cancer Care.Our deepest sympathy to his family. 


Today the elf team did a dry run assembly of the main marquee for the Santa Specials.  This is a fairly heavy duty item and will come in handy for other functions as well (a model railway exhibition has been suggested).  It all went together rather well and in the last pic the team look well pleased with their work.



We have been informed that Raymond Snelling’s funeral will take place at St Faiths at 1100 on the 28th November.  Family flowers only are requested.  Otherwise, donations may be made to Big ‘C’ in memory of Ray.


The directors of the society announce, with considerable sadness, the passing of member and fellow director, Raymond Snelling, following a recent illness.  A full obituary will be published in the November eBulletin.


It’s full steam ahead for Richard W’s 5″ Britannia.  Or is it?  Here Richard takes first tentative steps down the raised track, closely supervised by Bill and Brian.  We hope this loco will be a  regular performer on the raised track next year.



Wanted urgently – Christmas decorations, especially large or stand alone electricals, for the NDSME Christmas specials in December.  We need to decorate Santa’s grotto.  If you’ve anything we can borrow bring it along on a Tuesday or contact the chairman with your offer.  Your help will be greatly appreciated.


Brian Baker organised a practice assembling of the marquees for the Santa days.  This one shown is of substantial construction and should last several years.  Also in the pic is Bill Rout who we all welcome back.



A start is made on producing sleepers for the track renewal project. Fortunately Barry and Brian finished the day with all their fingers intact!


24 Oct 2016

Lowestoft Model Engineering and Model Making Exhibition at Ormiston Denes Academy, Lowestoft.22-23rd October 2016

This exhibition was well supported by members. We had a classroom to ourselves and Roger had sourced 47 exhibits from club members which more than filled the room. Below are examples from Neville Gower, Robert Bailey and Kevin Laxham, There will be more pics in the November eBulletin.  Thanks are due to Roger Montgomery for organising a fine display.


18 Oct 2016

Today, the A3 descended back through the floor onto the tracks under the building. A first step in the progress back into service.


URGENTLY REQUIRED – Christmas decorations and Christmas lights to decorate Santas Grotto on the 4th and 11th of December.  If you can lend any, please email the Chairman Barry Fane.  We will also need up to two Santa Costumes plus some elves.  If you now where these may be had please let Barry know.

11 Oct 2016 

A coach is being organised for the London ME exhibition at Alexandra Palace on Sat 21st January 2017.  It will depart from Notcutts (or other departure point if Notcutts is unavailable) at 0730. The cost will be £21.  Members will obtain their own admission tickets at the exhibition.  For further details contact Roger Montgomery on 01603 403395.

Click here for exhibition website

09 Oct 2016

Despite a relatively good forecast, the weather was not good today, with rain at the crucial time of just before 1pm, however, eventually the Children in Need afternoon started, beginning with an informal briefing (below)


and then lighting up in the rain!


followed by a publicity shoot for local press, featuring Brian, Ivan and Pete


Now, what was making Richard Wells laugh here?


People were asking, “Where’s Allan (Shirley)?”  Well, here he is, as Pudsey…


And again, posing for the camera…


Lastly, the people without whom none of this would be possible!


Despite the poor weather, we raised £567 for CiN!  Such is the perceived importance now, of this last day of the season event, that the local press sent both a photographer and a journalist to cover!

05 Oct 2016

Following the EGM today, the Board (committee) now comprises P. Moore, R. Montgomery, D. Beeken, C. Lovett,  B. Fane,  A. Shirley,  M. Rhodes, P. King and R. Snelling.  Barry Fane was elected Chairman and Allan Shirley became Membership Secretary.  All directors now serve for one year only before re-election.  Committee expenditure on capital items was limited to £500 without further consent from the membership at monthly meetings.  Brian Baker proposed that, as an experiment, the Society operate Santa Specials this year.  This was approved by the EGM and organisation is ongoing.  The requirement for guards to be present on non-public trains was relaxed, pending the full signalling system.

04 Oct 2016

The signal box has windows, but not of glass!  These are cosmetic windows painted on the protective shutters.  Vandals won’t be able to break these!


03 Oct 2016

The first truly autumnal Sunday at the park – September seemed just an extension of summer!  Here’s Roger enjoying a few circuits with Richard C’s loco.  Not quite sure what Philip on the back is thinking about though… (all pics Mike Fordham)


Brian Sayer here at the controls of dieselmikes ’73.  First time for Brian with this loco and didn’t he do well!


Second time in steam today for Richard Wells new 5″ Britannia.  The four-piece grate is a bit fiddly, he said, but now he’s cracked the method of lighting up, a suggestion by Charlie Lovett proving successful.


The nearby model boat club held its Children in Need fundraiser today. (pics the webteam)


The public were invited to have a go around a specially laid out course at the clubhouse end.


There were many wonderful (and weird!) boats on display,


Fortunately, there were no U-boats prowling beneath the surface today.

29 Sept 2016

It is confirmed by Companies House that D. Davey and B. Towers have resigned as directors of NDSME.  The remaining directors are P. Moore, D. Beeken,  R. Montgomery, R. Allgood,  R. Snelling and C. Lovett.

25 Sept 2016

David Beeken and Brian Sayer invite any interested members to visit the Gauge 1 East Anglian Group   Open Day at Hepworth, in a field in Church Lane opposite Church Close, IP22 2PU. The track is in the Nissen hut.  Sunday 30th October from 11am.  Light refreshments available.  No entry fee but donations welcome.  Hepworth is off the A143 Scole to BuryStEd road.

22 Sept 2016

Roger Montgomery has volunteered to organise exhibits for the Lowestoft Exhibition.  The dates are 22 and 23 October 2016.  If you would like to exhibit, or just help out, please contact Roger on 01603 403395

Sunday 18 Sept 2016

Today, Richard Wells brought his 5″ Britannia along for a steaming.  Despite much attention it didn’t manage to raise any pressure and Richard is here getting advice from Ivan and Roger.


Two regulars attended today, Neville with his Holmside and John Peterson, recently returned from a visit to an archaeological dig which just happened to be adjacent to the famous Pilsner Brewery in Czechoslovakia.


After checking on Richard’s Britannia, Roger Montgomery did a turn as Guard and then Driver on Richard Crook’s loco. (Below left) receiving instruction (Below right) debut run solo.


Towards the end of the day Richard’s Britannia still hadn’t fired up, however tips and hints were passed on by Ivan (below).  This conversation centred on fusible plugs…


13 Sept 2016

Work continued today on the wiring for the signalling system.  Chris Shingles was wiring up LEDs on the panel (below)


On the other side, this is what he was wiring, blue point indicator LEDs and dual-colour LEDs to show signal aspect


A communication system is now installed, enabling the station staff to request a route from the signalman.  The panel below is on the station and here a departure has been selected from Platform 2.


And this is what the signalman sees, a request to set a route for a train ready to depart Platform 2.


In other works, Brian Bakers trailer reconstruction is almost complete.  Richard S is painting the reconstructed body and the rails have been installed. 


11 Sept 2016

Today, between 1200 and 1300, we welcomed visitors from the Heritage Open Days (HODs) festival.  There was also a large contingent from The Friends of Eaton Park who had also visited the boating pavilion where they enjoyed excellent views from the upper deck.  Below, Mike Riches waits to depart with a 3 car train full.  Allan Shirley is checking documents.


At the end of what then became a normal Sunday, Pete King (below) enjoys a moments reflection with Ivan. His loco, he informs, had covered 13 miles during the afternoon.  All told, the NDSMEs railway carried almost 900 visitors – no mean achievement with so many regulars on holiday.


08 September 2016

It is announced that there will be an Extraordinary General Meeting of the NDSME, to be held at Eaton Park on Wednesday 5th October at 7pm.  Further details will be sent by post and email shortly.

08 Sept 2016

Eaton Park, the NDSMEs home, is potentially under threat from funding cuts, according to the Eastern Evening News.  Read the full text   here

Sunday 04 Sept 2016

No trains ran today.  This was the scene at 3:50 pm.


Monday 29 August 2016.

A track defect meant that passenger trains used the short cut-off track at the top of the field, providing an unusual diversion for trains as they bypassed the inner loop.


The next day, the defective track was repaired by a hastily assembled PW team.

(photo Richard Crook)


23 August 2016

Is this a new Olympic discipline?  Not quite.  Brian Sayer (next to the new distant signal) and Allan Shirley were asked to ‘scoot’ along the line to activate components of the new signalling system being installed by Brian Bakers team.  Still….there’s always Tokyo 2020!


21 August 2016

A rather nice day in the park with Mike, Pete and Richard providing the motive power.  Brass band in the bandstand and the usual park pursuits, ice creams, picnics etc.

A pleasant afternoon sat watching the trains pass by.  Two new benches provided by the Friends of Eaton Park for just this purpose.


Mikes quarry diesel.  Just ticking over with two trolleys!


Ivan dropped by today and took a few circuits with Richards new loco.  Impressed he was!


Richards GM loco is becoming a regular.  Two trolleys today!


The Master showing us how it’s done…


Brian Sayer learning to drive Pete King’s Hunslet Elidir.  He looks fairly chuffed with himself…


We keep him in a box.  Sometimes he’s allowed out to play


16 August 2016

There is an extensive hedge that we maintain in the field.  Today, two hedge trimmers and various shears were out in force, wielded by (clockwise from top left) Richard Crook, Roger Montgomery, Brian Sayer and Philip (in hat).  It’s quite a chore but it has to be done!


14 August 2016

A new loco appeared today.  This is a 5″ Britannia belonging to Richard Wells.  It originated with a dealer in Liverpool and Richard hopes to have it in service soon.


Mike Riches hauls a happy load of park visitors today. His diesel powered quarry loco has performed faultlessly this season.


11 August 2016

Following the AGM, Mr William Rout has announced he has resigned from the society.

10 August 2016

At the AGM a commitment was given that the members area of the website would continue.  This will enable it to develop and flourish.  The following members of the committee stood down and did not seek re-election – John Peterson, Barry Fane, Mark Rhodes and Clint Ballard.  There were no replacements.  The comittee for next year comprises David Davey, Roy Algood, Bernie Towers, Ray Snelling, Charlie Lovett and also Philip Moore, David Beekman and Roger Montgomery.

02 August 2016

The signal box is almost complete now and here Richard S is applying cosmetic filler before the final interior painting.


Another mundane but essential task, removing green waste and transporting for disposal.  No practical skills are necessary for this task.


The tunnel shutters have been repaired and include new security features and a ventilated section which should help prevent damp during the cold season.  We have also heard from the police that they were unable to identify the possible vandals seen on the CCTV footage and consequently they are unable to proceed further.


24 July 2016

Heute war U-Boot-Tag am See mit Booten!  Today was submarine day at the boating lake.  There were many interesting models ranging from an early CSA Navy model from the Civil War period, to fantasy models of today.  The majority were WW1 and WW2 era.

This US Navy model was over 8′ long!


Richard couldn’t resist a go!


Here, two (Type II?) boats have just rendez-vous’d with a Type XXI(?), maybe to receive instructions.


A rather nice Type VIIc (I think)


They hunt in pairs, silently below the surface!


Keeping an eye on things from dry dock was HMS Dreadnought!


20 July 2016.

The AGM is only weeks away. Don’t forget that all members questions and prospective motions must be submitted in advance to the secretary before Monday 1st August.   email  secretary@ndsme.co.uk

19 July 2016.

Brian Baker returned today after a short period of illness.  Below is the station panel that will be used to communicate with the signal box.


12 July 2016 

A day of progress and setback, as detailed below.

Vandalism!  70ft of  5″ rail was ripped out on Sunday or Monday.  Damage also to a 7.25″ rail.  This was discovered too late to repair and consequently the ground level will be replaced by the raised track on Sunday 17th July and possibly beyond.  This is the third serious instance of vandalism this year!  Below, Barry Fane inspects the damage while Allan Shirley looks on.


The site is plagued by multiple gentlemen in black velvet waistcoats.  Here Richard C removes a hill.


How many model engineers does it take to….?  Just seven in this instance!


Mike Fordham manually activates one of the train detector switches


Here, we’re checking that the correct button activates the correct signal


Work continues on the signalling system electronics.  Brian Sayer here notes a critical point.


The signal box was glazed today.  The fella from Capricorn was quick and had no breakages.  Which might not have been the case if we’d attempted it!


11 July 2016

Mike Fordham has found this pic that was taken on a Sunday morning by Arnold Hoskins in 1961. It shows member R. Allen with what is thought to be a 3.5″ gauge Black 5. It also shows the raised track without the tipping bars.  The question is, was the original raised track laid as 3.5″ first and later converted to the dual gauge that exists today?  Or, does this in fact show a 5″ gauge loco and the 3.5″ rail was added at a later date? 

A second question is whereabouts on todays circuit is this shot taken?  Any info please to Mike, email   mfaf3437@gmail.com

Do you have any earlier photos taken at the park?   Let Mike know if you do.


05 July 2016

Richard S checking the fit of the guttering on the signal box.


One of the less popular jobs – cleaning algae of the station woodwork


03 July 2016

Bill Rout crossing the new swing bridge on the clubs heritage track today.(Pic, Mike Fordham)


21June 2016

Richard and Ron were hard at work on the signal box today, which I’m sure you’ll agree is coming on a treat!  The glaziers attended today to measure up for glass.


New member Pete Ottley brought his 5″ kit build Cl. 37 to the park today for a test run.  As yet unpainted, it pulled a full trolley with ease.  It has sound and smoke and can also be remote controlled!  It’s going to be BR blue when it’s finished.  Lower pic shows detail under the bonnet.


19 June 2016

Mike Fordham was in the field today and found hundreds of bee orchids in various stages of flower.Most likely to be seen in flower between May and July. Between January and March the tubers lie dormant underground. Flower spikes first appear in May. The lowest flowers on the spike open earliest. Some plants will have fully open flowers by late May. The flowering continues throughout July. Seed capsules develop as the flowers die off. Each capsule contains 6,000 to 10,000 tiny seeds. By October the dead brown flowering spikes are sometimes still visible. Below ground only those seeds which are successful in gaining nutrients from fungal hyphae (the long, branching filamentous structure of a fungus) will begin their 5 to 8 years development before flowering.


Another great shot, by Mike Fordham, featuring Pete King’s Hunslet amidst a sea of wild flowers.  But can anybody identify the exact location?


After a successful trial earlier in the month, Richard’s CIE loco entered public service today and was a great success. The distinctive shape and colour were a great hit with the public.


14 June 2016.

Richard the Gardener spotted a bumper crop of bee orchids in flower in the field today.  Very nice too!


5 June 2016

Richard’s new loco had a test run with his family, celebrating a birthday. It’s a CIE Class 181, made by General Motors and delivered to CIE in the 1960s.  He says there’s still some detail to be applied and an adjustment to wiring, but it worked fine!


4 June 2016

At the Maxitrak Owners Day, a rather nice Class 20, a Hunslet steamer and two yellow Planets, Fliegende Banane and Daphodil and sunny weather too!


01 June 2016

It is announced that Mr J Peterson has resigned as Chairman.

30 May 2016


It was a bitterly cold day at the park today for the EACH fundraiser and the park was quieter than usual.  Brian Parker from Peterborough brought his Romulus along and, with its unusual chimney cap, it performed faultlessly all afternoon, as did Pete King’s Hunslet and Mike Riches quarry loco.  The Class 42 was also on good form.   Both local press and TV turned up and interviewed the Chairman.  (I expect we’ll see him on Question Time soon! )  Thanks are due to all involved in aiding this worthy cause.


24 May 2016


Vandalism at the track discovered today. Roller shutter door smashed in.  Police are on the case and there are  excellent images of possible offenders on our cctv!  In the meantime, however, all the stock has to be stored back under the building.

17 May 2016.

In the June 2016 edition of Model Engineers Workshop there is an article by our very own steamguywilly aka Robert Bailey.  It describes a “two hole filing rest”.  To find out more, see the magazine.  Keep an eye on this column as RB may well post the drawings for you all here

15 May 2016


Publicity shot for the EACH fundraising day on Whit Monday, featuring DieselMike, the Chairman and other assorted likely lads.

11 May 2016

In the evening, the society visited the Ashmanhaugh Light Railway and this was possibly the best attended society meeting this year! As usual, the grounds were immaculate, and hospitality excellent. We were given freedom of the track, clubroom, workshop and loco sheds.  Four trains were running for us, with the Shay taking most of the riders, but the late John Dabson would have enjoyed a ride behind his Romulus Isobel, which was also running well, after fairly drastic surgery by one of our members. The NDSME thanks the Ashmanhaugh group for the invite.  Photos by Brian Baker


Always time for a chat, but did they move at all?


Nice little toastrack and an impressive gantry.


Firm and definite management from John Pond. But just what is he saying?


Trains that pass in the night…


Keeping an eye out to ensure things don’t get out of hand!

10 May 2016

On a miserably wet day, work continues on the signal box. Below are Richard and Ron working in Windows.  Not Microsoft Windows, but wooden ones!


04 May 2016

Following a decision  of the company directors, please note that the miniature railway will be closed to the public on the last Sunday of each month with immediate effect.

01 May 2016


Pic of dieselmikes new 5″ loco on the first raised track session of the year.  Mike and Allan Shirley pulled a huge number of happy visitors between them.  Thanks are also due to JP, PM and KB who also came along to help.

26 April 2016

Raised track bridges tested.


Philip cautiously takes a train over one of the new swing bridges on the raised track.  These two bridges, constructed by David Beekman, remove the chore of installing bolted-in bridges each time the track is used, and then having to dismantle them afterwards.  A saving of about one hour of fiddly work!

26 April 2016

Progress on the signal box.

Alongside the carpentry, the S&T guys are now wiring up all the signals and other circuits


  Brian checking wiring in the new panel.


Here,the communication panel to the station is installed.

24 April 2016

It was very cold in the park today.  The temp barely got into double figures.  Still, there were  283 visitors.  Locos in use were dieselmike’s quarry diesel and Pete King’s Hunslet.  The warship put in a few appearances before the batteries went flat!  Again!

19 April 2016

The new lawn mower was delivered today.  It is a Haytor self-propelled and will be a great improvement on the old mower which is slowly shaking itself to bits! Click here to see a pic of Richard and the mower.

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