As overheard at a model railway club, somewhere in Cheshire, and jotted down by John Millington. The names and locations have been changed, but these stories are based on true conversations.
Archived editions (1-77, see nav-bar at the top of the page) were originally published via the Cheshire Railway Modellers website, but from December 2012, issue 78, the Jottings can be found here in blog form.
John Millington is a nom de plume. The author's true identity is disguised to enable him to continue collecting material for the articles.
|Posted on December 31, 2017 at 5:40 AM|
There was disquiet at the Whirtleborough show. Words like ‘unfair’, ‘cheat’ and ‘fraud’ were said. It was after one of the awards went to a beautiful layout that ran faultlessly. But after the presentation, it transpired that the exhibitor had commissioned various people to build the baseboards, the track, the buildings and scenery, the electrics, the locos and most of the rolling stock. All he’d done was co-ordinate the project, sign a vast number...Read Full Post »
|Posted on November 30, 2017 at 5:40 AM|
Just before Christmas, Fred and Jane visited a model railway exhibition. This one was billed as a family show. And indeed there were many families there, with lots of layouts for them to drive, shunt, works signals, etc.
In the centre of the main room there was a carpet on the floor, surrounded by a low sectional plastic fence. Two ovals of G-scale track had been laid on the carpet, each with loops and sidings. Two youngsters were sitting on the floor, engrossed on drivi...Read Full Post »
|Posted on October 31, 2017 at 6:05 AM|
There was one layout at the Catfield show that was of an ingenious double-deck design. The visible portion depicted a rural junction station. The lines in each direction curved and dropped to the lower level, where there was a complex of junctions and storage loops, all hidden from view of both public and operators. Some trains would disappear into the tunnel at the Edinburgh end, to re-appear some time later as the return working. Other trains, like loaded coal wagons would only run in t...Read Full Post »
|Posted on October 31, 2017 at 5:55 AM|
Have you seen all this?” our secretary had asked a couple of months ago as he spread out a whole sheaf of papers on the table. “This has all come from the organiser of the Salchester show.” We leafed through them and took our pick.
“This sheet is about meals and overnight accommodation arrangements,” Ken announced. “It wants to know who is vegetarian, vegan, or allergic to milk, gluten, nuts, and so on.”
“T...Read Full Post »
|Posted on October 1, 2017 at 6:00 AM|
On arrival at the Wraybury show with our layout, we found that no electrical cables had been laid out, even though setting up was well under way.
“You’ll find a socket somewhere over there,” one of the organisers said, with a gesture that was wide enough to encompass most of the known universe. “You all have your own way of setting out cables, so we’re letting you get on with it.”
We erected the layout and ran out our ca...Read Full Post »
|Posted on July 31, 2017 at 2:40 PM|
It’s not often that dance and model railways appear in the same sentence, but it happened last week. We’d been discussing Plonkton’s new layout – a beautifully-modelled grand terminus set in a county town. But it didn’t hold an audience for long.
At first we couldn’t work out why. But then it dawned. A passenger train came in, the loco was changed, and the train left. A freight would arrive, shunt and depart. The full potential of th...Read Full Post »
|Posted on July 1, 2017 at 1:45 PM|
At the Dewcliffe show, the newly-appointed Editor of the Regional Federation Newsletter had a small stall and was making himself known. He was trying to meet as many officers from as many clubs as he could and persuade them to write short reports about what the clubs were up to and their future plans.
“Your predecessor always mucked up our contributions,” was a common complaint. “Some were so garbled that they were unintelligible,” another person sa...Read Full Post »
|Posted on June 1, 2017 at 3:40 AM|
We’d been at the Catfields show. One exhibitor obviously had a thing about pre-grouping covered vans. On his ‘historical’ layout he’d got examples from most of the railway companies in the British Isles, each proudly displaying its company’s livery and lettering.
While the owner was on his lunch break, his understudy started to form up short groups of vans. When he saw the owner re-enter the hall, he marshalled the vans into a single train in...Read Full Post »
|Posted on May 1, 2017 at 10:35 AM|
You really ought to go to the Specialist Narrow-gauge Trade Show,” Fred was told by a friend he’d met recently. “But do bring plenty of cash and make sure your credit card is well-funded. There’ll be so many lovely things to buy.” Fred showed little enthusiasm.
“But you used to be such a regular visitor, and you’ve bought lots of stuff in the past,” said the friend. “We’ll all miss you.”
...Read Full Post »
|Posted on March 31, 2017 at 2:55 PM|
At the Whirtleborough show, we heard the Plonkton show manager again talking about his procedure for selecting layouts for his exhibition. He was adamant. “You mustn’t have more than one layout representing the same company or era. There must be a good mix of scales and gauges, and of operating styles at well.”
“I remember visiting one show where one builder was exhibiting two models of the same place. The key difference was that one was set in LM...Read Full Post »