West Midlands Area Group

G Scale Society - West Midlands

About Us

The West Midlands area group covers the Birmingham / West Midlands conurbation and Worcestershire. We hold monthly meetings at our club room, the Scout HQ, next to St Mary’s Church Hall, in Solihull on Saturdays between September and May – see diary for dates. The club room is only minutes away from junction 5 of the M42.
We have our own club layout which is available for any member to run trains on during meetings, see “Blythe Valley” below. Refreshments are available throughout the day. There are members bring and buy stalls and retailers’ sales stands at some of our gatherings. Anyone contemplating joining us is always welcome to attend one of these monthly meetings to see what we get up to.
Additionally, one of our meetings (usually in February) incorporates our annual model railway exhibition.
During the Summer months many of our members hold open days on their own railways thus providing us with a full social calendar throughout the year. We like to see ourselves as a friendly bunch and would welcome anyone who has an interest in G Scale to come and join us.
For more details, contact Paul Blake Group leader 01299 826022


Your Area Group News

1. Our next meeting is on Saturday 13th January.

The Sparesman (Tony) will be there, but not John Sutton.

Our annual Bring and Buy sale will also be held. There will be a table in the separate room will be available for items for sale.

At 1pm we will be holding our AGM. It will follow the usual format.

Friday night is setup night in readiness for play day on Saturday. We are including the turntable this time so it will take a little longer to set up. Any help will be much appreciated by the usual crew.

Doors will open at 4:00pm.

Annual Dinner

3. Our Annual Dinner will be held on:

Saturday 27th January 2018

at The Abbey Hotel Redditch.


Roasted Winter Squash Soup;
Melon & Pineapple
Fresh Orange Juice.

Main Course

Traditional Roast Turkey, Chestnut Stuffing, Chipolata Sausage, roast Gravy;
Grilled Scottish Salmon Dill cream.

Fresh Fruit Salad (diabetic);
Profiteroles with Dark Chocolate Sauce;
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce with Custard.

Tea and Coffee to be served following lunch.

COST £20.00 per person.

In order to assist the chef, Jenny would be grateful if you could let either Paul or herself have your choices from the menu by email by Friday 21st January or at the meeting on Saturday 13 January.

If there are any dietary requirements please let Jenny know as soon as possible so I can arrange for them to be met.

Payment in cash on the day would be helpful please.

Society Diary

Your Dates

Indoor Meetings


Saturday January 13th
11 to 4 pm
Scouts’ Hall, Hobs Meadow

Saturday February 10th
West Midlands Exhibition 10 – 4pm
St Mary’s Church Hall, Hobs Meadow

Saturday March 10th
11 to 4 pm
Scouts’ Hall, Hobs Meadow

Saturday April 14th
11 to 4 pm
Scouts’ Hall, Hobs Meadow

Saturday May 5th
11am to 4pm
Scouts’ Hall, Hobs Meadow

Gn15 Group
Saturday February 3rd
St Mary’s Church Hall, Hobs Meadow

New Year Lunch

Saturday 27th January 2018
12.00 for 12.30
Abbey Hotel Golf and Spa
Hither Green Lane
Off Dagnell Road End
B98 9BE

Other Dates
G Rail
Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Wigman Road,
Nottingham NG8 4PB
Sunday 13th May 2018

International N Gauge Show
Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, Fosse Way, CV31 1XN
Saturday/Sunday September 9/10 2017
10:00 – 16:00

Llanfair Garden Railway Exhibition
Caereinion Leisure Centre,Llanfair SY21 0HW
Saturday September 2, 2017
10:00 – 16:30:00

Redditch Model Railway Exhibition
Trinity High School, Grove Street, Redditch B98 8HB
Saturday/Sunday, September 16/17 2017
10:00:00 – 16:30:00

Midland Model Engineering Exhibition
Warwickshire Exhibition Centre,Fosse Way, nr.Leamington CV31 1XN
Thursday, October 19, 2017 to Sunday, October 22, 2017
10:00 – 16:00:00

Rodington Model Railway Show
Rodington Village Hall, near Shrewsbury SY4 4QS
Saturday, November 4, 2017
10:30 – 16:30

Solihull Model Railway Club Exhibition
Scouts’ Hall, Hobs Meadow
Saturday, November 11, 2017
1000 – 1630

Warley Model Railway Exhibition
Saturday/Sunday, November 25/26 2017
9:30 – 16:30

Stafford Model Railway Exhibition
Stafford County Show Ground,ST18 0BD
Saturday/Sunday February 3/4 2018
10:00 – 16:30:00

Leamington & Warwick Railway Exhibition
Leamington Spa College
Saturday/Sunday March 3/4,
10:00 – 16:00

Large Scale Model Railway Exhibition
Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, Fosse Way, CV31 1XN
Saturday, March 17, 2018
10:00 – 16:00

Nottingham Model Railway Exhibition
Harvey Hadden Sports Centre, Nottingham NG8 4PB
Saturday/Sunday March 17/18 March 2018

Sutton Model Railway Exhibition,
Bishop Walsh School, Wylde Green Rd, Sutton Coldfield B76 1QT
Saturday/Sunday, April 28/29 20187

G Rail; Harvey Hadden Sports Village
Saturday, May 12, 2018
10:00 – 17:00:00

A Club Meet

Our Layout

Blythe Valley

Blythe Valley is erected at our monthly meets for members to run their trains. The picture opposite shows the layout when still under development.
Blythe Valley can be set up to run all trains under analogue control, or to have two of its four tracks using analogue control and its other two tracks running digital control. Our third option allows us to have all four tracks under digital control. This final option offers the greatest operational flexibility.
Whichever operating set up is used members are able to run battery controlled or live steam rolling stock.

The Maintenance Depot

The Maintenance depot is part of our layout, “Blythe Valley”, that can be used as a separate layout when an additional scenic section and a fiddle yard are added to it. It shows an aging steam depot which has had facilities for diesel locomotives recently added. The original steam depot is shown as tired and worn in comparison to the newer diesel facilities.

Something he Built Earlier

Whilst there are members of our group who are happy to drink tea and watch trains go by, there are many members who enjoy creating there own models. This section will highlight the work of some of those members.

Dave Tilling’s Toby

Dave’s Toby is scratchbuilt and runs on a LGB power unit. It is weighted with lead and is fited with a DCC decoder, a smoke unit and a sound unit. It also features working lights

Dave Tilling's scratch-built Toby

Mike Rymill’s Electrical Operating Signal Gantry

My garden layout is compact with little chance of increasing its size
So I looked for something to add interest to the layout.
“An electrical operating Signal Gantry”

It would need to stretch across 4 tracks and be operated from my control panel some 3 metres away.
I looked around for suitable materials and came up with a length of dry wall plastic angle bead at my local Builders Merchant. I bought a 3 metre length for £5. I already had some hardwood of 45mm x 6mm to form a platform and provide supports to the top and bottom of the towers.
The lights were made by using a resin moulded fitting made by a friend in the club, these were mounted onto some 10 x 10mm cable trunking by drilling through the removable front piece and gluing the fitting with its lamps into place. Should I need to access the lamps the front comes off easily.
The led lamps are 5mm 12 volt Red or Green from Maplin. They were then soldered to the cables and the units painted black.
I used 8 core cable plus a single return cable. These go into a Chock-block under the signal cabin. From here the cable is buried under the gravel up to my control box some 3 metres away where it terminates in a splitable chock- block which is secured to my shed.
On my control board I located a plastic food box into which I fitted 7 switches on-off-on although I only use 4 switches the remaining 3 are for future use. It is fitted with a splitable chock-block to plug into the shed.
Should I need to I can unplug the control box and the Gantry and take them into my workshop for attention.
Power 12 volt is taken from my train controller using a home made plug of chock blocks and snap rivets.
I have made a wooden ladder and fitted it to the gantry leg nearest to the signal box

Michael Rymill West Midlands Group

Innards of Dave Tilling's scratchbuilt Toby
Mike Rymill's Signal Gantry
Control Box

2017 Exhibition

Our 2017 Annual Exhibition was held on:-

Saturday 11th February 2017


Little Kidmore Wharf – Ken Jones
Reely Grate Primrose Hill – Tim Johnson
Hortus Halt – Chris Morris
GN 15 Layout 1 – Alan Eccles
GN 15 Layout 2 – John Bint
Blythe Valley + Maintenance Depot –
Dave Maule
Thomas Rail Road – Mike Smith
Fluospar – Brian Dominic
Emar Town – Mike Rymill
Battenburg – Terry Melbourne
Ngauging Doorset – Dave Tilling



G Gauge Galore
John Sutton Books and Models
Black Cat Bridges
Pendle Valley Models
Malcs Models
Barley Pit works
Steam Models
P&G Models

Tardebigge Treacle Works

Something for the winter – Gn15

At the Group meeting on 11th April 17, Alan said he would organise a Gn15 section within the Group if there was sufficient interest. Following our Meeting on 8th April sufficient numbers have signed up to make the idea worth pursuing.


Theme: Generally based on Arthur Haywood ‘Estate railway’ practice.
Though members can model whatever they wish

PECO 0-16.5 ‘crazy track
PECO Code 100 rail

Continuous running track – in line with centre of right hand dowel as you
looking at the end of the board.

Inner track – Positive
Outer Track – Negative

Size: 600mm x 400mm
Male engineer dowel – Right as you look at the board

Over reach clips – as you look at board hook on right mechanism on left

Back scene, 350mm, fitted with flush brackets

Stock loading gauge
55mm wide
110mm high
Minimum 6mm clearance above track
Board loading gauge Tunnels 70mm wide/120mm high.
Minimum 30mm lineside stock clearance,
especially on bends

Phono Plugs/Sockets Centre – positive
Outer – negative
Red Plug Track power from controller
Yellow Plug 12dc for accessories
White Plug 16-20v AC points etc.

A Gn15 layout created Member Peter Laband

I wanted to try making something I could try out a few ideas on, it had to be simple to build and I had a my eye on a blocked off doorway in an old bedroom that used to have shelves in it, this dictated the size. I did not want to spend much and it had to be easy to dust. I fancied a shunting puzzle as this would give it some play value – the one with three sidings and six wagons fitted the brief nicely. I would use a couple of buildings I had brought at a show, tile cement for the rest. The grass is an odd shade of green because that was the match pot I they had in Wilko that year. But I also wanted a back story, so here goes…
This is the other end of a little line that runs from a wharf (that would have been just left of what is modelled) up a valley to a very small mine. Originally this was a donkey track, but at some point some money was acquired and this was replaced with a railway. Something like 15 inch was used in the mine, so it was continued down the valley. The line went just past the wharf to where there was a convenient water source, this was pumped into a small water tower. There was a small turn table (for a small Haywood style 0-4-0) and an very small office. The office was offset to keep an eye on the coal bunker, and when the pit was dug for the turntable no allowance was made for the loading gauge so the track had to curve past the water tower to it! This makes a the model nice and curvy.
It was quickly realised that stabling the loco at the mine was a mistake, the track to the village was down by the wharf so the miners had a long walk home. So a wooden shed was built behind the office for the loco. As time went by the turntable was found to be more hassle than it was worth, the loco did not need to be turned. Yes it ran better one way than the other (like so many steam locos) but if it was normally pointed up the valley this was ok, running backwards was down hill anyway, so the turntable was partially filled in an some old points from the mine slapped over this to serve what were now two sidings that went into the shed.
And so our little mine struggled on. The track to the village was metalled and the produce of the mine went mostly out by road from the wharf yard, but their was no other right of way to the mine so the railway stayed. Money was short but a gate was added to the level crossing as a sop to health and safety. Enthusiasts were beginning to find this little old line.
But then disaster, one night there was a fire and the shed burnt down! the little steam loco was badly damaged, but now it had value to the enthusiasts and was sold off to be rebuilt. A small petrol loco was found, little more than a lawnmower engine on wheels, but it did the job. But there was now no shed so another set of points was found and a track laid into the old office, this was now the loco shed.

So we have arrived on a Saturday morning. It’s the enthusiasts day – they now maintain the line in return for being allowed to play. So we roll 3 dice, this selects the three wagons we need today. the loco is powered by an umbilical to a battery box with a direct switch (i’m not into track cleaning). We have three sidings to shuffle the wagons in, use sink plug chain for the couplings (I had to extend the pins to make this easier to hook on/off). The road gate limits the area we have to play in. Because there is no roof on what was the old loco shed it is not too difficult, but you want to think through your movements before you spend too long fiddling with the couplings (it’s an incentive).

An extra rule is that you have to leave the line to the old office clear (the boss does not like tripping over them if he calls in), and if I really want to kill time I have to get the wagons in the same order as the dice landed.

Bram’s Effort So Far

Colin Brooks

Club Member

01527 879160