Owning a steam engines does not mean you have to have deep pocket, read on. In the past couple of years an increasing number of club members have become interested in 16 mm:Imperial foot scale locomotives which can be gas fired, coal fired or battery powered. These locomotives and rolling stock are based on narrow gauge railways such as the Ffestiniog railway in North Wales. 16 mm trains (also called garden rail) run on 32 mm (0 Gauge) or 45 mm (Gauge 1) gauge track and being based on narrow gauge railways
lend themselves to scratch building especially for the wagons and carriages. The locomotives come in a wide range of prices to suit all types of pockets from ‘build your own’ very cheap battery powers runners to very expensive and detailed radio-controlled gas or coal-fired models.
In 2015 the Weymouth club built an outdoor track (see picture) and with its core of keen 16 mm modeller is always readily and willing to welcome new members and to offer help and advice. If you would like to find out more about this scale of modelling then please look at: http://www.16mm.org.uk/
In addition to activities at the Weymouth club, there is a Dorset Group of the 16 mm Association. This Group meet regularly in the private garden of their members for running trains and socialising. The beauty of 16 mm scale is that the locos and rolling stock are easy to transport and quick to get running.
16mm Track Construction – Phase One
The motivation for a 16 mm outdoor track stemmed from the fact that track built in 2011 was not a practical solution as a ‘turn-up and run’ facility, which took a considerable amount of time to set up, assuming a suitable location was available along with the need to be able to access the school.
The committee recognised this short coming and after suitable lobbying, allocated a sizeable sum of money to construct an outdoor track. There then followed a protracted period of meetings of small groups generating lots of diagrams and notes on methods of construction but a reluctance to set the building process in motion. In late 2014 the committee let it be known that if the funds set aside for the new facility was not taken up in early 2015, they would be reallocated. This galvanised the 16 mm members into action and following a meeting held in November, an action plan was drawn up and despite another lull in activity a small group decided action was needed and set about finally building the track. The desire by some members to have the track go through the small garden area was resisted on the grounds of the level of maintenance that would follow. The decision was to go for an oval-ish track set inside the small loop of the ground level track and weave as necessary around the trees and bushes that were there. The plan was for a track of around 39 m in length with the 32 mm track on the outside and 45 mm on the inside. The construction technique used was 110 mm soil pipes filled and set into a concrete base. A timber framework was fabricated on the posts, with the roofing battens laid on top to form the track bed. An ambitious 5 weekend build schedule was proposed but many doubted it could be done especially as most members were usually only on site for 3 hours on a Saturday morning. A few optimists believed it was just an issue of organisation.
Construction began on 21st February 2015 with the first Saturday being a flurry of activity and set the tone for the rest of the build, with no protracted discussions about the route, position of posts or how deep holes should be. The strong turnout also allowed for self-forming groups to establish route surveyors, hole diggers and bush-clearers amongst the skill sets.