O14 Wheelpress

David John describes his wheelpress (originally published in 7mm NGA Narrow Lines):

One of the troubles with 014 (some would say the only trouble) is that all wheelsets need to be regauged. There are lots of tools to help you check you have got it right, vernier callipers, Black Dog produced a cast resin block back-to-back gauge, Roy Link/KB Scale produce a very nice etched brass standards gauge. Of even earlier vintage is my home brewed version, simply a piece of 1/16th brass filed to my 12.4mm back to back and then, carefully, bent at right angles to form an ‘L’ shape. All of these will confirm if you have got the spacing correct but do not make the process any easier.

Then along came Adrian Gray, who described his wheelpress. This was over 15 years ago and I cannot remember if this was in a conversation, by e-mail or in print. My press is based on Adrian’s description without me ever seeing it or any drawings or photographs; so it may be exactly the same as Adrian’s – or unrecognisably different. In any case, very many thanks to Adrian – it makes life so much easier!

As the photo shows the wheelpress is made up of three pieces, the two end pieces are essentially the same. Hopefully construction and use are clear from my photos; although the back of the wheel must have all flash cleaned off before pressing. The two fixed slide rods are tool steel, fixed to one end; my press has tell-tales to make sure it is always put together the same way. The middle piece is machined to exactly 12.4 mm (the back to back I use) and the slot is 3mm. If I was doing it again I would include a cross slot to clear gear wheels on driving axles, as per the Black Dog resin block (if I had a cutter big enough!). Apart from those two measurements everything else can be made up from what is to hand.

Each end piece has been drilled and tapped 4BA, this has to be adjusted every time I use a different axle length but, once set, it ensures that the wheels are pressed in the same distance at each side. Nowadays I put a very small drop of thin superglue against the back of the wheel to ensure that it does not move in the future.

The press is simple and quick to use; finger pressure is enough to regauge any wheelset. I usually use 26mm long axles, so have rarely to alter the position of the set screws, although Murphy’s law dictated that the wheelset I picked up for these photographs was on the shorter 24.5mm axle.

Thanks again Adrian.

Wheelpress 1 Wheelpress 2

German Peat Layout

James H has supplied the following details on his new German Peat Layout in O14.

The layout is based on a number of German peat railways that are still in operation across Germany and draws on features from several of them. Much of the research for the layout has been on the excellent http://www.ingr.co.uk/ which is great resource for industrial narrow gauge railways across Europe. I have also purchased an excellent DVD on the subject of the German peat railways.

The layout will be 9 feet by 2 feet and is intended for home use, the base boards will be supplied By Tim Horn, http://www.timhorn.co.uk/baseboards/ these are laser cut baseboard from MDF. Woodwork is my least favourite part of the hobby and I am happy to let someone supply me with premade base boards!

Trackwork will be a mix of KB scale for visible track and copper clad for hidden sidings using Peco code flat bottom rail

I intend to depict 2 scenes on the layout, firstly the unloading scene, this involves the full peat wagons being unloaded into a tipper truck by a tippler and conveyor. The intention is to make a working tippler and conveyor. For the conveyor I have I am in the process of converting a 1/32 toy conveyor by company called Siku. The tippler will need to be scratch built, I intend to use an R/C servo to control it, this will allow the simulation of the tippler being rocked at the top of its movement to dislodge the load.

The second scene will be the ramshackle engine sheds, where basic work on the locos and wagons are stored, along with some maintenance trains.

Work so far has been on the stock for the layout, this has included a Diema DL6 from KB Scale, an O&K from Nonnemintre models and a scratch built Schoma loco of a more modern design built on a Bullant power bogie from Hollywood Foundry.


Rolling stock is mainly peat wagons I have scratch built a couple using KB Scale frames and some large ones using on the KB Scale axle boxes.

The scratch built wagon, the body is from hard word strip and the chassis from styrene sections, the body side is hinged to work with the tippler:


However as I want somewhere in the region of 20-30 of these so I have commissioned a body to be laser cut and 3D printed chassis:

It still needs some work, the frames need to be thinner and the details parts need adding. Again the body is hinged.

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Chelfham at Burton-upon-Trent

We had a good day out with David H’s Chelfham at the 7mm NGA AGM and expo recently. Despite our expectations no wise-cracks about the incomplete state of the trackwork etc. were received and we got lots of seemingly genuine interest. Many old and new friends popped by and several brought O14 locos and stock to run – unfortunately we forgot to photo them all.

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O14 layouts at ExpoNG 2014

ExpoNG poster 2014

ExpoNG 2014 will have more of a focus on O14 modelling than in recent years, with four layouts intended to showcase the variety of narrow gauge themes modellers in our scale are interested in.

Perhaps the most significant will be a section of John Clutterbuck’s Pentewan Light Railway, a home-based layout making a unique exhibition appearance (or at least for this part of it).

Also in attendance will be Rhyd by David John, travelling from the north of Scotland for a rare appearance in the south of the UK, The Abbey Light Railway by David Malton showing a scene from the now sadly closed ALR in Leeds, and South Bierley Sewage Works by Simon Hargraves.

As usual there will also be narrow gauge layouts in all major scales, from the UK and beyond, and excellent support from traders and societies.

ExpoNG 2014 will be held on the 25th October 2014 from 10am to 5pm, at the White Oak Leisure Centre, Hilda May Avenue, Swanley, Kent BR8 7BT

Further details will be available in due course at www.expong.org

Rhyd website

David John has created a website to show details of his excellent layout Rhyd. As he says:

Rhyd’ was built as a home layout and although it was designed to break-down to be transportable it was never intended to be an exhibition layout. Which means set-up time is a lot longer than most other layouts!

Coupled to this is the fact I live so far away – from anywhere really – and this means a heavy commitment of time from my operating crew (ExpoNG for example is two days there and two days back!) and high expenses for the show organisers.

I am not saying ExpoNG will be ‘Rhyd’s’ last exhibition; just the last for a while.

I was discussing this conclusion with friends and one of them suggested putting a web-site together as a ‘virtual’ exhibition. So here it is: www.rhyd.weebly.com

Ralph’s Models

L&B Model Trackwork

I have prepared the following two track samples for display at the L&B World section within the Warley MRC exhibition at the NEC this month.

Original L&BR Track 1898 – c.1926


40lb/yard Rail in 30′ lengths
Fishplates 15½” x 2”
Sleepers 4’6” x 9” x 4½” (often waney edge)
Clips and bolts at joint sleepers, spikes inbetween

Karlgarin Code 82 Rail
KBscale fishplates
Coffee stirrer sleepers
Clips adapted from KBscale clips
Proto:87 Stores spikes

Main Line Track as relaid by S.R. c.1926


40lb/yard Rail in 30′ lengths (original reused)
Fishplates 15½” x 2” (original reused)
Sleepers 4’6” x 9 ½” x 4½” (new)
Baseplates, clips and bolts (new)

Karlgarin Code 82 Rail
KBscale fishplates
Limewood sleepers
KBscale L&B clips

The End of the Line O14

Giles Favell deservedly won the David LLoyd trophy at ExpoNG 2012 for his superb O14 (and standard gauge) layout The End of the Line.

A key feature of this layout is it’s operation:

Yes we know the skips derailed but I think we can let him off after that lorry driving!

Brookford O14

Paul Lindsay-Scott has provided the following details on his 7mm layout Brookford:

Brookford is an imaginary standard gauge light railway terminus located somewhere in the Hampshire Downs, also featuring a two-foot narrow gauge contractor’s line. The model is set in the 1930s.


The Brookford & South Western Junction Railway was incorporated in 1901 and built in the first decade of the twentieth century under the Light Railways Act 1896. The line runs through much land of the Brookford estates. The Squire at Brookford Hall had added to the family fortunes in the second half of the nineteenth century in the guano trade, using his shipping interests to bring the cargo of fertiliser into Southampton docks. He was keen to use his wealth to finance a rail connection to his estates in Hampshire. Not long after the construction of the line, when the guano trade failed due to the introduction of cheaper manmade nitrate fertilisers based on the new Norwegian process in 1903, he constructed a two foot gauge line up into the chalk Downs above the village, where he stored the remaining incoming cargoes of guano for which he had existing contracts outstanding, in the dry Neolithic flint mine tunnels on his estate.

In the early 1930′s, the narrow gauge line was once more brought into use for use by contractors to build the bypass in the Downs. This is depicted on the model of the chalk cutting on the Brookford Downs layout which depicts the construction site of the occupation over bridge. Also during the 30′s, occasional private charter Imperial Airways Flying Boat Special trains served Brookford station, working to and from Southampton, enabling the family to make and receive visits with their far flung relatives in the Antipodes.

The Layout

The standard gauge single platform track has a run round and a headshunt providing access to the livestock loading area next to the car park. Beyond the platform is the goods shed and sidings offering exchange facilities between the standard and the narrow gauge. This two foot line curves around from the rear of the station platform, behind the goods shed, turntable and engine shed to head off up the 1 in 30 gradient into the chalk Downs to the construction site of the cutting and occupation road overbridge. The O14 trackwork is Peco rail with copper-clad sleepers on the main baseboards and up the incline, but on the Brookford Downs baseboard, KBScale track has been laid, with a single RH type 2 point providing a short headshunt.

The standard gauge was built for DCC control, with LokSound decoders from Southwestern Digital, but the narrow gauge was originally run on DC with a Gaugemaster controller. However, I have recently integrated the O14 with the DCC.


Brookford station buildings are based on those on the Mid Suffolk Light Railway. They are built from scratch using obechi wood to build a frame upon which the cladding of corrugated steel is fixed, in a similar way to the prototype. Doors and window frames are from Grandt lines, while the room interiors have simple furniture made out of wood with some white metal details and are lit with 12v grain of wheat bulbs.

The loco shed is a model of the one at Laxfield on the Middy. Again, the building frame is built like that of the prototype, with the wood plank cladding made from 0.6mm wood veneer purchased on eBay in a seven foot roll. Like the station building, I built the frame first then fixed the external cladding on. The goods shed (originally a model built by Bill Hunt) is based on that at Lambourne GWR. It is scratch built in plasticard, with small castings for the detail items within.

Locomotives and rolling stock

The two-foot gauge Hudswell Clarke G class 0-6-0WT No GP59 was built in 1931 and purchased new by the Surrey County Council Highways department for the hard work of moving extracted chalk from the cuttings and earthworks associated with the building of the Guildford ByPass at the end of the Hogs Back, the westernmost part of the North Downs. I built the model of the loco in its original form from the KBScale etched brass kit and had transfers produced from artwork I produced from photos of the prototype which has recently been restored at Statfold Barn to operating condition, albeit not in totally original form. Penryhn quarries had bought the loco secondhand from Surrey County Council and given it the name Bronllwyd, then it had received the boiler from another loco when it went on to Bressingham.

The bowframed ex-WD Simplex 20hp loco, like many others which were bought by contractors for use in aggregate and construction projects after the Great War, was as used at the Wrecclesham gravelpits on Weydon Lane near Farnham, a few miles from home. I built it from the Nigel Lawton kit and made up a cab similar to those fitted by their new owners. Success at getting the second motor in the kit to run the cooling fan eluded me and I replaced this motor with lead ballast.

The only problem with converting the Simplex to DCC so far has been that I removed some of the lead ballast from the Simplex to get the decoder in (not one with sound – I could get a sound decoder in, but even the new little “sugar cube” speakers are problematic to fit in). Anyway, the nett result is that it doesn’t run as well now, having a occasional difficulty with pickup, and also in hauling seven loaded tippers up the 1 in 30 incline. So I shall be fitting more weight – in fact, just like the real thing! I shall probably carve a block of lead to the shape of the prototype ballast weights fitted under the frames. Plus some white metal buckets etc hanging on the loco.

There are seven narrow gauge tipper wagons and two fuel bowser wagons all from KBScale kits. The bogie tram trailer coach for the workmens train was a conversion of a Bachmann O-16.5 four wheeled tram, with O14 bogies (from 7mmNGA) replacing the chassis and motor. The brake van / tool van has a scratch built body, and I found it on eBay. The wheels have been regauged from 16.5mm.

Standard gauge locos include a Connoisseur LNER J-15 0-6-0 and a Finney SR Adams T3 4-4-0. An Adams O2 0-4-4T is currently in the erecting shops, an alteration to a Connoisseur G6 kit.

Various standard gauge coaching, goods and engineering stock can be seen on the layout.


Over the last two years I have taken the main Brookford layout to a few exhibitions, but without the more recent additions of the 8-foot long incline and Brookford Downs board, which I have exhibited on its own as a micro-layout.

More pictures can be found on Paul’s flickr site.