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'The Biggest in the North West ?'
Quarterly reports

Here you will find the most recent reports which have featured in the O Gauge Guild Gazette's 'Guild News' section. Each report is reproduced here in full. For space reasons,  the Guild News often  finds it necessary to shorten the reports that are submitted. Photographs from those reports will not be found here. Some of them may be found in the Photogallery. The reports are submitted to the Gazette about six weeks before they appear on the website, i.e. they don't appear on this website until the Gazette has been published.




As many of you will know, our popular Chairman Tony Stevenson suffered a major stroke earlier in the year. He is well on the mend and his smiling face has visited the club several times, including our most recent Open Day, at which the all-time record for the number of Men in Shorts was broken!

Three areas of our layouts are undergoing major works: the main layout ‘Hawksbridge’ is to receive a complete refurbishment of the signalling system, many of the original signals having suffered accidental damage over the years from ‘The Hand of God’. Tommy Day has taken charge of this work.

Andrew Wren-Hilton and his team are working on the installation of a lifting flap to allow access to the inner sanctum for those who are, shall we say, less mobile. This operation seems to involve slightly less wiring than in the average Jumbo Jet but not by much! Inevitably, there will be some disruption to running but this will not impact on our ever-popular Open Days.

Now that the new MPD is in more or less working order, turntable included, several buildings are taking shape: the shed building is complete and the coaler and ash plants are well on the way too.

At the April AGM our long-serving Secretary Roger stepped down from office, his major contribution to the running of our club has been greatly appreciated. Our Treasurer reported that the club is in a healthy financial position. Good news!




Late in this quarter we received the sad news that Mick Sutcliffe, our President and one of the founders of the group, has passed away. The club owes him a huge debt.

The quarter has been dominated by work to fit a lifting flap on ‘Hawksbridge’ to allow access for all and sundry to the inside of the layout. With wiring completed, cuts were made across the main baseboard for the flap to be installed. Just as on The Real Thing, this resulted in a blockade of the four main lines, along with the Goods Loop, with no trains able to run for several weeks. Prayers were offered up for completion by the last Saturday of September for the monthly Open Day! And the prayers were answered as on the Open Day in question all five lines across the flap were live and worked well. Rigorous testing will now ensue.

Alongside the heavy engineering, Tommy Day and his team have been building and installing new semaphore signals as part of an ongoing programme of works. Tommy is very proud of his bouncing signal arm and will happily demonstrate it to anyone who asks...for as long as they want! O Gauge is such a rewarding hobby!  

The club and its visitors owe a great debt to those who have worked so hard on the various projects and to those who work so hard to run the Open Days, they make it all worthwhile.






















It has been a quarter of steady consolidation for the Preston Group as work progresses at a steady pace on the new MPD (and no, I still don’t know the name) and on integrating Brewery Lane into its new position so that it blends seamlessly with the main layout ‘Hawskbridge’.                                                                                  Some work has been done to the club premises recently: a new toilet has been installed complete with dire warnings as to what must not go down it...Now we have a loo which doesn’t take half an hour to refill !                                                            As usual, there have been several Open Days this quarter, the June one was particularly well attended with the clubroom becoming quite full during the afternoon with a run on the pies. The July one was partially held up by the failure of both inside circuits, fortunately, one of our visitors was able to fix it!  The Sunday Open Days have taken their usual summer break but will have returned by the time this appears in print.                                                                                                                        As is probably the case with most groups in the last few years, ready-to-run models are making more and more appearances, both at Open Days and on Club Nights.  The new Minerva Pannier tank has been spotted several times over, Dapol 08s are ten-a-penny and Heljan diesels can sometimes take over. Besides locos there have been several viewings of ‘B’ Sets and of Autocoaches. Our club chairman has invested in an impressive rake of MTH LMS coaches in blood and custard. Being heavier than they look they are more of a challenge for one’s loco than might first appear. And GWR Dave has acquired a beautiful rake of Hawksworth coaches in the same colour scheme.                                                                                               With the imminent arrival of a Jinty, it seems inevitable that we will have to follow up our successful ‘Gronkfest’ with ‘Pannierfest’ and ‘Jintyfest’ before too long. Several of us much teased Great Western fans will no doubt arrange a ‘Big Prairiefest’ too. However, our group possesses many talented loco and rolling stock builders and plenty of the products of their skills are to be seen. Equally, the trials and tribulations of getting locos running can be exasperating and several club members, who no doubt wish to remain anonymous, have been seen tearing their hair out over a couple of Duchesses and a Turbomotive. And a DJH 03 is having the same effect on me....                                                                                                                                    With Telford having been and gone, there have been appearances by members’ acquisitions, most notably Bill’s LMS Garratt, and whilst on the subject of Bill, he did one Monday night produce and run a Union Pacific Big Boy. Now that’s what you call a loco!                                                                                                                    There is plenty to look forward to in the next quarter. If you haven’t visited before, and each Open Day we seem to see at least one new face, you (and your stock) will be made very welcome. Dates and address can be found in Diary Dates or on our website.and a slight change in direction of rolling stock,  The eleven coach rake of blood and custard were on the down fast with locos like 10000/10001 double headed and a Duchess, Britannia and  Merchant Navy all enjoying the challenge. Again there were several diesels on the Tanks as well as a Mickey (Black Five). On Sunday November 13th, Don Chadwick brought some foreign bogie tanks which several diesels hauled on the down slow. As usual, there was the rake of maroon MK1s hauled by a variety of steam and a maroon WesterThe Xmas season was celebrated in a lower key than in previous years because of potential problems with falling decorations setting off the alarms. (How do we know?...) The annual club Xmas meal took place at a new-to-us venue of the Butlers Arms, Pleasington. A good time was had by all. Which just about sums up Preston 2015! Plenty to look forward to next year too, the Open Day dates are up on the website and will appear in the Guild News.

n diesel on the up fast. There was also plenty of activity on the other main lines some small engines like a GWR 14XX doing some hard work.’ Thanks, Norman.




















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