INSIDE MOTION No 9 November 2020

News and Views from the

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Preamble from the Chairman’s Corner

I hope you are all coping with this pandemic that is affecting all our lives and, I suspect, will do so for many years. The increased tax that will be imposed to cover the cost of all the support schemes and the loss of Government income plus the change in many other aspects of daily lives.

The Club Committee has had a lot of head-scratching to make possible the continuation of Club activities, being ever mindful of the “Duty of Care” we have. Linda has always been in the lead with ways through the mire of Government guidelines and finding ways to continue Club activities.

It is with much regret that we have had to close the Club completely to comply with the latest regional lockdown. We had not really come up with an answer as to how we continue meeting when the weather became colder and wetter.

By initiating the monthly newsletter “Inside Motion” we hope that it helps keep you informed as to what is continuing to happen in member’s lives and workshops. This will only continue if we provide Mike with articles to fill and enhance each edition.

As far as Club projects go we are nearing the end of the work that has seen the Club facilities greatly enhanced over the last decade plus. We are now going to be concentrating on tweaking and maintenance.

The Club workshop is coming together nicely – Steve Lowe is doing a great job finding homes for all the equipment we have been donated while trying to keep it all tidy and organised.

Jim Scott and his band are continuing to keep the site tidy and well kept, although by the time you read this the grass should have stopped growing, removing a huge chore.

Our new member Adrian Morley has volunteered to repaint all the steaming bays and traverser – they were looking very tired and he is doing an excellent job, de-rusting, priming and painting in the site colour of Buckingham Green.

You will see Ian has prepared a short summary of our financial expenditure and income and why we decided to keep the membership cost for 2021 the same. Some of the life members are going to pay the annual membership for this coming year to help things along.

We can only hope that after the winter we can start to get the Club back to the new normal and start enjoying the facilities again.
Peter Newby, Chairman

Subscriptions 2021

I am sure you are all aware that the activities of the Society have been much reduced this year as a result of the Covid pandemic. We have had to close completely for part of the time, and even when open, we have had to stay out of the clubhouse and workshop. There has been no public running.

Apart from the inconvenience to members, the restrictions have had a detrimental effect on our income. To put it in simplistic terms, about a quarter of our income is from the tea-box, a quarter from public running, a quarter from subscriptions, and a quarter from miscellaneous sales and events. Of these, our only income this financial year will be that from subscriptions.

With regard to expenditure, this too has been reduced, but not to the same extent. We still have substantial outgoings which we must pay. These include insurance (a condition of our lease), ground rent, electricity charges, web page maintenance, postage and so on.

The Committee and I have spent some time considering subscriptions for the coming year. I am pleased to say that due to the hard work and generosity of the membership, we do not have an immediate financial problem. However, there is clearly a possibility that we may still not be “back to normal” next summer, and that would result in further depletion of our reserves.

It is for this reason that we have decided that subscriptions for 2021-22 will remain as for this year, i.e. £35 for ordinary membership and £45 for family membership. Could I thank you in anticipation for your continued support, and hope that next summer will bring better times.
Ian Spencer, Treasurer

Website developments

The realisation now that we know for certain there is no immediate chance of getting back to the track has spurred some of us to find other ways of us staying connected.

Since the new website was launched in 2019 it has included a section on “Members’ Projects”. This has largely focused on Eddie Gibbons’ impressive efforts on his 5-inch gauge GNR H4 & LNER K3 2-6-0. However, it has always been the intention to broaden the scope of this section as-and-when material from other members becomes available.

The outcome of this has been to produce a new online section “Members and their Projects” and you can see what I’m talking about if you follow the link;

Here you will find links to various member’s projects which I hope is self-explanatory. Incidentally, it includes the latest update from Eddie which is well worth checking out.

Alongside these projects is a section devoted entirely to Ken Swan and his outstanding contribution to the model engineering fraternity. Ken, as many know, was a great friend, an outstanding engineer and inspiration to many of us here at TSMEE and Beamish. I am incredibly grateful to his friends – notably Adrian Morley, Jim Mountjoy, Mick Jordison, Ian Spencer, Robin Hedley and Brian and Linda Nicholls – for their help in making this section possible.

Whilst working on this project I get the impression that Ken’s work of then and his legacy of now is very much a story of work-in-progress. It will be obvious to his friends that my efforts follow much the same theme. It’s only part of Ken’s story and I’d much appreciate contributions from those who knew and worked with Ken to fill in some of the gaps so look forward to hearing from you soon.

John Rowley, Webmaster

[John has devoted considerable effort and expertise to re-vamping the Club’s website, but is not at all “precious” about its content or appearance. He would be glad to hear from anyone who would like to offer content, comment or constructive criticism. Even a “thankyou” would not go amiss – Ed]


As reported in the Spring (April) issue, Junior Engineer Sam Yeeles has a passion for photographing twelve-inch scale locomotives. So good is his work that Heritage Railway Magazine carried his shot (reproduced below) of A1 No.60163 “Tornado” at Newcastle Central Station on the front cover of its October issue. He also has a couple of pictures featured in the “Gallery” section of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust website.

Member’s Musings

A Pilgrim’s Tale – [Part 4]
David Dunbar

The wilderness years weren’t devoid of engineering. A friend and myself spent many happy hours restocking air rifles and fine tuning them. My own had a spring guide fitted, a new trigger and was completely refinished in the wood-work department. Sadly my friend broke two fingers while trying to reassemble his Airsporter and it went off from the cocked position. I think even I learned a few new swear words that day. My ever suffering father duly transported us to A&E and I’m still not sure what we told the nurse was the origin of the “accident”.

So I was still using the workshop but had dropped out of TSMEE. I got into hiking and rock climbing and had gone via a few girlfriends to being married. The workshop was dismantled as I no longer could use it. Life started to settle down and out of the blue I was offered a very good condition Myford ML7B lathe with lots of accessories. The bug re-emerged and I was away again.

My then new house was brilliant for a workshop and at the same time I re-acquainted myself with TSMEE. Lots of old friends were still there and I loved the atmosphere.

Having been involved with several committees in the intervening years I was determined to be a normal member. This was not to be. Our Chairman had to stand down due to ill health and I was asked to be his successor. Talk about straight into the fire.

I’ll not say much about the years of Chairmanship or being Treasurer apart from it was in part the most stressful and also the most enjoyable of times. I have to say the fulfilment of the new raised track happened during my time and I was very pleased to be involved, even with some of the arguments about its construction. I so enjoyed the hard work that all of us put in to make it happen on the ground. This phase taught me just how much talent and skill was embodied in the membership of TSMEE.


Norman Blackburn

The “Lochs” were designed by David Jones for the Highland Railway and 15 were built by Dubs and Co. in Glasgow during 1896. A second batch of 3 was built by the North British Locomotive Co. In 1917. They were withdrawn between 1936 and 1950

I decided to build two Clarkson “Lochs” after I was told that it didn’t take much longer to build two than just building one. The drawings were from Blackgates who now have all of the Clarkson Drawings as well as the castings. I wouldn’t say that the drawings were wrong – just that a lot of information, dimensions etc. were missing. I had to redo the drawings in Autocad.

The frames were laser-cut by Impress in Ryton. I already had CAD drawings for them.

Time was definitely saved by building two. After making the boiler forming plates it does not take long to make two sets of plates. The same applies for machined parts – after thinking the machining process through, the second part can be completed in relatively short time.

The painting used mainly Halfords spray cans with the main body colour in cellulose, matched to a tin of enamel paint that I had by Auto Panels in Birtley. The number and works plates were produced for me by Guilplates, and the transfers came from The Old Time Workshop and Fox.

How long did they take? With one not quite finished – just over 5 years.


As we descend into Winter and the further grip of Covid-19, it would be easy to be glum and despondent. The antidote is to keep busy. Busy gives a sense of purpose and accomplishment, passes the time without clock-watching and lifts the spirits. There’s always something do. When it’s done, take some photographs, write a few words about it and send it for publication here for others to enjoy as well. We can’t meet physically at the Club, but we don’t have to be completely apart either. IM is not “my” newsletter – it’s your forum for keeping the “society” of the Society going.

Keep safe, keep well and keep busy.

Contact information
  • Newsletter Editor – Mike Maguire –
  • Club Secretary – Linda Nicholls – – 01 670 816072
  • Website –
  • Webmaster – John Rowley –

Headquarters and Multi-gauge Track – Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PZ

Toytown …

There always seems to be plenty of pictures of “big” engines. Here’s something for the littler folk