GRC Railways

Models and Research





May 2018

Preparations for the Bluebell show are in full swing, The layout is indoors and been up and tested.  Had a problem with JMRI.  I must have done an update at some point and none of the panels for Crawley Yard would load.  I ended up installing the current release 4.11.6 which appears to resolve that issue.  I've been able to improve the panel now I better understand how to use sensors with buttons for each route now in place and the blocks changing colours based on the route set.  I've run most of the engines at least once around the loop and if I have time will do the same again the week before the show as well as test out that the DC working still works as the main lines may be DC only.


Work on Two Stones is progressing with the Templecombe end now under  basic green paint on the scenery and brown around the tracks.  With the N Elevation up I'm getting running on both upper loops around the room which is what I wanted.  Have spent the weekend making trees for the end with lots of woodland scenic forms covered in steel wool. They look quite thiick and I may need to thin them down to get better looking trees at the front of the layout


January 2018

The Hailsham show went well with Sturminster performing well for the day although one of the point motores seems to stick for some reason, this seems to be related the the gearing on the cobalts and I assume the throw not going all the way over then causes the motor to lock.  Need to do some more investigation as I've had the layout up for a couple of weeks for testing and its not reappeared.   The layout is already for Erith next week and looking forward to seeing some great exhibits .    I've recenty purchased one of the Sound fitted Castles and also one of the class 40's with sound. really pleased with both of them.  What I need to do now is fit the chip and speaker I have on the bench into a class 20 and 66 and I should then have at least a couple of sound fitted loco's for each layout.  


I've been focused for the last couple of weekeds on my stay at home layout, Broadford. The inclines on the back wall are in place, Papermache has been used to blend in the inclines, hills and trackbeds and I've done some limited test running with 7 coaches which all my test loco's managed to pull up the incline. The reason for pushing is that I'm now expecting my Nelevation in February and I want to have the upper loop working before it arrives.  Going to be a challenge with Erith next weekend so need to get on with the electrics.


October 2017

I have made really slow progress on all the layouts over the summer. To many distractions outside which is good but with the weather starting to turn I've been back on the case with Wealden Cement. After a very frustrating 12 months I've now got most of the point motors working directly through the controller handsets and via the JMRI panels. As the layout can be operated from the front and back that means two panels but they are both 80% complete. Having the biggest challenge to get the Slip orientated with the panel but hopeful that will be cracked soon. The loop circuit through the fiddleyard is working, most of the sidings are done and I've even painted the rails on one side so its at least moving forward.  Have Hailshm show in early December so it will need to go away though so I can test the layout and stock.


May 2017

Doresetshire is proceeding although no sign of the Nelevator.  The plan is a dual height round the room layout with differnet scenes on differnet sides,  Broadstone and an aggregates yard down one side, Templecombe at one end and the Nelevator and Shillingstone on the the other side of the room. Having a challenge with the gradients at the moment but doing some fettling and lengthening to improve potential performance. Not sure what my poorest puller is but the 4F is my main focus. Up to 5 Mk1's now ok so will continue to see if I can get to 8 which is the maximim I'm plannin for.



April 2017

After several months of indecision over my occupation of the spare room for a railway room we have concluded our house plans and I have taken the opportuity of a few days off work to get moving with the layout build.  I am calling the layout Broadford Junction for the moment and with the Nelevator hopefully due this year it was time to get on with the work.  I've added a new section to the site and will be detailing the work here as I get underway.


Feb 2017

Busy month over with 2 shows completed with different layouts. Both shows were really busy and I didnt get as much time to look around as I would have liked.  Had some strange stock problems with Sturminster at Tonbridge which I neeed to get fixed but otherwise was all good. Had Richard helping me at Tonbridge which was a real bonus.


Nov 2016

First year for the WSNG club at Angmering and a good show it was,  The layout behaved very well, actually managed some shunting of the cattle and milk wagons as Richard was helping me.  The shunting worked well so very pleasd with the additional dapol couplers in place. No problems with the layout but did have a couple of jerking locomotives I will have to look at in due course. I purchased one of the Ratio signal box interior kits so that is now on the list to do, going to need  larger magnifier i think.  


Feb 2016

Crawley Yard out for the first show of the year at Midhurst. Very well behaved with no issues so very pleased as it had been overwintering in the garage. its back in their now as its place indoors has been usurped by Wealden cement


November 2015

Received best in show for Sturminster Halt as voted for by the public so very pleased :-)


November 2015

Decision made on the next layout - Wealden Cement, first post inclued on the blog section and going to use the N Gauge forum as well.


October 2015

Great day at the Liphook open day spent almost an hour talking with Vic Mitchell who was very complimentary on the layout and the stock selection.


September 2015

Back from Tings with a range of goodies for both Crawley Yard and Sturminster so spent a day on weathering and a few hours on testing,  I now have 2 sound fitted locomotives in N a Midlands 4F and an EWS class 66. The 4F is amazing front lights (working), fire box flicker and sound. it looks and sounds brilliant so looking forward to having this out at the next few shows. Need some more now to compliment them.  At Tings I managed to get a SDJR 3F from the Bachmann stand so wil berunning that with a rake of Southern Region maunsells. No photo evidence this happend but very few pictures from the period so nothing to say it couldn't have. Also have some SR livery ones for a local which will add some coaching veriety to the fleet.



September 2015

Off to Tings with Nick Harling on the 11th September to show Kanjiyama.  My first time at TINGS so looking forward to the experience.


June 2015 - Shillingstone

Preparing now for the Modular meeting on the 24th June, Had all 16 feet up today in the garden and managed to test the packing, Yes all still fits back to back in the two frames including the legs so thats great. All the points were working although some of the frog and blade areas were not so need to do some remedial work there.  Been changing the coupling to Kadee's not yet successful with the auto-uncouplers so more work needed on these. The signal is now working using a train tronics semaphore module.


14-15th March - East Grinstead - Sturminster Halt

The layout performed well over both days of the show, Richard Jackson from the Horsham club helped me on the Sunday which was great as I was pretty tired at the end of the second day. I had a couple of sound fitted Loco's borrowed from Michael Mills (WSNG)  which worked really well.  Definitly going to be next major investment to really lift the scene. Lots of favourable comments from people which has resulted in a couple of invites to date, I've just accepted for Tonbridge in 2017 which seems a long way way away.  Going to stick with single day shows for the moment.  


Feb Cobalt Motors, JMRI and the Prodigy

Spent several days tyring to work out whats wrong with JMRI software and the Cobalts and not managed to solve the issue despite lots of resarch and support calls to Cobalt.  Basically I cant use the software polarity switch on JMRI  to set the cobalts to reverse the throw direction and because I'm using the IP versions I can just change the polarity of the feeds but need to use an address command, this hasn't worked todate so left me stuck on a couple of points, very frustrating as a job which should have taken me an hour has consumed a few days :-(


10th Jan 2015. JMRI and the Prodigy

I've downloaded the latest version of the JMRI software which now supports the Gaugemaster prodigy system. Using the Gaugemaster USB interface (DCC50) I've been able to connect my laptop to the gaugemaster and everything tested so far seems to work very well. I've used the Layout Editor in JMRI to set up the layout panel as a mimic panel. All the fiddle yard roads are now set up as routes the same as the elite. I've set up and tested both throttles on the PC, JMRI and used the WiFi ones from WiFi With those and the gaugemaster wirless handset i've got lots of different wireless options to pay with.


Xmas 2014

Spent a lot of time on Shillingstone, Have the 4 boards with the track laid, Electrics started and the base contours down and painted. More details on the Shillingstone pages


27th October 2014.  Sturminster Halt -First show over and apart from a couple of minor niggles with the point motors the layout worked as expected. I managed to get the hang of operating it around half way through the day to keep things moving. Another operator and controller would have been useful though to play with the yard.  Just before the show both my 4MT's shed their traction tyres and this appears to upset the balance of the tenders, Will have to either fit new tyres or have a go with the Bulldog Snot on the driving wheels to see if I can get them running well again. Come on Farish a 4F and West Country would be very useful now.


25th Septermber 2014. Having rashly agreed to show Sturminster at the Horsham show in October im racing now to complete the rebuild before the show. This has involved relaying the fiddle yard and imrpoving the general running as well as redoing all of the green areas wich static grass, new and upgraded trees. The backscene photos have been removed and replaced with a painted backscene.


30th August 2014. My Hornby Elite controller has stopped working and I've sent it back to Hornby for repairs.  They have sent it back saying its not repairable with a 20% off voucher on a new one. Not happy so guess this means I'll be looking for something else in due course that is a little more robust and repairable.


25-26th June 2014 Crawley Yard on show at the Bluebell in the carrige shed. It ran fine and connected up without any issues. Managed to get some new stock from Weladen Blue so getting ready for the future.


14th June 2014 Crawley Yard on show with the WSNG Group in Shoreham went very well. No problems with the 3rd rail on lines 2 and 3 which had been worrying me a little. I wanted to make sure that the layout had a good run before the Bluebell on the 25/26th June. Unfortunatly a problem with the Fiddle yard line meant this wasnt tested so fingers crossed now.

IMG_0240 Shillingstone Build  June 2015  0006 IMG_0242 Crawley Yard  14th June 2014 (10)



Sturminster Newton

Billericay  May 2021


Sturminster Newton

Crawley Show April  2021


Weladen Cement

Bluebell Railway  Model Rail Show 27/28 June


Wealden Cement

Erith MRC Show 25-26 Jan 2020


Wealden Cement (debut)

Shoreham Nov 2019


Sturminster Newton

Pevensey  July 2019


Sturminster Newton

6th April 2019

Riddlesdown- N Gauge Show


Crawley Yard

14-16th September 2018

Hayling Island MRE


Crawley Yard

23-24 June 2018

Bluebell Line- West Sussex


Sturminster Newton

27-28 Jan 2018

Erith MRS


Sturminster Halt

2nd December 2017

Hailsham MRS


Sturminster Halt

9th July 2017



Sturminster Halt

18th February 2017

Tonbridge Annual Exhibition


Crawley Yard

11th February 2017

Milton Keynes


Sturminster Halt

5th November 2016

WSNG show Angmering


Crawley Yard

20th Feb 2016

Midhurst Show


Sturminster Halt

5th November 2015

WSNG Show Lancing


Sturminster Halt

25th Oct 2015

Liphook MRC Open Day -Milland


Crawley Yard

24th October 2015

Chichester lions



24th June 2015

SECAG Modular Meet- Mertsham


Sturminster Halt

14th-15th March 2015

East Grinstead Exhibition


Crawley Yard

15th February 2015



Crawley Yard

25-26 Januay 2015  

Erith Show



Sturminster Halt

25th October

Horsham MRC


Crawley Yard

25-26th June

BlueBell Railway Model Weekend

Horsted Keynes


Crawley Yard

14th June PTA



Crawley Yard

25th April 2014

Horsham MRC Show