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7 Mar 2018

Staffordshire Area Group Future events

2018-03-07T19:53:05+00:00March 7th, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on Staffordshire Area Group Future events

Edward Hodson writes:

Since the last “Bulletin” some changes to future events have been forced on me. Amerton Railway have changed their Gala date to 30th June and 1st July, and Dave Watkins is already committed to other events on these dates so there will be no 16mm layout at the Gala.

Also for health reasons I am ceasing operating my Penkridge Light Railway portable layout with immediate effect and therefore it will not be at the Apedale Valley Railway “Tracks to the Trenches” event 13th to 15th July. The layout is looking for a new home and members interested can contact me.

Edward Hodson, 07917536270 or

2 Mar 2018

Model of the Year 2018

2018-03-02T15:20:54+00:00March 2nd, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on Model of the Year 2018

One of the highlights of the National Garden Railway Show for me is the Model of the Year competition, which you can find in the Atrium. The aim of MOTY is to encourage members to develop and improve their modelling skills, by competing against their peers and displaying their work.

I hope you’ll enjoy looking at the models that will be brought along – some for the competition itself, and some in the non-competitive “loans” section to show what modelling activities have been going on over the last year.

The Roundhouse Trophy: perhaps you will take it
home this year?

I’m always stunned at the models that are entered, whether it’s new and innovative techniques, or a prototype I’ve not seen modelled before, or just seeing a project come together after a lot of hard work – and grateful to all who take the time to enter.

Perhaps this year that will be you?

As the show approaches, my question to you is: is there a model you should be bringing along this year? Please do consider whether you might enter in 2018. I would love to run out of display space! If you have a potential entry, whichever class it would fall into, please do bring it along and enter it. Or encourage a friend to enter! If there’s someone in your local group whose work deserves a wider audience: why not encourage them to enter their model this time round?

I’m looking forward to seeing what you bring to enter in MOTY 2018!

Full details of how to enter, the different classes, what the judges will be looking for, and the entry forms themselves, are in the February Bulletin and on the show web site.

Richard Huss – MOTY Organiser

28 Feb 2018

2018 membership renewals – update

2018-02-28T17:43:21+00:00February 28th, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on 2018 membership renewals – update

Membership renewal is in full flow.  Over 1,000 members have registered with the new web site created to host our renewals.  Around 1,300 direct debits will be applied for tomorrow and over 300 renewals have been made by phone.  I don’t yet know how many members have renewed by cheque, but based on what’s happened in previous year, less than 25% of the membership still need to renew.

I am at Warners next week and will amongst other things review the renewal campaign to date.  As with every year there will be things to learn.  We already plan to change the invitation slightly and a second batch will be sent out late next week or early the week following – I’ll update Shed Notices when this happens.

The two most common reasons for invitations not arriving are:

  • The member has multiple email addresses and the invitation has been sent to a less frequently used address
  • Email is harvested from the server resident email box to the PC and the invitation has been trapped in the Spam filter on the server

There has been a small but frustrating instance of members joining instead of renewing.  Warners have refined the descriptions of the Joiner and Renewal subscription offers.  They read very differently: each has a concise description to differentiate them; the first lines contain either the words “new member” or “renewal”; and they’re on separate tabs in the system (though this isn’t a change).  Hopefully the opportunity for confusion should now be minimal.  I don’t know whether it’s possible to generate a warning if you try to subscribe to something you already have, but I’ll be talking to Warners about this next week.

Finally, may I remind those who haven’t yet renewed that renewal in person at the National Garden Railway Show on 7th April will not be an option.  I proposed this in May 2017 Bulletin and confirmed it the August issue, but it may by now have been forgotten.  There are various, straight forward means to renew membership in advance, so I ask those who haven’t yet done so to use one of the methods available and renew as soon as possible.

Alan Regan, Chairman and Membership Secretary

16 Feb 2018

February mailing

2018-02-17T11:35:34+00:00February 16th, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on February mailing

Contrary to what I wrote on the evening of Friday 16th February after a day travelling, the February mailing was collected by Royal Mail from Warners and has already started to arrive with UK recipients.  The team at Warners must have pulled out all the stops as 4,000 packages made it from packing to Royal Mail’s on-site container in under an hour.  Mailing to overseas recipients will as usual be by Air Mail and arrival dates will vary by country.

The package comprises February 2018 SMT & Bulletin, the 2017 Annual Report, the Guide to the 2018 National Garden Railway Show and the 2018 DVD including secured membership lists.  A free gift of a fabric Association logo is also included, but is not glue tacked to a magazine.  If it’s missing, please contact Warners (see contact details below).

Your renewal form is on the back of the address carrier sheet used to mail the package to you.  If you had renewed by 8th February then the form will confirm this.  If you have any questions regarding your renewal, or want to renew over the phone, please contact Warners on 01778 392016 (outside the UK: +44 1778 392016). Lines are open 8 am – 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on Saturdays and Bank Holidays, excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.  I expect lines to be busy in the first few days of next week as members renew by phone – waiting a week to renew your membership subscription is perfectly acceptable and may avoid waiting in a queue.

Thanks to the many people who have contributed to this mailing, the heaviest of the year.  I hope you enjoy it when it arrives.

Alan Regan, Chairman and Membership Secretary

31 Jan 2018

Modular Layout Standards – new drawings added

2018-01-31T21:36:13+00:00January 31st, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on Modular Layout Standards – new drawings added

A quick note to say that we have added a number of new drawings to the Modular Layout Standards page.

The new drawings add two new baseboard sizes for a smaller radius curve (approx 4′ 7″ radius, with both 300mm and 450mm wide boards drawn) and also a new, optional system of bolting boards together with M6 bolts, 6mm penny washers and wing nuts.

Many thanks to Gareth “Modular” Jones for the drawings.

Richard Huss, IT Officer

30 Jan 2018

2018 membership renewals – overseas invitations being sent

2018-01-30T14:57:23+00:00January 30th, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on 2018 membership renewals – overseas invitations being sent

Thanks to all who have already completed their renewals, which already number several hundred.  Changes have been made to the system for non-UK addresses which clears the way for overseas members to make their renewals.  Invitations are scheduled to be sent in the next hour.  Please follow the instructions in the invitation.

If you encounter problems, please contact Warners in the first instance, either by phone (details are in the invitation) or at  If you don’t receive or aren’t satisfied with the response, please contact me at

Alan Regan, Chairman and Membership Secretary

29 Jan 2018

2018 renewal invitations have started to flow

2018-01-29T16:12:58+00:00January 29th, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on 2018 renewal invitations have started to flow

Renewal invitations have been sent in the past hour by email to members with UK postal addresses.  Members who renew by Direct Debit will not receive a renewal invitation but will at a later stage be invited to register with the system so that they can also review and maintain their membership records.  Invitations to members overseas will be sent in the next few days as soon as some small issues with address formats have been resolved.  I will make a further post to Shed Notices when this occurs.

I’d like to thank the members around the world who participated in testing this weekend.  Their feedback was invaluable and brought about a number of refinements in the system.  To repeat what I said in my last post on this topic, if you encounter problems, please contact Warners in the first instance, either by phone (details are in the invitation) or at  If you don’t receive or aren’t satisfied with the response, please contact me at

Alan Regan, Chairman and Membership Secretary

23 Jan 2018

2018 membership renewal

2018-01-23T17:47:06+00:00January 23rd, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on 2018 membership renewal

As announced in my Membership column in August 2017 Bulletin and reinforced in November 2017 Bulletin, renewal invitations will soon be sent to all paying members for whom we have a valid email address except those who renew via Direct Debit.  It’s planned to send these out during Monday 29th January, i.e. in six days’ time.  We’ve updated the subscription and renewal system so that members can manage their own records, which means that there are slight changes to the renewal process.  These are:

  • You’ll have to register with the system, which you’ll only need to do once
  • You’ll have to select the applicable renewal option, which will be provided in the invitation, but it can equally be different to last year if you choose

Other than that, you won’t need to enter any more data than you did last year.  Like last year, the invitation will lead you into and will provide initial identification to the system (it would be foolish to go into greater detail on a publicly accessible web page).  And when you come to payment, you’ll find it has been simplified over last year.

If you bookmark the page in your browser and record the email address and password with which you register, you’ll be able to review your membership status at any point.  You’ll also be able securely to review and update your membership details after you’ve renewed.  Finally, you’ll be able proactively to renew your subscription in future years.  Some of you like to renew all your subscriptions at the end of each year – the new system will allow you to do this for your Association membership.

I’ve put a lot of time into testing the system but I can’t cover every eventuality.  As in previous years, if you encounter problems, please contact Warners in the first instance, either by phone (details are in the invitation) or at  If you don’t receive or aren’t satisfied with the response, please contact me at

Finally, those who don’t need to renew or renew via Direct Debit will receive an invitation to register with the system after the renewal period is over, so that they also can enjoy the benefits described above.

Alan Regan, Chairman and Membership Secretary

22 Jan 2018

Your Association needs You!

2018-01-22T18:26:51+00:00January 22nd, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on Your Association needs You!

Laurence Smith has provided the following:

With all things in life, one must from time to time make changes to suit what one wants to achieve.  I did this recently and concluded that I no longer have the time to be the Association’s Show Director in the way that I want, as there are other and more important things I wish to pursue that I really need to take better care of.

As a consequence, the Board is looking for an individual or individuals to fill my size 10 boots. There are three roles that I have been doing: Show Director, Layouts Coordinator and more recently, Prize Draw organiser.  The Board has already found a way to do the last of these from within its own ranks, so let’s focus on the first two.

For the Show Director role, the candidate needs to be able to make quick decisions on build-up day and on the day of the show itself.  Not only that, they must be able to communicate with the stewards and give clear instruction so that they can carry out their duties.  It helps to be clear sighted but understanding, and able to say no if it comes to it.  We ideally would like someone to come forward before this year’s show, then I could show them the ropes of running the show and how to work the various parts of the venue, so the candidate isn’t thrown into the deep end.

For the Layouts Coordinator role, the candidate would need to communicate with layout owners and clearly collect the necessary information required to lay out the hall plan. I’ve already spoken to a good number of layout owners for the 2019 show, listed them and prepared the paperwork, so that we’re all ready to go once dates have been finalised.  Again, if there’s a candidate before this year’s show, I could run them through the process.

I will stay in post for the 2018 National Garden Railway Show and don’t intend throwing anyone in at the deep end, so my inbox will always be open for advice and I’ve written an instruction manual based on my experience in these roles.

Further comments from Alan Regan:

Laurence has done a great job and will be a difficult act to follow, but when he started in the role he had a steep learning curve.  As he’s explained above, he’s ready and willing to help whoever takes these roles on, and others on the Board will equally provide support.  As he’s suggested, they can be separate roles.  The Layouts Coordinator role can be an Officer position with attendance at most Board meetings; the Show Director role does need to carry the authority of a director, with attendance at all Board meetings.  If you think you could do either of these roles, either as a Director or an Officer, please contact me at  We start the planning for the 2019 show immediately after that on 7th April 2018, so we need help now!

Alan Regan, Chairman and Membership Secretary

3 Jan 2018

Christmas Quiz 2017 Winners and Answers

2018-01-03T14:08:10+00:00January 3rd, 2018|Shed Notices|Comments Off on Christmas Quiz 2017 Winners and Answers

We are very pleased to announce the winners of the Association 2017 Christmas Quiz, set by Laurence Smith.

Very unusually, four entrants were tied for second place. One of these has been selected randomly to receive the 2nd prize of a Summerlands Chuffer, and the other three will each receive a year’s Association Membership for 2018.

Place Prize Winner
1st Place A Summerlands Chuffer for your locomotive, plus a year’s Association Membership for 2018 Tony Willmore
2nd Place A Summerlands Chuffer for your locomotive David Peers
A year’s Association Membership for 2018 Christopher Glover
Jon Potter
Randomly selected entry A year’s Association Membership for 2018 Ian Driver

Well done to all of you. We would like to take the opportunity to thank Chris Bird of Summerlands Chuffers for kindly donating two of his ‘Chuffers’ as prizes again this year. You can view the complete range of Chuffers at

The answers to the quiz have also been published.

Richard Huss, IT Officer