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Founded 1934

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Society visit to Southampton Society of Model Engineers

The Southampton SME announced that they were celebrating the 50th year of the building of their Raised Track on the current site and invited local societies to join them for an 'Open Weekend', 6th & 7th October. Four members, David Matthias, Mike Trevaskis, Dave Mitchell and I represented the IWMES on the Sunday running day, taking three locos between us. On arriving at the Southampton track we were made most welcome with the usual offer of hot Tea or Coffee.


David Matthias was keen to try his new 7¼” gauge Pullman on a different track and was pleased to announce that the loco' ran 'up to expectation'. Although David didn't do too many laps of the 1100ft track he was on 'stand-by' to haul passengers should the need have arisen.


Dave Mitchell was on his second day of 'playing trains' as on the previous day he had taken his 'Maid of Kent' to the Northampton Society's track to show his new 'in-laws' "What it's all about!" (His words not mine!) At around 14:45 Dave retired his Maid of Kent as it developed an unwelcome knock from a crosshead/slide bar issue.


I took my B1, 'Broadfields', and it was nice to 'stretch the wheels' on the 1080ft raised track. It's always interesting to run on other society's tracks to compare different things. As seems to be usual with the B1 I suffered terrible wheel slip problems but was reassured by many that I was not alone that day. Temperature changes and humidity seemed to get the blame as high evidence of condensation could be seen on the polished steel rails.

An interesting observation was made whilst running the B1; that of how much difference a varying load makes on the production of steam. Running 'light' both Mike and I were almost struggling to make steam.

The constant wheel spin with an unloaded train simply didn't give the blast nozzle enough power to 'draft the fire'. Once we started passenger hauling the story was the complete opposite! Steam, steam and more steam!!! This now gave us a different problem... The Southampton track has the shape of a kidney bowl and each end the track either passes through trees or comes off of a curve to enter an avenue of trees that form the station approach. The new problem was that with the safety valves lifted you couldn't see how far in front of you the preceding train was!

All in all' a good day was had by us all and even the weather was kind to us. A bit nippy but nothing the donning of another layer didn't put right!


Thanks to all at Southampton for making us most welcome.


Report and photos by Roger Scott-Roberts