See the video of the funicular railway in action at the
SELMEC Meeting


Look a 19c in a model!



Sue's Beetle
Sue's Beetle

Cage and Car
See the blue truck?



Delail of traction engine
Traction engine detail

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6th September 2008
SELMEC Meeting

My funicular railway
Our funicular railway

The secretaries challenge for this meeting was to build a model using only parts 1-50. That includes strips, angle girders and most of the gears. It also includes the pulleys but not the tyres. All this aside the biggest problem is bolts - no long bolts.

Over the years we have amassed a vast selection of perforated strips in zinc finish as well as a good selection of angle girders and double angle brackets of various lengths. It looked as if we had a good chance of building something of a reasonable size.

The restrictions on the parts used meant that any solid areas had to be built up from multiple strips bolted side by side. It then became obvious that this project was going to be nut and bolt hungry. As I wanted to stay loosely within the late 60s period this meant slotted cheese-head bolts and square nuts. A bit of a sort out produced a good supply so now all we needed to do was build something. Sue and I discussed several possibilities before opting for a funicular railway.

Work on the model got off to a roaring start and the cars and track were built fairly quickly. However, as is the norm in our house, work took over and the model took a back seat. Completion came 2.30am the morning of the club meeting!

To say this model got a bit out of hand is an understatement. Having built the cars first, the scale was set - the rest just followed. The incline plain is 43 inches long set at 45º  making the height over 30 inches.


Some negotiation of transport requirements was entered into and it was decided that I could use Sue’s estate car providing I dropped her first as she was helping out with some flower arrangements for a wedding the following day. Parking a long wheelbase Transit at Sherard hall is not a practical proposition on a club day.

I arrived early, only preceded by Dave Taylor and his copious selection of Meccano ready for us to have a good rummage through. We just started to unload and the rain started - it chucked it down. As Meccano and water don’t mix we waited a while before continuing.

Dave has setting that stand up to a fine art and before long he was ready to trade. The bees were around the honey pot topping up their stocks. Having invested heavily this year already I resisted temptation and purchased the 500 nuts I had asked Dave to bring with him.

The rain stopped and it was all systems go again. I carried my model in to a few raised eyebrows. This was by far the largest model I have taken to any meeting. Last time I had a few starter models and a bending machine.


I also had Sue’s VW Beetle with me as a couple of members had asked to see it. Geoff Carter had made one as well so we compared notes. It is a strange little kit. You can read more about it HERE.

Grub screws!

On setting up my model, Brian Elvidge pointed out that set screws and grub screws are in fact part number 69, 69a,b &c... Hmmmm... Is this taking it a bit too far? If a part is supplied with a grub screw it becomes integral in that part - Right?  Well, thinking about the effort that went into it, I decided to change the offending items for standard bolts (P/N 37a) just to be safe. I set up the cars and the model worked fine. Its next outing will be at the Runnymede meet on the 4th October. I intend to build a top station and a bottom entrance. I thought I would extend the challenge and try and use at least one part from all the numbers 1-50. I’ll let you know how I get on.

More challenge models

Chris Fry's Meccanograph

My other model entered into the challenge was a simple combining of a few bent strips that we had made while demonstrating out bending machine. The baby must be the simplest model I have ever entered! It made a few people smile…

It was Chris Fry that suggested the challenge so he could hardly not bring a model. He managed to build a Meccanograph adapted from a Andreas Konkoly model that featured in the November 1972 issue of Meccano magazine. Like my model he has used the 19c pulley, must be the first time that two models using this part have appeared at Sherard Hall!

Pit head gear
Pit head gear

Chris Warrell’s pit head gear made for an unusual model built from reference material found on the internet. The model has a working that is raised and lowered by hand - not allowed a motor within the rules of the challenge. A truck made from blue Meccano rides the cage.

There were plenty of other models entered into the Secretary’s challenge and more details can be found HERE on the SELMEC website.

Other models

There was a very neat traction engine built by Brian Elvidge. The model was originally built with the intention of improving the pre-war SM22 model. It has a modern high efficiency motor built into the firebox, and a host of features including a working winch drum, hand brake, differential and two speed gears.

Traction engine
Very neat traction engine

The Foden fairground lorry will transport John Gay’s Octopus fairground ride. The lorry is complete with generator, and opening lockers. What does not fit inside will be towed behind. 

 Lorry John Gay's Foden

There were plenty of other models on display and a good turnout made it all the better. SELMEC is my local club and we are holding out 30th annual exhibition at Sherard hall in Eltham, London SE9 on the 11th of October. More details HERE. Cakes and refreshments were available as usual. I took one of Sue’s Cherry cakes and polished of one of Adrian Ashford’s individual cakes that he had donated - very nice! I almost forgave him for not bringing the Ping-pong ball lifter he showed at Henley but I missed. Last time I got ‘Volunteered’ to do the washing up, so this time I offered. Just as I was going to help I got waylaid by an interesting model. When I finally got to the kitchen I was too late It had all been done… What a disappointment! Maybe next time.


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Working late to finish - looks like the beer has gone flat!
close-up of car



Ball roller clock.

Generator detail