The Bridgenorth funicular railway is cut deep into the clff


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27th February 2010 A day out and a TIMS meeting

Railway car
The funicular railway at Bridgnorth

We have two big projects on at the moment. The completion of the big Ferris wheel has been shelved for this year due to the pressure of work and the fact that we are going to be short of storage space. Having said that, sections are being built, as time allows, and design testing continues. When finished this thing will be the biggest model we have ever built. The other project we have been researching is a model of the Middlesborough transporter bridge. As we started researching the model we discovered that next year is the centenary of the bridge so we felt that it would be good to have it ready for the start of next year’s show circuit. We had planned to drive up to Middlesbrough on the Friday before the meeting at TIMS and take some photographs of the bridge itself. However having been put off by (as it turned out incorrect) warnings of heavy rain all day, we decided to abandon the long trip and go somewhere else instead… but where?

A post on the Spanner II list resulted in several suggestions all good. We now have a whole list of places to visit! In the end we decided to pay Bridgnorth a visit, have a look at the funicular railway and investigate the Northern terminus of the Severn Valley Railway. After a late start and a nightmare drive through heavy traffic around Birmingham we arrived in Bridgnorth just after lunch and made our way to the funicular railway. There is a small car park down by the river that had plenty of room (I bet it won’t be like that in the summer!) and took a stroll back to the bottom station of the funicular railway. After parting with our one pound each, return fair, we were shown on to the car and the assent began. Cut into the side of the cliff, it is the steepest funicular in the country and it feels like it.

Looking north towards Ironbridge some 8½ miles up stream

The view from the top is fantastic as you can look north into the gorge and towards Ironbridge some 8½ miles up-stream. There is a path that works its way round the cliff and you end up in the top part of the town. There we found a very nice coffee shop and had a pleasant half an hour break. A mooch around the town was followed by a short drive back to the regular B&B in Ironbridge. We unloaded the car and after a wash and brush up it was a walk up to the Horse & Jockey to get fed and watered (steak and beered!)

TIMS meeting

This was a new experience for us. Usually it is an early start and a dash to Telford services for the obligatory fry-up. Today we are already here. Time to check the e-mail, thanks to a Wi-Fi enabled B&B, down to breakfast – yes a hearty full English and much nicer than the motorway services offering.

On arrival at the venue we found a space and got set up. We had the bi-plane flyer and some of our Vintage models with us, along with the new Argos Design 3 set. I must admit I was amazed at how much interest the little model generated. It is interesting to watch as the Meccano sign is revolving in the opposite direction to the rotation of the planes this looks really strange but it is because the sign is connected to the rise an fall drive not the rotation. It does make people look twice because it appears to be wrong. 

Me and Biplanes
Our display and me listening intently to what somebody is saying...

The model ran all day without any trouble. I used an old variable resistance controller (H&M Duette) for the continuous running as the electronic controller, although capable of giving much smoother control, was getting very hot while running the motors at constant slow speeds for any length of time.

1- 10 set models
Tony's display of models built from sets 1-10... Click on photograph to enlarge

The show was nice and busy with a good attendance – especially for this time of year. We got a good shot of Tony Evanson’s display of set models. He built one model from each set from 1-10 he said you need a lot of bush wheels!  Hiding behind his model of the James May’s Meccano bridge, Chris Shute displayed a very nice two-man railway pump truck. It featured a split axel pickup system, automatic electro-mechanical reversing and diode controlled stop at each end of the track.

More models from the day can be seen HERE



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Chris Shute displayed a very nice railway pump truck and 'Gandy Dancers'
ews Click to enlarge