Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Club Saga

A long long time ago in a far off colony, surviving from a glorious past, a group of enthusiastic railway modelers gradually closed in on each other to form a nucleus of colleagues who banded together to create what is now known as the British Railway Modelers Club of Montreal,

Originally clandestine meetings were held at the individual’s abodes with the constant  germ of the Railway Modelers Holy Grail beginning to gnaw away in the various discussions, a truly wonderful thing… a Modular layout for the Club,

After much chagrin and wringing of hands the quest was finalized, the plot was hatched,  each member would be responsible for certain sections of the layout, each onto his own, following the basic right of way and matching dimensions set forth in the layout handbook (a document that has been discussed in whispers but lost in the passage of time) and to split the overall cost.

So as the members set out on this task, creating their modules to the basic tenets, other more interesting or mundane tasks had to be completed, working, shopping, gathering of monies or peculiar things named investments etc.

Eventually the modules did come into being and were formed into the great thing that came to be known as Rosedale, and the members viewed the completed layout with water in their eyes as it appeared that locomotives could actually traverse the layout from end to end with only a few minor electrical problems. The whole Layout was acclaimed to be good and much rejoicing was heard

This pleased the members so much they decided to display their talents to all and sundry and thus the future exhibition layout of Rosedale was born. This layout would venture forth to many Model Railway exhibitions supported by the rag tag band of members who strained under the workload of transporting the beast, erecting it in all it’s glory performing such miracles of engineering and repair with solder, duct tape and various other items to keep the layout functioning.

At some shows the mere appearance of the layout along with other supporting units attracted many of the EXPAT tribal members to gather and observe the running of trains. Some even applied for membership after surviving the initial contact and the beginnings of  social exchanges by contacting members for information.

Thus it went on for many years, some members always being in attendance supporting the quest, others appearing by magic at various times and places to assist in running of the engines, yet more resisting the impulse to disappear when their engines were spent and honest toil was needed to dismantle the layout.

Throughout this time the modules underwent various transformations as members were added, deleted or other wise disposed of and the ranks of the Club became depleted. The layout fell into disuse, hidden in sections in dark damp dungeons waiting for that burst of light as it was manhandled into transport for yet another show.

Finally the few remaining members held yet another meeting and after great debate it was agreed to obtain a clubhouse, a refuge from normal everyday life, where modelers could go and ply their craft in creating miniature replicas of all things BR.

This deed was proclaimed to be a priority and after much searching a suitable location was found in Ville St Pierre, a suburb of the city with reasonable access to everything it was said. This place was deemed to be acceptable for the main purpose as the lair of the club’s exhibition layout but also a place for social interaction and much gathering.

There the layout of Rosedale reposed in splendour whilst the members laboured nights and Sunday mornings to affect many needed repairs.This resulted in Rosedale being declared ready again to take to the exhibition circuit. Alas many years had passed since Rosedale was in it’s prime and other layouts had been created in new and more magical forms of control.

Such ideas were being proclaimed in the magazines of the time and demonstrated on the rivals layouts.This created woe and anguish amongst the remaining members who clustered in small groups plotting changes and were overheard whispering ideas such as DCC, Protypical, EM gauge etc. in hushed reverent terms. This rebellious talk did disheartened some members whose life work reposed in Rosedale

Finally after much skull duggery and maneuvering a great meeting of all members was held. In this meeting the quest for new layouts was formulated, much was the discussions that followed, some members declared that they would build a new generation of layout and plotted about how it would be done.

These intrepid members along with other associate renegade club members planned a new layout deemed to be called Frome, this took form using different methods of construction in supports and baseboards until the basic structure was declared good.

A multitude of ideas for track laying and position followed with changes being enacted monthly until the final section was laid and the layout declared good.

This was premature however as new additions and changes were and have continued to be made, some delaying usage for many many weeks much to the mickey taking joy of the other members. However in the background there were other mutterings in the club and these were beginning more insistent and further discussions about new layouts started being held at the monthly meetings.

Then in the year of the LNER engineer (Sir Nigel Gresley) celebrations, 2009, the few remaining members agreed to become disciples of the new Quest and so commenced the construction of the magnificent structure to be known as the Next Exhibition Layout.

This was some thing that had been yearned for many years but forbidden to speak about.  The new layout was planned both in general and detail ways, discussed and proposed until finally it was drawn with much attention to detail and the little things.

Forms were built at a great rate, support legs were manufactured to standard sizes, new methods of alignment and leveling were introduced and finally one week all was declared acceptable and the new layout structure was assembled respondent in the place of Rosedale. At this time the followers of Frome had been joined with the majority so the semi complete layout was left in repose.

The track laying was launched with much enthusiasm until it was realized that the plan was not being followed. A census was issued for righteous members to propose there own plans which were mulled over in high expectations, Lo and Behold the track plan was revealed and declared to be good.

The membership then cried “a name ,we must have a name! else all will be forgotten! and slowly a multitude of names were proposed until the chosen name burst forth above all others. Thus Allingham was raised to be the name of the new layout, this in memory of the last Great War survivor who had recently passed away.

And now the saga of the Club continues, Allingham has reached full power with circular running, the branch line once scorned and left to neglect in the passage of time has gained life and is now longer regarded as the withered arm.

In the near future it is forseen that all members should be able to display their talents, their wares and rolling stock of great variety, applauding some for the laying of  track, ballast, walls etc, some for the righting of wrongs (on the layout) others in creating scenic masterpieces and all in their own time to use the clubhouse for the intended purposes and meet in good fellowship if not on a week night and/or Sunday morning as available.

All that was done and Allingham was displayed to all and sundry at the tribal gatherings of model railway enthusiasts to great appreciation for some years. Again rumblings were heard at the club gatherings and the cry for a new, sleeker, more transportable, layout were heralded,

This was discussed for many weeks and finally the decision was made, the club will build another layout, this one to be of the end to end variety with many interesting features and be easy to operate and transport.

So once again the quest begins...








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