The N Gauge Society was priviledged to have amongst its membership the late Andy Calvert. Andy was an experienced modeller who won many awards including the Railway Modeller Cup in 1992 with his layout Nether Stowey.
The Calvert Gallery
Andy Calvert, Vice President of the N Gauge Society, sadly passed away shortly before midnight on Monday 25th November 2002, whilst an in-patient in Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Andy was a true inspiration with his outstanding modelling skills. He always had a kind word for those of us with lesser skills.
Andy served on the Society committee as Trade Liasion Officer. During this time he persuaded the committee to produce a injection moulded plastic kit. Nobody realised that Andy would expand the project to the current 23 kits!
On behalf of myself and the N Gauge Society, I would like to express my sympathy to Andy's family and friends. Andy will be sadly missed.
The article on this and subsequent pages was written by Andy for the Society's 30th Anniversary exhibition guidebook. It will stay on this website as a lasting tribute to Andy along with his layout shown at the 35th Anniversary Exhibition, Moorcock Junction.
Michael Shillabeer Vice President 14th December 2002
I joined the Society in 1976; at that time membership was around 300. I was a mere 26 year old, recently married and with a baby son. My wife considered my suggestion to build a model railway (for my son of course!) amusing, and actually bought a locomotive, some wagons, track and points as my Christmas present that year. I look back on that Christmas with equal amusement as I wonder if she realised how my interest was going to expand almost to the point of infatuation over the ensuing years!
Then followed a few months of great excitement purchasing anything that was vaguely LMS. Regular purchase of the Railway Modeller began which together with avid reading of the N Gauge Journal and indeed any other railway books I could lay my hands on led me to building layout number one. All my reading advised the use of 2"x 1" timber framing, an insulation board top and many nails, screws and glue to build the baseboard. Peco track laid in foam ballast underlay was fixed in place next, complete with whacking great holes to clear Peco point motors which as instructed were fixed directly to the points themselves. What a disaster! Locomotives kept stalling on the insulfrog points and uncoupling only seemed to happen automatically when not included. I did persevere with this layout for about six months but eventually gave up and ripped up the track and insulation board top to try again.
However, to be fair N Gauge was still relatively new (in Britain, that is). Graham Farish had only just started in the scale and even the smaller Minitrix steam locomotives left much to be desired. Things were not so bad if you only ran diesels or the larger steam locomotives but this didn't help if your layout was a single track branch line! And it must be admitted my track laying skills left much to be desired!
Work then started on layout number two. By this time my wife was not quite so amused by my model railway interests and I found myself exiled to the garage. However, this had certain advantages as I found that if I left the car outside I had a 30 foot run of wall to fit my railway to. This time the more rigid sundeala board was used which was a great improvement (at least nails and screws stayed where they were put). Also the foam underlay was dispensed with, the track and points being stuck directly to the sundeala with woodworkers glue. This too gave dramatic improvements in running and together with my first attempt using loose ballast secured in place with diluted woodworkers PVA glue, an equally dramatic improvement in looks resulted. This was also the first time I used Humbrol track colour to paint the sides of my rails instead of the recommended rust colour. Bearing in mind the 2mm depth of the rail used at that time (which when scaled to full size represented nearly ± foot considerably more than it should be), painting with rust colour merely accentuated the problem. The use of track colour allowed the rails to blend with the sleeper base so looking much better. So, encouraged by these improvements this was the first time I first started building from kits. What fun! I think for every locomotive that was eventually passed fit for service, there were at least two consigned to the waste bin or spares box. Not all due to bad building, I hasten to add. These were still early days in the scale and some of the kits just did not come up to standard.
As my modelling improved I became increasingly concerned with the horrible standard N Gauge coupling. Not only was it ugly to look at, it just didn't work as it should. I therefore opted to use the MBM coupling system (available in the Society shop). After a little fiddling about I got this system to work pretty well and used it for about 8 years.
Now the year is 1980, the family has expanded to include a daughter and a change of address bought about the demise of layout number two. Meanwhile, I had attended many model railway shows as a visitor and apart from a handful of notable exceptions, I was not generally impressed with most of the N Gauge layouts on show. In particular poor running and an almost total lack of shunting operations such as those happening regularly on my layout resolved me to have a go at an exhibition layout to see if I could do better. Thus layout number three, 'Calverdale', was built.