00-gauge Tinker Yard

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

The Museum's 00-gauge Tinker Yard is not a public-access area.

The 00-gauge Tinker Yard is a private area set behind the East Sussex Countryside 00-gauge model railway layout. It contains stock of 00-gauge locomotives and running stock (in various states of repair), as well as the tools and spare parts needed to keep the 00-gauge layouts running. It also contains scenery materials, and it's the area where we do any work for repairs, replacement or upgrades ot the 00 layouts. it also houses the layouts' main electronics and controls, and a remote screen.

00-gauge servicing and repairs

Although modern model locomotives are quite reliable, most owners will not run their trains more than a few hours each week, or each month. In our case, we're attempting to run locos continuously for seven hours a day, for more than two hundred and fifty days a year, which gives an estimated 1750 hours of use multiplied by the number of locos active at any time, each year.

Wear and tear

This is not a workload that domestic toys are expected to be able to cope with (or are designed for), so we have to deal with a constant stream of loco servicing, oiling and wheel-cleaning, and also have to deal with fixing parts that simply fall off after hundreds of hours of being vibrated on a track. We also have a certain number of "accidents" to deal with each month ... a carriage coupling might fall off onto the track and cause a derailment, or decouple and lead to a train shedding carriages, which it then collides with on the next circuit, blocking the adjacent track, where they are hit by a train coming the other way ...

As well as this regular "accidental" damage, we are constantly wearing out locomotive motors and mechanisms. Having a range of locomotive rolling-stock in reserve means that when a locomotive "misbehaves" and needs to be substituted, we can normally put out its replacement with a set of historically-appropriate carriages.

Personnel and projects

Repair maintenance and upgrade work in the "Tinker Yard" is normally carried out by museum volunteers. During 2014, the countryside scenery and buildings were renewed under the supervision of Brian Bennett, who did a beautiful job of upgrading the front-side buildings and meticulously hand-painting and engineering a reproduction of Southern Railways three-rail electric track.

Further "Tinker Yard" projects will include continuing with the refreshment of the buildings and platforms for the Newtown town layout, producing a new area of scenery for the end of the town layout and ... hopefully ... at some point re-engineering the tram track on the upper section so that we can have trams running as well as trains.