The group traces its roots back to when our founder, the late George Oakley, first exhibited the model trams he had built for his son, Rodney, at the Manchester Model Railway Society’s Exhibition in 1949.
George had an interest in both Manchester and Llandudno & Colwyn Bay tramway systems and modelled both operators cars even though they were standard and narrow gauge respectively. Consequently he devised a compromise scale gauge ratio, unique to our group, based on a piece of ‘ Meccano’, a sample of which is taken to every show we attend. This set the scale of 5/8 “ to a foot and the 27/16 inch gauge!!
Because George modelled Manchester cars, at the time of writing we have no serviceable model Manchester vehicles. George’s models are now too delicate and valuable to operate in “normal service”. Plans are in hand to build models of Manchester, Salford and Stockport trams in the not too distant future.
However, all of Manchester’s ‘ Pullman’ trams were sold out of service to other tramcar operators after the 2nd World War for further use. There is a model of one these in the livery of its second operator, Sunderland.
The track is standard coarse 0 gauge rail and chairs, mounted on a hardboard base, many pieces of which are over 50 years old. In the reverse of full size practice, the track is live at 24v DC, and is divided into sections, so the cars can be controlled, with earth return by the overhead.
After far too many years of using whatever tables/trestles etc. the venue can provide, often of different heights, we have developed our own tables using Unistrut which gives us a foundation for good running, and enhances the rail noise!!
On short simple layouts we have two operating positions. On longer or more complicated layouts we have three. Normally with some sort of siding and turn back facility in the middle. All these need their own controller, some of which date from the 1950’s, and are still going strong, although modern electronics are slowly creeping in.