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Regular visitors to my older website will will have noticed by now that I have made many fundamental changes to this website. The style of the menu in the left hand frame has been upgraded and other pages have been reorganised. These new web pages have been designed to be viewed  at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. This is the new screen ratio used by many laptop computers today and if you are still using an outdated desktop computer with an early screen ratio I am sorry that you will not be able to see this website at its best.

I had a model railway when I was an infant and it expanded by my parents during my early learning days.  First I started with some hand me down Pre - War Hornby 0 gauge tin plate stock then dad bought more post war rolling stock and track for me.  When I was taken on holiday to Blackpool some time during the late 1940s or early 1950s dad took me to a toy  shop on Waterloo Road in Blackpool and the proprietor demonstrated a Graham Farish 00 gauge Black Five to us. Alas dad thought building up the G&R Wrenn track work too difficult for me being so young, so that was the end of that.  I had to make do with the clumsy Hornby tin plate stock.

When Meccano reintroduced the Hornby Dublo 00 gauge system after the war dad bought me a new Duchess of Atholl train set. Dad and my uncles expanded the system for me but by 1957 I wanted diesel engines to it meant buying a second system to run alongside the Dublo 3-rail system.  This was the Tri-ang transcontinental system.  We didn't have to spend a lot of money on the Tri-ang system compared with the Dublo one so we got more for our money.  I lost interest somewhat when I started work and discovered distractions such as rock and roll dances and girls, so I never bought any more models for a few years.  I still continued my subscription to the railway Modeller and dreamed of owning a layout like I saw on the pages of the magazine.  Then Peco published a series of articles on transistorised model railway controllers in the Railway Modeller and my interest was awakened to find me building one of these controllers.  What an improvement there was compared with a Tri-ang variable resistance controller.  I forgot about Tri-ang and began to buy more 3-rail Hornby Dublo stock. 

I discovered a DIY shop in Whitehaven who stocked Kitmaster, Airfix, H&M and Peco model railway equipment.  The shop was owned by Eddie Lax and he was a great help in putting me on the right track.  I bought Airfix plastic building kits to replace the plastic Tri-ang ones that didn't look authentic.  By 1968 I had converted my 3-rail locos and rolling stock to 2-rail using Denny's Dublo wheel conversion kits Peco wheels for the rolling stock.  Two rail track was by Peco and my point motors was chunky Omron open frame 12 volt relays with the switch contacts modified to operate the point tiebars.  These relays were fitted under the baseboards using home made mounting brackets.  These were a lot cheaper than H&M's SM3 point motors but I later changed over to SM3 point motors in 1970 when I started up my retail model shop in 1970.

By 1967 I had a job in the research and development section of Derwent Manufacturing Company Ltd., a specialised electronics factory involved with amusement machines. In 1968 this firm exhibited two gaming machines and a change giving machine that were of my design  at a national exhibition at Alexandra Palace in London.  I had at my fingertips all the information and loads of free electronic component samples to experiment with cutting edge model railway controller designs.  I experimented with advanced solid state model railway circuitry and I started using industrial grade transistors and other forms of semiconductors and by the early 1970s I had designed and demonstrated a model railway controller  to the local model club at one of their meetings.  To the best of my knowledge this is the first experiments with thyristors or as some folk call them SCRs.

In the early 1970s I never dreamed that my design for a feedback controller would progress into and be the same one that would be considered the ultimate in model railway analogue controllers.  I sold the design to Compspeed who in turn evolved into Kent Panel Controls.  If DDC had not gained such a foothold in model railways the advanced design which my controller developed into would still be the main choice of railway modellers.

My first scale portable layout was the one I mentioned earlier, Mardale 1 and now I am building Mardale version 2.  I have built lots of layouts since I started with Mardale, from N gauge to 7mm narrow gauge and 0 gauge.  Today I am building my second version of Mardale but it was intended to be a completely different layout.  I decided to build Mardale 2 in my loft but after careful thought I decided to abandon my Bassenthwaite Lake Station idea and  call it Mardale 2 instead.  I had researched Bass Lake station and took measurements of the still existing shell of a building so I could build a mirror image station building and call it Mardale.  because I had injured my leg I decided to build a 4mm scale model of Bassenthwaite to go on the exhibition circuit but seeing the N gauge layout at an exhibition I began to have second thoughts.  Most exhibition layouts last around five or six years but it looked like the N Gauge Bassenthwaite Lake layout would continue for many years to come.  hence the name change and the building of Mardale 2 much sooner than I expected.

Many thanks
for choosing to visit my web pages.  

 Tom Jenkins 2014

 Page last updated 28th December  2014

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