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My next adventure - North Quay


Ian Morgan
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I had  decided to retire my Freshwater layout after its appearance at the Warley show at the NEC last year. After 12 years in the making, I wanted a break. Maybe to spend more time on some of the club layouts, and maybe to start a new, fresh challenge for a personal layout. (I am not ruling out a Rolling Stones type 'Comeback' tour at some point, but then I have not decided what to do with Freshwater yet).

 

I had a few ideas for a new layout in my head (don't we all?) but most would be too large and complex to tackle single-handed.

 

Then I had an email inviting Basingstoke Club members to the 40th anniversary exhibition of the Euskirchen Club (Eisenbahnclub Euskirchen e.V.) in December this year. Euskirchen is Basingstoke's twin town in Germany, and we have taken a few layouts to their shows, pre-Brexit and Covid, and they have reciprocated bringing their layouts to our show.

 

Some quick research seems to indicate that taking a club layout by road this year would be a lot more hassle than previous visits, with Customs (Carnets), several Low Emissions Zones to register for, and the german requirement for winter tyres in the winter.

 

So, how about building a small 2mm layout that would fit in an aluminium flight case that I could take by air or Eurostar?

 

I eventually found some laser cut baseboards and a not-too-large flight case they could fit into, and a bit of a track plan that could fit. Part of the North Quay at St Helens on the Isle of Wight. It will not be a faithful reproduction of the real place, but I hope it will have a passing resemblance. It will have 7 points, a run round loop (partly in a fiddle yard) and a kick-back siding. Hmmm, sounds a lot like Freshwater.

 

Anyway, baseboards have been built, modified slightly to fit the flight case, and are ready to be painted. I have some track components to start me off, and an order for the rest is with the Association Shop 1, waiting for the annual stock taking to be completed. It will be a tight schedule, but I feel I am off to a flying start.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bécasse said:

In theory you still need a carnet - but at least if you go by Eurostar you will find out at the controls at St.Pancras if you have a problem.

 

That is true, but how will they value a micro layout to calculate any duty they intend to levy if I don't get one?

 

The carnet is likely to cost more than the layout.

 

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Ian Morgan said:

 

That is true, but how will they value a micro layout to calculate any duty they intend to levy if I don't get one?

 

The carnet is likely to cost more than the layout.

 

 

Indeed.  But we had no trouble taking half-a-dozen N gauge modules by van to Stuttgart for the NCI meet.  They were our possessions travelling with us - nothing commercial involved - though we did have a list and pictures of what was in the boxes, and a letter of invitation to the exhibition.

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29 minutes ago, Ian Morgan said:

 

That is true, but how will they value a micro layout to calculate any duty they intend to levy if I don't get one?

 

The carnet is likely to cost more than the layout.

 

 

 

 

So you are taking the layout but no models to run on it - and no tools either? The valuation would be whatever the Customs' officer chooses to say it is and, as a minimum, there would be a significant additional penalty for non-declaration, the officer could however decide to confiscate everything (and, if you were travelling in a vehicle, the vehicle as well). Remember that it is the value which is taxable, not what it cost historically, and the mere fact that you are taking it to be exhibited in Europe demonstrates to the officer that it must be valuable.

 

You might well get away with it but if you don't the penalties are significant. Remember this is what the British voted for, while the way that the British Government has handled the whole situation merely encourages the authorities in Europe to take a harsh line.

 

I might add that if I order a railway book which is only available from a British supplier who isn't registered to collect Belgian TVA (the bigger ones are but tend not to handle specialist books), I end up having to pay around another €30 in taxes and charges on top of the book price and postage, something I didn't before Brexit.

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4 hours ago, bécasse said:

...significant additional penalty for non-declaration, the officer could however decide to confiscate everything (and, if you were travelling in a vehicle, the vehicle as well).

 

 

One of the reasons to go by train or fly.

 

4 hours ago, bécasse said:

Remember this is what the British voted for, while the way that the British Government has handled the whole situation merely encourages the authorities in Europe to take a harsh line.

 

Although it is not what I, personally, voted for, we are a democracy so it is what it is and we have to get on with the new reality.

 

I do not plan to take tools, and will only have a small amount of kit bashed rolling stock that ran on Freshwater, so confiscation would not bother me too much.

 

I will declare it though, and see what they say.

 

So, on with layout building.

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Since you are going to declare it, I recommend making a list of everything that you are taking, the separate parts of the layout, each item of rolling stock, the controllers, etc together with your realistic valuations thereof, noting that everything is more than six months old. You would have had to do that for the carnet anyway. Hopefully the Customs' officer will look kindly on you.

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So, the baseboards are ready for painting, to protect against damp and to prime them for scenic work.

 

As I said, I had to cut down the height of the backscenes to fit the flight case. I used the offcuts to create an end frame so the two main boards can bolt together for transit. Track ends on baseboard edges will have suitable gaps so they don't get damaged. I will get a photo of that later.

 

I also cut strips of the offcuts to form vertical timbers along the entire frontage of the layout that will be the quay side. I cut up a lot of coffee stirrers using a nice little mini table saw I picked up last year. These formed the horizontal timbers of the quay side, and a row along the top form the edging, which will allow any infill for the dock side to be level with the track sleeper tops. It also masks the laser cut 'comb' tabs. Here it is in the raw state. Hopefully it will look better when suitably painted.

 

quayside_unpainted.jpg.0278b036c19cc0562a713e323ab34e81.jpg

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Here are the two main baseboards bolted together ready to fit into the flight case:

 

quay_packed.jpg.5754045f2385ca2f29b939065d5ccfc9.jpg

 

And here is the complete 1.5m long layout, including fiddle yard, sprayed with grey primer. The underside is white. It is sitting on top of Freshwater in its transport case/lighting gantry, showing it is pretty much the same length as the scenic board of Freshwater, but a lot lighter.

 

quay_primed.jpg.837751e4758b0905591c29fa7148add6.jpg

 

Note the quayside extends along the front of the fiddle yard. I am experimenting with having basic scenery on the fiddle yard (ballast, brick walling and some greenery) to make the layout look a bit tidier, but with the fixed scenic break from the main layout. I still need to cut a hole for the trains to enter the layout, but need some track down to get the correct position for a minimum sized hole. With the hole near the front of the layout, I am hoping the sceniced fiddle yard showing through it will make it less distracting.

 

So now I have to start putting together and laying lots of 2mmFS EasiTrak so it may be a little while before the next post and photos.

 

 

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On 31/03/2024 at 19:36, Ian Morgan said:

Not the most up-to-date gov.uk page, but this implies I can declare by conduct or orally personal belongings up to an Allowance. Not found what that allowance is yet though.

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-how-to-declare-personal-goods-you-bring-into-or-take-out-of-the-uk

 

 

 

This. so far as I can work out, only relates to the UK customs side of things,  the EU customs is another story. If I recall correctly, the allowance is 350 euros (or it might be 450 euros).

 

However, I travel regularly to and from the EU. It is a long time since I have even seen anyone even manning the customs posts on the French side either at Dunkerque or Calais, let alone actually checking anyone. Neither have I ever seen anyone checked at the Dutch airports. Once they had all proved they could confiscate lorry drivers' ham sandwiches, they quickly grew bored of it and lost interest...

 

Chris

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I've travelled out of the UK with The Pizza, which has a flight case that meets the carry-on size requirements. 

On 2 trips to the USA,  there were no customs or carnet issues, just security checks. 

Other trips were pre-Brexit European visits one on Eurostar and the other driving.

Having travelled on business with IT equipment requiring a carnet, my advice would be to avoid if at all possible.  It's a tedious and time-consuming process at the end of a trip when you're usually quite tired.
P5151164.jpg.34428f526cf5c1d14d70abdda85fc93b.jpg

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