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Washbourne

O gauge British isles Small space Any place




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#1 Northroader

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 20:24

This line is being made as a small branch line terminal, for restricted space, with no particular place in mind. It's intended to form a setting for running short pregroup passenger and goods trains. Having worked in most scales, N, TT-3, HO, OO, I have now settled in O gauge for about the last twenty years. This is solely because the bulk of an O gauge model appeals to me.
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To make this comparison I only had matching continental wagons, so you're looking at continental O, 1/45, and HO, 1/87; rather than British O, 1/43, and OO, 1/76; but you get the idea. Modelling in O is more expensive, and having trawled through RMweb I greatly admire the OO layouts, which sometimes are done by adapting from a pool of used and RTR models. The chances of doing this in O are very limited. To keep costs down I do a lot of scratch building, the problem here being the time it takes.
Another thing I like is pre-group modelling, generally the 1880 - 1900 period. Trains were compact, well balanced designs and attractive colour schemes. Going back to a time when kids read books, I'm showing my two favourite authors from those days, as they started my interest.
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E.L.Ahrons ran a series of articles in the Locomotive Magazine way back in the 20's about the late Victorian scene, which were later printed in book form. (As an aside if you can find bound copies of the magazine in a reference library it's a wonderful source of information, a lot of the outline drawings appear in it, for a start) Then there's C. Hamilton Ellis, who did several histories of specific lines, plus various evocative books and a lot of paintings.
The main characteristic of the line I am making is that it is very small. I never have enjoyed layouts which sprawl, and I wanted to set a very tight limit on the train sizes running on the line. After experimenting with some train make ups, I decided on a train length of 24". Sorry, I'm old enough to be all feet and inches rather than metric!
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You'll see for this length it has to be small tank engines only, no tender engines, and either three goods vehicles, or two 4/ 6 wheel coaches. Next post I'll try to explain the design, or perhaps the lack of it.

Edited by Northroader, 25 November 2017 - 21:10 .

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#2 Northroader

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 20:30

I've got this baseboard, which was left over from another scheme that didn't come off. It had a ply fascia strip glued to front and back, so I cut it down the middle and added new crosspieces and back longitudes. Then it was strengthened by battens underneath mainly for the join. Then after more design and drawing I wasn't happy with it, so it became thought of as a main unit which was widened, and a fiddle yard, which was shortened. I hope you aren't losing the will to live reading all this, it just me and my baseboard have become quite attached.You may say "but you're fitting a layout to a board? that's totally.... backwards" Sorree.
Suffice to say the boards are conventional softwood frames, main station is 40.5" x 14.5" (1030 x 370) and fiddle yard is 28" x 12.25" (715 x 310). Station has 12mm chipboard top, fiddle yard 3.5mm hardboard top, and there's a 6mm ply strip along the front to finish it, and stop stuff dropping off. Incidentally it's not tailor made to fit anywhere, I just wanted to do a really small O layout.
It was then a case of seeing what would go on the board. Two parallel lines, with a runround crossover, platform behind, and a siding in front. I considered a bay into the platform, but I think there's a balance to reach of what proportion of the baseboard is covered by track against the rest. I placed a loco and coaches on the board with a building to size it all up.image.jpeg
This told me what was left for the points I needed. I put a Peco OO settrack point in the copier, blew it up to 175%, (4mm to 7mm), then worked out how much it needed to be shortened by to fit in, which I did on photoshop. The printouts are fitted in in the picture above. I then built the points to this drawing, using 6mm copper clad glass fibre sleeper strip and code 124 flat bottom nickel silver rail, all from Marcway of Sheffield. The rail is on the hefty side for pregroup, it was leftover from an American line I was doing.
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This shows the finished point work, and the main thing about it is the tight curvature. I've put in a standard Peco point with it as a comparison. I think I'd best stop here and discuss all the implications in the next post.
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#3 BG John

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 21:51

I don't know what we'll see in future episodes, but I'm using Peco code 124 on my planned 1905ish Colonel Stephens layouts. I'd prefer to use code 100 flatbottom spiked to half round sleepers, but I'll be ballasting over the sleepers, so the rail height and chairs should be largely hidden. Something not so easy to do on modern layouts.


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#4 Argos

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 11:11

Hi Northroader, 

Looks good so far. I think 7mm is far better suited to small layouts, somehow they look a look less compressed in comparison to smaller scales.

I think this is because the eye takes in less of the overall view.

 

I'll be interested to see how your stock copes with the curves, on my Three Shire Heads layout one of the curves on the quarry lines is less than 24" radius (in 7mm) and an Ixion Hudswell Clarke negotiates it quite happily. It did need a bit od judicious gauge widening though. Also it is not a reverse curve as your crossover but I'm sure this will be eminently workable.

 

In general I believe there is a lot of twaddle when minimum radii are talked about, yes easier curves look better but, with care, aren't necessary.


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#5 Edwardian

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:33

I look forward to seeing this one develop.  I am already captivated by the locos and stock and the platform shelter.  What are those wonderful little tank engines?

 

As Arnold might say, "I want your layout, your stock and your locomotives"

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#6 Northroader

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 16:42

Tell Mr Schwarzennicker "I'll be back". Yes, the 2-4-2T is a GSWR Ivatt, why don't more folks model this line? I'm afraid mine is 'standard' 32 MM. gauge, rather than mess round making another layout the right gauge, which is quite feasible now Slaters do wheels and axles.

#7 Northroader

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 20:50

Picking up on the radius question, some facts and figures, and problem solving. I used to enjoy seeing the Agenoria stand at GOG shows. There used to be a tiny oval at the base of the showcase, with an 0-4-0T chasing round, on its own. The radius must have been about 9". This set me thinking, and I built a pizza style circle 13" radius on a 30" square baseboard, O gauge. This showed me some of the problems, and at present the line is on ice, although I've got solutions and sometime hope to complete. Another time, another thread. Back to Washbourne, the points are made to a radius of 18", length 9.5". The picture compares them to a Peco medium radius point, radius 72", length 16". If I used these points with the same short train lengths, the overall length of the layout would go from 5'9" to 7'3". Argos says he's got 24" radius, and this can take an Ixion 0-6-0T, with gauge easing. Good idea, I've overlooked easing, everything was built to a 32mm roller gauge, but I think I'll try that. Going up from there, Marc Smith is using old Lima points, which an old GOG handbook says are around 30". I've up sized a Peco OO settrack point to O scale on the computer for my Englefield line, which also came out at 30". I can run an 0-6-0 through this. Perhaps when the much talked about Peco small radius point appears, it will be in this blockhole.(edit added, since doing this post I've come across the thread which gives 40.5" radius for the new Peco settrack point, although the length given don't look right)
There are two considerations using small radius. First, loco wheelbases. Here, I'm talking scratchbuilding, commercial kits will need a lot of rebuilding to adapt them, and also we're looking at small tank engines. The bread and butter engines are all four coupled. 0-4-0T are plain sailing, and 2-4-0T and 0-4-2T just need the non- driving axle carried in a pony truck with plenty of sideplay. I make single driver tank engines as 2-2-0 with the axles rigid mounted, and a trailing pony truck. Weight is added for adhesion, and placed to keep the centre of gravity over the rigid wheelbase. 2-4-2T have pony trucks both ends with sideplay, and I have an 0-4-4T running, with a sprung trailing bogie. This needs a lot of traverse, and I've found platform clearances need a "mind the gap" situation. This just leaves 0-6-0T.
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This shows a chassis made for the 13" radius line. Special features are thin frame plates, short spacers, joggled frames and no pickup at leading end, thinned down faces on the bushes, and notably the side rods are in two portions overlapping on the centre crank pin. All the holes need opening out to very slack fits. So it can be done.
The other problem is buffers and couplings. I've found it is best never to allow the buffer faces to get near each other by having a single long link, mounted in an oversize draw hook, which does pulling and pushing. The hook is profiled with a recess at the front and the back, so the link can engage at the rear of the hook for pushing movements. The link is long enough to just clear the rail when hanging free, and the other feature is a small cross piece at the free end. This is needed to stop the link riding through the draw hook when at an angle.
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Not a pretty sight!

Edited by Northroader, 01 March 2016 - 19:39 .

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#8 Poggy1165

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 18:27

That strikes me as an extremely clever coupling, and one that will solve many problems for people with tight curves. It also has the merit of being simple and robust, which is more than can be said for some of the confections of twisted wire one sees used as couplers. What's more, once blackened, it will not be obtrusive. (I have seen all sorts of unrealistic couplings described as 'not obtrusive', which suggests to be there is a need for more regular eye tests in some places. This actually is not obtrusive.)

 

Nice work, sir!


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#9 Northroader

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 19:27

Thanks for that, Poggy. I was worrying I'd see people crossing to the other side of the road when they saw me coming after I posted that coupling picture. They will be painted, I've got a thing about black, I don't go darker than charcoal grey.
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#10 Northroader

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 20:29

Having got the track laid, I was looking at wiring up and point control. There's a mound of old Peco point motors in my electrical box, so I tend to go for mechanical working. This time I overreached myself with a system of brass rods, that was far too clunky, so I went back to my normal way of having a slider switch tucked behind the front fascia, which does the feed to the frog of each point. The switch movement is linked to the point tie bar through rodding in a plastic tube and bell cranks. There were just two section feeds and switches required. I've also put in the bases for two plug-in signals with plungers. I could then start some test running, in this view the 044T is helping to establish the platform placing.image.jpeg
The next job is a scenic back support, made from 3mm hardboard, and supported on battens glued to the back. (The position of the battens is shown by the arrows in the picture) There's a patch at the far end as it's come from a previous job. The sheet is curved at the back corner, and I thought I'd mention how this was done. You can take a curve down to a radius of about 4", and first thing is to mark out where the curve begins and ends on the sheet with vertical pencil lines. This area at least has to be fully immersed in water for at least four hours, maybe a bit longer. Presumably you'll be doing this in the bath, so take precautions such as a groundsheet when it comes out, or you'll be very unpopular with your better half. Then clamp any old wood, ply, chipboard strips either side of the marks on the sheet for support, and you can start to bend. As you do this watch for any signs for cracking or flaking away on the back. If this happens the bend is too tight or the sheet isn't sufficiently wet. Leave the sheet to dry out with one end on a flat surface like the floor, and the other side upright against a wall, so that it takes a right angle. It wil take several days to dry out, but you can repeat the whole process if you need to correct anything. Once it is fully dry, the battens can be glued on.
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#11 Northroader

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 21:07

Last Sunday I got back from the Bristol GOG show with some extra ballast, amongst other bits, and pushed on with getting it down. I spread a mixture of three different sorts, giving it a somewhat piebald look., as I'm not keen on a single uniform spread of one type. I feel if it had been hand shovelled out of small wagons in loads of a few tons, and possibly recovered from a beach, or small quarries, it wouldn't look too consistent. Also I haven't gone for stuff that's sold as O scale ballast, for me it looks too "modern", and instead go for smaller sizes. The other thing is I don"t like grey mixes, but go for the browner, or limestone types, as in this case I've found in the past that when laying granite ballast, it doesn't like the diluted glue, and goes a bluer shade, not very realistic at all. It's spread out in small dollops, and levelled and mixed in using a soft paint brush. A very gentle tap with a hammer close by sets up a vibration which helps settle the stuff down. I try to get it level with the sleeper tops, but not over the sleepers. There's also a small cardboard "fence" along where the platform edge comes to form a step. Then I just make the usual mix of one part pva bond, three parts water, and a shot of washing up liquid, mix with a spatula, and go over with an eye dropper. After a day it's gone rock hard - there's a cautionary tale about this in the first post of my other thread "Englefield"!image.jpeg
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#12 Edwardian

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 22:49

I like the look of this ballast.  I vastly prefer buff to grey, and I reckon that most ballast turns a bit brown with dirt anyway.  Good mix of shades, too. 


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#13 wagonman

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 00:30

I don't know what we'll see in future episodes, but I'm using Peco code 124 on my planned 1905ish Colonel Stephens layouts. I'd prefer to use code 100 flatbottom spiked to half round sleepers, but I'll be ballasting over the sleepers, so the rail height and chairs should be largely hidden. Something not so easy to do on modern layouts.

 

Karlgarin does a special 7mm scale code 100 FB rail, wider than the usual 4mm scale stuff, which is ideal for lightly laid Victorian or Edwardian branch lines...


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#14 Northroader

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 21:28

The modelling output has dropped off recently, (think granddaughters, chickenpox, half term holiday, also six nations on the TV) but I can take you on a tour of the fiddle yard. I'm firmly fixed to the idea of cassettes, the main reason is you can keep a train set intact for the next trip without any uncoupling, handling, or rerailing, and quickly get it to storage. The other gains are no points to individual sidings are needed, keeping the length down, and also the cassette can substitute for the points at the "country end" of your station in shunting moves, with more space saving, also complication and cost. The idea was written about by Chris Pendleton in the Model Railway Journal, no.27, 1988, credit where it's due. (This one also featured Borchester, so a vintage issue) His cassettes had aluminium angle sides, which I copied, but realised this was an expensive way of doing this. The ones for Washbourne use a base of 7ply, 10mm thick, 26"long, 3"wide. The material came from an old cupboard shelf, and tends to keep flat without warping, and is sufficiently strong around the handle holes. The tracks are laid straight on to this, and supported at the ends by copperclad glass fibre circuit board, screwed to the base. The tracks register with those on the main board by having short lengths of 2.5mm o/d brass tube soldered to the outside web of the rail all round, then longer pieces of .060 brass rod soldered inside the station end tubes. This serves to line the tracks up, and act to carry the electric feed. When it is juiced up, if the train sticks, I find a twitch at the free end of the cassette will normally get the train moving.image.jpeg
The cassettes have handles attached to help move them. These are from aluminium strip 15mm x 2mm, (B&Q) which is formed around a rectangular block 4.25" x 3.25" rounded corners. The handles project out from the base, so it is just as well the station track centres are over the GOG recommendation of 80mm, being 100mm, as this also helps with runround clearance. I use countersunk 5mm machine screws to fix them to the base. I was planning for three train sets, plus some spare bits, so allowed for four cassettes side by side. You'll notice one is still waiting for track, as I've run out of sleeper strip for now. I found the fiddle yard "tray" also needed widening to take the four cassettes, so a piece of old fence post has been added to the back with a strip of hardboard on top. The tray now measures 28" x 13.75", and has a strip of 0.125" ply 4" high facing all round, with a higher piece of hardboard at the back. One feature of the handles is the flat top, so one cassette can be placed on top of another. This is very useful when rearranging the cassettes in the yard, although I don't leave them like this, it would be tempting fate too much. You can see this in the picture, it looks as if Washbourne is well placed for coal supplies"
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#15 Northroader

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 20:37

Another plus for the flat top handles occurred to me the other day when using them. This is that if you pick them up to turn a train, you can do 90 degrees of the turn, rest the end furthest from you on another cassette in the yard, change hands holding the front handle, and complete the full 180 degrees. Of course, now I've got the fiddle yard up and running, I can do some test running, and prove what a crap modeller I am. First job was polish the rails after ballasting, and make sure flange ways and tie bars were free of grit. Then I've done some packing to maintain the "top"(rail level) on the run off one of the roads into the fiddle yard,and also the curve on the front siding. One of the point throws needed adjustment before I was getting a feed. I suspect that in the long run I might have to change these, for now I'm just keeping an eye on their performance. Then three goods wagons which had an earlier type of coupling needed this changing to the type shown in a previous post. This brings the line into a more or less operational level, so just dealing with more faults as they happen.
As this was going on, I was also making a platform for the station.
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This was made from a 3mm. ply top cut to shape, and two lengths of nominal 2x1 timber glued under. There is cork underlay all across, and the platform level comes just below the buffers. The surface is covered with a layer of cardboard, and individual slabs are marked in with a pencil and scored with a Stanley knife. A paper strip is glued along the front to represent the edging, being scored and bent over 3mm at the front, and joins also scored in. I allowed slabs 3' x 2', and edge slabs 2'6" wide, and randomly 4' or 5' long. The front face is covered by a dark red brick paper. Then paint the slabs, various mixes of grey and tan Humbrol, with some thinned down washes, and wiping off with a tissue. I'm always concerned about printed brick papers fading, so this got two coats of flat varnish. Then there was a final scuzzying up with chalk dust. The platform is located using wooden dowels, and there are more dowel holes for the station building. When it's in place, there's a very noticeable gap, of around scale 2', between the platform and the train, because of the throw over of the 044T going through the points, lucky the train is in front. The other thing is the platform is very narrow in front of the station building. Why didn't mum and dad tell me to build my baseboards a proper width before they put me on a train at 18?
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#16 Edwardian

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 08:43

Looking very convincing.  If the front of the station building is 6' from the platform edge (which, judging from the measurements you give for the slabs, seems entirely possible), then you are legal are you not?  Anything less and you will have to blag your way through the Board of Trade inspection.


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#17 Northroader

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 08:54

Guilty as charged, m'lud. Can you hit b.o.t. Inspectors with "rule 1"?
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#18 Northroader

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 20:37

Up to now, work has gone on without being tailored for a particular system. However, the buildings, which do need to be related to a company, are forming, so I have to come clean and say the line to start with will be modelled on the London Brighton & South Coast Rly. Since I retired I have taken up walking as a way of trying to keep fit, and one favourite area for this is the countryside of Surrey and Sussex, home country for this line. Away from the strip Bognor to Rottingdean, the coast ain't bad either. Like every other pregroup railway it had its own character. From a Washbourne point of view, it fulfils the need to have a pool of modellable small tank engines to pick from, probably more so than any other line, as some of the old lines rather surprisingly were quite restricted for this. If you go for around 1880, a lot of the old Craven types hadn't been replaced by later Stroudley standardisation, but were running around in the new paint job, and you could go on picking out suitable ones forever, it seems.
First need is for a station building to put on the platform. As a temporary measure I'm using a shelter made for another line, based on the one which was at Buxted, which I think is a really attractive design.image.jpeg
This is mainly ply construction, although the valancing is vee groove plastic sheet. You don't have to look too hard to see where my finger curled over when picking it up and repairs were needed. There are also a few small people appearing, although an expert like ChrisN of Traeth Mawr will probably shoot me down in flames on costume details. As a small terminus it is limited for the facilities it offers, and I am making a larger building, which is a version of Hever, but shrunk in the rain. However, since work started Major- General (retd.) Edwardian has cast his eyes over the proposals, and I have been threatened with an adverse B.o.T. report. For a time I considered a crafty wheeze of having the Washbourne Ladies Orphean Society doing a recital when he did his inspection, when he would forget all about his tape measure, but I realised our Inspector is a man of iron, having camped for months in the wilds of Stainmoor, and unbending in his purpose, so the new building is being reshaped.
image.jpeg
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#19 Edwardian

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 23:35

It depends what the Dear Ladies are singing, and if it causes me to quote the fights historical from Marathon to Waterloo in order categorical.

 

Splendid platform shelter and very well turned out passengers.

 

But who the Dickens is that fellow on the right?


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#20 Northroader

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 11:14

I can't see me ever getting into DCC, (too many notes of the other kind), but it would be rather nice to have chips which ran to the rhythm of a G & S operetta.
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#21 ChrisN

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 16:08

I do like your shelter.  The thought of ancient tanks puffing around is very interesting but I must not allow myself to get distracted.  As for the figures, I am far from being an expert.  I would have to go back and re-read my thread, (I forget so quickly), but as far as I remember the chemical dyes began to be introduced from 1860 so I am sure your colours are fine.  As for the man on the end I assume he is travelling with you as he has heard that the LC&DR is dangerous.



#22 Northroader

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 19:15

SER, surely?

#23 ChrisN

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 19:56

SER, surely?

 

You may be right.  I have read the history of the LC&DR but not the SER and I thought it was in that.  However, Jimbo Wales big bag of Trivia, ( Wikipedia), shows you to be correct.  Told you my memory was rubbish.  I shall now retire to the nearest corner wearing my dunce's cap.



#24 Northroader

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 08:32

I'm afraid I'm a SER fan, if they had more of a variety of tank engines, I could have gone that way... Still, the Cambrian had a good range, as well. Don't worry, chrisN, it's nice to have you visit the site, I regularly look in on yours and enjoy what I find. The Staplehurst crash probably was kept quiet, maybe because Network Rail hadn't done a proper risk assessment, maybe because our hero was returning from a trip to Paris with a woman of the opposite sex, (but not Mrs. D!!) Lucky the "Sun" wasn't around then,
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#25 Northroader

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 17:50

If we proceed down the platform ramp, a signal box has now appeared. This is an Alphagraphix card kit for a Saxby and Farmer box, but with extra internal strengthening. As it was built, 2mm cardboard was cut to fit behind each wall, and a piece of ply cut to fit inside for a base, with another for a ceiling. Fitting tight inside each vertical corner was a metal rod, bent at right angles top and bottom to fit inside holes in the ply pieces. This was done because with the windows in three sides, I felt there wasn't much to give the roof enough support. Each piece cut out of the card had the clean cut edge tinted to a matching base colour, either with a paint brush or a felt tip pen, otherwise you end up with fine white lines showing at the joins. The roof also got extra treatment, with card strips making courses of slates added on top of the printed surface, then given a blue grey wash. Since the box was made, the capping tiles have faded in the sunlight and been retouched, and for the same reason the walls have all had a good coat of flat varnish, in the hope it will help stop the red printing ink lose colour. The end steps and rails were made up from plastikard strips, rather than using the printed card, partly as I felt it was stronger, and also because it didn't seem so fiddly.
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Looking at the box, the lack of rodding or wires out the front is very noticeable, and is another job to do. Beyond the box there's going to be an overbridge, and there isn't really any answer to why the box is where it is, when logically it should be further up the track.
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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: O gauge, British isles, Small space, Any place