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Portland Grove





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#1 McGomez

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 13:52

Well here goes. After years of browsing through the many great layouts, ideas and information that RM Web has to offer, and having finally got to a stage where I could actually watch the trains go by on my layout, I thought it was time to start a thread on it..

Set anywhere in Britain, it gives me a chance to run anything I like on it, be it a class 24, a Western, a Deltic or even a class 66! Yes, it´s one of those not to be taken too seriously layouts. If it was to have any sort of geographical reference, it would be Shrewsbury and to some extent, with the curving junctions at each end, it was originally (very) loosely based on it, although I do realise that Shrewsbury has 2 curves going the other way. The name is taken from the road where my aunt lived in Shrewsbury, and where the railway passed the end of her garden. A week spent at Easter and another during the school summer holidays would see me on Midland Railrovers which always produced a rather more interesting variety of loco than I was accustomed to, down in Hertfordshire, where I was brought up. At least that is what it felt like at the time. (except for the Deltics).

Having been born in 1965, I don't have any recollection of the steam age and although the standard steam classes of the 1950's do have a certain appeal for me, it is the rail blue era that I remember most fondly. If I was to follow my heart, the layout would be plucked straight from the British Rail blue period of mid 1970's to early 1980's as that is when I was growing up and when I followed the railway scene with maximum interest. My favourite style of layout is a mix of Wibdenshaw and Dewsbury Midland from the northern scene with a bit of Vauxhall Road and Harford Street over the grimy arches from down south, thrown in for good measure. But the truth is, as I got back into the railway scene after a break of maybe 15 years, the modern era with its multi coloured liveries seems to have a certain magnetism that interests me more and more. Must be the bright colours I suppose.

My favourite livery is large logo blue with wrap round yellow ends but the black and orange of Load haul comes a close second even though I´ve never actually seen it in the flesh. Nowadays, the lime green, white and black of London Midland is what rocks my boat on the modern day railway. I am sure a new Bachmann London Midland class 350 will make an appearance when it is available. I must admit, I don't know how I´ve avoided purchasing a class 411 third rail EMU so far. Couldn´t stand the damned things when I was a kid and we ventured south of the river on a spotting trip. Couldn´t stand DMUs either but I´ve got a couple of them.

At the end of the eighties, I met my then to be wife, who is Spanish, whilst she was studying in Britain. One thing led to another and I did the chivalrous thing that any Brit in his right mind would do, and moved to Spain where I have lived and worked ever since. Maybe living near, and commuting by train to Barcelona for a couple of years in the early nineties and for the last few years working adjacent to the Murcia - Madrid line helped to keep the train bug in me alive, so you will see from time to time some Spanish locos passing through Portland Grove too.

In 2005 we finished building our house and although not in the original plans we added a garage that was built below a terrace that WAS in the plans from the outset. Size wise, the garage is a generous single but not quite double and contrary to the belief of many family members, my car did actually have the honour of residing in there for a few nights, just after completion, but not many.

I must admit that I had been mulling over where to build a model railway for some time but it wasn´t until the garage was finished that I saw the light. I slowly started to build a framework around the 3 walls with the main objective being to store my accumulated junk, tools, etc, and have a simple layout on top.

Initially I thought of building an end to end layout but I just couldn't see me shunting, uncoupling, more shunting with the odd passenger train arriving or departing and a fiddle yard at the end where I had to change the locos. I am much more of a continuous run sort of aficionado. The idea of sitting and watching the trains go by appeals to me. So then I started thinking of a "dog bone" layout, albeit on 3 walls. This was starting to be more feasible but after playing around with the idea on paper it just didn't have enough scope for longish freight trains and passenger trains at a reasonable speed.


First up, I´ll show you the original layout idea to give you a taste of what I was after and the space that was available. No stations, sidings etc. Pretty basic.


VERY BASIC PLAN SHOWING APPROXIMATE POSITIONING AROUND 3 WALLS OF GARAGE AND SIZES.
07-06-07 Portland RMWeb.JPG


To be continued.......


Edited by McGomez, 15 April 2014 - 17:20 .

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#2 Theakerr

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 16:43

I dont mean to sound patronising or critical, but if you plan to run longish trains, you might want to think about keeping it all on the same level. I have 40" radius curves and with 32 wagons my 9F and others will slow down as the get into the curve. This is with level track.

#3 McGomez

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 14:31

Thanks for your reply and advice Theakerr but as you will see in the next few posts, I went down the multi level route. The maximum number of wagons I run in any one rake is around 23 of the 2 axle variety.

Edited by McGomez, 29 October 2011 - 11:51 .


#4 McGomez

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 14:39

After re-reading yesterdays long winded introduction, I thought it would be better to let some pictures do the talking, so here are a few photos to show the basic structure and so you can see that the layout does actually exist or at least the benchwork does. These pictures are from August 2008.

CENTRE BOARD.

08-08-22 Portland benchwork 01.jpg


LEFT HAND SIDE WOODWORK.

08-08-22 Portland benchwork 02.jpg



CENTRE BOARD LINKING TO RIGHT HAND SIDE BOARD.

08-08-22 Portland benchwork 03.jpg



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#5 witherbrow

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 17:19

looking forward to this develop :)

tis similar to something i want to do :)

#6 McGomez

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 12:39

I hope it developes to your liking, Witherbrow.
I am preparing the next instalment at the moment.

#7 McGomez

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 12:50

One of the reasons the layout plans started to evolve from a 3 sided, flat layout, to the plan it is today, is down to a visit we made to Germany during the summer of 2007. I had to oversee an install in Berlin for a couple of days, for the company I work for during August, so we made a family holiday out of it and stayed for the week. We flew to Bremen and drove to Berlin and after the work was finished and having seen the sights, stopped off in Hamburg for a couple of nights on the way back to Bremen. The kids saw an advert for the big model railway set-up in a publicity mag´ and my wife said it would be a good place to go if the weather was not too good the following day. As luck would have it, it was pouring with rain so we all trekked off to the old port area and ended up staying for around 5 hours. It was an eye opener and definitely got the grey matter moving, giving me the idea to build something bigger with different levels, especially helixes. My wife was even impressed. That is saying something!!!


So I then started thinking of having a lower level fiddle yard linking to an upper level where the station, depot and general running area would be located. This is when I actually started to lay some track, on just one side of the garage and get some trains running, for the sake of my 2 boys you understand. Out came the old Hornby platforms and canopies, signal box and engine shed that had been stored back at my parents house for around 25 years along with some stock that I´d been collecting during the early “noughties”.






VIEW #1 OF THE RIGHT HAND SIDE BOARD - TRIAL LAYOUT. (MY OLD MUT RONNY WONDERS IF HE¨LL EVER SEE PORTLAND GROVE FINISHED?)

08-07-26 Portland trial layout and Ron 01.jpg






VIEW #2 WITH DIESEL TANK IN THE CORNER. (FOR HEATING – NOT FOR THE CLASS 24 IN THE FOREGROUND. THAT´S DCC.)

08-07-26 Portland trial layout 02.jpg


INITIAL TRACK PLANNING/LAYOUT OF FIDDLE YARD. SEPTEMBER 2008.

11-09-08 Initial fiddle yard layout.jpg


VIEW #1 OF RAMP LEADING AWAY FROM FIDDLE YARD.

11-09-08 Incline exiting fiddle yard.jpg



VIEW #2. INCLINE LOOKING DOWN TOWARDS THE FIDDLE YARD.

11-09-12 Incline exiting fiddle yard looking towards FY.jpg

Edited by McGomez, 21 October 2011 - 14:58 .

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#8 Allegheny1600

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 13:10

Hola Andy,
I like your style! I'm very much looking forward to seeing this develop and I wish you well with the project!
Cheers,
John E.

#9 McGomez

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 13:30

Hola John.
Thanks for your comments.
I´ve always admired your avatar, mainly because it reminds me of this Spanish ALCO of mine.

11-01-19 Mabar serie 313 009.jpg

I´d always wanted a 313 but the version I wanted was one of the GN electrics that appeared on the scene in 1976 just as I became interested in railways.
A definate RTR possibility for Bachmann now that some are working on the Southern Region!
Woops, Wish list territory!


Edited by McGomez, 15 April 2014 - 17:22 .

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#10 Rivercider

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 13:37

That is starting to look impressive.
I recognise the old Hornby structures, useful to get a sense of how things might fit.
I also like the display cabinet, it's a shame to keep favourite locos shut away out of sight when not in use.

I prefer shunting myself, but I can see the appeal of sometimes sitting back and letting things just run.

cheers
.

#11 Allegheny1600

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 14:20

Gracias, Andy!
That 313 loco does look very familar! What make is it, please? Just out of interest, you understand!
Cheers,
John E.

#12 McGomez

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 15:06

Hi John.

I always thought it looked like the UK class 16, although others will no doubt be able to point out the differences.
It is made (in China) by a Spanish company in Barcelona see HERE called Mabar.
They did a fantastic weathered version of the same model class 313.

The one thing I like about the model that I had never seen done before (but willing to be corrected) are the rotating axle bearings.

Another photo, this time a bit blurred because I wouldn´t want to get you too interested!!
11-01-20 Mabar serie 313 videos (12).jpg


Edited by McGomez, 15 April 2014 - 17:23 .

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#13 McGomez

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 18:12

Thanks for the comments Rivercider.

The good thing about the old Hornby stuff is that you don´t mind letting your average 7 to 10 year olds play with them. They are pretty robust.
The display cabinet!!! is flattering it a little in my opinion but I agree it is better to see your stock than have it all packed away. The cabinet went the way of many of my quick fixes. Via the BBQ I believe.

I too, can see the appeal of a small layout. Quickish construction and you can super detail til your hearts content but I´ve always wanted to build a big layout and as I don´t intend moving house in the future, it was now or never.


Edited by McGomez, 22 September 2013 - 18:54 .


#14 McGomez

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 15:47

I said in the introductory post that my favourite type of layout is a mix of Northern and Southern 70s grime. If possible, over and under arches.

If I had to pick a favourite that had it all and that I love to go back and look at over and over again, it would be “Shenston Road” that appears HERE.
Everything about it is to my liking, weathering, large industry, steam age infrastructure still going strong in the 70s and fantastic stock. That is not to say my layout will be the same but if it had the same general aura I´d be happy, albeit half as good as Shenston Road.
Saying all this, and realising I have not stated my chosen gauge, “The Grove” is not EM gauge, it is OO. I have never tried to make my own track and don´t have neither time nor inclination to do so but I admire anyone who does. As I also run Spanish models the gauge is not correct either but it’s not the end of the world is it?



Back to the layout photos.

After leaving the fiddle yard, I had to contemplate on how to get to the viewing level which was a rise of about 15 cm, IIRC. I did some tests which, looking back are embarrassing to say the least.
This first photo shows the structure (the cork covered ply at front right hand side is the ramp up from the fiddle yard).


Maqueta 2008 07 (15).jpg


This second photo shows the curved ply plonked on top for effect. You can see problem #1 where ramp meets curve, if the gradient is too steep.

Maqueta 2008 07 (14).jpg


This third image shows the ply has been levelled out with the help of threaded M8 rods and the test train of a Bachmann 08 that couldn´t get any further due to severe wheelslip problems. The kids loved it!

The coaches are once again from my childhood collection. A MKIII shorty by Hornby and a Lima MKII brake corridor (I think). The Lima coach which was bought for the princely sum of 2,99 quid at Zodiacs toyshop in Hatfield town centre. Any locals remember that shop? Any locals remember Hatfield town centre for that matter?


Portland 09-11 curve 08 plus 2 coaches.jpg


This weekend I’ll hopefully upload some fotos of progress on the new and improved helix….

Edited by McGomez, 20 March 2012 - 13:39 .

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#15 McGomez

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 15:36

It was around the end of 2008 that I had arrived at the following plans.

The curve from the previous photos would be hidden under the station and would exit from a tunnel and go around 2 walls, doubling back on itself by the diesel tank via a flyover and then return to the station on an embankment/arches before taking a gentle gradient down to the fiddle yard once more.

Hopefully the following sketches of the 3 distinct levels will help explain this. As you can see the fiddle yard drawing was still half complete.


08-12-29 Portland 3 in 1 layout plan.jpg


During Xmas of 2008 I remember working out the necessary gradients and available space and started a rethink. I know there is a lot of track involved here but didn’t think there was much playability to it. It needed a junction or 2 to bring a bit of interest to the proceedings.

On looking at the gradients I realised that a middle board would be necessary to take the track back down to the fiddle yard by the diesel tank so set about building a framework in the centre of the garage.

The picture below shows the 2 open frames that would eventually take the tracks down to the fiddle yard. They were also used as a dumping ground for everything and anything that entered the garage and still are.


Portland 09-02-06 Middle section.JPG



During spring/summer of 2009, I concentrated on the layout design. The first sketch is starting to look similar to what Portland is like today.

I moved the station to the middle wall board (where the computer screen, plotter and Van Gogh original are to be seen in the background of the previous foto) and incorporated a junction either end. I thought this would provide plenty of operational moves from what would be the main lines and the double tracked branch line.

The helix was then designed so as to raise the track some 25cm. It was envisaged that it would follow the wall behind the station and once again fall on a gradient and run in to the station from the diesel tank side of the layout.

Incorporating the 2 junctions also gave me 2 tracks that would basically run around the 3 walls of the garage and cross from one side to the other on a viaduct.

Are you still following? If not, here’s another sketch.


09-07-18 Portland rethink.jpg






And finally, a mock up of the centre board showing the falling gradient towards the entrance of the fiddle yard on the right hand side.

09-02-22 Centre board mock up.JPG





All the best for now

Edited by McGomez, 08 April 2012 - 00:24 .

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#16 McGomez

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 16:46

Evening all.

Another installment.
This is where the visit to the Hamburg Minitur Wonderland came in handy as I had taken a photo of a 10 level helix (see below) so after some more investigation on the internet I decided on the threaded rod system but every quarter turn was a separate piece of ply held together with a ply sandwich. Of course, the track was laid after every 3 quarter sections were in place and tested by running a couple of locos up and down. I came to the conclusion that a gradient of 1 in 30 ish would be OK and modern locos don’t have too many problems getting up albeit a bit slow at times mainly due to the 20 wagon or 8 coach loads I like to see circulating. Maybe in the future, I’ll lower the ramp and put in another turn on the helix but as it works I’m not going to touch it yet.



Germany August 2007 336.jpg






I used offcuts of ply sandwiched together to hold the boards at the same height and once I had 3 in place, I laid the track, checking with locos of differing wheelbases to see if everything was working OK.

The outside diameter is 120cm and rises 10cm for every 360º. There are 2.5 turns. The outside track rises at 1 in 36 and the inner track at a gradient of 1 in 33.

09-04-03 Portland quarter helix.jpg






Hopefully you can get an idea of the method of construction below.

09-04-10 Helix first turn 4 fotos.jpg 09-07-19 Helix Finished 2 fotos.jpg





Thats all for now folks.

Edited by McGomez, 08 April 2012 - 00:25 .

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#17 McGomez

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 13:13

Once the helix was sorted, things started to pick up speed somewhat. I was never going to break the speed limit with my tracklaying but I could actually see things being completed at this point.

The fiddle yard was finally sorted around September 2009. I had originally planned on having 12 sidings for each of the up and down lines as seen in the sketch of the 3 levels a couple of posts back. I realised that I would be using double the amount of points so revised the plan once more to have a total of 12 roads, 6 in each direction. The front road is approximately 5m long while the back road is over 6m long. As I am a DCC user, there are obviously no section switches although I have put breaks in the rails at various points so that in the future I could put detectors that lit LEDs on a control panel to show which sections were occupied or not.



09-2009 Portland fiddle yard definitive..jpg
(Nothing to do with the fiddle yard but the 2 photos of the class 37 are included because I like ´em.)


The space between the fiddle yard and the upper level was also increased to allow for easier access in-case of derailments etc... You can spot the extension pieces in the 2 upper photos.
If I were to be truthful I should have left another 15cm which would have made life easier but as it is, my lithe 17,5 stone figure can just get in there to sort out any problems!!!


Edited by McGomez, 21 January 2013 - 14:01 .

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#18 Allegheny1600

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 14:41

Hi Andy,
Fantastic work there! I shall have to revisit how you did all this when I finally get my big shed built!
Cheers,
John E.

#19 BlackRat

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 14:45

Great idea using the helix.Posted Image

Thinking of doing the same here using 'sections' made up from ply and using 3rd and 4th radius curves (as opposed to flexi track or hand built) for extra rigidity.

Each section then becomes a 'standard' panel.

Can I ask...............What did you use for track?

#20 McGomez

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 14:59

Hi BlackRat.

The track is Peco OO flexitrack but if I were to do it again I too would look into the set track idea. I think it would form a truer circle and hold together better.
The idea of using the quarter sections of ply is basically to save on wood. You can get a lot more quarter sections out of a sheet of 2440 x 1220mm than semi circles.
Ply costs a lot more here than it does in the UK.

Hope that helps.

#21 McGomez

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 15:07

Hi John.

Thanks for the comments.
I am subscribed to your thread and awaiting developments.

Regards
Andy

#22 McGomez

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 15:26

Hi BlackRat.

I meant to say that it is code 100 but went off in another direction.

#23 br2975

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 08:44

Andy,
.
Can you tell me the source of your timber for the baseboards please ?
.
Planning for the future, I have endured many visits to DIY outlets in the Murcia 'campo' and unfortunately, the only local (to me, Puerto de Mazarron)source of appropriate timber, 'Don Bricolage' has gone bust, and the cost of timber appears to exceed that here in the UK.
.
My eventual layout will be (limited space) housed in our 'motorcycle garage' as planning regulations didn't allow us enough room to build a full sized garage !! (I don't have a motor cycle, and haven't ridden one for 20yrs, but the architect knew what he was doing !).
.
Keep up the good work.

Brian R

#24 McGomez

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 09:04

Hi Brian.

I live inland, about 30Km north of Murcia so can´t really guide you with regards the Mazarron area but my ply is from Leroy Merlin on the "Nueva Condomina" shopping centre.
I´m with you on the price. The last time I bought a sheet of 2440 x 1220 x 10mm it was around 39€. about 3 times as expensive as in the UK IIRC.

I´ve got a friend down near Mazarron so I´ll ask him next time we speak.

With the Spanish regulations, once the local authorities have pulled you up on some technicality, as long as you change the title of what you are doing, you can usually get away with it.

Hope that is of some help.

Regards.
Andy


Edited by McGomez, 21 January 2013 - 14:02 .


#25 br2975

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 11:27

Hi Brian.

............ my ply is from Leroy Merlin on the "Nueva Condomina" shopping centre..........


Thanks Andy,

As I generally get dragged to "Thader", "Ikea" etc next time I'll pop over the bridge, and have a look, and snap some of the new trams as well.

NB
This always happens, flew home yesterday, and now I learn something to my advantage !

Brian







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