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GWL

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Furloughed. But its not all bad, I’ve been allocated a corner in our 2 bed London flat to embark on a model railway project to pass the time. HURRAH!

 

I thought I’d start a blog about this adventure and this first post details the progress so far.

 

 

Scheming.

 

I'm a Theatre Production Sound Engineer in London, who grew up in North Somerset.  Ghosts of old branch lines that snaked around and through the villages near my childhood home have always been a potent source of inspiration.  A pile of Hornby 00 track and assorted western rolling stock has been sat in a box for years, leftovers from a childhood 6'x4’ loop layout that closed to goods and passenger traffic circa 2008. 

 

The project is to build a model railway on a budget in the limited space available. I have some modelling experience and am handy with a soldering iron, drill, files and to some extent paint brushes. I’ll be using this layout as a test bed to learn some new skills and try things out, building as best I can while having fun. I’m not going to worry too much about perfect true-to-life design or operation.

The gist is a fictional GWR country terminus (because we can't get enough of those!), perhaps a preserved line, effectively based on a shrunken version of the old B&E / GWR station in Clevedon, North Somerset. Photos of said station below... I’m naming my layout Kingston Bridge, the landmark still standing about halfway along the disused Clevedon branch from Yatton, and just up the road from my childhood home.

 

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LINNMON to the rescue!

 

Base boards... I have no wood, and no means to quickly buy wood online at a reasonable price. Step up the ikea LINNMON table!  Two 100x60cm white tops, sturdy, and £6 each! Add 8x ADILS legs at £2.50 each and we’ve got ourselves a budget base board. Thank you IKEA.

 

I’ve laid 2mm cork on the top of both tables as a base - six pack of 300x1000mm rolls from Amazon did the job - though it turned out more like 295x1010mm. So a slight gap at the back that will need filling later. The legs took longer to arrive so the “boards” sat on an existing table to get me started.

 

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I’ve used two small flight case catches to join the boards. They keep the table tops together nicely while allowing for some vertical adjustment for levelling. Only gripe is that the holes on the hook component were smaller than listed - hence ugly countersunk screws instead of nicer pan heads... I’ll fix that later.

 

Track attack

 

I had a pile of used Hornby 00 track, but it wasn’t in good nick and I decided to treat myself to something new. After a fair amount of research I’ve chosen Peco code 75. I like the way it looks on other layouts and having never used Peco track before, I thought it was the time to try!

 

Well I was too slow, because it seems EVERYONE has had the same idea!  Buying track was quite a challenge. It feels as though the parts for this project have been sourced from every model shop in the UK!  The original track layout (planned to be all wooden sleeper) quickly went out the window and was adapted to suit what I could get my hands on for a sensible price - I was not going to pay £10 per piece of wooden flexi track!!! I’ve ended up with concrete sleeper flexi track, and wooden points with the exception of two right hand medium points that also had to be concrete. I was determined to get a single slip into the layout, I find them interesting and wiring and operating it correctly would provide some exercise for my brain!

 

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Initially the mix of sleeper types annoyed me, then I remembered my mantra for this project - I can learn to model with both concrete and wooden sleeper types.  I’ll have to make up some back story for the mixture of sleeper types later... thoughts on a postcard please.

 

Rough version of the plan above. The lower sidings might change a bit... that idea was a mileage yard, and that the uppermost track crossing the road might enter a factory yard or building, set into the back scene. Who knows, its a moveable feast.  Meanwhile the table legs arrived! Super easy to install and remove, with plenty of adjustment for levelling - at least 25mm. At 70cm high they’re not “exhibition height” but are ideal for sitting and working.

 

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What’s the point?

 

I have a pile of Hornby point motors, and the initial plan was to use them. However, once I’d committed to the LINNMON tables I decided to surface mount as much as possible rather than hack away creating holes for things. Wire in tube with slide switches for frog polarity seemed like a neater option and a fun learning opportunity, so thats what I’ve chosen.

 

The switches are part no. SW05898 from CPC.farnell.com, PTFE tube is 0.5mm ID / 1mm OD from Amazon. The wire is 0.4mm silver coated copper... I know I know, I’m probably going to regret not using steel, but I had it on the shelf and It seems sturdy so far... perhaps I will curse myself later. I’ve soldered on thicker wire for the point end so there is more rigidity and less play in the hole through the tie bar. The switches are soldered up to the frog wire with two drop wires for + and - feeds, then set into holes drilled with an 8mm bit and filed to shape. The PTFE tube is set into a slot cut in the cork, then everything is fixed and filled in with a hot glue gun.

 

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Each individual piece of track has drop wires, which are 16x0.2mm 0.5mmSq (20 AWG) from railwayscenics.com - I couldn’t find lengths of wiring under 25m as cheap as theirs, and its great quality. I will be using  32x0.2mm 1mmSq (17 AWG) for the bus wires under the tables - probably overkill but better too much than too little and should be future proof for upsizing. I will run ‘analogue’ Initially but would like upgrade to DCC at some point...

 

Rust, rust or rust?

 

Painting the track has been a voyage of discovery. I don’t have an air brush nor the funds to buy one. My initial solution has been Kobra low pressure spray paint In Chinotto brown for a base coat on all track, wooden and concrete sleepers. Used with black dot caps from Graff City, this provides a more controlled spray than the regular spray paint cap. The concrete sleepers have then been brush painted in Humbrol No. 72 Khaki Drill Matt Enamel, and the rails brushed with No. 62 Leather for a rusty look.

 

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The No.62 works well In my opinion for unused extra rusty track but is a bit too red for track in regular use. Thinning it down on top of the Kobra chinotto looks okay but its not perfect or consistent for the main track. I think I’ll try a darker option down the line... Also, brush painting concrete sleepers takes quite a lot of time... I have some Plastikote grey primer that I think comes out roughly the same colour as the humbrol, so I might give that a try going forward in conjunction with some darker rail rust paint.

 

 

And thats it for now! I’ve started laying track and a bit of test ballasting, but I’ll save that for a more bite-sized next instalment.

 

Please comment with your thoughts, I’m trying to learn and would welcome all opinions!

 

Edited by GWL

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There's nothing unprototypical about mixing sleeper types. 5 minutes up the road at our nearest station there's a mix of wooden and concrete sleepers with timbers mixed in.

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  • RMweb Gold

Looks like an interesting project, and you've already given me a couple of useful tips: The Linnmon tabletop and not least the blackdot caps.  I had no idea that replacement caps were available, but having experienced the pain of poor spray caps I'm definetely in the market for those. Thanks for the tips!

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi GWL,

  • Code 75 track is a good choice IFF you intend to run modern stock on it. Older stock may have larger wheel flanges that may bump along the chairs.
  • The loco release spur is worryingly short. Are you sure your largest intended loco will clear the points?
  • The sidings are all very short.
  • I'm sure you've got insulating joiners in the relevant places for DC. That will basically be fine for DCC too but with DCC you may want to keep sidings powered up while the points are against them and in that case you may need more insulated joints. If you haven't allowed for this don't worry, you can always slit the rails later on.
  • Is your station at the end of a single or double track line? If single, like Clevedon was of course, then the plan suggests that the run round loop extends off scene and so why is the central crossover needed?
  • The throw distance of the slider switch is probably not exactly the same as the throw of the points. So without an "omega loop" you may find that either the blades don't move properly or the wire-in-tube is under pressure from the switch, leading to potential mechanical failure in the future.

Hope that's useful.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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Thanks Rich, yes I think I will get away with it!

 

No probs Mikkel, yes the new caps have been much better  - I’d say they produce about a 40mm dot from a 15cm distance. I paint the track outside before laying, it’s still not controlled enough for me to use inside on the layout, but is less wasteful. Also I cannot stress enough the difference the low pressure paint cans make with the caps in terms of control.

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8 hours ago, Harlequin said:

Hi GWL,

  • Code 75 track is a good choice IFF you intend to run modern stock on it. Older stock may have larger wheel flanges that may bump along the chairs.

    Indeed, I’ve got some older stock that i might re-wheel but thankfully my favourites are all relatively newer models!
     
  • The loco release spur is worryingly short. Are you sure your largest intended loco will clear the points?
  • The sidings are all very short.

    I’m about to lay the crossover points at the platform end, and the plan allows for a 2-6-2T to run around a B set sat in the platform, or a mixed with one coach and up to 5 wagons. This and shorter sidings were the compromises I made when planning this “micro” layout. Luckily I’m a fan of tank engines and I’m happy to shunt only a couple of wagons as the shunting spur on the run around loop is short - though this could change, see answer to your 5th point below.
     
  • I'm sure you've got insulating joiners in the relevant places for DC. That will basically be fine for DCC too but with DCC you may want to keep sidings powered up while the points are against them and in that case you may need more insulated joints. If you haven't allowed for this don't worry, you can always slit the rails later on.

    I feel like I might be missing something, I have insulated joiners on the frogs of the points. Every piece of track has droppers, so everything will always be powered. Does that achieve the same thing if I move to DCC later or have I missed a missed a short circuit or air gap somewhere by doing that?
     
  • Is your station at the end of a single or double track line? If single, like Clevedon was of course, then the plan suggests that the run round loop extends off scene and so why is the central crossover needed?

    Oops I’ve forgotten to draw the buffers on the plan - the loop spur ends at the left hand edge of the boardS on that plan, under the bridge. It is a single track line with a single slip to avoid facing points from the factory and bay sidings, as Clevedon had.
  • The throw distance of the slider switch is probably not exactly the same as the throw of the points. So without an "omega loop" you may find that either the blades don't move properly or the wire-in-tube is under pressure from the switch, leading to potential mechanical failure in the future.

    Took me a while to hunt down the correct sized switch, but the slide travel is almost an exact match to the point throw. There is also a bit of tolerance between the diameter of the wire and tube (0.01mm) which allows a bit of give. I’ve installed 6 of the 8 points now and all seem to be working well, thankfully! I’ll go over it all In my next post.
     

Hope that's useful. It is! Thank you so much.

 

Thanks a lot for this Harlequin - my answers and queries are in blue above.

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi again,

 

You have everything under control, by the sound of it.

 

I just stood a small prairie on a Peco Small Radius turnout to get an idea of your release spur and, yes, it will fit fine. I misjudged the length in your plan photo above.

 

If you have insulated the frog rails, even leading into your sidings then, yes, that's exactly what you need to do for DCC.

 

Good luck. I will follow with interest!

 

Phil

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following this with great interest - I am also building a 'slightly shortened' version of Clevedon Station.  Early days, I've got the track laid and some landscape modelled. Kingston Bridge is my scenic break,

 

The book 'The Clevedon Branch' by Colin Maggs [Wild Swan Pubs] is a very good resource.  

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Kernow Model Centre have the same water tower in stock - Bachmann St Ives.  The price, however, is a sticking point for me, so will probably try and 3d print one.  There was a model railway group on a facebook page who had just 3d printed a 4mm scale replica of the exact same loading crane in the goods yard.  I'll try and work out who it was!!!  

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Having just now late in your day having come across your project, more strength to your arm.  Coincidentally, last week I finished scanning my photos of the Clevedon Branch which was my first note of railways, having lived my first six years with Clevedon Station across the playing fields at the end of Kingsley Road. 

 

Visiting the closed line on half term holidays from boarding school, I walked the line and took some photos of remaining features.

 

Picking up on a few points mentioned, please find by way of attachment

 

- a photo of Kingston Bridge looking down {towards Clevedon} the line, the other side of your backscene

 

- photos of the buffer stop at Clevedon platform as dragged up the line after the run-round loop and sidings were taken out

 

- a photo of the transition from concrete to wooden sleepers

 

- a photo of the transition from bullhead to flatbottomed rail

 

-  photo of Rust Bridge

 

The Western Region Chief Civil Engineer's drawings of the bridges and doubtless other works were sent to the NRM, York

 

Cheers,

 

Rob J. E. Bayliff

 

 

 

 

69-04-10A  Kingston Bridge 13 Nov 69 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

68-2-6 Buffer Stop, Clevedon,  Feb 68 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

68-2-5A Buffer Stop, Clevedon,  Feb 68 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

67-011- Change from Concrete to Wooden Sleepers, November 1967 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

67-09-6 Change from Bullhead to Flatbottomed Rail, September 1967 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

67-09-4   Rust Bridge 14 Sep 67 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

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Another one coming to this late... can I ask what glue you used to attach the cork to the linnmon tables? Other threads on this forum talk about best glues to go with the cork but the linnmon surface is much more shiny and smooth than ply or chipboard. Thanks.

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On 08/12/2020 at 13:49, Glob-Ally said:

Another one coming to this late... can I ask what glue you used to attach the cork to the linnmon tables? Other threads on this forum talk about best glues to go with the cork but the linnmon surface is much more shiny and smooth than ply or chipboard. Thanks.

Hiya, it is evostik Impact adhesive! You can see the tin in a couple of the photos. It sticks really well, no problems with it at all!

 

sorry for abandoning this thread folks, things had to pause as we came out of lockdown 1, but I’m now getting the layout back under way so hopefully some new posts over the coming weeks!

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On 24/09/2020 at 20:20, RJEB said:

Having just now late in your day having come across your project, more strength to your arm.  Coincidentally, last week I finished scanning my photos of the Clevedon Branch which was my first note of railways, having lived my first six years with Clevedon Station across the playing fields at the end of Kingsley Road. 

 

Visiting the closed line on half term holidays from boarding school, I walked the line and took some photos of remaining features.

 

Picking up on a few points mentioned, please find by way of attachment

 

- a photo of Kingston Bridge looking down {towards Clevedon} the line, the other side of your backscene

 

- photos of the buffer stop at Clevedon platform as dragged up the line after the run-round loop and sidings were taken out

 

- a photo of the transition from concrete to wooden sleepers

 

- a photo of the transition from bullhead to flatbottomed rail

 

-  photo of Rust Bridge

 

The Western Region Chief Civil Engineer's drawings of the bridges and doubtless other works were sent to the NRM, York

 

Cheers,

 

Rob J. E. Bayliff

 

 

 

 

69-04-10A  Kingston Bridge 13 Nov 69 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

68-2-6 Buffer Stop, Clevedon,  Feb 68 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

68-2-5A Buffer Stop, Clevedon,  Feb 68 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

67-011- Change from Concrete to Wooden Sleepers, November 1967 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

67-09-6 Change from Bullhead to Flatbottomed Rail, September 1967 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

67-09-4   Rust Bridge 14 Sep 67 © R. J. E. Bayliff.jpg

Rob I meant to reply to this ages ago - what wonderful photos, really useful! Thank you!

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