Jump to content

Track Maintenance




Most of my train-running recently has been for the enjoyment of my young grand-children. For this, I tend to use my reliable ‘1854’ saddle tank, with its heavy ‘Wills’ cast body and ‘Hornby’ chassis that make it fairly ‘bomb-proof’



Trains at North Leigh


Suddenly, after what has been many months (if not years) of reliable running, the engine de-railed on the three-way point at the West end of North Leigh station. Following application of the ‘big hand in the sky’ breakdown gang, I tried again and exactly the same derailment occurred. It was time for some forensic examination. This activity has delayed any further work to complete my Armstrong Goods – although eagle-eyed readers can spot the unfinished model head-to-head with a Dean Goods in the photo above.


I find that the camera in my iPhone is an excellent tool for photography in awkward places – the problem point is partly inside a tunnel mouth – and the photos revealed that the blades were not closing completely.



Damaged 3-way Point


It proved to be a tricky operation to re-shape the blades so that they both closed and provided electrical contact. These points are clearly rather delicate, as the point blades have to be very thin to allow the overlaps necessary for three-way operation. I do not know how the damage happened but can only assume that a wheel flange caught the end of a blade and distorted it.


Troubles rarely come singly and another point, right at the back of the layout, also started ‘playing up’. This is one of the original Hornby-Dublo points that does not have a very positive action and, after several years, it seems that vibration had moved the blades here as well! Industrial action in sympathy with the other point, I expect :unknw_mini:


Following this disruption to the normally placid life of my railway modelling :o, I took the opportunity to carry out a general refurbishment and cleaning of all the track-work, especially on the narrow-gauge sections of my railway, which are especially prone to poor electrical contact if the rail-tops are not perfectly clean.


I realise that it is a long time since I’ve shown any photos of the narrow gauge, so took a couple of ‘aerial views’ with my iPhone. I find this is now my preferred ‘camera’ for model photography because its tiny lens and sensor provide great depth of field, even under normal layout lighting.



Overview of Farms and Quarries above North Leigh




Narrow Gauge activity at the Quarries


I also thought it was time to ask Amy Wilcote if she had been doing any new paintings and she showed me an unusual night-time canvas of North Leigh station, under the glow of oil lamps. I am pleased to share it with you all:



North Leigh by Oil Lamps – by Amy Wilcote


Now that the dark evenings are with us, I hope to be able to catch up with some of the modelling that has been ‘on hold’ while carrying out maintenance.



Edited by MikeOxon

  • Like 12
  • Friendly/supportive 1


Recommended Comments

  • RMweb Gold

Good to see an update from North Leigh, Mike.  Hope you got the points sorted. That's a nice shot of the NG quarry line, it strikes me that you're working in three gauges! 


As for Amy, nice painting but isn't it time she gave up this creative nonsense and got herself well married. One must get one's priorities straight.



  • Like 2
Link to comment

TThank you Mikkel - it's been a long time since I've looked into the fortunes of the Wilcote family.  The lady in your photo has an expression that says "How did I get into this lot!".  As I recall, Amy eloped to Italy, where she lives in her paramour's home town of San Gimignano.  Here's a bonus painting of hers from sunnier climes:


  • Like 4
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

Lovely image, Mike. San Gimignano looks good. It is now on my list of places to go when the world returns to normal (a naive statement I suppose!).

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...