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Cheddar P4 - February 2024 update - it lives!


ullypug

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Major milestones this month.

For the first time since I started building Cheddar, some 11 years ago now, I’ve finally been able to put all of the 8 scenic boards up together. Cheddar is going to be making its exhibition debut at RailWells this August as a work in progress and with under 6 months to go I needed to take stock of just how much left there is to do before it gets there!

 

The layout has been in various unheated garages for the last few years and it’s almost 6 years since anything last moved on it, way before ballasting and track painting started. So needless to say I wasn’t expecting a great deal especially as on retrieving the panel I noticed the din sockets were corroded and the box itself showing signs of mould!

 

So first things first, the trestles and supporting rails were erected in the dining room, fitting with about half an inch to spare. Yes I did check when I bought the house but don’t tell anyone! After that the boards were brought out one by one and erected on top and the panel plugged in and an engine plonked on. Power applied. Nothing, nada, no sausages at all. No surprises there really.

 

Then I tried all the turnouts. Plenty of encouraging noises from the tortoise motors but nothing moving.

well at least the point feeds were getting to the layout.

 

So I started cleaning the track. It had tarnished heavily and had a crust that needed serious attention from abrasive pads. No wonder nothing had moved. After a while though, I got the furthest (Wells end) board clean enough. A bit of power and the engine moved! After a hearty hurrah and a little jig of delight, I then worked my way up towards the other end (Axbridge) cleaning and testing. By the end of the week I’d got to the other end (yes it was that dirty), and confirmed that all track sections had supplied power to the rails and that both cab controllers worked to each section. DCC is a pipe dream…

 

There’s still a long way to go though. Next step is to get each and every turnout working again, which will be a combination of cleaning out all the crud and scraping away the ballast which has welded everything solid.

 

A couple of track joins require attention at baseboard ends as steps are now evident, I guess due to the plywood plates at the edges swelling over the years.

 

Curiously, the scenery sections have opened up considerably across baseboard joints. These are on a mixture of extruded foam  and paper-mache so I’m going to need to redress that, or blag that Cheddar gorge is a bit closer to the station…

 

But onwards! I can start my snagging list now and carry on knowing that power is restored. It’s a case of deciding what has to be done by August and what can be left for later. One thing I will need is the fiddle yards, so maybe that’ll be next.


Attached photos and I even took a few videos to cheer myself up.


In the longer term, Cheddar will be exhibited (when it’s fully ready) and I hope that it will have a permanent home in a temperature controlled room where I can avoid the problems caused by its storage.
 

The other highlight of the week came from a very helpful chap at Bristol Water who sent me the original 1920 drawings of the Water Works that was served by a private siding. But that’s another story.

 

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Edited by ullypug
Header photo

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Wow, it captures the atmosphere, without a single piece of rolling stock, very nice.

something a lot of people don't know about foam, is that it shrinks as it ages, which could be the cause of the gaps growing.

 

Stephen

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11 hours ago, stevel said:

Wow, it captures the atmosphere, without a single piece of rolling stock, very nice.

something a lot of people don't know about foam, is that it shrinks as it ages, which could be the cause of the gaps growing.

 

Stephen

I didn’t know that Stephen, but thank you for the info. Might have to think about the long term effects.

Having seen the gaps widen this week as it’s been in a heated space I’m hoping it’s something that can be fixed with a little bit of filler and some plywood packers.

Edited by ullypug
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Congratulations. These are great views, especially those looking along the track with the train shed in the distance. Well worth it all.

 

Quote

 the trestles and supporting rails were erected in the dining room, fitting with about half an inch to spare. Yes I did check when I bought the house but don’t tell anyone!

 

That made me smile. So the dining room matched the layout with half an inch to spare? That's a bit of luck!

 

Good luck with the snagging list, sounds like you're well on your way already.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Congratulations. These are great views, especially those looking along the track with the train shed in the distance. Well worth it all.

 

 

That made me smile. So the dining room matched the layout with half an inch to spare? That's a bit of luck!

 

Good luck with the snagging list, sounds like you're well on your way already.

 

 

It was a bit close.

i had to open the window to get the spigot and socket of the support rails together 

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Aha, potential for an outdoor extension! Strawberry patch included, of course.

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Posted (edited)

Looks marvellous Andrew.

 

The 'underpinnings' are an excellent method giving the whole layout almost guaranteed 'flatness'. We use a similar method on Balcombe but using mild steel tube.

Edited by Re6/6
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4 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Aha, potential for an outdoor extension! Strawberry patch included, of course.

The long term aim is to have a garden room/shed and convert to a roundy roundy layout.

And if I’m really dreaming on two levels so I can have the entire WC&PR system in EM too!!

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Brilliant!

 

Captures the area nicely.

 

A trip to Wells beckons this Summer.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

 

 

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