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Way and Works




As well as floating various tramway pipe-dreams I have actually made a bit of progress with Blacklade in the last 2 months. A sustained attack during part of my holiday last month has cleared a number of outstanding jobs . The remainder of the station screen wall has gone in , and although the back of the station building needs adding (I'm not actually basing the model on Kings Cross circa 1942, even though it looks remarkably like bomb damage!) , we are more or less there in terms of the station building


Various other nagging jobs have been sorted out as well. I originally painted the baseboard fronts black, "as you do" but a friend urged me strongly to change the colour as he reckoned black was far too strong and dominant. As the frontage needed a second coat anyway, I decided to do something about it: unfortunately I couldn't find a small pot of a suitable gloss paint and had to shell out for a full sized tin - £10's worth , even sticking to the cheap B+Q range. The closest I could get to the recommended brown was something called "Cocoa Bean" , which is a purplish brown. It's much less prominent, and being much closer to the red-brown of the brickwork helps as well. I painted the plywood bracing straps on the legs while I was about it, which


I'd had problems with running out of the back platform: somehow, despite my best efforts when laying the track , the back road had become misaligned at the board joint and although trains running out of the centre platform seemed to cope, things running out of platform 3 tended to come off. I know its a fudge, not recommended in the best finescale circles, but I unsoldered the rail ends and eased them across a bit so they aligned reasonably well, using a roller gauge to maintain the track gauge . There may be a very slight kink in the alignment as a result, but it's dramatically better than the status quo ante, and trains no longer derail. I also sorted out a minor programming error in one of the macros, resoldered a stray signal wire that had come loose , and Blacklade seems to be running well.


A few other DCC jobs were also sorted out - the 150/1 is now fitted with a replacement TCS decoder so it can be easily consisted, the Bachmann 21 pin decoder I removed has been cascaded to the ROD which is now up and running (not that there's much call for it on Blacklade) A cheap Central 158 acquired from Hattons last year has also been chipped and runs very nicely


A couple of shots of the station area as it now is:






There are still a few things needing finishing off - I should probably fill in some more of the gap along the top of baseboard and touch it over , the Kadee electromagnets need sorting out (the red button is for the first of them, but for some reason , the magnet doesn't seem to be live - I've now got a further 2 heavy duty push to make button switches from Squires for the other electromagnets), and a couple of signals on the other board. Not to mention "make good and touch up" some holes in the ballast


But for the moment I shall probably focus on the stock. The 3 long outstanding jobs - Van B kit, Pacer upgrade and Bratchill 150/2 - are all still outstanding. I seem to have backed myself into another parcels project, and have ordered a Replica chassis and DC Kits 128 Parcels unit body kit. Van B and Pacer are quite badly needed for operations, and the 128 is apossible workround , as 31 + 57' coach+ 50' coach hangs over the edge of the central platform and stricklythe Kadees on the Bachmann GUV are too high . And an awful lot of stuff needs weathering . Starting with the 150, the 108, and arguably the two 158s . The 156 and 155 are another matter - both need underframe surgery and sourcing castings is a problem . The 155 , being worse, and more frequently used, is probably the higher priority. I might even sort out the unused Provincial 155 sat somewhere



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