One of the major alterations consists of altering the traversing fiddleyard so that more than one track is live with DC at a time (John can describe, along with the rest of the electronics.) Eventually with enough operators present, four loco movements should be possible at the same time. This is more impressive when the fact comes to light that the layout is firmly DC, although all of these operators will have to become GWR signalling masters as well.
All the fettling is to make sure that St Ruth will be running more reliably by TINGS (affectionately known as the â€œThank God its N Showâ€!) on the Fosse way in Warwickshire. It is at this point soldered point construction comes into its own, as the simple application of the soldering iron, a gauge and some green lable, is enough to correct mistakes on the permanent way.
The one area of progress that has been slowly developing is building the many signals that will be eventually needed. Andy is working on a fairly complex one, and I will leave him to unveil it when itâ€™s ready. After opening my mouth on his previous entry, I seemed to volunteer to build the ground disk signals needed for shunting movements. Whatâ€™s more I even offered to light the lamps and make the disk move.
Whilst in the fair country, I managed to find myself a prototype at the London end of Truro station. Itâ€™s most accurate to say that all of the single disks will probably be based on this one. I believe that this is of the 1960â€™s replacement design or close enough, although I stand to be corrected.
The disk itself is taken directly off the MSE GWR etch, rescued from previous signal building activities. The disk pictured is actually MK2. MK1 was lost to the carpet, with spectacles filled with solder. With MK3 I tried to be slightly smarter with a small piece of 1mm diameter tube soldered onto the back of the disk to act as a pivot.
As you probably canâ€™t see in the photograph, when filed down I managed to catch the wire which meant it no longer sat well in the bearing. It was at this point MK2 was rescued which had been discarded due to the same reason as MK1 and a 0.3mm hole drilled to accept the operating wire. The spectacles in this disk were rescued using a small reaming broach as these holes are smaller than my smallest drill.
The post itself is fashioned from 1mm tube in order to feed power to the lamp through an wire threaded through the center. The body will act as the return when I eventually get around to making and fitting the lamp. The bearings themselves were formed from a strip of nickel silver, which was bent and then soldered onto the post.
The trickiest part so far has been actuating the balance weight. Eventually I settled on a system where the wire that operates the disk is bent through a hole in the balance weight. This isnâ€™t perfect as the wire above the balance weight hole has to be exactly the right length or else the balance beam hinders the movement of the disk.
The disk still needs its wiring up to its control servo and there are many details to finish the signal off including perhaps most importantly paint, however progress is progress none the less! I apologise for the poor quality of these photographs, Iâ€™m still learning the best way to photograph something that is 7mm tall!
We have also made a start on putting catch points onto the layout. These will be purely decoration as we donâ€™t really need an extra obstacle to derail. The catches for the two carriage sidings under the station roof are the only ones to have been installed so far, as per a prototypical photograph.
The loco pictured has become the groups test loco, due to its ability to fall off dodgy track. Thankfully it didnâ€™t fall off over the new additions.
Finally readers of my personal blog Chrisâ€™ Minor Blog will be aware of a number of â€œlubricated,â€ purchases. Two Dapol HSTâ€™s, in Cross Country and First Great Western Livery are now in the stock box along with a Cross Country voyager to sit next to Andyâ€™s Virgin voyager. Something must have rubbed off on my trips back to the midlands from Cornwall as I traveled on all of these!
These have just been plonked on the layout without any conversion to see if they feel at home at ST Ruth. These probably wonâ€™t be ready for TINGS due to the lack of Dapol MK3 coaches and wheels. Eventually I might be persuaded to send all the dummy wheels as well to Gordon for reprofiling in order to keep the lightbar compatibility. I wonder with all the tasty offerings released yesterday, how many more â€œlubricated,â€ purchases there may be in the coming 18months.