I am a GB expat, born in 1933 and have lived practically two thirds of my life outside the UK. My first memories of railway modelling go back to pre-1939 when I seem to remember an O gauge set up on top of the table with the rails plugged in direct to the mains and the locos had rods sticking out from the cab to control them. My father said you had to be careful not to get an electric shock.
The next memories date to the 1942-3 period when I was invited with a distant cousin by
Helo again. My layout is based on a track plan from the 1975 Hornby catalogue and does not contain a water tower and, from the range of accessories illustrated in the catalogue, it does not appear that any was available. The front cover of te catalogue, which is a colour photograph of this same plan, shows an engine shed and steam locomotives, so water would have been required. Some time back, I purchased a Peco Water tower and, when placed on the baseboard, it seemed very low. So, I made a base
I have not written a specific tite because what I have got to say this time is only partly connected with modelling. I have just come back from a fortnight in Portugal and had intended to have a ‘drive’ on my layout to try and approach a finish (those of you approaching my age may remember the G.P.O. drives post-war to install as many telephones as possible, party lines included).
While away, I had seen and purchased in Lidl a digital caliper, so I decided to try it out on my problem DMU Class
Hello again. After an exchange of comments and receiving good advice from fellow members concerning DCC track wiring and a few trials, I came to the conclusion that my wiring, albeit not perfect, was not bad and that certain anomalies observed with certain vehicles were due to the vehicles and not to the track wiring. Then, when one problem seemed solved, a new one arose. My whole point activation system (analogue) went dead. In view of the way the system is wired, it was obvious that the fault
When I started placing scenic elements on the layout, I discarded resin made items because of their weight (to avoid overloading the electric motor raising and lowering the baseboard) and price and opted for a Metcalfe Card Kit. I then decided to place it in a different site from the one shown on the layout. It was not fixed in place because, at that time, I had Hornby buffer stops which clip onto the rails and any slight blow from a locomotive can dislodge them and it would have been very diffi
As mentioned in the last but one post, it is now nine years since I started out on this adventure and I think I can now say that we are in in a position to play trains. The layout is far from finished scenically, as ripping up and relaying the track caused a lot of damage. but no dead spots appear on the track. It seems, however, that some vehicles do not like the track, as mentioned in a previous post, and one of my best runners, the Class 150 DMU, started playing up again. When travelling forw
I can now update on this subject. In the last entry, I placed several photos and will repeat one, namely, the shed in the wrong place In the end, I decided to chop the shed down to its original height by removing the supplements I added several years ago. The photo also shows the door posts I had to remove. When I relaid all the track early last year to improve the dcc feeds I did not take into account the track centre-to-centre distances nor was I too careful in seeing that the straight sectio
In DCC Questions I raised a query concerning a possible PCB failure in my Class 108 DMU. As a result of the fall the decoder had developed faults, so I removed it and inserted a blanking plug and tried the vehicle with an analogue controller, with no success. I assumed that the PCB might be damaged and dismantled the power car to the extent of even removing the motor from its support. When tested it worked so a number of further tests as recommended on the Forum led me to suspect that the blanki
Things seem to be moving forward again in the direction of getting back to the situation prior to the accident. Last Sunday we had a family visit and with the aid of my son-in-law (a Jack-of-all-trades for my wife and me) I managed to get the layout tipped edge on again to be able to work on the underside since, at my age, my body is no longer supple enough to do contortions to work underneath. I reconnected a couple of point motors and then started testing them all. I found that one was not wor
Hi all! Between my last post and this there have been five heart blocks and a pace maker. Fortunately for me, the last block, which lasted nine seconds, occurred when I was in bed in hospital, being monitored. Eight hours later, the pace maker was installed. Apart from this, I am struggling along with the ballasting of the track. I try to do a bit each day, but 20+ metres of track is a lot of track. Also, since I had ripped up the foam underlay and used cork, since the cork portions were hand cr
I have been silent for some time since: after an exchange of opinions on the Forum way back in February concerning dead spots, in the light of the comments made and of the fact that these comments allowed me to identify the cause of one such dead spot, I came to the conclusion that my layout had very many more potential candidates for producing dead spots. It was originally designed and built for analogue DC operation and had been converted to dcc by adding some droppers, but retaining the power
It’s been some time now that I have been itching to update my blog. A few months ago I said that I had successfully digitized my old Wrenn City Class locomotive (though for some unknown reason I can’t locate the post now). This was true only in part. I did get it to run, but it only ran for a few feet (or should I say decimeters) and then stopped. The final result was that I spoilt two decoders. Then, when I tried to put it back into DC status further problems arose. An exchange of comments on t
Recently I have had some success. I had commented on the Forum that I had a runaway problem with one locomotive which the recommended solutions did not solve. I had also had a problem with the lights of another locomotive, i.e., the front headlight came on at power-up and did not go out irrespective of the direction in which the locomotive was running. Both had Zimo MX632 chips which I had bought on-line from the U.K. I took the matter up directly with Zimo and, after an exchange of e-mail corre
Have I come too confident? daring? or downright rash? with altering RTR stock? After having rake splitting problems both with U.K. tension lock couplers and my modern HO couplers, I went on the Forum and requested information concerning Kadees. As a result, I decided to go ahead and purchased several envelopes of two different types and a height gauge. As far as the coaches and one of my locomotives were concerned, it was a simple matter of unplugging the old and plugging in the new. Th
It is now nine years since I had the bright(?) idea of building a layout. Originally conceived for DC operation, I upgraded it to DCC, but inadequately and this year, as mentioned in a previous post, I made the drastic decision of ripping up the whole track and relaying it with a multidude of droppers and bridges across rail joints in places. I think I can now say that I have solved the electrical problems, but soldering droppers and relaying the track has left a few imperfections to be sorted o
I have been rather under the weather for the last three days but, while far from being OK, I can at least get out of bed and do something other than watch TV. So, after lunch to-day, I decided to have a look at one locomotive that was a poor runner, namely, the Hornby R505 Fowler LMS tank. From previous tests I hd the feeling that something was binding and blocking the motor or, less possibly, the chip settings were interfering with each other. A quick check showed that the loco answered to its
In a previous installment I mentioned that, among other problems I had a defective turnout. The replacement turnout arrived this week and was duly fitted. Since I had two spare underfloor motors, I decided to replace the surface mounted motor with an underfloor one which this turnout originally had and reserve the surface one as a spare. It was wired up and worked, albeit the wrong way round. However I am not going to bother about this for the time being. Since I had fiddled around with the CVs
As mentioned on previous occasions, have a lot of old (30/40 years) Lima H0 rolling stock incompatible with my modern locomotives because of a difference in coupling height. I also have two old Lima H0 locomotives which I had previously unsuccessfully tried to digitize (one was returned to the analogue state and the other is still disassembled). I have read a lot of forum entries on remotoring Lima locos, with the differing opinions and recurrent comments and, in view of the complicatio
Since my last post, I effectively refitted the point motors, then turned the layout edge on to be able to work underneath without contortions and set about getting the droppers connected to a bus. I made a query on the Forum, got some good advice and, while I did not follow it too closely, it was a a great help. After almost two weeks, in sessions of 1-1/2 to 2 hours or a bit more at a time, I to-day managed to connect the last droppers and wire up the bus wires. I still have to wire in the plug
Since a request was made for photographs of my progress, while I did say that there were no real visual changes, I have decided to show an overall view of the underside of my baseboard as of when it was upturned two or three weeks ago and a couple of scratchbuilt items, namely a Park Shelter and a Bus Shelter. The Park Shelter was originally intended to be the Bus Shelter, but it turned out too rustic so I built another one. The Park Shelter has suffered vandalism (actually to avoid overbalancin
Good evening all. Since my last post modelling has been almost stopped. I had got to a stage where I had to wire up two new platform lampposts and two street lighting posts. This obviously meant working on the underside of the board, which is now a problem. My physical conditions no longer allow me to tip the board on edge like I could a couple of years ago to work upright. Working seated is not comfortable, but after a week turning the matter over in my mind, I decided to put into practice an i
The 8th anniversary of my layout is coming up any day now and the scenic work is not much nearer to being finished than it was two years ago. I have added a second signal box that the original plan required and I have a phone booth and two pillar boxes to install.
Modifications have been under way on the frequently mentioned Wrenn City Class loco. At one time it seemed that it was about ready, the only thing left being to add a coupling to the tender, the original one having been removed. I hav
Good eveninng all. I think (i.e. hope) that the end of ballasting is reasonably near. There are only a few metres lest to be done. The downside is that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot do a neat job. On the other hand, one of the two signal boxes (Metcalfe) kits was a bit decrepit and damaged, namely, it had lost its steps (kept safe in another place) and the top storey had become separated from the ground floor on three sides, whereby it could be opened like a box. Its chimney also fouled th
I have mentioned in previous posts certain advances made in the scenic decoration of my layout and would now show a few photographs.
In June I posted some photographs and requested suggestions for filling in the bare spots, but none were forthcoming. So I went ahead on my own initiative. First, there was this bare corner:
Which has now become this and to which I may add a few cows.
Then there was this space at the other end, thus.
Which has now become this after lifting the last track
Finished remaking all the connections, put my baseboard level again and then found that a different point motor was out of service although it seemed to work. I could hear the movement of the solenoid but the turnout did not move. I thought at first that the actuating lever could have separated from the turnout drawbar, but no. The motor had burnt out but I don't know why, since it was wired up with a capacitor. Anyway, with the system I used for connecting the motors, it will not be to