Here's the trackplan of the empire. Newport is on the left (majorly compressed trackplan), Medina Wharf at the top (freelance track plan, this exists to replicate the function of Medina Wharf rather than to look like it), and Cowes bottom right, the only part of the layout which has the full prototype trackplan. With work going on on Medina, almost none of the layout is actually operational at the moment and once the Medina trackwork is done I have some serious "fettling" to do over a baseboard
I had a big modelling hiatus between January and March, caused by breaking an ankle and not being able to get up to the loft. I had the excitement of Ventnor West appearing in the Railway Modeller March issue, but had to pull out of the Stafford exhibition. Still, we are booked for November at Tolworth with Ventnor West and Merstone.
Meanwhile, I have been building rolling stock for both layouts, and an engine shed for Newport. Now I am able to get back in the loft I will be able to
I have finally started work on Medina Wharf, the last section of track for the small empire in the loft. The pictures show the trackplan and the boards covered with cork, with some trackwork laid out to finalise the positioning. The wharf uses a section of the layout originally earmarked for scenic treatment of the Medina River, and it is much too small to permit a faithful representation of the real location. I've used my well-worn modeller's licence to arrive at a trackplan which will allow th
After a break of more than a year to work on my Ventnor West exhibition layout, I am finally making progress on my loft layout. Starting with Newport. I've ballasted the track and given it a weathering spray. You may also notice the uncoupling magnets. I am in the throes of converting from Sprat and Winkles to Kadees. The main reason for this is that I have a number of tight curves on my layout and my Sprats are really not happy, especially on long wheelbase 4-wheeled utility vans. I am finding
Time for a holding post. No pictures I am afraid - they will come shortly when the current round of work is complete.
In January 2016 I completed the new tracklaying at Newport. There followed a period of extensive testing during which bugs were ironed out. I have a few rough patches of trackwork still (the first running of a Bachmann PLV van discovered a couple!) but basically the entire layout (barring Medina Wharf which is not yet even started) is running perfectly and I know which bits a
(Go straight to the bottom of this post for a video)
Finally I have completed the major tasks I set myself back in October/November. These were the re-alignment of the hidden section (not a major issue in tracklaying terms but the rewiring was a different matter), and the complete rebuilding of Newport, to be controlled by a Modratec interlocked lever frame. I took the opportunity to add LED displays to the panel controlling the hidden sidings, and whilst these tracks are not yet "hidden" I
Things have been moving on apace at Newport. When I last blogged I think I was still at the "track positioning" stage. Now all the track at Newport is laid permanently, glued down with Copydex, and has been tested digitally (i.e. pushing stock using finger power!).
There are four boards of which one is now wired and one is partially wired.
I have also finished the Modratec interlocked lever frame. With the change of track plan and complete rebuilding of Newport I needed to commission a
Last weekend I got Newport back to "bare baseboard" state. The job took less than 12 hours and I was ready to start again with tracklaying. Having read as much as I could find on the subject I resolved on a process which involves positioning (lightly pinning) the track to a printed template (I used "Trax" but realise it would have been better if I had bothered to learn Templot and drawn it with that). My local printer printed the pdf onto three sheets of A0 paper. During this process every track
The last few months have been a case of taking a step backwards before moving forward again.
By July the layout was fully operational, and I had even started putting in the foundations of some scenic treatment. Testing locos and stock continued apace, but time spent "taking stock" whilst on holiday in the West Country confirmed something which had been on my mind for sometime which was that two sections of the layout needed drastic attention. The photos here show the results to date.
New coach for the layout - first model I've built in a few years, but I'm really pleased with it. It's origin was a couple of Ratio Midland suburbans which have been "cut and shut" together, had vertical ends added, scratchbuilt trusses, whitemetal battery boxes and whitemetal bogies. There are some things wrong, such as it shouldn't have stepboards but it meets my criterion of "looking the part". I'm very fond of this bright livery which I can just about remember from my earliest days. The prot
Gosh - it's a long time since I posted any progress, but it feels like a lot has happened on the layout in those 6 months. The most recent milestone was completion of all the originally planned trackwork, all running, with turnout motors, electric uncoupling magnets functioning and locos running on DCC without hesitation or deviation, but with repetition. I have three locos chipped now and DCC has been some learning curve. Whilst not after sound or lights, I did want to capture the running chara
Despite my silence, there has been a lot of progress on the layout. As usual, each step forward has been accompanied by a step or steps backward. Tracklaying is well progressed at Cowes - I have switched from PCB construction to fully chaired construction. Firstly I tried C&L pointwork with plastic sleepers. Whilst these looked good, I experience a strange gauge reducing effect once they were completed. In the course of constructing a number of plastic-sleepered turnouts I learned a lot abou
This has been a long haul, but finally approaching the point where I can remount the individual boards which make up Newport. All the track is laid, and wired, the pointwork motorised, the control panel built, and each board has been fully tested in its own right. All that's left now is to test the boards in combination, as any faults will be more easily rectified when the boards are unattached to the layout. I don't fancy any upside-down soldering!
So, here are the two boards for Newport No
Plenty of activity in the last few months at Newport, though little of interest to post since it has been repetitive work - trackbuilding, tracklaying, fitting point motors and uncoupling magnets, wiring, testing individual boards. I am now on the last of the Newport Station boards and the attached picture of the underside shows the method I have eventually adopted for fitting Fulgurex turnout motors. This is simple and effective, though obviously I cannot vouch for its longevity. The turnouts a
All sorts of complications in the last few weeks arising from the (right) decision to lengthen the platform roads. The worst moment was realising that I would need an 18" radius curve on the mainline and it would still only be an inch or so from the edge of the baseboard - which would make plausible scenic treatment impossible. To cut a long story short, I juggled the radii and eventually arrived at a compromise I can live with, albeit a small modification to the track plan. The photo here show
Track laying has reached the North end of Newport. Not without some problems and the usual cycle of two steps forward and one backwards. I have about 8 feet to go until the continuous run is in place, but ALL the track will be built before I start any wiring. So nothing running for some time to come and lots of sidings to lay at Newport.
As mentioned before, the layout is considerably compressed and configured on a continuous curve to fit the available space. The object is to reproduce the s
Steady progress on Newport at the moment. I have finished wiring the Station throat board which has a scissors crossover and one other turnout. All fitted with Fulgurex Motors, and Sprat & Winkle electro magnets installed in strategic places. Most activity has been directed towards developing the method of installing the Fulgarex motors. I have read a number of criticisms of them, and I do now appreciate they are difficult to install - beginning with the need to completely ignore the "offici
At last some progress worth reporting. There were several steps forward and then backward over the Christmas break but at last the Medina is bridged, I've laid track over the baseboard joint into Newport and am now building and laying the track in Newport Station. The picture shows the non IOW loco I am using for testing. It is simply the most reliable small loco I could find in the local shop - it runs beautifully! The first turnout should be a three-way but I had already (by mistake) designed
I managed to get a few hours in on the layout in the last couple of days. Much pondering of how to approach the crossing of the Medina, and at least one false start. Track coming in at the top of the photo is from the hidden loops. The first stretch of viaduct will be hidden behind 1) Cowes Station approach and 2) Newport Gas Works. The line will become visible as it crosses the twin drawbridges. These were what I had to engineer in order to get the track into Newport. I hasten to add the drawb
The last few weeks have been spent testing the ZTC DCC kit - as yet unconclusive though working better with current chips rather than obsolete ones. Now I'm trackbuilding for Newport, with another attempt at the scissors crossover.
Here are a couple of pictures of the printed trackplan in situ. The main downside is that with the highly curved compression I have to use it doesn't look very much like Newport! But it will have the main operational characteristics and with buildings and rolling
I finished the work on the hidden section of the layout yesterday and started testing it last night. Here is the first non-stop run around the reversing loop, and under ZTC power too. I know DCC is old hat now for many people but for me it is a new experience.....
From the testing so far there are eight faults I have found. The most tricky to track down was an intermittently shorting jack lead (I use
... but lots of progress. I finished wiring up all the hidden tracks - tested them and established that everything was basically working. However, as a long-time lapsed modeller it has taken some time for old skills to re-emerge, and even to remember how things "should be done". As a result, there was a long list of things that I generally wanted to improve and effectively raise everything to a consistent standard of tracklaying and wiring. So now starts a period of re-work, and the installation
Here's a short clip of the first wired-up board under test. This is the entry to the hidden tracks behind Cowes. Sorry the E1 is running so badly - it's been in a box for more than 10 years and hasn't even had its wheels cleaned!