As this is the first blog post dealing with the new Tweedale layout, I'll start with some background.
The space available for the new layout is a spare room which had long been earmarked for the proper serious layout that never materialised, and has meanwhile been used as a storeroom/workshop/shed. The size of the room is 11x11 feet, though the planned layout only takes up about 8x6 feet. Well I'm not a greedy boy. Actually it had more to do with leaving access to other fixtures in t
It's been awhile since I last posted here, but now that the days are getting lighter (and I can see what I'm doing), the modelling juices are beginning to flow again. It's time to stir out of my winter lethargy and get back to the next phase in Tweedale's evolution. First though I thought that a recap and update might be useful for putting everything into context.
Tweedale was started in 2014, as a temporary, freelance, low tech bit of fun, with an estimated lifetime of about 2 years
Tweedale Lite's exhibition outing has now been and gone. There was a pleasant friendly atmosphere at the show and a good selection of layouts. Tweedale seemed to go down well and received some nice comments. The layout ran all day without any major problems, so I was very pleased with it. Exhibiting is not really my thing, but just as a one-off, I have to admit it did make for a novel and enjoyable day out.
Here is a photo showing the layout set up at the show. The church venue was r
The layout extension (aka Tweedale Lite) is now nearing completion for it's exhibition outing later this month. The photo below shows it set up on a table at home.
There will be curtains around the base but they have been left off here so that you can see the leg assemblies. These were kit-bashed from what was described as a mini-greenhouse at the cheap and tacky discount store from which it was obtained. For transport, the tubes can just be unplugged from the plastic fittings
My old copy of Tweedale Byways (1908 edition) includes a sketch of Frog Fen Lane, which I've reproduced below...
It looks a pleasant enough spot. I imagine the artist sitting happily beside the dusty road on a lovely sunny day, the only sounds being the gentle tinkling of sheep bells and the chuckling of contented chickens, with maybe the odd skylark thrown in for good measure. If you were to have wandered along and informed him that the area was to be designated as a '
One problem with having an exhibition organizer among your circle of friends seems to be that you are constantly subjected to thinly veiled hints and an underlying pressure to provide something for a show. I used to exhibit some 20 years ago, but in the end I found that the stress involved outweighed the enjoyment, so gave it up. I have no great urge to get drawn back into all that again. So far I've managed to fend off enticements to show Tweedale, by pointing out that it was designed very much
One of the better things on the Internet, I reckon, is Google Maps Street View. I'm a great fan. While there are those who like to walk off their Sunday lunch with a nice stroll along the prom or through the park, you're more likely to find me sneaking around some of the world's more seedy neighbourhoods in the company of Google's little yellow fellow. It was on one such trip, to Ostrava in the industrial heart of Czechia, that I came across the inspiration for Tweedale's new industrial scene...
Yes, the port scene has a name. There's a castle at the top of the hill, and a port at the bottom - hence Castleport. How dull, I hear you say, and you may well be right. If Google is to be believed, no other town in the whole of the English speaking world has deemed the name worthy of use, even though there are plenty that would qualify. Where the name does crop up it tends to be associated with mundane things like retail outlets and shopping malls.
The town itself, climbing up the hil
As mentioned in the previous blog, I wanted to include a couple of modeled mills in the port scene. The Royal Oil Mill was dealt with then. The other, Florence Flour Mill, has now been added to the right hand side of the scene. It was originally intended to be a tribute to Clarence Mill in Hull, an impressive landmark structure beside the river until reduced to a heap of rubble about three years ago.
Much time was then spent pondering on how the heck I was going to squeeze it into the 3
With the Tweemoor Yard scenery all but finished, I was ready to move on to second of the three scenes on this layout extension board. I decided to tackle the (as yet unnamed) port next. This was the starting point...
The area is 17 inches wide by 13 inches deep. The trackwork consists of a simple fork, and not a very satisfactory one at that. I had originally installed a handmade point to a smaller radius than the Peco one in order to squeeze in a capacity of 3 wagons for each siding. U
Since the last blog the Tweemoor Yard scene has lost its post-apocalyptic nuclear winter look. Grass has sprouted from the wasteland, trees have burst forth, and buildings have popped up like mushrooms, including Mr Yardley's long awaited yard office.
As can be seen the forestry department have been busy. It was a long and tedious job that can be summed up in two words - never again. On the plus side, the newly planted ancient woodland has now become something of a local beauty spot, and t
Continuing with the Tweemoor Yard scene, one of the things indicated in the grand plan (shown a couple of blogs back) was a road winding in from the front and over a railway bridge at the back. Unfortunately the yard has spread out more than originally intended, so the road has had to be squeezed in rather tightly at the front. Its more of an N gauge road really, one of those narrow lanes where you wouldn't want to meet a tractor coming the other way.
Previous road surfaces on the layout co
Tweemoor Yard is Tweedale's rather pathetic answer to Whitemoor. When it comes to keeping up with the Joneses, the Tweedalers have a lot to learn. Small though the yard is, it nevertheless forms the hub of the new extended system, where wagons are blocked together for shunting trips out to other parts. Here's a simplified operating schematic showing how the yard relates to the rest of the system...
There are three sidings if you include the line that continues through to the port. I thi
Good progress has been made on the new extension in the past month. I've been making an effort to get a lot of the drudge work done while the first rush of enthusiasm lasts. The flourescent lighting has been added, the track has been laid and everything is now wired and working. The weight of the unit has risen to 8lb.
This seems like a good opportunity to describe the construction and operation of the gadgetry, before it all gets buried beneath scenery.
Tweedale was declared 'finished' over a year ago, and indeed nothing of great significance has been done to it since. It still gets operated fairly regularly though, and for a small self-contained system I've been very happy with it on the whole. However there are a couple of things I thought would enhance the operation. One is a basic sorting yard, from which trips could work out to other parts of the system. The other is a sea port, allowing the Tweedalers to join the global economy and dabble
For some time now the denizens of Tweedale have been clamouring for better passenger train accomodation, having become dissatisfied with the old brake van that has been used hitherto. Personally I can't think of a nicer way of travelling along lazy bylines, but there is no accounting for taste, and the Tweedalers disagree. So the railway company has finally given way and obtained a Park Royal railbus. Sadly this was found to be too long for the line's sharp curves and short platforms (both pract
I don't know if its the same with you folk, but I do get a bit of a kick out of finding a use for something for which it was never designed or intended. So when it came to needing a turntable for the new Tweedale appendage mentioned in the previous blog, the first thing to do was look through drawers and cupboards for 'something rotatable' that could be adapted. That something turned out to be a hand drill...
It had been bought some time ago from one of those bargain discount stores, bu
Tweedale has acquired a temporary appendage. Ultimately it will form part of a small tabletop modular system seperate from the Tweedale theme, but for now it provides a run round loop for the layout, which allows operation with just one loco rather than the usual two. The plan below shows how it fits in with the rest of Tweedale...
I've tried to keep the length of the run round loop as short as possible. With a capacity of 2 short-wheelbase wagons, a small turntable at one end and a wh
The standard tension lock couplings in use on Tweedale have been an ongoing source of irritation. They work reliably enough, but they are just so darned ugly. The original plan was to replace them with Alex Jacksons, but that has now changed and I've decided to stick with tension locks but make my own from from thin wire. They seem a bit less fiddly to set up than the AJs and the tolerances are more forgiving. I'm very pleased with the results, so I thought I'd share the details below on how the
Replacement Windows The layout is now in its final stages of construction. For the past two years it has endured cardboard mock-ups for the windows which seperate each of the scenes. Now that the scenery is all but complete, I've finally been able to determine the exact size required for the windows and replace them. Here is an overall view of the layout without its windows, now moved to a corner of the spare bedroom....
...and here it is with the new windows in place, and lighting on...
I wasn't so happy with how the industrial scene was coming together. It just wasn't as blatantly industrial as I wanted. So I've added an extra elevated track through the middle of the scene - the Slaghill Avoiding Line. Why anyone would want to avoid Slaghill I can't imagine, but it does at least have the effect of enclosing things a bit more.
This is just a dummy track, and is there purely for looks, though I suppose it could be used to store or display spare rolling stock.
Development of the industrial scene has continued during the past month. The chemical works at Slaghill is now complete, and a start has been made on the lower level Grimley area. The staple diet of Tweedalers is pie and peas, and the demand is met in part by Grossman's of Grimley, whose abattoir, tannery, glue and pie factory is a major industry in the town. It has been allocated 2 siding spots out of the 6 available at Grimley, and has its own loading/unloading platform. Inward traffic compris
Slaghill is dominated by steel and chemical industries, which provide plenty of varied traffic for the Tweedale Railway. However it became apparent early on that there wouldn't be enough room on the layout for loading and unloading facilities for them. So it was decided to make them into 'phantom industries', situated just off the layout and supposedly fed from extensions of the two sidings. In reality the sidings just fizzle out behind buildings. Wagons for the steel works are left in the stati
This month's blog looks at an alternative to electro-magnetic uncouplers, plus a few progress shots on the newly started scenic development of Slaghill. As a reminder, Slaghill is the high level section at the rear of the scene below, and represents Tweedale's heavy-industrial zone.
As mentioned in last month's blog, I wanted to look into the feasibility of replacing the hook and bar couplings with Alex Jacksons. Tests using a couple of wagons fitted with AJs turned out more promising than
Until now wagons for the facing sidings at Dale End have been rope-shunted at Slaghill, to get the engine at the correct end of the train. However the imminent scenic development of Slaghill threatens to surround the railway with tall industrial structures, making rope-shunting impractical. The simplest solution seemed to be to provide the railway with a second loco.
Luckily in the spares box I had a Tenshodo SPUD (24.5mm wheelbase), which could be used as the basis for a small industrial cr