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Railway Modelling Ramblings

Entries in this blog

Work on a Hornby J15

When Hornby announced that they were producing a J15 I was very happy. A favourite locomotive read-to-run and an excuse to get a second to go along side my kit build model Alan Gibson.   Edit 16/8/19 - Work on the J15 EasiChas has now made progress see later blog entry here https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blogs/entry/22523-j15-chassis-kit-design/     Initial inspection gave the impression of a nicely made model but the more I looked at it the more I fe

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Wickham Trolley progress

On the advice of the honourable member of Litlington I took a look at the website of KK Produkcja Mikroantriebe in Poland. http://www.shop.kkpmo.com/ and purchased a frankly tiny motor and gearbox. The motor is obviously one from a phone and is 6mm in diameter the 80:1 gearbox takes the overall length of the unit to a massive 22mm! The unit was tested at takes about 4v to reach maximium speed, this shouldn't be a problem as I can limit the voltage using the DCC decoder which I'm going to have to

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Wickham Trolley and esoteric device

Friday night saw the ends of the Wickham trolley assembled and then Saturday saw the roof bent to shape and the parts soldered together. At the moment everything is just resting together but you get the general idea. The wires sticking out the front are to the motor.     The plan is to stick a DCC chip under the roof and run the four wires up the each of the corner posts, the power from the track up the rear posts and the drive back to the motor down the front ones. The seats were mighty fi

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

What's holding Fen End Pit up?

This is not one of those blog entries about 'lost modeling mojo' or real life getting in the way but rather, hopefully, some useful ideas on layout support.   Many years ago a company called IKEA introduced Britain to the delights of IVAR shelving. This simple system used pine uprights and pine shelves, and to keep everything upright steel cross-braces needed to be purchased. The first usage I can remember for layouts was on Middlepeak wharf and several other people copied the idea! To complic

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard reconstruction

The re-construction of the fiddleyard started in earnest with a couple of days off. The original Mk-1 version was based on a lump of MDF as a back with some shelves of 6mm MDF fastened on the front. The unit had been built up one at shelf at a time at it had proved difficult to make each shelf align properly with the exit roads, basically as layers were added the previously alignment would get pushed out with the extra weight. I also had the problem that in retrospect I had mounted the rack-moun

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard - Locking bolts

With the hiatus caused by test building of a new MERG DCC Booster and the preparation for Ally Pally out of the way, (thanks everyone for the nice comments on the London Festival of Model Railways thread) I got back to the main matter in hand, finishing the engineers' possession on Empire Basin and getting back to being able to run trains around again.   Having made the fiddleyard move up and down the next step is making it stay in one place. Until I have a way of accurately holding it at a pa

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard - it goes up-tiddly-up-up, it goes down-tiddly-down-down

Well a couple of days off and a weekend's worth of construction and the frame of the vertical fiddleyard is now mounted on the wall. First up went the rack-mount server runners and then I hit the first problem, trying to fasten things accurately to masonary is a complete pain! Despite measuring accurately it is just impossible to actually drill a hole and get a rawl plug into exactly the right place particularly when you are trying to fix something to the resulting holes and have no margin for e

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard - I can go round and round again!

Having fitted track on two levels I thought I'd better get some power back on and make sure I could still drive trains round and round. This hasn't been possible since the original fiddleyard was removed in February. I wasn't happy with the idea of just feeding power to all the levels all the time as this seemed like a recipe for disaster. I could just imagine selecting the wrong loco on the DCC and then driving it off the top level when it wasn't aligned with the exit track! The solution I've a

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard - first track laid

The weekend gave me the opportunity to remake the ends of the bridge corner boards which I had to shorten to make space for the extra 10cm of fiddle yard. A short length at the end of the baseboard is built up with MDF and ply to a height which allows for a solid length of copper-clad PCB to go underneath the rails. This gives something solid to solder the rail onto and hopefully keeps everything from moving. I had to put an additional bit of bracing onto one of the main baseboards to stop it fr

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Vertical fiddleyard - and a story of modelling mojo lost and found

It has, as they say, been a while since the last blog entries. What with the unexpected appearance at the Ely show with 'Fen End Pit' and biggest son doing AS levels and wanting help revising Empire Basin has taken a bit of a back seat. To be honest I was a bit dissatisfied with the operation and reliablity of the vertical fiddleyard and it was a bit of a downer.   The problem was that no matter how many times I adjusted the vertical alignment on the rails it just seemed to be 'out' on the nex

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Updating Airfix 16 ton minerals

I was luck enough to have the opportunity to get hold of a pile of original Airfix 16 ton mineral wagons. Nice little kits which are worth a bit of work to bring up to modern standards. The price seems quite reasonable too!     I wanted to use Bill Bedford sprung W-irons so first thing was to remove the plastic W-irons to just leave the spring and axle boxes. i was actually surprised that this wasn't more difficult than it proved to be. I started off with a razor saw and then finished off w

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Trying to avoid getting the hump

It has been a frustrating few weeks on the scalefour roundy-roundy. A major part of the design is the track running from the high-level viaduct down to the quayside. This was all laid, and generally locomotives could go up and down it, however getting a train to go either up or down was causing problems.   As there is a reversal on the way down you have to deal with the locomotive being at the 'up hill' end for half of the journey. This leads to two problems, firstly when you shunt the wagons

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Treatise on Tie-Bars

As requested by Phil, a few notes on how I make tie-bars. I'll try and cover the current TOUs later, my previous version made from plastruct was described here http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/186/entry-8263-making-tous-turnout-operating-units/     The visible tie-bars are made from a couple of pieces of scrap etc roughly .75mm tall and a tiny piece of thin paxolin. Mine originally came from Eileen and judging by the price label which says 70p I suspect it is quite old! I have

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Top of a tank and a wagon turntable

First up, here is a picture of what I've done with the top of the water tank. in the absence of pictures or drawings I'm hoping I've got something which is plausible. I stuck some plastruct angle inside the tank and then tried to model some tie-bars to hold it all together. The water is clear acrylic with the bottom painted black.     Next is a little experiment on one of those things which is just so much easier to make when you have something that cuts accurately! I drew up this wagon tur

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Thumping good afternoon!

On Saturday 21st Hastings Diesels tours arranged a tour from Hastings, via London and Cambridge to Ely and King's Lynn. Billed as 'The West Norfolk Wanderer' it was intended that folk would travel to Ely and King's Lynn for a fine day out and included a quick run out and back on the Middleton Towers freight line. My enterprising brother (he has his uses and a blog http://www.northernvicar.co.uk/) spotted this via the Cambridge university railway club's news and contacted the organizers regarding

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

The Wickham trolley moves!

I managed to find 4 bearing in Brian's 'box of useful bits' which allowed me to make some progress on the paxolin 'chassis'. In order to be able to remove the wheels I have found some bearings which fit into some U channel. The Polish motor has a 1mm shaft which I sleeved with a 1.5mm brass tube.     The little runner wagon has wheels shorted out on one side so while I've fitted pick-ups on both sides with pickups I may well just try and short out the wheels on the opposite side on the main

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

The branch passenger service now arriving...

I finally got around to fitting the buffers, crew and coal to my E4. I also converted the bogies on my second Hornby Gresley to make a nice short branch passenger train.     I'd be tempted by the 3rd coach, possibly seeing if there is something suitable in the Ian Kirk/Cooper craft range may be an LNER 51' Non-Corridor Full Third ?   I'm not sure what the typical make up of train down the Stour Valley might have been.     I'm rather pleased with the way this kit went together, I've n

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

The application of decals

An order to Modelmaster produced suitable transfers for the 16t minerals I've built up over the last few months. The plaintive requests on their website asking for people not to bother ringing them to chase order were unnecessary as delivery was 4 days!   The ease of not having to put every b£$"d% number on individually is certainly a major advantage if you are like me and don't really mind if the number isn't exactly correct. I had no problems getting them to float to the position I needed an

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley in P4, Yard entry built and a new chassis for an old loco

The turnout leading into the yard got laid today, this leads off from the loop back into the double-slip in the yard. Once again I've been able to reclaim the V, switch-blades and tie-bars from the previous layout. The point was built on a copy of the Templot template off the baseboard and then stuck in position on the marks I had previously cut into the cork.     You'll see various tools sprinkled around the layout. The original box of 'Brook-Smith' gauges, the 10BA bolts which I'm using t

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley in P4, second point and some wiring

The weekend saw the second point laid and the track at the other end of the yard started. I also spent a load of time installing the wiring. Now I know that sounds weird, installing the wiring before the track is laid but the wiring consists of 'CBUS' circuit boards from the MERG. The way I'm doing this means each baseboard gets one or two eight-way boards which drive a set of relays and MERG Servo-4 controllers. Once these are installed the 'wiring' is a case of connecting up the rails of the p

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley in P4, now with the cork underlay

With the majority of the baseboard work completed on my first two board these were moved up to the railway room from the garage. The 'works' end of Fen End Pit got boxed up and space made to put the new boards in position. I couldn't resist positioning a couple of items of stock on the boards just for fun.       An order to Amazon last week resulted in 4 sheets of 6mm cork 2' x 3' being delivered. I'd deliberately order some quite thick cork available as flat sheets rather than rolls. So

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley in P4, making sleepers

Yesterday I popped into Makespace and cut some test sleepers. I wanted to make sure I'd got the right allowance for the laser width in my drawing. I also cut a test part in the .8mm sheet of ply I'd bought from City Cycles in Ely on Saturday (we are very lucky to have a shop that sells model and craft items in Ely!, too much of this country is a model shop desert). The laser cutter is worked by controlling the speed and power of the laser to get the right level of cut so you can see from this te

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley in P4, Making point work and a Mid-Suffolk ramble

Saturday saw the first point get some 'workings' on the switchblades. The Turnout Operating Unit (TOU) was one of the perspex ones I'd made for the previous layout and the only modification needed was to shorted the length of the brass tubes that go up to just below rail level because the baseboard is now 6mm ply rather than 12mm MDF. The tie-bars are scrap brass etch with the two halves separated by a sliver of paxolin. This cruel enlargement makes it look much worse than it is!     The co

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley in P4, first track laid and a few holiday pictures

Back from an unnaturally dry week in North Wales and I was able to start laying some track. I had salvaged as much as I could from the previous layout (with the price of components following the practices of all the prototype railway company and retrieving components from closed lines makes good financial sense!). This did mean that I already had assembled switch blades and rail with chairs fitted that I could reuse. I printed the Templot template for the B6 point which is in the yard and stuck

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley in P4, Double slip laid

I was really not looking forward to building the double slip. Two crossing Vs, eight switch blades and the horrible obtuse crossings. Building this lot off the baseboard is the best idea and I tend to build the crossings and solder them up individually on nickel-silver scrap etch. These sub-assemblies then get stuck to the sleepers with epoxy carefully jigging them to gauge.     The obtuse crossings are the hardest to make and get aligned but they are the most critical bit. I'm prepared to

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

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