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Railway Modelling Ramblings

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Stour Valley in P4, A quick mock-up

Modelling in two scales simultaneously (4mm for Stour Valley and 16mm for Fen End Pit) does mean that sometimes it take a bit of mind bending to go from one to the other. Having made good progress with the track in the goods yard I was getting worried that I might have made a mistake with the size of the good shed as it 'looked' too small. I'd taken the sizes off the maps and descriptions I can find and every produced the drawings by counting bricks.   I decided to print out the plans of the b

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley in P4, A little video of progress so far

Given that I have now got trains moving I thought I'd put up a bit of video to show it.   I've also managed to fit the first uncoupling magnet so I can play about with Alex Jackson couplings. While most of my old stock has them fitted some need a bit of adjustment and some need the magnetic droppers replacing as they aren't the right length. Still I can shunt a train up and down and break it where I want so I'm happy.   Hope you like it     David

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - The first pick-up goods

Over the last couple of weeks I managed to get the remaining line in the platform laid and wire up the remainder of the track. The result means that I can now play at shunting trains in and out of the goods yard.I tried with a mix bag of stock in terms of springing/compensation/solid axles and my fussiest locomotive - an unsprung Hornby class 31 (must order new sprung chassis from Mr Rumney soon). I filmed the result.     We had a few days away last week and stayed in a beautifully renova

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Started on Platform 1

A major milestone has been the starting of buildings for my layout. The first major structure is obviously the platform which has the station building and the signalbox sitting on (or more accurately in)  it.   The prototype platform has had a lot of work on it since closure and there is quite a lot of subsidence along the length now. Over the length of the platform the brickwork is no longer consistent in terms of the construction, I'm working on what I think is a logical design - hop

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - start with point rodding

I've made a start on the point rodding for Clare. Before anyone asks this is NOT functional! It has been great fun trying to work out the rodding runs from photographs as they changed over time at the Cavendish end when the coal siding was realigned. The prototype was built using round rod rather than the more modern square section - typically I had bought a load of .5mm square brass wire from Eileen!   I've used cranks from Brassmasters and rodding stools from DCC concepts. These rodd

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Sculptamold and ballast

I've been making slow progress on the scenics over the last couple of weeks. I've covered all the polystyrene with a layer of Sculptamold and got what I hope will be a suitable base for static grassing in a future.     I'd not used this stuff until I was recommended it by one of my friends, having always used modrock or other plaster bandage type things in the past. I've been very impressed as it dries quickly, forms a strong layer even when applied quite thinly and is very

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Reversing a kit and making bushes

As the next baseboard to work on contains the station platforms I started studying photographs and plans to work out the exact size the buildings on the platforms. This includes the main station building and also the timber build signalbox.   I'd already bought a Wills kit because it matches, or so I thought....     It turns out that the kit is for a building of the opposite hand to that on the platform at Clare and is not manufactured in a manner which allows you

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Recreating a photograph

For a bit of silliness this evening I thought I'd try to recreate an original photograph. DisusedStations.org has this rather nice picture from 1965.       I know it is the wrong sort of DMU but I think you can get an idea of what I'm going for.     Now I've got the other platform built I'm not long of being able to ballast this section.   David    

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Post and wire fencing

I wanted to make some fencing to start defining the field boundaries. The fencing I choose was concrete posts and wire.  I felt the route of the fence should include the side of the old track down to the now disused loading dock, there will be a gate at the top of the track where it meets the minor road.   I chose to make the posts on the laser cutter out of 1.5mm MDF.   These were painted with humbrol enamel Matt 121 to give a suitable concrete colour. I found I had to

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - Popping more cork and a guest NG locomotive

An hour on the lasercutter this morning allowed me to mark the trackwork for the fourth baseboard onto 6mm cork. The marking out was pretty much perfect but I over-cooked it on the cutting power. Cork cuts really quite badly and you need a lot of power to go any distance into the material with the corresponding charring.     Marking out the cork this way does allow you to make sure you correctly get the flow of the track.     My Claud (D16/3) waits patiently for some more track before

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Point rodding continues

More soldering  of tiny little cranks, lengths of .45mm wire, given last week's heat a fair amount of sweat and the occasional tear. As I've said in a few posting the rodding routes were rather interesting and changed during the station's life, so they jump backwards and forwards across the tracks in quite an interesting way.   At the end of the platform the route jumps from the platform face to in between the lines of the loop. This involves four rodding runs turning through 90 degree

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - playing with platforms

This afternoon I spent a few hours on the CAD and laser cutter. I started off making the last diagonal bracing and sticking that in. I cheated a bit this time around and purchased a length of 45 degree timber molding. This meant I could put in the diagonals without the pain of having to sand the ends of the brace to 45 degrees. The resulting baseboard has virtually no 'wiggle' despite only having 50mm deep framing.     I also spent a few minutes removing the cork underlay where the platform

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Platform 2 building

The station waiting shelter on platform at Clare is an attractive '1865 style' medium building. The building currently has a sign in the window which says 'coming soon - model railway' but I don't know what is planned or who is building it. Platform 1 by the way is a now a very pleasant little cafe which does a damn good bacon roll.   I've been trying to refine my technique for making these because I felt that the quions (the raised brickwork) on the previous attempt was a little too m

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Painted Signalbox and platform

I sprayed the box with cream (Humbrol Matt 103) and then picked out selected timbers in green (Matt 105). Meanwhile I realized that I'd made a complete mess of the station platform. I'd tried to paint it with Greenscene's textured 'tarmac' paint, I don't know if the issue was age of the paint (I'd had it for years) but the resulting mess needed to be covered with thinners and scraped off. Fortunately this process didn't completely mess up the work I'd done so far. The resulting texture, with a f

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Not quite as Wills designed it

I've made some more progress on converting the Wills signalbox to match the one at Clare. This little section of a photograph of the box shows the rather nice cast iron brackets which supported the gangway. I didn't think the flat piece of plastic supplied in kit quite cut it so had a go at drawing up a model and 3D printing it. I also made up some nameboards to be attached after the box is painted.     I made a couple extra just in case some didn't come out or broken as I t

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - more thoughts on fiddle-yard and final scenic baseboard

Over the last couple of weeks I've managed to get the final scenic baseboard constructed. This board will house the completely fictitious sidings to a mill. I've already got most of the mill buildings which are based on Ebridge mill in Norfolk. The board is a slightly odd shape to incorporate a removable section which will lead the track round to the fiddle-yard. This is made removable so that the bed which sits in the railway room can still be used when needed as a bed!     At the other e

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - more progress on Platform 2

More drawing and laser cutting and the Platform 2 building is coming along nicely.   I've now cut the complete building in 3mm MDF and painted it the base brick colours. The best approach to keep the quoins clean and crisp seems to be to 'grout' the main shell with the fine filler I use in the mortar before applying them. The cream coloured quoins don't show the white mortar much anyway and the Vallejo grey wash I add afterwards seems to blend things together nicely.  

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - More on bridges, trees, oh and a J20

Progress has been made on various projects I thought I'd share.   First up, on the small river bridge, I re-drew the 3d model for the girders and added the walk-way and handrail supports. These were threaded with brass wire and bent to shape. The result makes for a fairly unique bridge, certainly one in the 'you couldn't make this up' category.     While I've been waiting for paint to dry I decided to start preparing some trees. I'd bought some tree armatures sold

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Lever frame and greenery

At the end of the last blog I said I was going to try and 3D print a lever frame. I knew that this was probably going to be at the extreme end of what the printer could handle. The results were promising with a few issues.     There seem to be a couple of issue, firstly the levers appear to have been attracted to each other by the surface tension of the resin. In most cases the bulk of the lever was actually printed correctly but as they came out of the printer the levers we

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Let terraforming commence!

After an enjoyable trip to the Biggleswade show on Saturday I spent yesterday making a start on the basic land forms for my model of Clare station. I had saved a load of 1/2 inch polystyrene which had been used a packing material for some 'up-market' glass white boards we had taken delivery of at work. I hadn't thought the landscape around Clare was particularly hilly but was still surprised by how much polystyrene was required. Sometime ago I purchased a hot wire cutter and this was my first ch

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - It's gone a bit green

I finally plucked up courage to get out the static grass machine out and try it. I've not used one of these before and was a bit worried how it would go. I wasn't particularly impressed with the build of the Peco PSG-2, the handle feels a bit loose in the 'business end' and the connecting part is just a 3D printed part. They didn't even include battery which seems penny-pinching to me.   I tried some Peco spring grass and some Heki summer grass. I used a mix of 2mm and 4mm lengths.

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - Introducing 'The Jogglater' - P4 point construction

I got back to building more pointwork today, the first for some time. One job I always feel a bit wary about is getting the joggle in the stock rail where the end of the switchblade fits. One of the recommended ways to do this is to bend the rail twice with a pair of pliers. I've always found this a bit hard, because you need to get the two bends accurate or else you end up with the rail bent in the vertical plane and then nothing will ever run over the point correct ever.   What we are after

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - Into the fiddle-yard and plans for mill siding

The corner of the room has two baseboards, one which will feature a scenic area with the mill and the other, much narrower board, for the fiddle-yard. These two boards don't have the space for the curve which leads into the fiddle-yard because this needs to be removable so that the 'crew lounge' can be used as a bed when we have guests.     The resulting extra board is a bit of an odd shape caused by a desire for the rails to cross at right-angles to the the baseboard edge and for the perma

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Furnishing a Signalbox

I managed to get the lever frame I'd printed painted (as per posting on the Anycubic photon thread) but additional furniture was required.     I found a website which had photographs of the tokens for the sections either side of Clare. These showed that the token apparatus was of two different types. A Tyer number 6 and a Tyer number 9, the web also furnished pictures of each type which I tried to model up in CAD. The results came out rather well, even the details of the pil

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - first uncoupling magnet

I designed and printed a servo operated uncoupling magnet for the Alex Jackson couplings I'm using on my P4 layout. Many people just use an electromagnet to do this but I don't really like the current these draw and get worried about them burning themselves out if left on for too long while you shunt wagons over them. One solution is to use a permanent magnet and move it up and down so it that it attracts the coupling (or doesn't). As usual there were a few iterations in the design to get t

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

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