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Railway Modelling Ramblings

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Stour valley dream - first trains around the room

I finally managed to build the last sections of baseboard for my layout, these two sections were both odd shapes and needed to be drawn based on the reality of what I'd already built and not just from the overall master drawing. I've already discovered that 'square' means a different thing to builders and walls aren't always at 90 degrees to each other!   The short section over the right hand side of my desk carries a 3'6" radius curve which is does most of the turn back to get along the wall

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - first thoughts on fiddle-yard

Now I have got the baseboard around out of the scenic section into the corner built I needed to make some track and think about fiddle-yard design. Off-scene I am happy with using ready to run P4 track rather than laying timber sleepers and plastic chairs. I decided that the corner might as well have a small cassette fiddle-yard so that I can use it to reverse trains when the loop over the door is not in place. I've built a B6 point on paxolin which gives access to the cassette or to the circuit

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Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - First attempt at a signal

Ok, so I have made some signals before, but these have always been 'modern' ones with tubular posts. Clare has lots of upper quadrant signals but most of these were just replacement of the old GER lower quadrant signals and reused the existing tapered timber posts. These posts are available from various suppliers in white metal but I've always had a nightmare reliably sticking on the various fittings and soldering white metal is for those more skilled than me.   I decided to see if I c

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Stour Valley Dream - Fiddleyard complete and more trains running

Over the past couple of weeks I had some fairly major works trying to do a 'proper job' of the wiring which I had previously just jury-rigged to allow me to run the first trains around and around. This work included getting the second road of the fiddle-yard working and wiring up the turnouts at either end of the loop. The sharp eyed among you will also notice that I'd made some of the cassette handles too low for a Great Eastern chimney - doh!       The turnouts are op

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Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - fiddleyard cassette shelf and more work on J20 tender

As today wasn't too cold I managed to get out to the laser-cutter and cut the the two sheets of ply needed to make the cassette shelf for the fiddle-yard. This is a single board nearly 6 feet long which is held on the wall by some ply brackets. The shelf is now on the wall and I am really happy with the result.       I also managed to get the point to my fictitious 'mill siding' laid. I've used the new Peco bull-head rail joiners to join the point to the plain track here and they are exc

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Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - fiddle-yard cassette clamp

So, here is the problem, cassettes are a great way to make a fiddle-yard but a complete pain if you want to make that fiddle-yard part of a continuous run. You need to be able to make the cassettes butt together tightly and align accurately but you also need to be able to get them in and out. If the ends of the fiddle-yard, where the cassettes join the main layout, are fixed at both ends then this is virtually impossible, either you will have a fit so loose that trains will derail or the cassett

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Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Drivers eye view

My son bought me a little present for my birthday, a tiny video camera.  It fits nicely on a flat wagon and conforms to British loading gauge in 4mm scale.  The inevitable result has been a Youtube video showing a run through the station.     It shows up my dodgy track building rather well and I need to get better with the video editing software to fix the colour balance a bit better. I did try the 'black and white old film' effect which is really rather fun but I thought I'

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Fen End Pit

Stour valley dream - Completed trackwork on fourth baseboard

After a couple of weeks I've now completed the cross-over and catch point on the fourth baseboard. Following prompting from 'Western Star' I redrew the cross-over using a pair of C8 turnouts which meant I could use the pre-prepared Vs I'd bought from C&L earlier in the year. I'm quite pleased with the results. I also managed to get the baseboard pretty much wired up.   Wiring up is quite straight-forward with DCC and the MERG control system CBUS.   I drilled loads of holes and threaded

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Stour valley dream - Completed loop and a video to show it

So the fifth baseboard got drawn, cut and constructed, together with the cork for the track bed. Then I got as far as sticking down the sleepers and laying 3 feet of track before the temptation to 'play trains' took over. As I now have a little bit of track at either end of the loop I can now pass trains. I got a variety of stock out of the cupboard to make sure it would run.   A Cravens DMU (Bachmann) arrives from Cambridge passing the goods yard, the reason for a Class 31 and 4 Mk1s in the l

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Stour valley dream - Coal siding constructed

A couple of blog postings ago I included a photograph of my Claud in the platform waiting for more track to be built before it could proceed towards Long Melford. Well it didn't have to wait too long before it could go at least a little further. The siding kicks back behind the station master's garden and it is just long enough for four coal wagons. The siding was reconfigured between 1953 and 1957 as far as I can see.   Now all I've got to do is build a pair of B10 turnouts to close the loop.

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Stour valley dream - Celebrating track laying with some pictures

Having got the Marks Tey bound platform road laid together with the remainder of the track on the second baseboard I thought I'd celebrate with a bit of stock and some photographs. Having 4 coaches pass the 'Wheeeeeeeee' test along the main line was most satisfying! I've got enough rail to finish the Cambridge platform but will need to get some more from Scaleforum.   A J15 sits with the pickup goods in the yard. This siding was also used as a lay-by. For some reason Clare castle has been repl

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Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Building bridges

I've made a start on the girders of the river over-bridge at the Cavendish end of the station. This bridge is still there but one of the girders has been removed. There are two distinct bridges, one with very conventional plate girders which supports the running lines and another bridge with really odd cast girders which supported the original coal siding, removed by the time I'm modelling.       One of the difficulties that I'm facing is that, as is inevitable, I

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Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Blimmey look at the size of that!

I've been doing a lot of test running over the last few days, running trains around at ludicrous speeds and watching what falls off where then trying to fix it. I've also had various older bits of stock out and been working over issues on them.   So out of the draw came the old faithfully Gibson J15, powered by a small portescap with an extra idler gear. I tried shunting wagons in and out of the coal siding and it kept stalling so it was out with the cotton buds and lighter fuel. Just

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Stour valley dream - a bit of etched brass for a change , a J20 tender

As a break from plywood engineering (and a cold garage) I decided to do a bit of work on my 'Friday evening project', my 4mm Crownline etched kit for a J20. The engine itself is coming along nicely and is waiting for its day in the wheel shops soon. So I thought it would be a good time to work on the tender. Crownline kits are 'a bit old school' so the chassis makes no allowances for springing/compensation. I cut out the chassis etch to fit High Level 2mm bearings and these are sprung using wir

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Stour valley dream - 4th baseboard constructed

A good few hours in TurboCAD, followed by some time on the laser cutter produced parts for the fourth baseboard for my Stour Valley project. This board was a bit more complex than the previous three because it needed to accommodate the small stream which I think was originally part of the moat of the castle. I only had to recut one piece where I screwed up the drawing which is pretty good going!   The ply was stuck together with Gorilla glue, which got me thinking, do they make it from Gorill

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Stour Valley Dream - 4mm scale apiculture

One of the photographs I have of Clare shows a row of bee hives on the bank next to the line. I modeled a bee hive up and printed them out on my Anycubic photon. Bear in mind that these are 6mm x 8mm, so pretty damn tiny.       I need to paint them but the row looks the part I think.     No I am NOT going to produce 4mm scales bees!   David

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Stour valley dream - 3rd baseboard constructed

A wander around Clare country park on Saturday (boy it was hot!) spurred me on to cutting the plywood for the next baseboard of my Stour valley project. Last time we went a few years back the station building was all boarded up and in a pretty sorry state. Fortunately it is now opened up again as a Tea room and it did a very decent bacon bap and cheese toastie. The booking hall is available for eating and features some nice photographs and map of the station.       Construction is all fr

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Stour Valley Dream - 3D printed 5-bar gate

I wanted to make a 5-bar gate to go at the top of the track down to the disused loading dock. I drew up a 2D cutting plan and wondered about cutting it from .8mm ply and laminating multiple pieces together but in the end I thought I'd have a go at a 3D model and print on my Anycubic Photon. This was my first print using Anycubic's grey resin (the printer came with a translucent green).   Printed at .05mm layer height I printed four on the build plate at a time and the job took about 1

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Stour Valley Dream - 2nd Signalbox wall and static grass layering

I followed up making the first side for my reversed Wills kit signalbox by drawing up and printing the opposite end. I printed this at a different orientation to the first side which meant I was able to clean off the uncured resin from both sides of the part much more easily.   I took this picture of the part just after the printer had finished the job, you can see the orientation and the support structure.     The part was removed from the build platform and  wash

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Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Water, water and fortunately not everywhere

Some more progress on the larger of the two bridges at the Haverhill end of the layout, Ironically I'm building a model of the Stour valley but neither river is actually the River Stour. This is actually a mill race rather than the main river.       I had to purchase another set of Woodland Scenics deep pour water to finish the job. Excellent service from Hattons, ordered on Sunday night, delivered Tuesday morning. Mind you, the price of the stuff probably implies that

Stour Valley Dream - strange wagon loads

I found pictures of a couple of interesting wagon loads on the Stour Valley line at Clare and Sudbury.   I asked on the Scalefour Forum what these might be, wondering if the round tank might be a septic tank. In the end the consensus of opinion was that the cylindrical tank was probably a pressure vessel being installed as some kind of industrial plant. I decided to have a go and make them as wagon loads. I modeled these up and printed them out. I also modeled up a Fibre-glass se

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Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Stour Valley Dream - Strange grain loader

During the 1950's a grain loader was built on loading dock. Lorries (or tractors and trailers) were reversed down the dock and the grain tipped into the shed through the large doors. A vertical auger lifted the grain up to slide down the chute into the waiting wagon.     It looks to me that the construction was of corrugated asbestos with a box section rather than corrugated iron, the section looks too big for that. I tried drawing up a template to try and judge the size.

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Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream - Progress on Station Building

After many hours in TurboCAD I've finally made some physical progress on the main station building for Clare. There has been much counting of bricks and much studying of an April 1986 copy of Practical Model Railways which features some drawings of Lavenham by Jas Millham. Clare was a 1865 'medium' design but I have been able to incorporate what I've learnt in my building of the platform 2 waiting shelter and, even further ago, my station based on the GERS drawing of Takeley, an 1865 'small' des

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Stour Valley Dream - progress on goods shed and cattle dock

Over the last week I've been doing some work drawing up the cattle dock and the goods shed. The good shed was sparked off by wanting a project for the Scalefour societies 'Socially-distanced Challenge' and by the fact it  was the next building I needed to work on.   The process of studying photographs, counting bricks, comparing with drawings from the GERS has been a fascinating one. The goods shed particularly is interesting because it was substantially rebuilt during its lifetime. No

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

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