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About this blog

Kelvinbank, a Caledonian Railway project.

Entries in this blog

CR Diagram 2 Fresh Meat Van

Way back in the 1980s I made one of these from a John Boyle etch ( it is labelled Decent Models No 74 ). I used standard CR parts and it made up into a nice van, but back then I lacked information so a lot of the basics were just wrong. It has been stored a long time but I was having a sort out, rediscovered it and decided to have a go at bringing it up to standard. A day in the brake fluid followed by an attack with the flame torch and I had a new kit to make.   So what exactly is it

Dave John

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Caledonian railway telegraph poles , part 3

Some photos of the poles planted in their sockets. I managed to get the spacing fairly even at 60 - 65 yards, the preferred Caley distance.   The camera is much harsher about verticals than the eye, particularly along the length of the layout. People used to Glasgow might be familiar with the effect, tenements do tend to lean back a bit. The time to panic is when they start leaning forwards.                     I’m ha

Dave John

Dave John in General

Caledonian railway telegraph poles , part 2

Making all the poles and fitting sockets for them has kept me going for a few weeks. Chilly weather and bad light slow it all down a bit.   The poles are 3mm dia dowel sanded to about 2 mm dia at the top. I doubt I could drill a 3mm hole through the baseboard square enough to make the poles stand upright so I made some sockets from spare brass tube, 25 mm long with bits of wire soldered on. The bit across the bottom acts a stop but still lets any debris fall through.  

Dave John

Dave John in General

Caledonian railway telegraph poles , part 1

Dead easy, several suppliers make plastic ones. Buy some and plant them ?   Well, no. These are not any old telegraph poles, these are the telegraph poles of the Caledonian railway. As with so many aspects of pre-grouping different railways did things in a different manner. “Signalling the Caledonian” by Jim Summers has an entire chapter on the subject giving many details and a couple of useful pictures of the L+D under construction so combined with photos from elsewhere I know what I’

Dave John

Dave John in General

The back of trains and 2020........

I consider myself to be a very lucky man. 2020 hasn’t been the best of years for me but it has been a damn sight worse for a large proportion of the worlds population. The lockdowns mean that I have been able to spend more time modelmaking, perhaps the upside of it all.   A year most of us will be glad to see the back of, so I thought I would do a few photos of the back of trains.   A late afternoon train vanishes under the bridge.     Tail end of a mixed

Dave John

Dave John in General

Fixing a traverser

Way back I made a blog about the traverser. I’m the first to admit that traversers are not the ideal storage solution, but space dictated the use of one. At the time I used some heavy duty drawer slides, smooth movement but I always had some problems with backlash when running round a train. To add to the problem they had some sideplay, only a mm or so, but that turned out to be an issue.   Anyway, couple of weeks back I turned the layout on to run a couple of early evening trains whil

Dave John

Dave John in General

CR D38 Glass wagon part 3

The D38 Glass well wagon has given me a challenge but I’m reasonably happy with the overall result.   The support frame has a slight lean, but it is only really noticeable in closeup and square on photos. As specials I think the wagon would be in good condition for the Edwardian era, it is in its first decade in service. I therefore just gave it some very light weathering.   If someone has any transfers a scale 1” high that say “OIL” then I’ll buy some. those 3 dots above the

Dave John

Dave John in General

CR D38 Glass wagon part 2

The main assemblies for the wagon are now largely complete.   Frame has been detailed, spring castings should have more leaves but those look ok to my eye.     Body has the sides fitted. and the floor is planked. Note the holes in the body sides. I think these were to enable the screw clamps to be tightened up when used at a lower level, together with a pair of clamps at the bottom of the well.     The fiddly bit was making the support frames.

Dave John

Dave John in General

CR D38 Glass wagon part 1

I seem to be in a wagon building mood these days. Dunno whether I’m locked down, locked up or or which tier of the cake I’m on, so wagon building is a cheap and time consuming activity.   Now it might be argued that I’m getting my ratios wrong again, too many unusual wagons and not enough of the bread and butter diagrams. I’d agree, but the fun is in the odd stuff. I therefore decided to have a shot at one of the 1896 built D38 glass well wagons. Decent pics in the wagon books and a di

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Wagons, real and imaginary.

An odd title you make think, but I shall explain.   Firstly the real one. The CR had large numbers of pig iron wagons, in practice used whenever a low sided wagon was needed. Another of those general types you can never have enough of. This example is built from the 51L kit, though I have used my usual method of a copperclad sub chassis for the W irons and sprung buffers.           Ok, the imaginary wagon. I mentioned that I cut some extra bits when

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CR Dia 25 Lime wagon, part 2

For various reasons this one has taken a while to finish. I had a bit of a fight with the lettering, harsh closeups show my errors.   I wanted to weather it as photographed in the wagon book with the lime getting well into the grain of the timber. That was done with rotring white ink and powders, my lack of weathering skills shows up, but it gives the right overall impression I think.   A few pictures in the on the layout;          

Dave John

Dave John

CR Dia 25 Lime wagon, part 1

Back at the bench again. The Caledonian built 40 Dia 25 lime wagons from 1886 to 1888. They were essentially a Dia 22 mineral wagon with a roof.     The CRA do a drawing of it, which gives the wb as 8’6’’.  I don’t think that is correct. The Dia 25 is essentially a Dia 22 mineral wagon with a roof, and they are definitely a 7’9” wb. The Diagram book gives the Dia 25 wb as  7’9” as well.   So I scanned in pics of both types of wagon, scaled them to size and superimposed t

Dave John

Dave John

When I'm cleaning windows.....

There are some things which just don’t scale, no matter what you do the real thing looks wrong in model form. Smoke and water are the obvious ones, but I’l add another. Dust. Scaled down they are not particles, they are lumps.   So I have been enjoying running the railway a bit, collecting info and deciding what to build next. However I couldn’t help noticing that the station had become a bit dusty and once you have noticed it it sticks in your eye. Time for some cleaning, after all we

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Dave John

A CR 670 Class part 6. In service at last.

There are times when I can see the appeal of BR unlined black. About half way through decorating the No. 252 was one such occasion. However bit by bit it all came together. The final result is a bit bright, but the brass does tend to develop a patina of its own over time. As ever close photos show errors the eye misses and it needs some builders plates as well.   A few pics ;                        

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Dave John

A CR 670 Class part 5

The correct gears arrived and so with a fully assembled and tested gearbox I have been able to push ahead. Soldering needs a bit of a clean up, but thats the chassis built up and running smoothly. Driving the front wheelset means I can have a compensation beam at the rear. The kit suggests driving the centre axle, since driving the front axle would mean losing the view through under the boiler. However by using a roadrunner box and an extender with a narrow motor I was able to get the motor righ

Dave John

Dave John

CR D27 machinery wagon , part 2

Well, there we are, a slap of paint makes all the difference.   Rivets are Archers, easy to apply and they make a big difference on a model like this. No idea what is under that sheet, but it is heavy so this wagon moves as if it does have 16 tons on top. The chains and shackles were fiddly, but add to it all I think.           Catching a bit of evening light.       You can see that this wagon is properly scotched. The

Dave John

Dave John

CR D27 machinery wagon , part 1

Progress on the 670 is delayed at the moment until I get the parts for the gearbox. Can’t be helped, difficult times slow things down.   Anyway, I need to build something. I had a browse through drawings and books and settled on a D27 Machinery wagon. ( the CRA does sets of wagon drawings on a cd )    So with a bit of luck here is one I can make from the stuff I have.  The body is laminated from 10 thou styrene cut on the silhouette. Bit of an odd wagon, big plates on the sid

Dave John

Dave John

A CR 670 Class part 4

The engine body is not far off complete. A close photo shows areas that need some cleaning up. The gap between the rear of the boiler and the cab needs to be filled, the cab is square to the footplate so I’m not sure how that bit of drift happened.   As you see there are a lot of holes, but I have the pipework bent to shape ready to go on post painting.       The frames are ready to go. The cylinders have been moved out slightly and solid brass cross pieces an

Dave John

Dave John

A CR 670 Class part 3

I am awaiting some parts for the engine, so I thought I would push on with the tender.   The kit does provide all the spacers and a basic compensation beam for the tender chassis. But as usual I have odd ideas about these things. So the chassis sides are adapted for High Level hornblocks and then connected by a length of double sided copperclad. This gives two large lands on the top for pickups and suppression components.     The semi circular compensation beam wou

Dave John

Dave John

A CR 670 Class part 2

I have made a decent start on the body.   The boiler is in two parts, I would have preferred the boiler etch to go all the way to the smokebox front and have the firebox wrapper go round that. Way round it was to find a bit of tube the right diameter and make a ring to support the smokebox wrapper and solder that to the smokebox front. The boiler and its spacer band can then be formed to the diameter of the tube and just slide into the wrapper.   Someone will tell me I ought

Dave John

Dave John

A CR 670 Class part 1

Sometimes you have to treat yourself. All the better if it supports the hobby as a whole. So I think a bit of loco building is in order.   One of these from a caley coaches kit.     Many thanks to Jim of Caley Coaches for getting it to me so efficiently, and to AGW and High Level for wheels and gearbox.   The 670s were built in two lots and had a varied history with several rebuilds and swapping of tenders. Numbering is the usual Caley nightmare, indeed N

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Dave John

A corner improved

I have added a bit of scenic detail to that corner. Much improved in taking the eye round at the end of the viaduct. I am going to have a go a tree making to disguise the rather abrupt end of that big retaining wall, but for now thats the layout back together and some trains running again.    A couple of rough snapshots.         Hope everyone is managing in these strange times.         

Dave John

Dave John

Round the corner or round the bend ?

I have been with pottering on with the far corner of the layout, signals are installed, then unplugged and a lightweight scenic extension knocked up from foamboard and card. All a bit rough at the moment, but taking shape. I think it will enhance that corner and take the eye round to the storage yard in a more transitional way. Some sort of wooded area perhaps.           I also painted a couple of figures and added them to this very odd thing that I made quite

Dave John

Dave John

Some more plugin signals.

So like many I’m stuck inside unable to work, so keeping optimistic I’ll treat it as a rehearsal for retirement. Time to take stock, have a good dig through all the boxes and see what I have available to make things with.   Signal parts come on frets or bags of several bits. Of course all the spare bits are put away, so having sorted through them I realised that I had enough bits for a couple more signals. An ideal project, fiddly and time consuming. Takes the mind off other things.

Dave John

Dave John

Caledonian Railway pre-diagram open wagons.

These are made from the latest True Line Models resin body produced by the CRA. Many thanks to all involved.   The description pre-diagram means that they were built bfeore the introduction of the official diagram book and therefore don’t have a diagram number. More details here;   https://www.crassoc.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1479   I have built them in my usual way, copperclad sub chassis, rocking W irons, internal sprung buffers, all the bits from 51L

Dave John

Dave John

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