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About this blog

Way too much planning and thinking but finally started building! A fictitious layout based in Northumberland near the Coquet river. My station is based on Acklington and the scenery is a major part for me with elements drawn from Northumberlands varied landscape.

Entries in this blog

Stepping Up A Level

Phase 2 of Northumberton involves the track bed up as far as the entrance to the station level (Phase 3). I have already cut the track bed - (see entry "Frames complete - now the track bed). I use an extended 1m straight edge/rule to measure track height from the frame work which was levelled in the early stages.                              I'm rising from 1005mm to 1105mm above floor level. I was able to take the levels where track crossed the frame work from the SCARM software I'm u

Long due progress!

I would be the first to admit to having a bit of a blind spot when it comes to DCC wiring, not the soldering or fitting point motors but my reverse loop and snubbers and all the fine points of building a reliable DCC circuit. I had gathered much research and many many peoples advice but alas in most circumstances something somewhere was taken for granted regarding my DCC knowledge - this is very bad. However, I have success, a fully functioning reverse loop with storage tracks and a separate bus

Making Headway May 2021

So, what have I been up to, well lots actually but sadly not on the railway so finally I'm getting back to regular modelling. We have heard so much news in the world I'm only going to talk models here. My last entry showed progress on a Metcalfe models Town End Cottage - something I started during lock down and got quite a lot of satisfaction from. I have tried to add as much extra detailing as I can and when it was completed I decided to try another, and another! I'm telling myself these a

Back In The Saddle Again!

Hi all   Well what it is to be back earlier than anticipated, after amazing support from my local NHS all's well. I have spent much time thinking and planning my next moves on the layout. I quickly realised that finishing the clear out in the garage needed to be a priority and so I have started making more room thanks to some garden storage boxes I have installed in an unused area beside the house. I have also resumed work on Northumberton Station building which is based on Acklington

Absent Without Leave!

Hello   Finally back to thinking about the railway. Anyone having read my previous blog entries will see that it's been a long time since my last blog entry. Had to sort a few medical issues but that's all behind me now and thankfully nothing to do with c19.   As I've been recovering I thought I would have a go at one of Metcalf’s excellent card kits, although I would point out that I see these as temporary models which look great until my planned buildings come along when I

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Wizardtrains

Catching a Bus (wire).

Progress is still slow this month but I did have a bit of a breakthrough thanks to some very helpful people in the forum on DCC help. Link: https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/149989-dcc-bus-help-please/   This also gave me another issue regarding wiring the BUS wires back to the controller (Roco Z21) although I have to say that following some further discussions on the forum I picked up a few hints on where to go next. One thing this did make clear to me was that the DC

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Wizardtrains

SLOW TRACK LAYING ON THE LEARNING CURVE

Well, this track laying is taking ages and I'm still on the section that no one will see! All I can say is that it has been a useful learning curve . As you may be aware I'm working on an open frame layout with Woodland Scenics track underlay, DCC Supplies PowerBase and Peco code 100 track - the later is part of my desire for extremely reliable running and slightly easier track laying due to the strength of the track pieces. Hidden curves use Peco set track radius 2, 3 and 4, the remainder is al

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Wizardtrains

Track Bed Part 3 The Installation

So, back again, the first section of track bed - the lower return loop/storage siding is now in place. This did take some time as I became familiar with laying an incline, fortunately I was able to gain all the dimensions I needed from my SCARM plan.   The actual loop is level at 875mm above ground level and this rises through a 1.9% grade or about 1 in 53 to 1050mm above ground level. As I had modelled the baseboard frame in SCARM as well I was able to read off the heights of the trac

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Wizardtrains

My History of Northumberton

Hi all   As I've been building my new layout I've been trying to imagine the story behind it. As I'm using this blog as a record of my build I thought I'd make a few notes on what is coming in the future. As I've already mentioned the station is squarely based around Acklington station - my closest ECML halt. I've been to site armed with my camera and taken many photographs.   Although the main station building is now private dwellings it is wonderful to see all the original

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Wizardtrains

Track Bed Part 2 and Townstreet Modelling

Hi again, a few notes on progress. The cutting of the track bed shown on my last entry is now complete with all the edges having received a smooth edge courtesy of a 3mm rounding over bit in the router. I highly recommend this step as it has made the pieces comfortable and safe to handle. I did find using the Faller groove cutter a bit tedious as it kept overheating so I had to leave it to cool. Eventually the pin that goes through the blade broke - I've been onto Faller to see if I can get a sp

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Wizardtrains

Frames complete - Now the track bed.

Now I have all the frames in place I can turn my attention to the track bed. As you will see below I have had my plans from SCARM printed out 1 to 1 which cost me £60 +VAT. I considered that this was money well spent as I have glued these to my 9mm birch ply to guide all the cutting work. I took some measurements of the plans before starting and was really impressed with the accuracy achieved (I used Plan Printing UK who are in Edinburgh). When I exported the drawings from SCARM I imported them

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Frames coming together

Good morning all. I've finally got some construction completed with the frames. This was delayed a little by adding cables and ducting for the overhead lighting,my first pic shows this in place, it carries a power lead and a data cable for the "dawn to dusk" effects. The small section of pelmet is temporary to support the cables and power socket. I've decided to leave final lighting, which I can access from the front of the layout, until after the main layout is complete. This will enable me to

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Wizardtrains

Building the Frames

This section shows the frames I've been making. I'm using 100mm x 25mm PSE throughout, the extra depth giving the strength required for this open frame. The components are all jointed, Lap or half Lap, and will be glued and screwed. When I retired I bought a small table saw (actually a "site saw") by Bosch which has been a Godsend when making all the cuts and I also made a small cross slide box to help make the lap joints.    This slide really helped - the base is a piece of old formic

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I've looked at clouds from both sides now!

I think I said how hard can it be, this spray painting lark. Well, the answer can be very hard, in fact it's taken me ages to just get things going and following a disaster with the wrong colour backscene blue I'm finally content with the outcome. It's far from perfect but I would be the first to admit that I'm no artist, what you see is just my best efforts following much pawing over YouTube and taking some photos. The trouble is only years of practice in my hands would yield the results I'd im

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The Backscene

The photo above shows my prepared backscene. This was filled at the joints and then I used a wood primer followed by four coats of matt white paint. For those interested I used 18mm thick red faced ply formers in the corners to help achieve the 550mm radius bend. The ground line is only approximate and is about 50mm below where it will actually be. I took the contours from my SCARM layout design see below. This line is just where I will fade out the sky as I need to be able to judge the horizon

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Wizardtrains

Making A Start

In my intro I mention far too much planning, well in my case this has been years with major changes to plans along the way. I've tried to think of everything, you can't bye the way, but you read about mistakes or pitfalls and how to do or not to do things from magazines, forums, youtube or any other resource you care to mention but the problem is remembering all this as you go. I've tried to keep files, bookmarked web pages and I keep a notebook of precious information gleaned from research, the

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