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A twin-level B.R. (S.R.) B.R. blue shunting plank.

Entries in this blog

"Care for a little trade, sir?"

As a relief from the brick-work, I have been churning out loads for wagons and lorries over the last week.  As a confirmed tea-drinker, I had to have pallets of tea-chests, inspired by @Mikkel 's (if nowhere near as good), so I sawed, trimmed, and edged in silver some wood strip.  A delivery awaits collection and complete unloading from the VBB:         A load of timber planking is put on a wagon for its customer from the lorry, with the unorthodox aid of the Freig

A little more back-drop completed.

I will not pretend the making of the passenger viaduct sides is now fun.  Found a burst of enthusiasm this weekend to complete another stage of the arches, etc., including the more difficult 'stretching' of brick panels and cutting bespoke piers, buttresses, etc.     The arch section of the extreme left need not be finished with another buttress, as it is to be hid by the end of the warehouse (still substituted by cardboard boxes).   Sadly, I can not say I am happy

'Sliding doors' ; or, putting a wagon under the knife.

Ignoring the urgent jobs that need doing on the layout - cleaning track, painting ballast, finishing brick-work, and painting the poor Yard Foreman! - on Wednesday I wondered how difficult it would be to cut open the doors on a Bachmann VBB van.  With only the Hornby VIX to pose as being loaded in East Yard, I wanted a change.  To my surprise, armed with a new blade in the Stanley knife and a metal edge, it was a doddle.  I spent this morning making some loads for the large pallets, and here is

A slightly better film-set.

Unable to resist the 'wide-screen' temptation of my new brick background, I crept out into the garage after lunch to take a few shots, deluding myself I am Peter Greenaway's Director of Photography.  A pity everything looks as if taken 'straight out of the box' (which it is); this will be my next challenge...       And now in pretend 'Ultra-Panavision 70' ...       And for art-cinema connoisseurs, the black-and-white option :  

"Brick keeps Britain beautiful."

I could put it off no longer, weary of plywood as a back-drop to my photographs of the general sidings, so have made an attempt at building the brick arches of the passenger station viaduct behind, plus scratch-building the girder bridge.   First the latter: the results of the piers look better when painted, but I am not endeared to working in plastic sheet (Wills, English bond, to match the arches), lacking the skill to butt the joints perfectly.  Thankfully, the errors look less obvi

'Little Brown Jobs' ; or, homage to an inspiring photo with my new VVVs.

Taking time off from theoretical musings, I have reverted to the 'wagon-load' aesthetic in the general merchandise sidings, to try a homage to one of my favourite photographs around of goods yards, by Mr Kevin Lane :       [73 005, Guildford Yard, February 1980.]   I first came across it in Michael Hymans's 'Southern region through the 1970s year by year', Stroud : Amberley Publishing, 2018, and then discovered it on Flickr.  When I have time, I must browse t

Terminus station loco-release loop design.

Rather a dry subject, but I hope it will caution others from making this mistake.  Before cutting a single piece of wood, having designed and refined my layout to 'perfection' over the years, the passenger station throat looked like this :   Perfect! I believed.  The junction was only 'two points long', so allowing the maximum length of train either side.  Trains could depart to the left, and be un-coupled by the 'Hand of God' un-seen behind a tall warehouse.   However,

The new and the old from the West...

Just a quick shot of the local staff gathered about the test run of an air-braked PRA delivering a consignment of clay to the Sussex Weald.  All are 'not quite sure' of the '25' and the strange new wagon - my latest purchases - and there was much muttering on their appearance earlier.  Just what Acton Yard will send next is a subject of much speculation...     The digger driver finishes his sandwiches, perched on the wagon steps, enjoying the view.  I would have bought two P

Illustrated musings on 'realistic' goods yard operation.

Pottering at my layout recently, thoughts turned to seeing in model magazines sidings full of wagons in 'post-steam' goods yards.     Please ignore the detritus in the background of these pictures!   This made me wonder.  Did the goods train call only once a day?  Did the wagons change every day?  What shunting was needed within the yard after the train departed?  Most importantly, if a yard's arrival siding is no longer than each of its 'mileage' (wagon-load loadi

Time for a chat in the aggregates yard.

Another couple of photographs trying out the positioning of my new figures.  The coal lorry driver watches his mate fill a coal sack at the hopper.  I need several stacks of sacks around the place, I realise, and a load for the lorry.         Lacey's lorry driver pauses to chat to the digger driver on his tea-break.  Mr Lacey is unaware of the proximity of his grubby employee outside to his glistening new motor-car...      

Test shot : the coal-men appear.

Just a quick attempt at another picture with some more figures.  The coal-men start filling the first sacks for the next round at the hopper.  Sadly, the driver's colleague is obscured in the hopper's frame, but his colleague's coal-sack rests on scales under the chute, if you look closely.  Not the finest pic., but I am learning, I hope.      

"Little people!"

My order of figures arrived to-day, so I have arranged a few quick tableaux.  These are Woodland Scenics and Noch :     The last pallet is removed from a VIX from abroad, and the lorry is loaded for the last delivery run of the day.       A small crate is put into the back of the N.C.L. lorry, ready for delivery.   I am ridiculously pleased with the two ModelU figures, and had to show them off, even if only part-painted and still on their

The motor-car appears.

It is a Summer Monday morning, and the staff and traders arrive at East Yard with varying degrees of enthusiasm.  Mr Hunt the coal merchant is looking forward to the sound of his coal loader, compared to the noise at home of the grand-children all day yester-day which left him with a head-ache and needing an early night.  However, the family lunch had been excellent, and at least the little 'darlings' ("So spirited!") had given his Austin a good clean beforehand.  Not that this has made up for t

The layout's rationale : or, Where, Why, and When.

Inspired by @Ray Von 's musings and the contributions re his blog - Third Rail N Gauge Shelf Terminus - while waiting for the weekend, my thoughts turned to Atherington's location, industries, and train services.  While not a simple re-naming of a real town, being an 'ex-Central Division child' I wanted somewhere on the Sussex Weald, inland to model imagined fish and milk trains, all in a 'declining 1970's aesthetic' with both electric and diesel services.  Inspired by memories of the East Grins

Lacey & Sons, Co., Ltd., for all your non-combustible mineral needs.

I finished a model cab office yester-day to use for my aggregate merchant.  It has not endeared me to white-metal kits - the brick-work is decidedly 'un-matching' and I glued one side out of true - but I am ridiculously pleased at how the colours have turned out.  The mortar was painted in acrylic first, all over, and then a sponge dipped in brick-coloured brown no more than caressed over the walls, so as not to paint over the mortar.  This needed to be done a few times, to get a darker and dark

The inevitable Sunday Engineering works.

Waiting for pay-day and a trip to B. & Q. for more Araldite for the aggregate merchant's office, I could put off the cleaning and electrical testing after ballasting and painting no longer.  Two naughty points caused problems, but with much track-rubber, rag and meths, and ultimately sand-paper, their sidings functioned again.  Not as bad as feared, so I thought this was a photo-opportnity for my second-hand (Douglas J. Fryer of Lewes!), Hornby breakdown-crane.  We saw one of these (or so it

'On the juice'; or, another incompetency to add to my collection.

Just a quick note to dispel the superstition of thirteen 'posts', and show my bodged soldering of the wires to the control panel for the main 'East Yard' part of the layout.  Of course, one pair of power-input wires was too short, so I had to solder 6" extensions to reach the correct input socket.   The back of the panel:       The two isolation sections (Goods arrival and departure), with wires on the right of each track (away from the viewer):  

Southdown wool Bradford-bound : sacks (or rather, 'sheets').

Waiting for the garage to warm so I can do some soldering, I have been churning out six-dozen 'wool sheets', thanks to @enz and 'British Wool' (formerly the British Wool Marketing Board).  I will edit this post later to provide additional information if the latter's kind correspondent permits, but these white polypropylene sacks took over in the mid-1970's from the smaller, brown, 60lb. hessian sacks to be seen in pictures of the Tetbury wool sack races.  These will be another project.  

A control panel, bodged.

I managed to endure the cold before the temperature dropped really low recently, and scared the bejezus out of myself by snipping and drilling 0.5 mm. nickel-silver sheet into some sort of electric panel.  The first time I had drilled metal, and I hope the last.  Despite pilot 'dents' with a nail on marked out dots - the push-to-make switches and power-input plugs are at 7/8" pitch - the drill gave a decidedly 'eccentric' hole on seven of the ten.  However, it fits, which is all that matters.

Somewhere to park your digger.

Waiting for the paint to dry on my wagon-loads, I knocked up a little shelter for the aggregate merchant's J.C.B. yester-day.     The area on the right will be filled by the office building and a couple of motor-cars.  Now I am playing with modelling clay again, ballasting the right hand - general merchandise sidings - side of the yard.

Some photographs after ballasting all week.

Weary of paint and modelling clay, as the coal/minerals yard starts to look presentable, I thought I would try posing some stock.  Herewith my efforts.  Sorry about the backgrounds.     A 71 pretending to be a 74 pops into the minerals siding with a special delivery of tar.       Said tar wagon is taken off by the yard shunter, releasing the 71.  Now we return to Speedlink air-braked services...       The aggregates merchan

Aggregate wagon-loads.

Killing time waiting for the modelling clay ballast to dry on the left of the yard, I made myself a few wagon-loads of various minerals for my POA wagons.  Cut an oblong of card or plasticard to fit the Open, mould a lump from floral foam and glue it to the former.  Paint, or cover with glue and chippings:     The wagon on the outer left has two, incorrectly shaped, 'heaps' glued to a base, unpainted.  My first attempt, this will be re-done.  The inner left is an experiment

'Do not try this at home'; or, the tedium of ballasting.

Having waited a week for the modelling clay to dry, on closer examination I see my method of squashing and scraping with my thumb a large lump of modelling clay across and into the track has caused the sleepers to move and distort:     My how I laughed!  Thankfully, this was done for only one-third of the layout.  For the right hand sidings (general merchandise) I will make little 'sausages' and cut them off to push down into the sleeper gaps.  For the passenger station viad

Ash ballast.

Spent Wednesday covering everything with what looked like Cornish china clay, but was far less romantic: Hobbycraft air-drying modelling clay.  It gets everywhere.  However, I filled the 'four foot' almost to my satisfaction, and must now pluck up courage to attempt not to glue up a point.  Thankfully, it takes about a fort-night to dry, and it is freezing cold and snowing outside, so a good reason to find something else to do, or at least start wondering whether the cracks will show under a cou
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