This is one of those posts that could go on the layout blog (here http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/343-blacklade-artamon-square/ ) but as it amounts to a note-to-self of stock construction jobs that need doing, it's more logical to put it on my workbench thread . So here it is...
I had the layout up for an extended play a couple of weeks back. Things came out of boxes that had spent an awful long time in them . For the first time I actually got round to trying to run a Civil Engineer's train - and found that 2 brakes , a Zander, a Grampus, a Dogfish and a Walrus (all the non-airbraked stuff) were too long for the run-round loop . Pity - they looked rather nice - so the Zander will have to stay in it's boxfile
I also found or was reminded that Hornby 31s are a touch track-sensitive, and as the track in question (in several senses) is the crossover at the end of Pl 2 , forming one end of the run-round loop, and as 31 174 has been doing duty on anything that requires running round (the two parcels , the oil and now the CE train) this is a problem . An alternative loco is required for this duty - and a quick trial on the tension-lock fitted Seacows (also never before run in anger) showed that my old Airfix 31 is quite happy taking the crossover even when the blades are 98% across (It's sat modestly hidden at the back). It also runs perfectly well, with inbuilt analogue sound . I already needed another 31 so I could play with a 2 coach loco-hauled substitute set , so detailing up a spare Airfix 31 and fitting Kadees was already high on the "to-do" list. It now becomes an urgent priority
It's also painfully obvious that the Hornby Dutch Shark needs weathering, so perhaps I need to finish off the olive green Cambrian kit one, which really ought to be used in a mid 80s CE rake
I made the melancholy discovery that my elderly W Yorks 155 may run okay but the wretched black box on the underframe now fouls the newly installed cosmetic point motors on the back road. The 158 just clips them too but keeps going - demonstrated by the appearance of bright metal on the bumps on the casting. A bit of resiting and an emery board and a paint brush has sorted this out as far as the 158 is concerned, but the 155 needs it's chassis sorting out. I have a pack of NNK (ex MTK) underframe castings for a 153..... Fortunately what Dapol tooled up was evidently based very closely on a built up MTK kit, and with a bit of ingenuity it should be possible to use the castings on the powered car for weight, and fret out the plastic on the trailer to build up various boxes without any difference between the cars being obvious . A heavy rework of the W Yorks 155 to make the best of a bad job now rises right up the DMU agenda. On the other hand thoughts of sticking a decoder in the Regional 155 that has never run and has been sat at the bottom of a pile of stock for over a decade have now receded
I even got to try running the layout in steam mode for the first time:
Now I know this is full of ghastly anachronisms . Nothing can be done about the station signage - that was always a reason why any "steam period" was not going to be a serious exercise, and would simply be a case of giving my out of period items an occasional airing and a raison d'etre
But it does show progress and problems,,,,
Set 1 (ex LNW) is up and running. Set 3 (Grouping non-gangway) is also up and running , though the coaches need weathering . After I found the Hornby Thomposon non-gangwayed stock is delayed till next year, I thought laterally , and acquired a carmine Gresley CL instead of a maroon Thompson CL
Set 2 is still progressing, slowly.
But we have a motive power crisis. I have 2 serviceable kettles, and one's an O4/1 and totally unsuitable for suburban passenger working. I have no serviceable green diesels (you can't readily DCC an ex Hornby Dublo Class 20). I ended up using 31 174 and a blue Bachmann 20 just to run trains and check that the coaches ran and a Minories style shuttle could be operated. Really , I need 4 locos to run 2 or 3 trains
Someone put a decoder in my secondhand whitemetal N5. I got the 4 digit address programmed then the whole thing started shorting. A check with the multimeter showed a dead short across one pair of driving wheels . It went back in its box pending detailed examination (I suspect it may work fine when the body's removed....)
I bought a Fowler 2-6-4T as "secondhand new" at Ally Pally. It needs a decoder hardwiring (when I pluck up courage to get the body off) and more seriously , somehow I have to fit Kadees
So I've dug out the resin Silver Fox Baby Deltic kit I bought cheap second-hand at St Albans , and started painting. Then I found my warning yellow had dried up. Now I've got some replacement from Precision at Shenfield (but I dread to think how many coats will be needed - Precision have poor covering power and yellow's a problem at the best of times )
So - finish Set 2 . Two Type 2s to be done (D5901 first - as the RTC Derby loco it only needs a slight stretch to have her survive into the 80s in the Midlands , or indeed to be preserved, then 31 408 ) Finish the NRX conversion . Finish the Cambrian Shark . All of those are existing commitments
It becomes a question whether the 128 kit or a heavy upgrade of the W Yorks 155 is next cab off the rank behind that lot. I have no steam age parcels stock . A 51' Gresley full brake (Kirk kit) would be a fairly quick win , and I have 2 old 12T vans with no obvious use which could be done with new chassis and Kadees for parcels tail traffic...
That should keep me quiet