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Forget Track'n'Trace, we now have Track'n'Ballast!


wombatofludham

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Following on from the video, today I've been ballasting.  Using a mixture of ballasts, from fine to coarse, of different colours, left over from Kings Oak, I managed to lay a nice mix of ballast on each trackbed, using a Proses ballast layer.

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The rails were painted using a Posca paint pen.  Once the ballast has dried (the usual PVA-detergent-water mix) I'll airbrush layers of rust and oily gunk to weather the ballast and sleepers down.  The bare cork and board eventually will house trackside concrete troughing and OHLE masts as well as the advert hoardings, and will be finished off with more ballast and weeds/litter

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The bay platform side of the island.  The ballast is a little bit uneven but I prefer that as smooth perfect ballast in a bay platform would have been far less likely in this location.
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I've revised where the advert will be located, they need weathering down so when I get the airbrush out for the track I'll tone the adverts down a bit.

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Unfortunately I've had to adopt tighter curves than anticipated but amazingly they don't look too bad when trains pass over them.  The clearance to the rear of St Flo's church yard is a bit tight but a 158 just clears it.

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The bay platform buffer stop (Hornby, repainted) with DCC Concepts LED lamp.  The OHLE terminating gantry was custom made by Simon Barnes, I'll be using Dapol plain line masts elsewhere (and before anyone says anything, I know they are Mk3 OHLE to a design first used north of Weaver Junction in 1974 but, frankly, I doubt the difference will be that obvious when the scenery is in place)

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The retaining wall disguising the ply , and the varied colour of the ballast mix.  Once a spray of rust, oil and effluent is added I think it'll look fine.  There's just room for a row of concrete trunking and two OHLE masts.

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Where the Arriva Class 158 and Centro 150 are parked between gauging runs, I'm planning to install an ARP signal box and brick relay room.  Pockets of refurbished older signal boxes controlling new multi aspect signalling were common on the WCML until the recent modernisation, and although most of the Midlands was signalled by power boxes at Walsall, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry, the Trent Valley line and Stafford kept a number of boxes until 2005-6, so I decided that the Wednesford loop would have kept an electro-mechanical box allied to modern relay room similar to modernised boxes elsewhere.  The new Wills ARP kit is perfect as the railway was badly damaged in 1941 so would have had a new box built to replace one destroyed in the blitz.  I'll probably build the box tomorrow whilst the ballast is setting.20200803_202340.jpg.63b90c1da62e050e3a9c419b585b0878.jpg

And finally, I've tidied up Wentec, the lift tower has been painted, a redundant 3d printed roof unit added and a lollipop tree added to the grassy forecourt.

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