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Showing content with the highest reputation on 18/07/18 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Just a quick update on the storage sidings. The total of turnouts built is now 11 with ten now fixed in position in the storage sidings and three of the sidings laid. The turnouts are all constructed using 1.6mm thick double sided copper clad sleepers whilst the sidings are K&L and C&L lengths of flexitrack board joints strengthened using copper clad sleeper strips. Over the hot weather I have checked all the rail joints on the turnouts and board joints and where necessary I have widened the gap using a very thin file - a very useful tool obtained some years ago from Eileens. Here are some photos of the progress made so far. Once all the turnouts are in position I will fit digital cobalts and wire them in to two separate accessory buses. EDIT;- Two more turnouts added since my last post. EDIT:- Further progress as of this afternoon 24th July 2018. I have completed laying metre lengths of C&L Flexi track in the UP storage sidings. I have run out of the Evostick Timebond Adjustable glue I am using to fix this track and am having difficulty finding a replacement tube as B&Q don't have any local to me. I also need to order some more track and copper clad.
  2. 3 points
    Well in one of my more recent posts, a regular contributor on here who will remain nameless, oh what they hell it was MIKKEL, said that my station canopy was curvy, how rude To be fair, he was right (I cant believe I have committed that to writing), but on the other hand he was just stating the obvious.....so I thought I better do something obvious to try and fix it. As luck would have it the Domestic Overlord was a little poorly today (not that the DO being sick is lucky for me), so Price towers was renamed Emergency Ward 10 and I went in to the full dutiful other half mode. Anyway I digress, each time I got ready to do a little modelling, the DO managed like a little Trojan to find the energy to ring the "Im sick" bell, so I had to down tools and see what the "love of my life" wanted, if it was only to say things like "I don't feel well" . Filled with concern, and because I am such a genuinely nice person, in fact positively saintly, I did some research to see if I could find a way of improving the DO's life threatening condition, and I found the solution. On my last visit the bio hazard area (our bedroom) I performed an emergency "Clapper-ectomy" and peace was restored to Price Towers (God help me when the DO recovers). So I got out my supply of card (well the bits I could actually find) and got to work in an attempt to get the basic canopy and station building roof formers completed. Progress went a little better than I thought and I managed to get the majority of the basic canopy completed. I even managed to get the building roofs ready for covering with roof slates, using my graph paper method. The problem is I am at that stage now, where the more I seem to do the more jobs I seem to have to finish, so at some point I will have to start to look at producing windows and doors, but at least its starting to look like a station? Which leads me on to the next problem, or maybe problem is not a strong enough word? I am supposed to be building a model railway, and railways need track to run the little Choo Chooos on and that is where I am a model railway maverick, I have not laid any track (well not counting just under a yard for the trams). I have sort of settled on the final track plan for the layout, I thought I would put myself at the cutting edge of model railway technology and use these new things called "Electro Frogs". So I made a list checked it twice, winced at the cost of all the track I needed and bought half of it. Apparently though these Electric Froggy things need to be wired differently (people who have seen my wiring have described it as different) to the usual "insul Frogs" I use, and this is where I need HELP How do you wire these things up to stop short circuits, and does it mean I will have to get my favourite tool of mass destruction or Soldering Iron out. Any advice will be gratefully received. Until the next time as Ever Happy Modelling
  3. 1 point
    Hi. Things are progressing steadily at Spittal. The summer and hot weather often results in a slowdown in activity for a lot of us; holidays, barbecues, family commitments and possibly a little heat-induced lethargy……..I’ve found the answer to the latter. Spittal is being built in a converted farm building with 3 foot thick stone walls, and though it’s south facing it stays wonderfully cool and comfortable even when outside is ridiculously hot; I’m not really a Mediterranean climate sort of person. So the weather can be used as a reason to go over to the workshop ‘because I need to cool down a bit’…………...how long before that excuse gets rumbled? The downside is that any kinks, doglegs, knackered bits in the trackwork can’t be blamed on climate change but are the results of my own somewhat hamfisted efforts! There’s been a steady sequence of visitors over the last few weeks. Firstly, Splinter and Screwit, the local carpentry firm, extended the layout by adding a further 2.4m baseboard, taking the length so far to 7.8 metres; I’m going to start a bus service to transport operators/helpers etc around the place. This allows the trackplan to extend as far as the start of the terminus platforms and the spread of sidings into the goods yard: Two tracks on the left are platform 1 and the release road/carriage siding, next are the bay platform and a release road which also serves the goods arrival road to the right of it. The right hand tracks fan out into the goods yard, with a branch leading off and down to Spittal Point and the fish quay starting at the goods yard entrance. Once the clouds of sawdust and bad language had cleared, next to visit were the PW gang and tracklaying engineers. The trackwork on the previous board is now nearly finished; just the long carriage siding and the coal drop siding to go, but the latter will have to wait until the coal yard is in place, which won’t be until the wiring underneath is completed……….complicated I know, but I’m trying to avoid crawling about underneath with a soldering iron as much as possible, for a lot of very valid health- and wellbeing-related reasons……… The trackwork now flows onto the new baseboard; 3 more turnouts are in place and just need blades to complete them. Once that’s done I’ll have a small runround loop and access to the headshunt and coalyard sidings, so work on the layout will be frequently delayed by passing trains/testing/playing/wasting time. While all this was going on, the signalling department were busily working on the breakfast bar at home, surprisingly. The end result was my first homemade signal; something I have been looking forward to with some concern and trepidation but amazingly it works: Construction involves a 3mm square length of walnut strip filed to a taper in the vice; easier than it sounds due to the nature of the wood. The rest is made of various bits from MSE and a couple of homemade parts. Just 11 more to build…..fortunately there are no 48 arm signal gantries, although the linkages for the 3 junction signals may prove a little testing. After all this mayhem, peace and tranquility descended on the layout in the form of the local electrical contractors, Tangle and Testitt Ltd, who have been brought in to try and save the world/sort out the muddle/connect things up. I’m actually very lucky to have the assistance and advice in this area of a leading exponent of all things electrical and DCC, without whose knowledge everything would be taking me a lot longer as I’d have to keep the instructions in one hand while doing various 2 handed and 3 handed jobs with the other one…..not easy, especially when the flowing of electrical current is as mysterious to me as the flowing of the River Styx of Greek mythology (you cross it to enter the underworld, apparently). So with lots of help, the track is all connected up to the DCC bus and it works. A twin 12v DC bus provides power for uncouplers, which also work, and Megapoints servo boards and relays for frog switching, which, amazingly, also work. Lots of little flashing lights and faint clicking and whirring noises accompany what can only be described as smooth and seamless operation; the signal pulls off in 2 stages, and bounces splendidly on returning to danger. Remarkable, really, and it bodes well for future operation. So my control panel now has 1 of 12 signal levers earning its keep, along with 3 of the 11 rather nice retro look rotary switches. I even did a small amount of it myself……….. On a practical note, the servos, controllers and wiring are largely on top rather than underneath, for ease of access from the back of the layout. It’s an advantage of building a layout set on a sloping river bank; there’s a retaining wall (the sort I used to sit on to watch the trains, and fall off occasionally) along virtually the whole length of the back of the station area which will hide it all, and access will be via cutouts in the backscene. You may notice in the photos my rather overcomplicated design of combined servo mount and wire-in-tube link terminal, and you may also notice the mk2 version operating the signal, which is much simpler: servo mounted snugly in a hole cut in the 9mm ply baseboard top and secured with silicone glue, so removable if necessary...this leaves the moving bit at exactly the right height and is much quicker and easier to do while being more secure. A loop in the springy operating wire copes with excess movement, and is easier than attaching the omega loops. The final visit, on July 1st, was by a group of about 20 visitors from the North East and Borders area group of the EMGS. We had a barbecue in the courtyard outside the workshop, and several of them brought stuff to run on the layout. It was really rather inspiring to see the bit I’ve done so far populated and busy with a variety of visiting locos and rolling stock; onwards and upwards as they say. Hopefully, anyway……..good weather, good food and good company. And now, for those of you who have just scrolled through the above because you just want to look at the pictures, let’s pop back to 1960: An almost brand new class 2 diesel on running-in duty is waiting for clearance to head off up the hill towards the ECML and the junction just south of the Royal Border Bridge. It’s heading for Kelso and St Boswells on the Waverley route. The leading coach still awaits its new maroon paintwork. Just behind and on the next track across waits a goods departure for the Alnwick and Cornhill branch behind a far-too-new looking K1. The reason for the delay is a delayed Edinburgh-Kings Cross express on the ECML blocking access to the junction; it’s apparently just leaving Berwick heading south, so the route should be clear in about 5 minutes. Both types of servo mount visible above, and in the last pic you can see the inconspicuous DG couplings, which work well and don’t look too intrusive; on a layout which will extend to 1.8m in widthe in some places (for scenic reasons) hand-powered uncoupling is not possible, I’m afraid. The goods stock is kitbuilt and weathered; the coaches and locos have been gauge-converted and fitted with Dgs, but I haven’t had time to weather them yet. In the pipeline: a goods brakevan, an RT Models chassis to convert my DJM J94, bought when I was intending to model in 00FS, more signalling and the rest of the trackwork on the new baseboard; and then, just for a change……….another baseboard which will take the track to the end of the station. Thanks for visiting Spittal; sorry if it’s been a bit busy. Ian
  4. 1 point
    The construction of the brake toplight in this pair was one of the first things I ever posted on RMweb, back in 2006. I'd already built the other one a year or so earlier. Unfortunately, I was never happy with the design of the Slaters bogies, which (to my mind) were a triumph of over-complication, using inside bearings and springing as well as a tricky rocking mounting onto the bogie bolster. I found them very unreliable and not at all smooth running, and after a while the springing became unequal. I tried various fixes but could never get them to work as well as they needed to. Perhaps it was me, but if I couldn't get them to track well in 00, I wonder how someone in EM or P4 would fare? Anyway, the coaches were too nice not to run, so I set about sourcing replacement bogies. Being an idiot I actually managed to order two sets of the wrong type, one plate and one American, both of which were assembled and test-fitted before I realised I'd got the wheelbases too long in both cases. So, back to the drawing board. In the end I obtained the American type from David Geen and these were assembled and fitted in about an hour - much less faff than the Slaters ones, and more to the point they actually work as well. I've fitted Bachmann coach wheels which obviously don't look anything like the proper wooden centered type, but once painted I'll never notice the difference, and more importantly they track well and are easily obtainable. Being white metal, the Geen bogies put some useful weight down below the underframe, whereas the Slaters ones, being mainly etched brass, were very light. The bogie on the other coach was a bit more problematic as I couldn't seem to source a replacement kit of the right pattern. In the end, though, I tried breaking down one of the already assembled Slaters ones and concluded that I could actually bodge them into a rigid, outside-bearing design, and eliminate the troublesome rocking bolster mount. Again, these got Bachmann wheels and they are now running very reliably and smoothly compared to the old design. There are still a couple of jobs to do. I made a bad job of the working corridor connection on the first coach I made, so those needs to be replaced. I won't go for the working scissors, though, as I found them too much fiddly to assemble even when they worked well on the second coach. I find the MJT type perfectly acceptable in the context of a train and they've got the necessary flexibility to cope with my layout's undulations. I've fitted Spratt & Winkle couplings at either end of this short rake, with a simple hook and drawbar arrangement between the coaches. The last job will be to add coach numbering and perhaps a hint of weathering to bring out the panel detail. Other than the bogies - and maybe you'll have more luck than me - these really are fantastic coach kits, and there are no real snags in the main body construction. In fact, putting together the bodies is very satisfying as the mouldings are so crisp. They are now marketed by Coopercraft. Get 'em now, before someone announces RTR Toplights! Finally, I need to find something to build a pair of vehicles to use those two pairs of bogies I built by mistake! Time for some research...
  5. 1 point
    I did some ballasting on the American layout last week and while the mood grabbed me I decided to do a bit more on the 4mm one as well. As mentioned elsewhere, I'm using dilute Copydex rather than PVA to preserve the quiet running as much as possible, but other than that the process is similar, although the Copydex does seem to begin to set quite rapidly compared to PVA so the time for adjustments is not as long. With ballasting I find it necessary to come back and do a second pass to take care of missing spots and so on. The home signal is the Dapol one which, although it may not be as fine as a kit built version, does the job for me. In fact I have still not stopped grinning like an idiot every time it operates. I have to relocate this one a bit further along due to a change of plan about where the barrow crossing will go. I could have posted this on the S&D blog of course but the module is stuck in GWR mode at the moment and will be for some time to come. Cheers!
  6. 1 point
    Viewers of a nervous disposition, look away now... Long-time followers of the blog may remember my 28xx, which was a detailed and repainted Hornby model: The model has always been a favorite of mine, not only because of the work invested in it, but also because it was a birthday present from my wife and therefore had a bit more significance than just any old model bought by me. It has also always run well, in fact it is probably the best of the traditional Hornby tender drive locos I've owned. The model was given a good outing a couple of years ago but has been in a box since then, while I've mainly been concentrating on running DCC equipped models. Over the last year, however, I've gradually been getting more confident with doing my own decoder installations and after fitting decoders into some fairly awkward models, it looked as if the tender drive 28xx would be a doddle, with a simple soldering job and plenty of room for a standard Hornby chip. Given that the slow speed running on DC was good, I anticipated that it would be even better on DCC. Can you tell where this is heading? In the end the decoder installation turned out to be relatively pain-free and I completed the job in about half an hour, taking my time and using plenty of heat-shrink insulation. I hooked up the loco and tender and gave it a test. As always the decoder was wired backwards, but a quick reset of CV#29 took care of that. As anticipated, the slow running was very satisfactory and I spent an enjoyable few minutes running the loco up and down a stretch of track. It looked great. I have one of the newer 28xx models but this old one can still hold its own and on my small layout there are no question marks over haulage. I looked forward to changing the tender coupling to a 3-link hook so that I could load up a long-ish train of South Wales mineral wagons. The next evening I came back and ran it again - still good. But I got on with other stuff and only gave it a short run. The next evening again, I couldn't resist calling up the loco and giving it another spin. As before, the slow running was great. BUT - something was a bit strange. The loco looked different. I was only watching it from a distance, but there was something about it ... something near the front. I peered closer and had a bit of a shock. The smokebox had melted. Yes, somehow I'd forgotten that there was a smoke unit in this model - a smoke unit which had been quietly receiving full DCC voltage and current the entire time I'd been testing my lovely engine. Of course I had never made much use of the smoke generator so it had dropped off my things to think about when chipping the loco. But here, for your edification, are the sad results: Close inspection revealed that the melting had begun to deform not only the smokebox/chimney, but also the boiler barrel. So any hope of simply grafting a new smokebox into place were dashed. It looked as if I had two options - bin the model, or source a new body and perform either a complete body transplant or the whole boiler/smokebox. Obviously at this point I was pretty heartbroken - in fact, in a week that had seen some other cockups, I came closer to thinking about chucking in the hobby than at any time in years. As it happened, sourcing a body turned out to be not as straightforward as I'd imagined. I drew a blank on ebay - I guess people tended to keep the bodies and dispose of the chassis, not the other way round. I also couldn't locate one from a spares dealer. The guy at the Cardoiff show, who turns up with lots of Hornby loco bodies, also couldn't help - he seemed to have everything but a 28xx. My wife suggested I put out an appeal on the forum but I wasn't hopeful that it would do much good. However, I did it anyway. And within a day I had an extremely pleasing response from forum member Richard (RCAR6015) who, it turned out, had acquired a 28xx body some years ago for a project that had not come to fruition. With the new model out, Richard now had no use for the body and was happy to let me have it. After a quick phone call it became clear that Richard would not even accept payment, even to cover postage costs. I was genuinely touched by Richard's kindness and think it says something very positive about the best aspects of a forum like this. Richard was quick off the mark and within a couple of days of our phone call, I had another 28xx body. After deliberating, I've decided that the best thing is to leave the body intact, and simply transplant all the extra detail from the melted one onto the new carcass - that it will be a lot cleaner than attempting a cut and shut, and in any case I'd have to redo the handrails if I went down that route. So the 28xx lives on, or will live on, after some surgery, and I get to keep on playing with my present, all thanks to the kindness of an Rmwebber. Thanks, Richard!
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