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    Winnersh, Berkshire

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  1. Hi Duncan, Thanks! I was a bit unsure at first whether I'd have any issues as some of my stock is around 15 years old so I didn't know whether I'd have any issues with flanges, especially through the points. So far I have had one issue, which was on a Class 47, but that was due to the back-to-back gauge not being quite right on one of the wheelsets, but with a quick adjustment, it works flawlessly. I've run wires to every individual rail on the layout, including the point blades and this has meant I can crawl any loco slowly through the points without it juddering to a halt. From my experiences so far I'd say it is better than the Peco track, the gaps between the frog and blades is smaller so less chance of a stall and the overall appearance of the track is so much more realistic. I'd highly highly recommend it, and I've also seen Waynes now making concrete sleeper flexi track and single slips so now I just need another layout to try those out! Cheers Tom
  2. Yes I noticed Waynes released a single slip version, looks very good! Just need to build another layout now.... I managed to make more progress over the weekend on the buildings for the layout, structures are pretty much there now, just need to fill in some plastic joins, add some piping and a few details and I recon I'll be able to prime them all. I've also built a trussing out of some spare code 40 rail, which will hold a pipe from one of the facility buildings to the wharf. Thought here being this pipe handles the excess water that is removed from the china clay. I was set on basing the layout around a china clay facility but having looked at my research pictures, I need to shade quite a bit of it white and I'm not sure I can bring myself to do it at this stage..... so it might be a hybrid mineral/clay layout for now.
  3. Hi Rich, Thanks! I've used a few shades of short grass mixed together and applied using one of the yellow plastic bottles from Noch. I find just puffing the bottle makes the grass static enough to stand up, fire them into slightly watered down PVA and leave them to dry before hoovering off the excess. The finetrax trackwork is good, slightly fiddly building it but works perfectly well with all of my RTR stock. I'm surprised it's not used more in N gauge! Tom
  4. Hi Nick, I've always found backing the loco up just a millimetre or so helps with the uncoupling. Great to know the neodynium magnets work too! I have a few short wheelbase wagons and decided I'd opt for the newcoup in between wagons so run them in two's or three's and this works quite well. I was finding that when I shunted anything very slowly over magnets they'd detach, so changing the in-between couplings over to these has stopped unnecessary uncoupling . Tom
  5. Hi Nick, Thanks! It's getting there. The Dapol magnets are good but are rather large, I wish they were about half the size! I cut each of them in half before measuring and cutting away roughly a 3 sleeper space for them, the tracks laid on a layer of 1/16th cork which I also removed so the magnets would sit a little lower. They ended up sitting just above the height of the sleeper which was no bother at all during testing. After testing I laid some spare code 40 rail around each side of the magnet to make up the crossings and filled the gap at the top with a plaster/glue/water mix to hide the magnets before painting. The one issue I had is with the Farish Class 47's - they have a low hanging plastic cover over the running gears on both bogies, which would beach the locomotive on the crossings. Not so bad at speed as the momentum is there to push the loco over, but would stop the loco from moving at slow creep speeds, which is exactly what I want to achieve on this layout. I've got around that by cutting away the plastic gear coverings on both of the bogies and they now work fine without beaching. I've not come across that with any of my other stock but something to watch out for. I've almost finished converting all my stock to Dapol's kadee couplings and I'm super pleased with the hand's free shunting, well worth installing in my opinion. As another option - as I've found I want to add one more magnet in another position I've bought some small super strong Neodymium magnets, so planning to fit those to the front wharf track at some point and see whether they work just as well. Cheers, Tom
  6. Thought it was about time I posted an update on Wheal End - I've managed to fit in a few modelling days and evenings since my last update and the layout is really beginning to take shape. Lots of changes since the middle of March; tracks been ballasted, painted and the roads and rocks have been added. I was relieved when the magnets hidden in the track crossings still worked with the kadee couplings despite being covered in plaster. I've also begun adding vegetation in parts but there's still lots to do with this. I'm now at the point where I've started scratch-building the buildings and begun making the frames which will support the conveyers between the various buildings. I've used some of the Plastruct corrugated sheeting for the buildings but I'm not convinced it is thin enough to be used in N gauge so I may re-visit this - I'm planning to spray-prime the buildings which should show up anything that looks out of place, I find it hard to tell when I've just thrown some odds and ends together. Still lots to do! Also apologies for the naff photos - taken on my phone!
  7. Hi Duncan, The buffers are the standard Peco N Gauge ones, I've chopped quite a bit off the base's so they sit on the code 40 rail and painted them up using acrylics. Thanks - I'm really pleased with how the tracks turned out and it works really well with RTR locos and stock. Turnouts are operated by Cobolt Digital motors for the slow-throw, they work a treat. First time I've used them on a layout and they seem solid, really liking that they've got two switches built in, so I'm using one for the point frog. Cheers, Tom
  8. Managed to get quite a bit done on the layout over the weekend so thought I'd share the progress. I used DAS clay to build the foundations of the yard area, I'm not too happy with the way its dried, its very hard to get a flat surface with it. I'm thinking I may plaster over the top for a better finish, (small test section can be seen at the front of the layout) and then I can hopefully put in some lorry/plant tracks around the buildings. I've begun building the rock faces on the rear of the layout, I used plaster mixed with water and PVA and then manically scribed and manipulated it whilst it was drying. I think it still needs some work once fully dry but I like how this is coming along, I saw this technique on a youtube video for an american layout and thought I'd give it a go, results look good so far. I also managed to build a couple of mock-up buildings and make a start on the bridge that hides the fiddle yard exit and give the harbour area at the front a bit of paint.
  9. Thanks for the kind comments Marc. I haven't really started looking at buildings seriously yet but I have a few ideas rattling around in my head. I was thinking of having a storage warehouse in the centre with a kiln/warehouse and chimney to the right near to the bridge/fiddle yard exit. I've found it quite hard finding pictures of clay facilities from the 80's/90's so would appreciate any pointers in the right direction for research if you know of any. I'm planning on scratchbuilding them as they will then fit exactly as I want them too within the layout but I'll probably utilise old bits and pieces of other kits I've got lying around in boxes. Bridge wise I'm looking at a stone bridge with steel girders supporting the road, based on one I found earlier this year whilst out on a walk on a disused railway in the Peak district, although not sticktly right of course for Cornwall but I think it will fit the layout :)
  10. Hello all! Thought I'd share some pictures of my China Clay inspired N gauge layout. This is my first layout for almost 5 years due to lack of time and space but progress is being made! I started the layout just before the christmas holidays and due to a quiet start to this year workwise I've had plenty of time to crack on with the many layout building jobs. I've chosen to model a china clay / quarry facility somewhere in Cornwall, all inspired by a Class 37 that I've had boxed up for around 16 years and never run. It's not based on any specific location but the idea is I can run some of the Peco ECC hoppers with the 37 and also some china clay trucks with some BR Blue Diesels, so easily transitioning across time periods. I've been slowly converting all of my old DC loco's to DCC and considering adding sound to some of them at some point. The baseboard is from Model Railway Solutions and is 3 x 1 in size, the layout footprint is slightly smaller than that as I've enclosed it in a fishtank like structure for the LED lighting. The backscene was inspired by Chris Nevards curved backscene which I saw on one of his layouts at an exhibition and so have gone for the same, I really like not having corners as it makes the layout feel bigger. Trackwork is from British Finescale and thanks goes to Wayne for making such a nice track system. I've found that N gauge locos and rolling stock are becoming more and more detailed but yet the Peco track looks so unrealistic in comparison, which in my opinion lets the gauge down, so when I found Waynes track it was a perfect option. It comes in kit form and it does require assembly but the results are incredible. It looks so much more realistic and so far I've only had one piece of rolling stock bump when it rolls over the frog - this is the old Peco plastic wheels on a guards van so they can easily be replaced. Track is DCC and points are powered by Cobolt Digital point motors which is operated by a small control panel at the rear. There are a few crossing points on the layout which are mainly to hide magnets fitted in the track for the Dapol cadee couplings, the idea being it's more of an inglenook style layout for lots of shunting, so having a good uncoupling system was needed without my hand knocking everything off the track everytime. There's also a 2ft fiddle yard board which attaches allowing stock to come and go via cassettes. Lots to do but glad I've started. Excuse the terrible pictures, taken on the phone!
  11. Bit of a layout update after some dust was removed last week! A few changes afoot - I'm planning to re-wire the layout for DCC operation. I've recently purchased a couple of DCC equipped loco's so there's no better time to do it. I was never really happy with the brown colouring of the ballast so (as you can see in the front left of the layout) I've been testing chinchilla sand applied thinly over the top, it's very fine and I'm very happy with the first test area. It will need a light dry brush but looks much better to me than N gauge ballast. I've removed the third rail, although nice it was a pain on some rolling stock and was very fragile when it came to cleaning, and from an artistic point of view it just made the track look cluttered - with such a small layout that was the last thing I wanted. Also will be building a traverser fiddle yard that's portable, would like to exhibit it at some point...
  12. You are quite correct, I hadn't realised, thanks
  13. The layout is a snap shot of a part of the South West Trains line, It's not an exact location but is heavily influenced by the beginning of the freight sidings at Woking on the south side, where the two track branch splits to Alton. The period I've chosen is early to mid-naughties. I've been trying to get hold of a 3-car Class 158 in South West Trains livery, if anyone knows of anyone that is looking to give their 158 a new home then I would be very interested. This evening I've fitted the bi-colour LED panels into the layout fascia, these can be battery powered or mains powered and allows me to change the lighting from full daylight to a very warm sunset orange. Each panel has 200 LED's, they are self contained units with light diffusers fitted to soften the light and fill the layout.
  14. Ha, that's an amazing name, must have surely been used before on another layout??
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