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Chris M

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Chris M last won the day on August 7 2017

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  1. A big project like HS2 provides a lot of jobs, especially during construction. Most of the investment will churn round the UK economy which will be helpful to us all. In some ways the investment in HS2 is just a means of pumping money into the country. Also, at the moment we don’t know how goods will be transported around the country in a post internal combustion era. Whilst battery technology is improving we are a long long way from a battery powered 48 ton lorry travelling 500 miles in one day. It may be that the current rail network will be needed for freight with people carrying being secondary importance. Nobody really knows.
  2. You may well be right, I left it to those who thought servos/MERG was a good idea to set everything up. They tried very hard to make it work but didn't succeed. From what I saw of it the MERG electronics appear to be somewhat flaky.
  3. Solenoids just work with a satisfying clunk. You fit them under the point put a couple of switches in your control panel and you have a perfectly reliable and cost effective means of changing points. A complete and simple solution that works. Servos just seem to be a pain so far as N gauge points are concerned . And what on earth servos “being a component of the solution “ is all about I don’t know. All you need is to press a button and have the point change; there’s no more to it than that. I’m glad some folk enjoy using servos to change points but so far as I am concerned solenoids are for points and servos for signals. That’s what works for me. At our club a few people were dead keen to use servos and pressurised the rest of the crew into agreeing. Two and a half years of pain and delay later we are stripping out MERG and servos and installing solenoids. Maybe a different (and more expensive) servo based solution would have worked better.
  4. Chris M

    Farish N - 50 years

    I guess there should be a little mention of Graham Farish before N gauge just to tell the whole story. A lot of the early N gauge locos had been made in 00 first, albeit with rather dodgy buffers as I recall. I remember I rather liked the 00 Farish suburban coaches. I think they were generic but they looked the part and I had a rake of them when I was a lad. Agreed that Peter Graham Farish was a lovely man. Full of enthusiasm.
  5. Chris M

    Farish N - 50 years

    My slightly alternative view. When Farish was first launched I had a close look and decided to stay with 00. I thought the Farish items were a long way from being models I would ever run; they just weren’t anywhere near decent models. It was less than 20 years ago that N gauge started to become acceptable in terms of realism. From what I can recall Graham Hubbard had quite a hand in improving the realism of Farish locos when he was in charge at Bachman UK. i had a sabbatical from model railways in the late 90s and came back to indoor model railways around 2012. By then I found the detail and accuracy of N gauge was brilliant and because the N gauge models were so good I decided to go for a new N gauge layout rather than 00. Since then I have been a very happy N gauge modeller. Farish has come a long way since those early days and it has been all good news (except for the prices).
  6. Some years ago a seller described an item as rare. A potential buyer sent the question “why do you say it is rare?” The reply was “it’s the only one I’ve got”. The value of an item at any auction is set by whether there is more than one person interested and if so just how important it is for potential buyers to have that item at that time. I have yet to pay over the odds for anything at auction but I might if I something came up that I really really wanted.
  7. Is this a new publication? Having read the date on the cover I can answer my own question - no.
  8. On my own layout I have very happily and reliably used a Peco smartswitch to control servos for my signals which shows I'm not against servos.
  9. Well it cost a lot more than that per point at our club. How do you mount the micro switches if you use aluminium channel for servo mount. The club used those badly designed MERG plastic mounts some of which broke. There were boards in the control panels to generate the code for the receivers. When we gave up on trying to use microswitches we wasted more money on the MERG electronic switching which also turned out to be a total pain. And points continued to change all by themselves even when running modern locos. There is a huge hidden cost with MERG - your time as you first try to understand it and then have to build all the units. Like I say I know it has worked for some but for us it has been an unmitigated disaster. This is a shame because it is a good idea in theory. I like the satisfying clunk of a solenoid and have never seen tiebar damage due to the solenoid in 50 years of using solenoids.
  10. On one project I am involved in we installed servos with the MERG c-bus to control the points. Its a great idea in theory. After a couple of years of trying to make this set up work reliably we are about to strip it all out and fit solenoid point motors with traditional control. Sorry to say this but I really can't recommend using the plastic MERG servo mounts with micro switches for the frog power. The plastic mounts were not robust and we couldn't get the the servo to move both the point and the microswitch consistently. Also older Farish locos would somehow interfere with the system and create "phantom" point changes. I don't know whether the same problem occurs in 00. I know the MERG system has been successfully used by some but it has been a disaster for us.
  11. I use Unifrog points and DC. I went for solenoid motors and latching relays and have found this to be cost effective and reliable (so far). If you must use servos then you will need something to control the servo. There are a number of electronic switching devices from companies such as Megapoint that will provide electronic switching. If you are running DC the use of servos to change points seems to be a good way of increasing both cost and complexity. This is how I wire mine, its probably the cheapest solution to powered points:
  12. I've always thought the RES livery was just about the worst ever. Disjointed, colours that don't work together, no sympathy to the shape of the vehicles. I didn't realise someone had actually designed it, I thought it was just some sort of afterthought based on what paint they had hanging around. I rather likes the EWS livery and it did suit the sheds very well indeed.
  13. I still can't see any problem with this issue. I quite enjoyed the listings but of course I would soon switch off if future magazines were full of the same thing. I have heard on the bush telegraph that one model railway magazine has increased circulation during the shutdown. Model Rail have done well to get so much publicity on a rivals forum!
  14. Based on Boris's last announcement I take the view that no exhibitions are allowed until 1st October at the earliest. I'm basing this on the assumption that a model railway exhibition would be seen as similar to " conferences and other business events" . This is "at the earliest" and subject to good progress with Covid-19 and successful "pilot events". So maybe we can see light at the end of the tunnel, unless its a train coming towards us. It may well be possible to put an argument forward that our exhibitions are more akin to Bingo Halls; in terms of people mixing together its hard to see much difference between a bingo night and a business conference. Subject to how you classify model railway exhibitions, I don't think this means that there will be exhibitions in October but I think it means that there can't be any until then. It would be a very brave (or very foolish) person who decided to run an exhibition in October. It will be interesting to see what Mike Wild decides to do with GETS; he has a major dilemma on his hands and I wouldn't want to be in his position. My feeling is that cancellation is the most likely option which is a shame. Any show is subject to exhibitors being willing to spend one or two full days in a room with thousands of strangers and I think most would agree that an exhibition isn't really viable while there is still a requirement for social distancing. On social distancing Boris has stated that he hopes for "significant normality" by the middle of November and all the remaining restrictions lifted possibly by Christmas. This is obviously subject to there not being a second wave in the meantime. Based on this the BRM Peterborough show just might be able to go ahead. A very difficult decision though, and I think a decision to be put off to as late in the day as financial considerations will allow.
  15. I love the GCR event as a visitor and would have gone as usual this year but there is no way I would take a layout there again. Come to think of it I wouldn't take a layout to any event in marquee.
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