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  • Location
    Cardiff, South Wales
  • Interests
    Trying out DCC in 00 Gauge
    Lego trains (and Lego as a modelling tool generally)
    Docks / marshalling yards / wagons (especially tank wagons)
    Cliff railways
    Heritage / preserved railways
    Odd and interesting rail vehicles (e.g. steam cranes)
    Garden railways (don't have one but like looking at other people's)

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  1. I have a Playmobil set that I've been thinking of upgrading into a proper garden railway. I'm not keen on the playmobil track. Has anyone here used the plastic track sold by ECR (eg on eBay) and how does that fare? Any new additions to the line will most likely be battery powered so I don't need metal track to conduct electricity - although obviously having that option might be useful in which case what's the most cost effective way to purchase metal track?
  2. have you thought about using the trains to deliver drinks to people? I'd love that - order at the bar and have it brought to my "lineside table" on a little train.
  3. Could you have just one track going into a tunnel (or a couple of tunnels) and one not? Or one only going into the tunnel at half the length? Would make it look more interesting.
  4. Del, I'm happy for you to take it.
  5. When is your shed arriving? Have you started building this yet?
  6. This is my fourth post about the Lego passenger train sets (set number 60197) that I received for Christmas. Post one was about building the train set. Post 2 was about adding lights. Post 3 was about building a dummy engine car. And this post continues the theme from post 3, modding the train set to make it suit my purpose. I often say that if you can't make any changes to a Lego set you've built to improve it, then you may as well give up on Lego as a hobby. I see a lot of photos and videos of creative track lay outs, and then Lego trains straight out of the box trundling around. It's a shame, really. Personally, if I take, as an example, all the freight wagons I have bought, it averages about one wagon per set that I don't change or adapt. So that's about 1 in 3 wagons that I consider 'okay' and ready to run. (Of course, this doesn't apply to collectible stuff - I wouldn't mod my TTX cars, although I do think I could build better ones. I must have a go at that sometime.) So, anyway, what mods did I put in this? I've already said how I had to adapt the cab to reduce glare from the lights that I fitted. And I built one loco as an unpowered dummy car. What else did I do? Well... I like the passenger cars, but being honest, they only had four seats in them, and that really isn't many. However, I had some spare seats from the tiny, token "station" that's included in the set. So I took them and raided my bits box for some 2x2 plates. But I had a problem. Do you see this yellow bit on the floor towards the end of the carriage? That's the bogie mounting pin attached to the wheelsets. If I encroached on it the bogies wouldn't turn. What to do? What to do? That's right! Round plates! No encroachment and they do the same job of lifting the seat one plate's thickness off the floor. I can't put a minifigure to sit in the seats, because there's no room for their arms, which is a bit disappointing. But at least having the seats there makes it look more like an actual coach. Having two train sets meant I had two driver minifigures. I took a satchel off one of the passengers minifgures and put it on the driver. I think this is a passable look for a ticket inspector or guard. I added in some more passengers. Currently there is a woman from Ninjago City, Lester the bowler-hatted mascot of the Leicester Square flagship Lego Store, Spider-Man and C3PO from Star Wars. But it's in the buffet car where it's all kicking off with some very hungry patrons. Yes, that's right, baby velociraptors courtesy of some very cheap Jurassic World sets. They've got eyes on that hot dog!
  7. I've said before how I was very lucky and got given two of the Lego 60197 train sets for Christmas. This wasn't a mistake! I wanted two because I knew they would form one very nice train. I belong to some Lego trains Facebook groups. I've seen a lot of posts in the groups about putting two 60197 passenger trains together. Quite a few people have mentioned the difficulty of running both motors in sync and having to polarise one to run backwards instead of forwards, and so on. Having test run the 3-car train and seeing how fast it whips along, I really didn't see the point of putting a second motor in. So when I built the second set, I built a 'dummy' car. This started with my bag of left-over train bits from when I turned my second white passenger train (60051) into a couple of coaches to extend that train to something that looked a bit more realistic. I also fished out one of the instruction books from that set as it had instructions for how to build a dummy bogie to replace the all-in-one motor block that Lego use. In the end I built this dummy bogie and move the yellow connection plate two studs inwards from the couplings to make it fit in the right mounting hole. This isn't a like-for-like replacement for the drive bogie on the powered engine, because I couldn't fit the axle-boxes that are used on the motor's driving wheels. They don't fit over ordinary wheelsets. It's not the end of the world because you;d only be able to see that if you know where to look. One of the other issues was the bluetooth battery box. This forms an integral part of the train structure, but I wanted to keep it separate for use in another project. A quick rummage in the bag of spare bits pictured earlier, and I built a replacement to the same dimensions. This next photo shows how I followed the instructions using the ersatz battery box. And then one final change... red lights on the back. These don't light up, unfortunately. It would be difficult to run a wire the length of the train. But I might experiment with a freestanding light brick at some point. Now, if you can stand terrible shaky filming on a mobile phone, and you have 1 minute and 37 seconds to spare, here is a video showing the train running, switching the lights on, "night running", and a little review of the interiors of the coaches. https://youtu.be/wiTx_o7pKh8 Thanks for reading!
  8. Took 3 goes to remember how to put a YouTube video in an RM Web blog post. Got there in the end.

  9. In my previous post I talked about how my wife and brother took advantage of Black Friday deals to each buy me a train set. So, I knew these were coming (that was a long 5 week wait until Christmas Day!) and so I went into the Lego store and bought a set of train lights that are compatible with the new Powered Up motive system. These are a bit expensive for what you get, but are fun to fit and really enhance the train. Here's what you get for your money: The cab interior is built to accommodate the after-market addition. The grey bars sticking out either side of the seat are there to run the wires under. The lights plug into the pin holes in the Technic brick at the front of the cab. You can see from these pictures how the wires go behind the driver's seat and plug into the secondary outlet from the bluetooth battery box. This means you can turn the lights on and off independently while the train is in motion or keep them on when it is at rest. Unfortunately when they were in there was a lot of internal cab glare. You can see the problem in this photo. It had a very simple solution - probably the easiest 'mod' I've ever done. And here is an 18 second video showing the train doing circuits with the lights on. I feel it brings a whole new character to the train. https://youtu.be/LbV-Q-PfQjk
  10. Happy 2019! I had a great Christmas. You know what's better than getting a Lego train for Christmas? Getting two! Thanks to my wife and my brother getting some Black Friday deals, I was a very lucky boy. The set comes in multiple bags, as per usual. You also get a loop of track with only 4 straight pieces. It's practically a circle. l What's new about this is the Powered Up system, which operates on bluetooth instead of infra-red. The main functionality is contained in the battery box, which has a built in bluetooth receiver rather than using a separate IR receiver. Everything runs off AAA batteries as well, making it lighter than the Power Functions system my other trains use. I learned all this building the first part of the train - the powered loco. I like the styling of this train and it feels much better designed than the white passenger train. The cab is much easier to access. The battery box is built into the design and is also very easy to access compared to other trains. The two coaches are a buffet car and a passenger car. The buffet car has a small serving area complete with coffee maker. As it's a passenger train, it comes with a passenger. She's packed Lego for her trip. And her case fits into a neat little luggage rack between the set of seats. It's a good thing she's the only passenger with luggage. The set also comes with a massively underwhelming platform. Maybe I should have put the sticker on the panel, but I don't think it would have made it look any better. I left it off because I might use the panel elsewhere. Also in that bag was a traffic signal. It's not the most exciting thing, but hey, better than nothing. I have got some video and overall pictures of the train - I will sort those for another post. Having two sets means I could create a six car train, rather than a 3 car train. But the 3 car train whips along. Overall verdict Pros A very nice-looking train set. Much better design than some of the previous ones. No holes in the floor, easy access to the batteries and to the cab, it honestly feels like Lego have taken some real care over this set. Buffet car interior is fun. Loved the coffee machine detail. Passenger luggage complete with Lego set made me laugh. Powered Up is a much nicer system and worked with absolutely no glitches. The battery box is nicer than the Power Functions one that it replaced. Not having to make room for an IR receiver is helpful, as that always had to 'poke out' of the top of a train using Power Functions. The motor is, if anything, overpowered for the contents of the box. it pulls a six car train with no bother to a scale speed of at least 100 mph. Cons The passenger station is just a token gesture. Limited seats - 4 in the carriage. This is not mass transit at all. No working doors anywhere. You can take the roof off to place people inside. And they can't get out once you put the roof back on, bwahahahaha. Stickers. The front of the cab and the rear of the power car have large stickers. They're not too annoying to place. I just have a thing about sets with an RRP over £100 coming with stickers.
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