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Richard Mawer

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  • Location
    Oxford
  • Interests
    Great Western - particularly the Mid 1930s.
    Member of MERG

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  1. THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST The canal is an important feature on the layout. In the fictional back story it is the reason the line was built. On the layout it provides 3 working features:- 2 moving boats and somewhere for the tipper wagons to tip their loads. The design is very lo-fi and simple in concept. Magnets below the canal are pulled by strings and magnets in the boats mean they follow along on top of the water. The tricky bit is getting the right magnets, correct “tracks” for the magnets and correct clearances. It took hours!!! Bridges over canals were made as narrow as possible for cost reasons. Anyone who has been on a narrowboat will testify. So even though we have 2 boats, the bridge will be only wide enough for 1. So the first boat comes through and then pulls round the dog leg and docks nearest the viewing side. I have to say I am quite smug about the way that works! The second boat comes through and docks alongside the tipping wharf. A train of tippers will then be unloaded into that boat which will depart back into the fiddleyard to be emptied. I have made the canal and two boats in basic form. They need painting and detailing yet, but the whole thing works, which is a massive relief! An overview of the canal. The bridge is yet to be built, but the narrow section is in the centre. The boat is in position in the fiddle yard (under construction). The 1st boat in position nearest the viewing side of the layout (shown right side here) in the basin. The base of the 2nd boat is by the tipper wharf. The first boat unpainted. The second boat (unpainted). This will be filled from tipper trucks.
  2. BOARD 2 STAGE 1 COMPLETE Board 2 of the Wharf is now complete in terms of track, electrics and uncouplers. The track feeds are in and my first ever DCC loco has tested it all. Points are all operating using servos in MERG mountings driven by MERG electronic kits. The frogs are switched by the second pole of DPDT switches - nice and low tech to de-risk for exhibition use. The frogs in the diamond are switched by two poles of a 4 pole switch. Another pole operates a servo which will swing a gate across either the line to the canal (the large rectangular opening) wharf, or the loco shed line, depending on how the frogs are set. This gives a very real indication of how the frogs are polarised to avoid shorts. The gate and signals are yet to go in. The switches loose. They will be set on small boards and accessed through holes in the backscene. This will prevent them from protruding and therefore reduce e risk of damage in transport. All the switches and holes will be obscured by the low relief warehouses ranged across the rear. The buildings are under construction by Dave and Michael. There are two types of uncouplers fitted. The fixed type are a series of 3mm diameter rod magnets inserted between the sleepers just inside each rail. The poles are opposite for each rail. Its an idea I got off YouTube and works well on the kadees. On the main running lines I was advised to avoid fixed magnets. I looked at electro-magnets but getting opposite poles on each side seemed difficult and the Kadee version was expensive so in my own Heath Robinson type brain (and conscious of technology always working fine till at an exhibition!) I opted for a Kadee undertrack magnet fitted to a hinged plate. This swings vertically away from the board under normal use and has no effect on couplings. However, by pulling a string attached to the hinged plate and running through eyelets, through the rear of the board, the magnet swings up into a cut-away under the track and operates the couplings. Releasing the string, the weight of the magnet causes it to drop away. The next job on this board is to build up the ground cover up to rail height and cover up the oo track. Time to swap boards and for me to start on board 1. Rich
  3. POINTS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION The servos to operate the points and signals on board 2 have been fitted. Unlike on Buckingham West where I have used strong tape to hold the servos in place, for this layout we wanted something more capable of withstanding the moves. We have used MERG 3d printed servo mounts. They are cheap, very easy to put together, well designed and seem secure and robust. I am so far impressed. I have a running session on Buckingham West tomorrow, so had to move the S&B board out the way. I couldn’t resist placing Grace and Alice on the tracks for the first time!
  4. POINTS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION The servos to operate the points and signals on board 2 have been fitted. Unlike on Buckingham West where I have used strong tape to hold the servos in place, for this layout we wanted something more capable of withstanding the moves. We have used MERG 3d printed servo mounts. They are cheap, very easy to put together, well designed and seem secure and robust. I am so far impressed. I have a running session on Buckingham West tomorrow, so had to move the S&B board out the way. I couldn’t resist placing Grace and Alice on the tracks for the first time!
  5. ALICE Loco No.2, Alice has rolled out the works. She still needs finishing : pipes, handrails, name plates, numbers, couplings, brass paint, crew etc, and weathering, but she runs and produces the right sounds. As many will recognise, she is based on a Smallbrook Studios Iris. The kit was designed to fit a Hornby 0-4-0, but we didn’t want all 0-4-0s, so I looked for alternatives. This is from a Fleischmann 0-6-0 tank. I love the eccentric outside valve gear which gives a lazy impression when running slowly. The wheels are really small too. As the chassis is totally different from the Hornby, it would not fit the supplied frames so I built my own from 2.5mm plastic sheet, strengthened with 90 degree edge strips. They narrow at the front to reveal more of the valve gear. The motor is small and very much at the rear, so the loco had to be extended. As designed, the firebox extends into the cab and the safety valve is taken up through the cab roof. By moving the front of the cab to the rear of the firebox I gained boiler length. I built a new cover for the motor in the cab with the face of the firebox stuck on it. This houses the speaker as well. Consequently there is much more space for the decoder in the boiler cavity. I extended the side tanks to make small coal bunkers next to the cab. Finally I removed half the rear of the cab and added brass tubes for uprights. Here she is with No.1, Grace. They are both very clearly Smallbrook products but just that bit different.
  6. LOCO IN PARENTHESIS There are opening doors to go on the front of the shed, but it looks like Michael Cane’s boy mechanics have been practicing!
  7. TIPPER FEST Michael has been busy at the wagon works. We have 12 now of a variety of different types and sizes. Left to right: Fleischmann HO, Smallbrook Studio, unknown off Ebay (any ideas?) and KB Scale.
  8. Busy boy!! Good luck with all that. I’ve put your show in my diary and hope to get over. Are we still a possible for 2021? Rich
  9. Thank you Neal. We hope so! I’m in the process of wiring up and making locos and accessories. Michael is building stock, stock and more stock. Dave is planning the Fiddle yard and making legs. We have 2 exhibition invitations for June and November 2020, so the pressure is on. Thank heavens we designed it to be modular so we can do it in stages. We had a good session on Buckingham West tonight as a bit of light relief! Not enough has happened on that lately, but we need to get the S & B over the threshold first. Hope its sunny and warm in Spain. Cheers Rich
  10. BUILDINGS START Being 7mm and a wharf, there are not too many buildings required. But we need a row of warehouses and workshops. Building has begun. They still need adapting to specific locations etc and much detailing and weathering. The loco shed will be in stone, slate and timber and have a timber and corrugated iron lean-to. It has been extended to house the larger locos acquired by the line after the original 2. There will be suitably “home-spun” opening doors added to the “home spun” front extension. Its all seen better times!
  11. AND THE PERMANENT WAY? Well that’s finally down for the two scenic boards of phase 1: Stonethwaite Wharf. S&T take over now.
  12. BACK AT THE LOCO WORKS..... The doner chassis for loco No. 6 has arrived. A prairie. A bargain from a large shop in Sheffield. Almost a shame to break it up. But we get a bogie wagon out of the tender too.
  13. DIRECTORS’ SALOON The Coaching works (aka Michael) is producing a Director’ saloon in keeping with the Victorian pomp of such an entrepreneurial line. By the 1930’s it might well be pressed into general service. We’ll have to see. There is a panoramic ducket at one end with the boardroom table and a large balcony at the other.
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