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Richard Mawer

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    Great Western - particularly the Mid 1930s.
    Member of MERG

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  1. BRACKLEY ROAD The 17.41 Branch Passenger from Buckingham West has arrived behind a 45xx with vintage stock. Note the Cordon gas tanks wagon at the end of the carriage siding behind the platform. The tunnel mouth is where the lines from Buckingham West dive under. Below that are the actual junctions of Charlton Junction. The amount of scenery still to is obvious.
  2. EVENLEY Monday, early evening. The 18.25 Auto train for Brackley Road simmers in the bay; the milk van behind for later collection. A pannier waits at the head of the up “Fly” (Pick Up Goods) in the goods loop. It leaves to Buckingham West at 18.30. Even though its a long train today the yard is looking pretty full. The continuous run (known as Charlton Junction) is in the cutting below. Static grass, bushes, trees, fences and telegraph poles still to be installed.
  3. ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE Michael has built a rather nice little coaling stage. I think the silver surfer needs a spot of paint or two.
  4. SATURDAY EVENING ACTION The 19.18 down Buckingham to Birmingham parcels, headed by a Castle, running in the cutting below Evenley station. The 19.53 TWSO down Buckingham West to Banbury Horses and Carriages, hauled by ex-GCR “Pom Pom” J11 of Woodford Halse (doing the local shed a favour) emerging from the tunnel between Buckingham and Evenley The 19.40 Up Birmingham to Buckingham express. And finally the Horses and Carriages train dropping down the bank from Evenley towards Charlton Junction and the Birmingham Express on the continuous run (which is between Banbury and Evenley and runs over Charlton Junctions a few times).
  5. I have to echo Tony’s comments: for me the operation is what it is all about and the bells (like a timetable and fast clock) add the missing dimensions to the normal 3D model. For me a layout is not complete without them. I was enthralled by the Gainsborough Model railway and Buckingham as a lad. Thanks to Tony, operating Buckingham became a dream come true. DCC has put operators in the role of the driver, but I like layouts where you are in the role of the signalman. My layout is a massive tip of the hat to Buckingham (very obviously!) and we use block bells. The positioning of the bell and the pitch and tone are key to recognising which ones are ringing and frequent operators tend to recognise them. Using a timetable and fast clock also helps because you should be expecting a bell or not. However visitors (and the rest of us) do get confused from time to time, so we have lights as well. These are operated by Arduinos and are triggered by the bell. Because of the layout design, all but one operating panel has just one bell so a simple LED suffices. When a bell is rung, the light illuminates for a few seconds and then flashes quickly for a couple of seconds, then slowly before going out. A simple glance solves the problem of “was that you?”. This comes into its own at Evenley where there are 3 bells and of course for visitors. At present I do not have Block Instruments, but I have designed the wiring and bought the components. They will be wired with the signals into the cab control we use. I have designed a pair of semi-virtual single-line token instruments for the branch too. I am in two minds whether to make all of them. Its an added layer of operation that I would love, but many visitors have a bit of trouble with the Block system as it is. I do not have room for proper Instruments so haven’t even attempted. My bells are under the layout and simple not latching solenoids strike them. The tappers are Morse Keys bought from eBay. The instruments (if I make them) will be small plastic boxes with chicken-head knobs, pictures of the GWR block instrument quadrants with coloured LEDs in each corresponding segment. No moving needles I’m afraid. I’m sorry but the photos are quiet early on in my thread and I can’t drag them here.
  6. Thank you. I’ll add some more in due course. There is a long way to go on the scenery, but its never going to be a patch on Stoke Courtenay. Likewise I can’t get close to Kevin’s Little Muddle and various others. I am in awe.
  7. The replacement chip has arrived from Sunningwell Controls, already reblown to the required sound files. Thank you Ted. Out with the soldering iron.
  8. CHARLTON JUNCTION Two short clips of trains passing through Charlton Junction late afternoon on a Saturday. The first is the 17.33 Buckingham West to Leicester headed by ex GCR Director, Marne. Note the mixed rake. It travels to Banbury where it joins with the main train from Reading. The combined train then runs to Woodford Halse and on to Leicester. The motive power alternates between GWR and LNER on consecutive days. The second clip is from the same location but shows the 17.30 local from Banbury to Buckingham West. It is headed by a Dukedog. You will have noticed that basic green stuff is appearing. Bushes, static grass, fences and trees are still required, but its a start. The problem with making a layout primarily for operational interest is that its so much fun to operate I get little work done on it. You will also note the control panel for Brackley Road which is up on the top level here. Some wagons can be seen in the front siding. You can also see the aide memoire for Block Bells on the control panel. That is a help for some of the guest operators not versed in this type of operation. You will also note the girder bridge visible above the signal box. This bridge carries the approaches to Buckingham West. The yard shunter is paused on the headshunt on the bridge.
  9. We are starting to get the low relief buildings in place.
  10. STATION BOARD UPDATE Work is just starting on this board too. The platform is in and track cleaning started.
  11. CANAL BOARD UPDATE Starting to look like a layout. Signals in and working (bases need blending in). Tipper mechanisms in and working (in the shed by the cut out for the canal to drop in). Track cleaned and working (1 point needs adjusting). Gate in and working (operates as you change polarity of the diamond crossing). Water column in but not yet working. The final low relief building is being finished and then they will all go along the backscene on the left. I can then mount the switches behind them in holes in the backscene. Then I can build the rail and canal bridges at the far end which lead to the fiddle yard. The ground needs touching up and a few weeds and grass in limited places. In case you are wondering, the transport ends and front board are in place. Still to go on this board are:- shed, lorry, coal stage, oil tank, ash pit, fencing, people and assorted goods/loads.
  12. CHIPS AND LIVE CHASSIS Here is the offending article. It’s finally dawned on me that this loco has a live chassis and in cleaning the wheels whilst making them turn I must have shorted it out. What a fool. Anyway, a replacement is on order.
  13. FRIED CHIP Highly annoyed. I’ve somehow blown the decoder in Jane. A puff of smoke and then no response. And all I was trying to do was clean the track and the wheels. Lesson? Turn the track power off first. Hmmmm
  14. It’s been a busy day today at Buckingham West, but not a single train has run. At long last I have cleared away the rubbish from the area where the ironstone quarry will be. For those who know the layout, that was a big job! That’s Evenley village being set out in the background. The lines in the foreground will be underground when the scenery is made. I also found and resolved 2 wiring issues at Charlton junction, and replaced the dodgy Servo4 board so the Charlton Up Distant now works again. Finally I installed the last 2 TOTIs on the undercover dumbbell line. There are 3 green LEDs which light in succession to indicate the trains progress whilst unseen. I was able to use a MERG light sensitive resistor model for number 2 because of the LED illumination for similar TOTIs for the loops. Number 3 was (like number 1) a Block Signalling . Com infrared unit. The Banbury panel is now complete. Rich
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