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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 GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER....... The base scenery is starting to take shape. I am using Readygrass Spring Grass. It’s a vinyl backed grass mat which is fairly stiff by comparison to many grass mats, but you can mould it using heat from a heat gun or hairdryer. The white former along the edge is 4mm plastic board left over from the backscenes. There is scrunched up paper, plastic packing and polystyrene blocks under the matting to create many of the basic shapes. I have carved the polystyrene using a heated wire cutter - brilliant bit of kit! But I have only stuck the edges of the mat down. This allows the majority to be sculpted a bit with heat. Some the shapes around this corner were tricky. I cut it roughly to size, then cut the correct curve for one edge - usually the track side, and stick it using Evostick contact adhesive. Then lay it over the formers (applying heat if needed) and stick it to the edging. Finally excess is trimmed off. This is not intended to be the finished article. Its a base for adding static grass, bushes, trees, telephone poles etc. But it does change the feel of the layout no end.
  2. Good to hear from you Tony. We must make reciprocal visits! As you know, I use 2 beats in exactly the same way. Rich
  3. Hello again, Yes you are right in real life, with the correction from Paul, and also that i. 1930’s GWR box B did not acknowledge ‘Train out of Section’ apparently. However, on Buckingham West there are a few minor alterations. The line between Aand B is severed electrically midway. So there is no separately wired Block sction between stations. I should have thought more at the start. So the electrical break is after the advanced starter and before the home. Currently Station A is it under A’s control until the Advanced starter is pulled off, when B becomes connected. The proposal is that Station A will be under A’s control until the Advanced Starter is pulled off. Then no one is in control. When B’s Block Instrument is set to Train on Line, B controller is connected to Station A. So: 1) Signalman at the station the train is currently at (Station A) rings station B to ask if the line is clear. 2) Signalman B replies 'Line Clear', sets the block instrument accordingly and pulls off Home signal. 3) Signalman A clears the Advanced Starter and Signalman A rings 'Train Entering Section' 5) Signalman B acknowledges and sets TOL. 6) Signalman B drives the train 7) When the train leaves the section and arrives at Station B, Signalman B rings 'Train out of section' 8) Signalman A puts Advanced Starter back ‘on’/ in the frame. 9) Signalman B returns the instrument to Normal. I hope that helps the understanding. Rich
  4. Good to hear from you again John. You seem to be making good progress on Cornwall. Any more video? Anyway, thanks for your comments. I had thought about that. Very protypical of course. There are problems though. 1) if the Instrument was set at Normal the Sending box could still pull off the lever, but the signal would show danger. I’m not sure the sending box would actually notice the arm. True the sender would lose power, but that would happen in the current design. 2) The LC and TOL settings would both have to allow the signal to show clear, but to peg the Instrument from one setting to the other would pass through Normal so very briefly the signal would twitch. 3) its an added complication that probably doesn’t affect operation too much. I am struggling to find a purpose for the LC setting, apart from reminding the operators that they have offered and accepted a train. In itself that can be useful on this layout. At planned both operators need to have taken positive action to drive a train. The Instrument needs to show TOL and the Advanced Starter needs to clear. Cheers Rich
  5. Hi It was the early Tyler principle I was working to. It just adds a visual aspect to the passing of a train from one operator to the next.
  6. Hi Neal Good to hear from you - even from Spain! Yes loads to do scenery-wise!
  7. Hi RM Web is great. Such a pool of knowledge. Thanks for this, I’ll delve further.
  8. Who makes these? Thanks
  9. Hi Ray The way I have designed it, only the destination can “replace”. But It would be easy to change so either could “replace”. For me though, it changes the track power to the destination when a token is “removed” so I don’t want to remove if shunting up the single line. Yes I know its wrong but I can live with that. I think the circuit could also be altered so the sender can “replace” only with the other end pressing “release” at the same time. I should add that I am fitting an override switch to remove the need to press Release and Remove at the same time for 1 man operation: can’t be in 2 places at once! Rich
  10. BLOCK INSTRUMENTS AND TOKENS Tony Gee, you are right. Somehow you knew I’d go one step further. I’m going to install Block instruments on the mainline. At present we use Block Bells to pass trains between stations, but I’m adding Block instruments which will give us a visual aid to the status. I’m going to use a chicken head knob on a 3 position 2 pole rotary switch to show Normal, Line Clear or Train on Line, operated by the receiving station. This will operate corresponding LEDs on the sending station instrument. The destination drives the train on this layout and track power in the sending station is switched from local to destination “box”, by the sending station pulling off their Advanced Starting Signal. This will remain the same but the second pole of the Block Instrument switch will also be inserted into the circuit so the Instrument will need to be showing Train On Line as well for the power to be connected. This is all very simple to do. The single line branch has always bothered me a bit. Luckily the trains are not too frequent, but there is currently no single line token of any description. Putting in standard Block Instruments will not solve it. But I have devised a simple enough system using push buttons, LEDs and 2 latching 2 pole relays. After accepting a train on the bells, the destination box will press a Release button and the sending box will press a Take Token button. This fires a relay that gives a green light to the sender and a red light to the destination. It mimics taking a token out. The system is locked until the destination presses his Replace Token button. Only then can either end initiate the process again. The second pole of the relay connects power between the 2 stations as well as the Starting Signals. I’ve ordered the parts so I’ll keep you posted. Must do more scenery too.
  11. HOW GREEN IS MY VALLEY? At last some green scenery. This is City of Bath on the Up Leicester express due into Buckingham West at 9.53am. The train is a cross country service running from Leicester Central up the Great Central and then into Banbury. Here the train splits with the main part running onto Reading via Oxford and a secondary part running to Buckingham. Note the mixed GWR/LNER stock. Above the cutting is Evenley goods yard. This is the first attempt at some scenery. It is formed of Readygrass Spring grass mat. This has a vinyl backing which can be formed into shapes when warmed by a hairdryer or heat gun. It doesn’t need much support underneath, just the odd ball of screwed up newspaper. Even though cuttings and emankment sides were well tended in the 1930’s and nothing like the tree strewn modern railway, this grass mat is far too uniform to say the least. I am going to try adding some static grass in places as well as bushes. There will certainly be fence posts along the top of the rear cutting side and telegraph posts added. Overall I’m happy with this as a start.
  12. THE LIGHT’S ON BUT..... The TOTIs are now installed and the LEDs are around the rotary selector on the panel. There is a train in each road which is lit. Its a failsafe so you don’t select a road with a light on. It has been known for operators to misread the timetable. It will also prove the train is fully in when a new LED lights up. The TOTIs work on light but will be under scenery, so I have provided a row of white LEDs above the trains. This is a strip off a roll. It is glued under the first support truss for the lift up scenery. The truss is formed of 2 L shaped plastic strips.
  13. MAKING LOADS As well as the 3 new coal wagons I have others where the existing loads didn’t fit well. So I’ve made 10 new coal loads. The coal train comes up loaded, from Severn Tunnel Junc and empties go back. So at the end of a timetable day loads are removed from wagons at the stations and other loads are put in the wagons in the train in the storage loops. The loads are removed using a handle with magnets on the end. Each load has a piece of metal or a magnet in it. I start by cutting polystyrene to shape, then lining the wagon with cling film to prevent the load from being glued to the wagons. Once the polystyrene is in, I glue the metal on top. I then pour the coal on top. I use artificial coal. I have no idea what its made of, but it looks the part. I have no link to the company. I make sure the layer of coal is thin, but covers the polystyrene and the piece of metal. As my coal train is the longest on the layout and has to go up the incline loaded, its important to keep the loads light. The mock coal is quite weighty. When happy with the look, I dribble 50:50 dilute PVA over the loads, making sure there is a drop or two of washing up liquid to break the surface tension and get between the grains. Then I put them in the airing cupboard. The grains quite quickly set, but getting the glue between the coal grains and the polystyrene to set, takes ages due to the lack of air. After about 24 hours you can normally remove the load carefully using the cling film. I then carefully pull the film off the sides to allow more drying of lower parts. When they are fully dry, remove the cling film and cut off any overhanging excess so the loads fit and are removeable easily.
  14. Good ol’ fashioned stuff here. Some scenery has to be next, then the coaches.
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