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  1. Hi Ian, coaches are looking good. Very timely as I've recently been distracted by some coach kits too. Do you have a mock up that you could show of this? I've always been shown the 'cardboard jig' method of forming coach sides. This often seems to bend where you don't want it to, like at the bottom of windows, and not where you might want it to, like down to the bottom of the side. Best Regards, Chris
  2. Originally, I’d planned to use a train-table style fiddle-yard, however an in-field adjustment when transferring the track plan to the boards meant that there wasn’t then enough room to get both tracks to be perpendicular to the radius of the deck at the same time anymore. The lack of space that I had left myself to put in alignment bolts over the gap was also going to mean an overly complicated arrangement for this as well. The foundations of this design had been a wide thrust bearing, which meant the deck was specked up for 500rpm. I was going to use strips of brass on the deck to make railing stock easier, which meant trying to curve these as per Copenhagen fields fiddeyard tracks. Not wanting to make a mangle, I opted to get these laser cut in 2mm brass sheet by the good people of Argyll. So, with time running out before the deadline In June, I opted to revert back to brass cassettes, and park rebuilding the train table baseboard for a later project. Now these have had their own baseboard made, incorporating a holder for the control panel and reserved space for a coffee mug. And to round off the rest of the carpentry needed for the layout, I’ve knocked together a couple of Rice trestle legs to sit on a table, to bring the layout up to eye height. These still need some leveling feet to be attached when I can get access to an pillar drill. Best Regards, Chris.
  3. Hello All, Like a lot of people, I think I’m ready to make the transition from Blog entry to dedicated thread for showing and telling what I’ve been doing modelling wise, hopefully this will lend itself to more short and frequent updates than the long prose that have I’ve been writing previously. Firstly, I’ll begin with a short recap, to get everyone up to speed. I’ve been trying to build a model of Callington Station, on fringes of East Cornwall for around 10(!) years now. I know, yet another Cornish BLT… However, staying away from the holiday destinations on the coast, I think I’ve avoided the worst of a cliché. Callington Station Yard © Tony Callaghan, Reproduced here with permission. The history of this little line is quite fascinating. It started out life in 1872 as the 3’6” East Cornwall Mineral Railway serving the mines between Kelly Bray and Drakewells with the quay on the river Tamar at Calstock, though within 30 years most of the mines served by this line had been closed. In 1890 it was bought by the PDSWJR – more famed of their railway running from Lydford through to Plymouth. Colonel Stevens was engaged to build the Calstock viaduct, with its distinctive wagon lift down to the quay, and connect the branch to the main line at Beer (Bere) Alston, which was completed in 1908. Whilst the main line was operated by the LSWR, the branch line remained independently worked right up to grouping, where it came under control of the southern railway and subsequently southern region. The Beeching report led to the closure of the section of the line from Callington through to Gunnislake, the remainder of the railway through to Plymouth being kept open due to the poor nature of the roads and bridging of the Tamar. Interestingly, over a century after the Kelly Bray mine closed, there is talk of a new mine, Redmoor, opening in the area. Hawthorn Leslie tanks ruled the rails during independent days, the southern brought 02’s to the branch up to the 1950’s which the southern region then replaced with Ivatt 2MT’s and subsequently DMU’s. The variety of stock was restricted by steep gradients and tight curves built to climb out of the Tamar valley between Calstock and Gunnislake. Traffic once the mines had gone turned distinctly agricultural, the railhead serving a good slice of the east of Bodmin moor up to North Hill and the market gardens of the valley. Stone traffic was still handled from the Kit Hill quarry up to the 1950’s and Hingston Down quarry up to closure. Interestingly, the station doesn’t seem to have been particularly well placed for the town of Callington itself – the mile or so between the town and the station oft quoted as being the slowest part of the journey between Callington and China. Methinks the inhabitants of the town probably preferred to take the GWR omnibus service to mainline at Saltash, rather than using their namesake station. As a side note - FGW once did this to me too, the branch train wasn't running so a taxi was put on for my bike and I to Gunnislake, most disappointing. Back to Callington, the track plan here is quite restrained, with being one of the good colonel’s light railways (I hate to say, cheap and nasty,) and being crammed between the foothills of Kit Hill and what is now the A388. The loop is somewhat unusual in that stock needs to be pushed back out of the platform in order to run the loco around. I’d summarise the bits of the station that I’ve chosen to keep, as Callington Road, as being more or less an inglenook, but with the addition of a carriage siding. You’ll have noticed here that the layout is a bit longer than the challenge dimensions of 600x239mm (green on the plan above), this is to make the layout more balanced, after the competition is held next year. The trackwork uses Laurie’s chairplates, having used templot beforehand to produce the plans for the curved points. A temporary backscene has been installed to block the scene to the challenge scene at present. The lighting rig holds up three RGBWWW strips, controlled by an Arduino, which together produce enough light to rival the sun. The layout is wired for DC and points are operated by servo’s, controlled from another Arduino installed below the baseboard. So that's more or less where I had got to in the last blog entry in January, which now seems so long ago... Best Regards, Chris.
  4. Has the resin distorted whilst it was curing - or is it a prototypical BR curly sandwich? :-D Best Wishes, Chris
  5. Personally I'd like to see some of these on your layout Ian, caption in 'Edwardian Devon' says 1906 so should be spot on for your timeframe. Best wishes, Chris.
  6. Why does a half point preclude an over bridge? Just make the span a bit wider to cover it... I guess that depends on how much of the point you would stick under it though.
  7. What about moving your yard entry point partially off scene, and having just the common crossing on the plan, something that I believe that Mr Rice is a fan of in one of his books. I Imagine that it depends on how simple you are intending your fiddleyard on being, but cassettes may be the only practical way to do this. See the below - also scribbled on the back of a 2mm envelope. Best Wishes, Chris.
  8. MinerChris


    Dear Chris, isn't Cornwall southern delightful stuff! What's the radius on your single slip? It looks like it could be so tight that only John Greenwood would be able to make it work. Best wishes,
  9. Dear Nigel, Does the CNC batching of the axles, mean that this method of wheel construction won't be available for the extended axle drivers? (Says he eyeballing for a set of 6 or 7mm wheels - to file pinpoints and stick under the Dapol 22) Chris.
  10. Indeed, probably a good thing really with the short during troubleshooting. I'm much happier having to replace a £20 transformer than an £120 DCC controller. Chris
  11. Hi, Not sure if this is a fault or not, but I have published an Blog last night, whilst it is showing up on the Forums front page, it is not showing in the community blogs list. I've had to go back to edit it after I forgot to include an feature image, I guess that this may have caused it to fall off the blogs pages. Thanks, Chris.
  12. 6 months to go to the DJLC. I’m not at all confident of ‘finishing,’ the aim now is to get it in a presentable state now stock is reliably running through all the pointwork. In fact if you compare the how much has changed since June from the top, it doesn’t look like a lot has changed at all – though at least an angle poise isn’t providing the layout lighting now. The layout lighting is provided by three 60LED/m RGBWWW strips which seem at the moment to be more than adequate for the space required to be lit. Each of the 5 channels is controllable from an Arduino to adjust the white balance and eventually when I get some roundtoits, the ability to dim to a sunset/night mode. Each strip is attached to the rig using some aluminium channel which gets quite warm, not too surprising really given the power supply is 65W. Although the top doesn’t appear to have changed too much, looking under the skirt shows that a spaghetti monster has begun to swarm beneath the layout. It’s actually incredibly dull to look at but with a reasonable number of colours and a half-hearted attempt to keep wires in a loom, troubleshooting hasn’t been too onerous. However, my old Maplin wallwart transformer was a casualty, (I won’t be getting another one of those…) after what I think was an issue between my controller and a short across a couple of sleepers that I had forgotten to gap. A fuse has been duly inserted into that line to stop that from happening again. Despite the cautions of my peers from the midland area group, I’ve gone for servo control for the points, mainly due to the lack of space. I’ve fitted a power mosfet on the power feed to each of these, so that when they are not required to move, they cannot. There is also a big chunk of brass section between the delicate tiebars and the servo with engineered tolerance introduced into the mechanism to increase the angle required for the servo to move through. I have had to sacrifice the traintable fiddle-yard (for now anyway) and replaced this with a quick and dirty cassette adaptor. It’s a shame especially as I’d had curved brass strips laser cut by PPD for this rather than having to make a Copenhagen fields mangle to get the exit tracks right, but I’d have probably spent at least another week more than I have trying to make it work. You’ll have also noticed the distinctive shed roof has started to come together. Luckily, the National Rail media store has a copy of a drawing of this which was a good place to start to build up an etch artwork from though I refrained from getting it printed onto a mug as well. I’m a little dubious of the origins of the drawing as there are several things not quite right about it, but it’s closer than my guesstimates would have been. Each leg is made up of four layers of 15 thou NS, which where aligned for soldering using a frame. Yes that really is a lot of scrap NS for not a lot of part – it took 3 A4 sheets. Four layers let me build up the roof joists and create a hole for the cross member to be soldered in. In the end, the holes that I’d etched to allow me to use 1.5mm drills to line everything up with were useless and the layers were aligned by eye. I’d also etched a cutout in each leg piece in order to solder in the Y braces on each leg, though for convenience and adjustability these were designed as inverted V’s. A couple of long strips with square holes etched in made sure that the legs are the right spacing and approximately square. After soldering in some transoms to the roof to give some rigidity to the shed and giving everything a cleanup, the spacers were then glued onto the baseboard. This then still allows for the roof to be removed while I build the rest of it, but lets me ballast over the top of the spacer strips to hide them. Finally, I should mention that D869 of this parish has very kindly offered to build some appropriate motive power for the layout and his progress on this is on his new workbench thread. It should be pointed out that if it wasn’t suitable for his own micro layout, South Yard, he’d probably be building an M7 or a T9 instead, as he has threatened to on a couple of occasions. Please hope for good weather for me over the next week, so that I might get outside to put some paint on the tracks. Until next time, Chris.
  13. Hi Justin, Having talked to Mr Attwood on several occasions, that isn't his Meldon stone, which he sells separately as it's namesake. The description from his stand is 'MC is a limestone. It is used as ballast around the Plymouth area. The quarry is currently supplying aggregate to Southern England' Apologies for my pedantry. If it looks like the right thing to you, I'd say to just to use it... Best regards Chris
  14. Thank you Pete, it was really good to see you and Meeth last weekend too. Supplies for the next job on the list were picked up then too, but I baulked at the cost of the jig, so we'll see how (if) I can get on without it..
  15. Firstly I should mention that it was great to meet and catch up with many familiar names at the supermeet in Tutbury last weekend. Sadly, I didn’t spend as much time as I should’ve speaking to folks, as I was busy screwing up D869’s shunting tractor while he wasn’t looking. Still I’m told that one of the objectives of the day was to test the reliability so that in itself can be looked at in a vaguely positive light. So back to Callington Road, when I arrived back at the beginning of the roster break, with around a year to go to the Expo, I felt it was time that I really should have some trains running by now. The last couple of breaks have been used up with getting all of the various bits of woodwork painted in a suitably garish shade of green, whilst trying not to contaminate all of the areas needed to be painted white. The full templot plan was then printed out, stuck together and then traced over onto the baseboards, ensuring that the stencil wasn’t moved in the process. Following this slots were cut out of the baseboard top for the tie bar positions, and holes drilled for the PM2 uncoupling magnets. The pointwork was then sliced off the hardboard shelf with a steel ruler standing in for a palette knife and the whole assembly dunked in a bath of water with a little bleach mixed in, to soak the templates and to try to bathe off any remnant green label flux from soldering. The sleepers were then gapped using a semi-circular needle file and droppers soldered on with SWG 33 Nickel Silver wire, a departure from using 5A fusewire, as I find this to be a little too flexible. The hand drill was brought out once again to punch more holes in the baseboard tops for the for these to passthrough, with only a couple having to be re-sited as they went straight into a spacer block. Then, there was nothing for it, but to grab the solvent PVA and bring the beer out! Actually this is a bit of a lie, I quickly figured out that this wasn’t a great way to hold the track firmly to the baseboard as there were spots where it was lifting up, particularly the pieces of easitrack at the end of the pointwork, so I had to resort to balancing heavy lumps of brass and steel over each section as the glue dried. While this was all going on, Brasso was applied liberally to the rest of the easitrack sleepers and once dried, the plain track panels were assembled, more droppers soldered on, more holes drilled and these in turn glued onto the layout, with lots of prodding during drying to ensure that the straight bits are straight and there weren’t any kinks in the curves. The board joints provided to need a little head scratching for, if I was starting this from scratch I’d probably just do away with this and build the whole 900mm as one baseboard, but for some reason I decided it was a good idea back in August... Long rail sections were glued down over the joint, and cut with a very fine (0.2mm) razor saw to ensure consistency in the curve, the same being done to the points laid down over the joint. PCB sleepers (and chairplates) were then inserted and soldered in to provide some strength against the inevitable snags on jumpers. The coal siding that goes off the front of the baseboard also presents another quandary, this is one of the tightest spots on the layout at 450mm radius, or in other words, less than the 600mm recently suggested as what the minimum radius ‘should’ be. From what I can see from the maps and photos, this is in fact kinder than it was on the prototype, as it was laid originally in the 3’6” East Cornwall Mineral Railway days, avoiding a couple of stores to access an area of the yard beyond. With the track going up to the edge of the baseboard, and being keen not to send any stock on a one way journey into the abyss, this siding will not be powered after the break at the baseboard join, which will mean that it needs to be shunted with barrier wagons to reach onto the tighter part of the curve. I may yet still resort to fixing a wagon down on the end of the siding too, so to prevent a whole rake of wagons being sent off to their demise, before the loco reaches the dead area. The cast brass sleepers on the end were put in so that the rail ends would be secure, and so I could take a big file to them to match the baseboard front edge. Whilst we are on the subject of the prototype some photographs that I had found after I had built the trackwork, inevitably showed that the yard entry point should be tighter, and both yard points should be ‘Y’ points. Oh well, this is going to be Callington Road after all then, not just Callington. More PCB sleepers have been glued under the layout along with the modified filmstrip tiebars housings, and the droppers soldered onto these ready to land the wires from the control box. Of course, I’d really meant to get these all wired up too but then, I think we all could do with 26 hours a day. Finally, the mousehole was cut into the backscene view blocker to allow everything to be put back together for storage again. In doing so, you get a full view of the layout in DJLC guise, with the DMS of the Class 118 DMU which I’ve been building forever, plonked on for scale. Until next time, when there might actually be some movement to write about… Chris.
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