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  1. Jim I thought I recognised some of these pictures. The last three photos, the FP7A to the left of the station building, the wide landscape and the last one with a wider view of the station are all by Nicholas Morant, CP's renowned official photographer. The others may also be by Morant. These three photos are in J.F. Garden's book "Nicholas Morant's Canadian Pacific", with the FP7A one in colour. The first part of its caption says: "In the fall of 1951, freight No. 85 approaches Banff station, slowing down to pick up train orders. With FP7A No. 4033 leading, Morant photographed the operator about to pass train orders to the crew using a train order hoop ...". Morant took the landscape at Massive (west of Banff) "... class T1b "Selkirk" No. 5929 has Train No. 7, the westbound Montreal section of The Dominion in tow ...". The caption for the last photo starts: "On a summer day in 1947, Morant made a photograph of Train No. 7, the Montreal section of The Dominion as it arrived on schedule at 11.30 a.m. ...". I'm not sure if J.F. Garden's book is still in print (my copy dates from 1993), but it provides a fantastic record of Morant's sublime photography. Well worth getting. Stephen
  2. Hi Barnaby Just catching up on your thread. You've done a great job on all those droppers and it will certainly make things more reliable. No more problems with loose fitting rail joiners. Which cosmetic rail joiners will you be using? It's all looking good so far. Stephen
  3. Wow, nice 'Landie'! And the dragline's not bad either ... Stephen
  4. Chris Looks very nice in black. Not sure I can justify another one though ... Stephen
  5. Hi David I've only just caught up with this as I was searching for something (which I've now completely forgotten what!) and the search result brought me to this thread. Really pleased to see you getting this project off the ground and I just love the back story. And using the Weetabix box to mock up the buildings is just brilliant! Don't tell me it was coincidence ... Keep us the great work - you've made more progress than I have in months. Stephen
  6. Great photos and narrative. Really enjoyed the story. Stephen
  7. My point exactly! ... and see how beautifully it runs (and sounds). Stephen
  8. Hi Barnaby I've tried a couple of ideas based on your plan 1. The first takes out one of the sidings as Simon and Andrew both suggested. I've tried to space things out a bit without reducing operational interest too much . I can't remember whether you discounted a run-round loop but the second plan includes this. The 'loco headshunt' allows for anything up to a class 47. I've moved the goods shed to the front to allow more room for the run-round. Not sure if the run-round works but it provides another option. Stephen
  9. My initial impression is that plan 1 (the top one) looks neater as it is less crowded and less linear than plan 2. I'm not entirely sure about the loco spur in plan 1. Could you run it with a facing RH point from the exit to the fiddle yard, just to the right of the 'L' in the middle or put it where it is shown in plan 2, i.e. track 'F1'? Stephen
  10. You asked "In the O gauge and 1 gauge worlds - is there any hope of raising the bar in quality and detail of the Ready-To-Run UK prototype offerings out there?". Have you actually looked at the quality of the offerings from Minerva where you will find prototype fidelity, high standards of detail, excellent smooth running together with affordability?
  11. Thanks both for the great photos and video. Very inspirational! Stephen
  12. The one downside of surface mounting the servos and SmartFrogs is that they have to be hidden. However, with the multitude of ancillary buildings at most ironstone quarry yards, I didn’t think this would be too difficult. To cover the first servo and SmartFrog, I’ve built a small maintenance hut broadly based on one at Irchester. I drew up a design in SketchUp and built the hut using my preferred method of a 3mm foamboard shell with covering from Slaters and Wills styrene sheet. On this one, I used Port Wynnstay windows and home-made doors. The original at Irchester was decidedly dilapidated so I wanted to create that look, but probably need to do a bit more distressing, particularly to the roof! My design in SketchUp The foamboard shell with styrene walls. Now with roof - the SmartFrog can be seen just inside the door. The final building. I need to fit door handles. It was my wife’s idea to have one door open but arranged so that the viewer cannot see inside. It was a bit of a hassle but it probably looks better for it!
  13. After looking at options for slow action point control, I have opted for the Peco SmartSwitch system including Peco SmartFrogs and a DCC Stationary Decoder. I know other point control systems are available but SmartSwitch is very easy to set up, even for a technically inept individual like me. I'm trying surface mounting the servos using brass rod to connect the servo to the turnout. Because my ‘baseboard’ consists of foamboard ‘boxes’ (sitting on a metal frame), I don’t want to damage the structural integrity of the foamboard. Surface mounting on an additional layer of 5mm foamboard provides extra strength and ease of access to the servos and SmartFrogs. It also means the turnouts can be self-contained on individual ‘modules’ which gives me more flexibility in layout design. Overhead view of the ‘module’ with the wiring layout and servo connection. The wiring is in troughs in the foamboard. Overhead view with the top layer of foamboard added. This will be the base for scenery. The top layer is not pinned down yet. Side view. When the track is 'ballasted' (if I can call it ballast - more like 'gunk'), the wires will be covered and I have given some thoughts to hiding the servo and SmartFrog. Stephen
  14. David The ‘fixed’ part of the traverser is made up of two layers of 5mm foamboard on top of the 5mm foamboard base. The ‘sliding’ part is a single layer of 5mm foamboard, sliding on a 5mm layer. On top of each side of the ‘sliding’ part is a narrow strip of foamboard which act as handles. One of these strips can be seen alongside the track with the tippler. Hope that helps. Stephen
  15. I haven’t provided an update for a little while but have made some limited progress on the layout recently. I had a few concerns with my ‘final’ track plan after mocking up movements of loaded and empty tipplers on paper. Although I liked the idea of separate tracks to the quarries and the exchange sidings, I discovered that at some point a rake of loads would block the arrival of a rake of empties. This would mean removing the stock from the hidden sidings by hand before the loads could be dispatched! The best solution to this conundrum was a two track traverser to accommodate 6 tipplers (with a small 0-4-0ST) or 5 tipplers and anything up to a Victory 0-6-0T, or even (dare I say), an S&L ex-BR class 14. Although the traverser could be designed to feed the two separate tracks, I didn’t have enough space to align these tracks to the parallel tracks of the traverser without compromising the length of the run-round or the engine shed tracks. Having the traverser feed into a single track also keeps everything simple and less cluttered. I've constructed the traverser from layers of 5mm foamboard (suitably braced). One advantage of foamboard is that the shiny surface slides easily, even with a loaded train plus locomotive. In testing, the traverser has worked fine, even with a heavy Heljan class 47. On the non-shiny facing edges, I added thin strips of plasticard. Further update soon ... Stephen
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