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    S & DJR, GWR 1925-1932 and related BR 1959-62, 1970s. modelling in P4

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  1. Having done my first RTR wagon conversion I was overtaken by the urge to assemble what ever rolling stock I could that needed minimal work to run. The attraction was that I could assemble realistic train formations long enough to test any future track work. In the limited testing I had already done I realised that constructing track and not immediately testing it was a really bad idea. Right now I'm working with a layout that has taken 30 years plus of very slow construction and almost zero testing with the kind of workings I was dreaming of, and the consequences are, you guessed it, almost everything falls off the rails very quickly - boo! Interestingly enough the worst performers should be the best - my coaches running on compensated (MJT) bogies - somehow I have failed to build them flexible enough and they run no better than uncompensated stock, e.g. my converted Bachmann Mk1s. So I thought, lets P4 convert as much of my RTR stock as possible so I can assemble four to nine car rakes, and (purists look away) even leave on the tension lock couplings within the rakes. If I can get these uncompensated rakes to stay on my new track then I have really succeeded! Then I can build really proper (compensated and 'real' inter car couplings that won't result in a sharp intake of breath) at my leisure, knowing that they will run better (hopefully) .... And amazingly I can get these to roll almost without falling off - If I attended to the joins between my RTR flexi track, especially at base board joins then it would be even better, as these are now the source of most derailments. But actually half the source of these problems are 30 year old sagging base boards, that are lined up to be replaced by new ones made from 12mm ply ... So some pictures: So in platform 1 (nearest) stands a mixed express formation with Mk1 coaches supplemented with LMS catering cars, Mk1 BCK (Bachmann), LMS Period II RCO (Hornby ex Airfix), LMS Period III Dia 1999 SO (Mainline), Mk 1 SK (Hachette) and nearest Mk 1 BSK (Bachmann). With the addition of a CK and another SK that becomes a short 'Pines express' rake. One day I'll build the LMS Period III RS (dia 1902) and RCO to make the catering cars that ran in th ePines until the summer of 1961. In platform 2 is a mixed ex LMS and GWR rake typical of the S&D semi fasts that ran in the 60s, from the front a Hawkesworth BSK (Hornby), a Collett SK (Mainline), and two Airfix Staniers, CK and BSK. The stock siding has my BR freight train rake in the course of conversion, (wheels done, couplings in progress) and then in Platform 3 my two coach ex LMS local set (Airfix lavatory non corridors). All rakes have tension lock in between, Dingham at the ends. Now looking the other way, but now the mixed LMS / GWR rake has been changed to an all LMS 3 coach rake, all ex Airfix Staniers as worked both S&D and Bristol-Gloucester semi fasts, the Collett coaches are now in the bay now the above looking the other way .... now to get some more locos running .....
  2. These photos are of my first RTR wagon conversion, a Bachmann LNER box van in BR livery. Re wheeled to P4 and Dingham couplings added. Running in original bearings so doesn't roll that well, but a very happy result for just a couple of hours work. Rather too clean but I like it. (I had scratch built some GWR wagons many years ago but as my layout was very cramped with no room for a goods yard I had ignored wagons until recently when a house move has given me a large railway room and now space to add freight!!). PS I'd be very happy to build from scratch something this good. I'll post some of my early scratch build wagons later, they are going to get dusted down for my late 1920s freight train ... One side ... and the other (!) in the platform 1 road for test running Having a test run with ex SPM Pannier 3650 (now preserved at Didcot) Now in the formation of the 14:00 WSM (S&D) to Templecombe carrying urgent spares for Templecombe loco from Barrow Road
  3. The story continues ... you may have noticed from the pictures that 'new' straight board that I built to replace the dodgy curve is aligned at an angle to the wall sticking into the railway room. This is a result of the 'old' station boards being designed to fit in the living room of my previous house. The main station boards were fitted in between two chimney breasts and the exit line had to be angled to avoid one of these chimney breasts. Now in the 'new' railway room has no chimney breast and is about 30cm narrower (my overall width has gone down from 11ft / 3.3m to 10ft / 3.04m) and as I'm modelling in P4 I want to change the layout to maximise the curve radius. So I've set about cutting about the side station and throat boards so the angled exit becomes parallel with the wall and in that way I will gain 30cm in radius for the curve that will go around the ends of the room. Having the station throat realigned means that the station end of the boards sticks out into the room instead. However, that is going to be 'fixed' by inserting a new board in-between the two station platform boards to make the platforms longer and with a curve to realign the end board to be parallel with the wall again - better explained in pictures: Firstly the 'old' alignment from above: Now having separated the station boards to cut the part nearer the throat at an angle so the track is parallel with the wall, I'm drawing the rough position of the curves in yellow. The intermediate board will be two to three Mk1 coach lengths so I can have nine Mk1s and loco in the platforms ... temporarily I've joined the station boards back together sticking out at an angle until I've made the intermediate board: Now viewed from the other end before attached the new straight board: now with the new straight board attached as the temporary 'fiddle board': the point of all this is I now have the boards roughly aligned for constructing the curved boards at the ends and the new intermediate station platform board. but meanwhile I have some working track to test run any stock I get around to building! Keep safe everyone!
  4. Having got to the happy situation that I could actually run stock without something falling off the rails all the time, I can turn my attention to building or rebuilding items of stock to run, knowing if they stay on the rails with the current set up, they should (!) run nicely on any successor set of baseboards (!!) So I turned my attention to my trusty (very) old Triang-Hornby Hymek, subject of a much earlier blog entry. The prototype I remember with much affection having travelled many miles behind them when student at Oxford on Worcester line trains in the early 70s, then replaced by seriously underpowered class 31s .... The model has a great emotional attachment for me as it was bought originally when I was a youngster, almost 60 years ago, miraculously surviving my growing up, moving away from home, then surviving my parents care for a while and then sitting round my home not doing much until a few years back when I rebuilt the underworks with a Lima mechanism re-wheeled for P4 and super detailed the body (see previous entry). Well a few months back I fancied trying to replace the motor with one of the various CD replacements offered on eBay, but then sat on it not really wanting to squirt lots of hot glue into the motor housing to fix it. Then I saw an item for sale by the guy at 'Strathpeffer Junction', a 3D printed cage to hold a CD motor within the Lima motor housing and an order was dispatched immediately -no glue! However, when I dismantled the Hymek to fit the replacement motor, disaster struck when the chassis frame cracked and fell apart where it has been cut to fit the Lima chassis section that the motor bogie sits in, see where the arrow points in this photo: so much supergluing and reinforcement later, the photo shows the bogie after fitting the CD motor (really easy) before securing with the bogie frame (right) with extra pickups. I also soldered up a little pcb with voltage dropping diodes as the motor is rated 4-9V. The pickup wires were fed into a chocolate block in case I needed to reverse motor polarity but in the end it does move in the right direction! Here is the chassis assembly with pcb: I also took the opportunity to fix new buffers, sold by Peters spares as Class 31 buffers (see top photo for the packet view) as my modified GWR loco buffers just did not work, the stuck on elliptical heads kept rotating despite a Heath Robinson mechanism to stop that happening (!). so reassembled, here it is: Still needs the numbers sticking on, I have a Shawplan etch at the ready and for fun, hauling a short Taunton to Bristol semi-fast, due to an accident at the sidings only two ex GWR coaches available (!!) nice to be able to run something I must say. Thank you for reading and stay safe everybody!
  5. Following on my last entry, replacing dodgy curved like a Thrupenny under gauge and too tight radius track, the new straight track board makes progress. Two photos, one in each direction show what it looks like now and my Pannier (Bachmann conversion) has successfully ventured on to it ... Here with the track temporarily lightly pinned down, a third track for the empty carriage road will be added once the section on the main station throat board is slewed to be parallel with the others. Track only laid approx half way along as I can't quite make up my mind whether to join the tracks with points around here ... And looking the other way with No. 3650 at the end having ventured on ...
  6. So my last entry found me trying to debug the point work in the station throat and the curved approach track. I had replaced the first 10cm of the approach curve as most stock fell off without fail at the point marked with an arrow: sadly, all that happened is that the stock ran on the replaced track and then fell off at the next original section -dash it. Here the obvious occurred to me. Even though I thought I had laid this curve very carefully, I had not taken sufficient care to make sure the curve was smooth and the radius not too tight. This section was made a very long time ago (20 years possibly) with the then new fangled SMP 18.83 track. This is before it was known that it would over time shrink and become under gauge. Plus, I had intended the curve to be at least 3'6" radius, but somehow the section nearest the station throat was (now I checked it) only 3'0". And on top of that, the track had not bent smoothly when I laid it and had a distinct thrupenny bit look. Add to this the age of the board, insufficient support for the 12mm chipboard and you have a recipe for the disaster that I've experienced - Huh. So, what to do? I knew that I would need to make new curved sections to take the line around my converted garage as the new room is slightly narrower than the room the layout came out of. But making those new boards will take a long time and I need something to run stock on as I'm building it. So, I'm making a temporary straight board as a sort of fiddle yard as I have 2 metres or so from the station throat to the end of the room, essentially from scrap bits. Then I can build stock and build the new curved boards as I want, knowing if the stock stays on the track that is there it will run on anything (!). So here goes: Some pictures of the 'new' board under construction, made from left overs, it will last long enough .... The end here has the pattern makers dowels transplanted from the 'bad' curved board so it readily mates with the station throat board, like this: (sorry it is blurred) and here with some track loosely placed as to where it will go: and now a bit of paint on the track bed so it doesn't glare so much (the majority being Screwfix green underfloor foam): Now needs track laying and electric connections made!
  7. Since the last report I've wired up all six new Dingham electromagnets, and tested them with a couple of Dingham equipped coaches, and even got loco - coach uncoupling working! So some photos of the top view of the 'control panels' distributed along the baseboard sides. The push buttons are for the uncouplers, the switches variously are linked to signals, points (the switches linking the electrical sections controlled by said signals / points), or are isolating switches e.g. at the loco run-round ends so a loco having uncoupled won't move when another comes onto the other end of the train, (oh the joys of analogue, but thats how I want it). In the process of all this testing I have found sadly that on the part of the curved approach to the station throat from 'the rest of the world', namely the 'down main line' almost any item of stock will derail .... the ends of the track on this curved baseboard were damaged during the move, so another small section of track will need chopping out and replacing. I intend replacing the entire board, but for now I want to use it for testing stock now, so a short term fix is required some photos of progress .... First the new 'panel' for the uncouplers just installed, with 5 push buttons to control the station throat end uncouplers. The top of the uncoupler magnet bolts are visible, as yet unpainted. Final alignment and ballasting also required! To explain the labelling, platform 1 is nearest and 'SS' stands for 'Stock siding' (the middle road, and there will be a run-round road as well diverging to between it and platform 2). I've also wired in some switches that will eventually operate the platform end starting signals, starting at 4 (1-3 spares in the imagined lever frame): Next the terminal end panel, with a walk about controller socket and selector switch for which platform road it will drive. This controller will either be used to drive a train into the station from the 'rest of the world' (aka fiddle yard) or to shunt within the station area. Again push buttons for the uncouplers and the switches are for isolation of the platform end track sections or to operate a future lever frame for the run-round points that will be installed on platform 2, the other side of the platform visible. Now a view of the terminal end with some of the stock being used for testing. As yet unnumbered (still!) Hymek in platform 3, re-wheeled Hachette SK in the stock siding, Pannier 3650 on local train of LMS inter district stock (ex Airfix) just arrived from Evercreech junction via Wells awaiting uncoupling ... An aerial view of the station area taken from the 'loft ladder': and finally a view from the approach end (before the uncouplers were installed) with an arrow to that persistent derailment point. The track is distorted at this point beyond help and needs replacing ... (it is very old plastic based track, known to gauge narrow without help from being bashed during the move). thank you for viewing! Hopefully the next report will state that the derailments have ceased!
  8. So my lockdown experience: staying at home mostly for self protection has not resulted in a huge acceleration in layout development as a few 'little' main house projects have taken precedence. But in my time off from that I've switched from rolling stock projects to trying to advance the state of those old baseboards that came from my previous house (all of three years ago) to have a more realistic environment for that rolling stock when it does really roll so I can, wonder of wonders, do some realistic operation, not just test run stock back and forth as at present. All of the baseboard construction has so far been designed to facilitate the realistic operation of my invented station, a terminus in which trains will terminate, be run round or go straight out again in what is called a 'turn over' (loco backs on at rear of newly arrived train to take it straight back out again, e.g. like the 'Pines being reversed at Bath Green Park). Trains that are run round may either go straight back out, i.e. reversed with the same loco on a through working, or be shunted into a carriage siding for a later working ... to make all this work in model form, and understanding that I hope to have an overall roof at the terminal end means I need some form of remote uncoupling, and I chose to use the Dingham system many years ago. Slightly fewer years ago I installed uncoupling electro magnets at the terminal end, and wired in a control panel with isolating switches for the terminal end so arriving locos could uncouple and be isolated as their train was taken out by another loco. However, the station throat end was untouched. So this week's project has been dealing with the station throat end, installing uncoupling electro magnets an engine's length back from the eventual starting signal location so stock can be shunted in and then left in position for another loco to run in and couple up to take it away, or in the case of the centre siding stock can be uncoupled from the loco as it runs in, and can be left behind for a later working. So here are a couple of under baseboard pictures showing the electro magnets (far right) and some not too pretty wiring to a control panel at the station throat end which will also have the 'levers' for the platform end starting signals. Two more magnets need to go in and a little circuit with an LED to show when an uncoupler is active ... (If you need orientation with the top then its in the header photo and the previous blog entry) Station throat end is to the right and three bolt ends of the Dingham electro magnets can be seen, and newly created control panel just to the top left of them. The control panel has some slide switches installed to control the not yet built starting signals, but at least the wiring is in place to switch track power according to the signal aspect ... And now a close up view .... the uncoupler wiring is using the solder tag boards, 12V DC is supplied from the other half of the station boards to the left. since the photo was taken I've connected the two solder tag boards so there now is a circuit from the push buttons on the control panel to the electro magnets! more to follow!
  9. A bit chicken and egg, to test a layout track work is properly built you need stock and to test that stock is properly built you need some track with pointwork (!). In a bid to reduce the frustration of having built stock and finding it falls off the rails, won't go around bends, strikes platform edges I decided to resurrect the layout boards I had moved house with to have something to run the stock in progress on ('never end a sentence using a preposition with'). In the process I found out just how much damage the move had caused despite efforts to wrap the boards for transit. The original layout boards were never designed to move and so I found out the hard way just how fragile the things that could break really were. So, boards have been erected and much fixing of broken things has taken place. A plan for making those fragile things more robust is being worked on! (To enlighten you the weakest things were certain solder joints in the rather complex wiring under the station throat lever frame which I had to fix and refix ...). I will replace that particular base board and replace some of the switches to pass power and switch the frog polarity with Peco under point switches which will reduce the wiring under the frame ... but for now it soldiers on. So some photos: Firstly in December I connected everything up and propped up one of the curved boards so I could run beyond the station throat a little and try running through the entire station throat ... my trusty converted Bachmann pannier waits putting on the track A view from the other end, Pannier ready to go from platform 3 well the Pannier did discover some failed under baseboard wiring for me, and that there was something not quite right with the single slip on the left in the view above and caused it to fall off ... so now in March with the curved board detached I've been debugging the single slip. The problems have been caused by the lack of slide chairs allowing the point blades to sink and so the thin P4 flanges have been going the wrong way. So I have kind of fixed that with brass strip to imitate the slide chairs. Plus one crossing flange way was undersize causing the odd jump off the rails too, now thats fixed too ... however on the plus side is the addition of an LSWR Type 4 signal box (used by the S&D in many locations), the Kernow models commissioned Bachmann scene craft model of Bude. Bude had 35 levers so that is big enough for my station box. A beautiful model I have to say! (needs an appropriate name board now). You can also see my home made wire in tube lever frame with switches driven by the 'levers', very much a work in progress. (the electrical switches I have used in the frame aren't robust enough and from time to time fall apart :-( ) finally a view the other way with a non corridor local on the left and a semi-fast WR local in the station storage road in the middle and an ex LMS 42' parcels coach in the bay (Platform 4), look no locos, thats next ...
  10. having been absorbed in house and garage renovations plus a lot of travelling there's not been much modelling going on, but the odd thing is happening and things at Weston super Mare (S&D terminus) have been crawling forward. In parallel with trying to resurrect the layout boards that I moved house with (a blog entry in the imminent future will explain) I have been trying to finish off some stock to run on said resurrected boards to test it. So the trusty early Airfix - (now Dapol) non corridors have been dusted off with the aim of trying to complete them and have a functioning two coach ex LMS local train for those trips to Evercreech junction and Glastonbury via Uphill junction, a diverted Strawberry line to Axbridge and Wells (S&D). The things left to do were to fix the roofs that were floating and to couple the two coaches together - and lo it has been done! however, I still need to fix the under frame cross trussing which has been damaged on the Lav compo and a torpedo vent has gone missing. Plus if I have the courage, fitting the missing 'First' and 'No smoking' labels to the appropriate windows!! so here they are, sitting in platform 1 waiting to go somewhere! In the test running I found not everything happy in the running department and there is still some debugging of the compensated bogies (MJT) which I have a real problem in getting flexible enough, getting square and flat (despite using jigs) and problems with clearances between P4 wheels and the underframe of a commercial coach, (even though the Airfix coaches were designed to have wheels swapped out!). Firstly from the Lav Compo end the join between the two coaches with Hornby close couplers (just anything to join the two ....) missing vent rather obvious :-( and lastly a view from the Lav brake end now for some more test running, shunting them through the layout from arrival platform (s) to the empty carriage sidings to the in-between platform storage road and then into a platform for departure. I'll let you know how it goes and may even be a video one day ....
  11. Brilliant, I'd like to give it a try!! Thanks for posting, kind regards, Peter
  12. Couple more photos - work on the railway room infrastructure (insulation of the garage in which it lives) has made progress on this project very very slow. So months later, I have at long last given a grey 'undercoat' to the sides partly to see what is not up to scratch (cracks, wrinkles etc!) and a base for the maroon livery that the coach will eventually wear. I've also started painting the old Triang-Hornby interior moulding. As well as painting I'm narrowing the corridor partition windows on the first class compartments which are too wide and I'll be putting in arm rests and head rests in the firsts as well. First the sides painted, still drying Then with the interior in progress behind
  13. yes I know they are on the sheet, but I think having fitted the windows and knowing how delicate the SE finecast glazing is I'll have to go very carefully applying them
  14. Oh I did also use flush glazing on the interior corridor window and paint the interior
  15. Sorry Jack I've only just seen this, and that by accident! The mods done are: Bogies compensated with MJT frames, Airfix / Dapol frames stuck on, wheels 18.83 3'6" disk Door handles and grab handles carved off and replaced by filed down dress making pins (for handles) and wire (grab rails) Under frame detail added - regulator box fattened, cross bracing added to frame struts, checked for right way round-ness as above numbers and class markings added, HMRS press-fix Flush glazed with SE fine cast parts Cards duckets windows carved out and PVA glazed Buffers sprung Outer couplings of set replaced with Dingham, loop both ends (so I can run them either way, something I've not explained at all yet in my blog, like 'Why?') I'd like to do 'First' and no smoking labels if I can (!) Still need to fix roofs and do the internal coupling Regards, Peter
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