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  1. Cheers, Matt. Yes you make an excellent point with the RETB. I'd overlooked (forgot about...) that. Hmm I may have to overlook that little detail on my build and go with conventional signalling. I am pretty flexible, so exact numbers won't really bother me. No worries about the Sprinterisation on my line because I can't find the sodding things! This is the video I was using for reference, however I don't believe it shows any part of the Mallaig extension, it does show some pretty interesting rakes, although a bit out of era for the OP, 1997. Dutch 37's galore here, though most wear Transrail logos. The Alcans can also be seen in it, hauled by '153(?) and no "T" logo.
  2. May I hijack the thread for just one question as it is of similar interest? Specifically, a Dutch livery Cl.37 has just arrived (a bit out-of-era for the OP but I believe wagons wore this livery long before locos did so it may be relevant?) and I was hoping to give it an engineers' or ballast rake to match but am having a hell of a time finding or even understanding stock for it. The only things I can find in Dutch livery in N scale are the Peco Ferry Tubes and a Brake Van. Could anyone recommend some wagons. I don't mind respraying them if need be. The rakes that have caught my eye have about three hoppers after the loco, then a brake van in the middle, then more hoppers. This would be running on the Mallaig extension of the West Highland Line. Would it be right to run Dutch up there?
  3. Cheers Scotty. Yeah I was looking at it for a while and didn't really like the look of it. I'm thinking it isn't really worth having the incline as it may be barely noticeable and cause trouble for some locos. The diesels I'm not worried about, those Farish 37s have nearly as much traction as the real thing! I will be adding a few steamers to the fleet eventually though, possibly even some 0-6-0s, so i'm wondering whether the incline would be worth it. Probably not! Anyway, for once I've woken up before noon so off to the attic I go!
  4. Sadly I didn't get chance to get out for my boards today but I did end up going absolutely berserk with my fiddle yard plan. Tail chasers... Not really my cup of tea. I'd always said I wanted it to seem like my trains were coming from somewhere and going somewhere else, and my tail chaser fiddle yard was not doing that any justice. So fueled by a couple pints of the black stuff, I decided to definitely incorporate that height difference I mentioned earlier and came up with this; [Edit: Updated Fiddle Yard Track Plan Added] A split leveled double terminating fiddle yard with a single inclined (yellow) track down the middle connecting the two different heights of track at each end and allowing that roundy-roundy approach for when I just want to see something moving. Two trains can run without using the fiddle yard; one doing a lap of the entire layout while the other waits in the station on scene. But when I want to play trains properly; Trains will run in to an empty siding and park over a Dapol magnetic uncoupler - something I adored messing about with on Banks Hill. A free loco will be waiting in the spur at the throat of each yard to take a train back out in the opposite direction. Once that train has left, the now free loco will make its way to the spur, ready to take over another train. I may squeeze in a couple more sidings to give a bit more choice over what loco to send out. IF my math is correct, the incline down the middle is [i think] a 1/57" gradient. Rising/falling by two inches in all. Not looking forward to wiring all this up, though!
  5. Thank you, Scott. Yes I definitely think this is it now. The 'right-ness' of it just feels .. well .. right and less model trainy, I think. If anything I guess this topic can show how we can completely change our views when we begin to chase realism! Still I'm just glad I changed my mind now, with just two boards built, than later! Well spotted! The headshunt was exactly 30cm long on the plan, so just about big enough for one coach + loco. I've just extended it to 40cm which brings it right to the edge of that board. It seems it's just about long enough to house a two-car 156 in reality. As for my plans, the headshunt will most likely house a parked maintenance vehicle from time to time. Speaking of 156's.. What happened to all the Dapol Sprinters?! I can't find any in Regional Railways livery after putting off buying them for a few years. Now I want one Guess I'll have to go looking for some at exhibitions! I'm just tinkering with the scenery plans now. Land heights changing, adding cameo's etc. That headshunt made me want some height difference in the actual running line, so the viaduct will now be about an inch lower than the two stations. A small difference over all but I'm sure it'll be more noticeable approaching the headshunt. The valley has gotten deeper again and the mountains have gotten MUCH taller! I should be able to just about squeeze in the Glenfinnan Monument on the loch shore, which will also tie in perfectly with my hidden Skyrim references. Measurements may be a bit off. Most boards will be 107x30cm with the chimney breast making things complicated! Hopefully I'll have my boards cut by tonight so I can start building again. I figured out I can get 9 boards out just one sheet of ply! Cheers for now. Mike.
  6. Hello all. I hope you all had a nice Christmas and have a happy new year. As for me I have actually been doing something productive and built some frames for the layout boards! I just need to get to the wood yard for the boards themselves, which I'll get cut professionally. The ones I have shown in earlier posts were cut with a jigsaw by myself. No chance of getting them straight, so lesson learned. That station has been scrapped for the time being, although it may return as a smaller shelf layout that I can play with during the summer as the attic is a no-go zone after June! I know you're all probably sick of seeing my plans by now (that topic I'll get to shortly) but I have gone and changed everything again. For good reason! I have been watching cab ride videos along the West Highland line and since have wanted to make the layout more realistic and prototypical rather than a bit here and there with my own touches thrown on top. So... This one even comes with land heights shown! Edit : Close up station. Gone is the old station. An actual representation of Glenfinnan station has been put in its place. This I actually much prefer as it is more realistic but I do lose my pick up / drop off goods facility. Oh well! Once again the layout has been flipped to now have the station on the correct side of the viaduct. The layout has been split in to three sections to add a bit more variety to the scenics; Glenshiel Station. Luckily for me the A830 provides the perfect scenic break. Trains will emerge from a road bridge, pass a small B&B on their right, cross a small yet very steep waterfall before easing in to the shallow curve of the station. They will continue on until they reach a piece of raised land acting as a -sort of- scenic break. Unfortunately the following section of track has been significantly shortened, as realistically this should be about half a mile long! Glenshiel Viaduct. Not much has changed here apart from the decision to drop the baseboard by SIX inches, giving an EIGHT inch drop below the viaduct. Plan shows 4, this is incorrect. I think the added height will add much more depth and do the viaduct justice. Trains will then reach a tunnel before entering the next section. The short tunnel is prototypical, but again space is an issue and the line has been scaled down. Loch Side. A few miles up the line from the Glenfinnan Viaduct the line travels along the banks of Loch Eil, something I definitely wanted to model, to the absolutely tiny station, Locheilside - creative name! That's a distance of about 8 miles by train. Unfortunately I don't own a 100ft barn -yet- so this has been scaled down as well. Loch-shiel-side will be added to the build in the very bottom left corner but I've neglected it from the plans. Modeler's license will have to provide a convenient hump-back bridge to use as a scenic break! Here's a few images of the area. The station looks a bit too modern to me, so I'll take it back a few years and give it some nice wooden bus stop-like waiting rooms and street lamps on phone poles, that'll add some nice colour to that corner too! I'm not actually sure how this station is served as the videos I've watched show the train hurtling through at 40mph none stop. Surely too fast for a request stop? Here is one of the cab ride videos I have been watching. Fort William to Mallaig. Locheilside @ 19:15. Also please note the decking on the house to the right just before. Lucky so-and-so! Tunnel / Scenic break to viaduct @ 25:10 Viaduct @ 26:30 Station approach @ 28:45. Shortly after; Small bridge, B&B and road bridge / scenic break My new goal is to create something that represents this journey, albeit on a much smaller scale. Hopefully now that I have achieved a more realistic plan I can pull myself away from the screen and finally start building it. Which brings me to a tough decision: I've decided that once I have the track down and I begin to document the build on YouTube I may ask the forum admin to take this topic down so I can start anew. This topic has become 4 pages of me changing my mind countless times and uploading plan after plan over the past year. So, I'd like to start over. Thanks to those who have taken an interest up to now and hopefully SOON I will actually have some progress to share with you all. All the best. Mike.
  7. Hello all. Another big break from the railway again, eh?! And I was doing so well, too. I was forced to abandon the layout during the summer due to the heat in the attic. The highest temperature I recorded was 38*C! I was cutting wood in that. Drinking water like a colander! I started building a model boat and simply lost focus on the layout until last week when I realized it was about 5*C outside. Anyway, I'm back! At least for the winter... Back with another plan that is. A big one this time! I've been well and truly inspired by the online side of the hobby as of late, such as Network YouTube, and have decided that I definitely want to try making a channel for Glenshiel to share both my own layout and the hobby as a whole with the world. I'll be documenting the build from the moment the track goes down, hopefully by the beginning of summer to avoid that dreaded heat again, and will be trying to get to visit more exhibitions in 2019. Speaking of exhibitions, I'm hoping to get Glenshiel out there! The layout was designed (and is being built) with a house move in mind from the get go, so had/s to be transportable. If it's already transportable then why not throw it in the back of a Transit and stick it in a school gym hall? Big ambitions ahead... Glenshiel itself takes the form of an exhibition layout already with its 9-road 4 foot long fiddle yard, station, drop off / pick up sidings and massive scenic running space, but it does lack that one single quality I have been after all along - The feeling that trains are actually coming from somewhere and going to somewhere. Sadly, as big and as scenic as it is, Glenshiel in its 'home' form is nothing more than a giant tail-chaser layout... So I made these... The fiddle yard and its throats can be disconnected and these (two) junction boards can be put in their place. The initial idea was to create the ability to attach a terminating station to either end of Glenshiel (Fort William anyone?) so the entire layout becomes one big scenic space connecting two other layouts. That can still be achieved by simply connecting the other two layout to Glenshiel - modular style - but with the junction boards in place it grants access to a traversing fiddle yard, giving three layouts access to a huge storage area from either side, or better yet (in my opinion) a fourth layout! As long as it's approximately 4'2" long, this fourth layout can be anything from a straight run over a massive viaduct to a small country station. The junction boards have granted the ability to have three smaller layouts attach to Glenshiel and have access to its running space. This will undoubtedly add the feeling that trains are in fact coming from somewhere and going to somewhere. And here is the layout shown in a combination of both its home and exhibition 'forms'. A passenger train waits for the road at Glenshiel while a class 37 navigates the tight curve of Glenshiel Viaduct. In case anyone is wondering - "UP" is clockwise. Because the layout will be seen from the outside if it does make it to exhibition I have flipped the scenery (not shown) so that the higher land will now be on the inside of the layout. Keeping with the idea of additional scenic boards I had a while ago, These will be added later to add more depth to the quite narrow 30cm wide boards. My ultimate goal for the layout is to have the scenery dwarf the railway itself, just like the real railway its based on. The track height will also be raised to 4" to allow just that bit more depth to the bridges. So there we go. Hopefully I can now actually get some building done and get out there. There is good news in regard to that. I visited the attic to get the Christmas tree (that's when I realized it wasn't hot any more!) and discovered that my past self had done a lot more than my then present self thought. Past self had cut enough wood to length to get quite a few frames done, so all I have to is screw them together! Cheers for now. Happy Christmas to you all and all of yours. Mike. PS. Someone made a to-scale man for AnyRail. I just love this guy! Seen here trying to figure out how to change points with a DCC handset! (Spoiler : The points aren't DCC operated anymore)
  8. A challenge I am currently facing for the first time. I'm going with good old simple bolts - Clamping the frames together, drilling a hole through both ends, passing bolts through the holes and using nuts and washers to fix it. Hopefully it'll work! Barrel bolts on the sides would be the simplest/easiest I'd imagine.
  9. We have officially moved in to the loft! A few small steps at a time have been made over the past few weeks and today marks the day that Glenshiel became a loft layout. Here are some photos showing the layout in its natural habitat; (Please excuse the mess. I'm working on it as I go!) The baseboards will bolt to the beam above and behind, so a bit higher than shown in the pictures, with some support legs at the front. I quickly noticed that, by sheer coincidence, the line leading from the viaduct flows perfectly in to the space to the left of the chimney breast and my retired layout, Banks Hill, fits snugly across the attic. This gave me an idea... That end of the loft was always intended to house my own version of the Glenfinnan viaduct. With the line flowing nicely it seems like a real possibility. The other end will house a fiddle yard, now with Banks Hill situated in front, acting as a terminus for DMU traffic. It'll be separated from the main layout but connected up off-scene through point work. I'm happy I've found a home for it, as it was sitting on the floor in a sorry state. It'll also offer me a test bench and small fiddle yard! I'll re-wire it so the main running line will be DCC, connected up to Glenshiel, have a separate programming track and a DC siding for a rolling road for running in. It's a sad thought but an all too real one, that this is a once busy station that gradually saw its freight traffic disappear and is now days away from being closed for good. A few shots from the driving seat; Some close-ups of the viaduct section with the land mapped out. Hopefully this will give an image of what the scenic area will soon look like. I worked out that I need to make approximately TEN more boards. Luckily, the log pile is no where near being depleted... The two boards that are done now were cut using a jigsaw. With ten boards to do and the layout progressing at a painfully slow pace, a mitre saw is a must! With the realization that the attic would be much too cramped with the layout in its reduced form and the viaduct line following the original plan perfectly, it seems that the massive dream layout actually makes more sense and, at this point, it's planning itself. It wants to be built! I highly doubt the trains will argue. Finally... I love this thing... Cheers for now! Oh... Finally finally...
  10. Some update shots from today. The viaduct side took up most of the day, wiping sweat out of my eyes took up the rest! But that side is now done!! Tomorrow will see the station side fixed to the baseboard, which will have the access holes cut out underneath, and the two parts bolted together. The layout will be perma-bolted until it needs transporting. It will be kept in the loft. I'll worry about the future when it gets here! And a couple with trains. '027 waits for the line token from a passing goods. Sorry about the low quality, I lost the sun. How I picture the viaduct; It may be noticed that the photos were taken from the back of the layout, right? Well guess what. I changed my mind! After seeing the layout from that side with my own eyes, the flipped version jumped out at me. The deal maker was seeing the viaduct at that angle. The eye follows the line much better from this side, giving a side-on view of the trains for practically the entire length of the scene. Much more pleasing than seeing the train coming towards you and then turning suddenly. The cured point is a lot smoother than I imagine, too. So I'm happy with that The 'pub scene' gives much more scenic potential from this side, making the perfect station car park / entrance area;
  11. Thanks, Ian. That's a good idea I will have a look at that! Thoughts and opinions regarding the goods loop please. I've been giving it a think and have realized the station lines can accommodate most of my goods trains with ease, and it complicates things a bit with the line token system in mind. So, I'm juggling with the idea of cutting it and having a siding like the Invermoriston plan. It'd allow me to shunt goods from the yard in to the siding ready to be collected. What do we think?
  12. A blessing in disguise I think they are indeed, Colin. Only after seeing the trains on the actual boards I realized how much space I had, something the plans didn't show very well. The tracks are nicely spaced and the curves are subtle. The track plan offers some complicated running for a single line and some shunting ability. I think it'll keep me occupied long enough! It's been a productive day. The baseboards are done! They won't win me any carpentry awards but they'll do for a model railway. They don't look like much, but it dawned on me that these are the first boards I've actually made in over ten years! I've been working with shelves since. So I'm pretty proud of my handiwork. Here they are; The simplest of builds. 2x1 with 9mm ply on top. Everything needs planing down a bit as there are some nasty edges here and there. I just need to find the sander. The two boards will be connected with two nuts and bolts. Holes still need to be drilled in the cross members for wires etc, but that's an easy enough job for later. Tomorrow will see the station side of the track bed go on top of the base board. This one doesn't need cutting at all as that entire side will be at track height. Large holes will be cut in to the baseboard to allow access for wiring etc. I'm holding off on the other end until the track arrives. I'm a few points short and need to make sure everything is positioned correctly before cutting wood. Don't want to get that viaduct wrong! For now I've mocked up the track again, they are roughly in line in these photos; The fish seem to like it! I also had some new arrivals come today! 37027 with a rake of Speedlink vans gives way to a passenger service while 27032 leaves some tankers in the rear siding for pick up later today. Freight trains that are too long to fit in Glenshiel's loop will be given the right-away over passenger services until they reach the next station down the line, which conveniently has a larger loop! The vans will see some heavy weathering and some of their Speedlink boards removed as I believe these fell off or went missing on the prototypes, adding a bit of variety. I'm made up with the Peco tank wagons. They don't offer NEM pockets, but the detail and weathering on them is amazing, especially for the price! And finally to show off the five coachers sitting happily in the station lines; I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out the width for the platform and curve for the station line as I don't know the measurements for the station building. It'll be a typical highland building. I have seen plans on here, but they show feet (or yards?) and I am terrible at converting those, so if anyone could drop those measurements in that'd be a massive help. Ta for now. Mike. Edit: I've uploaded a more detailed version of my plan which can be seen in my previous post.
  13. Good evening all. Finally, construction has started on Glenshiel in its much rationalized form. As soon as I got home with the timber I felt the sudden urge to grab a pen and start measuring up and marking down. Then I realized the jigsaw was in the loft and put it off for a day. After measuring and marking, I had to address the bug niggling at the back of my mind that was asking me "Are you really happy with that plan?" The answer was a simple "No." As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've decided to base my layout on the very one that inspired me back in to the hobby, but my plan was a blatant rip-off, an exact replica. This is the plan in question. I hope it's okay to post it. Invermoriston Station by Ian Stock. Featuring in RM Dec 2012. It just didn't feel right to simply copy / paste Ian's plan. So, back to the planning stage I went and started throwing down some different points to see what lined up, and this is what I ended up with. Edit: Updated scenics. I have modified Ian's plan, hopefully dulling the 'copy / paste' sense. At first I had completely mirrored it but it just did not look right to the eye. Using a three-way point I've managed to claw back a few centimeters in point work and having an extra 8 inches in length to work with has allowed me to stretch the train lengths out to five coaches and some very decently lengthy mixed goods. Speaking of goods, I've rotated the goods yard, which will most likely be a simple logging yard. Hopefully I can find some wagon kits as no one seems interested in making them RTR! A loss of about 6 inches in width meant I lost the second siding. It looked much too cramped with it, so away it went. Rationalized yet again! And converted the lower siding to a passing loop. Theoretically, this will allow faster passenger trains to over-take slower goods on rare occasions. Waiting for a line token will be a bit of a pain for the driver of the goods train! Using a curved point allowed me to throw the viaduct in a completely different direction at a much steeper angle. I think this will look very pleasing to the eye when done. This leads in to a tunnel, hiding the exit from the scene on to third-radius curves which will take the line to the second scene. The points leading in to the goods loop and yard are both large radius. With the goods yard rotated, I ended up with a large unused area above the station, so naturally a pub will be built there! Here are some photos from tonight's running session. I have to point out that the curved station line is too tight in the photos. I took them before realizing it needed adjusting, so that line will have a really nice subtle curve to it. Of course they only show half of the layout and only the station end now. The track is pinned to the lower base board so I can eye things up for now. The track will be elevated by two inches, which will allow the land to drop down for the valley and viaduct. Hopefully tomorrow the boards will be done! There had also been a new addition to the fleet!
  14. Morning all. Apologies for the lack of updates. Due to uncertainties for the near future, a possible house move looming, plans for Glenshiel have been put on the back burner. Well, the loft layout at least - that's becoming the dream attic/basement/shed/portacabin/steel container (20'x8' for £2,200!) layout. I've taken things back to my original plans and will be modelling two 7'x1' (possibly four 3.5'x1' for storage) lengths that can easily be stacked on top of each other for display/storage and connecting them with 180 degree curves of at least third radius at either end. Glenshiel will be compressed some, allowing four-coach trains to sit snugly in its platforms. I will be blatantly copying the track plan of another layout that inspired me to get back in to the hobby way back in Dec 2012 but will mirror it and change the surrounding scenery as to not completely rip it off. The other side will feature the open highland scene I was looking forward to, although a bit shorter, with a single line running along an embankment and over some bridges. I'm going for simplicity yet again - A two-platform station with two sidings on one side and a run with subtle curves on the other. Still inspired by the West Highland Line, of course. DCC is still a must. I am still a bit disappointed and was absolutely put off for a while in all honesty. I'd lost all motivation to go in to the loft and do anything after months of clearing it out. But the silver lining is a much smaller layout means much less work! Motivation for the layout is now at an all-time high, evident by my watching of a Cl.31 shunting back and forth along a 3ft length of track for two hours! I had actually started building the station out of shelves last summer, but they warped and were too heavy. They will make perfect legs, though. I'll be going with the ply box method. I have plenty of time off work coming up in June and July - garden modelling season! and I am aiming to blitz it and get it up and running by the end of July. I'll spend June working on the boards and then track laying in July. Hopefully some actual progress updates in the near future! Ta for now. Mike.
  15. Quick update - I've tried another loco on the track which I had running perfectly fine a week ago. Now all of its lights come on and it makes a horrible electrical noise but doesn't short the system, makes the same noise which ever way the decoder is in (just to test it). I put that decoder in the loco I was trying to address earlier, same horrible noise. The loco I was trying to program earlier did this a while ago with its original decoder in but then nothing. Could that decoder have blown - it's completely silent in the loco that was making the noise after changing the decoders over? Strange thing is I have four other locos sitting on that exact same track with lights on and running perfectly fine. What is going on?!
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