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  1. I think this is the 200th post on this thread, which is quite remarkable for a layout that is barely off the ground. Some more progress to report and something of a milestone achieved - the layout can now be taken apart for wiring to commence. There is some track laying to be completed in the yard and depot, however all the cross-board tracks have been laid so I can split the boards with confidence. The yard area will be a lot easier to lay with the board out of the corner and turned through 180 degrees. This is pretty much the whole layout, although you can't really make out the south junction at the far end of the station (about where the coaches are). The two trusty diesels sit in the refueling point. You can just about see that the mainlines have been straightened. A view around the curves. Terminal platforms 3 and 4 are to the left, the 3 roads to the right are all through roads. I can never resist a shot of a train. Soon to be D200 (I say soon on geological timescales) awaiting departure from platform 4. The curves to the fiddle yard look like they'll need to be incredibly tight, but I was surprised to find they can probably be over 750mm radius, so not too bad, but they'll definitely need hiding. I have a few rails to solder up and I want to test for short circuits before I split the boards. Once split I'll finish the track laying and work out an order list for the wiring; unlike last time I want to wire in plug couplers and proper terminals from the start. it'll take a little longer but should save future faffing. Last time I found the volume of wiring was soul destroying, so I'll probably try to mix the jobs up a bit this time, rather than either going insane or just not doing it at all!
  2. The new boxes of track arrived yesterday, and such was the excitement of not peeling off copydex and foam, a few lengths went straight down. The two test loco stand on the refueling road, which is accessible from both the depot and the carriage sidings. This picture gives a good overview of the whole station throat and the wiring complexities “still to be enjoyed”. Platform 3 is now laid and much to my surprise takes a 7 coach rake - I was sure it was going to be just 6 plus a loco either end (turns out you weren’t the only one skim reading my scribblings!). That said it might get shorter as I’m not sure how the two terminal platforms will end yet. Here’s a view looking down the end of platforms 2 and 3. The phone camera does highlight some track kinks that are much harder to see with the naked eye. The 3 parallel lines definitely have a slight wobble to them; I think they’ll need to be pushed across to allow me to continue to sleep. One problem I’m still mulling over is couplings. I really like using the 3 links for freight, but uncoupling at the end of the freight sidings is almost certainly out of the question. I also wasn’t happy with the long gap between engine and coach when using a screw-coupling between them. It probably means kadees will be used, which certainly look good for coaches, but I’ve never liked the look of them on locos.
  3. Great progress again. The layout takes me right back to the late 80’s - I’m hopeful of seeing a peak pulling a few PV mkIIs along here. I spent many hours on this section maximising the miles you can do on a day rover - even as late as ‘87 you could still get a 45 if you waited long enough. I also got a 31/4 one time which was pulling a late LIV-NCL and trying to break the land speed record. In relation to the Hi Vis question, I joined BR in ‘93 and was issued all over orange water proofs and a very small orange vest. The water proofs were excellent for cycling and rarely worn trackside. The first reflective stuff came out in mid ‘94 and I remember the local manager saying that the standard hi vis vest went up from £3 to £14! By ‘97 I was issued a longer length reflective vest. At this time regular trackside staff had full reflective gear although it wasn’t worn often. Hard hats came in about ‘02 with gloves and glasses coming in around ‘09.
  4. Some more progress to report; essentially the same photo as before but with a lot more of the track secured in place. The two trusty diesels are sitting at the refueling point. The 40 is on what will be a through road, whilst the peak is on a siding, usually used for a couple of tank cars and fuelling of a single loco. I’ve decided to dispense with the enjoyment of scraping the foam backing off track from the old layout and a couple of boxes of wooden sleepered track are on their way. This should speed things up quite a bit and enable the completion of track laying on the scenic boards. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of research on the Speedlink services from the mid 80’s. I hadn’t realised that all the North Wales Coast workings were trip workings; I’d always assumed Holyhead was one of the network hubs. This means essentially any working is picking up or setting down at its final destination and then tripping to Warrington (Bescot is a little far away). It’s bits of information like this that then start to dictate how the fictional layout is run. Essentially a wagon was only shunted twice. It would be collected in the afternoon at origin, tripped to a network hub, shunted onto a Speedlink service, worked evening / overnight to another network hub, shunted, and finally tripped in the morning to its destination. The trip workings could work as the old fashioned pick up goods, but it seems they avoided this to the extent of even using 08s for trip workings. Christleton will have trip workings mainly reversing to and from the coast, but it will also have diesel fuel to drop off and a single factory siding. The factory may be a brewery, but 1986 is a bit late for rail transport for anything other than a major brewer.
  5. I have finally got a bit more progress to report! Firstly, the junction at the south end has been laid, including two stabling sidings for electric locos. The only locos I have out of storage at the moment are both 16 wheelers, which ensures the sidings will hold whatever ends up there. This junction is much modified from the original plan, as the station has been reduced to just a single through road rather than 2. At the main junction, some modifications took place before more track went down. This is how it looked when the intention was to have 2 centre roads. In the above picture the tracks are (from left to right): Up platform (1), Up through, Down through, Down platform (2) and then the access to various terminal platforms and sidings. In the revised layout the Up through becomes the Up & Down through and the Down through becomes the Down platform (2). This means the 4th road would be the first of the terminal platforms, which I wasn't happy being a turnout straight from the down main. So out came the point! At the same time the p-way engineer also moved the crossover to allow longer standage on the through road. The photo highlights that I have something on an annoying kink in all 3 roads before they curve left. I hope a little shove with a 1:76 scale crow bar will smooth it out. So there is now a much revised main station layout. From left to right will be 3 through roads, then 2 full length terminal platforms. This follows pretty much the original intention, but from there it is all change. There will be a 4 road engine shed, and then 2 freight reversing lines. I had been working out how to allow freight reversals for some time and wasn't really satisfied with trains running round on the through lines in the platforms. The new freight reversal lines will be on the site of a formerly much bigger freight yard; it being the 1980's just a spur to a now disused yard will be present, with a couple of long sidings to allow freights to reverse. This should allow some interesting operation with longer distance freight handing over to traction based at Christleton shed. I envisage 45s bringing in a freightliner for Holyhead and handing over to a pair of 25s, and a 56 bringing in a rake of HAAs to hand over to a pair of 20s. Speedlink services will be shunted by one of a number of local shunters. At the other end of the layout is a 3 way point that I had envisaged as the original point for the shed, but which I quickly realised would be too restrictive for the loco swaps I had in mind. The point will now provide access to 3 four-coach sidings for parcels and local stock. On-going negotiations will determine where the DMUs stable, but they may well end up on one of the shed roads. The new shed site may allow me to have the former turntable, something I always felt should have been left over from steam days. Essentially the last 3 months can be summarised with: slightly more track laid than taken up, more back story written, further loco purchases justified (but not yet in receipt of capital funding), standard frustration of only having a part built layout kept at bay.
  6. The first of the curved tracks for the Up through platform (1) has been laid up to and including the Y point that provides the connection to the electric stabling. Following my previous update I’ve spent a few evenings pondering how the layout will look and how I will operate it. There were a few niggles that I wasn’t fully happy with: 1. The south junction encroached a bit too far towards the fiddle yard; getting the pointwork in to allow reasonable train storage would be tricky, unless I really fancied building a scissors crossover and fan of points on a 500mm radius curve. 2. The 4 through roads look like a little too much railway for the space available. 3. There weren’t enough roads for turning freight trains around. 4. The loco stabling was possibly too limited. 5. The junction pointwork I’ve already laid looks great and isn’t moving! I realised that I was perhaps trying to create a replica of the previous layout, rather than the model I’d first conceived. Time to get out the trusty pencil and paper and work a few things out. I started by working what trains I plan to run, and what will happen to them on the layout. The previous incarnation never got further than 4 fiddle yard roads, so I never really got into a lot of the services that could be operated. Realistically (this is a word often used where ‘hopefully’ would be more appropriate) I can get 14 fiddle yard roads. 5 terminal roads for each direction and 4 through roads. 1. Euston - Holyhead intercity. Change of traction in platform 1 or 2. Aircon Mk2s, class 87 changes for 47/4. 2. Trans-pennine Holyhead - Newcastle. Reverses in terminal platform. PV Mk2s, class 45 changes for 45. 3. Trans-pennine Scarborough - Llandudno. Reverses in terminal platform. Mk1 / PV Mk2 mix. 47/4 changes for 47/4. 4. Cardiff to Holyhead. Through service in platform 1 or 2. Mk1s Class 33 or 47/4. 5. Christleton to Holyhead. Terminates, usually connecting with intercity cross country service. Coaches stabled between services. Mk1 / PV Mk2. 47/4 , 31/4, D200. (This service replaces the ‘real’ Crewe - Holyhead, as it connects with the West Coast cross country services using the Christleton loop between Crewe and Warrington). 6. West Coast cross-country service. South West to Scotland through service. Usually connects with the Holyhead service. Aircon / PV Mk2 mix. Class 85/86. 7 & 8. Parcels / Newspapers / Vans. Various options including Midlands - Holyhead, Manchester / Scotland - Holyhead, with coaches shunted on and off at Christleton. Mk1 BG / GUV mix. Class 25, 31, 47, 85. Requires coach and loco stabling. 9. EMU Crewe - Warrington. Through service, connects with DMU. 305 or 310 (subject to availability!) 10. DMU Christleton - Llandudno, Manchester - Holyhead etc. Class 101 / Class 108. Requires stabling, possibly in platform. 11. Freightliner Bescot - Holyhead. ‘Long’ set, through service on through road. Class 45 / 47. 12. Freightliner Warrington - Holyhead. ‘Short’ set, needs to reverse, run round or loco swap. Class 25 / 31 / 37. 13. Speedlink trip service, Warrington - Holyhead. Needs to run round. Class 25 / 31. Freight siding required for VAA / HAA. TTA drop off for loco fuel. May include nuclear flask. 14. Merry Go Round Point of Ayr to Fiddlers Ferry. Needs to reverse, possible loco swap from Class 56 to 2 x20. 15. Oil tanks. Stanlow - North Wales. Needs to reverse or loco swap. Class 25 / 31 / 47. 16. Ballast. Penmaenmawr to Bescot or Warrinton. Uses through road or reverses. Class 25 / 31 / 97. The numerate amongst you will realise that 16 trains won’t fit in 14 sidings, however 3 and 5 are probably the same stock, as are 11 and 12. I think there will usually be at least 1 train ‘out front’, leaving me a whole extra road spare, for which there are any number of options! A review of the operating outline tells me quite a bit about the layout requirements: - 4 of the passenger services require loco stabling, probably 4 diesels and 2 electrics if you include parcels work. - 3 or 4 of the freight services need loco stabling, probably 3 diesels. This means my little shed needs a bit more space for stabling. - I need to be able to store a rake of mk1s, a handful of parcels vans and a DMU or 2. The DMU and parcels can probably share. - A lot of freight reverses. I can currently only run round on the main trough lines, which doesn’t feel right. I can’t imagine running round a rake of HEAs with a class 86 passing on an express. A class 25 running round a short speedlink rake would look lovely, but not at a platform. I also can’t imagine BR would have been happy with swapping locos on a 4 truck speedlink service due to lack of a run round. - Only 1 or 2 trains use the through roads. A single bi-directional through road would seem to fit the bill - the LNWR didn’t generally use a single through road, but then I appear to have less space available than them! Having a single through road shortens the south junction by a point length, which helps solve the fiddle yard problem. I think I can have 9 tracks across the main layout. This was originally going to be 4 through, 3 terminal platforms and 2 sidings. I think it would be better to have 3 through, 3 terminal, 3 sidings (which need to include loco run round). Luckily this doesn’t change the junction track already laid. This is a long winded way of saying I’m thinking of making a couple of minor layout changes!
  7. I’ve spent a great few hours reading this from the start. I can’t remember how I came across it, or what I was searching for - undoubtedly it was one of those ‘quick’ searches that subconsciously puts off track laying for a couple of hours, or in this case, judging by the empty tea mugs, ale glasses and wine bottles, at least a week! That the modelling is superb goes without saying*, but this layout is so evocative of my youth and also manages to represent so much family history. My early spotting years around 85/86 were spent at either Dewsbury station or Batley Crossing - which even then was an island in between the big power boxes at Leeds and Huddersfield. As I got older and was allowed to venture further on my own, I just managed to get the last of the 45s by getting a Day Rover (the saverstrip ker-ching type) and getting a trans-pennine from Dewsbury to Huddersfield and back. Heaton Lodge was where it all got exciting with the lines dividing into 4 and the chance of seeing some freight power. Every time I always considered getting a local DMU so I could get off at Ravensthorpe, but the teenage me could never resist the ‘express’. Healey Mills was a regular spotting place, mainly with my father. We often used to park on the corner and do a circular walk, sometimes spending hours watching the hump shunting and in later years just taking in the lines of MGRs. Someone mentioned the smell of the Calder - years later it came straight back to me, although I’m not sure I’d actually want to smell it for real again. I recall when I was 5 saying to my Dad on the way that I wanted to see a High Speed Train - he still can’t believe that there was a single power car on shed that night - no idea what it was doing there. If anyone got a photo... My late paternal Grandfather was a signalman at Heaton Lodge in the 50’s and 60’s; he took a job on the railway after spending the 40’s walking through Italy, France and Germany. I grew up on tales about trains getting in the way of his gardening on the allotment, and of sending football scores down the block bells. He was working at Fox’s by the 80’s though. Very shortly before he passed away in his 90’s (quite a feat given he’d smoked every pack of cigs the US could send during the 40’s), I told him I’d become a fireman on the Severn Valley; he said that was his preference when he came out of the army but when BR was recruiting you had to wait up to 4 weeks to get on the footplate! I’ll see if we have any records left at his time at Heaton Lodge. My late maternal Grandfather was a driver based at Healey Mills into the 90’s. Occasionally he would invite us down on a quiet bank holiday and let us have a drive of the 08 around the yard. One time we dragged a whole rake of HAA’s off one 56 and on to the back of another. Looking back it seems like a huge effort instead of simply swapping 56’s, but I don’t think he signed 56’s. The steam crane now based on the NYMR has a bent buffer beam which I can explain too... In the early 90’s I started my own S&T training, based out of Leeds, which included a spell in maintenance covering the Healey Mills area. I was taken there to see the Strouger telephone exchange (you’ll fit one in your basement). It was my first return to the inside of the buildings for probably 10 years, although my Grandad was still working there. I was initially surprised to find that all the rooms were painted the same colours as at his house... My Grandad was quite a character and well known by all at the shed, indeed one time I was there with a telecoms tech fixing the mess room ‘phone, when 4 or 5 of the staff were giving him an exceptional talking about over dinner. Seeing me playing with the telephone socket in the corner, one of them said to me, “a young lad like you shouldn’t be hearing 5 grown men speak of someone else like this, even if he is the devil’s own rogue”, I’d just about finished, so I packed up and left the room with a cheery, “don’t worry, he’s my Grandad”. 26 years later I still haven’t dropped a line like it! Great work, I look forward to seeing more and coming to see it at exhibition. Andy *but a lot of people have said it...
  8. Of course a proper signal engineer would have hidden the signal behind a bridge and added a banner repeater...
  9. It’s fair to say that I have found a bit of passion for track laying at the moment, which is odd given how long I put it off for! I had started with the parallel double slips, as all the geometry seemed to take its cue from there. I worked west first, for what I thought was no reason at all until I started to work east. Here it gets a little more complicated. I had planned to get the west junction and terminal platforms laid first; then, before doing the east (or south) end, I’d crack on with a bit of wiring. That way I’d be able to mix jobs up to avoid the monotony of soldering 700 relay terminals, plus be able to do a bit of carriage shunting with the 25 from time to time. Tonight I realised that the terminal platforms all need to align with the angle taken by the outside through platform (number 2). This in turn takes its alignment from the Down Through. Which aligns to the Up Through, which aligns to Platform 1, the inner platform. The curve for platform 1 is tricky, as it has to align with the South Junction (at the east end - are you keeping up at the back?). Previously, in a 4m wide room, the south junction had acres of space, not so this time. Plus, the angle of the junction has a big bearing on the radius of the track through platform 1. Now, deep at the back of my brain is unwritten rule 46B: curves will be no tighter than 900mm if visible (57A refers to hidden tracks). What does that mean for platform 3? Suddenly I realise I’ve laid 8 consecutive points in a perfect straight (but not perpendicular to the wall) line, but I have no idea if I need to take down a 300 year old chimney breast to get a curve in to the fiddle yard to allow anything to run on them. Time then to unplug the soldering iron and open a bottle of beer (there’s a brewery within 300m of my house, it’s a wonder I get anything done). I wouldn’t say I have an immaculate formula-one pit stop style of railway room, this is a hobby after all. I do have a rule about ensuring there’s nothing sharp on the floor though. That said, you’d be surprised at the distance you can travel when you stumble backwards over the case for a power drill, and it will take a lot more speed and practice to get the beer all back in the glass on the downward trajectory. At this point I considered that waggling 900mm of steel tape around trying to work out the radius just wasn’t cutting the mustard. Having reassured the other habitants of the building that I hadn’t in actual fact dropped the Albert Hall through the Crystal Palace, I channeled my inner Heath Robinson. Here we see a length of batten screwed temporarily to the baseboard top, with screws at various radii (high school Latin wasn’t wasted on me) from the centre of the track. I have no idea if radius is measured from the centre of the track, but who’s going to argue? This allows, using some string and a pencil, a nice line to be drawn to show the radii. You can just about see the results on the next picture. The peak and the train (in the first photo) represent a 6 coach Holyhead - Euston service which will swap from diesel to electric power. The diesel has to be able to leave enough space for the electric to back on, whilst ideally having all carriages inside the platform loop. I think I’ll be able to get 7-coach sets in the fiddle yard (I bet you can’t wait for the maths), in which case one coach will have to stand foul at the back, but only of the Up Through and not of the access to Platform 3. Platform 2 should be able to handle a long holiday excursion set, represented by 8 coaches. 8 coach sets will require a small extension of the fiddle yard through the wall into the siting room; to avoid any memos from the domestic fraternity I’ll probably only park 1st class in front of the TV. All this means that the south junction will be on a slightly better than 900mm radius through platform 1, leaving a bit of space for Christleton junction power box alongside the electric stabling point. Which bring us nicely back to where I started, with a view along the first segment of the track for platform 1! I should be able to get platform 3 down in the blink of an eye.
  10. Looks great Pete - you didn’t hang about did you?! I think there would have been just one disc applying to the sidings, as the point in there would be a hand point. Doing that work also highlights the nice curve you’ve got on the platform, the weeds between the flags and the change in surfaces. Just fantastic.
  11. Suitably inspired by browsing the forum earlier, I found a couple of hours this evening to get some more track down. I think that’s 26 of the 32 ends required for the west end approach (but who’s counting?). I have found taking pictures before the glue goes off really helpful in sorting out the alignment. There are still a couple of areas where I need to use a combination of soldering iron and cutting disk to get it ‘just so’. Most of the angles seem to be neatly flowing through the junction now. There are a couple of places I’ve spent time with, before realising it’s just a shiny soldered joint that misleads the eye! I realised as well tonight that I’ll need a wide to gauge trap point from the centre road. I can’t imagine how to make that work in 00, so maybe there’ll be a compromise somewhere. Many years ago I fitted the rodding to a real one and it was hard enough in 1:1 scale! I also realised I have now got enough track down for a full length trans-pennine rake, so a 45 brings in a typical Heaton lash-up for a relief service. No ETH, so the first class passengers will be sweltering in the air-con at the back!
  12. On the original incarnation I started drawing up the route locking and aspect level circuits. I soon realised with some routes having 15 or more opposing routes that a route relay interlocking was impractical, without using BR930 series relays! In the short term I’ve decided to wire the points with motors and relays for frog polarity selection (the SEEPs just aren’t reliable enough), but to stop at that. Eventually I think some sort of geographic circuitry might be possible, but DPDT relays (or 2F2B as I think of them) are very limiting. You can get 4PDT relays for under £5, but I think the sheer volume of relays will be prohibitive. That said, even a computer based interlocking needs to drive points and so having local point contactor relays will always be required, at least for solenoid machines. I’ll need to give it some real thought when I fit signals, but the cost of those is sufficient to put it out of mind for the moment!
  13. Peter, It’s the longitudinal dimension that’s important. Ideally it needs to be about 2m back from the rail joint at the toe of the points. As for the base on the platform, modern standards on positioning of the red aspect are incredibly precise, but in semaphore days it was assumed that drivers’ route knowledge would allow them to place signals anywhere. The Great Western was infamous for hiding signal arms all over the place - but longitudinally always correct! I’m not too sure about LNWR practice, but the shunt signals should probably be in the same place as the main arm, possibly on the same post. I would expect them to be on the same side of the track as each other, to make it clear that they both apply to the same line. Hopefully this is useful rather than mindless rivet counting! Andy
  14. Hi Pete, Having finally made some progress on my own layout I am finally able to enjoy looking at Llanbourne without being overwhelmed with envy! I’ve really enjoyed looking at the peaks on the trans-pennine services. I recall being in my teens in the 80’s and being allowed to get a quick Dewsbury to Huddersfield return trip in. I was certain of getting a peak each way, but ended up with a 47 and a 31/4 (the first one I ever saw in Mainline livery). You definitely need a trap point from the stabling sidings; I would be tempted to move the point back a few centimetres to allow just a single trap, rather than having one for each siding. We also need to have words about the location of the platform starter.... Great work as ever! Andy
  15. I was thinking something like that, but I think the pin size is too small on the relay. I’m also concerned, even with the vero-board solution, about the current capacity. Potentially I could reinforce the copper with either solder or some wire, but it seems like quite a lot of work for 40 point ends! Having seen how frail the relay pins are, it’s clear that I’ll need to do something to protect them.
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