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  1. It's a handy trick, not least because the sleeves don't like sliding alongside each other, but also it will confirm beyond doubt that cheap washing up liquid is much lower quality.
  2. They are these little chaps: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/cable-sleeves/3031877/ I use 24/0.2 wire which is a nice interference fit. I'm also from Yorkshire, so I cut the sleeves into halves...
  3. And just like that, a train was running again. Stalwart class 40 D211 (one day it will be D200) rolled the first wheels and proved both continuity and point switching. The class 33 then became the first to shunt in and out of the brewery yard. Prior to that I’d needed to quickly wire up a 15 way D type connector. All the terminals are tinned with a bit of solder first. Each wire is then soldered on. I tend to expose about 8mm of wire, quickly tin it and then cut it back to about 4mm. This allows the wire to neatly solder in with minimum exposed conductor. Wire tends to naturally curl back to its coiled form, but briefly after being tinned it’s soft enough and can be neatly straightened, which avoids 15 wires all fighting with each other. Once all the wires are on, I use a thin blade or similar to just check no stray solder is shorting the terminals. I then put a small amount of washing up liquid on which allows the coloured sleeves to easily slide home. I’m not bothering with connector hoods, but I would if the layout was going to be regularly dismantled. With one board done, it feels like a major milestone has been passed. Once again I can hear the sounds of a cold Sulzer engine firing up and a warning horn sounding as a loco moves off. In theory I can now turn to a range of modelling activities, although I will have a reasonable guess I’ll choose wiring board 3!
  4. Board 2 has had its wiring completed. It is all tested, at least using a meter, but we all know that's not how you test a model railway! It was pleasing to flip the board the right way up and find that all the points move nicely from side to side and the all the frog polarities switched correctly. I did change one tie bar as the existing one had a soldered joint to the switch rail very close to the insulating gap.The shunt frame is fitted to the front of the board using some small hinges, to allow easier access to the wiring. The 3x3 3PDT solder connections were much easier than I expected, which is fortunate as the crossovers on other boards need a 4PDT switch. Overall I'm happy with the appearance of the wiring; it's much neater than the last effort. Even the 15 way D-types have proved quite straightforward to fit. Next job is to wire up a 15 way D type so that I can connect all the track section to the track bus temporarily and allow some trains to run up and down over the festive period. I then plan to split my time, for the sake of my sanity, between wiring board 3 and beginning to build the loco depot and brewery. Both of which will require some very agreeable research!
  5. A little more progress on the wiring. The point motors have all been connected to a terminal block together with their respective frogs (colour coded green for obvious reasons). That pretty much concludes the underboard wiring; there are just a couple more connections to make. I then need to make up the 9 way and 15 way connectors that will link to the neighbouring boards and panels. There is also the connection to the local ‘shunt frame’ which controls the 5 hand points on this board, which will be connected directly to the 19 way terminal block. The shunt frame has had the point motor power wires connected, using earth blocks each side as busbars. The 4 depot hand points have also had their frog feeds common-ed together. The yard point for the Brewery is in a different track section, so has a different feed for the frog. My goal of having a loco moving in the shed under its own power this year (without bodging) moves a step closer.
  6. I can’t remember why I first used 2200uF. I have tried 1100, but that doesn’t provide enough force to be reliable. I suspect that hand built points probably require a bit more persuading to start moving. I’ll be using 4800uF for crossovers, possibly a little more if one end is a 4 blade double slip, due to the additional force to overcome (not least because the switch rails are shorter so do more bending than they do sliding).
  7. I managed to grab a spare hour over the weekend to start the point wiring. Each motor has been fitted with its own make up of diodes and capacitors, with connections to each solenoid and the common. I could then test each motor properly with a pair of flying leads. Pleasingly they all swing both ways without any issues. I’m using 2200uF caps which seems to provide just the right amount of umph for a single end of points. I’ve started making a very basic local panel for the 5 ends on this board, as they are all hand points. Potentially there could be something running on this board this year.
  8. I am looking for an unbuilt Metcalfe Brewery kit PO229 in 00 gauge. My wife suggested a brewery and even said she would build it if there was a kit - I was very surprised to find it discontinued! If anyone has a complete unbuilt kit then there is good money to be made. Thanks, Andy
  9. I've yet to see a convincing steam generator; some work very well for smoke, particularly when they are coordinated with valve events. Steam heat is such a distinctive sight, just occasionally on a UK heritage railway you get a diesel with a boiler fitted and the resulting steam lightly wafting from the carriages. Although no steam at all would probably be better - if it's on the outside of the coach it's not doing much use on the heating front (there is a noticeable difference between railways on how much steam escapes from the coaches). I guess right at the end of steam heating on BR the hoses and rubber washers would all be pretty shot, so there should be steam leaking everywhere. Potentially the right smoke generator in a terminal platform could give just the right impression of a set being pre-heated. I suspect photoshop will be a better option though!
  10. Another spare couple of hours sees all the track feeds complete. So just 4 hours, on board 1 of 4 (currently built, probably 12 in total), to complete the simplicity that is DCC’s 2 wires. It’s undoubtedly good news for the UK’s brewing industry. Fans of my all black wiring colour code will be pleased to see the end feeds are all labelled. Next up is the point motor and frog wiring. I need to build a ‘local’ control panel for the points, to simulate the hand points of the depot. Once that’s done, in theory I can run a few trains up and down on that board alone. A good friend of mine observes that a part built model railway is a soul destroying thing and at this stage I’m inclined to agree. My father’s suggestion of build the layout a foot at a time seems to hold some water. At least until I feel inclined to wire the next board up!
  11. The 25 and 31 both stand the test of time very well, but the peak doesn’t really compare that well to the current Bachmann one - at least being 70’s / early 80’s means you don’t need the sealed beam version. I do prefer the modern motors and drive, not to mention the simplicity of DCC ready, but looking at yours I question if the premium is worth it! Whatever you have done to the 31s windows certainly looks worth the effort. Are there any external differences between a 31/0 and a 31/4? Other than the jumper cables?
  12. Putting off wiring is one of my few genuine talents in the field of model railways and I’ve managed to put that skill to good use in recent weeks. Like a defender who inexplicably rounds two strikers and finds himself coolly slotting the ball past his own keeper, so I found myself tonight wielding the soldering iron. Having been short on modelling time of late, a few issues with the 400 year old homestead had put my passion for wiring lower down the list than checking the rodent traps. But with an unexpected evening to myself I poured a very agreeable beer and wandered in to the railway room determined to do something other than wiring. I should probably find a beer forum where I can relax and occasionally mention model trains. Anyway, I’d noticed an annoying track joint that needed sorting, and before I knew it a happy hour had passed and 28 wires had been soldered at both ends. Previously I had soldered every rail to a central busbar under the board to provide a continuous power feed. That is probably a little over the top and resulted in a lot of wire and quite an untidy appearance. This time I’m just jumpering across rail joins. As the rails are soldered too, this should be reliable enough for a layout which won’t be moving very often. Hopefully another opportunity for an ale will appear shortly and I can press on. Potentially if I have a skin-full the layout will pretty much wire itself.
  13. Great discussion this - brilliant to get so much useful information. I was aware of the Deltic turn - but I thought it was York to Shrewsbury. Was that a different turn or bad info? My own chosen period is 86 (for all the same reasons as Peter), but 1981 does keep calling with class 24s, 40s and even a 55 possibility. Steam heat is a tricky modelling option though!
  14. I always like to see a pass/van train. I never got to experience them, bring just too young (or possibly just unaware). I’ve seen a few photos of surprisingly short van trains with a BSK in them being electric hauled, something I’m keen to recreate. Were there any still running to North Wales in the late 80’s? I haven’t seen any pictures, but then there aren’t many of parcels traffic at all, presumably because it was dark! Super evocative photos as ever though.
  15. In fairness 190 of them are just me correcting a previous post...
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