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  1. I’d not heard of the pub - but it looks like a potential model and would fit nicely with my idea to somehow incorporate the canal into the west end of the layout. Of course, you can’t model a pub without a site visit…
  2. It is a real place… amazing more people haven’t modelled it really!
  3. I keep meaning to draw the wider area out properly. Every now and then I refer to my Quail maps (Railway Track Maps); they are from circa 2010, so shouldn’t be too far out, but the routes are hard to follow being split across so many pages. I’m not sure if I cut the maps out if they’ll align correctly.
  4. The Trafford Park liner is booked through to Crewe in the WTT.
  5. There’s a couple of against the flow freightliners in the timetable, but otherwise it looks like 4 inland in the morning and 4 back to the coast in the evening. I can’t recall if any need to reverse at Christleton, but one or two will certainly change traction - which helps with a similar but not as pronounced offset of passenger movements.
  6. Not much to report, but the fleet of 250ml paint tins are out on a typical Saturday night possession of the Down Warringtons gluing the (now 1mm) super elevated track in place. A shortage of 250s has resulted in the big boys coming out too. The new Holyhead yard alignment is shown with a full compliment of stock ready to go. You really have to like Sulzers for North Wales in 86. The Crewe yard is similarly busy, and only one Sulzer… There’s some space to the left of the Crewe sidings where I still need to lay the remaining Warrington sidings. I have some surplus stock and track to sell on a well known internet auction site with which I hope the purchase of the 5 points and 6 yards of track will be cost neutral. Meanwhile there’s been a little test of the electric stabling siding capacity. There are occasions when the timetable means that stabling 3 electric locos would be really handy. It appears that such a possibility exists, although it does mean the third loco will stable on the hand points. Not the end of the world. An 86 in stripey colours would fit nicely.
  7. Given the price of 117s, and the fact that I can really only accommodate 2 car units, I’ll probably be happy with 108s. At some point in the future when I’m further on with the layout, I do fancy bashing some units, so a 116 and 127 from old Lima 117s are possible targets.
  8. I’m doing midweek - possibly a Friday to justify one or two additional trains, but I think you’re right about Saturdays. Not only do they need more trains and passengers, I won’t ever be able to store them all. Plus, I do really like the mundane every day world, not the one offs. Going through the working timetable really does open your eyes to what actually happened, rather than what you think happened. It’s much better than the photographic record, because a lot of stuff simply wasn’t recorded - people had preferences such as locos over units, but also day over night. I doubt I’ll ever find a photo of the 3am DPU! The timetable also adds trains you didn’t know about. Just last night I realised there was a Holyhead to Euston sleeper (but no return, the sleeper coach came up on the 17.05 from Euston). This gives me a potential issue as I’d really like to include it, but I’m not sure if a mk3 will fit through the platforms. As I’m not really happy with the platforms (they need some adjustments for clearance- one or two places are too tight, plus the tops aren’t thick enough), a cheap Lima mk3 could be an interesting decision maker! Meanwhile I’m also considering units. Some further research shows 117s are basically hen’s teeth, so can be ignored. A 104 is a definite, plus probably another 108. I don’t really like the look of the Bachmann 101 so the jury is currently out on that one. A 120 seems like a remote possibility - probably in the same category of my long wanted 304! I really wanted a model railway with 45s on PV mk2s, but modelling a “realish” location makes it so much more than that.
  9. I think both could be seen at Chester in 86. The 104s were regulars, but the 117s probably only on excursions.
  10. I’ve made a limited amount of progress with the layout, the super super elevation has been reduced to 1mm. The tracks are currently in the process of being glued into place. With the fiddle yard configurations improved I’ve been spending some time reworking the timetable. Previously I’d got from midnight to around 08.00 before the complexity of the timetable and inflexibility of the storage yards became too big a problem. There are a number of things I’ve done that I think have made it more workable, as well as having the various fiddle yard links: 1. I have allocated specific fiddle yard roads for each movement. This prevents 7 trains being allocated to a 6 siding fiddle yard. 2. The linked yards have massively reduced the volume of stock required. So far I can pretty much cover all the required moves with existing stock (so just one freightliner set, not 4!). The unit requirement is down from 13 to 5 (current fleet is just 2). One of the units could be an EMU. The real timetable has 5 units in the station together, so I can’t go below that realistically. With the Bachmann 117 and Heljan 104 that should make a nice fleet. 3. I hadn’t previously allocated storage space to unused stock. For example the relief rake of mk1s isn’t utilised before 8am, but it still needs to live somewhere. When I ran the previous timetable trains ended up not having space to run to, the new approach looks to have solved this, at least on paper. 4. I’ve had to do some minor alterations to sequence and timings to ensure that fiddle yard roads are freed up for incoming movements. I’ve also had to add an extra parcels service to balance the stock. Hopefully I have enough now to do a running test of the first 8 hours and confirm it works so far. After 8am it doesn’t look to get any more complex and the Up/Down balance looks ok. Watch this space for some photos and maybe even videos as I put the timetable to the test!
  11. With a very successful running session underway I couldn’t resist mocking up the West end bridge and backscene. First an overall view. The carriage sidings and Chester lines disappear under a road bridge, with the road carrying on alongside the curving Warrington lines. I’ve inclined the Warrington lines, and I suspect my cant (steady) is too high. There’s a hint of rollercoaster to the track here (C.187s if you know what they are). It’s currently a 3mm cant, which was a figure I got from somewhere, but maximum cant is usually 6”, so 2mm may be better. A visitor or two are probably required to help judgement.
  12. Minimum visible radius is 900mm - the mainlines on the far right. Minimum hidden radius is 600mm - the track you highlight. I suspect the camera is making is look tighter than it actually is. The two vans are test vehicles, being long wheel-based twin axle trucks with both long buffer shanks and 3 link couplings. Experience shows that less than 600mm results in buffer lock. Set track points with a 450mm radius proved to be too tight. I cut a long piece of hardboard into a curve with 600 on one side and 650 on the other. You can use this to mark up the baseboard and also to form flexitrack against to get a smooth curve. I think the prototype minimum radius is 5 chains, or 1320mm, which shows how much stress we put on our models!
  13. Almost there… time for some trial running, particularly of some of the timetabled freight moves to check the layout has the flexibility that I want. Once I’m happy with it, I have some more backboard to put up behind the Warrington lines to hide the Holyhead sidings, then I can finally get the backscene up. Which is where I started about 3 months ago! The carriage sidings still need extending and I’d like another RH point in the rat run between carriage sidings and the double slip; I should be able to get enough length for a 3 car DMU. At the other end of the Holyhead yard, there’s a new connection to either Warrington or Crewe. The crossover has moved on to the lifting section to allow a longer scenic run on the Warrington’s. The second point on the right needs upgrading to code 75, which will allow an additional road in between the tankers and the peak. There’s also a connection gone in to allow a through road where the 08 is currently ‘stabled’.
  14. I haven’t really started looking at them yet, although I definitely have an eye out for cunning solutions! How accurately do you have to park over neodymium magnets? Some of my stopping points would probably benefit from around 50mm of uncoupling zone.
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