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Everything posted by ejstubbs

  1. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    AIUI it's not the flour that's in short supply, but the equipment for bagging it in retail-sized bags. Hence people are having comparatively little difficulty sourcing direct from mils in 16kg bags (I've done it myself), but once the 0.5-1.5kg bags are gone from the supermarket shelves they take a while to get re-stocked - and then rapidly get snapped up again when they do reappear. That said, the flour shelves in my local Morrisons were groaning with own-brand plain and self raising all last week, so maybe that's one retailer who's got their act together. The Sainsbury's I frequent has had reliable if not bountiful supplies of various types of bread flours e.g. Allinsons Country Grain and Carr's wholemeal. So, like with many other items which are in sporadic supply at the moment (Sainsbury's organic peanut butter, I'm looking at you) one solution is not to be quite so picky about which product you buy (Morrisons 100% peanuts peanut butter proving to be a very acceptable alternative). More of a problem, at least for those of us who like to make our own bread but who CBA with sourdough, is the disappearance of dried yeast. The Sainsbury's I go to sometimes has the boxes of 7g sachets but I prefer to get 100g packets and measure out the quantity I need myself (plus the sachets are appalling VFM cf the 100g packets - Allinsons sachets are three times the £/kg compared to their 100g tins!) Fortunately I have found a local deli that will sell me dried yeast (cheaper than the supermarkets, in fact), as well as a place that does it mail order at not too eye-popping a price if the worst comes to the worst.
  2. You might get a direct answer if you're lucky. Very often, especially on forums like RMWeb with knowledgable and engaged participants, you risk ending up with a rambling thread that still takes time to wade through to get something approximating to an answer. (I'm tempted to cite the "General Theory of Minories" thread, which started out - under a different title - as a simple request for a copy of the track plan, and has now morphed in to a 56-page monster with a tendency towards circularity and a distressing propensity for gazing at its own navel). IMO search engines are a useful first port of call and learning how to formulate a query in order to maximise the chances of getting useful hits without too much 'chaff' is a key skill in this day and age.
  3. Only 52 years? That means that it had only been closed two years when my family moved up to Derby. I was fascinated by the remnants that were still visible in the early 1970s; it's actually pretty gutting to know that I missed seeing it in operation by only a short (comparatively, in the hindsight of late middle age) period of time. I also find it remarkable to think that it was completed only six years after the Stockton and Darlington started operating, especially given the challenging route. When I was exploring it as a youth I never realised that it had such age to it. I certainly remember the wrecked wagon in the runaway pit - ISTR reading that the incident had occurred not all that long before closure. Is the wagon still there?
  4. Simon seems to have re-jigged his web site a bit since I Iast looked at it and I thought when I went and had a look just now that he'd withdrawn the most likely candidate in his range for a UK-image OO turntable - but checking again I see that it's still there: http://www.kitwoodhillmodels.com/on30-10-5-11-25-pit-turntable/ The 10½" one would be just under 67ft in OO. The price isn't too bad either, especially since it includes a good quality drive mechanism. Simon kindly e-mailed me a copy of the instructions when I contacted him about the turntable earlier this year. The most daunting aspect of construction seemed to be forming the running rail for the turntable support wheels to run on; since the wheels do actually run on it rather "floating" above it I think you need to be fairly confident about your ability to form a true circle of rail at about 10" diameter. At that time I was thinking of getting one he had a restricted ordering process: he only opened up order taking for certain items on certain dates, and closed it down again when he had enough orders for a batch. Ordering seems to be more straightforward now, you can just put the turntable in your shopping cart and go to the checkout - though he does say that he will e-mail a copy of the instructions on receipt of the order, which suggests that there may still be some latency between placing an order and receiving the kit. The other kit manufacturer that is regularly mentioned on RMWeb is London Road Models. Their advantage is that their etch kits are based on genuine UK protoypes: they produce kits for 42ft and 50ft version of the Cowans Sheldon turntable. They work out rather more pricey then Kitwood Hill once you factor in the pit base and the drive mechanism, and the construction is likely to be rather more challenging unless you are confident of your ability to assemble etch kits. I'm sure that a quick Google would find a number of threads on RMWeb where people have described their experiences of building the above products. All the above said, I think the OP is really looking for something closer to an RTR option. If they don't want to cut a hole in their baseboard then that would rule out the Peco one - which is actually a kit in the sense that it requires assembly, though it's a rather more straightforward polystyrene affair rather than an etch kit. The Dapol, ex-Airfix kit doesn't require a hole in the baseboard and could also be a contender, of sorts, if you don't mind something not particularly prototypical that would require a fair bit of extra effort to turn it in to a functioning element of a layout. EDIT: There was a useful thread on pretty much this very subject back in 2017. The South Eastern Finecast kits were also mentioned. NOTE: Beware the links to AKA Models, which seems to have ceased trading. To paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi: "These are not the models you are looking for"... (Wouldn't it be nice if people would do a search before starting a brand new thread on a topic that has been fairly comprehensively covered already?)
  5. I think you're reading in to it significantly more than is actually there. As to why, that's another question again.
  6. Not everyone has a smartphone, or a smartphone which still gets updates from the manufacturer. Like mine - an Android phone that was a class leader in its day but which I bought second-hand for comparative peanuts vs the cost of a brand new top of the range phone, and which I run on a cheap SIM-only contract which offers no phone upgrade perks for renewal. And it does everything I want it to. This tracing approach does seem to be based on the assumption that a sufficient proportion of phones out there will get the update, and run an app which uses it, to make the coverage of the overall population sufficient to make the tracing usefully effective. It's almost as if it implicitly relies on the all-too-popular throwaway "upgrade NOW to get umpteen free minutes and a 'free' brand new phone for only £30+ pounds a month" model. That might have worked in South Korea but I'm not sure it's guaranteed to here. IMO the above is at least as much of a barrier to the ultimate usefulness of phone-based tracking as any supposed issues with bluetooth itself. (FWIW my phone has bluetooth switched on all the time and I've never noticed it to be a significant battery drain.) I also wonder whether the fact that so many phones are likely not to be participating actively in the tracing "mesh" is a reason why a centralised approach was felt to be preferable. (That, plus all the hook-ins to the rest of the COVID-19 treatment and support functions that a centralised approach would facilitate, and which appears to have been a major goal of the UK government's abandoned "world beating" app.)
  7. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic it is far, far from being "at your own risk". Which means that The Powers That Be decided that the overall risk of allowing rail travel to continue - with adequate controls (social distancing, screens etc) in place - was acceptable vs the social and economic impacts of shutting services down altogether. Despite its slightly misleading headline, this article from the WSJ does a reasonable job of explaining how the risks of the disease being spread are balanced against the societal risks: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-exactly-do-you-catch-covid-19-there-is-a-growing-consensus-11592317650
  8. For those who might be interested, below are a couple of photos of how my Really Useful boxes are set up: Locos stored in Peco Loco Lifts within a 10 litre Really Useful box. Wagons stored in an 11 litre Really Useful box, using foamboard separators faced with 1mm foam sheet.
  9. Do you still get enough passing clearance with that reduced separation? Apologies for the delay in answering your question. In common with others as mentioned earlier in this thread, I don't actually run two trains at once as a matter of normal practice on my layout. However, I have done some quick checks this morning and I can confirm that, with my Dapol LMS 12-wheel restaurant car straddling a 3rd radius curve on the outer track, a Hornby 57ft LMS coach can pass on the 3rd radius inner curve with ~4mm clearance at the closest point. The result is similar the other way round i.e. the 57ft coach stradding the 3rd radius on the outer curve and the 12-wheeler traversing the 3rd radius inner curve. Those are the longest items of stock I have, and they probably have the widest end throw (although one or two of my locos might be a tad worse in that respect - it didn't occur to me to test with them). I suspect that with longer modern stock and diesel or electric traction the clearances might be a bit squeaky.
  10. A pal of mine has worked for years in the property business in the City of London. Those guys know every nook and cranny of the place. He pronounces Minories with a short "i". This is supported by the Wikipedia article about the parish, which gives the IPA pronunciation of the "i" as: "as in kit or historic". There is basically no argument that the short "i" is the standard pronunciation for the area of the City of London. Confusingly, though, the word from which the name derives, "minoress" is pronounced with a long "i" as in "my" (per the OED). A minoress is a member of the Second Order of St Francis aka the Poor Clares. The placename arises from historic locations of abbeys and monasteries of the order; as well as the City of London there are examples in other towns and cities in the UK including Birmingham, Colchester, Newcastle upon Tyne and Stratford-upon-Avon.
  11. I suspect that the vast majority of the general public would understand why it has to be done. More to the point, I doubt that the general public compare heritage railway fares against alternative forms of travel*. More likely they compare it to the cost of alternative forms of entertainment - and I suspect that a fair few of those will find themselves facing similar pressures to maintain revenue while being constrained in the number of customers they can service at any one time. Which is not to say that heritage railways, along with many other attractions, are going to face continuing challenges to keep their businesses (a) running and (b) profitable as lockdown eases. I suspect (or maybe that should be "hope") that many if not most such concerns will not be able to operate from day one exactly as they were pre-Covid-19. * Speaking of which, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the airlines did something similar, after an initial cut-price bonanza period to get people flying again.
  12. Locos I store in Peco Loco Lifts, which in turn are kept in 10 litre Really Useful boxes. Using the loco lifts mean that I can deploy and recover the locos with minimal handling, which helps to minimise the risk of modern detail parts getting damaged by fat fingers. I use plugs of upholstery foam to stop the locos sliding back and forth inside the loco lifts. Coaches and wagons I store in 11 lite Really Useful boxes, with dividers made from foamboard faced with 1mm thick self-adhesive foam sheet (available from HobbyCraft amongst other suppliers). Where I need to adjust the snugness of the packing within the Really Useful boxes I use suitable trimmed pieces of non-self-adhesive 1mm foam sheet. I also put a large sheet of 1mm foam on the 'floor' of the Really Useful box (you can get A3 sheets that you can cut down to the requisite size.) I find that coaches and wagons, being lighter than locos, don't need to be held so firmly and so are less prone to damage to the detail parts anyway. I also pack out the lids of the Really Useful boxes with foamboard faced with 1mm foam sheet.
  13. I reckon you can get away with using 3rd and 4th setrack radius curves with streamline track spacing, without it looking odd, if you mix and match a bit. Here's a fragment with part numbers shown, based on the curve in to the fiddle yard on my layout: The bits of flexi are dead straight so could be cut from setrack straights if preferred (which is what I usually do). Am I right in thinking that your plan is based on medium and long radius Streamline turnouts, and doesn't use any short radius at all?
  14. The version of Minories in Plan SP37 of my edition of 60 Plans... (the one where it runs out and back round a reverse curve surrounding a large loco depot) has a curved approach, albeit with a right-hand curve on the approach vs the left-hand-curved approach in your example. I reckon if CJF drew it, it counts!
  15. By and large this is correct, although there are variations e.g. the Peco diamond crossing is symmetrical while Hornby does left and right handed versions (and Bachmann doesn't do one at all). Also, Peco does two straights which are shorter than the standard 168mm single straight, at 41mm and 79mm respectively, whereas Hornby and Bachmann each do a single 38mm short straight. And Peco don't do the larger radius "express" points which are roughly 1300mm nominal radius at a diverging angle of 11.25°, with a crossover of express points giving the same 67mm track spacing that a crossover of the normal 2nd radius points does.
  16. The R6xx catalogue numbers are the old System Six part numbers. System Six turnouts were (nominally) second radius. AIUI the newer R8xxx turnouts are the same geometry (length, nominal radius etc) but they have shallower flangeways through the common crossing and so on, so can cause problems with older stock with coarser wheel profiles. Almost all of the plain track sections (straights and curves, and even the diamond crossings) in Hornby's current catalogue/in their web shop for OO still have the old System Six R6xx part numbers because there's no flangeways to have been modified. The 4th radius curves have R8xxx part numbers because there wasn't any 4th radius in the original System Six range.
  17. The informed guidance I've seen on the use of masks that says once you've put a mask on you shouldn't take it off until you reach 'home' - buy which it seems to mean some place where you can either safely dispose of the mask (if it's not reusable) or else immediately place it in a soap/detergent solution and thence to a hand or machine wash. Someone following that guidance would be justified in not wearing their mask on the drive to the supermarket but, having put the mask on prior to entering the supermarket, keeping it on for the drive home after leaving the supermarket. More generally: doctors and nurses are trained endlessly* in the correct use of PPE including masks and gloves to reduce the risk of infection or transmission of pathogens. At the moment the general public are basically being told "wear a mask" and left to get on with it. That sort of approach can IMO only significantly reduce the overall effectiveness of mask wearing, and I suspect may be a significant factor in the ongoing debate about its true value. The biggest fail I have seen so far with mask wearing is people walking around between shops with their masks pulled down under their chin. AIUI a mask should either be on, or safely disposed of/prepared for sanitisation. Also observed today: a disposable face mask thrown away in long grass next to a track across open country. So they're adding to litter as well (which was almost predictable really, given the antisocial habits that some people exhibit). However, and especially since the actual regulation seems to give the option of a "covering' rather than an actual mask, I suspect that what the governments various are really indulging in is a rather pathetic bit of better-safe-then-sorry/must-be-seen-to-be-doing-something-ism. Which is not to say that the use of masks isn't necessary beneficial, but it needs more than a binary wearing/not wearing to make it actually worthwhile - rather than just a bit of we're-all-having-to-make-sacrifices theatre. * When my wife was working as a dental nurse the subject came up in her continuous professional development with monotonous regularity. Often the guidance changed from one iteration to the next, which wasn't particularly helpful.
  18. And another option is to use a latching relay like the Gaugemaster GM500. You wire it so that it's triggered by the same pulse that fires the point motor (same as wiring two SEEPs to switch a crossover).
  19. DCC Train Automation also do the cheaper MP1 which works like a stall motor i.e. it doesn't need a momentary switch - although it doesn't stall, it switches itself off at the end of travel. The MP6 uses a pulse to trigger the movement although it can be run from any 9-16V DC supply, it doesn't need a CDU to provide the 'whack'. You also need to provide separate continuous DC power to the motor itself. AFAICS it uses the pulse to trigger an internal switch that connects the continuous power to the motor, which then switches itself off again at the end of its travel. I actually struggle to understand the value of this approach, unless it's that if you're replacing a solenoid motor you don't have to swap out the momentary switch as well. Or maybe it's for use with separate DCC decoders - but the MP7 seems to be intended for that (I know less than zip about DCC so this is purely a wild guess - and this is the non-DCC subforum, after all). There is also an MP5, which is similar to the MP1 but has more internal polarity switches and a similar plug-and-play connector to the MP6. There is discussion about the early versions of the MTB motors here. The manufacturer's web site is here but beware: most of it is in Czech, even if you select English as the language. (I guess Chrome's translation facility would be helpful here.) A bit of digging around should unearth other potential suppliers of the MTB motors.
  20. ejstubbs

    Panic buying

    Meanwhile, in the supermarkets I shop in I haven't been able to buy milk in 1 pint cartons for the past few weeks, while 2 pint cartons have been in good supply. Which is annoying because SWMBO occasionally asks for full cream milk for a recipe dish and 2 pints is way more than she needs. Annoying, but not the end of the world.
  21. Why? Unless I'm missing something fundamental (which I'll admit is entirely possible) it seems to me to work OK for left-hand running as it is. Better, in some ways, as it avoids the immediate reverse curve on arrival in to "platform 1". (Not so much of a problem on departure because more of the passengers are likely to be seated? OK, not such a strong argument if the services are likely to be full-to-standing on a regular basis.)
  22. I note that that plan also has the straight run in to the longer loco stabling siding as suggested by t-b-g the other day.
  23. There's a thread here that goes in to some discussion about the different phases of the station layout at Caterham.
  24. I think some people put the signal box in the space created by the curved access to the stabling point - such as in Canons Cross - although CJF's quasi-isometric diagram in the edition of 60 Plans... that I have shows the signal cabin next to the down (arrivals) line.
  25. It's not necessary to write down the card details to take payment over the phone, but the point is that there's nothing to stop people doing it. Equally, as I mentioned above, depending on where you happen to be at the time there's a risk of being eavesdropped. (The other day I was reading out my card details to a local wine merchant and I realised that I was right next to a wide open window and there were quite likely neighbours enjoying the warm weather just the other side of the garden fence who could no doubt have earwigged had they been so inclined.) It's amazing how people can go in to a 'bubble'. I was once on a train where the guy sat opposite me was having a conversation on his mobile with a colleague about another colleague's disciplinary. It was peak period and I couldn't help thinking when he got off the train that a good few other people leaving the train at that station were likely heading to the same office as him - and one or more of them could very well have known the colleague being discussed. Not phone related, but I was once sat next to a chap on a train who was reading a file of witness statements for an upcoming court case (the charge was pretty serious, to the extent that it had already been widely reported in the media). He had them laid out on the table in front of us both. The defendant's name was at the top of every one. You'd think that a lawyer would have at least a passing acquaintance with data protection law, wouldn't you?
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