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    Orgreave Coke Works, Sheffield

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  1. John, The only place where I found the Xuron to be unsuitable is cutting a rail at a baseboard join where I have, in preparation, soldered the underside of the rail to some brass screws embedded in the baseboard top. The 'shock' of the Xuron cutting can, sometimes, cause the solder joint to fail. Ian
  2. I've been using the same Xuron cutters for quite a while. They made a good job of cutting the rail from above (ie: the blades cut into the sides of the rail). Just be aware that one side of the cut is nice and flush but the other is 'squashed' and needs a lot of fettling. However, since you are generally discarding the rail from one side of the cut it's no issue. Here's the M2175 cutter: And here's how much space you'll need. It looks like you'll get away with 15cm, if you can grip the cutters in that space: However, you can cut with much less vertical space using a Dremel (or equivalent). I have an Ozito model (below) with a flexible shaft attachment. Using a typical 30mm cutting disc, you'd be able to comfortably cut in a space of ~75mm (3 inches) without problem. The hardest part is getting the cut perpendicular to the rail, but it does give you a nice neat cut. Hope this helps. Ian
  3. ISW


    Darius, I really like those 'rail' barriers, nice idea. However, I think I prefer them in 'au natural' rusty colour. Great use of off-cuts of rail, of which I have plenty. Ian
  4. Still Fettling ... The model railway hasn't made a lot of 'progress' over the last few months, but that's not to say that 'nothing' happened. The p/way gang was out recently relaying a curve on Baseboard C (the 'middle' one, not the Upper and not the Lower; where access is really easy 'orrible) where the Ramp meets the Upper Level. It's been a pain for sometime being quite a tight curve (500mm) on a vertical curve (top of a Ramp) and crossing the join between Baseboards C & D. Not one of my better design solutions! I'd been having occasional derailments of coaches on that curve, which I put down to a rather wide fishplate joint (~2mm) part way round the curve. Then I started getting buffer-lock on some Lima PGA wagons, which was odd as it's not the tightest of curves. However, investigation showed the curve to be a right lash-up of radii, one being far too tight. Hence the buffer lock. So, out came Upper Level Baseboards C & D to give better access and the entire offending curve was lifted. Out came my 500mm plastic Railway Curve and a 'corrected' alignment drawn onto the baseboard. I moved it a good 5mm in some parts with a single smooth radii. No wonder I was having problems. A new length of flexiTrack was cut to length and installed. Result; a much better alignment and no more derailments and/or buffer locking. Meanwhile, over on the rolling stock bench, I've been 'improving' the coupling of my NEM pocketed coaches. I don't know about the rest of you, but I find it easier (and more reliable) to fit Kadees to rolling stock that doesn't have an NEM pocket. It doesn't help that just about all my, secondhand, coaches have the NEM pocket at the 'wrong' height. My original solution was one that 'others' have recommended, that of screwing Kadee #18/19/20 to the underside of the NEM pocket, like this: One of the issues with this method is that any 'pulling force' on the coupler tends to lift it upwards due to the 'slop' built into the cam mechanism of the coupling over the bogie. I'd got a little fed up with these coaches becoming uncoupled on my Ramps (where the coupling force is obviously larger). The obvious solution would be a 'centreset' NEM Kadee coupler, but they don't exist. The Kadee #17/18/19/20 are all 'underset'. Well, I've been recently using quite a few HP0787 couplers from AliExpress and they are made of plastic and are 'centreset'. So a plan was formulated to 'butcher' these to make them NEM 'compatible'. The photo below shows the 'butchering' process (top - HP0787 coupling, middle - after come cutting, bottom - after warming over a flame and deforming the end): The resulting 'coupler' now slides into the NEM socket and can be permanently retained with a screw: And, yes, it's the correct height as checked against my Kadee coupling height buffer. I did have to 'trim' some plastic off the underside of the bufferbeam on one coach, but otherwise it works perfectly. Another advantage is that the process is reversible and the NEM pocket used for other couplings (eg: tension lock). Ian
  5. Try the following YouTube video. He has some good ideas / methods for weathering track (and you can get the Vallejo paints quite easily in UK) to give you your desired 'brown' look: Ian
  6. Rob, While stabled in the platform, is there any heating provided to the sleeper cars, or do they just 'cool off' as time passes by? I suppose that could be one way to ensure the patrons don't overstay in the coaches ... Ian
  7. Ian, The PowerCab only gives out a slight buzz and for a very short duration. The screen goes blank and resets (rinses and repeats ...), so if you're not looking at the screen it's easy to miss the short circuit being detected. The solution I adopted was to use a MERG Kit #57, like the one show below. As the name implies, it comes as a kit which you then solder together. At ~£10 each (from a MERG member) they are a cheap ready designed solution. The buzzer is plenty loud enough and sure gets your attention. The speed of detection is variable (using the jumper block) but is still quicker than the PowerCab. Once a short circuit has been removed, things return to where they were before the fault so no need to restart the loco(s) (although the front/tail lights tend to go off). Fairly easy to build, and I've used 8 of them for different Power Districts. Ian
  8. Rob, Couldn't agree more, although I do think that the Large Logo was acceptable on Class 56s, where it was original from new on some examples. Made trainspotting a lot easier though! Ian
  9. Phil, Thanks for the explanation. I only asked because such ramps were specified for Singapore Metro Phase 1 (back in 1985) where I was working for the Contractor. Except that this was an under running third rail. We tried umpteen times to get the design to work, but in the end proved that the movement of the collector shoe was such that we couldn't design a side-approach ramp that was inside the envelope provided and always 'collect' the shoe. In the end the Client accepted our explanation / calculations and we 'made do' with gaps at all turnouts. Ian
  10. Dave, No side approach ramps, or did they 'bite the dust' during some BR design rationalisation? Ian
  11. Wouldn't it have been easier to wire-wrap a scapel blade onto a soldering tip instead? The blade will heat up, eventually. That way you don't have to sacrifice a solder tip. Just a thought ... Ian
  12. Have you tried the Colour Rail website (https://colourrail.co.uk/gallery/traction). On the Class 123 page there are a few external colour photos of them in green. Then there is this one in "BR 1st Generation DMUs" (Stuart Mackay): Hopefully you can make out the curtain colour (or is that the interior?). Ian
  13. Here's a few more to add to your list: Use AliExpress for accessories / scenic items. Yes, the quality isn't quite so good, but this can generally fixed with a little work. Allow ~1-month for delivery though. Consider buying a simple airbrush. Then you can change the livery of those TheBay purchases. If you have 'some' soldering experience, and enjoy jigsaw puzzles, then consider buying electronic kits instead of pre-built items (eg: MERG kits). 'Do up' those old Lima coaches and wagons. With a little work they can look 90% of the expensive current crop of vehicles at <25% of the price. Ian
  14. Gonk43, I'm not sure what the Rules are regarding where BR fitted protection boards on third rail. In platforms they seem to be installed in terminating platforms, but not through platforms (because of coupling / uncoupling, watering, maintenance?). I'd put protection boards in MPDs where there are footpaths, but not everywhere. In sidings, again, I'd be putting protection boards only where there is constant access by way of footpaths or cinder paths between tracks; ie: where access is needed for coupling / uncoupling, watering, etc. If you can, find photographs of the area you are modelling, or somewhere 'equivalent' to it. Ian
  15. Plenty of books to choose from. I have "Southern Electric, Volume 2" (David Brown) and "Southern Electric Album" (Alan Williams) that includes plenty of photos. However, I'd imagine that if you placed the third rail to the correct layout (especially at turnouts / crossovers), with the requisite overlaps and jumper cables, it'd look very good. Don't forget to add the timber 'protection' boards either side in platform / crossover areas. Do you plan to install proper 'side approach ramps' at turnouts to add to the realism? Ian
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