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The Johnster

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  1. Are we talking about the WR, LMR, or both. On the WR, class 116 3-car sets were introduced into the Birmingham area in 1958 IIRC, in the unlined green 'speed whisker' livery and without gangways. Nobody has ever done an RTR model of this and whilst it is possible to make a reasonable representation by cut'n'shutting Lima or Bachmann 117s, it is an expensive and time consuming game needing 5 coaches to prise a 3-car unit out of*, especially at Bachmann prices. You have to remove the headcode panels and replace them with smaller destination board panels. These ran with class 122 bubble cars and DTS trailers as well, but these did not appear until the early 60s. There were also Swindon Cross Country sets used on Cardiff-Birmingham services, and also not available in RTR form. I know this is not what you want to read if you are modelling the WR side of Birmingham's railways, but this is the state of play, Swindon Cross Country 120s are high scorers in wishlist polls and have been for some time, but no manufacturer has yet taken the hint. 116s seem very unlikely since Bachmann's repeat of the 117, only suitable for London area in your period. The GWR railcars, both 'flying banana' and 'razor' styles, ran in the Birmingham area, though TTBOMK the flying bananas did not survive long enough to recieve green livery and ended their days in early BR crimson and cream. Crimson/cream and lined green 'razors' could be both seen, though. These are available as RTR models, Lima/Hornby doing the 'razor' single car and twin set types, and Heljan doing the 'flying banana'. Auto traliers operated with auto fitted steam locomotives in a push-pull setup, the train being driven from the auto trailer cab when the locomotive was propelling it; these are not the same thing as a dmu or diesel railcar and were not compatible with them. They did run in the Birmingham area, though. Over at New Street, the LMR featured Metro-Cammell, Cravens, and Derby (class 108) types, all of which are readily available in RTR, and the BRCW class 104s, which aren't. *I know, having done exactly this with Lima donors some 40 years ago. when they were insanely cheap even for those days. I still have the set, and it still runs reasonably well.
  2. That thing is making my eyes go funny. I had a bit of a flirtation with 009 in the 70s, lots of fun, and the Roco diesel was available then. Don't know if the mech has been updated in the intervening half century, but it wasn't a bad performer; main drawback was the cab full of motor. The corresponding steam loco, which I'm not sure is still produced, an outside cylindered 0-6-0T, was not so good; same mech but the motion defeated it IMHO. Eggerbahn stuff was superb, and Playtrains did a range of Decauville including a loco; mine never ran properly, I did some kitbashing with Arnold and Minitrix mechs which were pretty good runners. Avoid the temptation to use N gauge chassis for wagons or coaches, as they are far too high off the ground, and to use 00 coach kits (such as Ratio 4 wheelers) as the proportions of the windows and sides are not right; narrow gauge coaches are lower to the ground and lower at cantrail level, so the windows, while occupying the same proportion of the height of the sides, are lesser in actual height. The Playtrains Decauville open 'toastrack' coaches were a good basis to build British looking compartment coaches on to. A staple in those days for loco kitbashing was the Airfix L&Y pug, which was small enough to pass muster with a narrower running plate, the rear section of the tank/boiler removed, and the cab cut down, and put on an 0-4-0 Arnold mech. There's narrow gauge and then there's narrow gauge, and the basic look and type of stock you'd see on a quarry or industrial system is radically different to the 'light railway' examples, which are in turn radically different to something like the Ffestiniog/Welsh Highland empire, effectively a full on main line only smaller. Platforms are in general low or ground level, and while station buildings are the same as 00, they are likely to be small buildings. Loco and goods sheds are on a different scale altogther, and will be lower with smaller entrances. Same goes for European prototypes. But N gauge loco and goods sheds are too small, as are the bricks or stones they are built of. I used a modified N gauge church kit as my loco shed (in Wales the chapels look like engine sheds and the engine sheds look like chapels).
  3. Further minor progress in the colliery yard, in that the pile of coal that Faller provide to help support the end of the covered conveyor gallery of the kit, which looks more like a poor plastic rendition of the Creature From The Black Lagoon than a pile of coal, even German coal, has been coated in pva and sprinkled with coal, real coal, mined at Big Pit in Blaenafon by Tomparryharry of this very parish as ever is. I've also made some cardboard wagonload supports and pva-ed some of this coal to them to make removable loads to facilitate the colliery working. The idea is that the loads will be removed when the BR loco arrives with a loaded train in the coal road in the fy, and put back into the wagons after they have been placed in batches of four under the loader. I have decided that my 21tonners are causing running problems and have, for now, withdrawn them from service pending acquistion of more to make a full train, which will also have removable loads. A fun and messy evening... Unloading the wagons by hand on the back road of the fy will mean a rethink of my stock storage system, a shelf unit above the fy. Mounting it higher is the simplest solution, and preserves the idea that the stock should be kept near the fy where it is to hand when needed. But there is a limit to how much higher I can have it without losing easy access to the top shelves (eat up all your greens, children, like mummy says, or you won't grow big and tall and be able to reach your stock on the top shelf when you grow up, look what happened to me. It's taken 60 odd years for it to be a problem, mind, so I haven't done badly). There is now more space on the fy side of the scenic break on the boards for storage, though, which means that I don't need a shelf for locos. so I may be able to get away with dispensing with the lowest shelf so that I have more working headroom. I've ordered a Will's weighbridge kit to convert to rail use (I really want the Coopercraft one, but there you go) and am giving some thought as to how to site it I think I am right in saying that, remembering watching weighbridge operations at Nantgarw in the late 60s, the train is drawn over the bridge plate, which is locked out of use, until the last wagon is clear of the plate. The locking mechanism is released and the loco propels wagons on to it individually, stopping so that each one can be weighed and drawing forward a wagon at a time. When the last wagon is clear, the bridge is locked out of use and becomes an ordinary bit of track, but the loco is not allowed on the plate when it is in operating mode. A 'reach wagon' is needed to accomplish this If this is wrong, I'd like to be told so that I can operate my colliery correctly! Ready to start the scenery, building the ground up with sheets of cardboard before applying plaster as the final surface, then painting brown, black in the colliery area. Think I said I'd have it all finished by New Year's, luckily I don't think I specified which new year,,,
  4. I remember some very disparaging comments made in South Wales about household coal that originated in other parts of the UK - the Midlands in particular. I can confirm this from my own childhood experience. We obtained our coal from a merchant sited in the yard at Salisbury Road, in the vee between the Taff Vale and Rhymney formed by Crockherbtown Jc, and he normally provided us with Welsh house coal, but there was a shortage in the cold winter of 1963 and we had some foreign stuff, Midland I think. It was excessively smokey and dusty, and the excess dust made the fire hard to light because of oxygen starvation, and it didn't give out as much heat according to recieved wisdom in our house. Aunty Nora, who lived in Tamworth and was sometimes visited, used it and her fire was much harder work and dirtier than ours. I became familiar with Kent and Yorkshire house coal when my sister got married and moved to Lydd on the Romney Marshes and Selby in Yorkshire respectively (her husband was an electrical engineer and worked for G.E.C, installing switchgear in new build power stations, Dungeness and Drax respectively in these cases). They were both, by South Wales standards, a bit grey in colour and noticeably 'gassy', with spurty flames of ignited methane that had been sitting there for 300 million years or so enlivening the experience. They seemed harder to light but went well enough once you'd got them going.
  5. I am not sure what the position was regarding B-G's patent and building B-G type locomotives in house at Swindon. I agree that the best B-G type locomotive for the Western Valley iron ore traffic would have been one designed and built by B-G, but as this is 'imaginary locomotives', let's assume that Swindon decided to build a locomotive laid out as something like a B-G out of Churchwardian standard components. 4 cylinders of the same size as those on a 42xx (and 5202, 72xx, Saint, Star, Churchward County, 28xx, original 47xx, Grange, and large prairie) need to be supplied with steam by a boiler big enough for the job and able to raise steam at a rate consistent with keeping the boiler to pressure while working hard for fairly long continuous periods at low speed. We want to up the load from 26 wagons assisted from Aberbeeg (42xx/5202) to as many as possible ideally worked throughout unassisted. Lets say 40 wagons. The taper boiler is lighter at one end than the other but this can be offset by repositoning the leading bogie pivot. I'd say that the no.4 of the 42xx/5202 would struggle with 4 cylinders of that size with that steamraising requirement. A no.1 boiler managed to supply enough steam for a 4-cylinder Star, often working hard out to Savernake with heavy expresses, so might do the job. But it is a bit too close for comfort, and the Castle boiler is probably a better idea, a proven steamraiser also capable of feeding 4 hungry cylinders with manual firing. There are bigger boilers of course, those from the 47xx and King, but there are weight and possibly loading gauge overhang issues now. There's also The Great Bear, yeah, right... The motion and valve gear would be the standard Swindon affair with inside Walchaerts, and as we are not bound by B-G's patents, I would prefer to see the engines at the inner ends of the power bogies where they are closer to the boiler, and less heat is lost in the steam pipes. I would also prefer to see chimneys and exhaust arrangements for each bogie carried on the bogie, though a chimney and conventional smokebox is needed for the boiler. The boiler can be mounted quite low in the frames of the central section which will make the fireman's job easier. I doubt if my 40-wagon unassisted train can be done with this boiler, but it might manage 31 unassisted (the assisted 9F load) or 40 assisted from Aberbeeg. It would be a long beast, though, and might fall foul of headshunt length at the steelworks end; I don't know enough about this to be certain, but flag it up as something to be aware of. Assistance from Aberbeeg was less the deal breaker it might first appear, as practice was to leave the train loco and the banker coupled while the hoppers were emptied at the steelworks, and use the banker as the train locomotive on the run back down the bank to Aberbeeg. where the banker cut off for it's next job and the van and original train loco were run around, the original train loco having acted as a steam powered brake van on the descent. This saved time at the steelworks and gave a good rear brake down to Aberbeeg, not a place you wanted to be running away through... I'd suggest another possibility, allowable as this is 'imaginary locomotives'; a new Swindon boiler based on the no.4 but increased in diameter to the limit of the loading gauge, a short fat boiler, more in line with B-G practice and perhaps employing a wider firebox than Swindon was used to as it doesn't have to fit between the frames. This format was very successful in the Canadian Pacifc F class 4-4-4. The Swindon no.4 could 'steam on a candle' (Harold Gasson discussing City of Truro' career at Didcot in the late 50s), and a fattened version seems to be a viable propostion for the Western Valley.Garratt.
  6. You could stuff strips of foam rubber inside, but as Rex says the motor will need space around it, to keep it cool as well as the sound deadening material. If noise is being caused by the motor vibrating against the inside of the bodyshell, you will probably see exactly where this is happening as there will be a mark or scratch at that location. A strip of foam rubber here will absorb the mechanical noise caused by the rapid repeated contact between motor and bodyshell. But your motor shouldn’t be vibrating in he first place, and you may need to cure the cause as well as the effect. I would look at the mounting screws and check that they are a) all present and correct, and b) tightened. My memory of Trix mechs (CKD Western in my case) is that they were well engineered, ran like sewing machines, and were pretty smooth and quiet by the standards of the day; bag of nails in a tumble dryer suggests that there are more fundamental issues to be addressed. What is the slow running like and does she stop and start smoothly?
  7. True, but the smaller pregrouping companies, and more than a few of the fairly large ones for that matter, bought in their ragbags of locomotives off the shelf from the big manufacturers; Stephensons, Sharp Stewart, Beyer Peacock and the rest, and those people did have spare boilers for most of their 'standard' classes. Even the smallest had workshops capable of pretty much any work required short of complete rebuilds, and had boilersmiths on hand to look after their boilers. Some tended to favour a particular manufacturers' products, such as the Barry with it's Sharp Stewarts, and the availability of spares and back up parts must have been a major advantatge for this. The Barry is an example of a complete railway bought off the shelf, the result of the business ambitions of David Davies of Ocean Collieriers, who decided he wanted a railway and a port to export his coal from bypassing Cardiff Docks. So he formed the company, and it bought in locomotives, rolling stock, signalling equipment, everything you needed for a full sized train set, from outside manufacturers, and built a workshop on Barry Docks to keep it all running. Even companies that built some of their own locomotives, like the Taff Vale, or designed their own and had them built like the Rhymney, bought in rolling stock and signalling equipment; only the very biggest concerns, the likes of the GW, LNW, Midland, were able to do it all in-house, and even these bought in when it was convenient for them to do so. They were prevented by law from building locomotives or stock to sell on, though of course their products did find their way to other railways via the secondhand trade.
  8. I found that my cleaning regime could become significantly more relaxed if one removes as far as possible the formers and spreaders of crud. Formers of crud; anywhere that arcing is likely to occur. Pay particular attention to:- .laying track as level and as smoothly joined as possible, so that the pickup wheels sit properly on the railhead and do not, even momentarily. lose contact with it. .ensuring that sideplay on pickup wheelsets is not restricted and that both the pickups remain in contact with the rear of the wheels across the full range of the sideplay. .ensuring that point blades and closure rails are clean at the contact point, or carbon deposit will build up. This will be more noticeable if you use insulfrog setrack turnouts on DC layouts to direct the current where you want it, but needs to be looked at even if you wire around the insulfrogs in DC or use DCC, as it will cause running problems eventually. .keep an eye on flangeways; detritis here, even a grain of ballast, can lift wheels and cause arcing, your carbon enemy. I have a set of pound shop childrens' nylon bristle paintbrushes which are u/s for painting with but perfect for sweeping out my flangeways, Spreaders of crud; materials that carbon and other muck attach to and are thus transported around the layout. If you can, eliminate:- .plastic wheels. These are renowned spreaders of crud, and difficult to clean. Replacing them with metal alternatives is well worth the cost and bother, and is an easy job; the plastic wheelsets can be sprung out of their bearing cones, and replacement metal sets sprung back in. It is a mechanical matter rather than to do with layout hygiene, but you will experience better running and less drag, as well as wheels that are easier to clean and get less dirty in the first place. .traction tyres. Satan's expectorant, designed to make every part of your layout dirty and then, having shed material all over the place so that it gets into your mechs and bearings, they wear out and snag on crossing vees and point blades. If you only do one thing to improve your layout hygiend, do this. Another thing that helps IMHO, though I have no empirical evidence to back up MHO, is frequent and regular running, on a permanently erected layout. Mine is in almost daily use, and I am 'in the zone' when it comes to early identification of building problems so that I can usually keep on top of them, but even taking this into account I am sure that my running is more reliable than it would be were the layout only in occasional use. This comment is of no use if you have to put your layout away after use every time. Being able to site the layout in the habitable part of the home rather than an attic, shed, or garage, will help as well.
  9. The travelling of course. A travelling shunter was a higher grade than a 'normal' shunter, who would be employed at a goods or marshalling yard or a station to perform the coupling and uncoupling of stock. He would be passed out on rules and regulations concerning the use of couplings, vacuum and steam pipes, and so on. A travelling shunter leaves the station or yard with a trip or pickup with the guard on the brake van to assist the guard with the shunting operations at the unstaffed private sidings or small yards visited, by shunting and by working ground frames and so on. So, he had to have passed signalling rules and regulations, working of trains, and be cogniscent of engineering or other works notices of speed restrictions and occupations, and sign guards' route knowledge as well. The next step up would be goods guard; these men were employed by the Traffic Department and followed that line of promotion. So, your wife's paternal grandfather was a skillled and competent railwayman capable of pretty much any freight duty, and she should be proud of him. When I started as a goods guard 'off the street recruited' at Canton in 1970, I learned most of what I knew from travelling shunters initially.
  10. Boilers, for obvious reasons, are very strongly built and likely to last for a very long time if they are looked after. What wears out is the joints between the end plates and the tubes, and any pipe union joints, rather than the cylindrical pressure vessel part. because of the stresses caused by expansion and contraction and by repeatedly depressurising and repressurising. It is therefore best practice to keep the loco in steam for as long as possible, only letting her go cold when you have to for boiler washout, about once every 2 weeks. Meantime, she is kept in steam when off duty, usually at a lower pressure but enough to move her about the shed, while her fire is dropped and a new one lit for the next duty. This minimises the number of heating/cooling and pressure/depressurising cycles that the loco goes through between major overhauls. At overhaul time, the boiler is taken out and very thoroughly refurbished, then tested hydraulically to prove it's pressure integrity. This takes longer than the rest of the loco, and spare boilers of all types needed are kept on hand in the boiler shop at the works in order to put in to locos to return them revenue traffic and release the erecting shop bay for the next patient. The boiler that was taken out will go through full refurbishment and testing in the boiler shop, and be kept on hand ready for the next of that class that wants one. Standardisation means that a pool of boilers can be used on several different classes, and will migrate between them over their working lives, and even in some cases on to the replacement classes. The outer part, the casing, can have a very long working life indeed. They are also probably the most expensive component of a locomotive, and thus is explained Kirtley's re-use of boilers 20 odd years old but still with plenty of service life left in them.
  11. There is the possibility of making some of the lesser known South Wales 0-6-2STs such as the Newport (AD&R) saddle tanks. The Rhymney went in for 0-6-2STs as well, but the profile was quite different to the Newports. The Triang Jinty mech is a bit long in the wheelbase for an industrial, though some of the Lambton and Philadelphia systems' engines bucked that trend and were a little more 'main line' in character.
  12. Back in the day, when men were men and sheep were nervous, and everything was in black and white because the Beatles hadn't invented colour yet, it was usual for RTR and kit chassis to have insulated pickups and insulated wheels on one side only, and only one of the brush retaining springs insulated, current being 'returned' through the live motor frame, chassis block, axle frame, and wheels without pickups. This looks wierd to anyone used to the motor feed being insulated on both terminals and pickups to insulated wheels on both sides of the chassis, and everything insulated from the motor frame and the chassis block; I understand this is needed for DCC, but, like you, I only know about DC. It obviously makes sense to design chassis for both systems. The old 'one side pickup' system worked well enough, but one had to take care that the insulation was in place where it was needed and that, for example, wheels were replaced the right way around and the insulating sleeve went on the correct brush retaining spring. Modern modellers wot not of carbon brushes or their retaining springs, a considerable part of the culture for those of my era...
  13. I can certainly justify the odd wagon of landsale at Dimbath Deep Navigation no.2; the central Glamorgan valleys were famous for steam and coking coal, though some household coal was produced from different seams. Other inbound traffic can be pitprops, and the newly formed NCB is constructing pithead baths and a canteen, so building materials such as timber sand or gravel, and pits need cable so cable drums as well, and the odd van or covered open with who knows what inside; equipment, machinery, whatever.
  14. Digby, yes, Algy was Biggles' batman/sidekick. Batman's sidekick was Robin... The RFC Biggles books were, I thought, about as grim and unflinching a portrayal of war as was reasonable in childrens' literature. Death, the miserably short life expectancy of new recruits, the business of writing letters to bereaved relatives, the effects of low morale; all these were dealt with head-on and in a matter of fact manner without being sensationalised or voyeuristic. Johns' RFC career was a little less dramatic than Biggles', but I am in no doubt that he was enough of a part of that world and familiar enough with the fighter pilots to know what he was writing about, and I liked his Biggles RFC era books. It all got a bit 'Boys Own' derring do ('with one single bound he was free') after that, and Johns was by no means the only perpetrator of such nonsenes, with stock dodgy greasy foreigners with knives called Lopez or Gonzales, and unlikely adventures, just when I was becoming old enough to be aware of such limitations and to begin mocking them, but I had and retain a very high respect for the RFC storytelling.
  15. Wasn't he Dan Dare's sidekick?
  16. Intersting to watch the pigeons landing on the roof, or better still (because they're bigger an' I 'ates 'em) the gulls. SKWAAAAAARKK fizzle...
  17. Bluegrass; the coal mining areas of Kentucky and Virginia, duelling banjos country, look remarkably simiar to some of the terrain in South Wales. Squeal like a lil' piggy, boy, dada dang dang dang dang dang daaa, yeeee haa! Church roof lead sheet is usually moulded into interlocking plates in a proper lead foundry in order to seal the roof against the elephants, but the roof on my colliery kit buildings looks, so far as I can tell, like sheets of lead crudely beaten out with big 'ammers to make them bigger, the result being very roughly shaped squares of thin lead. There are representations of patches where it's been beaten too thin and has worn through. I cannot quite make out how the joins were sealed, probably from beneath with flashing strips which probably trapped rain water and played havoc with the fixings. This seems to have been a common 'vernacular' method in central Europe, requiring little skill (miners and local blacksmiths already knew how to use hammers and lead is easily melted and poured into trays to form the basic slabs) and an easily obtainable material, but I've never heard of or seen it here. The Squeeze, who hails from Silesia in southern Poland, says she's seen this sort of roofing on old buildings there, but never here, not that she was ever making a point of looking for them... The roof is causing me some thought. Best answer is the Wills corrugated sheets, but this wil be an expensive endeavour costing more than the kit and postage, and the Slater's Plasticard alternative is not significantly cheaper. I am considering having a go at making my own using aly cooking foil and cheapo 'precision' screwdrivers, which have ribbed metal handles over which the corrugations could be formed. Some experimentation is needed to see if this is a practicable, and of course it will need to be painted, probably after being 'primed' with matt acrylic to accept the paint. There are printed paper sheets of rusted corrugated available, and these are of course much cheaper. I have used printed sheets for brick and stone walls, and slate roofing; it's effectiveness depends on the lighting of the finished model IMHO. If the situation is that you view the model 'against' the light, where the relief on the surface is highlighted and clearly visible, this approach is less effective, but I may be able to 'get away' with it for Dimbath Deep Navigation no.2 Pit. It is probably a good idea to go down this road initially to hide the Snow White roof, as it is bothering me (the 'rustic' planking that fails to keep the weather out of the overhead galleries isn't, don't ask, it's an abitrary decision) and has to be overlaid. The paper sheets will do the job cheaply and there is no reason that I cannot overlay them with home made or Wills etc. sheets as an improvement later. If anyone can come up with an example of a beaten sheet lead roof of this sort in the UK, I'll leave it as it is! The colour rendition is the best on the kit, and it needs no more than a wash over with the weathering mix to look the part, perhaps picking out the patches as a little cleaner. I doubt that algae or moss would grow on a lead roof, but a little rust staining from the fixings might be acceptable. Or both. Welsh weather forecasting; if you can't see the top of the mountain, it's raining, and if you can, it's about to. I have a memory of exploring Cwmmer Afan station in a thunderstorm in 1969; it was like being in a big wet grey room with a cloud ceiling, an atmospheric exerience that has 'informed' much of my approach to Cwmdimbath. Us Celts likes a bit of gloom, we does, life it to be endured, not enjoyed, bright sunny days are only there to lull you into a false sense of security, you are a sinner and must suffer, misery is good. My sodden carcass was revived in front of the fire in the 'Refresh'. still happily with us.
  18. That’s the stuff; I used it on the roof of the low relief lasercut stores building on the colliery loading platform up at the original exchange siding. I’ll need several more packs for this job, though, and might go for something else if I can find decent quality for less. The kit ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ roof is, I think, supposed to represent beaten lead sheets, and I’ve never heard of such a thing in the UK. The structure does not give the impression of being capable of supporting such a roof, in fact parts of it look as if they are only there because they haven’t got the strength to collapse.
  19. Ok, Sunday night sitrep. At least the photos are the right way up this time! Shot the first; view from the lower slopes of Mynydd y Gwair looking southestwards. The general positioning of the kit is established, and a blue towel is standing in for Mynydd Maendy, between Cwmdimbath and Gilfach Goch. The screens building is a cardboard creation of my own, originally a factory on the ‘stub’ siding which is a kickback off the station run around loop. A facade for thr winding house can be seen on the wall to the left of the head frame. Everything is already starting to look properly unkempt and semi-derelict. The smaller side-loading platform that Forest no.1 has positioned a steel 16tonner alongside is high enough for the Austerity to pass beneath. I’ve given the kit a healthy seeIng to with a wide brush and the weathering mix which folloed a light spray of matt black, and am quite pleased with the results. Plenty of detailing work left of course, and the roof, as I say, looks a bit Disney, will be covered with ordinary corrugated sheets because I can’t find the most suitable sort, which of course would be Glyncorrwgated… I’ll get my coat… Shot from much lower down, and I’m pleased with the way the pit buildings lead your eye up to the pithead frame. Ferndale looked a little bit like this, my Grandad’s pit. Roof looks ok from this angle! Must sort out the dogleg in the foreground! Finally, looking northeastwards from a rock outcrop above the scenic break, which isn’t very scenic yet. Proposed site for the boiler house is to the left of the screens building, with lagged steam pipes leading up to the winding house. I like the dogleg in the overhead conveyor section; it gives a more natural feel to the scene, a colliery forced to avoid straight lines and right angles in it’s layout by the constraints of the site’s topography; this was normal in South Wales. I’ll post more pix when the roof is done and there’s a bit of progress with the ballasting, scenery, and ground cover.
  20. The Western Valley line, Newport Ebbw Jc to Ebbw Vale, might have been a very good place for them. There are, I would contend, only two other routes in the UK where similar conditions prevailed, i.e. the need to keep a very big steelworks supplied with iron ore imported by sea, with a series of severe gradients in between against the loaded trains. These were the relatively short haul from Clydebank Docks to Motherwell, which was the stomping ground of the WD 2-10-0s, and Tyne Dock-Consett. The Ebbw Vale iron ore trains were a constant challenge to the GW and WR, as the loads required ideally needed more power than was available from the 42xx and 5202 2-8-0 tanks, which had to be banked on the final few miles from Aberbeeg to Ebbw Vale. A King was tried out, but was not a success, and the job was the first one allocated to the brand new BR standard 9F class in 1954. This was tried out for a week and famously disgraced itself by laying a heavy black smoke screen along the entire length of the valley on the Monday. Washing day. The double chimney 9Fs were the ultimated answer to the problem, able to haul 30 wagon trains up the hill, but they still needed banking from Aberbeeg, in fact this was not dispensed with until Type 5 diesel power in the form of the 56s became available, and smelting had finished at Ebbw Vale steelworks by then. An 0-6-2+2-6-0 Beyer Garratt, with outside cylinders inboard mounted inboard, would have been a very useful thing to have on hand at Ebbw Jc or Aberbeeg, and 4'7" wheels would enable it to be used on other work as well; 4'1" is going to be fine in the valley but a bit of a slowcoach elsewhere. I don't think it could be made successfully out of Swindon standard components, as any Swindon boiler big enough to supply 4 cylinders for the hour and a half or so of unremitting slog needed would be too long. The loco would need a short fat B-G boiler and outside cylinders, which suggests Walchaerts' valve gear. 56xx components are going to be non-starters for this job. An alternative might have been an 0-8-0+0-6-0 American style (i.e. not compound) Mallett tank, again with the cylinders on the swinging 8 wheeled bogie mounted inboard. This might have been able to utilise the King or 47xx boiler, but an issue might have been water capacity, as these big boilers would have meant that the tanks needed to long and thin to keep within the loading gauge and be low enough for the water column bags to clear the top of them. There is a limit to this as the driver needs to see the front of the loco, which is why larger GW tank locos have sloping tank tops. My sense is that an 0-8-0+0-8-0 might have been a bit light on it's feet.
  21. I don't think it's pointless, but it is starting to repeat itself and become boring; of course, I can vote with my mouse on that point. Not all of us who buy stuff are fully aware of the status of the retailer, or how he is supplied, and it is a useful reminder of how to avoid being in a situation you weren't expecting to be in vis a vis it's warranty.
  22. A problem associated with the Western Valley line, Newport to Ebbw Vale, which has some fairly serious curves along it' length. The 2-8-0s suffered as well. The frames flexed as they were designed to but strained the joints in the tanks, especially at the bottoms of them, so the locos sort of dribbled as they progressed along the route. High mileage engines were worse of course
  23. I'd say, hypothetically, yes. I'd also say, in reality, yes, but that care must be taken to ensure that the helix is very precisely built and that the track is very precisely laid on it, and that the 10 coach train has free running wheelsets in bogies that pivot freely in both planes, do not have issues with contacting buffers, and are not overballasted. Your hypothetical choice of a relatively wide radius and 4 inch rise per 360 degree run is sensible and should mimimise any potential issues; helii are often used as space savers and setrack curves are sometimes pushing the envelope past the point where reliablility is a given... Be aware, though, that while bogie vehicles should cope with this, the inside rail of the curve rises at a steeper gradient than the outer one, which is why the tracklaying has to be precise and a dead level preseved across the rails at any given point on the spiral. This will have an impact on any long wheelbase 4 wheeled vehicles and especially 6 wheelers.
  24. Caveat Emptor, Bachmann publish a list of their authorised dealers on their website and one should be aware that if your seller is not among them then it might have implications for the warranty. Nothing wrong with this so long as he is not claiming to be an authorised dealer when he isn't, but you would be advised to be cogniscent of this. The resultant warranty issues should be reflected in the asking price; if it is, it is your informed decision to take the risk, if it isn't, it is your informed decision to buy from someone else. Up to the OP if he wants to name names or not, and in this case I see no reason why he shouldn't, or should. A little research on the Bachmann website should be sufficient to inform potential purchasers of those sellers who will honour the warranty.
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