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Schooner

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  1. Many thanks for the steer I make that two covered wagons and a flat-ended (possibly half-round sheet rails?)...4-plank? I know the image quality is very poor, but anyone care for a stab at gleaning some better information from it? Regardless, this is unusually on-topic - relevant to railways, the Port of London, and even the 1880s - let joy be unconfined! ...and, as these sidings are where reality gives way to fudge on the layout, it's even directly relevant to the model! Happy Friday all, have a good weekend Schooner
  2. I'm inclined to agree, and we'll just have to enjoy the photo on its own merits. Not so some of tonight's surprise findings, which are genuinely useful Followers may recall that the lower-right of the layout features an engine house (as per The Buildings Post). I was keen on this idea (which moves the West India Dock engine house c.690' North) for two three four reasons: availability of relevant prototype information, support for the 'actors' of the hydraulic system (cranes, jiggers, swing bridge) and as an opperational asset - a destination for coal. Oh, and I need a view-blocker in that corner too. Well...how's this for a view-blocker: HMS President (1829) Photographed in West India South Dock c.1880...making all the many details relevant, if not railway-related. Sorry For context, the white rectangle below is the approximate area she filled: Likewise this photo, dated 1876: In which we see a large portion of West India South Dock, viewed from the South-West and so looking towards South Dock Station and the MER. Note the swing bridge, ship barque alongside where Cutty Sark will be on the model (with her topgallant masts struck), and timber sheds beyond. A high resolution copy could answer so many questions! Likewise for a good version of the companion photograph, which seems rarer still. I'm still working out what this might mean for the layout, but it seems a chance to keep closer to history and have a bit of fun so worth investigating. HMS President was built to the lines of USS President, one of the founding frigates of the USN and sister to Connie, which should make finding lines for her fairly straightforward. On the drill shed itself, I've found only that "A timber drill shed was built at the north end of the east quay when, in 1873, the hulk of the frigate HMS President was moored there as a training ship for the Royal Naval Reserve." and this engraving of the interior: ...but it should be possible to come up with something reasonable, if not perfectly accurate. No excuse for not getting President's figurehead right though - it's been preserved: and is accessible by appointment. I had intended this post to be a quick summing up of bits from the wonderful collection aptly recommended by Mr @Nearholmer, but that's the internet for you! I'll get on it next time 'Til then, your thoughts are as welcome as ever. Always keen for opinions Cheers and gone, Schooner PS. President in her prime:
  3. In addition to the wonderful modelling, that's a really pleasing formation Lovely stuff as ever Annie!
  4. Cheat! That's not 'depicting'! That's really working! Inspirational as ever, absolutely love it
  5. Cheers @Chimer In theory passenger and goods effectively separate systems, yes, and your suggestion is a great one...if I wasn't so wedded to the idea of representing South Dock Station reasonably closely, which is all on one level. I agree about reaching with cassettes! There is clear access to the cassette-side of the layout, which I'm keen on using to keep the (rather snug) operating well as free as possible. There will be plenty to keep the operator occupied without needing to change stock through a session, but I like the idea of cassettes in general to minimise stock handling and make it easier to switch entire trains rather than spend time fiddling I could do with a guinea pig to see if I can describe the layout in a useful way. Mind if I PM you with a bit of info and a couple of pics later on? If it makes sense then I'll go public!
  6. Perhaps you could share what you question, for why, and maybe suggest an answer or two? Then Kim could benefit from the useful feedback and we all might learn a little something @GarrettTheThief, lots of interesting stuff there...partly because there's so much going on! I know nothing of Midland practice I'm afraid, but have got a thing for shunting layouts. Something I've found really helpful for understanding real-world practice is to look not just at model trackplans, but real ones too. Given your intended place and period, you might find the NLS map collection of use to find examples of the sort of thing you'd like to represent. As you seem fairly clear on the stock you'd like to run, perhaps try to find places where you can see how the Midland managed it for real. Then work out how to model the real thing. It should be possible to rationalise your layout to some extent without losing any operating value but boosting the feeling of authenticity that, if I understand you correctly, would add to your enjoyment of the layout. All the best, looking forward to seeing it all develop Schooner
  7. I'm in the early stages of designing a layout for which a fairly involved storage yard will be required. The trackplan shown below just sort of evolved, and while it's far from perfect I'm struggling to improve on it. As this neck of the forum is home to rather clever people, including some who have experience of getting the required capactiy out of the available footprint in 12":1', I thought I might ask for inspiration. I hope the challenge is of interest... Assumptions: Wagons: 90mm Coaches: 130mm Locos: 130mm No track or radius restrictions, but second radius (438mm) preferred, particularly on the passenger routes Space available: 8' x 4' U. See pic for details. Must haves: Loops (the yard represents both ends of a system) to hold: 2 x 8+-wagon trains (the more the better!) 2 x 5-wagon cuts (6 max, as layout can't handle more) 3 x 3-wagon cuts (3 max, ditto) 1 x 3 coach train + loco Would like: On-scene timber siding. Location shown (lower RHS) is coherent with the prototype, but not a requirement. On-scene shed for 2 locos 650mm cassette (to allow for 5 coach passenger specials) Loop for 5 coach train + loco Visual seperation of goods and passenger lines 'above' sightlines. Context: For reference, the setting is London's Dockland in the 1880s, inspired by South Dock Station and environs. Short wagons, four-wheel coaches, tiny tank locomotives The passenger service will be two trains, sharing a circuit but traveling in opposite directions. One loop is on-scene (station), the other would ideally be in the storage yard. The goods trains are to provide a sense of a wider system, travelling through the scene between un-seen marshalling yards and docks. The cuts are to go to and from the modelled quayside, one of which is set up to make and break trains of up to 6 wagons, the other to shunt short cuts of up to 3 wagons to particular spots. The cassette can be used to change stock in operation, lay on special trains etc, but also provides the through road for the yard. Physical constraints: The indicated area is available for trackwork. Access is from the lower side; operating well to the top. Sightlines are governed by view blockers (large buildings) rather than tunnels etc, and the whole layout would be scenic'd. There is some scope to increase the depth of the yard (push the lower edge further 'down', but I'd rather not if at all possible. Width is fixed at 8'. Story so far: Colours refer to use. Numbers refer to number of wagons or coaches (passenger line only, in bright yellow) that could be stored in that road. Thanks for looking. All suggestions welcome! Schooner
  8. And so it begins... Nice little morale boost. Proper update to follow in the nearish future. Honest...!
  9. Annie, what wonderful wagons those are! Might they ever become publicly available? I appreciate that the modelling isn't your own, but you're very much responsible for bringing them into being and credit is due Are you happy with them? Great stuff, as ever, very much looking forward to the next updates. Schooner
  10. A little progress over the weekend, on which a few notes focused on modelling-relevant titbits (if allowed to get into things of more general note I shall be here all night and well into the morning) from Dockland: Early 19th C warehousing used plinths, sills, cornices etc of Portland Stone cast iron spiked window frames a particular feature of (and first used at) the West India internal construction remained largely of wood through the period of relevance, other measures being deemed to reduce fire risk enough for insurers' peace of mind that said, sub-dividing firewalls of brick were to be provided, with doors of 1/4" sheet iron "Indeed, it is a sight to sadden the most callous to see thousands of men struggling for one day's hire" The daily 'call on', particularly pre the1889* Great Dock Strike* (illustrations of which could provide valuable detail and colour) was quite something. I wonder if it would be possible to model the scene to any useful degree...? weighing machines everywhere: portable, in transit sheds, hanging from beams in warehouses (could be seen through loopholes) etc etc etc* Look up Thames Waterman's Skiffs and Wey Navigation ("West Country") Barges. Respectively distinctive and valid variety. Broad brush: discharging/loading gangs tended to be of 10-12 men/hold (details of positions refer to practice in the 1950s, but many tasks would have been identical 100 years earlier); 'down-holders' worked in three pairs, working away from the hatch to each side and one into the 'long end' of the hold*; four in a barge; one hatchwayman and a crane/winch driver. The making and breaking of sets on the quayside was typically the work of two men. Trucking goods from shed/warehouse to quay (or vice versa) took as many as you had. Apart from shifting cargo, many ancilliary (including some quite skilled) jobs were done by the dock workers (at 5d an hour*, they were cheap). In the tea trade examples given cover tarring, sampling, bulking, blending etc* In our period (the early 1880s), manpower would have been assisted by hydraulic dock cranes (early Armstrong 'Box' pattern for us: distinctive and useful for framing scenes, and the associated pumping house and accumlator tower are set to feature on the layout) and 'portable' jiggers* (also Armstrong, who certainly popularised, if not invented, them). These jiggers could be used in conjuction with dock derricks and cranes or in conjunction ships' gear (typically a yardarm rig). Also common was the ship using her own gear - perhaps a steam crane or steam winches on stinkpots; purchase and manpower for the sailing vessels. "In the 1860s it became the practice at the West India Docks for small portable steam donkey engines to be used for unloading ships in conjunction with blocks attached to the masts and spars of the ship" (Tim Smith, 'Hydraulic Power' article p.168) Cargo would be placed ('bedded') in the shed according to port, type, cleanliness, value and convenient for the receiving hold. Heavy/weatherproof cargo would be left on the quayside, ideally within plumb of the lifting gear* ready for when the ship could take it. Typically, goods were piled "as high as two men could [conveniently and consistently] lift", so varied a little with weight but rarely above shoulder height. This applied to clearing/loading holds too - the cargo was shifted in tiers (the creation and management of which was another skilled job*). The "needleman" was a job dedicated to shovelling up after split bagwork cargo and re-bagging it. Evidently a frequent occurance and perhaps a nice cameo could be made... Likewise the "box-knocker", who repaired broken casework cargo as well as opened/re-sealed cases for the Customs Clearing Clerk. Discharged timber was piled "safely but not too fussily" as close to the ship/barge as possible. "Deal porters" would then move it to the sheds (and stack it most neatly). Of railway traffic: "Goods services usually ran from each company's depot in Docklands to ther main marshalling yards, in most cases using their own [small tank] engines over NLR or GER lines" (Alan Pearsall, 'Transport' article p.) Drying sacks (sugar in the example photographed, strung between warehouses) would make an effective scenic break/'tunnel' entrance *See opening parentheses, but perhaps in a future post if it would be of wider interest.. NLR 1846-2012 Poplar Sidings, consisting of Harrow Lane, The Field and High Level, were 14 miles long (okay, so not directly relevant, but puts my little storage yard in perspective!) "At it's peak [when?!] 700 wagons a week were exchanged between Harrow Lane Yard and Millwall Junction" The "Millwall" Docks (Millwall, WID, Poplar and EID) were served by the NLR (having reversed at Harrow Lane), ECR, GER, GNR, GWR, MR and LNWR...although they all had their own warehousing and sidings, so we're back to wondering quite who sent their wagons into the docks, and who lightered goods to their depots. I'm starting to think that the answer to 'who did what?' is simply: 'yes'. It now seems likely that many railway companies who had depots at Poplar or nearby would've still had to send their wagons on to Dock property (and thus incur charges) to pick up certain goods or make certain deliveries. Likewise the few remaining 'foreign' companies...I'm starting to doubt that the LB&SCR would have been total strangers to the West India quaysides... The GWR had a bit of a gauge issue which lead to extensive lighterage to and from Brentford Dock (link to one of @Mikkel's excellent articles, which has somehow elluded me till this evening; but also do check out the NLS 1:1056 rev. 1853 map, and a tempting scene. Why did I not look into this before?!) which maybe had an impact; but even that line was doubled with standard gauge in 1861 and fully converted by 1875 so can perhaps be discounted. Erm...well that was a fun little tangent...anyway...where was I... Ah, yes: Trainz version 2. Remarkably similar to version 1, but applying some previous learnings. I'm also trying for something a little more immersive whilst play-testing the current trackplan: ...and with an eye to a public release at some point, for which I'd like to do slightly better than the 'digital mock up of a hypothetical layout' of the last attempt. It's only had a couple of evenings, so there's a lot left on the to-do list before detailing etc can start. All very much still WIP with ideas being tested (and often rejected) etc. A few familiar angles for flavour: To the left, to the left... Flourmill corner (top-right) Okay, so this view (the 'Primary Viewpoint' of old) definitely looks worse still. The idea was to see how effective the sheer-legs in the distance are to give the sense of continuning docks. Thoughts? Sort-of the view on entering the proposed layout, but with the dock full of operating well instead of water. Lighterman's view of the bottom-left corner, taking in the end of the goods depot. @Nearholmer, thank you. It arrived this afternoon, seems absolutely brilliant and I wouldn't have found it without your recommendation. In fact, the moment I press 'Submit' I shall be diving in...the typo's will just have to stay overnight! Sorry for the rather unusual format, keen to get things down while I've got a moment and before I forget any more! Thanks for bearing with and all the help so far, much much appreciated. All thoughts, suggestions and feedback welcome as ever. Happy Monday Tuesday Schooner
  11. Well, blow me @airnimal! All your builds are educational and enjoyable to follow, but this really is shaping up to be something special. Thank you so much for taking the time to lead us through them, and to demystify the process a bit. As with anything, it is not magic but skill and dilligence that makes your wagons (and loco!) so brilliant...but bug***ed if I can tell the difference sometimes!
  12. Aaaah...that's better Edit justification
  13. Cheek away: compulsory purchase order investigated, agreed and confirmed. Ta In fact, I got a little carried away, especially considering I've yet to get to grips with @HonestTom's excellent recommendation. Oh well, a book in the hand is worth...
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