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Middlepeak

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  • Location
    Ely, Cambridgeshire
  • Interests
    Cromford & High Peak Railway (P4)
    Danish railways (P87)

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  1. I'm afraid I would have to agree with Berwicksfinest on this one. There are many sides to a business case, not just funding the capital for construction. I also look at it from the TOC perspective, as a former GA employee. A service like this will demand additional investment in rolling stock (potentially 3 units for an hourly service, dependent on the timing of available paths), and the incremental revenue generated from the new station at Wisbech will have to cover this. Incremental revenue from the other stations served would be marginal and may also detract from the bottom line of existing services. Then we have the issues of revenue costs of running and maintaining the new station at Wisbech, which will have to be set against the revenue generated. Finally, the question of revenue generation. We all know of the impact that the current pandemic has had on passenger numbers and consequently on TOC revenue. Current predictions are that it will take some time for revenue to even approach pre-pandemic levels. Both the level and frequency of commuting by rail is likely to be different in the future, so there will inevitably be some impact on the business case. Therefore the assumption that building houses in Wisbech will fill jobs in Cambridge and provide immediate patronage for a new rail service seems at best hopeful. As they say, we'll see.
  2. Nick, I'd heard of these but never really investigated the website, so thanks for the link. Glad to hear that the service has been good too. I'll be interested in numbers for my Litra F - when I get round to finishing it! Geraint
  3. Carl, I took the decision early on that these would not be commercial in any way because they largely cover a "might have been" railway and therefore would be of little use to anyone else. That said, if there was sufficient interest in transfers for a small range of Danish wagons from Epoch III, I could use the existing artwork to put something together, and we could see if Simon would be prepared to produce them. Regards, Geraint
  4. Something of a break-through this week in terms of progressing some of the additional rolling stock for the RGVJ. For some time I had been puzzling over the best way to letter wagons and coaches. The main problem was that the font used by Danish railways was to my eyes noticeably different from anything available off the shelf in the UK, and the one manufacturer of transfers in Denmark seemed to have gone into a state of hibernation as far as availability and range was concerned. A call to my friends in the Ribe club and Jens Bruun-Petersen came to the rescue with some photos of the artwork used by the DSB to design its font. There then followed a lengthy period of work on the computer as the images were imported into my CAD package and traced over. I then had a full alphabet in capitals and lower case, and the individual numbers from 0 to 9. I then began a search through the internet to find producers of bespoke transfers who would be able to import and use my CAD files. This proved to be largely fruitless, partly because of the non-commercial nature of the project and partly because it was difficult to find a match between my outputs and their input requirements. The project therefore 'hit the buffers'. At the Stevenage show in January, I made an initial approach to Simon Thomas at The Old Time Workshop, and his response was a lot more positive. Although he admits to focusing more on products that he can sell to a larger market of customers, which I quite understand, it seemed that he could fit some artwork in on the corner of his next sheet for printing, provided that I could cover the appropriate portion of the whole cost of production. I therefore put together a small range of transfers on a sample sheet, which included the RGVJ logo and initials, together with weight and capacity details for a range of wagons and fleet numbers for a couple of railcars and coaches. Then of course COVID intervened, but a couple of weeks ago Simon was able to report that the transfers had been received from the printers and a few days later an envelope arrived on my doormat. I have to say that the results were excellent. The lettering is very crisp and clear, and even the smallest tare weight figures are legible. Application was easy, using Micro-Set and Micro-Sol over a very light spray of gloss varnish. The attached photos show the results, after application but before the final whiff of a matt/satin varnish mix, followed by weathering. A story like this is a real tribute to the sense of friendliness and collaboration which exists in this hobby. Simon's patience and commitment were exemplary, and his skills have given a real boost to some of the projects that have been sitting on the 'to do' shelf for some time. Regards, Geraint RGVJ Wagon Text Black.pdf
  5. Hej Mikkel, I've been puzzling over the corners of laser cut buildings as well, and reached the conclusion that it's very difficult to get a proper looking corner with the interlocking bricks. It would really require the bricks to be cut over length and then sanded back very carefully to remove the charring from the laser before the two parts are assembled. Far better to go for chamfered corners, provided that you make yourself a jig to ensure that the sanding is at an even angle across the join. I suspect it's also best to chamfer at slightly less that 45 degrees to ensure that the corners come together properly. The right angle can then be secured with a block of wood on the inside of the corner. As for materials, I'm still undecided as to whether wood or plastic is best. I've also done some tests with oiled manilla, which proved promising. My Ribe project needs a lot of houses, mainly in brick, so I need an answer to this problem, and one that is easy to implement and guarantees success! Best wishes, Geraint
  6. So, onto the more demanding part - track construction. It's been nearly 15 years since I last made any P4 track, but thankfully things have not changed significantly in terms of product availability during that time. The basic components are therefore Code 75 bullhead rail, (having used phosphor bronze rail on Middlepeak, I was happy with its performance, but not its appearance, so I've gone back to nickel silver this time), sleepers are plywood and chairs are from C&L / Exactoscale. I mentioned before that the Templot plan is laser etched onto the surface of the cork, which makes positioning of the sleepers and track construction much easier. Trackwork on the High Peak was never in pristine condition. Ballast was usually ash or cinders, laid at variable depth, so again I have decided to use full depth sleepers to allow that variation to be modelled. Each length of rail is soldered to at least 2 rivets in the sleepers, with the other positions using the chairs fastened to the sleeper with Butanone solvent. Scalefour Society jigs are used to file the crossing and this is made up as a separate assembly on a thin piece of PCB sheet, which raises the rail to the same height as is required by the chairs. This assembly is then stuck down to the sleepers with epoxy glue. The turnout operating unit (TOU) under the baseboard is made up from various sections of brass tube and strip, with two lengths of 1.6mm diameter tube going up through the board to a level just under the surface of the cork. Lengths of 0.8mm brass rod are then bent to a right angle at one end and then fed down from the top into these tubes, before the point blades are soldered to them. I have always soldered up my own tiebars, using brass strip with a small piece of double sided pcb in the middle providing electrical isolation. This time I tried something more robust, using 1mm x 0.5mm U section, and this appears to have worked fine, so I will be using that for all the pointwork on this layout. Wiring and point motor installation will follow, to be covered next time. Then I can run a train up and down, if only for about 700mm! Regards, Geraint
  7. After the Peckett diversion, it's back to construction of the layout itself. I've decided to start at the Middleton end, which in many ways is the simplest baseboard, and the smallest, so it fits nicely on the workbench. This section, which is only about 750mm long, serves two purposes, firstly as the headshunt for the eastern end of the yard, but also as the fiddle yard for High Peak trains originating at Middleton. With space being limited and no obvious scenic break to disguise the hidden section, I decided to take a lead from Geoff Forster's excellent Llangunllo layout and try a scenic fiddle yard. However, in this case I will need to change trains here during an operating session, to the fiddle yard needs to be some form of cassette. Given that the track elsewhere on the layout is laid onto a 10mm thickness of notice board cork, I chose to make the cassette from a 5mm layer of acrylic sheet, pre-cut by the supplier to the required 560mm x 66mm, and to strengthen this with 10x10mm aluminium angle along the long edges. On top of the acrylic goes a 3mm layer of cork sheet and the straight section of plain track is laid on top of that. A second section of angle is screwed to the baseboard behind the cassette to help locate it, and the idea is to create some form of thumbscrew adjustment to the front of the baseboard to trap the removable section, as well as providing a power supply via the two aluminium angles. So far so good, and I'll cover the start of track construction in the next post. Regards, Geraint
  8. Appearing elsewhere on this site in my Friden thread, a recently completed Peckett in P4 with Ultrascale tyres fitted to turned down Hornby wheels, new brass whistle and safety valves, new lettering for the Derbyshire Silica Firebrick Company and crew by Modelu. A little bit of 'might have been' for my layout, but a project that's really restored my faith in converting off the shelf steam locos to P4. Regards, Geraint
  9. David, If you're pondering over tyres, I have used Ultrascale tyres on my Peckett, fitted to turned down Hornby wheel centres. Worth investigating, as the range he can produce is quite varied and I found delivery times not too long (about a month). Regards, Geraint
  10. Jay, PM sent with a couple of photos of the reservoir. More than my life's worth to post them on here - apparently it's not allowed! Regards, Geraint
  11. Thanks for the crane photo. More research needed there I think! Regards, Geraint
  12. What about using individual pieces of plasticard for the quoin stones? Easier than trying to cut out a complex shape and you should get sharper corners as a result. Just a thought. G
  13. Argos, As Jay has pointed out, the surviving Chopper (58092) worked exclusively on the Sheep Pasture Top to Middleton Bottom section until its withdrawal in 1952. I suspect it was deemed to be not powerful enough to handle increased loadings up Hopton Incline. The NLTs were much better in that regard. Jay, The Blacksmith chassis is a little basic and needs a lot of work to bring it up to current expectations. Better bet is probably the Branchlines chassis, designed originally to fit the GEM kit. All depends on your 3D printed body really. If it's been designed to fit a particular chassis, that may make fitting a scale chassis more difficult. The etched parts I referred to were done for me by PPD from my own artwork. Various bits included smokebox wrapper and front, cylinders and cab interior detail. One last thing - my original NLT used the correct Sharman wheels, which are no longer available. I'm currently trying to source the best possible alternatives, but there might have to be some compromise in terms of number of spokes or crankpin position. As for water tenders, the best options for Webb and McConnell types are kits from London Road Models. Hope this helps. Geraint
  14. After the diversion into Peckett-land, it's back to the prototype now, and a few thoughts about how the layout will be operated and what sort of stock I will need. Friden is basically an interchange yard between the High Peak and the main line railway, with the added benefit of the brickworks as a source of traffic. Therefore the base requirement is a loco and train from the Parsley Hay / Buxton end and a High Peak loco and train from the Middleton end. However, I can justify two specific time periods, namely the 1950s and 1960s, over which there were subtle changes to the motive power used. For the 1950s, the High Peak engine will be a North London Tank. I have one of these from Middlepeak, which is currently undergoing an overdue upgrade to a Mallard kit which was my first etched kit construction back in the late 1970s. I also have a second kit, the later Blacksmith version, which will follow in due course. Additional etched details have been produced for both. For the same era, the Buxton engine was usually a Midland 3F 0-6-0, which is a Bachmann model that will be upgraded with a Brassmasters Easichas kit. For the 1960s, the High Peak engine will be a J94, again as upgrades of models previously used on Middlepeak. 68012 is the Brassmasters kit and 68030 is an Airfix body on a Perseverance chassis. For the main line, the main motive power will be an Ivatt 2 2-6-0, this time a Nu-Cast kit which I purchased and started for our group's Pampisford layout in the 1980s! Plans here are for a Comet loco chassis, Lanarkshire Models tender chassis and tender mounted motor with drive through to the centre drivers via a High Level gearbox. Then of course we have the railtours to depict! For the High Peak end of the operation, the trains will be pulled by the NLT or J94 with an appropriate mix of brake vans and opens. For the main line, I can use either the 3F or a Fowler 2-6-4T (Hornby body on scratchbuilt chassis, to be constructed). There was also one occasion when the main line train was formed of a 6-car DMU! A bit long for my fiddle yard, but a 3-car would fit nicely. Finally there are various special movements to consider, based on photographic evidence. In the mid-1950s Kitson 0-4-0ST 47000 returned from repair at Crewe works via Buxton, Friden and Middleton Incline to resume its duties at Sheep Pasture Top. This is an old favourite from Middlepeak - a much improved Jidenco kit with Sharman wheels and a Portescap motor. There were various District Engineer visits, which could justify an Engineer's saloon with something like a Super D (again Bachmann with replacement Gibson wheels, now complete), with the party transferring to the Wickham Trolley that was normally stabled at Longcliffe. Finally, thoughts of diesel traction during this period resulted in trials of an LMS diesel shunter in the 50s and an 08 in the 60s. Plenty to go at, as you can see. Most of these are sitting in the 'to do' cupboard, so it really is time to get on with it! Regards, Geraint
  15. I mentioned in the last post that work was in hand on a new bit of motive power. Well, it's finished and I feel a little bit awkward revealing it in a thread about modelling real locations, because it never existed. However, it comes firmly in the "couldn't resist it" category, so here goes. The brickworks at Friden was, and still is, operated by the Derbyshire Silica Firebrick Company. The surrounding clay and silica pits were linked to the works by a system of narrow gauge tramways, unusual in that they made the transition straight from horse-drawn to diesel traction. Nor did they own any standard gauge locos, but my little indulgence assumes that they had one to shunt wagons around the loading bay of the works. Like many, I fell for the charms of the Hornby Peckett W4 even before it hit the shops. I nurtured dreams of converting it to P4, but for many months avoided the inevitable. The announcement of Gordon Ashton's innovative etched chassis seemed to make things more achievable, but somehow I was reluctant to throw away what appeared to be an excellent slow running mechanism, and in any case the Hornby model had captured the profile of the unique 11-spoke wheels very well and trade sources could not offer a suitable P4 alternative. To the rescue came an article in Scalefour News from Bernie Baker, who had converted both the W4 and the later B6 to P4 by removing the tyres and replacing them with P4 versions from Alan Gibson. So I carefully dismantled the loco and determined that other aspects of the conversion would be straightforward. With two colleagues in our regular Friday night group purchasing their own Pecketts, we all resolved to pursue the same methods and three sets of the appropriate tyres were ordered from Ultrascale, which arrived three weeks later. The wheels then passed to my good friend Alex Duckworth, who skimmed the centres down at the rims and on the back, leaving the large axle centre bush to maintain a suitable grip on the axle. The wheels were then reassembled with Loctite and then remounted on the original axles. These have splined ends to improve grip, which also aided quartering. On the Hornby wheels, the axles fit in blind holes, so small plasticard packing pieces were superglued to the ends of the axles to help locate the wheels at the correct back to back. As is usual with small tank locos that have outside valve gear, the clearance between the back of the crosshead and the front crankpin is critical – in this case zero! The cylinder unit was therefore separated from the chassis and cut along the centreline of the chassis, allowing the cylinders to be spaced out by 1mm either side. The motion bracket also received similar treatment. Finally, the cosmetic bits. New frames were cut from 20thou black plasticard, spaced out from the cast chassis to increase the dimension over frames from 12mm to 16mm. Brake gear and pull rods were made up from a mix of the original Hornby and etched items from the spares box. New safety valves and whistle were turned up from brass, the Hornby transfers removed with Mek-Pak and replaced with Fox lettering, weathering with the airbrush and a crew added from Alan Buttler’s excellent Modelu range. Thanks are due to Alex for turning the wheels, to Ultrascale for a speedy response to my order for tyres, to Philip Hall for converting me to the idea of cosmetic plasticard frames some time ago, and of course to Bernie Baker for the inspiration from the original article. Now the Peckett needs some brick wagons to shunt!
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