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Tim V

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Blog Entries posted by Tim V

  1. Tim V
    Considering a cameo layout, based on the plateway that ran from Radstock to Midford, along the towpath of the Somerset Coal Canal. Gauge was 3'5 1/2". I'm envisaging a scene, based on the wharf at Wellow, including the tunnel portal. Built in about 1815, ran for about 56 years, the replacement S&D only lasted 90 years.
    The fact that everything will have to be scratch built is a minor obstacle. Deciding on a scale might be a problem, but using Alan Butler's figures means any scale is possible. The big problem is the horses. A steam loco was tried in 1826, but was withdrawn rather quickly - usual problem of broken rails.
    But the sight of an early steam loco, crossing a horse drawn train has a certain fascination, and will challenge the perceptions of some people who have fixed ideas of trains in Somerset!
    Edit - here is a copy of the deposited plan, superimposed on the modern (1902!) map. Interesting that Mill Lane was built by the S&D.

  2. Tim V
    Finally got my act together. I have had a temporary test track for a while, but I have at last glued down the point, rigged up a switch, laid some Easitrac, wired it up. Didn't take long. Having done it, I've sorted out the front Dapol pannier - middle wheels were making it lift on uneven track, so turned the wheels down slightly. Second pannier is a Chris Higgs chassis under a Farish body. A Dapol 45XX is at the back, unconverted.

  3. Tim V
    I was thinking of upgrading my DCC system, perhaps moving to Digitrax - as it is well supported in JMRI. The ZTC system is outdated, and has limited support beyond the controller - no block control/feedback for example. Then a chance conversation about setting up JMRI with two interfaces came about. Suddenly I'm thinking, use my existing ZTC controller, with MERG control systems. Initial experiments look extremely encouraging, though it doesn't photograph well!
    Maybe the dream of fully automating the staging roads may yet come to fruition.
  4. Tim V
    I spotted this image on the RCTS site.
    Somehow, it encapsulated a time long ago, the thatched cottage, the single unit, the gate, it was all there in one image.
    I went to Toller just before it closed in 1975. Probably didn't look much different to the RCTS view.

    I went there the following year after the track had gone.

    I know the building is now at Totnes, but when I looked at street view and satellite, there's a house there now. The bridge is still there, but trees from the trackbed are higher than the road level. I couldn't see the thatched cottage.
  5. Tim V
    There comes a time when you realise that no matter how much you like your own creation, that it ultimately has a shelf life. I've realised that Clutton, now nearly 24 years old, is getting near then end. I've done pretty much all the shows I've wanted to do, there are a few left to do, and bookings go into 2016 now. A couple of major shows I might have liked to go to like Manchester didn't materialise.
    So I promised Chris Challis that Clutton's final show would be where it started at. So Railwells it will be, probably 2018.

    I suppose I've gotten tired of the criticism that not enough trains are running. The attention span of the average exhibition punter is about 20 seconds (I should know, I've seen more than enough layouts that didn't command 10 seconds of my time). I've seen too many models of other peoples' models.
    It seems that striving for correct operation is wasted on 90% of the exhibition visitor population.
    So is it the skip after Railwells, or something else?
  6. Tim V
    Just built a 2mm pannier using the new etched chassis. It works! It works even better with a decent controller, I don't have any DC controllers left, other than an ancient Powermaster, so I connected a DCC chip between the controller and track.
    It works really well I'm surprised to say. It isn't DCC itself, as the only layouts I can try it on are DC only.
  7. Tim V
    I was very pleased to receive the award at expoEM for "most authentically operated model railway" - the Reverend Peter Denny Memorial Cup, presented by his son Crispin Denny (of automatic Crispin fame) and judged by Bob Essery.

    However, it seems that some people seem to think that correct operation implies trains arriving within seconds. Even gaps between District line trains in the rush hour seems to exceed some people's attention span.
    In my book, correct operation means adhering to what the prototype would have done. So on Clutton there is a lever frame, with interlocking, bell systems with virtual tokens being released, signals that work, the role of signalman and driver split - the list goes on. Plus when there are no trains, there is something to see on the layout.
    I did some timings at the show, it takes a full minute to get from the staging roads at the back to the station at the front, and a full minute to get from there back to the staging roads. That could mean nearly two minutes between trains.
    I know that my layout is not to everyone's taste, but so be it. You can't please all the people all the time.
  8. Tim V
    One thing I do after every show is create a log of the problems/issues that come up during the show. I now have a record going back to 1997. It's interesting looking back at the problems I used to have.
    As the problems get sorted out, I tick them off, making sure I've dealt with all of them before the next show.
    I also have a "countdown calendar", this is based on the number of Sundays before the next show, about 15 left before Clutton's next outing.
  9. Tim V
    Just been having fun painting some of the people and animals, I'm inspired by the article in the August 10 Toddler by Rachel Drummond. Quite easy - when you know how!

    When you look at it real close, I haven't got anywhere near what Rachel did!

    Yes - three foxes in a row......
  10. Tim V
    I was invited to speak at the inaugural meeting of the Nottingham Area Group of the Scalefour society, and it bowled me over to think that all these people (21) were in one place to talk and find out about model railways. OK, it was a bit like AA, but my feeling is that groups, like Nottingham that is just starting, are an excellent way of showing that as modellers, we are not on our own. Someone out there knows the answer, and the best way to discover is to talk about it with other modellers. Someone has the answer, and sometimes the act of describing it makes the solution clear.
  11. Tim V
    Home and exhausted.
    Exhibitions take a lot out of you, especially when it's your own layout. Very little time to have a break, talking all day long. Plus assembly/breakdown takes a long time as only one person really knows how it goes together/gets taken apart.
  12. Tim V
    I had occasion to look back at my old workbench, it was all Kempenfelt's fault. I was surprised how good it was, and I was reminded how annoyed I was when the change in software meant it became obsolete.
    Ah well, the wonders of modern technology, here today, gone tomorrow.....
  13. Tim V
    With an exhibition looming, I've got the paint brush out, and been tidying up the presentation. Amazing what a lick of paint will do. Plus I've had builders in who used the garage the layout is stored in as a workshop. They created a fantastic amount of dust, a lot of which has attracted itself to the layout.
    I noticed that my hands got quite grubby at the Cardiff show. Hopefully this time, with fresh paint, my hands will stay cleaner.
  14. Tim V
    I did a count and realised that last year all I did was go to exhibitions! It was about 14, not counting the ones I was appearing/working in. I need to get out more often!
    I've cut it down to six for this year, and I'm getting out and about.
    I've even got interested in canals, a fascinating period in history. Do you realise that there is a chance that the canal network could be fully restored, while there is little possibility that railways will be restored to their former glory.
  15. Tim V
    I've just been scanning and restoring a photograph of my parents taken almost 60 years ago. It's in colour, very faded, 2 1/4" square print.
    A few minutes work and the colours jumped out at me. I won't be posting it on here obviously, but you'll get my drift.
    I do wonder if some of today's wizzo digital camera pictures will be viewable like this in 60 years time? Will the prints have faded? Will the discs they are stored on still be readable?
    Anyone remember drive B?
    Anyone using Windows 3.1?
  16. Tim V
    Busy on the curved end today. There were a lot of problems with this at ExpoEM, so I've been paying close attention to levels. New track has been built. Also, there may be an extension to the backscene.

  17. Tim V
    With all the new additions by Bachman and Hornby etc, I'd better get on and finish some of my projects!
    Already a ex GW ROD is nearly available, my near scratchbuilt one has been taking me far too long.
  18. Tim V
    I had a look at the MJT corridor connections on some coaches, I found I could solder a 10BA screw on the back, and use this to vary the length of the corridor connectors. A few minutes work, and a coach that was in the scrap box was available for use.
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