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  1. Ballast, Ballast Ballast.... Since the last update, I gave the area a misting with sleeper grime, and then started ballasting. I have used the Woodland Scenics grey blend, as I had had a bag left over from the last layout. On running out, I then bought another bag, and found that the new stuff is much brighter in colour than the old stuff. Not really a problem, as real ballast varies in colour, and there is still weathering to do, but was surprised to see the difference. I also painted up some Peco AWS ramps, as I know where I will put the signals, and placed them in position, although they are not stuck down yet. Before ballasting, I painted area between the main tracks and at the side of all tracks with a thin layer of pva. The ballast was then spread on, profiled and stuck down with the usual pva/water/detergent mix. I used railmatch aerosols to paint the track. Whilst I prefer these to using a brush for much of the work, I also found them a tad problematic, mostly in the lack of control you get from an aerosol. Also, over time I think using aerosols regularly will work out pretty expensive over time, so after quite a bit of research and deliberation, I have ordered my first ever air brush. I am looking forward to getting to grips with it, and weathering this section of track will be one of it's first jobs, after practicing with it first! I think i'll take a little break from ballasting, I actually quite like doing it, but also like a break from it. Time to clean the rails and run a few trains I think...
  2. Not much done on the layout over the past month, with work commitments and doing work in the garden. I have started painting a section of track in preparation for ballasting. I am going to do this in sections, as i'd rather break up the task rather than try and paint the whole lot and then ballast in one go. I thought i'd have a go at spraying the track, rather than paint by hand. I started off by masking the sleepers, and then spraying the rails with railmatch dark rust. Once done, I removed the masking from the goods loop and gave it a coat of sleeper grime. I then removed the masking from the main lines. I have had some touching up to do, and some painting by brush around the points. Next stage is to give the whole area a misting with sleeper grime, and then I'll start putting some ballast down.
  3. Yes, it is. I will pack the track to smooth out the transition when I start painting and ballasting the track, so hopefully it will be barely noticeable when done.
  4. Hello, Not much has been going on above the baseboards, but plenty going on below. The wiring is not yet complete, but it is complete enough to run trains! I have got most of the points fitted with motors and working. I am waiting on a points decoder to come in the post to complete the rest. To control frog polarity, I have used the gaugemaster autofrogs on the outer dcc only line, and the universal relay switches on the inner line. These seem to work well, and are nice and easy to install and set up. This is also the first time I have used T-tap connectors for wiring. I really didn't want to attempt soldering upside down. So far I have been very pleased with the T-tap connectors, and would definitely use them again. I have also used push fit terminal blocks to connect point motors to the decoder and wire in the autofrogs and universal relays to the track. Again, these are much easier to use than the screw terminal blocks, and should make removal of any defective components quick and easy to do without having to deal with long stretches of wire. And the trains run, without falling off! Next jobs will to be finish of the wiring, and start the laborious task of painting the rail sides in preparation for ballasting. Think i'll do that in sections to break up the monotony.
  5. Thanks for that, it does seem that the Bachmann decoder can only just switch a seep motor, when the decoder is directly attached to the controller, and the motor is not fitted to anything. I might try the traintronics or Hornby one, I just need to switch 4 points, with nothing else fancy going on from the points decoder.
  6. Hello All, I recently purchased Bachmann 36-561 accessory decoder for my layout, as they were discounted at a well known box shifter, but I can't get it to work properly. I am using seep point motors. The decoder doesn't seem to have the oomph to throw the motor when attached to a point. Also, the instructions state set the mode switch to the K83 position to set all outputs for solenoid motors, but when I do this, the decoder continually tries to throw the point. With the mode switch in the User position, it just tries once. I tried directly connecting the decoder to the controller, and attached a point motor not installed to a point to test it, with the mode switch in User, it will throw and close the point, but it does feel weak. The instructions also say to set CV's 3, 4, 5 and 6 to 1 for pulse mode for peco points. I have tried but cannot seem to change CV's using my MRC Prodigy Advance2 controller. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions to get it working properly, or should I ebay it and get a different one? I have a team digital points decoder that is nearly 10 years old, and has never given me any trouble! Thanks.
  7. Hello All, After moving house 18 months ago, I gained a loft which was boarded out and has light and power, making a perfect space for a layout. I had a window fitted and re-plaster boarded the main section of the ceiling, as the existing plaster board was done quite badly. Once done, I started construction of the baseboard. Not being a wood worker, I used metal framed tables intended for use in market stalls. The cost was about the same as buying all the timber to construct boards, but the frames slot together easily, and took all of a couple of hours to put together. These go most of the way round the loft, but because of the loft hatch, I put a shelf across one section to join the whole thing up. This has given me a continuous run, measuring 7.5 by 14 foot. All of the boards are 2 foot wide, and the shelf part is 6 foot long, and 10 inches wide. I have covered the plywood tops with 4mm cork. Almost all of the track is now laid, I just need a few more fish plates to complete the main part of the layout. All track is peco code 75, a mix of concrete, wood and bullhead track. I have made a start on wiring, and there is now some power to the track. I will be mostly using DCC, but the 'Inner Main' will be wired separately to the rest of the layout, and will be switched to be DCC or Analogue. I'm going for the look of a secondary mainline around the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. I also have a small collection of Japanese HO, so I might use a corner of the layout for Japanese scenery, but haven't decided on this yet. We have power! Below is a schematic of the track plan, from Hornby Railmaster.
  8. Cheers, I was thinking that you would need a resistor in both signal wires as the polarity is being reversed. Thanks, Stuart.
  9. Hello, I am wondering how to wire the dcc concepts alpha mimic ground signals without using the mimic board. The signals only have 2 wires, and to change the aspect, you have to change the polarity. Using a DPDT switch to change manually seems easy enough, but I was wondering how to link the signal to a point motor, so the signal will change automatically? Could you use a DPDT relay linked to the point motor switch to change the signal? I was thinking that if a point motor switch can be used as an 'on off' switch, this could power the relay to alter the polarity for the signal. Also, the signal will need resistors, should these be used between the relay and signal, and would both wires to the signal need a resistor? Thanks, Stuart.
  10. Hello, I am wondering how to wire the dcc concepts alpha mimic ground signals without using the mimic board. The signals only have 2 wires, and to change the aspect, you have to change the polarity. Using a DPDT switch to change manually seems easy enough, but I was wondering how to link the signal to a point motor, so the signal will change automatically? Could you use a DPDT relay linked to the point motor switch to change the signal? I was thinking that if a point motor switch can be used as an 'on off' switch, this could power the relay to alter the polarity for the signal. Also, the signal will need resistors, should these be used between the relay and signal, and would both wires to the signal need a resistor? Thanks, Stuart.
  11. dmustu

    Japan Trip

    The chap who presented that programme is the author of the travel book Japan By Rail. It's a worthwhile book to have for anyone planning a trip over there.
  12. Saturday 10th November 2018 Annual model railway exhibition presented by the Solihull Model Railway Circle at St Marys Church Hall and 3rd Solihull St, Mary Scout Hall (B92 8PN) - 15 minutes from J6, M42. Opening Times: 10:00am – 4:30pm. Admission Prices: Adults £3.00, Concessions £2.50, Children £2.00 and Family (2+2max) £8.00. 10 Working layouts (N, OO, OO9, O, ON30 and G scale/gauge/) are invited plus trade and society support. Wheelchair friendly access, free parking with light refreshments available. Buses 72 and 72A stop in front of the nearby ice rink. Buses 60, X1 and X2 all stop at Wheatsheaf, A45, Coventry Road. Network West Midlands on 0871 200 22 33 or travelinemidlands. More info: www.solihullmrc.org/ or phone: 07817093264. Layouts: 1. Avonwick GWR 2mm Scale, N Gauge Allan Bell and Andrew Bell It’s the summer of 1933 and local factory works are on their annual holiday, allowing them to escape out of the smoky cities such as Birmingham and travel down to the sleepy resort of Avonwick. Having alighted from the quant little terminus station of Avonwick, the local bus is waiting in the station car park. This will ferry them down to holiday camps such as Billy Butlin’s at Seaton and beyond. Most of the time, the station master at Avonwick has to deal with coal and light goods for the local residents, along with the never-ending ingredients for Scats brewery. This is always needed, as the local beer is always on tap at the “Green Man” pub. It’s even quieter at Tinker’s Green Halt, with only the occasional cattle train going to market or the holiday maker that wishes to explore the sleepy fields of Devon. Coarse some travellers may get lost and find themselves in the “Green Man” for a pint or two, before the bus ride to the holiday camp. 2. Boston Creek 7mm Scale, ON30 Gauge Paul Challenor The layout is an American narrow gauge, ON30 or 7mm to the foot. The layout you see is of typical working railroad handling goods at a small terminus alongside the creek. The buildings are from kit supplied by Kitwood Hill models, based in the UK. The kits are laser cut in wood, of an excellent quality. Kitwood models used are the turntable, engine shed and platform with the warehouse. The one end of the display shows the engine shed that has been altered to show in progress. Scenery is cast plaster stone work and all this work has been air brushed. The locos are the Bachmann series ON30 shays and Fowler, weathered by myself. 3. Wollows Pit Number 29 7mm Scale, O Gauge Mike Bragg From ancient times it was known that Staffordshire was rich in ironstone and coal. In fact, during the Roman occupation iron was manufactured in the Dudley area by primitive means. During the 19th century the Earl of Dudley was to own the ground under which lay the coal seam 10-15 yards thick which would provide the fuel for the ironmaking and the industries that would make the Black Country the industrial heartland of Britain. There is a simple formula: (Coal + Iron ore) + (limestone + clay + sand) = Black Country industrial development. One of the last working pits was on Burton Road in Upper Gornal, worked until about 1950. True to form, I have massaged history for the Wallows Pit Number 29 (often referred to as Nine Locks) to be still working around the same time. The model, my tenth in a series of Black Country themed layouts, is purely a snapshot of one of the Earls Mines. More than 40 such mines are shown on old plans and this model represents a typical small pit - Small scale, rough and ready. 4. Binnslo – Summer to Winter 4mm Scale, OO Gauge, 3-Rail Richard Boyce A scenic Hornby Dublo 3-Rail layout with summer to winter display. The track plan is a simple oval with a passing loop in the station; this is made up with one manual and one electric point which are close to hand with two manual signals being next to the controller for easy operation. Children are invited to operate/drive the trains. 5. Catney Barnes 45mm Scale, G Gauge Alan and Sylvia Eccles G Scale garden railway in doors for the day, Caney Barnes is a G Scale layout that uses stock and buildings from the Damar Valley Railway garden line, fused with a Gn15 layout. Both represent modern day preservation, the 45mm section of 3ft gauge railways, such as Southwold, Isle of Man and Eire, the 16.5mm section of 15inch railways such as Eaton Hall, and others build by Sit Arthur Haywood. All track is from the PECO catalogue, analogue control is used in both cases, though the 45mm section is only for visiting locos and all home stock is battery radio control. Buildings are a mixture of kit, and scratch built, sourced from railway and dolls house suppliers (1:24th). If you have and questions please ask, we are only happy to help if we can. 6. Baggies TMD 4mm Scale, OO Gauge Robert Hambridge Baggies TMD is a EWS depot set in and around the midlands. The layout is depicted on a cold dark morning in winter. A unique feature of the layout is we make it as dark as possible to fully immerse the night time feel. 7. Todmorden Midland 2mm Scale, N Gauge Ed Purcell Todmorden Midland is a terminus modelled to N gauge standards but the scenic section includes station, goods shed, coal yard, loco shed, canal scene, a couple of West Yorkshire mill buildings, a pub and, of course distant views of hills. It is assumed that the Midland Railway decided to try to tap the lucrative traffic around the north of Manchester and towns like Rochdale and Oldham. To avoid direct competition with the L&Y or the LNWR the MR planned to take a single line from the terminus of the Worth valley line at Oxenhope across the moorland near Hebden Bridge and to access the Calder Valley (the L&Y’s territory) at Todmorden and then develop a line across to the north side of Manchester. The success of the recently built Settle and Carlisle line meant that plenty of station and other building designs could be adapted quickly. (From a previous layout!) However, when they reached Todmorden the money and the drive ran out and the lengthy line from Keighley was left to struggle on into the 1950s and 60s which is when it is modelled. The track is Peco with points operated by SEEP motors and control is analogue via an excellent controller designed by WMRC member Ted Dudley and built by WMRC member Keith Paxton which is standard on the club’s N gauge layouts. Stock is by Farish, Dapol, Peco, N gauge society and Union Mills along with some kit built items. Motive power seen on the line is ex MR 2Fs, 3Fs, 4Fs, 2Ps, 2-6-4Ts, 2-6-2Ts, 2MT 2-6-0s, Black 5s, 8Fs, WD 2-8-0 s, along with some standard locos, some visiting ex LNER locos on summer holiday trains and even one or two diesels and DMUs. Scenery uses a range of manufacturers’ products including the excellent (and rare) Graham Avis trees. Buildings are mainly scratch built with a couple of modified kits. The excellent PECO N gauge stone plastic building sheets have proved to be very effective. However, the church is made from OO gauge Wills sheet! Some of the buildings are scratch built Settle and Carlisle designs which are justified by the line’s presumed historic origins. Mill buildings and pub are scratch built and based on the types of building found in the area. The back scene is done with acrylics. 8. Cherwell 4mm Scale, OO Gauge Solihull Model Railway Circle A scenic OO gauge, 26 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches, four-track mainline with an integral branch line. It features working automatic signals and has largely scratch built buildings with a local theme, e.g.: The Manor House, The Mason’s Arms, The George Hotel and the Fat Cat Café from Solihull; King’s Heath library; Tyseley Station; and Water Orton Station. The layout was built mainly to display scale length mainline trains, those being run reflecting the varying interests of the membership. Trains run are usually British outline, but can come from any part of the UK mainland and from any date between about 1900 and the present day. If you look carefully you can see pigeons roosting under the station bridge, foxes using the track bed as a shortcut and one fox eyeing lambs, gulls eggs and the shepherd on the upper pasture, cats watching building work in the arch from the platform and gulls above the sea and on the cliffs with a lonely cormorant. 9. Avonbridge 7mm Scale, O Gauge Solihull Model Railway Circle This layout is a 30 feet by 13 feet, three-track, continuous run with station and storage loops. Early in 2013, we widened two of the front boards to provide some space to allow for shunting. The boards are made from 9mm exterior plywood with some aluminium box-section bracing and steel box-section legs with rubber door-stops as feet. PECO code 124 bullhead track is laid to a minimum radius of 6 feet. Points are operated from the main panel using Hammant and Morgan motors. The buildings are based on local Midland Railway prototypes and therefore the layout represents a busy MR branch line somewhere in the midlands, although the stock run is from a variety of companies and eras to suit our varying interests. Most buildings are scratch-built from a combination of Plastikard and wood. The main station building is a model of Northfield and the small shelter on the opposite platform is from Moseley. The signal box is modelled on Luffenham, with Marton Junction’s coal bunker. A scratch-built scale model of the goods shed at Eckington on the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway is at one end of the station and future developments will probably include a footbridge between the platforms, back scenes and possibly a small engine shed. At one end is the road-over-rail bridge at Ripple, near Tewkesbury and at the other end a section of the 1816 Edstone canal viaduct from Bearley, near Stratford upon Avon. People and accessories are from various manufacturers, including PECO and Preiser. 10. A Scottish Branch 4mm scale, OO Gauge Solihull Model Railway Circle A new end-to-end branch line club layout based on Scottish practice, displayed here partly built to give an insight into layout construction. It is 16 feet long and just over 2 feet wide and we are using SMP code 75 bullhead plain track and handmade Marcway points. It has been constructed to run with either DCC or traditional control. There is a terminus station at one end and a hidden 'fiddle' yard with a traverser at the other, with a scenic section in between. A major part of the concept is the use of very deep baseboards, with the railway running through the middle, allowing greater depths and heights of scenery for a more interesting appearance. The major architectural feature is the curved viaduct based on Killiecrankie. SMRC2018LeafletAdvert.pdf
  13. dmustu

    Japan Trip

    Depends on where your going and what you like to see/do. The Kyoto museum is good, worth a visit if your there, but my favorite of the JR museums is the SCMaglev Park in Nagoya. The JR East museum in Omiya has just been extended, so would be worth a visit if your unable to go to the Kyoto or Nagoya museums.
  14. You could move the signal to the right hand side. It's not uncommon on the real railway for them to be so.
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