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Found 381 results

  1. The corner of the room has two baseboards, one which will feature a scenic area with the mill and the other, much narrower board, for the fiddle-yard. These two boards don't have the space for the curve which leads into the fiddle-yard because this needs to be removable so that the 'crew lounge' can be used as a bed when we have guests. The resulting extra board is a bit of an odd shape caused by a desire for the rails to cross at right-angles to the the baseboard edge and for the permanent boards to not have too many 'sticky out bits' to catch yourself on while sleeping! The very narrow parts of the board, where the track is very close to the edge on the left is 'off-scene' and will have a wall to prevent anything falling off into the drink. Once in position I was pleased that the cork which I marked from the Templot drawing fitted correctly, I am down to a 3'4" radius curve at this point so didn't have much room to make it tighter if I'd needed too. The cork got stuck down and the sleepers are now in place. I need to get some more rail from C&L at Stevenage tomorrow so obviously he won't have any in stock (just guessing). I had a bit of a play in Templot to see how the mill siding would look if I put in a head-shunt. I can get one in though the point is quite tight ( A4.5 Y). The radius isn't too bad so I think it would be ok. The real advantage is that this would allow wagons in the sidings to be shunted without fouling the mainline and I could use a small industrial locomotive. This could hide in the headshunt while the mainline locomotive exchanged wagons. The mill buildings I constructed based on Ebridge in Norfolk look quite nice, I will probably extend the hideous asbestos part just to avoid them being too twee. The Barclay fireless rather looks the part with a pair of grain tanks. I think I might put in a wagon turntable on the siding away from the building which then crosses the line next to the building to disappear between the two bits of mill to a boiler house behind. That way the buildings don't need the clearance for a rotating wagon and the siding between the two buildings can be tight. So, I'm pleased with the progress, hopefully I should get the track into the fiddle-yard laid next week. Then I need to work on the lifting section over the door before I can got round and round. David
  2. The cross over is on a curve and I'd originally used a 1:10 angle V in Templot. However your reply got me thinking because about 6 months ago I ordered a load of components from C&L when I thought I was going to give up on the Stour Valley and do something smaller/simpler. Typically I'd ordered 4 B8 points and was now faced with making 1:10 crossings myself. Your reply led me to go back into Templot and see what impact using a 1:8 crossing would have and the answer appears to be very little, I can still make the turnout fit on the baseboard fine and, while my existing marking out of the cork will no longer be right for the crossover line, the main curve of the track remains unchanged. So I've modified the plan using C8 for the cross over, I've made the catch point as a B8 as it isn't exactly a 'running line' and that leaves the switchblades clearer of the baseboard edge. Looks like you've saved me from having to make 3 crossings by hand - thanks! David
  3. A good few hours in TurboCAD, followed by some time on the laser cutter produced parts for the fourth baseboard for my Stour Valley project. This board was a bit more complex than the previous three because it needed to accommodate the small stream which I think was originally part of the moat of the castle. I only had to recut one piece where I screwed up the drawing which is pretty good going! The ply was stuck together with Gorilla glue, which got me thinking, do they make it from Gorillas or for sticking Gorillas back together when their arms fall off? This board will take considerably longer for the track to get laid than the previous platform board because it has the point for the coal siding and its catch point, the cross-over at the Long Melford end of the station and the catch point for lay-by siding. A bit more work than the two 4 foot lengths of plain track on the previous baseboard. Next up will be transferring the Templot track plan onto 6mm cork. David
  4. Here is an update. In the last six months there has not been a lot of time for modelling, and to be honest there seems to have been a lot of wasted time, as the learning curve for motorising and laying of hand-built points has been steep. There has been far too much ‘two steps forwards and 1.9 steps back’. This has made it hard for me to keep up interest. But I hope I have reached a tipping point. I have decided that this post will focus on the things I have learned in that hope that others can avoid some of the pitfalls I have jumped into. The current status is that a lot of the point work in the main station area is now down and fixed in place and wired up. This means that I have now reached an area where I can lay several meters og track without having to worry about points. I’m also pleased with the control panel, but this is where the problems start. One of my major focus points was to try and keep the wiring tidy. I am using the DCCConcepts Alpha system which certainly looks good. It is also very easy to use with easy to fit wires that plug into sockets. I plugged it all in and it all worked. But then whilst doing the second half of the board I discovered that I could make the wiring even neater and self-contained by fixing the two digital switch panel boards to one side of a strip of plywood and the corresponding alpha unit to the other side. So I unplugged all the wires, moved the boards and then re-attached all the plugs, To my horror only half of the switches worked. By fiddling about with the plugs, I could see that there seems to be a problem with the wires sitting too loosely in the sockets. I could get most of the lights working by moving the wires about, but the connections are too unstable to trust. I have a few extra wires and have tried replacing the most troublesome wires and that seems to do the trick. My advice is to avoid moving cables about. The plugs are easy to connect but that does not mean that they should be moved repeatedly. Also make sure that you buy wires that are long enough to avoid putting strain on the connections. My current plan is to buy new cables and make sure that they will not be moved after being plugged in the first time. This really ought not to be necessary and I feel that DCC Concepts should perhaps look again at using slightly more robust connections. Whilst they are rethinking that, I have another small wish. In the instructions they make it very plain that you must take great care with polarity when connecting the power supply to these switch circuit boards. Why not just put a couple of diodes on the board to make it impossible to connect them the wrong way around? My next issue was with insulating joiners which are very necessary for my hand-built points. Peco have introduced excellent metal joiners for their bullhead rail and these work well with the SMP flex track and C&L rail I am using. But when it comes to insulated joiners for bullhead rail there seems to be only extreme options ranging from The Peco ‘Gumboot’ which looks horrible and is far too long to be used in the middle of points to separate the frog from the switchblades, to the ExcatoScale cosmetic ‘Stilettos’ I rapidly gave up trying to use them as they normally broke before I got them on to the rails. I ended up using the Tillig insulated joiners that are designed for flat bottomed rail. But they can be ‘persuaded’ to fit bullhead with a bit of finely applied violence. Until a better option arrives this is for me the best compromise. As those who follow this blog will know (I salute your patience), I have built very light baseboards that use 5cm of extruded foam for strength. This excludes using under board point motors. I am using the relatively new DCC slightly strangely named SS point motors. I assume ‘SS’ stand for Small Surface, and not a refence to a historical German military unit! They are small and powerful. Again, my experiences are mixed. But this I think stems more from my limitations. One of the good things about them is that you can wire two points to a control panel so that a crossover can be controlled from one unit. They also have an adjustable throw, but that is where my problems start. My hand build points are not the most uniform, which means that sometimes the throw of the two points in a crossover is not precisely the same. This gives me an issue as the throw is only adjustable per output and I am running two points of it with different requriements. Normally the difference is small enough for the flexibility of the rail to soak up the difference. But I have experienced that the stepper motor can end in a situation where the midpoint of its throw can drift off-centre, and this gets progressively worse until it is actually stuck at one end of its travel. DCC Concepts have obviously encountered this as they have included a ‘recenter’ button on the control unit, which does NOT function as it says in the instructions. In that it does not recenter the switch but actually moves it to one endpoint of the travel and then when the point Is next changed this will move it back to the middle. NO, that does not make any sense to me either! Especially if it is stuck at the ‘wrong’ end of its travel what happens then? How to handle what happens when you are running two points off the connection and then reset is not easy either. I end up unplugging the ‘OK’ point and here again I am worried about how robust the supplied connecters as they are the same design used in the control panel switches. What the reset button does to the adjustable throw is unknown to me. It must be involved as it is the change after a reset which ACTUALLY recenters the throw ( not the button that claims to do it) this change must surely be the maximum thrown or it will not be re-centred? Not to mention how it affects the polarity of the Frog switching which is not directly connected to the direction of the motor, this I know because as there is a switch to change the direction of throw compared to the DCC command which does NOT change the polarity of the frog power as well. I fear that there are lots of things with which I am going to have to experiment. The simple but expensive solution for me would be to only run one point off of a connection and use two circuit boards with the same DCC Address to control a crossover. But there must be a better way. In my station area I have a lot of points relatively close together, and since the whole area has only wide radius curves I have chose to set the track centres at 50mm. This means that I can not fit even the small SS motors between tracks. My solution is to use rods in tubes under the track bed to the outer edge of the track sections. This seems to work fine but it means you have to lay points in the right order… which I didn’t. I managed though to force the rod and wire through the foam track bed without damaging the point that I had glued down. Given that the point motors are wider than they are long, a little right-angle crank would surely make things easier as they could then be fitted parallel to the trackwork. As you can see form the first photo I lay and ballast plain track at the same time. I use a thinned Copydex mixture that I paint thinly onto the foam track bed. I then lay the track, cover it with ballast. Then I lay a strip of 9mm plywood on the rails and weight it down at 20cm distances with 1 kg weights. Once dry, I hoover the extra ballast up using a bagless handheld vacuum so that the ballast can be reused. Point work that is still attached to the paper templates printed from Templot. These are also glued and weighted using the same Copydex mixture, but I have not painted or ballasted them yet. I learnt from laying the very first point that something that seems to work fine on the building bench might not work as well when it gets the test train which in my case comprises a Bachman Prairie pushing three Dapol 6 wheeled milk tanks. These trucks are terrible runners that can suddenly derail at the slightest provocation. It is much easier to re-solder check rails or switch blades in situ if the points are not painted or packed In plastic ballast! One of the big issues for me has been wiring dropper wires and getting frogs wired correctly. It can be difficult to check polarity when using AC DCC power to the track. So I have found a new use for my Power TEST panel that I originally built to test the four pin XLR connections (two for DCC power to the track, and two for a separate DCC accessory bus) between each baseboard. By plugging the relevant baseboard’s XLR plug into this panel I can check polarity in the rails by using a 9volt DC transformer and a multi meter instead of the DCC power. The powercab runs on the accessory bus so that I can test point motors as well.
  5. With another international move under my belt, this time back to the UK (at least for a third of the time, Outer Mongolia for the remainder) I’ve been left with much less space than I had available in Utah, with very little chance of this materially increasing in the near future. This coupled to the fact that I’d not progressed my plans of Lydford Junction in the last two years have led me over the last couple of months; OK Years again, to evaluate the different plans that I’d had. Lydford Junction’s temporary home. After several false starts, reading quite a few books and reading RMWeb quite a lot more than I should, I looked again at the part’s I liked from Lydford Junction, and came up with a new concept keeping them. The result is Lydford Town, a smash up of the layout of Bridestowe station on the western slopes of Dartmoor, placed where the line comes closest to the village of Lydford, just to the North of the viaduct, borrowing the attractive PDSWJR station building at Brentor. This should still capture running through the landscape feel I think suits 2mm so well, utilising Dartmoor as a backdrop, albeit not on the scale of messers Greenwood and Jones’ empire’s 3D Design for the revised Lydford Town. Only +20 coaches to build before then! Despite Lydford Town’s much smaller scope compared to Lydford Junction, I still have a mountain of stock to build and convert to run anything like a representative schedule, realistically making this a long term prospect. After more deliberating, procrastinating and contemplation, I decided that it would be a good plan to enter the Diamond Jubilee Layout Challenge for the shindig in 2020 as well. A couple of Idea’s bounced around for the DJLC included: · A scenic section of the Princetown branch, which might be a bit boring to operate, and suffered from a lack of points, without an improbable quarry siding shoehorned in. · A section of the old layout of Meldon Quarry, which the viewpoints & Scenic blocks wouldn’t really have worked for, and · A section of the end of Newham goods station in Truro, which again, would be pretty uninspiring to operate. It was at this point that I remembered the old baseboards that I’d put together for the semi-theoretical extension of the Callington Branch in East Cornwall, called Congdon’s Shop, with the aim of fitting this into a boxfile coming in at 714x 233mm. These are not dissimilar to the DJLC dimensions being 600x 239mm, or 240mm depending on how accurate your tape measure converts 9.42”. This has got a far as laying track, and installing TOU’s, but for one reason or the other, has failed to get beyond. A rubbish photo, almost showing the length of the layout. Rather than trying to modify a set of boards already built, it seems to make sense to me to recycle the concept (and correspondingly all the research, stock collated and idea’s) onto a new set of boards built to the right challenge dimensions. Fortunately the amount of tools and information available to layout planners has increased dramatically since 2012, with Templot and NLS maps freely available, coupled with the learnings from my own previous failings and successes. One of the main dissatisfactions with the original plan was that “714mm is just too small a length of track to be interesting.” This statement, on the face of it, is a problem. The DJLC length is specified as 114mm smaller than this. But templot and inkscape to the rescue: Layout plan on Scale map of Callington, showing the DJLC Dimension area and the extra extension after this. Actually, the prototype trackplan is quite a lot shorter than I’d originally guesstimated, and the more important, interesting bits of the station will reasonably fit into a 300ft scale length. This, to me, still feels stiflingly cramped having three entry points to the layout from the fiddleyard. So, I’ve planned the layout to actually be 900mm in length so that following the challenge in 2020, I can replace the backscene side to the full intended dimensions. This allows me to include the yard entry point and thus reducing the fiddleyard entry’s down to two and I feel gives a more open feel. The irony isn’t lost on me that the layout might only be ready for 2050 or the ninetieth anniversary, (a more realistic projected completion date?!?) I wasn’t particularly happy with the straight-curve-straight portion of the platform road on the initial rendition, the old trackplan solely using straight Easitrack B6 turnouts. This time I’ve planned to use B8 curved turnouts soldered up from templot printout’s. Curve radii were specified to be greater than 450mm which has, mostly, been adhered to. The soldered turnout construction will give me more strength, and greater opportunity to adjust and correct when I construct it out of gauge. I am keen to try to use a sector plate type arrangement with this layout to ease the amount of handling stock needs and the faff that this involves. I envisage that cassettes will still have a role to play, acting as the headshunt off the end of the traintable and potentially to load stock onto the layout from extra storage cases. To also assist with this, the straight portions of the table are planned to be made from brass strips, as anyone who’s tried to load up the traverser on St Ruth, this is a difficult task to do this on plain rail with fat fingers. Only three roads are anticipated to be required on the traintable, up to two for passenger and one for goods stock, the vacant road being able to act as the run-around road. A 70mm thrust bearing is used as the pivot, whilst alignment and power should come through cabinet barrel bolts, until I can think of a more unnecessarily complicated way to do it. Fiddleyard and lighting rig plan, along with check for strengthening ribs above things like tie-bars The 3mm ply construction of the baseboards has proved to be remarkably robust, to be honest they have now survived a couple of trips in the hold of a 737 so there can’t be much fundamentally wrong with this for the small size of board required. I plan to use 6mm stripwood rather than cut plywood strips this time though. Life’s just too short, trying to get straight flat edges from a sheet material. So there you have it, the grand sum of what 6 years of paper planning gets you… Nothing to show, a pile of materials, but at least a vague idea about how they ‘should,’ all fit together.
  6. David. Glad to hear that you're getting back into it. The new track certainly is giving some idea of the scale of the layout. I must say, with the Templot track layout burned into the cork underlay, you have to look twice to see that the track isn't there yet. With no particular knowledge on the subject, I agree with the general feeling that the brick wall would have had much less or no lichen back in steam days. Dave.
  7. I just copy the a .dxf out of templot into TurboCAD, I used the laser cutter to just mark the surface of cork. David
  8. This looks an interesting project. I'm curious to know how you transferred the templot plan to the cork. Thank you.
  9. A wander around Clare country park on Saturday (boy it was hot!) spurred me on to cutting the plywood for the next baseboard of my Stour valley project. Last time we went a few years back the station building was all boarded up and in a pretty sorry state. Fortunately it is now opened up again as a Tea room and it did a very decent bacon bap and cheese toastie. The booking hall is available for eating and features some nice photographs and map of the station. Construction is all from 6mm ply, laser cut and glued. I got almost all the tabs and slots right first time (which was pleasing) and then stuck two bits together the wrong way and had to cut them again (which wasn't!). Today I transferred the Templot track drawing onto 6mm cork and cut it to fit between the platform edges. This gives a decent guide where to stick down the ply sleepers. Once I have the Marks Tey bound platform track built I'll be able to play at reversing pickup goods trains into the yard for a spot of shunting. I don't expect to get much done for the rest of the week, a new armful of drugs tomorrow will probably see me sleeping 23 hours a day based on previous form. David
  10. Hi Time for a long overdue update on the progress on the south bank of the Tweed estuary….I know it’s been a while, but I’ve kept looking at it and thinking, “Not just yet, I’ll just get this bit finished first.” I keep going home and leaving bits and pieces all over the place and then coming back and picking up where I left off and truth to tell it’s not been very photogenic; a combination of mess, clutter and infrastructure work that’s not very spectacular. You wouldn’t want me to scare you with photos of that, would you? But now I’ve reached a point where, if you’re interested, you need to know where I’ve got to. The board I’m working on is the hub of the whole layout in several ways. It’s where the single track descending from Berwick and the ECML comes into Spittal and starts to branch into the station and goods yard approaches, and from where the industrial branches to Tweed Dock and Spittal Point start to diverge. It’s also the best place to locate the main control panel for various reasons. To understand the strategic importance of this bit, you need to know a little about the operating regime I have in mind…… Spittal is not a one-man operation. The run from fiddleyard to terminus is about 80 ft, and there are two significant branch lines to operate as well. Three or four drivers/shunters and a full time signalman is the plan, and I’m fortunate that a very friendly and supportive group of EM gauge modellers meet at the workshop once a week; I hope they’ll become the operating team. The signalman will be in charge of all train movements and will control this: The track diagram represents the hub of the layout: passenger facilities and runrounds, and the start of goods yard, Spittal Point and tweed Dock branches. Once trains leave this section, they are either on their way to Berwick, the ECML and Tweed Valley junction, or they are heading down the token-operated one-engine-only industrial branches or into the goods yard. Whichever of the latter it is, they leave the signalman’s domain and are not allowed back without permission. While there are passenger services to Berwick and Eyemouth, all stations to Edinburgh, all stations to Newcastle, and the Tweed Valley and Alnwick-Cornhill branches, in addition to excursion trains arriving, the vast majority of the train movements are freight orientated, with the goods yard, Tweed Dock, Spittal Quay and Spittal Point interacting endlessly to process a very significant amount of inbound and outbound traffic to and from all the destinations listed above. Trip and transfer freight workings will be almost continuous, and the traffic will keep the signalman very busy indeed. He has route-setting 2-position switches and a bank of 12 signal levers to control the movements. On the wall in front of him but behind the layout will be a 28” monitor, with a rolling train information display so he knows when he may have time to grab a cup of tea…….. The goods yard, and the 2 industrial lines, will have their own discrete control panels, which will be driver operated; as they are single engine operations it’s the obvious way to do it, and spreads the load somewhat. The control panel sits on the front of the station hub baseboard mentioned above, on which the trackwork is taking shape fairly quickly: There’s just a bit more tracklaying to do and then the job of connecting it all up, adding servos etc and building the signals for this section. One of the great advantages to me of working in this sequence is that once I’ve connected this bit up and added the long single track section I’ve already made and had running, the control infrastructure will be complete for the whole layout; 5 power districts with circuit breakers, the accessory bus and all. When I add the next board and track I’ll just need to hook it up to what’s already in place and it’ll be up and running, so the apparent hiatus in developing the layout while I’ve put the control infrastructure in place will actually speed progress enormously. One of the things that was worrying me about building the track on this board was my decision to ash ballast to the tops of the walnut sleepers before laying the C and L chairs and rail. This has worked well on the plain track sections with the use of a simple homemade jig to align rail position in relation to sleeper ends (there is a Templot diagram stuck down but you can’t see it because of the ballast!), but I was worried about turnout building using the same method. I built the crossings in place before ballasting, then added the ballast, and gauged everything from the crossings and it appears to have worked; my first 5 turnouts in EM/4mm and rolling stock runs through them all even without the check rails added…..which I’m leaving until the wiring and final testing is complete: The ballast is Advanced Lightweight Polyfilla stippled with a paintbrush; it will be painted/weathered after the track is finished by letting well thinned acrylic paint soak through it. The way in which the paint spreads through the ballast without soaking into the walnut sleepers is wondrous to behold, easy to do and a great time saver compared to the usual ballasting methods. I’m lucky the NER used ash ballast in this area on its branch lines. So there you are; evidence that I’m still alive and still busy developing the layout and loving every minute of it!!! If I’m honest, it’s my model railway dream coming true….the layout I always wanted to build one day in the future…… Ian
  11. The layout is not operational at present as all the power supply units, NCE equipment and circuit breakers are elsewhere for fitting into two power boxes than are being made for me - thanks again Chris! In the meantime I decided to make a start on the B7R and B7L turnouts for the storage sidings. I am using 4mm wide x 1.6mm thick copper clad strip for the sleeper timbers and Nickel silver bullhead rail. These series of photos show the latter stages of construction. The timbers have been laid out on templot templates the 1 in 7 crossing V constructed and soldered into position followed by the straight and curved stock rails. We pick up construction with the first of the wing rails. In the photos left to right are - DD Wheelrights Jig for crossing alignment - two three point track gauges and a Roger Sander 'Mint gauge'. To the front is a jig for filing up the 1 in 7 crossing V. It also will do 1 in 6; 1 in 8 and 1 in 9. The DD block gauge in use to set the wing rails. The Mint gauge is used to check tightness in the track gauge. If tight the soldering iron will assist adjustment. Three track gauges in use to hold the closure rail/switch blade in position. Wing rails added. Soldering the blades. The completed B7L Five made so far 26 to go!!
  12. Just me bored and rambling on a bit, think I've been on holiday to long. I am sort of trying to find the mojo ready for when I get home. But after two years of worth of modelling That did not, I feel, amount to much. I thought I ought to take stock and see where I have got to and where I should be heading. My first pleasure is to build kits or scratch building whether it be locos wagons or anything else. Well I've only managed four locos and a few wagons in the last 2 years. I need to up my game I could do more when I was working full time. If I want a layout and stock to run on it. When I get home I will be in a position that I will have a few kits which I can build without major parts needing. These are in no particular order. A GWR Saint, LMS Jubilee, LNER F1, MR 1P 0-4-4T (a rebuild), and a GWR Deans goods. These will be sold and with any commission work that comes my way (not so many now), it will help pay for my toys. For me there are a few more wagons to add to the stockpile. But also I should have a Finney7 M7 to take home too. Which will need to wait for wheels etc. I have the last couple of bits for the Shedmaster 700, so that may be on the bench sooner than I thought. I have a LBSCR E2 with parts to make it run. This will actually be blue with a face on it.(really looking forward to this one). The smile on a certain someone's face is going to worth more than any I sold. I also want to start another scratch build. Not sure which class but quite fancy one of Mr Adams's elegant 4-4-0's, would have to be one of the smaller wheeled west of Salisbury locos. Now on with the layout. Bodmin is still my aim but I need more space, not sure how to achieve that. The design started at about 4.5 metres, now has reached 6 without a fiddle yard. I'm not wanting to reduce the length again as it now has a much better feel to it. My collecting of loco and stock building is aimed at that. Not all locos will have run on the real Bodmin, but they will be Southern and some of my favourites. In the mean time I would like somewhere to run what I have and hone my skills on the layout building front. I will get onto Templot when home and see what can be done in 3.1 metres. Nothing longer than two 48 footers and a tank loco. Yes I know that's a good metre used up, but you don't need to run around it, it's just fiddle yard length required. My thoughts are also some if not most of the buildings could be transported from this to Bodmin when the time comes. All these thoughts on how to make it all work, and it's 30 years since I had a layout and not sure about playing trains. Playing has never been high on my list of priorities I am hoping that an all in approach, making track, buildings etc all myself, may keep the interest alive. I am sure the enthusiasm will stay, as there are many new challenges and things to learn. It is one of the bonuses of living in Brazil. You have to be very much more hands on, a bit like old style 1950/60s modeling. Not being able get everything within days or out of a box. I like it. The down side is that delivery even from within Brazil can take a month or so.from the UK can be months. Planning is always essential. So what will be the outcome, well hopefully I will be more productive, P will slowly become less needy, so that may in turn give more work bench time. I am in effect looking forward to my modelling I have a few nice locos to build , not much in the way of rebuilds or low cost kits. Saying that I am looking forward to the saint, and that's a hotch potch of parts. A Slaters tender, Scorpio castings, and etches of unknown heritage.
  13. I'm afraid that some people (not you Andrew) are besotted by Templot - it is not the panacea some people think, and sometimes the MK1 human eyeball can do a better job. Excellent work though, I don't envy that wiring ...
  14. First of all, happy new year to everyone! Hope you had a good festive break. As we start 2018 I thought I'd do a brief review of progress on Cheddar. I spent the year wiring the s8dding thing. Seriously, that's it. Oh and doing battle with the lever frame, which is connected to yet more wiring in the panel. And I hate wiring. This may be why I was so easily side tracked building an engine for Clevedon and the PDSWJR brake van and embryonic cameo layout to match, and building a few wagons, and so on... At that rate Cheddar's never going to be finished so I'm going to devote a bit more time and attention to it this year. In my last post I'd already finished the board 4, which is the board to which the panel is connected and therefore from which all the wiring looms disperse. I was feeling really rather pleased that I could plug two controllers in and run two engines simultaneously. The next board towards Wells is number 5 and contains the signal box, goods shed and platform ends. Thankfully it only has three turnouts to worry about. Now originally I started building track at the Wells end and when I got to this point realised that the alignment in the down goods yard was not to my liking, requiring a sharp curve to meet the end of the incoming line from the slip. I was pondering whether to leave it as it is but as soon as I joined the boards together again the EM modeller in me became suppressed by the P4 alter ego and I realised I was going to have to do something about it. With a bit of realignment, principally involving the swapping of the hand of one of the turn outs, I was able to ease the curve and ended up with a much more pleasing flow. Trackwork was adjusted on the board top by eye, rather than with Templot. In effect the two ends were fixed anyway. All seems successful. The track in question is the far left under the wagon and yes I realise the wagon is not on the track either!! After this achievement, I duly set up wiring the boards, using my now usual method of Palatine droppers and a shed load of wire. Happily the board has just been finished which leaves just two to do and I think they're just plain tracks with no turnouts (hooray!!). So, an awful lot of waffle to say: board 5 track realigned, wired and working.
  15. During lunch breaks (whenever I've manage to grab one) I've been attempting to draw the main engine shed building for Polbrock. This is following on from the idea proposed at Octobers Area Group meeting that I could create a master of one wall section and cast subsequent sections. Also be able to use one of the members Silhouette cutters to cut out other bespoke sections out of platic card. Below is the current drawing. I'm planning on using the water tank from the Dapol kit which has fixed the dimension for the building underneath. Before committing to cutting plasticard I'll print the drawing and mount on card to test size and fit to a full size Templot track plan. For one who's not scratch built buildings before, big project, me thinks... Smaller building to cut teeth on, Panawan would be wise.
  16. Well despite being feeling decidedly off form and weak due to the effects of my condition (the Domestic Overlord reckons I'm a condition all of my own) I have managed to get the second board completed. All I have to do is finish, or rather start the storage yard board and the layout legs, but these can wait for a while, as even a Woodworking GOD like me needs some rest Anyway the boards just need a little sanding and finishing, but on the whole I think I am happy with them, so I think the first stage on building Lugsdale Road is complete. Now I must admit I envy the modellers out there who meticulously plan their layouts, and produce detailed plans using witchcraft and templot, but not me. I have plans for the layout, I mean I'm not one of those modellers who just makes it up as I go along, I actually enjoy the planning stages, with a pen/pencil and some graph paper, but I always find that sometimes there is nothing better than planning on the actual boards. To do this for certain parts of the layout I cover the area I'm working on with graph paper so I can transfer onto it my plans and see how they feel "life size". So I get to effectively double plan, and hopefully the end result is a balanced look (I admit it went wrong with Foster Street), if the plan looks okay I can then look at building mock-ups, and this layout will need lots of them Part if the planning stage now is to decide if I revert back to producing buildings using plasti-card or card like on my previous layout? Decisions, decisions, decisions and I thought railway modelling was supposed to be easy, I mean what could possibly go wrong
  17. I could say that this all started from a cancelled meeting, I don't really remember. What I do recall is being in a room in the J W Marriott with a free day thinking "what shall I do today, I know, I'll go and look at some trains". The MRT Subway had been opened a year or two earlier so getting down to Hualamphong station couldn't be easier. Skytrain to Asok, down the steps to Sukhumwit on the MRT and then the subway to Hualamphong. Heck of a trek from the MRT at Hualamphong to the mainline station but then you could say the same for the hike from the Victoria Line to the Midland platforms at St Pancras. And thus started my Thai love affair. There was something about the mix of the modern and the traditional, nay archaic, along with the fact this was all narrow gauge and Asian. I was fortunate in that over the next three or four years I had regular business trips to SE Asia and Australia and a weekend stopover in Bangkok could be slotted in quite easily. As a result I went to hunt down the derelict steam engines outside Makkasan works, sniffed around the yards at Bang Sue and - of course - took the train down to Maeklong and ride through THAT market. I even managed to get up to Chiang Mai - had to go by air unfortunately - and look round the station there. Chiang Mai is basically a single track terminus and has all the features of an Ashburton - small engine shed, goods shed and goods sidings. OK there's an oil depot rather than a coal yard, but you get the gist. It was then I started thinking seriously about building a layout based on Thailand. A layout, but based on what? I thought of Chiang Mai but discounted it as I would only have one more day there and would be unlikely to get back to do any further research. Makkasan was a possibility and on my next visit to Bangkok I spent a morning photographing and measuring the station building and sketching out the trackplan. Makkasan has some really nice features, the station building is quite attractive and it is also the junction for the freight only line to Mae Nam. The junction is before the station and the branch line slews off in the general direction of the station car park before crossing a road and disappearing through a gap in the trees. Downsides are the huge loco and carriageworks, the fact that part of the site is under the Expressway and now, that the pillars holding up the Airport Express line are an eyesore parallel to the line. The main problem though is that the line here is Roman Road straight and that for operation some curves would have to be provided and I didn't have the space. Elsewhere in Bangkok, Hualamphong was obviously way too big and the terminus of the line to Maeklong , Wongwangyai, was merely a single track and a single platform. However there was another Bangkok terminus, Thonburi, which I had not yet visited. These days of course you can do a bit of a virtual visit, but this was before Google Streetview had got as far as Asia. Unlike the other Bangkok stations, Thonburi is not on the metro which is why I hadn't yet got out there. But then I discovered the river boats. I could get to Thonburi by Skytrain and then riverboat, so I did. Bingo. I had expected Thonburi to be another minimalist set up like Wongwangyai, but no. This was a proper station complete with carriage sidings and loco facilities. What is more about half of it had been chopped off. Where you would have expected the line to go to the terminal platforms was now a huge building site. The passenger station was now an exceedingly modest affair - a main platform, a secondary platform and a small shack for offices and ticket sales. Not only that but the trains were modest too. A typical Thai passenger train is eight, ten, even sixteen coaches long. Out of Thonburi they were only five or six at most. I still had just the pint pot of space for a layout, but now I was only trying to squeeze a quart in and not a gallon. I'm not an experienced layout designer but it did occur to me that shrinking a track plan to fit a space cannot be done without thinking about the aspects of operation. At Thonburi the key movements, apart from trains arriving and departing, is the locomotives going to and from the shed and refuelling point and the carriage shunter moving carriages to and from the platform. By this time Thonburi had no freight depot - that was under the building site too - so I'd think about freight later. It did seem that freight wagons were brought to Thonburi for repair and maintenance though. I made some sketches, but I found that using the satellite feature of Google maps gave me a better basis to work with. I took a screenshot of the satellite view of Thonburi at the best resolution possible I could then import that into a drawing package and make a drawing overlay of the actual trackplan Even though a large chunk of Thonburi had been lopped off to build a hospital extension, what remained was still a lot more than the available space. Not unusual of course but this is where the creative thinking starts. It was around now that I finally gave up on the idea of building this in HOm. My British outline modelling had been in 3mm scale and building this layout in 3mm scale on 9mm gauge track had its attractions. One being that in 3mm scale train lengths of four carriages were easy, five or even six would be the maximum whereas in HOm anything over four wouldn't fit. Likewise on the freight side, in 3mm scale I could create enough length to pass an eight bogie flat container train with engine and brake van, in HOm the maximum was six once the extra lengths of turnouts had been taken into account. Later on, when explaining to Thai work colleagues what I was doing - and discovering I was more familiar with their railway network than they were - saying I was building it to 1/100th scale didn't sound as daft Having made the decision to work in 3mm scale, aim for five coach passenger trains and eight bogie trucks plus brake van for freight, I started work on the track plan. I had a four metre long wall in my home office which would be available on my retirement - which was then only a couple of years away - so that is what I would design for. I'm not really an operator so I didn't build for operating at home, in fact I'd rather use the space for scenics. One attraction of Thonburi was the shunting carried out within station limits. I'm not a Templot fan and I hadn't discovered AnyRail so I drew out the plan using Inkscape. I created templates for the turn outs and also for locos and carriages so I could easily check siding lengths Apart from length. the other compressions were to reduce the number of tracks in the carriage sidings and reduce the engine shed to three roads from five and cut down how many locos could fit one each track. I then started building baseboards, and once the boards were built I printed out the track plan full size - easily done with a vector drawing package - and laid it out as a final sanity check before tracklaying Things have moved on since then. I have retired, that wall has been cleared of work related clutter and the four boards of the main layout are along it. Track is laid, wired up - for DCC - and about half ballasted. I really should overcome the reluctance to ballast the rest - it is so tedious ...... - but I have been working on creating a fully sceniced section I can use for photos. One post script. Last year I paid my last visit to Bangkok and went over to Thonburi. Watching a loco coming off shed in order to take a train to Kanchanaburi I suddenly realised there is no direct path from the headshunt at the loco shed to the passenger station. Locomotives have to do a little shimmy in front of the signal box. I haven't included that, I didn't know it was there, but on reflection I think that could get really irritating on a model railway.
  18. It seems I missed publishing a post on this topic to my RMWeb blog. It can be found here on my person Grogley Junctiion blog https://grogleyjunction.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/back-to-big-project-signal-diagrams.html If you do go to this link to fill in the missing thoughts on how I came to the current post I think should warn you it is a bit of an epic post, otherwsie please read on to what I hope is the final plan for the start of this project. Again, after much thought, I proposed a further trackplan for consideration to Mr Severs and he very promptly came back with some sound advice. So unless someone can offer any further constructive advice I think the below plan for "stage one", Polbrock engine shed, will be rubber stamped "Approved". As can be seen I agree with previous advice given that the double track between Polbrock and Grogley would not be typical of this stretch of line. I feel Mr Servers thoughts on the signalling, along with the addition of the "Sand Drag" to protect the Padstow Wadebridge line, could well satisfy the BoT. One comment he did make was he thought the LSWR would have built the engine shed at Grogley Junction. I do agree and there may well have been space. The problem I had when revisiting the Grogley's track plan was that I could not find a way to fit the engine shed at Grogley where it would have been located and have enough room in the "Man Cave" for a work bench. If only the "Cave" could be 2-3 foot wider... I've drawn the track plan in Templot and to me it feels good. It will offer operational interest for one person to build and operate. It will also be a good stepping stone to continue on to Grogley Junction for the building of rolling stock. The two three-way turnouts need to be completed in the above Templot track plan. Even so I printed out a full size plan as a discussion point during last week's Scalefour meeting and it seemed to gain approval. Very rough full size mock ups have also been created of the engine shed and water tower to test location and size against the track plan. I'm now investigating how to build them. The initial plan was to build them using Wills Plasticard. During the last Area Group meeting a comment was made about making a master of a section of the engine shed wall, then to take several resin castings off the master to build the shed to save some time and effort. Seems a good plan to me especially as I've never scratch built any building before. I'm now looking forward to posting about progress on this project and further tweaks on Tredethy Wharf.
  19. After a bout of illness and being busy with preparing for and dealing with a new canine arrival to my other halfs house, I've not been to any shows or done much modelling as a result. However, I did manage (with assistance from members of the Scalefour Society and the Templot Club forum) to finalise…… Continue reading Finalising plans and choosing a name.
  20. Tim V

    Cameo Layout

    Luckily, the tramway remains were surveyed in 1966/1967 and the results were reprinted in the SCCS magazine 48, 49, 50 - which is available on http://www.coalcanal.org/wh.php I did know of the Ambis etches, but it's beginning to look like it might be in 7mm, and to reasonably represent the track will have to be scratchbuilt. I'm thinking of a battery powered loco running on the plates - but that is still a long way off. I need to check if Templot will do plateway track....
  21. Wheal Imogen: 1980s/1990s China Clay Cameo in P4 Its been a long time since my last exhibition layout, getting close to 10 years since Blackcombe Torr’s first (and only) exhibition. But thoughts have now turned to a replacement. My main focus is towards a long term project set around South Brent station in 1947 South Devon, but historically most of my modelling was based around Cornwall in the late 80s / late 90s. Reading the rules for the new MRJ “Cameo Layout Challenge” I have been sufficiently inspired to have a crack at it. The aim is threefold: Ø To give me somewhere to run my P4 stock Ø A canvas on which to experiment with new techniques for ground covering, trees and structures which can be refined before covering much larger areas on Brent Ø To get back onto the exhibition circuit for a couple of shows a year, having been away from the scene for the past ten years. Location To that end I have started to come up with the concept of Wheal Imogen. First of all its rather difficult to come up with something which is both imaginative, realistic and interesting to operate without looking like a clone of some of the great layouts which have come before (in particular Wheal Elizabeth). In particular when they are inspired by the same locations that I am naturally drawn to, the two main small 1980s works: Pont’s Mill and Carbis Wharf. The problem is that they are both too simple in terms of track layout, so a little refinement is needed (ever conscious of avoiding the trap of recreating exactly the same track changes others have made in the past). To this end I have started with Ponts Mill, added a run around loop (which I may yet remove) along with adding an additional siding with a slurry loader. The siding in which the Royal Train was once stored has been reinstated as a through line (which may be for passenger services and / or may be just serving another works further up the line). One thought here is that Wheal Imogen will be the main works in the area, while the second works further up the line does not have a runaround (and hence the occasional train to works 2 will need to be propelled, adding a little more interest.) To further differentiate it from previous clay layouts, which always seem to operate from a left hand fiddleyard into a right hand works. I have swapped the plan around so that trains approach from the right. In terms of the structures, as with Blackcombe the intention is to design my own buildings based upon features seen at a number of works. For the main loading dock there will be at least one section for loading vans with palletised clay, and another with a top loader to handle Clay Tigers / PRAs. Further research is required to see if it will be possible to design the main drier in such a way that I can realistically use Clay Hoods ./ CDAs as well as the tigers (which would be the preference.) The second loader would be for slurry tanks, both TTA based and Silver Bullets depending on the period being ran. Again it’s a tough one to work out the model as if the works had somehow managed to survive to 1997, you would expect an enclosed shed (as per Blackpool Driers). I haven’t quite worked out how I would manage to handle this and fulfil my aim of making the layout cover a long period of time. The front half of the main building is being reused from Blackcombe, expanded to full depth and heavily rebuilt. My intention is to reclad with SE Finecast random stone, add the buttresses between the original loading docks and then rebuild the roof / covers over the new loading areas. The canal and bridge to access Ponts Mill will also be retained into this plan. Time Period As previously mentioned I want to encompass three different time periods for the layout, early 1980s (Cornish Railways 37s, blue peaks, Large Logo 50s along with clay hoods, PRA boxes, ex Bowaters slurry tanks and LWB vans). 1987/88 (Grey / Railfreight General 37s, NSE on the 50s, transition between hoods and CDAs, Clay Tigers) and 1997 (Transrail / EWS 37s, CDAs, silver bullets, Tigers, Cargo Waggons) The initial focus will be on one of those periods, which will be decided nearer the time (but is more likely to be 1980s based) Presentation: The layout will be circa 5ft long (scenic) with approximately a 3ft cassette fiddleyard on one end and a 2ft cassette on the other, the depth is still tbc but may well end up in a triangular arrangement deeper on the left hand side than the other). The backscene will have curved corners, while the frontage will be at some sort of angle (with a facia plate working along the slot principle.) My intention is to work on the track plan over the next couple of weeks, refining it in Templot while I am working away from home. Then get the track built once I have finished the fiddleyard points for Brent. (the logic being the best time to build the P4 points for Wheal Imogen will be after I have just finished a large batch of OO points, and my track building should be at the peak of the learning curve.) Finally the name: Fairly simple really; I wanted to have something which immediately said China Clay, so Wheal something immediately came to mind. My eldest’s name Evie didn’t really work, but my youngest’s name worked rather well and its just stuck since. Evie will no doubt at some point end up on the side of a works shunter… There was one other reason, I figured (correctly) that naming the planned second layout after one of the children would smooth the process of getting the wife to agree to it. A very rough initial sketch of the plan is below…
  22. Now that point building is underway and baseboards are almost complete. It is almost time to destroy about a third of what I have already built ☹. A shame but it has to go to make space for Chard junction. Hatch was built as an end to end with a three track fiddle yard at each end. The fiddle yard at the right-hand end will now be replaced by the branch line platforms of Chard Junction. Here are a few of pictures that show what is about to be demolished. The new 10 lane fiddle yard for the double track main line will in the future be underneath the current Hatch station like this: (This is an old plan that only shows 6 tracks in the storage area, and is made in ANYRAIL using Tillig track. As I have previously blogged. I am now building points and using DCC concepts bullhead 'OO' track all designed in TEMPLOT. But you get the idea from this drawing). This means that the hatch station baseboards will be raised from their current 77Cm to 90Cm in height. The fiddle yards underneath then will be set at 70cm and the boards containing the main station are at 75 cm. This gives me about a 1.3% gradient for the mainlines as they drop from 75cm to 70cm and a 2.3% gradient for the branch line as it climbs from the main station to the 90cm high Hatch section. The gradient on the current (about to be demolished) section is 2% and my Bachman 8750 pannier has no trouble pulling 15+ wagons up that! Mind you the Bachman collet 0-6-0 goods can only just about pull 8-10 wagons. The 20cm difference between Hatch and the fiddle-yards is a bit too tight, but increasing it to 25 cm gave me gradients that I did not like the look of. I have done a test and the 20cm is OK though fiddle yard is probably the wrong name as there is not much space for putting things on rails. The DCC concepts point motors used on Hatch are rather on the deep side and there is need for drastic tidying up of wiring if trains are not going to strangle themselves. This brings me to the next decision, What do I do with control panels? The current panel for Hatch is a spaghetti solution. The problem is that I have got used to having both DCC controlled points and pushbutton switches with LED route indication on the control panel For Hatch this resulted in there being two 37 pin connecters between the control panel and the layout. Chard is much more complicated and I guess that there will be at least 200 wires between the panel and the layout. My current working symbolic design for the whole layout looks like this: There seem to be three possible solutions to how to wire this board 1. Carrying on using the current approach. I have at least discovered a 37pin parallel connecter system that has screw connecters which will make things much easier than the screw blocks currently in use. The pluses for this is that it is relatively cheap. Minuses include the need for soldering and lots of wires 2. DCC concepts have their ALPHA system. To be honest I’m not sure about this. I already use a NCE Powercab which seems to make things easier and cheaper. Pluses would seem to be two wires between the control panel and the layout, tidier wiring looms in the control panel as the Switches and LEDS are combined in one unit. The biggest minus is the price. Another minus is that there seems to be no programming options, for example the fiddle yards for each line have a three way and two normal points. It would be nice to be able to put a single ‘push to make’ switch on each line and have the correct points set for that line. I don’t think that this is possible. It has to be said as well, that the marketing for the ALPHA system is confusing (still, even though the new website is up) Since I’m planning to use the new DCC surface mounted pointmotors with their obligatory control board there seems also to be bit of an overlap in functions that means buying the same functionality twice! 3. I have just today discover that NCE have their own system for controlling dcc accessories with just two wires. https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/200980015-Mini-Panel-The-NCE-Route-and-Automation-Controller I know next to nothing about it, but it seems to do the same thing as the DCC Concepts alpha system. Pluses include the ability to do route settings via ‘macros’ and not least the price compared to the Alpha system. The major minus is that there is no led indication of route settings which would mean that I can only reduce the number of wires, by about 50%. But then there is a new Alpha MIMIC product that appears to be able to create route indication by sniffing dcc signals from the power bus. So that might give me the best of both worlds. I need to sit down and work out the prices necessary for each solution. The other problem is that there does not seem to be much experience of either the ALPHA og NCE system om this forum. What do others think about the best way to go?
  23. Since my last entry I have had a rethink on the curved scissors crossover. It is critical to the running of the layout and being on a curve I have decided to simplify the entrance/exit of the Up and Down storage sidings by using a single crossover at each end. These will be C12 1600mm radius one will permit trains to access the down main from the UP sidings whilst the other from the DOWN sidings to the UP main. My decision followed additional work on the working timetable and following the movement of trains in and out of the storage sidings. I realised there was no need for the second crossover at each end which enabled simplification of the trackwork. First page of 2 of the working timetable Proposed plan of Storage Sidings C12 1600mm curved crossover - Templot Here is the progress made on the first of the crossovers with the 1 in 12 crossing V's in place.
  24. Hi Robin, A switch-diamond uses opposing pairs of moving blades at the centre, instead of fixed gaps and check rails. Here is a picture from RMweb of such a diamond-crossing: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/image/22907-dbs-60013/#top They are much easier to build than ordinary diamond-crossings, and much more reliable in use. BUT they require two extra point motors. In effect they are two very stubby turnouts toe-to-toe. They must be arranged so that both sets of blades move over together, in opposite directions. In Templot, click real > K-crossing options > movable K-crossings (switch-diamond) menu item. More diagrams and notes about all this here: http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=2144&forum_id=22#p14263 regards, Martin.
  25. Thanks for the advice Martin, I've not seen a switched diamond and would be unsure how to produce it in templot. Any pointers welcome? I assume the K-crossing check rails should be extended to the V-crossing wing rails? Regards, Robin - [a templot novice]
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