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Hi, I'm Duncan and this will be the story of my small 'O Gauge' shelf layout, Offerston Quay.

 

I posted a quick description of what I intend to achieve here, which is an idea stolen shamelessly from Phil Parker's Ruston Quays BRM demonstration layout.

 

I used the RQ idea since it fulfilled my basic requirements of:

 

1. A shelf layout that would fit the space available in my home office (9' x 2', or 2750 x 600mm)

2. An Inglenook shunting puzzle, which kept me happily occupied for hours on my previous never-quite-finished EM Gauge layout (now dismantled but seen in a quick clip here and here)

3. O Gauge, since I find the bigger scale satisfyingly hefty with lots of detail and a true sense of presence and mass

4. The ability to run some passenger stock, preferably early DMUs

 

The time period will nominally be 1962 for the usual reasons that I can then play with both steam and diesel!

 

To repeat the proposed trackplan, here's a Templot image annotated with a few coloured lines for structures and water:

 

post-2189-0-00783100-1451230558_thumb.png

 

The high-level station with concealed exit road is on the upper level, with a standard Inglenook 5-3-3 arrangement, plus a couple of extra sidings, below.

 

More to follow!

 

Duncan

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I found a handy Inglenook simulator at:

 

http://www.precisionlabels.com/shunt/jpage330.html

 

where you can practice shunting virtual wagons in a virtual goods yard. Handy until the real one gets built!

 

PS. This JavaScript app doesn't seem to work with Netscape, Firefox or Google Chrome. Please use Internet Explorer if possible.

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This is the space available in my home office. It's 2800mm wide, between the upper wall cabinets and lower (wheeled) base units. The wood worktops are 550mm deep so I don't want the layout to be much deeper than this (in the middle, at least).

 
post-2189-0-15311800-1451735935_thumb.jpg

 

This should be a wide-angle shot to get all of the area in, but it's only an iPhone camera.

 

All cabinets courtesy of Wickes' Houston kitchen cabinet range, modified as necessary (rear pipe space removed) with narrower pine worktops and 75mm wheels for easy repositioning.

 

The layout will sit on twin-slot shelf brackets attached to the wall under the upper cabinets.

 

As the window is at the left-hand end of the space, I'll have to arrange overhead lighting to illuminate the layout from above. I have some ideas in this area ...

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Duncan,

 

Looking forward to seeing this develop, I did wonder about converting Ruston to 'O', and it looks like you have made it operationally much more interesting. - Keep up the postings.

 

Peter

 

P.S. also like the kitchen cabinet idea, I might nick that one, I am due to have a re-vamp of the workroom once the kitchen re-fit is completed, and the idea of mobile cabinets hadn't occured, could be a useful feature, thanks.

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Duncan,

 

Looking forward to seeing this develop, I did wonder about converting Ruston to 'O', and it looks like you have made it operationally much more interesting. - Keep up the postings.

 

Peter

 

P.S. also like the kitchen cabinet idea, I might nick that one, I am due to have a re-vamp of the workroom once the kitchen re-fit is completed, and the idea of mobile cabinets hadn't occured, could be a useful feature, thanks.

 

Thanks for your kind words Peter. I am writing this thread partly as self-encouragement to make regular progress on this layout and hopefully finish it!

 

For the "mobile office workspace solution", please nick away! After researching many pukka office rolling cabinets, I made these up as they were a fraction of the cost. They wouldn't stand up to regular moving or a real office environment, but they do fine for me at home. One thing I had to add was a series of locating dowels between the individual carcasses, to keep them in line and level. Without these, the worktop (for which, read "bit of 28mm Timberboard from Wickes") wouldn't be level across its length.

 

Duncan

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I already have a few items of rolling stock and a few lengths of Peco bullhead track to run it along.

 

post-2189-0-84731400-1451826192_thumb.jpg
 
The short train above is sitting on a length of Peco track which is sitting on a Templot printout with a left-hand and right-hand curve set at the layout's minimum radius (1750mm). This proves that I can shunt wagons across this opposing curve without getting buffer-lock.
 
The Jinty is from the Connoisseur kit, with a few added details to make it 47327, which I have driven at the Midland Railway Butterley. It's nearly finished, just needing some items such as the smokebox door handle, coal plate etc. It will be finished in 1962 condition in weathered plain black.
 
post-2189-0-46750100-1451826195_thumb.jpg
 
I also made up a couple of kit wagons. This is a Coopercraft GWR 7-plank diag. O2 in bare wood / rusty ironwork as it would have been at the end of its working life. It needs its numbers adding. I will sheet this one with a load as the interior is not well detailed.
 
post-2189-0-70214400-1451826186_thumb.jpg

 

And this one is a Parkside Dundas diag. 1/108 16t mineral wagon, given the Martyn Welch treatment (Maskol) to give the heavily rusted and flaked appearance. I'm quite pleased with this one.
 
post-2189-0-23734800-1451826190_thumb.jpg

 

The box van is a Slater's NE van which has been assembled, primed and had its undercarriage blown over with black. It will be painted in weathered bauxite.
 
All stock on my railway will have some form of compensation (even the basic slidey-axlebox on Parkside kits) and sprung buffers and coupling hooks.
 
Although unfinished, here's the Jinty backhead with additional detail from the basic whitemetal casting supplied by Jim McGeown. It slides into place in the cab and is held by a small bolt from inside the firebox.
 
post-2189-0-02273000-1451826274_thumb.jpg

 

I started this little essay in wire and plasticard mainly to open the firebox doors in order to get a flickery-fire LED in there eventually.
 
Duncan
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So - baseboards.

 

BASEBOARDS 1

 

There are going to be 2 baseboards to cover the 9' (2750mm) length. Unfortunately they won't be quite symmetrical, with one being 1220mm (the length of a 2' x 4' sheet of plywood) and the other 1530mm. This split means that no turnouts straddle the joint.

 

I drew a plan over the Templot printout. Then scribbled on it. And then changed it again. Finally I was happy that it did what I want and could actually be built and carried. The baseboard split can be seen to the left of the Sellotaped joint in the paper sheets. I've arranged cross-beams underneath to sit on the shelf brackets (the inverted 'V's at the bottom of the diagram). The rough squares show where point motors will be - well clear of any woodwork!

 

post-2189-0-74180800-1452078988_thumb.jpg

 

The material is 5-ply 9mm plywood. Why? Because I have an 8' x 4' sheet (cut in half) lurking in the garage from a dolls' house project which was a present for friends. Sorry for the off-topic pic!

 

post-2189-0-67779400-1452079031_thumb.jpg

 

The construction of the baseboards will be 100mm deep laminated ply beams supporting a flat ply top. The 100mm comes from the maximum height of a Tortoise point motor plus edge connector, which I have a few of from my previous layout. Having the sides this deep means I can plonk the layout on a table at some point without damaging anything underneath.
 
One of my other hobbies is woodwork and I'm lucky enough to have a fairly well-equipped woodwork shop in my garage. Cutting some ply to 100mm strips was a simple matter of passing them through the table saw.
 
post-2189-0-25082100-1452079072_thumb.jpg
 
The jam in the middle of each ply beam sandwich is 18mm thick PSE softwood from a DIY shed, cut to 100mm lengths on the chop saw. Health and Safety - this picture was taken with the saw blade stopped!

 

post-2189-0-66273600-1452079090_thumb.jpg
 
Here are the first 2 beams glued, air-nailed with 15mm brads and clamped flat to dry. These are the two 550mm beams that comprise the mating ends of the baseboards.
 
It actually took longer to prize the wooden circles out of the hole-cutter than to make the rest of the beams. Suggestions for how to do this quickly gratefully received.
 
post-2189-0-01619000-1452079110_thumb.jpg
 
Neither the ply nor the softwood was what you would call flat or straight. One bit of PSE would have happily pulled a Sopwith Camel through the air had it been nailed to the front of the engine! In 100mm lengths though, the twist virtually vanishes. I was careful to alternate the direction of the bend in both ply and pine and assembled the beams on a flat surface. It's not fine furniture but it's all within a gnat's of correct so far.
 
Hopefully more construction tomorrow.
 
Duncan
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Construction of baseboard beams continues in the background. More pictures when there's something even slightly interesting to show you.

 

In the meantime, here's a metamodel (model of a model) that my brother Jim and I knocked up over Xmas. It's one-fifth scale, built to the best Blue Peter standards using old cardboard boxes and sticky tape.

 

post-2189-0-03943100-1451947219_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-66581400-1451947221_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-18489100-1451947224_thumb.jpg

 

It's pretty rough but it's to scale and it really helps crystallise my ideas about the heights and widths of structures.

 

In particular, the signal-box may be moved. I had planned it to sit in the Ruston Quays position, but with posts supporting it over the lower level due to lack of available width. On reflection, the box is probably better moved to the other side of the upper track, at the left end of the "triangle" of low-level track in the back right-hand corner.

 

Apart from anything else, this will allow one to see in the front windows of the box rather than looking at its backside.

 

Duncan

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I made a full size mock-up of Cheapside Yard on the actual baseboard, with full colour flat buildings, and all the ground cover. It certainly helped to get everything right before I started building. Then I started replacing parts of it with the real thing, rather than removing it all and starting with a bare baseboard. Much of the mock-up is still there, as I haven't finished track laying yet, and am currently working on the first of the final buildings. I'll probably do similar in the future, especially where space is really tight.

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I made a full size mock-up of Cheapside Yard on the actual baseboard, with full colour flat buildings, and all the ground cover. It certainly helped to get everything right before I started building. Then I started replacing parts of it with the real thing, rather than removing it all and starting with a bare baseboard. Much of the mock-up is still there, as I haven't finished track laying yet, and am currently working on the first of the final buildings. I'll probably do similar in the future, especially where space is really tight.

 

That's a very good idea John. I may use it and make full-size cardboard structures before the real ones get built.

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BASEBOARDS 2

 

A bit more on the smaller of the two baseboards tonight.

 

post-2189-0-85887900-1452022584_thumb.jpg

 

The curved front is glued 'n' nailed to the front beam at one end and allowed to take its natural curve towards the outer end. Then it was glued with additional glue-blocks and brads.

 

post-2189-0-83170400-1452022580_thumb.jpg

 

When all is dry, I'll trim the free end and run a router with a bearing-guided flush-cutting bit round the edges of the top surface, which should remove any slight overhang and also cut the front curve to match.

 

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BASEBOARDS 3

 

You may have spotted the cabinet maker's alignment dowels in the baseboard ends.

 

post-2189-0-31631200-1452082260_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-79402900-1452082262_thumb.jpg

 

I picked these up from the C&L stand at last year's Warley exhibition.

 

I fitted them by opening out a pilot hole drilled while the two end beams were clamped together.

 

I will also add bolts to secure the boards together.

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BASEBOARDS 3

 

In between the weekend shopping trip, which today was very bearable since I called in at my local model railway emporium Rails of Sheffield and bought a Loksound v4 sound DCC decoder for the Jinty, I managed to cut all the bits for the second baseboard and start assembling the laminated beams.

 

Since these beams are 1500mm long, i.e. longer than a standard 4' (1200mm) length of ply, I had to join the lengths. The joints fall on the PSE blocks and are at different ends of the beam on each side.

 

post-2189-0-64983200-1452365859_thumb.jpg

 

The Loksound is a late Xmas present from post-2189-0-98873500-1452366528.png and I plan to re-use my DCC controller (NCE Powercab) from my previous layout as I loved the sound-equipped locos that I had there.

 

Now waiting for:

 

a ) the glue to dry

b ) a curry to be delivered

 

 

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BASEBOARDS 4

 

My layout plan calls for a quay (duh) so I'll need an inset section of baseboard to cater for the lower level of the canal basin. I think I'll just remove the baseboard's 9mm ply top  where I want water. This 9mm, plus the thickness of the foam underlay I plan to use (6mm) plus the thickness of the sleepers (3mm) gives 18mm from the quayside level to the murky depths of the canal bottom. This should be enough to have a low quayside wall (18 inches above the water?) and a few layers of varnish/acrylic/solid water/whatever to give a bit of apparent water depth. I can always cobble or concrete the area up to rail-top height, which adds another 4mm if I need to.

 

Does anyone know if there is a standard distance from water level to quayside level?

 

After a bit of scribbling on a Templot plan, I came up with a basin shape:

 

post-2189-0-23444700-1452433579_thumb.jpg

 

As you can see, the quay edge follows the nearest track but with, hopefully, just enough space to offload goods from a wagon or van onto the quayside before transferring it into barges. This width is a bit miserly at only 50mm (a scale 7')  from the rail to the water, but I'm still up against the width limit of the available space. I made the quayside from straight lines rather than follow the curve of the track, on the theory that barges would rather tie up against nice, straight bits of wharf. I think I'll straighten out the kick-back siding to make it parallel to the quayside as well.

 

The water doesn't cross the baseboard joint, which is deliberate as joins in water are very hard to hide. There is also at least 60mm width of water at all points, so I can place a scale narrowboat (50-60mm) against the quayside wherever I like.

 

After a bit of head-scratching I came up with a method of supporting the curved front of the board which otherwise would be left with no baseboard above it to fasten to. I also need to provide a floor to the basin.

 

Step1: Draw and cut the canal basin out of the ply top:

 

post-2189-0-22944900-1452433582_thumb.jpg

 

Step 2: Fasten the main beams to the top:

 

post-2189-0-55342800-1452433574_thumb.jpg

 

Step 3: Glue/nail/clamp the curved front piece but let it lie flat against the front beam for now (being careful to allow for the fact that the baseboard join is not central, but the middle of the curved portion should be):

 

post-2189-0-87300900-1452433576_thumb.jpg

 

Step 4: Add the extra bit of ply top to make up the full 1500mm length and brace it underneath:

 

post-2189-0-11567700-1452433572_thumb.jpg

 

More when the glue dries.

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BASEBOARDS 5

 

Step 5: Fasten the curved front piece at the outer end:

 

post-2189-0-42728000-1452539984_thumb.jpg

 
Step 6: Hold the removed basin cut-out in place and draw along the curved front:
 

post-2189-0-78413100-1452539971_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-42131000-1452539975_thumb.jpg

 

Step 7: Jigsaw along this line. It doesn't matter if it's a bit rough as it will be filled and sanded later:

 

post-2189-0-41573400-1452539978_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-02153100-1452539981_thumb.jpg

 

Step 8: This shaped bit then fits nicely inside the curved front and overlaps (underlaps?) the main part of the top.

 

post-2189-0-33593500-1452539988_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-01048300-1452539992_thumb.jpg

 

Step 9: Lots of glue, some additional filler strips and glue-blocks make up the rest of the basin floor:

 

post-2189-0-02483700-1452539995_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-85042700-1452539997_thumb.jpg

 

I'm sure there were many, simpler, ways to achieve the same result but I actually enjoy the woodworking.

 

When it's all dry, I'll fill and sand it so the water won't leak out.

 

 

 

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A great bit of woodwork there and a lot of food for thought. Also will be moving later this year never thought of using kitchen work units as a base for a layout, great space saving storage idea though

 

Thanks John. I don't know about "great", but "over-engineered" or "needs a whole bottle of PVA glue" - perhaps!

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The baseboards have escaped from the garage and are now joined together in their rightful home.I guess I'll work out the best height to set the 4 brackets holding it all up.

 

post-2189-0-57604600-1452962861_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-01706300-1452962864_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-65254100-1452962865_thumb.jpg

 

As you can see, I arranged some self-adhesive LED light strips above the layout. I stuck them to the underside of the wall cabinets behind a pelmet / light-baffle, left over from kitchening activities.

 

I arranged the pelmet and one strip of LEDs to swing forwards and sideways on parallelogram arms to cast the light a bit further forwards when required.

 

When not required, the pelmet stows in its normal position. When deployed, the weight of the pelmet is taken on a cantilevered 'skid' at the rear of the arms, which bears against the underside of the wall cabinets.

 

post-2189-0-03805100-1452962857_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-07978500-1452962859_thumb.jpg

 

The office paint, a pleasing shade when first applied, now looks VERY VERY BLUE indeed under the cool white LEDs. I must arrange a white backdrop behind the layout so that the colours balance better.

 

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I'm going to be using Peco bullhead flexitrack with C&L turnouts, built from their kits. I didn't go for the C&L "point in a bag" since these are quite expensive at over £60 a pop. I went for the middle ground where you buy the sleepers and chairs in one bag and the machined switch rails and frog rails in another bag. This amounts to about half the price.

 

I won't rehash the details of building a C&L point kit as this has been covered many times before, so I'll just show you some pictures and note any variations from the norm.

 

I started with the A5 turnout which sits on its own on the low level, partly under the higher level. This is a 'Y' point, although the left track is a bit straighter than the right. Templot makes it easy to create custom pointwork like this.

 

I stuck the sleepers to a Templot printout. Ignore the extra line crossing the turnout - this is the higher-level trackwork.

 

post-2189-0-05884400-1453489367_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-04193400-1453489370_thumb.jpg

 

A bit of a digression here. I needed to solder up the common crossing (frog) rails to an accurate 1 in 5 angle. So I made up a little jig from left over ply (the thin, good-quality stuff that I made the baseboards' curved fronts from). This has wedges cut to 1 in 4, 1 in 5 and 1 in 6 angles, using a bit of schoolboy trigonometry (Two Orange Ants Saw Old Harry Climbing A Hill etc.) and a powered mitre saw. These angles cover all the turnouts on my Templot plan.

 

post-2189-0-72704100-1453489373_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-01813400-1453489376_thumb.jpg

 

It works like this:

 

post-2189-0-80104400-1453489378_thumb.jpg

 

The wedges hold the rails in position with just enough visible underneath to solder them together:

 

post-2189-0-74861800-1453489382_thumb.jpg

 

And here's the tack-soldered crossing, ready for cleaning up, filling and fettling:

 

post-2189-0-72166500-1453489385_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Whilst the jig is ingenious, your result has a significant flaw. Before filing both the the point rail and the splice rail, you need to introduce a bend first to preserve the web of the rail. You have completely filed through the web leaving the top and bottom of the rail unconnected at the tip of the crossing. See here for an explanation by Martin Wynne of Templot fame of what needs to be done:

http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_post.php?post_id=1488

Dave

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There is no reason why you couldn't do what would become an invisible cheat, leaving everyone non the wiser, and solder in a strip of brass into the open gap to support the otherwise unsupported nose, and dress it back afterwards. I would solder in the tip of a long strip, and then cut it off in situ, rather than try and solder in a teeny square. Given that it will then be hidden by the wing rails, I would suggest that it would be just about indistinguishable from the conventionally made version.

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Thanks for the advice Dave and Giles.

 

The filed crossing rails were like that when they came in the C&L pack of machined crossing and switch rails, something that I only realised after I'd bought enough to do all 5 turnouts.

 

What I did was fill the web with the highest melting-point solder that I had and dressed it back to look more like what it 'orta. I do like Giles' suggestion of filling the web with a bit of brass strip and I may try this on the next unit.

 

post-2189-0-55579000-1453821224_thumb.jpg

 

The gauges I'm using are "OMF" gauges - 31.5mm - from Debs of this parish. Very shiny they are too!

 

I did some reading on the subject of 31.5mm vs. 32mm for turnouts here on RMWeb and decided to go for OMF for the improved looks and (allegedly) better running.

 

The brass gauges here are Deb's and the steel one is a 32mm C&L one, used to "drift" the ends of the turnout out to the 32mm of the Peco track to which they will be joined.

 

post-2189-0-72173000-1453821547_thumb.jpg

 

post-2189-0-05934400-1453821550_thumb.jpg

 

The common crossing and wing rails are set on bits of 1mm copperclad which are superglued to the timbers in standard C&L fashion. These provide mechanical and electrical bonding of these rails. The ends of the copperclad will be trimmed back flush with the edges of the rails and hidden with dummy half-chairs.

 

post-2189-0-72907100-1453821227_thumb.jpg

 

I know there are all sorts of special chairs in certain locations around a turnout but I'm happy to represent these in an approximate way by cutting standard running and slide chairs to suit.

 

There will probably be a fair amount of grot and weeds around this neglected quay terminus when it's done, so seeing special chairs through the rust may be difficult anyway!

 

 

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