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Preliminary Survey

 

My 'model railway' has been practically moribund for about ten years. There are various reasons for this, mostly boring. My own indifferent health; domestic responsibilities; lack of cash; me being a lazy ******; other priorities. I have a life away from model railways. However this is a new year and I have decided to make a new start, although nothing will be seen on the ground until the longer hours of daylight appear. Possibly not much then. All I can promise is a start.

 

Part of my problem is that my favourite bit of railway modelling, by far, is wagon building. I have got enough to form two 40 wagon trains and still have some left over in sidings. This is way, way too many, but I find the damn things addictive. I will still be diverted into making more, because I won't be able to help it. I have projects. For example a set of POs for Elsecar; a set for Houghton Main. I've also, in a moment of weakness, agreed to build some for the HMRS layout. In S7 forsooth! Expect me to be distracted, or, as educationalists say, 'not on task.'

 

The site is ridiculously small for purpose, essentially an 11' x 11' room with a bay window at one end. The layout started as a terminus (Assheton Central) and then became a through station (Dog Lane). Both were supposedly in Greater Manchester. Wathboro will be in South Yorkshire, mainly because I can get away with more varied private owner wagons that way (supposedly going to and from collieries) but also because I have a sneaky desire for a 9A tank (LNER N4) and these were confined to that area. When she will get built is another issue. In the space this is obviously going to be a branch line, part single track, with two or at most three sidings and as big a 'storage' area/fiddle yard as I can cram in. Train lengths will be quite short, around 8-10 wagons or 4 six wheel coaches, the latter sometimes having the odd horse box or whatever tacked on. 

 

The baseboards are in place, but the track needs pretty much total relaying, not least because I have steeled myself to have a go at making hand-made points. When it's finished, most of the scenic area track, if not all, will have 9ft sleepers, much will have 4 bolt chairs, and if I can figure out how, at least one siding will have inside keyed track. The ruling radius is 5 foot, which is too tight for comfort. However, short of buying a new house, I'll have to live with it.

 

A Cobalt lever frame, brought to you, (to quote Leonard Sachs from the Good Old Days) at enormous expense, has arrived, and oddly enough this is the key to the whole enterprise. An early task will be to draw up a proper signalling drawing and prepare this lever frame for it. Having downloaded the manual, I've come to the conclusion that building my own computer might be simpler, but I dare say I'll get my head round the wiring eventually. Cosmetically, the levers are the dog's dangly bits, but anything with more than three wires emerging from it throws me into panic. 

 

By the way, Happy New Year to all fellow pre-group fundamentalists.

Edited by Poggy1165
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A Cobalt lever frame, brought to you, (to quote Leonard Sachs from the Good Old Days) at enormous expense, has arrived, and oddly enough this is the key to the whole enterprise. An early task will be to draw up a proper signalling drawing and prepare this lever frame for it. Having downloaded the manual, I've come to the conclusion that building my own computer might be simpler, but I dare say I'll get my head round the wiring eventually. Cosmetically, the levers are the dog's dangly bits, but anything with more than three wires emerging from it throws me into panic. 

 

 

The Cobalt levers are a great product and, yes, you are right, not cheap! If you aren't worried about interlocking then they are pretty easy to wire up I think. I'm using them, a 46 lever frame, on my layout. Initially, as my points are dcc controlled I used NCE mini panels to turn the output from the cobalt into dcc commands. I have since moved toward computer control and JMRI and hence the NCE AIU units with a view to interlocking via the software. More detail on my layout thread. Don't be put off by the spaghetti, the cobalts have multiple sets of contacts, you don't need all of them. Good luck with this and the rest of the layout

 

Jon

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Looking forward to seeing this develop Poggy,

 

I always find getting something operational is a great impetus to focus on developments.

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Part of the plan of writing about it on here is that it might shame me into making an effort. But you are right, undoubtedly. Having the ability to shunt a few wagons about, if nothing more than that, should be a great spur to continue.

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Guest bri.s

Sounds a good plan ,my neck of the woods,like the sound of wathboro'

 

Will be following

 

Brian

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Part of my problem is that my favourite bit of railway modelling, by far, is wagon building...........

 

I have to confess to suffering from the same addiction, having a rolling stock list of over 100, which only includes 10 passenger vehicles.   At least in 2FS they don't take up as much space as in 7mm!  I am strenuously resisting buying any of the LNWR kits advertised with the latest 2mm Magazine. :nono:   

I'm awaiting delivery of a test etch containing 7 different CR wagon types, so building them will keep me busy (and delay further work on Kirkallanmuir  :whistle:) for a wee while!  i reckon that K'muir will need around 50 mineral wagons to make the colliery sidings look well used so, with only just under 40 at the moment which could be considered appropriate, there is a wee bit to go.

 

Jim

Edited by Caley Jim
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I'm interested in seeing what you've got planned trackwise. This size is the average size of a terrace house loft space so it'll be interesting what you can fit in to the space.

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It will be simple. I would love a double track with lots of loops and sidings, but it just isn't possible. 

 

I decided quite a bit back that I wanted 7mm scale, and this decision has its consequences. In the same space I could probably have quite an interesting main line layout in 00/EM/P4. But every choice you make in life excludes something else, even if you are a multi-millionaire. I have been a long time thinking about what to do, but eventually came around to the view that the way forward was simplification, simplification, and more simplification. A lot of stock will have to be stored off-layout and used in what football managers call a rotation system. 

 

Were I a sensible person, starting from scratch, I would probably do something like the North Lindsey Light and have just a couple of locos and a few coaches and wagons, and put the emphasis on quality rather than quantity. However, I am starting from where I am. Funnily enough, one idea I had was to use even less space, and just have a shunting yard along one wall. This would eliminate curves and potentially give me lots of sidings. However I decided I would get bored. It's nice to be able to have trains come and go, and I shall still be able to do some shunting when inclined. But the shunt will be performed in one direction only, which was often the way the real guys did it.

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Works Train

 

The photo shows Wathboro Colliery's brand new Peckett which has been hired in to help the contractors. The two ballast wagons behind it are very naughty. About the only accurate feature is the colour. I don't know about you chaps but I quite like to have the odd wagon around when laying track to hold fishplates, chairs and similar stuff. These two wagons were converted from a couple of Slater's three plank kits that I picked up cheap. One has only just been finally completed with buffers, couplings and brakes after lying around for some years. A book could be written about how wrong they are for GC ballast wagons, the wheelbase is wrong for starters.

 

Officially, these are only in place until I can get something more suitable, either by scratchbuilding or making use of the Quainton Road three plankers when they become available, or both. In reality I shall probably keep them to make up a ballast train. Although that will require a ballast brake and that definitely will have to be scratch built as there's no chance of Dapol bringing one out in my lifetime. 

 

The left hand wagon I have tried to paint as if it's in a faded and patch-painted livery. At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. They should both have canvas covers over the axleboxes, but I haven't figured out a satisfactory method of modelling this yet.

post-7150-0-88417400-1452166131.jpg

Edited by Poggy1165
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Poggy, For works trains any old wagons got pressed into use. quite often ones from absorbed companies that look nothing like the "official" companies wagons.

 

Railway companies also hired in wagons from time to time, even the mighty LNWR was force to lease 1,000 wagons to cover a shortfall, some of which had to be purchased at the end of the lease because it couldn't find them!

 

Look hard enough and you'll find a prototype for everything!

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Just remember whose model it is and therefore who has to be happy with it in the first instance!   :D

 

Jim  (see the first line of my signature)

Edited by Caley Jim
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It has just occurred to me (being thick at times!) that a scenic diversion may be necessary. One corner of the layout is hard to access (unless you are a gibbon) and will be even harder when I have slipped in the wedge-shaped extension I have in mind to accommodate a goods shed and associated clutter.

 

So I have treated myself to a Petite Properties school kit, and I plan to assemble this, a pub, some houses, maybe a chippy and a smallholding/allotment site, all on subsidiary boards that can be slid into place and more or less forgotten. Because once the aforementioned wedge is put in place, I don't think I'll be able to get to them again, except perhaps with a feather duster on a stick.

 

The school, by the way, is very small, typical of the one classroom, all-age jobbies that used to be found in small communities. (They didn't bother with playing fields back in the day.) As I was involved with school buildings for a good slice of my former career, I have a few ideas for additions to be tacked on.  The other buildings will be low-relief, and it really shouldn't take that much room.  Part of the site is currently occupied by a station but that is being shifted to the other end of the board where, ironically, it was in the first place. The station building is 'only temporary' and will probably be replaced by something more GC-like. Which gives me lots of choice - there was huge variety north of Nottingham. The only problem is that drawings are like rocking-horse poo, so generally it will be a matter of working from photos. Whatever I decide. Ideally I should like to use elements of Gorton and Openshaw - corrugated iron's answer to Canterbury Cathedral - but I shall probably end up with something simpler. The old, stone station at Gorton (demolished circa 1905) would actually be ideal for the proposed site, but photos of it, as you might imagine, are rare. A coat of thinking may be required.

 

As for track laying - at last! was the cry - I have decided to start on the other side of the room and lay out the fiddle-yard. This will be a lot easier than the 'posh' side of the layout, indeed point motors can be mounted above the boards rather than below. I can also use up some of my stock of 'ready to plonk' track.  It will also give me somewhere to stand (some of the) stock while I am working on the scenic bits. I will be saving the posh lever frame for the other side though. This bit will be the definition of simplicity.

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Glad to see you have done what I did a year ago and nailed your colours to the mast. I was aiming at a post a week to encourage me to keep up progress, but it didn't happen. Still, I am making slow progress.

 

And though they are in 4mm and therefore only 4x4x4/7x7x7 of the volume, I recently counted and found I have about 350 wagons in various states of nonconmpletion (that includes a dozen unmade kits). Your addiction sounds pretty minor. Ten on the workbench at the moment being painted and lettered.

 

I'll be watching your progress with interest.

 

And pleased you have taken the challenge of building some wagons for the HMRS. It is only a small team at Butterley but they are very keen to get things moving.

 

Jonathan

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I have actually managed to produce a draft signalling diagram. It's very simple. Unfortunately my attempts to photo it have failed miserably, so I shall try scanning it instead. Although it's simple I've still got a couple of questions to ask. 

 

While tidying up preparatory to getting ready to lay the first track, I found a part-constructed wagon which I have had lying around for maybe ten years. I couldn't resist finishing it, and I hope to put a photo of it up tomorrow. Today's photo, due to lighting conditions, was not good enough, even by my low standards.

 

Station building - my current thought is to go for the main one at Lowton St. Mary's, a nice, wooden job, not too large. The problem is that I am finding it hard to dig up a decent photo that doesn't have a b***** big engine stuck in front of it. Probably not the ideal choice for the supposed location, but we can always assume the original one got burnt down, something that happened on the GC from time to time. Anyway, nothing is settled yet/

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This is the (rather crude) signalling diagram:

 

It's just about legible (I hope). It occurs to me that the points of what is effectively a double crossover could be worked by one lever. However (and this is my first question) it also occurs to me that in that case when the road was set to the headshunt, any vehicle in the headshunt could (in theory) run away onto the down line. Which makes me think maybe there should be a catch point (4) and also maybe point 3 should be hand worked.

 

(By hand worked I mean not part of the signal box frame.)

 

Next question. Are the subsidiary signals I have marked as G and H really necessary? This is a small station and the 'Bobby' will be right on top of the pointwork, it seems to me that shunt moves might be hand signalled. I haven't even bothered to suggest a subsidiary under signal A, but I suppose one might be needed there too, though I can't think it would be used much. The idea is that the yard will be served by down trains only.

 

Signals C, E and F are pretty much there for scenic effect only. They may not even be put in initially. I like the idea of a distant so I can have a green lever in the frame to confuse people!

 

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Edited by Poggy1165

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I'm not familiar with GC signalling practice, but it is clear that the yard can only be worked by down trains and that part of the train (brake van at the least) would need to be left on the down main.  In that case an outer home signal, off to the right of the diagram, would be required to protect that.  Yes, 1 and 2 would be worked from one lever, crossovers generally were.  There would either need to be a catch point to protect the down main from anything in the yard, or 3 would need to be worked from the box and act as a catch point.  It couldn't be worked from the same lever as 3 has to remain set for the sidings except when the yard is being worked, in which case the vehicle(s) left on the down main line would stop a run-away going any further.

Your G and H would be ground signals controlling access and egress to/from the sidings.

 

it's a slightly strange set-up and I suspect that the connection from the down main to the yard is more likely to have been on up side of the point where the up and down lines merge.

 

Jim (not a signalling expert)

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Thanks Jim

 

The basic arrangement, bar for the platform, is based on Tickhill and Wadsworth, which was modelled (very beautifully) by Tony Gee. This was on the South Yorkshire Joint Railway, the GC being a part owner thereof. So I think (though unusual) the general arrangement is OK. Obviously my version is much squashed up. I really need a 20ft x15ft room, minimum, and I should love one, but unfortunately the six balls never drop together and Uncle Ernie never sends me more that £50. If I had that room, I should have double track throughout.

 

My 'excuse' is that the station is set on the side of a steep valley and room is restricted. If the (original - not SYJR) South Yorkshire Railway built it (and quite likely that would be the theoretical builder) they were a very 'economical' sort of organisation. Indeed, one of their 'station buildings' survived for many years as a platelayer's hut!

 

Anyway, taking your advice I shall add a down home - which makes sense anyway in terms of protecting the single line - and have 2 and 3 controlled by the signal box. I shall also put in the subsidiary signals. The GC had some rather nice ones and I have some suitable arms. I also have a revolving disc sort of thing that many companies including the GC made use of. So all I need do is buy the posts and some of the detailed parts and all should be well. I shall just need to concentrate on making signals for a while. (Probably a good twelve months!)

Edited by Poggy1165
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This is the wagon I 'found'. Still needs a few things doing, like the tonnage and tare markings and some touch up to the paint, plus some weathering.

 

I thought it might be of interest to list the suppliers for a small job like this:

 

Basic Kit - Oldbury. Now out of business.

W Irons, Couplings, axleboxes - Slaters'

Wheels - Gibson

Lettering - Woodhead, I think. Now out of business.

V hanger - Exactoscale, I think.

Brake lever - Bill Bedford, from one of the brake kits sold via Eileens's.

Brake lever guide - Laurie Griffin

Buffers - NMRS

 

Not bad for a little wagon!

 

I have plans (eventually) for three Old Silkstone, all different. Ideally I'd like one of their giant hoppers too, but the lettering would be impossible with transfers, and beyond me freehand.

 

I recall one Telford Exhibition when the Oldbury kits were being sold off at £6 a pop. Being tight I only bought two, but I now wish I'd bought at least half a dozen.

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Edited by Poggy1165
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Just to show that something is happening here is a photo of the new school at an advanced state of completion.

 

These Petite Properties kits are a delight to build and cheap for what they are, the only snag being that the range in railway scales is quite small. (There are rather more in 1:48 scale which might be OK in the background of an O Gauge layout.) The hard bit, I think, will be the finishing and painting.

 

The large greyhound surveying the scene is, unfortunately, only ceramic.

post-7150-0-54243900-1455630941.jpg

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A day of diversions.

 

1. Note to self. Do not lean across the baseboard and cause an almost-complete etched wagon kit to drop to the floor. Leads to bad language, and you will now also have to get the RSU out!

 

2. Some lovely etched builders plates arrived from Narrow Planet. Could not resist gluing some in place, though scarcely a priority task.

 

3. The school is a lot further on, and I should soon be able to fit the roof. Then it will have to be set into its sub-base and a suitably fenced playground provided. The Education Committee also want some better toilets for the children and a playground shelter.

 

4. The teacher's house kit has arrived and awaits a start.

 

5. Existing shop ready to convert to a herbalist. Enquiry made for bespoke signage.

 

6. Next job is to draw up plans for the terrace right at the back. Will be scratch built, and so far back that a lot of detail will not be visible. However envisage another shop and a small pub. 

 

7. I also need to think about the allotment/smallholding. The site for this may end up being a tad cramped, but it will be relatively visible. Home to a few grotty sheds and at least one greenhouse, but I should like to accommodate a pig or two.

 

8. (This is a new one). The Midland Railway Company have thoughts of erecting a viaduct across the whole shebang from front to back. Obviously this would be a static scene, and to explain it I could have a nice little train of Midland sleeper wagons and a few workmen clearing the blockage down the line. Quite fancy the idea, but I think it might make things a tad too 'busy'. There's not a lot of room, and the viaduct might get in the way of (and dwarf) the GC company's proposed goods shed, which would never do. So I think 'Parliament' will be having quite a debate on this one. All in my head of course, but more useful than what the real Parliament does for much of the time.

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Embassy Hall Yard

 

A point of explanation - the fiddle yard is to be glorified by the name 'Embassy Hall Yard' and although it will not be fully scenic, and will have a number of unprototypical features, especially in the area of signalling, I don't think it will be quite bare boards either. 

 

The rather crummy photos show the notional Embassy Hall South with the first track laid roughly in place. The centrepiece is a Marcway threeway curved point of large radius, not yet fixed down as the electrical gubbins to make it all work are still awaiting delivery from the suppliers. The point will lead to one (reasonable) siding at the back and two through roads.

 

Eventually at the (notional) North end another arrangement of curved points will give access to two or three more sidings. One of these will be of quite decent length and will probably accommodate the Wath mineral empties. Other trains look like being around 8-9 wagons or 3 six wheel coaches plus a variable addition - horsebox, CCT, OCT, saloon, whatever. I hope to use the last corner for a small turntable - just big enough for a J11 - and a very small engine shed to keep dust off a couple of locos. 

 

(Not ideal, but in an ideal world I would live in a mansion, be a multi millionaire, and contractors would be doing most of the work!)

 

At Embassy Hall South I need a scenic break to hide the entrance to the FY, and currently I am thinking of an overbridge and a dummy piece of two-track railway leading into a tunnel at the back. (The pesky Midland again.) Eventually I might even get hold of a loco and brake van to stand on it, as that would be a change from the stereotype of a bus. To my surprise there is room to lay down almost a yard of track as part of this 'dummy' and it will be an interesting exercise to make it look 'Midland'.

 

It will be obvious that this arrangement would not suit an exhibition layout, as to shunt the yard or propel trains into sidings some intrusion into the 'scenic' area is inevitable. But as 99% of the time there is only me to watch it, this doesn't bother me. It's part of the price of cramming 7mm scale into a small space. Frankly, I'm more concerned that the trains propel without coming off the track or buffer locking. 

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Progress continues slowly in my usual bumbling and erratic way:

 

a) The school awaits its roof being detailed. My missus is doing a sub-contract, but she is not making much progress.

bee) I am half way through building the signal box for Embassy Hall South. Possibly the only signal box to be built for a fiddle yard. But I am increasingly of the mind to make the FY semi-scenic. This is a kit by Lasercraft Devon that has been lying about for some years. As I am realising, a snag with 7mm scale is that you don't half have to add a lot of detail.

c) I have set about my rake of 5 Elsecar PO wagons. The first is almost lettered.

d) I need to get down to laying track and wiring it up. I have most of the stuff I need, but I have to order some PECO switches to work the FY. 

 

How long everything takes! But I am trying to do a little bit each day. Eventually we shall have a break through. (As Field Marshal Haig used to say.)

Edited by Poggy1165

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Poggy,

 

I sometimes think a little every day beats a long session at the workbench once week in terms of productivity.

The only problem is avoiding the feeling of needing to rush a job when you've only got limited time.

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Progress continues slowly in my usual bumbling and erratic way .... :

 

How long everything takes! But I am trying to do a little bit each day. Eventually we shall have a break through. (As Field Marshal Haig used to say.)

 

I know the feeling.  I, too, need to make a gargantuan effort to move my drinks cabinet 6 inches closer to Berlin.

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I have had much fun rooting through sources trying to figure out how to paint the plinth (above the brick base) on which the signal box sits. Still not really sure, but I think it needs to be treated as wood. Lasercraft Devon provided a wonderful CD Rom with the kit that shows every stage of building - except painting! This is not a kit where a sensible person can leave painting to the end. Or me either!

 

I have slapped a basic body colour on Elsecar wagons 2&3. Trying to get the shade slightly different each time. In fact, although four of them will be based on a the same kit (HMRS Harrison Camm body) I am trying to incorporate as many differences as possible. Some details may not be correct, but as far as I know, no one has a comprehensive photo archive of the pre-1914 Elsecar fleet. (Some see this as a difficulty, I see it as an opportunity.)

 

On the subject of colliery wagons, I really must draw a line somewhere. I have promised myself some Houghton Main wagons, but after that... The only trouble is, I badly want, Wharncliffe Silkstone, Thorncliffe 'Izal', some more Old Silkstone and last but not least the short-lived and badly documented Great Central Colliery. But you see, that's another whole train, just there. And that's without going to my Level 2 desiderata. Still, at least I don't sit around waiting for Dapol to produce them.  :no:

Edited by Poggy1165
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