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Christleton Junction - 1986 - It’s back (or it will be)

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And here it is, the last board constructed. I'm not sure what the railway modelling equivalent of a topping out ceremony is, but I'll bet it involves a pale ale!

 

Alignment dowels and toggles still to fit, both of which will take some head scratching. The dowels as all three boards slide into place rather than being able to pivot. The toggles are tricky as this being the fiddle yard, everywhere will be track. As I can get access under all three boards, I'm tempted to just screw them down as I won't need to lift them out for any part of the build.

 

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I believe the phrase is "oosh", or something similar.  Shout when it's tracklaying time.  Glad to see the foam & copydex-a-like idea being used too; where did you go for more information to dissuade you from cork?

Track laying could be as early as this month, although September is more likely given the need to get the foam and strip wood ends fitted.

 

A search of various threads on here put me off cork, although I still need to sort out an adhesive for the foam. My copydex-a-like turned out to be a comprehensive foam eater, whilst actual copydex still stiffens the foam up a bit more than I'd like. I might try watered down copydex.

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Hi Andy,

Nice work on the boards a bit of a milestone. Have a look at at Jason's Bacup layout thread thread, I am pretty sure he used the watered down  Copydex for tracklaying and ballasting. It's supposed to be better than PVA which dries so hard and makes things noisy.

 

Cheers Peter.

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Yep, I used neat copydex for the track and diluted copydex, painted between and around the sleepers, for ballast. Took a while but there is still flexibility in the foam; depress the track and it springs back.

 

That was with PCB turnouts and SMP flexi but the same should apply using Peco.

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An excting looking box arrived at Christleton yesterday:

 

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Upon opening, I briefly thought I must have ordered fish and chips! In seriousness, the track is well packaged and all arrived in first class condition.

 

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As the foam underlay isn't glued down yet, the sensible thing to do would be have a quick check that everything is present and correct then put it back in the box, but this is way too exciting..

 

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A first look at the geometry of the points loosely laid out. The double junction doesn't look quite right, but I think that's just the angle I've laid it out at; of course ideally the diamond would be somewhere over the lifting joint, so I knew there would be a compromise somewhere.

 

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There are two other areas that I knew would need some attention, the curved crossover coming in and the split from two to four tracks going into the main platform. I'm glad I haven't got the underlay in final position yet as I may do some alteration to the boards to get the flow of the track to look right. The third area I was worried about was the parallel double slips, but this looks like it will work really well; I do need to double check that I'll get the standage in the platform for 2 peaks and 6 coaches.

 

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You can also see in a couple of the pictures that there are now 5mm wood strips at the edge of each board to attach copperclad to for all the joints.

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Yep, I used neat copydex for the track and diluted copydex, painted between and around the sleepers, for ballast. Took a while but there is still flexibility in the foam; depress the track and it springs back.

That was with PCB turnouts and SMP flexi but the same should apply using Peco.

Thanks, as you can see my track will also be PCB and SMP flexi (and C&L flexi for the concrete stuff) - how did you hold it in place whilst the glue dried? Also, what dilution ratio did you use?

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Also, for the hinge spotters out there...

 

There's now a healthy clearance between the two sets of rails.

 

post-20618-0-40632900-1471419058.jpeg

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Looking EVEN better, hahah, some really nice work all around.

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I just used a load of mugs and tins to hold it flat whilst drying; I think I diluted it to the consistency of runny cream for the ballasting, but it was a few years ago now.

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I just used a load of mugs and tins to hold it flat whilst drying; I think I diluted it to the consistency of runny cream for the ballasting, but it was a few years ago now.

You mean been asleep, had a Baby and a few Pints since then Jason, hahahh.

 

EDIT, = Well YOU didn't actually HAVE the Baby.

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Track laying has started!

 

After several days checking that I am happy with the alignment, I finally plucked up the courage to start cutting rails and desoldering sleepers (which seems counter intuitive to start undoing the hard work I've paid someone else to do). The first 7 points are now fixed in place, including the crucial curved crossover which starts off the station throat. You can see from the photos that the sleeper edges slighlty overhang the baseboard, but this is no big deal as I can rectify that when the bridge sides go on. The main thing is that the weight will remain on the wood and the curve is pleasingly smooth.

 

This first section was quite a challenge, as the junction is restricted by the need to fit in 2 locos and 6 coaches in the terminal platforms and then swing round in a gentle curve to the North junction, where the lines split to Chester and Warrington. This junction is somewhat nearer the station than originally planned due to the hinged board. It all fits quite nicely though and I haven't had to light the autumn fire early to hide any evidence of first attempts yet!

 

You can also see a coach used for testing, the ride is very smooth and makes me think the 15 speed limit might be raised to 25. 7 points and 500mm of track laid; 26 points and 50m of track to go.

 

Looking at the photos it appears that there is a slight kink in the double junction; that will be rectified shortly!

 

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I just used a load of mugs and tins to hold it flat whilst drying; I think I diluted it to the consistency of runny cream for the ballasting, but it was a few years ago now.

I've been using progressively more diluted mixtures to see where the point is that it is no longer glue; so far so long as the water has been in the same room as the copydex, it appears to retain its bonding ability.

 

I've also found there is an optimum weight of part full paint tin for weighting the track. About 500ml seems ideal. You'd think they'd put this on the paint tin label...

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Some more track laying updates. I have to say it's fairly laborius work! One of the great things about the new C&L concrete sleeper track is that it comes with all the sleepers fully webbed to enable it to be laid dead straight; this will be really handy for the 50mm of straight track I have planned. For the other 50m, it's somewhat tedious cutting it all out.

 

The tracks are now laid across the hinged board and seem to remain super smooth after several lifting operations. I had been concerned that a straight double junction would look odd in the middle of a long sweeping curve, but it looks to work quite well.

 

The main station throat is all laid, although like everywhere else, there's a lot of cosmetic sleepering to be done. The eagle eyed will notice a couple of lengths of peco track along the front of the board. These are absolutely essential to remind me that the effort is worth it!

 

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Great pics and updates, but I'm getting dizzy. hahhaha :no:

Edited by Andrew P
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I did the same when building the turnouts for Bacup; I kept a Long Peco turnout to hand to remind myself why I was battling with building my own.

 

Even with just the track on bare baseboards, this is looking really promising (and that from a committed steam fan)

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I did the same when building the turnouts for Bacup; I kept a Long Peco turnout to hand to remind myself why I was battling with building my own.

Even with just the track on bare baseboards, this is looking really promising (and that from a committed steam fan)

This was nearly a steam layout too! I'm a fireman on the Severn Valley, so it was a close run thing. The clincher was how convincing the dcc sound diesels are, in a way that hasn't (yet) been applied to steam engines. I do keep thinking a nice gantry of semaphores would look good too, but then I remind myself of how good the 40 sounds and how good the 85 looks.

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A brief update to show that the first of the platform tracks is now laid, which means there is almost a complete run around the scenic section. Platform 1 is the first line down and I'm pleased with the curve I've managed to achieve. The plan was always to have a slightly tighter radius in the section in the middle of the station as it won't be too visible - there'll probably be an overall roof over this section. Even so the curve is about 800mm so not too tight by any means (at least in model terms).

 

The Up loop is loosely laid alongside to see what it looks like. This loop is the only through line still on wooden sleepers, as the P'Way department cannot justify renewing what is essentially a through siding with new track. The heavier used Down loop, being bidirectional was renewed with concrete sleepers back when the station was electrified.

 

A couple of the shots show some loosely laid lengths for the Down loop and platform 2, just to get a better feel for what the platform ends will look like.

 

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This was nearly a steam layout too! I'm a fireman on the Severn Valley, so it was a close run thing. The clincher was how convincing the dcc sound diesels are, in a way that hasn't (yet) been applied to steam engines. I do keep thinking a nice gantry of semaphores would look good too, but then I remind myself of how good the 40 sounds and how good the 85 looks.

It would be great if the SVR got 48773 back in traffic  ;)

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Being away on holiday for the week has slowed physical progress down somewhat, although I have managed to build a Metclafe warehouse over a couple of evenings. I think a few of these will be suitably kitbashed to form the low relief backscene behind the station. I'd love to think they'll be temporary, but when you're working with a young family, there has to be a compromise somewhere and Metcalfe seem like a reasonable place to make it.

 

Anyway, with that built, my thoughts have turned to wiring, as I've realised it won't be long before I need to do some if I want to run any trains. At the very least I'll need to jump a lot of frogs (read it twice, I'm sure it's right) if only to get a couple of trains circling round whilst the build progresses. I do like to see a train run, so there will be some form of temporary lash up to allow simple circuits to be run. I am also prone to perfecting the temporary though, so if I post anything about wire in tube or dpst switches please put a quick stop to it!

 

Needing 32 point motors for the scenic section, plus about 20 for the fiddle yard, means the cost of the point motors is a necessary consideration. Not least because the cost of the actual points seems to have been subject to an unexpectedly high rating of handbag added tax. Anyone complaining about what Bachmann charge should spend some time in the Radley shop! 32 tortoises can therefore be allowed to continue living in the wild as I'm likely to go for the SEEP 4 motors, which are at least what the nice man at Marcway recommended. It also has the advantage that a solenoid motor makes a much more convincing EP machine, even if, like the real thing, it wreaks havoc on the stretcher bars. A lot of the West Coast modernisation featured elctro-pnuematic point machines, and having taken a lot of air mains out in my career, it would be nice to put a new one in! I'd be interested to know if anyone has muffled a solenoid motor, as the noise isn't strictly prototypical, even for a 00 man.

 

So point motors and energisation of amphibians aside, the rest of the wiring should be fairly uncomplicated. The layout will be jointed into track circuits to allow future train detection, so the DCC dream of just 2 wires will need to be applied just a couple of hundred times!

 

There are a couple of other considerations which I would appreciate some discussion on (or pointing to where it has already been discussed):

 

Should I do anything near the buffer stops at the platform ends to prevent repeated attempts to extend the bay platforms south? Is it fair to rely on driving ability alone? I'm sure 3 year old boys will be fine, but a few of my likely guest drivers have a very broad interpretation of the alcohol policy.

 

How far back should I take the dead section from the hinged board? I may need to measure how far a peak will travel when it loses current at top speed. Additon of a nuclear flask should bring some realism to the test. I think there is a need for some element of dead section, but will I ever really want to keep a train moving anywhere with the hinged section raised? Having an override for the hinged section lock with subsequent aspect restriction feels like too much of the modern railway imposing itself!

 

May be I'm thinking about this too hard and need to remember I have a thousand sleepers to paint before any of it matters. Oh well, time to go pay a few mark IIs worth of money for a couple of beers and a dry burger!

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Some more updates to report on, mainly positive, although the commencement of the ballasting saga has had a shaky start. Fortunately 'ballastgate' as it is being widely reported in the press was only on a test length and not the actual layout. The subsequent independent investigation has suggested that the sub-contractor 'capillary action' may be at the root cause. Fortunately RM web has all the information you need, even if it does take some time to find it. The Captain Kernow / Eastwood town method, having previously looked like a tedious route to insanity now reveals its cunning genius. A new test length will follow shortly, including both wooden and concrete sleepers as the heights are different, so the method used will need to differ slightly. The evidence of ballastgate will be removed before the Major's* next visit.

 

Anyway, progress on the actual layout has been much better, with the mainlines, including the 4 tracks through the station all now laid. This includes the South junction, which features the only self built point on the layout - a simple trap point knocked up in such a ridiculously short period that it leaves me wondering if I could have built them all (I couldn't).

 

The curves through the station are really satisfying and I'm happy with how I've kept the tighter radius lengths where they can be hidden. I'm also pleased that the layout curves throughout, with barely a straight section to be seen.

 

Next task is to lay the terminal platforms, yard and depot, which is now a race before the powercab arrives, which will be far too big a distraction!

 

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*The Major. Every 00 scale modeller attempting to build a layout with more than 4 points and 1 locomotive will undoubtedly have a friend of an EM or P4 persuasion who self appoints himself to the role of railway inspector for your layout (hence being dubbed the Major, after the BR period when railway inspectors who were predominantly ex-forces). His experience of building 3 feet of absolute perfection over the last 20 years will make him ideally qualified to cast doubts over your credentials as a member of the human race as you blunder round 200 metres of track. 200 metres of narrow gauge track at that. Love him as you do, you may still struggle to explain why you provide him with beer whilst he inspects your lowly offering.

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I have to say your Trackwork looks awesome, a real credit to you, I look forward to seeing the Ballasting results, I tried the Gordon / Cpt method and had a bad back after an hour and 3 inches done, but then I realised I used that as an excuse.

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Progress looking bloomin' good, how's the wiring coming along?  Going to be a bit of a sod with that many frog polarities to switch over, so I hope droppers have been installed during track laying.  I don't suppose the Powercab will be in (with additional handset??) by early October will it?  With over 200m of narrow gauge to learn I'm keen to get started.

 

What on earth happened with ballastgate?  You can't just refer to something that sounds like a "major" incident in passing and not enlighten us on the details.  From my experience in building a selection of layouts (several in 00!) you'll want to paint the sides of the rails and weather the sleepers before moving to ballasting as it just gets in the way otherwise.  Been a year since I did anything but if you want me to work for my liquid supper next time just say.  Anyway, can't spend too much time on here, I've got medals to polish...

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Progress looking bloomin' good, how's the wiring coming along?  Going to be a bit of a sod with that many frog polarities to switch over, so I hope droppers have been installed during track laying.  I don't suppose the Powercab will be in (with additional handset??) by early October will it?  With over 200m of narrow gauge to learn I'm keen to get started.

 

What on earth happened with ballastgate?  You can't just refer to something that sounds like a "major" incident in passing and not enlighten us on the details.  From my experience in building a selection of layouts (several in 00!) you'll want to paint the sides of the rails and weather the sleepers before moving to ballasting as it just gets in the way otherwise.  Been a year since I did anything but if you want me to work for my liquid supper next time just say.  Anyway, can't spend too much time on here, I've got medals to polish...

Rails and sleepers were pre-painted, although I need to consider how best to do the concrete sleepers, unlike wooden sleepers they don't end up rail colour and are usually quite distinct to the ballast colour. I think it'll be hand paint rails and pandora clips, colour wash the sleepers for the concrete and spray the wooden sleepers and rails the same colour. Ballast will then be added before colour washing depending on location.

 

Wiring is planned but not installed; it's a bit more complicated than normal as I want track circuits. That will all be done pre-ballasting though. My intention is to have some sort of temporary wiring to allow a really good shake down of the track layout in terms of operation before I commit to final wires and ballast.

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