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

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Were all traps self-restoring or was that LMR practice?  I know there were some in 1960s WR schemes which were not self-restoring for very specific reasons due to usage and other operational factors.

 

Not sure of other regions Mike but the LMR around Chester certainly self-normalised. Ferrybridge (although a fairly recent PSB) on the ER also has self normaling points, not just traps but some which normalise for the main rather than leaving the lie towards the branch.

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25 years of being a signal engineer.

Had a feeling you might be. I've taken 41 to get that far!

 

I'm going to go down the RR&Co route to save lots of wiring and relays. Haven't built anything yet so can't say whether I'll be successful.

 

Paul.

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Had a feeling you might be. I've taken 41 to get that far!

 

I'm going to go down the RR&Co route to save lots of wiring and relays. Haven't built anything yet so can't say whether I'll be successful.

 

Paul.

I thought about that, but I want to create as much of the 80's as possible, so relays are a key part of the model for me.

 

Next step will be some simple circuits on breadboard to prove the theory.

 

Do you have a thread for your layout?

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I built an NX panel back in the 1960s when I was in my early teens and it was a fascinating exercise although it didn't have full route locking but did have full locking between points and signals.  Only problem was when I converted from 3 rail to 2 rail I had to do away with all my track circuit controls and approach release of signals.

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I thought about that, but I want to create as much of the 80's as possible, so relays are a key part of the model for me.

Next step will be some simple circuits on breadboard to prove the theory.

Do you have a thread for your layout?

Unfortunately not - need a layout for that! It is getting closer, I have boards built, some with cork down and a plan that I think might work. Just to slow myself down, I'm converting to Kadees at the same time so I need to do tests on curves and coupling/uncoupling before I commit.

 

There was an article in MERG journal a while ago called 'copper capped RRI' written by a designer in Reading, though it would give you E10k style operation rather than SW67 style.

 

HTH, Paul.

 

Edit: name of article

Edited by 5BarVT
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I thought about that, but I want to create as much of the 80's as possible, so relays are a key part of the model for me.

 

 

Don't forget wire degradation ... ;)

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Unfortunately not - need a layout for that! It is getting closer, I have boards built, some with cork down and a plan that I think might work. Just to slow myself down, I'm converting to Kadees at the same time so I need to do tests on curves and coupling/uncoupling before I commit.

 

There was an article in MERG journal a while ago called 'copper capped RRI' written by a designer in Reading, though it would give you E10k style operation rather than SW67 style.

 

HTH, Paul.

 

Edit: name of article

A useful tip. I'll look into getting a copy. I think you'd be hard pressed to call what I intend to produce an SW67!

 

It would probably have been a Westpac or GEC geographical at that time, and I really don't fancy producing my own geographical sets!

It's on my list, just below cans of Hofmeister and class 142s.

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Had a feeling you might be. I've taken 41 to get that far!

 

I'm going to go down the RR&Co route to save lots of wiring and relays. Haven't built anything yet so can't say whether I'll be successful.

 

Paul.

 

I've written two NX panels using RR&Co for Widnes, one for the station and one for the fiddle yard - they work very well though I say it myself :sungum:

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It's been a while since I posted an update on progress, and there are various reasons for that, mainly due to the absence of visible progress. In early December I hit something of a wall of frustration - firstly I worked out that my relay interlocking solution was way too complicated and would need more space than the railway itself to just house the required relays, then, half way through stripping down the Lima 87 I saw the first shots of the Hornby 87, and finally, having got the track down I found out that like running up a hill, I wasn't at the top, just a barely insignificant crest on the incline to having a visually satisfying model railway.

 

At this point I was lucky, and its interesting reading other threads on RMWeb where progress stutters. It's easy to be fooled by the great layouts on here that you can yourself replicate within a short period of time - the mark one human being is incredibly agile in overlooking minor factors such as time, money and complete lack of ability (ref my 13th year of a 5 year period property restoration). Anyway, the lucky bit was that I'd got the railway to the point where I can run trains, so for the last 2 months, I've done just that. And loved it.

 

The layout has been really well run over the last two months, with very few issues found with the track. There are some issues around baseboard joints and some areas where the boards need strengthening, all of which will be sorted when the boards come apart for wiring. Operating the layout has led to a few alterations to the signalling plan (and point numbering). I'll give a separate update on that shortly - suffice to say the plan's revisions led to a significant update to the control tables, which in turn were significantly simplified. My current intention is to get the track section and point motor wiring finalised to allow the board wiring to commence. Route locking and aspect controls are allowed for but very definitely punted into the long distant future!

 

The more I operated, the more my motivation has increased and I've steadily knocked off a number of teething snags - I'm amazed by how many RTR items don't run that well straight from the box (although most are ebay purchases, so may have previous battle damage).

 

The photos show some of the more significant progress; the first one summarises nicely the various different activities. From left to right -

 

The 25 now sports screw couplings. Shunting the yard convinced me that 3 link was the way to go for freight at least, having happy memories of using them before. I will need some sort of platform for the cellar floor to allow me to overcome a mismatch in the requirement specifications re my height and the depth of the boards! This was something I was going to do in any case, as the layout is about 900mm from floor level and thus a bit high for the two youngest household enthusiasts.

 

The second and third pictures show the screw and instanter couplings in 'action'. I'd summarise their fitment as fiddle factor being proportional to satisfaction! The third picture shows my first foray (for 25 years) into kit building, with a Parkside Dundas ballast wagon. This helped pass a week at Center Parcs and was very satisfying indeed. Previously I'd spent such time building Metcalfe kits, but I've realised these just won't give me the level of detail I'm after (see previous statement on overlooking time etc.), so this felt like a step in a much better direction.

 

Deciding on 3 link for freight means that I've essentially opted for different freight and passenger fleets. There aren't many locos for which I'd planned mixed usage, so not a particular issue. The 40 will eventually become D200 which was definitely used for both freight and passenger, so a couple of barrer vehicles will available.

 

Back to the first picture, I recommenced the 87 project, as much of this was about practising skills in any case. The bodyshell is now sprayed (Halfords rattle cans) in yellow and blue with bumper grey on the roof. It's also flush glazed, but not at the time of the photo (SE finecast as I couldn't contact Shawplan despite repeated efforts). I'm really pleased with the results. The chasis is progressing too, with shortened Hornby class 90 bogie side frames fitted to the Warship motor bogies. I just need to cut the drive shafts to length and we should be in business. I have managed to mislay the transfer sheet with the numbers and BR logo, which prompted the fitting of some small storage drawers; my fiddle yard is now visible again having become covered in unidentified model parts and tools.

 

Next across is the class 40. This may become D200 before the wiring commences, depending on progress with the circuit drawings and availability of funds for 50 point motors. The 40 is a shocking runner; those of you who own one will know that Bachmann managed to install insulating grease on this model, which no matter how clean you get the workings, always manages to interfer with the pick ups. Fitting of secondary pick ups has had a marked but not perfect improvement; the loco still falters at the same couple of places, which leads me to believe that the A end bogie is not making continuous electrical connection to the engine room. However, its improved running and my results on the 87 mean I'm keen to get on with it.

 

Finally there is the 45, with a bit of insulating tape on the roof, to distinguish it from it's identical brother. Whilst the other will remain a 45/0 this one is due for conversion to a 45/1 and renumbering to 45110 - can anyone recommend a website with a comprehensive list of the modifications required (it can't be as simple as plated steps and boiler access)?

 

So in quick summary, frustration and demotivation have been addressed and I'm really enjoying playing trains. There are a few new additions to the rolling stock fleet so I'll try and get some pictures of the next running session to share.

 

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Always good to see an update. The layout is looking great. 

 

There are a few mods to make a 45/1, let me know when you are going to start I will tell you what I have done to my older Bachmann Peaks.

 

Cheers Peter.

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post-20618-0-46674000-1489590733_thumb.jpg

 

Work on the layout was paused for most of the last 3 weeks due to Alpine adventures. Despite the only 3 drivers passed for driving through Christleton being present in the Alps at the same time with sufficient beer to lubricate planning conversations, virtually no actual progress was made!

 

I have though finally got around to updating the signalling plan, see above. The points have all been re-numbered and the normal position of a number of ends has been changed. This in itself was simple enough, but the subsequent revision of the route table was somewhat time consuming; with the interlocking plan on the back-burner, you may think this somewhat unproductive, however the route table also auto-generates the point motor diode matrix. This means I am now almost ready to strip down the layout and start wiring.

 

Before I do that I need to print and check the route tables and also make a few final decisions on track layout, primarily around trap points. I think a trap point is needed to protect passenger moves over 615A points and that wide to gauge points are required in advance of 122 and 417 signals if the Up Loop is to be used for running around freight trains. I'm currently undecided on whether they are really worth the effort and whether they could just be non-working points for visual use only. Does anyone know of a working example of a model wide to gauge point?

 

Are there any last thoughts before I sign the drawings as Approved for Construction?

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I have spent the last few weeks playing with wiring diagrams and panel facsias, before admiting that there's only one of me and I really need a wiring plan that might be achievable within a realistic lifetime. I have also spent far too long trying to modify a Lima 87 to fit a Bachmann Warship chasis. Reality needs to kick in; the 87 project has been put to one side, a wiring plan has now been devised that might allow me to make progress faster than glacial movement.

 

There are a few positives, not least running trains - a pleasure I'll never tire of. What seems like a small number of purchases have outgrown the fiddle yard in no time...

 

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A Class 33 arrives in platform 1 with a Holyhead - Cardiff service. These coaches are now fixed formation with the loco attached by a screw link coupling. The set is all Bachmann close coupled with a Smiths coupling hook at each end. I have a feeling this may be too fiddly to be practical, but I like the appearance of screw couplings on locos over a kadee or hook and loop coupling. The hook is mounted slightly proud of the corridor connection, which allows easy (ish) coupling, but does mean a 3 mm gap between loco and couch buffers. A 37/4 is on test from Crewe and stands on the centre road with a parcels rake as a test load. In platform 2, a 47/4, in large logo livery, has just backed on to a Euston - Holyhead service. A Bangor - Newcastle service has just arrived in platform 4 and awaits a 45 to take it North East. The 08 is about to move a nuclear flask ready for departure.

 

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The Newcastle service is allowed to go first, a 45/1 takes the rake of mkIIs out of the terminal platforms. This 45 has been the subject of trials and tribulations with a Howes sound chip - when it works the noise is superb, but 'when' is the operative word. Howes have fixed it 3 times now, but it currently sits failed for the 4th time.

 

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The 25 trundles through on a speedlink service. These wagons are all 3 link coupled and their performance is significantly improved as a result - they are easily reversed through the station throat into the sidings as required. The VGA is the latest addition, but I think the yellow ends are later than 86.

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Easter bunny was generous wasn't he?

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Easter bunny was generous wasn't he?

It was a combination of a Birthday and a moment of temptation at the SVR open house weekend - and some of the money goes to restoring 2968, so double bubble.

 

The 08 is lovely and runs very well having had a lot of initial trouble transferring current from rails to motor. I have to say the model version is nowhere near as spacious inside as it real life counter part, although in fairness the real ones don't have a 6 foot speaker in the cab.

 

I was going to have it as D3586, being the only 08 I've driven, but that is dual fitted whereas the Hornby model is air only. I didn't realise that the cabinets for the vac exhausters weren't even fitted, so the front right hand doors are longer than on a dual braked loco. Oddly the model selected by Hornby, 489, was stored unserviceable at Chester during 1986, probably because it was air only - the 3 operational 08s at Chester were all dual braked. In the parallel world that is Christleton, 489 is the obvious candidate for having been transferred round the corner as station pilot. This will of course require the services of an 03 for the small amount of engineering trains that are still vac braked (four were still allocated to Chester at the start of 1986, but all were withdrawn by the end of the year). This is probably the only loco I'll ever buy where renumbering would make it less accurate.

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Nice to see some trains running, can't beat a Peak on Trans Pennine workings nice class 33 too.

 

The VGA with Yellow ends is a bit late for you, but if you paint the ends red it will be ok but they did have a Railfreight sign on the side that was removed on Bachmann's later model.

 

Cheers Peter.

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Nice to see some trains running, can't beat a Peak on Trans Pennine workings nice class 33 too.

 

The VGA with Yellow ends is a bit late for you, but if you paint the ends red it will be ok but they did have a Railfreight sign on the side that was removed on Bachmann's later model.

 

Cheers Peter.

Thanks Peter. Peaks on transpennine services were my main priority for a layout - I just remembering them bowing out when I was first interested in the mainline railway. I think the next coahing set may include either an Intercity BG or FK, there always seemed to be something mismatching in the rakes.

 

The VGA may well get selected as the first van to get weathered - I'd like to get the freight wagons all weathered at least to a basic standard as they look so garish out of the box.

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post-20618-0-74664100-1493026531_thumb.png

 

I've been playing around with the point wiring for quite a while now. There's some advice that when building a model railway you shouldn't go too big too soon; this seems to have been overlooked! To make the job more manageable I've decided to do a trial area, for which the south end of the station fits the bill nicely - 13 signals, 7 points and 12 routes. This will allow me to test the concept before going on to the full layout. Christleton South Relay Room is therefore now in the detailed design stage.

 

I did consider some really simple solutions, but the reality is that through the main junction some of the routes have 7 points to be selected; without route setting it would be far too easy to be continually misrouting trains. The system you can see drawn out allows a basic form of entrance - exit route setting (13 buttons to set 12 different routes might seem like an odd decision, but for the full layout, various combinations of 36 buttons will allow 82 routes to be set).

 

Selecting an entrance and exit button will energise a relay for the associated route. This relay in turn will energise the required point relays; these are latched so that the position will be stored until the next route is set. Each point relay is latched and drives the point motor by a single wire capacitor circuit; this has the advantage that each point only receives current when it's position is being changed, with no potential to burn the solenoid out. The 2200uF caps should be enough to drive each solenoid of the motor with the drag of the switch rails, but they can always be upgraded if needed.

 

Each point can also be selected individually, should local control be required. Eventually I will probably have a momentary lever in the vicinity of the stabling siding to represent the hand points.

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It takes a lot of bravery to admit that you've made a mistake, that you need to rethink and start again. To carry on relentlessly however only takes stupidty, which is generally found to be in a fairly common supply. This then, is the time to rethink notions of using relays to control Christleton.

 

The last few months have seen me spending seemingly endless hours constructing the south relay room. The initial under board wiring of board one went well, 7 point motors fitted, wired with local capacitors to allow single wire control and paired together where required. The droppers for the DCC bus were all fitted (there felt to be a lot of them) and split into inner and outer circles (I have a feeling that allowing the inner circle to be switched to DC use could be useful on occassion).

 

I then decided to quickly knock up the simplified interlocking, just 23 switches, 17 relays, 40 odd diodes and some vero board. Roger Ford (Modern Railways) uses the addage of boiling frogs (a frog placed in a pan of water at room temperature won't notice the increasing water temperature until it boils) and the term could well be used here. I think the dread of admitting that this was a task for someone with a life expectancy into their 800s kept me pushing on. Finally though, I have seen the light and the burner can be turned off before any frogs are boiled.

 

A few days ago I had a visitor who requested to see the railway; with board 1 under long term possession, nothing has run for months. Just to show him DCC with sound I ran a few trains in and out, with the layout operating as a terminus. 4 hours of running later I realised I'd missed the whole point of a model railway; at some stage there should be some trains involved.

 

Tonight, I've satisfactorily tested that board 1 does indeed work quite nicely, running a class 25 around and changing points using a (say it quietly) length of wire and touching it to a live terminal. The perfectionist in me wants a relay interlocking, but I think 5 spdt switches will do nicely, possibly with a list of routes so I know which ones to switch.

 

This seems absurdly satisfying, so I'm going to enjoy the moment and shunt round the 3' plank with a 25 and some VAAs. I'm not sure what I'll do next; I fancy a break from wiring but getting the other 38 points wired would make sense and probably won't take too long. I also ripped up most of the temporary fiddle yard track, so I really ought to sort that out too, I don't really fancy putting temporary stuff down again. But it would be nice to see a peak circling around...

 

Whilst I'll be writing off more hours work than I care to add up, I have learnt lots and I'm actually looking forward to doing the next night's work on the railway, a feeling which has long been missing. Got to be worth a beer right?

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Got to be worth an 'I told you so'... 

 

I have seen a route setting thing demonstrated at the Derby show, think it was a company called Megapoints using servos.  Might be worth investigating before going past the point of no return with the solenoids?

 

B

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A long overdue update. The wiring has continued and we are definitely on the downhill straight; board 5 of 7 is finished and tested, that means 37 of 48 point motors are now fitted, which equates to 37 capacitors, 74 diodes and around 150m of wire so far. Boards 1 and 4 were relatively straightforward, having a handful of point motors each, boards 2 and 3 are only plain track so were easy, board 5 has 18 point motors in under a metre of layout length, with 8 of them for the 2 parallel double slips. There has been significant use of swear words, but a class 33 negotiated everything on board 5 beautifully last night. Board 6 is now in progress, which has involved some removal of baseboard framework as the track wasn't laid as exactly as the paper templates had. The end is very definitely in sight and the imminent arrival of a class 85 is keeping me going.

 

There is also a more pressing deadline, which is that Christleton will be moving house in late February. Hopefully it will go directly from one house to another, but there is a possibility of a brief spell in storage as the sale is proceeding much faster than the purchase. The new house doesn't yet have an allocated model railway room, but a temporary home in a bedroom has been negotiated (there is no chance of it staying there). A new room is planned alongside a new garage (to quote Sir Humphrey Appleby, in the fullness of time). In the meantime I fully intend to have the layout working as a distraction from the reality of restoring an old house.

 

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This is board 1, the first to be completed. Each point has its own capacitor and a pair of diodes to select normal or reverse, the feedwire to each point (colour coded brown) is numbered using beads from Amazon. The negative (common return) for each motor has a blue sleeve, with the frogs being green. Inner and outer track are wired separately, to allow one circuit to be DC if required for loco testing, they are coloured with red and yellow sleeves.

 

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The next two pictures show how the double slips are motored; I did try moving all 4 blades from one motor, but decided that it wouldn't give reliable operation.

 

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These pictures show the wiring slowly being added. The track you can see is glued to the baseboard to act as a busbar, there is one for the point motor returns and one for each of inner and outer loops.

 

post-20618-0-12060600-1514407594.jpg

 

The beauty of DCC is that just two wires are required! I dare say there are better entries for the bird's nest wiring competition, but I'd like to think this would be highly commended. It all works so I'm prepared to live with it as no-one will ever see it. 

 

My original plan was to have the layout working again for Christmas, something that went shooting out of the window in mid-summer when I realised I'd embarked on something far too complicated. That said, it's actually within grasping distance now, so not too bad overall. I really can't wait to see trains running again though!

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Quite a moment tonight when board 6 finished its testing successfully and was positioned back into place. Board 7 is still untouched and will remain so for a while; this board has the double junction spiltting the Warrington and Chester lines, as well as having the hinged section. As the new location of the layout in a few month’s time may allow the hinged section to become fixed, as well as an absence of Chester fiddle yard roads meaning it would be a useless junction mean that I’ve decided that board 7 can remain wired through as plain line for now.

 

This means that the boards can be put back in situ, testing each one as I go as they only come out in order and I don’t want to find a problem only when the whole thing is back together. There’s a few hours work ahead yet, but trains should be circling again within a couple of weeks.

 

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The first picture shows the 33 having completed the testing phase. Each board has now been bell tested for polarity (particularly frogs, with a couple of motors needing adjustments), before being comprehensively run through in every configuration at low speed. I’m glad I did as a handful of short dead sections would have been very frustrating.

 

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The next picture is a sign of things to come, boards 1 and 2 temporarily fixed together to allow testing of the new motive power. An 85 has long been on my list and with the boards going back together I’m already debating what to look for next. A 31 or pair of 20’s would be nice, or a lot of 47s... at least until the Hornby 87 comes out.

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Boards 6 and 7 back together and tested with the 33. It took the best part of half an hour to run it through all the combinations - luckily (or otherwise), 27 of the 46 point motors are on these two boards, so it should get simpler from here!

 

post-20618-0-02710400-1515105004.jpeg

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A thought occurred this morning about signals - what's the plan with those?  Looks great seeing the boards down again, I expect the both of the railway inspectorate will be delighted too!

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Hi Andy,

The trackwork is looking great, and your wiring is way more tidy than mine are they CDUs by the point motors? I like the shot of the 85 on vans, how much overhead are you planning? will the electrics arrive then the train be worked forward by a diesel Like at Crewe.

 

Cheers Peter.

Edited by P.C.M

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A thought occurred this morning about signals - what's the plan with those? Looks great seeing the boards down again, I expect the both of the railway inspectorate will be delighted too!

The signals are all planned and marked. I did consider running all the wiring for them now, but decided to wait until I’ve done more work on how to operate them. I also realised that (like in real life) the OHL will obscure the sighting, so I need that planned first. For now you’ll have to cope with me moaning that you’ve passed a green felt tip mark at red... Edited by 61656
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