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

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I think this is the 200th post on this thread, which is quite remarkable for a layout that is barely off the ground. Some more progress to report and something of a milestone achieved - the layout can now be taken apart for wiring to commence. There is some track laying to be completed in the yard and depot, however all the cross-board tracks have been laid so I can split the boards with confidence. The yard area will be a lot easier to lay with the board out of the corner and turned through 180 degrees.

 

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This is pretty much the whole layout, although you can't really make out the south junction at the far end of the station (about where the coaches are). The two trusty diesels sit in the refueling point. You can just about see that the mainlines have been straightened.

 

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A view around the curves. Terminal platforms 3 and 4 are to the left, the 3 roads to the right are all through roads.

 

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I can never resist a shot of a train. Soon to be D200 (I say soon on geological timescales) awaiting departure from platform 4. The curves to the fiddle yard look like they'll need to be incredibly tight, but I was surprised to find they can probably be over 750mm radius, so not too bad, but they'll definitely need hiding. 

 

I have a few rails to solder up and I want to test for short circuits before I split the boards. Once split I'll finish the track laying and work out an order list for the wiring; unlike last time I want to wire in plug couplers and proper terminals from the start. it'll take a little longer but should save future faffing. Last time I found the volume of wiring was soul destroying, so I'll probably try to mix the jobs up a bit this time, rather than either going insane or just not doing it at all!

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I found myself in the unusual situation of having a whole uninterrupted afternoon to spend on the railway. Initially I had planned a million things that I would achieve, in the end I was pretty satisfied to have the track laying complete - at least for the first 4 boards. I started off by prepping the boards for splitting, which mainly involved soldering all the rail ends to the prelaid copper clad sleepers and cutting the rails. In theory, the boards then just come apart. I'm pretty sure when Moses parted the Red Sea he didn't have to jemmy the two sides apart due to an excess of Copydex and the nagging doubt that he hadn't slit all the rails. Anyway, a little prising and 4 boards were once again individual elements.

 

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On the last layout I ended up making a bit of a dog's breakfast of the shed area and I'd reluctantly concluded that I'd need to relay it. In an effort to avoid the classic engine shed in the corner look, I'd allowed the sidings to follow the curve of the mainline, but it didn't work visually as I was using straight points (and got the lines all wrong and a dozen other things). This time I took a different approach and marked out two potential engine sheds, each one with two roads. I used the dimensions of the Peco shed as a guide, as it may well be used, at least initially. The photo shows 3 pairs of sidings pencilled on to the board. The right hand pair will form the freight terminating sidings. In the top left corner you can see some old water damage in the alcove, I should probably sort that out whilst the board is out, but it may be easier to just put a backscene up. I have a whole 400 year old house to renovate if I feel the need to decorate - this room is supposed to be the antidote!

 

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Taking a step backwards, this picture shows the curve of the mainlines. The two terminal platform tracks are underneath the steel rule. The outer edge of platform 4 is pencilled in, which acts as a guide for the first half of the reverse curve into the left most shed road. I plan a fairly high wall running along the back edge of the platform, which will serve two purposes; firstly it will partially obscure the view of curves fighting against each other visually, and secondly, will provide 1:76 scale enthusiasts with the kind of obstruction all motive power depots seemed to have. Clearly there will be a small gap with a handily positioned trolley for little spotters to peer into the yard and try to guess if anything other than a 47 is coming out next.

 

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I always recommend tea and cake when pondering over a track layout. You can have beer (I won't judge, so long as it's good beer. By all means save money on track or rolling stock, but not beer). Beer doesn't go so well with cake though, or soldering. I'd also recommend keeping a tidy baseboard, just to ensure that the dropped raisin isn't an off-cut of plastic or a ball of discarded Copydex. This picture shows a reasonably pleasing reverse curve into the furthest depot siding.

 

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The whole yard and sidings mocked up. I spent quite a while making sure it was as visually 'right' as I could make it. I want the shed to feel like it was built on the former steam depot. I would have liked an old turntable pit, but there just isn't space. I also want the sidings to give the feeling that the yard used to be much bigger. The stub siding to the right will disappear into a small factory, probably quite old, but the 80's saw quite a few really ugly industrial connections. The constraints of the room also make the layout more restricted, so I'll need something there to justify the curved sidings.

 

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This is a pretty typical mid-track-laying view; I have a whole range of objects to hold the track in place with. Usually at about this stage, whilst the glue is still tacky I get the weights off and do some checking of the visuals. Luckily even using a lot of Copydex means you can still shove the track about even when it's set.

 

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When the glue had set and I was taking the weights off, I realised one of the tins was track spray, so the track got sprayed! There's also a new loco at the back of the shed; I promised myself I wouldn't buy anything until the track was working again, but the 31 just sort of fell off eBay. Oops. The road to the right of the 'Goyle is the least visually pleasing; fortunately you won't really get this view when the board is back in its normal place.

 

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A final shot of the whole yard and depot. Quite a satisfying afternoon.

 

Next up is wiring, so I've started working out how to go about it. I've made up a neater version of my point wiring module and tested it with two point motors for operating a crossover. I'll test it on a double slip before finalising the plans; my previous capacitor driven solution wasn't happy driving 4 point blades in one direction (a previous post explains why), but hopefully the new solution will be fine. This will make things a lot simpler as the last layout had four motors per slip (which is of course correct, but unnecessarily complicated). I plan to have all the relays centralised near the control panel, but have the capacitors and diodes under the boards (they should be fairly reliable). It does look like a lot of work, but I'm determined not to short cut this time - you may need to remind me of this in about 3 pages time.

 

Still, all the track being down is definitely cause for a beer.

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It is not impossible to wire a layout without a signalling diagram, but it is almost certainly to be frowned upon! I have drafted the first sketch for checking, there are doubtless numerous errors on it, but it does at least allow me to start working out which points are to work in pairs, where track circuit joints will need to be and so on. This should at least suffice for the initial stages of wiring.

 

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It does show that this plan is a little bit simpler than before, which hopefully means easier to wire, fewer signals to build or buy and a less complicated interlocking. There are quite a few hand points, which will be switches local to the actual points, rather than on the main panel. 

 

I've also added a few names to the plan to add to the back story, which I think helps to give the layout the feel of a real place. Christleton Bluebeck TMD gets the TOPS code CT, which may find its way on to a small number of locos, at least in theory.

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7 hours ago, 61656 said:

It is not impossible to wire a layout without a signalling diagram, but it is almost certainly to be frowned upon! I have drafted the first sketch for checking, there are doubtless numerous errors on it, but it does at least allow me to start working out which points are to work in pairs, where track circuit joints will need to be and so on. This should at least suffice for the initial stages of wiring.

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/1757662338_CJSigPlan2.jpg.2eb8f78b35d1d10b1309a8513505d0b6.jpg

It does show that this plan is a little bit simpler than before, which hopefully means easier to wire, fewer signals to build or buy and a less complicated interlocking. There are quite a few hand points, which will be switches local to the actual points, rather than on the main panel. 

 

I've also added a few names to the plan to add to the back story, which I think helps to give the layout the feel of a real place. Christleton Bluebeck TMD gets the TOPS code CT, which may find its way on to a small number of locos, at least in theory.

Very nice. Just one question - isn't 512B/514A more likely to have been a single slip rather than a double?

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8 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

Very nice. Just one question - isn't 512B/514A more likely to have been a single slip rather than a double?

I think it would have been - but I only had a double available! Now you ask I wonder if I could modify it to a single?

 

It does allow some (probably unnecessary) flexibility. An Up train can come into platform 2 (to reverse) whilst a Down train departs platform 3, or a Down train can depart platform 3 whilst a loco moves from the carriage sidings to platform 4. Any operations manager will also tell you it’s always good to have options!

 

I also have memories of one of my first shifts on maintenance where we were relaying two parallel double slips. Unbeknownst to us S&T technicians the PWay chaps had fractured the supporting concrete frame underneath the switch blades at one end of a slip. When the point tried to move, the blades stayed still and the stock rails shifted 4 inches away from where they should stay. And so began my longest ever shift on the railway. I’ve had a thing about pairs of double slips ever since!

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8 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

Very nice. Just one question - isn't 512B/514A more likely to have been a single slip rather than a double?

I thought exactly the same, especially the old layout into the bay platforms at Newcastle Central.  But I came to the same ‘flexibility’ conclusion for Christleton Jn as 61656.

23 minutes ago, 61656 said:

I also have memories of one of my first shifts on maintenance where we were relaying two parallel double slips.

New St? 

Paul.

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3 hours ago, 5BarVT said:

 

New St? 

Paul.

Leeds, before the 6 track remodelling. Amazing how many slips there used to be, but they seemed to fall out of favour, probably because wooden sleepered points are less reliable than concrete. Slips were always bespoke geometries so were wood, although a few concrete slips have gone in over the last couple of years, so maybe they’ll make a comeback. 

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I don’t think that’s an error, especially as the plan is ‘79 not ‘19 and is LM not Southern. (Took me a while to find the change.)

No MSRP to give guidance on best practice in ‘79, just Cuddly Dudley or his equivalent on other regions then!

Paul.

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1 hour ago, 5BarVT said:

I don’t think that’s an error, especially as the plan is ‘79 not ‘19 and is LM not Southern. (Took me a while to find the change.)

No MSRP to give guidance on best practice in ‘79, just Cuddly Dudley or his equivalent on other regions then!

Paul.

I actually think there are two errors, both 516 and 517 should probably have their normal lay towards the Warrington lines as the junction indicators are for the Chesters. 
 

I debated changing both and decided 21st century operators probably need all the help they can get (especially as ‘79 drinking rules will apply). 
 

I hope you enjoyed the challenge! 
 

Andy

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4 hours ago, 61656 said:

I actually think there are two errors, both 516 and 517 should probably have their normal lay towards the Warrington lines as the junction indicators are for the Chesters. 
 

I debated changing both and decided 21st century operators probably need all the help they can get (especially as ‘79 drinking rules will apply). 
 

I hope you enjoyed the challenge! 
 

Andy

Sir, sir, you've got two 516s! And the slip between the two ends of 515 doesn't seem to have a number.

 

Not nitpicking, 'cos I've been there too...

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6 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

Sir, sir, you've got two 516s! And the slip between the two ends of 515 doesn't seem to have a number.

 

Not nitpicking, 'cos I've been there too...

Luckily I read that this morning or I'm not sure I would have slept! I have duly corrected the 516 error. I suspect there may be a few more, potentially I owe you a beer but I want to see the full bill before making any rash promises!

 

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I think I have all the point ends numbered, but they aren't so easy to check on the drawing, so by good chance an aerial survey team were out and allowed me to double check - let me know if you think I've missed something (aside from vacuuming up, that has definitely been missed!)

 

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25 minutes ago, 61656 said:

Luckily I read that this morning or I'm not sure I would have slept! I have duly corrected the 516 error. I suspect there may be a few more, potentially I owe you a beer but I want to see the full bill before making any rash promises!

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/1526550189_CJSigPlan2-2.jpg.2bea227a564d26ae9e70afed90ad966c.jpg

 

I think I have all the point ends numbered, but they aren't so easy to check on the drawing, so by good chance an aerial survey team were out and allowed me to double check - let me know if you think I've missed something (aside from vacuuming up, that has definitely been missed!)

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_10/245244463_CJPointsNumbering.jpg.c38fc549b212204f9989caf6d0ab2511.jpg

The diagram looks better but on the aerial photo I think 515A on the far right should be 515B...

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1 hour ago, St Enodoc said:

The diagram looks better but on the aerial photo I think 515A on the far right should be 515B...

This is why I’m not offering a beer for every error!

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One of the last bits of dismantling of the old layout is the rats’ nest of wiring. 
 

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A couple of hours with a coffee, the soldering iron and the rugby on in the background made surprisingly light work of the task. I was supposed to be moving a couple of tonnes of bark chippings, but the liquid weather justified some rearranging of the jobs being put off. 
 

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I think there’s not a lot in the way of starting the wiring in earnest. I probably need to do a quick order for missing components, but there’s plenty to be getting on with in the meantime. 

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Pleased to see colour coded wiring Model T Ford style. Very posh having number beads.

Paul.

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36 minutes ago, 5BarVT said:

Pleased to see colour coded wiring Model T Ford style. Very posh having number beads.

Paul.

Just what I was thinking, haha.:good:

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15 hours ago, 5BarVT said:

Pleased to see colour coded wiring Model T Ford style. Very posh having number beads.

Paul.

Coloured wiring? Crazy!

 

In other news I’ve correctly identified 510B and 511 were somehow numbered the wrong way around. I need a new designer. 

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35 minutes ago, 61656 said:

In other news I’ve correctly identified 510B and 511 were somehow numbered the wrong way around. I need a new designer. 

Definitely.  :-)     The benefits of independent checking: a fresh pair of eyes and all that.

Isn’t it a three way swap? Using v2.2 numbers, 510A is the single end (becomes 511], 510B becomes 510A, 511 becomes 510B.  Refer 515AB/516.

My drink is cider (proper cider not alcopop cider) and I’ve become rather partial to the taste of Breton or Normandy versions.

Paul.

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5 hours ago, 5BarVT said:

Isn’t it a three way swap? Using v2.2 numbers, 510A is the single end (becomes 511], 510B becomes 510A, 511 becomes 510B.  Refer 515AB/516.

My drink is cider (proper cider not alcopop cider) and I’ve become rather partial to the taste of Breton or Normandy versions.

Paul.

Pretty much, although I think my original intention was always for 510A to be the left-most end, it just didn't look like that due to the other amount of clutter getting in the way of the point numbers.

 

Andy

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After a brief break for half term (I was doing wiring on the house, so wiring on the layout didn't feel like much of a hobby!), wiring has commenced. I've started on board 2, because it needs to be put in position first as it is located in the alcove. It's also relatively simple, so I can remind myself how to wire it all before it gets complicated.

 

I started by drilling all the holes for the rail feeds. Each section of track is fed from one end and then jumpered across all rail joints. Feeding from a single end will allow track circuit status to be added later using a current detection system. It does mean though, for example, that 'FA' track is fed on board 3, then jumpered to board 2, then again to board 1. This isn't particularly problematic so long as you have a good wiring schedule to tell you what to put where. 

 

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The first shot shows all the holes drilled, prior to vacuuming to give an idea of how many there are.

 

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Next job is to get the board on its side, where you can easily access both top and bottom. Your back will forgive you if you can get it at a reasonable height. You can't see in the picture, but the board is screwed to the hop-up to prevent it toppling. It is surprisingly stable like this.

 

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Before any wiring is run, I like to get the motors into position, as they are central to where a lot of wires go. It's worth spending time aligning these properly. So I start by ensuring the point blades are mid-position, and then using black-tack (blutac just isn't as reliable at holding them firm), with the point motor also in mid position I line the motor up. The tie bar is just a copper clad sleeper, drilled roughly in the middle (note you'll need to slit the sleeper to the side of the point motor's lever, otherwise it can short the rails together).


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Then, using this handy little wordworking tool is used to determine the angle of the tie bar.

 

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Then behind the board you can ensure that the motor is exactly aligned with the tie-bar. This motor has a section cut out from the previous layout, but it still works, so its getting used! Once aligned I pre-drill with a 3mm wood bit to about 2mm deep, before securing with two screws. At this stage it never hurts to use a couple of flying leads from a power supply to check the motor drives the point smoothly (it won't, there's copydex everywhere, but you can soon sort that).

 

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All 5 motors fitted and ready for the next stage. This should be fitting the capacitors and diodes, but as I realised I hadn't ordered any 2200uF caps for single ended points, there will be a brief interlude.

 

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Time then to move on to track wiring. The yard track isn't track circuited, but all on a single feed from board 2. The inter-board connectors will all be wired to the terminal block you can see top left. The fans of the Model T ford school of wiring can sleep easily knowing the main feeds are labelled. The first two jumpers are also installed, but not labelled for sanity reasons and are also much less likely to be knocked loose and quite simple to identify where they should go if they do.

 

Just another ten thousand wires to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 07/11/2019 at 08:51, 61656 said:

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_11/IMG_1288.jpg.9ea42dc66a86b03b0553bf26e4565c39.jpg

 

Time then to move on to track wiring. The yard track isn't track circuited, but all on a single feed from board 2. The inter-board connectors will all be wired to the terminal block you can see top left. The fans of the Model T ford school of wiring can sleep easily knowing the main feeds are labelled. The first two jumpers are also installed, but not labelled for sanity reasons and are also much less likely to be knocked loose and quite simple to identify where they should go if they do.

 

Just another ten thousand wires to go!

 

Have you thought about using standard 'dupont' type 0.1" spacing plugs and sockets? These have the advantage of being cheap (after you've bought the £20 crimping tool), keep common cables together (twin, triple plugs) and the plugs / sockets provide space for simple labelling. See typical photo below from the underside of one of my baseboards.

image.png.895832fe330a7ddb8712109e7b84d95c.png

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5 hours ago, ISW said:

 

Have you thought about using standard 'dupont' type 0.1" spacing plugs and sockets? These have the advantage of being cheap (after you've bought the £20 crimping tool), keep common cables together (twin, triple plugs) and the plugs / sockets provide space for simple labelling. See typical photo below from the underside of one of my baseboards.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_11/image.png.895832fe330a7ddb8712109e7b84d95c.png

I had considered them, but their 3A current rating (as far as I could work out) was a little low. I think the Seep point motors probably pull 5A; I did start doing the calculations but decided it was more effort than it was worth. I use 5A as a sort of default value to ensure that everything has a decent life expectancy. 
 

That said, I may well change my mind when I’ve soldered up a few 15 way D-types!

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