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West Highland Line V4


young37215
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  • RMweb Gold

From the 10,000 plus hits on my old Blog http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/1892-west-highland-line-v3/ the West Highland Line still commands many peoples interest. I have created this Thread as I start the construction of a new WHL based layout with the predictable name ‘WHL4’.

 

Having completed the sombre task of dismantling WHL3, I have commenced the more cheerful challenge of planning the initial development of WHL4. This will be similar to my previous WHL layouts with several stations in scenic sections interspersed with hidden fiddle/storage yards over 2 levels. The layout will be DCC controlled by my existing Guagemaster Prodigy. Operations will again be based around the early 1980’s with steam heat locos and coaches the norm operating the full WHL timetable.

 

The major difference with WHL4 compared to my previous efforts is one of scale. I have a newly converted 14m by 3m loft space in which to model which is both exciting and daunting in equal measures. My draft plan comprises scenic sections for 6 stations with extended approaches at each section end so as to maximise running and thereby enable me to enjoy my sound fitted locos to the maximum. In order to make the construction manageable and avoid getting overawed by the size of the task, construction will be broken down into a number of projects. The scenic sections will each have:
· Peco code 75 track and electrofrog points
· Servo driven point motors and semaphores
· A Megapoints driven master control panel with individual stations having their own individual panel/signal box. This involves duplication of panels but I like the operational flexibility this creates.

 

Each of these are new territory to me so much learning fun and games to be had!

 

To keep costs under control the fiddle yards and hidden sections will use recycled:
· Peco code 100 track and insulfrog points from WHL3. Most of the track is at least 25 years old but it still works well.
· Peco solenoid point motors driven by a Guagemaster transformer and CDU
· Solenoid point motors will be controlled from the master panel.

 

The first station project will be Crianlarich in its pre-RETB condition. In my draft plan Crianlarich adjoins the main fiddle yard which means I can get something up and running quite quickly thus allowing for some playtime in amongst all of the development work. Track laying planning has already commenced

 

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I intend charting the evolution of WHL4 on this Thread. At this time my overriding emotion is one of intimidation supplemented by excitement and anticipation which I hope to translate into something tangible in the coming months.  

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  • RMweb Gold

Minimal progress with building the baseboards, I am trying to get the height of the supporting trestles right first to get the baseboards at the optimal height. Much experimentation so far, not much tangible achievement!  :scratchhead: 

Lots of time spent planning, current focus on WHL station buildings and signal boxes at present. Can anyone advise the name for the revolting green colours that were used to paint the stations and signal boxes in the early 1980's?

Thanks in advance for any guidance

Rob

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  • RMweb Gold

The re-cycled trestles put up a good fight but I think I managed to finally defeat them. Boards now laid at correct height and outline track plan gives a flavour of what is to come. First picture is at the southern end of Crianlarich facing north whilst the second is looking south from north of the old and, for a single track line, rather convoluted junction. I aim to add a further board at the northern end to include the elevated track and bridges that take Fort William bound services across Strathfillan before disappearing into a fiddle yard.

 

First things first, so far I have managed to avoid getting pointwork on top of the trestle supports which is a good start. Next step is I need to check measurements and, all being well, should then be able to start actual track laying.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold

It is 13 days since my first post and it seems like forever. Although I have followed 'best practice' and planned WHL4 meticulously, reality differs from the plan because when track is positioned it feels and looks wrong as often as it does right. Much tweaking and adjusting has resulted in some progress although less than I had hoped for. With another days work today I aim to reach the far end of the room with baseboard which will enable the placement of track for Garelochead station which I hope will allow me to finalise the track layout for this side of the room. 

 

The addition of more trestles and baseboard has enabled me to position track for the 8 road fiddle yard and Glenfinnan station which will be elevated approximately 100mm above the fiddle yard.

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Crianlarich has been tested for platform size to ensure that my planned 4 coach passenger services will fit.

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Strathfillan is beginning to take shape. Much work required here with bridge construction and the Oban line (to the left) which will disappear from sight behind a scenic break.

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  • RMweb Gold

With the space you've got and six stations why go with a plain fiddle yard ;) Why not model another main station and yard as a scenic FY?

An interesting suggestion but not practical for what I plan because I want to operate the full WHL WTT. Absent modelling all of the WHL stations the single track railway requires fiddle yards to function. The main fiddle yard will act as Glasgow and Rannoch Moor and a second yard on the upper section effectively operates as Corpach, Fort William depot and the Alcan aluminium works.

 

I may well cover some of the main fiddle yard with a lightweight scenic section so as to 'dampen down' its rather imposing nature. I will wait and see how it all looks once I have got things up and running, for now my main priority is to start track laying so I can run trains as soon as possible.

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  • RMweb Gold

Modest progress to report this week. Trestles now completed along the first wall which creates the perspective I was looking for. Track laying has commenced and Crianlarich is largely down. It is only pinned at this time as I have still to decide whether or not to add cork underlay where, at this time, my inclination is not to bother. I need to mark out for drilling holes for the point motors, droppers and weather the track before fixing it permanently.

 

Loco and coaches placed just to test for size and the 4 coach trains I want to run; all fits perfectly and looks good to me. This week I aim to complete Crianlarich track laying and then move on to fixing the fiddle yard. I will then be close to being able to run trains, just need to connect some power. 

 

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  • RMweb Gold

Further progress at Crianlarich where I have managed to get the northern scissors junction to feel about right. The points will be operated using my new Megapoints controller and servos, I hope these are as straightforward as the Youtube videos show!!. I also need to work out how to wire the scissors correctly to avoid polarity conflicts.

 

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Additional trackwork at the southern end of the station to complete the sidings has been added and pinned in place. On reflection the old engine shed needs to move northwards which means the siding needs shortening. Despite this the overall profile of the station is beginning to create the feel of the location that I seek.

 

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Track has also been laid and pinned in the fiddle yard. It will probably get tweaked when operations commence but for now I have something to work with and can start planning the point motorisation fest project. In the back ground Glenfinnan station sits in its revised position and in the far distance a roughly located Garelochead station and trackwork can just be made out.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold

The spur leading from Crianlarich onto the Oban line has been provisionally laid. It will quickly dive behind a backscene to hide the fact that it goes back to the main fiddle yard where Oban has its own section. In addition there is a link to the main fiddle area so that freight wagons can be 'recycled' into the general pool. 

 

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Electrical installation has started with the main power BUS using 32/02 wire for the BUS and 16/02 wire for droppers linked using screwfix terminal blocks. Droppers are soldered to the underside of the track, I do not intend to connect every piece of track in the fiddle yard, just sufficient to ensure a reliable power supply. The colour coding is garish but essential given my colour blindness! So far I have only wired the fiddle yard, today I plan to start on wiring Crianlarich so that I can start running trains.

 

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  • RMweb Gold

Progress continues albeit slowly as I try and work out how to utilise my new Megapoints controller and servos. The crux of Crianlarich is the diamond crossover at the northern end of the station with 4 points that require motors and micro switches for frog control. In addition the diamond needs frog switching. Given that Megapoints and servos are new territory for me, I moved the diamond onto a temporary baseboard to test the theory.

 

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I then hacked away at a piece of aluminium conduit to create a bracket for the servo. My drilling needs practice!

 

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Finally I managed to attach the bracket to the test baseboard at the correct point.

 

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The servo was attached and, astonishingly, worked first time just like in the Youtube videos. Thank you Mr Megapoints.

 

I then created further brackets for the remaining points; fortunately my drilling improved.

 

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I now feel sufficiently confident to replace the diamond crossover and to wire up the servos. I have not tested micro switch operation because I feel confident about the simplicity of using the servo movement to change the polarity. Time will tell of my confidence is justified or misplaced! 

 

 

 

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Progress continues albeit slowly as I try and work out how to utilise my new Megapoints controller and servos. The crux of Crianlarich is the diamond crossover at the northern end of the station with 4 points that require motors and micro switches for frog control. In addition the diamond needs frog switching. Given that Megapoints and servos are new territory for me, I moved the diamond onto a temporary baseboard to test the theory.

 

attachicon.gifSlow progress 004.JPG

 

I then hacked away at a piece of aluminium conduit to create a bracket for the servo. My drilling needs practice!

 

attachicon.gifSlow progress 012.JPG

 

Finally I managed to attach the bracket to the test baseboard at the correct point.

 

attachicon.gifSlow progress 014.JPG

 

The servo was attached and, astonishingly, worked first time just like in the Youtube videos. Thank you Mr Megapoints.

 

I then created further brackets for the remaining points; fortunately my drilling improved.

 

attachicon.gifSlow progress 030.JPG

 

I now feel sufficiently confident to replace the diamond crossover and to wire up the servos. I have not tested micro switch operation because I feel confident about the simplicity of using the servo movement to change the polarity. Time will tell of my confidence is justified or misplaced!

 

If I'd known you're modelling crianlarick I'd have visited the station earlier and got a tone more reference photos as I'm on holiday near there till the morning.... even just saw the caladonian sleeper trundle by

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks to those who have made offers of photographs. Whilst any picture of the area can be helpful, what I am really after is 1980's material to act as a pointer. Fortunately in this day and age of the Internet, pictures of the WHL are widely available as are videos and dvd's. Historic pictures from my 1980's era are slightly less easy to find although Ernie Brack (SwissIrishErnie on RM Web) has a fantastic Flickr site with a WHL chapter including many 1980's pictures which acts as my main point of reference.

 

Thanks again; if I get stuck then I will certainly take up peoples offers of photographic help.  

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  • RMweb Gold

Today I just about finished adding droppers to Crianlarich, only the diamond at the northern end is outstanding. This enabled me to run some trains, partly for fun and partly to test the power and I am pleased to report that it all worked well. Given the absence of any track laying south of Crianlarich as yet, a mythical landslide has closed the line meaning that trains are terminating and reversing at Crianlarich.

 

37026 threads its way over the northern crossing and heads for Fort William across Strathfillan

 

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37039 crosses Strathfillan  and arrives at Crianlarich with empty oil tanks. Illogical given the landslide but having unpacked the TTA's, I was determined to give them an outing!

 

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Edited by young37215
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  • RMweb Gold

Only modest progress this week with more time spent running than building. I have wired up the western sidings at Crianlarich which are now fully operational. Tempting fate I know, but so far electrics are proving straightforward and working well.

 

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37039 arrives Crianlarich with an Oban bound oil train

 

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and departs for Oban

 

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37085 pauses with a southbound service from Fort William. Loco will detach and run round before heading back to Fort William.

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • RMweb Gold

I spend less time modelling during the spring and summer hence the lack of recent updates. However I cannot resist showing off my new WHL station building which arrived earlier today. It has been laser printed in card and built by Dawson Hall. I am delighted at what they have produced which is so much better than anything I could have scratch built and really captures the essence of the distinctive WHL Swiss chalet style buildings. 

 

This building will be used for Garelochead which is my next station project. Pictures show the building on an old platform used for design purposes and which is not flat hence the gaps under the building. Nevertheless it still looks brilliant. 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold

A little activity over the last few days has seen some progress at Crianlarich. The diamond crossing has been connected to the BUS with wire attached to all points and track. Brackets for the servos have been attached under the board. I am waiting for some micro switches to arrive so that I attach the servos and wire up the crossing frogs. Much trepidation here as I have never used electrofrog points before and my general electrical knowledge and skill level is rather low!

 

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I have also started the underpass at the northern end of the station where the western exit leads up a ramp to Glenfalloch Road. To the east of the station lies a car park which will be modelled in part. Retaining walls are beginning to take shape on both sides of the station. Further development all rests on completing the underpass and the diamond crossing because they dictate the position of everything else. Once these are finished, I can start on the station platform. 

 

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Whilst my focus is on completing Crianlarich, I could not resist laying out the potential location and trackwork for Garelochead station. This will have to wait before further work but it has wetted my appetite.

 

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Guest eddie reffin

Love that building! Is the kit available to buy anywhere at all? Would be ideal for Kinloch Laggan!

 

Thanks

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  • RMweb Gold

Love that building! Is the kit available to buy anywhere at all? Would be ideal for Kinloch Laggan!

 

Thanks

 

Eddie

 

The typical west highland building is laser printed, heavy duty card produced and built by Dawson Hall. My contact has been with another Eddie, not sure of his surname though. Web site below contains contact details

 

https://www.dawson-hall.com/xcart/

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  • 1 month later...
  • RMweb Gold

At long, long last I have managed to complete the diamond crossing at the northern end of Crianlarich. This is now fully wired with Megapoints controlled servos driving the points and frog polarity switching. To test fully I have been running trains and I am now able to start the construction of the station platform and the bridge that takes Fort William trains across Strathfillan.

 

Platform edging has been built

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37027 departs for Fort William

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20045 follows with an inspection saloon

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Anyone for spaghetti? BUS and servo wiring under the diamond

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Megapoints multipanel processor which will drive the 2 servo controller boards required to operate signals and points at Crianlarich

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Bridge deck across Strathfillan is temporarily positioned   

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37026 crosses the diamond and heads north

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