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JohnBS

Ashburton and Totnes

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Lovely to see Ashburton & Totnes on RMweb, I've long been an admirer.

Looking forward to seeing more photos.

Best wishes, Dave

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I like the cutting shot as it just shows what I think is the best subterfuge to access a fiddle yard ever seen on a layout. i am sure it has been copied.

 

Please, would it be possible to show an "action shot."

 

Robert

 

Robert,

Thanks for your comment and sorry for the length of time taken to reply to your query - just returned after a week in Greece (well, someone has to do it).

Below is a sequence of drone photos of the fiddle yard access in operation.

 

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No. 1 The autotrain at the bridge at the cutting entrance.

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No. 2 The autotrain now reached the end of the cutting

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No.3 The autotrain disappearing under the farm house and buildings - the earth has moved

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No. 4 All is revealed - the lift-off sections removed

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No. 5 .The autotrain enters the fiddle yard

 

The sector plate is of 9mm MDF, as is the rest of the track bed. It is pivoted on a small brass "ladder" hinge and slides on a scrap laminate surface, lubricated with graphite powder. To avoid problems with the sector plate lifting, it is restrained by a couple of Lego wheels which are attached to the bottom of the plate and run underneath the segment of MDF. End stops are small cupboard magnetic catches, which are finely adjustable, the magnetic contact is "softened" with a layer of 10thou plastic card on the magnets under the plate. Operation is by a simple wooden push rod from behind the backscene. The small white lamp on the backscene illuminates the fiddle yard entrance (which is normally covered by the lift-off panels) and is controlled by a microswitch which verifies that the sector plate is aligned to the fiddle yard entrance road.

The fiddle yard normally contains five rakes of stock, autotrain plus second trailer, 517 with 5 four-wheel coaches, small prairie with 7 wagons and brake, saddle tank with mixed milk train and Dean goods with 6 cattle vans and brake.

Hope that this information is of interest,

More soon,

John

Edited by JohnBS
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Superb photos.

 

This is how 2mm scale modelling should be. Stunningly good work, John!

 

Regards,

David

Edited by Kylestrome

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Thanks for the info on ballasting. There's food for thought for when I start ballasting my American layout.

 

At Scaleforum. I noticed a company called Attewood Aggregates who had a big range of various stone types, sizes and colours, including some very fine "scenic dust"

https://www.scalefour.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4951

 

Mark

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Beautiful layout. Some stunning pictures.

 

Mark I saw this stand earlier this year at my local exhibition and was very impressed with their offerings. I am not yet in the position to make a purchase as construction is yet to start but in terms of ballast appearance and grades they seem to my eye perfect.

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I like that picture of Great Bear.

 

I don't understand why many modellers insist on a matt finish, for steam locos, I think the gloss finish for the body work shown here is far more effective.

 

There is some great modelling on display here.

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TOTNES

 

Chapter 3

 

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Castle House and gardens; beyond an up livestock train emerges from beneath the main road bridge, hauled by saddle tank No. 1506.

This photograph © Tony Wright 2008

 

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The river steamer Berry Castle moored at Steamer Quay, awaiting for high tide before setting off to Dartmouth. The Town Bridge is beyond.

This photograph © Tony Wright 2008

 

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"Starlight" at Totnes quayside is at the southern extremity of her range. Times were hard then so she was loaded with a cargo of timber baulks from Forestry Commission plantations in Scotland for J & R Reeves & Co Ltd, timber importers. When unloading is complete, she is due to call at Par to pick up a return cargo of china clay.

 

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Totnes Plains, St Peter's Quay Pool and the Dart estuary beyond. Reeves timber yards occupied much of this bank of the river.

 

Totnes made its exhibition debut at Railwells in August 2008 and was featured in the January 2009 issue of British Railway Modelling magazine and issue No 205 of the Model Railway Journal. Outings included Doncaster in February 2010, when it received the British Railway Modelling "Layout of the Year" award, Aylesbury in May 2010, St Albans in January 2011, were it was awarded the Denis Moore cup for the best scenic layout and Uckfield in October 2012.

After several quiet years, its most recent appearance was on 8-9 April 2017 at Trainwest, Corsham.

 

Perhaps a bit more soon,

 

Best wishes,

 

John

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Nice to see a Clyde puffer in there!

 

Jim

Jim,

Thanks. All of course, entirely mythical; I don’t think that they got further south than north Wales.

John

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TOTNES

 

Chapter 4

 

Now, a short video of Totnes (I hope that it works).

https://youtu.be/Oq4W6BNIJ74

 

And a couple of vignettes

 

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Totnes Town Weir at the tidal limit of the Dart estuary and the penstock of the leat which feeds the mill. The Dart railway bridge is beyond.

 

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Dean Goods No. 2568 approaches Dainton Tunnel.

 

Perhaps I will post something about the locomotives that appear on Ashburton and Totnes. There are 36 in total so I will have to be a bit selective.

 

Best wishes,

 

John

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ASHBURTON AND TOTNES

 

Locomotives 1

 

In total, I have a stable of 36 locomotives shared between the layouts. Of these, 9 are scratch-built in total or in part, 15 are significantly modified proprietary models and 12 are essentially "Out of the Box".

The "Out of the Box" locos have all had some work done to them - typically including new name and/or number plates, removal of plastic coal and substitution with the real thing, change to insignia, fitting of Kadee (Microtrain) couplings, addition of crew, fitting of lamps, weathering, etc. However, I won’t bore you with photos of all the locos, just a few to whet your appetite. Here is the list - no great detail as they will be familiar to most readers:

 

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Schools class 4-4-0 (Southern) 910 Merchant Taylors. Dapol

(On a regular basis, a Southern locomotive was diagrammed to head a GWR train on the Plymouth – Totnes – Exeter route to gain route familiarisation. The converse was done on the Plymouth – Okehampton – Exeter route.)

14xx class 0-4-2T (GWR) 1425. Dapol

Pannier class 0-6-0T (GWR) 9659. Dapol

Small Prairie class 2-6-2T (GWR) 4560. Dapol

(The model looks the part but its performance was somewhat limited. Therefore it has been 'filleted' by removing the motor, current collection and most of the weights so it could be used as an unpowered “banker” at the rear of goods trains.)

Collett Goods class 0-6-0 (GWR) 2252. Peco

 

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2884 class 2-8-0 (GWR) 2892. Dapol

2884 class 2-8-0 (GWR) 2884. Dapol

Manor class 4-6-0 (GWR) 7808 Cookham Manor. Ixion/Dapol

Grange class 4-6-0 (GWR) 6820 Kingstone Grange. Dapol

Hall class 4-6-0 (GWR) 4924 Eydon Hall. Dapol

 

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Hall class 4-6-0 (GWR) 4915 Condover Hall. Dapol

 

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Castle class 4-6-0 (GWR) 5031 Totnes Castle. Bachmann Farish

 

Next time, I’ll begin with some photos of the significantly modified proprietary models and details of how I changed them.

 

Best wishes,

 

John

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ASHBURTON AND TOTNES

 

Locomotives 2

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Peckett 0-4-0ST 14in, Works No. 1465 c. 1930

Ex Hafodyrynys Colliery

Built 1917 Withdrawn 1956

 

This locomotive was made from a long-discontinued Peco white metal kit fitted on an Arnold 0-4-0 chassis, both of which had been skulking around in my 'to do one day' box.

 

I decided that I needed a freelance privately owned loco to work the Totnes Quay branch, which at the moment, is not operational. In reality, the section on The Plains was horse operated but, in 2mm scale, you have to draw the line somewhere! The intention is to have it working, either on an automatic shuttle basis or by a separate control panel that can be plugged into the front of the layout, so that I can have something not too demanding to do while I chat with the public.

 

The original kit was nicely mastered and cast but there are a couple of problems. Firstly as others have mentioned, is somewhat over-scale to accommodate the Arnold mechanism. There is not a lot that can be done about that, short of using a different kit and chassis, but it doesn't look too bad if you can keep it at some distance from other locomotives. Secondly, it is an 0-4-0 so precious little pick-up is available, particularly as I wanted it to be capable of shunting and slow speed running. This I decided could be mitigated by maximising the adhesion weight and by having a permanently-coupled, and electrically-connected, shunters truck.

 

Out of the box, the loco and mechanism weighed 45g but I managed to pack-in an extra 15g of lead, giving a reasonable total weight of 60g.

 

The shunters' truck was made out of a short wheelbase Peco brake van under-frame which provided me with a chassis with robust running boards. I packed some sheet lead between the frames, then, below, a layer of double-sided copper-clad fibreglass to anchor phosphor-bronze wipers contacting the backs of some spare solid disc wheels - near the centre to minimise friction. Then, on top, went a scribed plastic card floor and tool box filled with lead. Connection to the loco is by nickel-silver shims soldered to the top and bottom layers of the copper-clad fibreglass (left wheels to bottom surface, right to top), rubbing on a copper-clad draw-bar, hard wired to the loco. The truck weighed a respectable 15g and, in terms of electrical pick-up, I now have an 0-4-4 and a total combined weight of 75g. Slow running is quite acceptable.

 

Nothing much more to say. Wire handrails were fitted and turned brass safety valves and whistle. All was primed with a grey rattle can, the loco was then air brush painted and lined with Fox decals, to a freelance scheme. The truck was merely left in primer grey, with timber areas and handrails brush painted and finally, everything was weathered.

 

Best wishes,

 

John

Edited by JohnBS
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ASHBURTON AND TOTNES

 

Locomotives 3

 

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No E 430 4-4-0 Southern L12 class c.1930

Built 1905 Withdrawn 1951

 

The model started life as a Poole Farish Midland compound – with major modifications. The mechanism was adapted with a replacement worm and worm wheel and a modified drive chain giving a two-stage 56:1 reduction instead of the original 25:1 (only possible with the early metal worm wheels).

Cosmetic brass frames with springing and brakes were bonded to the chassis block and a new keeper plate was made from copper-clad fibreglass, with phosphor-bronze wire pickups. Beaver driving wheels, of scale diameter, where fitted, with scratch-built nickel-silver rods. The bogie truck was scratch built, with new near-scale wheels.

The motor pole pieces were thinned down and rounded at the top to fit in a new firebox/boiler/smokebox of brass tube. (If you try this at home, remove the magnet and pole pieces first, mark the magnet so that it can be replaced in the correct orientation and don't shorten the cusps on the pole pieces as these must rest on the chassis block to avoid colliding with the armature.) This sits on a new footplate, splashers and cab assembly of sheet brass. New boiler fittings and details, of polished metal, were added.

The tender chassis has current collection - a new keeper plate of copper-clad fibreglass with phosphor-bronze wire pickups - linked back to the loco, and axle boxes, brake gear and other details were added. The tender superstructure was scratch-built in brass and was pivoted on the chassis to bear on the rear of the locomotive, increasing adhesion (always a problem on 4-4-0 locos) and crushed coal was added. The crew includes a driver, a fireman and an inspector.

The loco and tender weigh 97g.

On a regular basis, a Southern locomotive was diagrammed to head a GWR train on the Plymouth – Totnes – Exeter route to gain route familiarisation. The converse was done on the Plymouth – Okehampton – Exeter route.

 

More to follow,

 

John

Edited by JohnBS
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ASHBURTON AND TOTNES

 

Locomotives 4

 

Another modified loco, this time of the Great Western persuasion.

 

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No 19 Diesel railcar c.1940

The “Flying Banana”

Built 1940 Withdrawn 1960

 

The model was basically the Farish unit with a fairly heavily modified drive mechanism. I isolated the drive to one bogie so that it now free-wheels. However, this is no problem as the railcar just has to haul itself!

The drive to the powered bogie now has a small flywheel and double reduction gears. To achieve this, the drive shaft was simply cut, fitted through an otherwise unsupported U-shaped brass strip with gears driving a lay-shaft. From there, the drive continued back up to the final drive shaft and the worm and bogie, giving an overall reduction of about 50:1. Current collection is from both bogies.

The superstructure has had cosmetic couplings and hoses fitted in place of the redundant Rapidos and has been weathered. Usually, it is a reserve loco but makes an excellent track tester - it will crawl along, albeit rather noisily!

The loco weighs 80g

 

More modified proprietary locos to come.

 

John

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ASHBURTON AND TOTNES

 

Locomotives 5

 

Another modified proprietary model, this time a tank engine.

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No 5741 0-6-0T ‘Pannier Tank’ c.1935

Maid of all work.

Built 1929 Withdrawn 1957

 

This model started life as a Farish 94XX pannier, bought many years ago, and was an early essay in scratch building superstructure in plastic card. At the time, no 57xx model was available.

The mechanism was largely unchanged but with a shortened footplate and chassis, a new copper-clad fibreglass keeper plate and phosphor-bronze wire wipers. Wheels were unchanged but the rods were fined down somewhat.

The superstructure was totally new, of plastic card with metal handrails, details and fittings and as much lead in the tanks as I could get.

Weight of loco 45g.

 

More modified proprietary locos to come.

 

John

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attachicon.gif65F351BE-F149-4B68-BF49-4091F2CD9ABF.jpeg

No E 430 4-4-0 Southern L12 class c.1930

Built 1905 Withdrawn 1951

 

Absolutely beautiful. If only that were available in N gauge for those of us with less modelling ability and time. I wonder if a 3D body print on a Farish chassis would be any good. No doubt someone will be able to say 'no' with good reason!

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Hi CarriageShed,

A nice idea, however a few thoughts:

First, weight. 4-4-0s are notoriously difficult to achieve adequate traction weight and this would be exacerbated with a light weight 3D printed superstructure. If using a Farish chassis, the only space for a slug of lead is in the front of the boiler and smokebox but this is exactly where you don’t need it. The centre of gravity of the loco must be within the driving wheelbase.

Secondly, the old Poole Farish motor needs quite a bit of butchery to the pole pieces for it to fit in the round-topped boiler and firebox - a high risk exercise. I had originally hoped to make a T9 "Greyhound" but soon realised that the narrowness of the boiler/firebox made that impossible.

Thirdly, although not essential, the model benefits from having replacement larger diameter driving and bogie wheels and these are not easy to find.

I guess that another approach would be to look at doing something with the Dapol Schools chassis.

Best wishes,

John

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It's pretty hard work to work out how to get unavailable loco classes in N, never mind actually doing the work itself. I'm only a beginner at this but I've recently worked out in theory how to attach a Union Mills T9 motorised tender to a Fleischmann loco chassis sitting under a Langley S15 body to get an S15 with a watercart tender (there's more needed in that description but it's already too long). Now I'm encouraged to theorise about other mismatches to get fresh classes.

 

The Union Mills T9 itself is rather nice when detailed (rather basically by me for N gauge use here, but the lining which was done by a friend really makes it look the part):

Steam_ClassT9_18.jpg

 

Now I'm wondering if a UM tender drive and T9 tender body wouldn't be a good idea to power a Farish 4-4-0 chassis with a 3D L12 print on top. I'm guessing that the biggest problem area would be getting the wheels to pick up power from one side only to suit the tender motor's pick-up requirements...?

 

And apologies for seemingly hijacking the thread. I'm constantly amazed and impressed (not to mention jealous) by anyone who can successfully hack an RTR loco into a new class, so you've piqued my interest.

Peter

Edited by CarriageShed
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ASHBURTON AND TOTNES

 

Locomotives 6

 

Another modified proprietary tank engine

 

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No 5505 2-6-2T 4575 class ‘Small Prairie’ c.1935

The Totnes station pilot.

Built 1927 Withdrawn 1957

 

This started life as a Fleischmann model of a German tank engine and retains the core of its mechanism - motor, gears and wheels. The motor is a fairly chunky open-frame type, driving all axles through a double reduction gear train.

The cylinders and slide bars are filed down ex Farish (nice and robust) with scratch-built connecting and jointed coupling rods, cross-heads and brass T-section slide bar brackets. New split-frame pony trucks have been made, the front picking up from the right hand rail and the rear from the left. All in all, it runs very sweetly, though it is a bit speedy.

The superstructure is scratch-built in plastic card. The smokebox and boiler is formed as a ”swiss roll” of two layers of 10thou, around 30thou former discs. The structures of the footplate, tanks, firebox, cab and bunker are again of 30thou with 10thou overlays and with fine plastic rodding as beading. Details such as splashers, steps, tank fillers and chimney are generally of plastic with metal handrails, safety valve casing, whistles and other small fittings. The smokebox, front of boiler, bunker and tanks are filled with lead.

The loco weighs 46g.

 

More modified proprietary tank engines to come.

 

John

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ASHBURTON AND TOTNES

 

Locomotives 7

 

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No 1506 0-6-0T ‘Saddle Tank’ c.1922

An antique tank engine.

Built 1878 Withdrawn 1937

 

Buried under this model is a Farish pannier (the reverse of reality - Great Western converted many saddle tanks to panniers).

The mechanism has a replacement worm and worm wheel set, giving an improved reduction ratio of 21:1 instead of the original 16:1. A new keeper plate was made from copper clad fibreglass with phosphor-bronze wire pickups. Wheels were unchanged, brake gear, sand boxes and guard irons were fitted and the coupling rods were thinned down as far as I dared.

After separating the superstructure, the cab and bunker were removed and discarded and all the boiler fittings were filed off to leave a flat top. To this, a nice fat piece of nickel silver was epoxied and cured in the oven. Then the whole lump was ground and filed down to the correct profile, checked with a simple metal gauge sliding along the footplate. The footplate itself was shortened at the front and new metal handrails, smokebox and boiler fittings were added. The back of the Farish motor, where it projected into the cab, was pared down to the minimum and footplate crew were positioned judiciously. The old-style open cab and bunker were formed of sheet metal.

The loco weighs a respectable 54g.

 

More modified proprietary tank engines to come.

 

John

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Edited by JohnBS
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I could look at and read about these locomotives (and the layouts!) forever John, such a high standard of modelling! Thank you for continuing to share these with us.

 

I hope that our paths cross in the future as I'd very much like to discuss these with you in person.

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ASHBURTON AND TOTNES

 

Locomotives 8

 

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No 8731 0-6-0T ‘Pannier Tank’ c.1935

Maid of all work.

Built 1931 Withdrawn 1962

 

This model is in essentials a Farish pannier with lots of minor modifications, as described by that excellent modeller John Greenwood in a copy of the Model Railway Journal.

The mechanism has a replacement worm and worm wheel set, giving an improved reduction ratio of 21:1 instead of the original 16:1. A new keeper plate was made from copper clad fibreglass, with phosphor-bronze wire pickups.

Brake gear, sand boxes and guard irons were fitted. The solid skirt beneath the tanks was cut away and a new lower section of the boiler, made from a suitable sized felt pen barrel and fixed to the chassis, covers the gear drive. A new brass safety valve casing brightens things up and the chimney is raised to scale height by the simple expedient of adding a suitable metal washer under the capuchon.

The coupling rods were thinned and sanding gear rodding, separate wire handrails and various bits of pipework finished the model off.

The model weighs 55g.

 

Yet more modified proprietary tank engines to follow.

 

John

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