Jump to content

Richard Hall

Longframlington - North Northumberland, early 1960s

Recommended Posts

Longframlington summarised:

 

  • N gauge
  • 6' x 1'6" or thereabouts
  • Ex North British Railway in north Northumberland.  Longframlington is a village about halfway between Morpeth and Alnwick. It never had a railway but might have done.
  • Period - late 1950s to early 1960s.  
  • Track: plain track is Finetrax Code 40.  Turnouts are a mixture of modified Finetrax kits and handbuilt.  Fiddle yard is Peco.
  • Control: 12V DC using an AMR handheld controller with feedback, Turnouts are servo-operated using MERG control boards, frog switching via relays.
  • Buildings: railway structures are scratchbuilt from card, based on Scotsgap Junction on the Wansbeck Valley line.  The houses, shops and pub are Metcalfe kits bodged about a bit.

 

A couple of photos to start with before I go into the layout in a bit more detail.  I'm still working on the layout, adding little details but trying not to overdo the clutter.  Borders branch line stations weren't exactly busy places post-war.

 

DSCN2085-L.jpg

 

DSCN2108-L.jpg

 

DSCN2542-L.jpg

  • Like 9
  • Agree 1
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where to start?  Probably with the baseboards which are, erm, unconventional.  I have never much liked wood as a constructional material.  It is cheap and easy to work with hand tools, but I find it a fickle and treacherous material.  I wanted to try using aluminium extrusions for the baseboard frames, but I couldn't find anyone to weld them up for me.  My patience got the better of me and I decided to make them from steel Dexion racking uprights of which I have lots, MIG welded together.

 

DSCN0563-L.jpg

 

Baseboard tops are 9mm MDF, bonded to the frames with Tigerseal and weighted down with whatever I could find in the workshop.  No prizes for guessing what I do for a living.  The ends have aluminium angle bonded to them to prevent them being damaged.

 

DSCN0564-L.jpg

 

The resulting baseboards are immensely strong but far too heavy and I would not build them this way again.  They are actually quite awkward to handle despite being only 3' x 1'6".  But at least I could now get on with tracklaying...

 

DSCN0565-L.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few recent photographs showing not very much happening at Longframlington as usual.  

 

DSCN2191-L.jpg

 

Station building is a mirror image of Scotsgap, built from drawings using Metcalfe printed card walls and Redutex textured material for the roof.  I really need to deal with that gap along the bottom of the walls, and my inherent laziness shows in the lack of gutters, downpipes and interior fittings.  

 

DSCN2123-L.jpg

 

Signal box is also from Scotsgap and has an interior of sorts even though you can't see it.  Still some work to be done in this area, it looks a bit bare at the moment.

 

DSCN2116-L.jpg

 

Mostly Metcalfe buildings here.  The Percy Arms started out as the "Manor Farm" kit: Northumbrian pubs tend to be plain, square, solid-looking buildings without a lot of frills.  The crossing gates are scratchbuilt from Plastikard, based on those at Thorneyburn on the Border Counties Railway, with Peco wicket gates.

 

DSCN2193-L.jpg

 

All quiet at Longframlington.  The Palvan is an old Parkwood kit, as are many of my wagon fleet.

 

Track construction next...

  • Like 10
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This layout started out as a testbed for Finetrax Code 40 track: I wanted to build a small, simple layout to see how I got on with it.  So I drew up a simple track plan for a branch terminus, four turnouts in the scenic area and one in the fiddle yard.  I built the first turnout from the kit as supplied but I wasn't happy with the one-piece cast frog: it reminded me of the old Farish Super Liveway turnouts.  So I decided to build the remaining four turnouts with "proper" soldered frogs, with a couple of soldered PCB sleepers to keep everything straight and level.  I also decided to build the three turnouts at the station throat as a single assembly to reduce the number of rail joints.

 

DSCN0545.JPG.51388f07057fedd4e03512a192c12b3e.JPG

 

So far so good, but I made a bad mistake.  I built the turnouts onto a 3mm balsawood base which seemed a good idea at the time.  It was only after ballasting and painting that I started to run into problems: the water in the PVA glue and emulsion paint had a bad effect on the stability of the trackbed and I ended up having to insert half a dozen brass pins through the trackbed into the MDF baseboard and solder the rails to them to restore some kind of stability.  Not a mistake I will make again.

 

Second mistake was the turnout operating mechanisms.  I like the simplicity of solenoid point motors, and the built in frog polarity switch on the Seep motors is handy, but they don't work too well with delicate little code 40 blades and tiebars.  So I came up with a system using a piano wire crank operating through a vertical brass tube through the board, decoupling the solenoid from the blades and leaving them lightly spring-loaded.  It worked until I ballasted the track, at which point the water rusted the piano wire cranks and they seized solid in the tubes.  Even with the wires replaced, reliability was still a bit marginal but they worked well enough to be able to run some trains.

 

DSCN0567.JPG.ba535f2a54d65cf53611ab679389d89e.JPG 

 

DSCN0568.JPG.ecde4a3da87c6c50ee2b8037cc8b0eed.JPG

DSCN0606.JPG.02868d53add44f148c81651a588d61b6.JPG

 

Ballasting was the usual slow, tedious job, using fine terrarium sand ("lizard sand"), dilute PVA glue, and then a couple of coats of matt emulsion (mixed up from B&Q tester pots) to seal it.  With the platform structures in place, things were looking good at this point.

 

DSCN0708.JPG.bac962a70b60d02e5b88ccc3f32e6800.JPG

 

Next up, scenery and structures start to take shape.

  • Like 6
  • Craftsmanship/clever 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard,

 

What a smashing little layout! :good_mini: I have always thought that the Longframlington/Longhorsley route would make an excellent basis for a layout. You have captured the atmosphere of the NER branch lines in Northumberland wonderfully. 

 

Thank you very much for sharing your very detailed and informative posts setting out the construction process. I look forward to seeing and reading more. 

 

Absolutely cracking stuff!

David

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I was rummaging around my photo files I found some shots of my previous attempt at a Borders branch terminus.  "Belstone" was a bit bigger than "Longframlington" and never got quite finished due to a house move: I sold it, and hopefully it is still out there giving pleasure to someone.  It was a nice little layout although the kickback coal siding didn't really work, much too fiddly to shunt.  Buildings were mostly Scotsgap based, but Plastikard rather than cardboard, and a bit wobbly due to inadequate internal bracing.  The goods shed was freelance, 1/8" balsa and not at all wobbly.

 

 

DSCN0152.JPG

DSCN0153.JPG

DSCN0148.JPG

DSCN0150.JPG

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot I had started this thread - old age creeping up on me.  And if I had carried on describing the construction of the layout in detail, at some point I would have had to explain this:

 

DSCN0977-L.jpg

 

Ahem. Moving swiftly on, I am spending the weekend doing the last few bits of work before Longframlington's exhibition debut next Saturday at the Felixstowe N Gauge show.  A nice gentle introduction to life as an exhibition layout, just to see what falls off and breaks before the layout travels North for the two-day Redcar show at the start of August.

 

DSCN1010-L.jpg

 

Only just over six feet long including fiddle yard, but I don't think it looks too cramped.

 

Richard

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Richard Hall said:

I forgot I had started this thread - old age creeping up on me.  And if I had carried on describing the construction of the layout in detail, at some point I would have had to explain this:

 

https://photos.smugmug.com/Longframlington/i-CnrHMS2/0/65b1675e/L/DSCN0977-L.jpg

 

Ahem. Moving swiftly on, I am spending the weekend doing the last few bits of work before Longframlington's exhibition debut next Saturday at the Felixstowe N Gauge show.  A nice gentle introduction to life as an exhibition layout, just to see what falls off and breaks before the layout travels North for the two-day Redcar show at the start of August.

 

https://photos.smugmug.com/Longframlington/i-7DsCzmW/0/43de99bf/L/DSCN1010-L.jpg

 

Only just over six feet long including fiddle yard, but I don't think it looks too cramped.

 

Richard

 

Richard, far from looking cramped it is the opposite, it looks very spacious and belies the small size of the layout. No doubt that is a testament to your modelling skills. I think it shows 2mm scale at its best - nothing is forced and it is such a realistic depiction of a rural NBR terminus. Really impressed! :good_mini: Pleased to hear the showing in Felixstowe went well and glad to hear you're heading north with layout shortly. 

 

Edited by south_tyne
Stupidity...
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.