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Bob Hordern
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Posted (edited)

Well it's been over a year since my last post on here. So what's been happening through my lockdown?

 

My original plan had been to continue on the exhibition circuit with Kirtley Bridge for a year or two whilst I was still fit enough to haul the layout around. Then I planned to finish refurbing the old club layout 'Lofthouse' and make possible a 'U' shaped layout at home using both. The final phase would see me going at least partly over to DCC drawn by the 'sound' this would provide.

 

However the pandemic intervened and I needed to alter these plans. So basically the travelling was off and the DCC was brought forward. The only issue now is that I may find the exhibiting , once we get back to 'normal', is too much. I have withdrawn from 2021 bookings due to Covid and family reasons, but am stil pencilled in/rolled over for others in 2022.

 

First up the DCC........

 

After much research I settled on an NCE Powercab. This is a beginner’s set-up but it can be added to as your layout or motive power roster grows. The Powercab can operate as both a throttle and a command station. At the other end of things there needs to be a decoder in each loco. In my case all my existing locos were analogue and so needed to be fully converted. In addition I decided to include sound, speaker and a ‘stay alive’. 

 

How much did all this cost? Decoders and power inputs were the big ticket items. Plus needing to build or adapt the layout to DCC working. Kirtley Bridge was wired for DC via cab control (two controllers) with bus wires. All I had to do initially was replace the old power supply with a smoothed DCC one and buy a new throttle – NCE Powercab provided both. The existing six track sections were removed and I settled for two districts.

 

For locos the cost is cheaper if you buy RTR with DCC already fitted. For example a Dapol 3F jinty in DCC with sound fitted is now as little as £275. The conversion of my existing DC version cost me around £75. For my kitbuilt and scratch built locos the cost was greater as it was harder to fit the decoders as often there were space and weighting issues. I had to decide whether to go DIY or have these fitted professionally - at about £30. I chose to use Digitrains of Lincoln who were very good and not overpriced like some dealers.

 

So how did I fund my DCC operations? I had 11 locos whose value was continually falling as they were DC. Plus I was also using only 7 of these in my exhibition timetable, the rest being just alternatives. So it was decided to sell some and convert the others. Most went via eBay which was fine as long as you keep an eye on their fees. However there were some really tough decisions here about perceived favourites or which locos were vital to the ‘mission’ - but that’s modelling! One DC loco remains as yet.

 

The table below shows my decisions and the balance sheet. This seems to me to be a worthwhile trade-off

TABLE.jpg.a5f7b9232d1ba06a9759e37ef892d6ae.jpg

I am currently (sorry :no:) running points, signalling and LEDs under DC power as only the track is DCC. I am very happy with the control this conversion has given me for now. The diesel sounds in particular are really excellent whilst the steam locos are good enough. Best of all you feel you are driving trains not simply switching tracks.

 

More to follow, take care, Bob

Edited by Bob Hordern
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Hi Bob, well done on the DCC sound project.

 

Having returned to the hobby after a 40 odd year break, I was fortunate to see Andy P's and George T's layouts in the flesh so to speak and this sold me on DCC sound straight away. I know it comes at a cost, but I do think it is worth the investment. I have just sold some Matchbox and Dinky toys I had forgotten I had and this has funded sound for two locos.

 

Cheers. Ade.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

With the DCC up and running I next needed to upgrade the operation side of things.

 

The control panels

 

The original Kirtley Bridge panel has been partly refurbished and extended. This was to accomodate two things..... The additional electronics and he timetable operation (more of this later).

As outlined previously I am using a Powercab which allows me to run two trains and some others 'simmering' in recall. The main panel therefore houses the older DC circuits, a couple of DCOs, the Megapoints unit and a (5amp) MERG booster. This latter is to cope with the larger layout viz KIrtley Bridge plus the Lofthouse. Another controller and DCO are planned for the latter's panel.

IMG_5199.JPG.36772c22a0b31e68b48658a4c1bcb9fc.JPG

 

Here you can see the power source (top right) and booster (top left) in the photo, plus the three cut-outs that will protect the DCC districts from short circuits, etc. seen below. Note that, unlike in DC, a simple short circuit can under DCC lead to other complications.

 

IMG_5228.JPG.fe8d291b4ab6517730ae2a7ada3a4c14.JPG

 

The booster module was placed in the old metal power box that once held all my AC electrics for the layout. As you can see the older DC transformers are still in there providing power for the points, uncoupling magnets and LEDs. The white chocbox is only temporary till all the circuits are ready. The cream-coloured disc is an audio alarm, while the small computer fan helps keep it all cool just in case.

 

IMG_5293.JPG.d013e3bb01f16c2bc1fb2a2b36f5e543.JPG

 

The layout runs happily on the basic Powercab with DCOs - the above photo shows the inside of the panel - but eventually I will need to add in the booster. I have found this part of the electonics a bit of a challenge but with the help of a few colleagues I hope to get the booster 'talking' soon. Stay tuned, as they say.

 

More to follow, take care, Bob

Edited by Bob Hordern
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Posted (edited)

And three come along at once........

 

This section is about my schedule/timetable for Kirtley Bridge.

 

The basics of the operational sequence were already in place for exhibitions using train movement cards. However there were two many of these and they did not fully describe operations. New or part-time operators needed more help. It was therefore decided to move these onto the control panel at Kirtley Bridge and create what was in effect a set of 'flip charts' - maybe x6. Below is a mock up of what the eventual set-up may look like. 

 

panel.jpg.8b717d89e7f5def93165acaf9ff7d910.jpg

 

The times of trains shown are largely fiction (and may be not be used long term). So this is really about having a day’s sequence of train movements rather than a proper timetable. I have kept in mind the real train services from the Nidd Valley Railway working timetable at Lofthouse and Pateley Bridge. These will become more useful when I eventually get Kirtley Bridge and Lofthouse operating together.

 

The idea (see the extract below) is to display the train movements with their rostered locomotives shown in the right hand column. The last digit of each loco number is the code needed to ‘call it up’ -  remember this is DCC - eg the 1F #1820 responds ‘0’.  I plan to have seven locos.

The coloured arrows show more information about direction, origin and destination - eg green for the Hebden Beck Quarry, red for Wharfedale fiddleyard and blue for Dalehead. The coloured text on the left indicates particular activities (to help other operators), whilst the yellow highlighting identifies passenger services.

sched.jpg.15c4554a79459fcb77dd27d27d04825a.jpg

 

This is about as far as I have got for now. My efforts are now focussed on upgrading the old DC local panel at the Wharfedale/quarry end of the layout which needs to be more DCC friendly. Being able to switch control between here and Kirtley Bridge will be very useful allowing for single or dual operation. :D

 

page.jpg.2c96c65dedd84a974f2ecba726f8ccce.jpg

 

Take care, Bob

 

Edited by Bob Hordern
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Posted (edited)

Well here's the completed local Wharfedale panel - obviously re-cycled - which works well and looks neat enough. It is electronically much simpler than the main panel at Kirtley Bridge. 

 

The panel drops in and is held by two small screws. It can be removed entirely via a pluggable 12-way terminal connector.
The upper lines are the quarry, which include a three way point, an uncoupler and the quarry gate. The lower line is just the entrance to the fiddleyard. The small LEDs - red (?) and green (x3) show track settings. The white power switch (a 4PDT) and large yellow LED indicate when this local panel is in control. Wiring links to the main panel are done but still need connecting to the equivalent switches there. This will enable dual or singleton operation. 

Below, a ubiquitous 4F is leaving the fiddleyard and about to emerge onto the layout with a goods train.
Note the adjacent area for ️ - to help keep operator no2 happy. (area was planned to house the timetable but ..........)

Take care, Bob

 

IMG_5502.JPG.267167c1e4aa0a527fdc67e8c3c9547b.JPG

Edited by Bob Hordern
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Here's the (almost) finished panel at Kirkby Bridge. Note the newly added LEDs showing route settings.

1416564637_newDCpanel.JPG.8951a2698f6246277cfe893dd2a1bb73.JPG

 

Plus detail of my 'auto switch' to allow the headshunt to be my programming track. (sooooo much cheaper than the NCE option)

Bob

1011571047_programswitch.jpg.e12078f24ce3a9be86dd3697ef0e486e.jpg

Edited by Bob Hordern
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  • 3 weeks later...

DCC up and running well now. Here's the 07.45 -  first train of the day...

This carefully weathered workmens train arrives at the platform for its last pickup.
The Ixion Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 #6 will next propel the Slaters six-wheel coach to Hebden Beck Quarry.
With only one shift per day and no Sunday working it seems the quarry's heyday is now gone.
The station building betrays the Midland heritage of this line.

 

1018264462_modifiedDS.jpg.b07fc653751b914dd3cb0fd7811dc36b.jpg

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

A second Powercab (Procab) now sits in its new DIY housing, ready to work the Wharfedale end of the layout.

It will operate the fiddleyard, quarry sidings and some goods traffic arrivals.

Here a mixed train, with a passenger coach and various wagons, leaves for Kirtley Bridge.IMG_5699.JPG.beca09c3bcce31956c95a9e8f98a6529.JPG

Edited by Bob Hordern
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Posted (edited)

Two controller operations at last...

The mixed traffic train, seen earlier and pulled by LMS Fowler 3F 0-6-0 #3471, is seen heading for Dalehead via the main platform at Kirtley Bridge. It is soon overtaking the slower mineral train - Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 #6 plus three loaded open wagons - destined for the goods loop at Kirtley Bridge. 

This is the operator's view of the mill not usually seen by visitors.

 

IMG_5709.JPG.985277bdda786e2a3b1781eb7541c6f0.JPG

Edited by Bob Hordern
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Posted (edited)

Main panel indicates to the operator how two throttles can operate at the same time............

  • line of RED LEDs means controller 1 is set for the quarry train travelling from the quarry to the station loop or goods yard
  • line of GREEN LEDs shows controller 2 allowing the mixed traffic train to enter the main platform

Routes via either of the two crossovers obviously mean one train only and the indicator LEDs will alter to reflect this.

497F02C4-DE2B-4640-A5FB-085129285F2F.jpeg.ee95816c68def2d051d173c560efd1ce.jpeg

Edited by Bob Hordern
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Here's another two controller manoeuvre revealing another busy moment 

  • LMS autotrain - 0-4-4 #1275 leaving from bay platform - on fiddle yard throttle
  • tender of LMS 2P - 4-4-0 #323 reveals passenger train waiting - on recall
  • brake of goods train passing via the loop heading up to Dalehead - on Kirtley Bridge throttle
  • Jinty at coaling stage - on recall

The recall facility on both throttles is very useful allowing you to be ready to move quickly to the next loco.
 

IMG_4349.JPG.969d04e2abb8ffba3ccad764659b50d9.JPG

Edited by Bob Hordern
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

IMG_5753.JPG.59b1e2b0417ff783a8d5b6658054fd33.JPGWith the weather good and the garage doors open I have returned to the business of linking LOFTHOUSE and KIRTLEY BRIDGE.
I've tacked down onto a ply board some very old Peco flexitrack to test what my locos can cope with. The curves shown are 48, 42 and 40.5 inches radii (the latter is about the same as Peco set-track).

TANK LOCOS and rolling stock can cope from 48" right down to 40.5”. The latter is tight for some, however with new/well-laid track they should be OK.

4F 0-6-0 TENDER LOCO is ok at 48" but here again better track etc should mean 42" is good as well.

2P 4-4-0 TENDER LOCO is ok at both 48" and 42".


In reality traffic up to Lofthouse was pulled by tank locos only, however if I should decide to use tender locos here I will need to set my minimum radius at 42". This means my semicircle beyond the garage doors can begin at 48", transition down to 42” and then back up to 48". It may not look that good but it's technically off-scene. I just need to find the time to do it!
Bob

Edited by Bob Hordern
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Bit warm in the sun with the garage doors facing south. The sunshade is an old tent groundsheet rigged up to provide shower and sun protection.

The new 'link' between layouts will replace the simple 'plank' shown here.

F1C0090A-65E4-4A71-AFB3-CF8ADA2B7D4F.jpeg.7d3b0f093bee89d848f1dae9de0556e4.jpeg

Edited by Bob Hordern
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