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Guilford Colliery - a Kent coalfield 'might-have-been'


TurboSnail
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  • 4 weeks later...

Been thinking a lot lately about where this layout is going and I think it's time for a slight change of direction. The trackwork will cost me over £100 if I buy new, so costs will have to be cut back in a few other areas, the main one being controller and automated modules.

 

For those following my lockdown blog, you'll have seen the start of the development of a DIY controller to provide speed control with a built in shuttle option. This was originally supposed to be for a short length of test track, and I'd buy a 'proper' controller for the layout, but I think the homemade one will have to do for the layout as well. For now at least.

 

The other big change is that I'm scrapping all the peripherals - the working bits that aren't part of making trains run. I had big ideas for loading coal, full lighting, electric remote uncoupling etc. that now won't be happening. I might even go back to manual point control. This is partly for cost, but also for the sake of simplifying the layout. Of the two previous layouts I've built, neither has been scenically finished, so I want to make things as simple as possible so it doesn't drag on for another 5 years or so! This was also the reasoning behind making the boards small and in one piece - simple, compact and hopefully not too hard to work on.

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  • 3 weeks later...

By way of an update, I've started prototyping the controller for this layout, in keeping with the theme of trying to make everything myself. Here's a rundown of how it's going so far.

 

The loco is the prototype Ruston that would later become the 48DS, and will run on the layout in its late 1940s guise, the later of the two eras planned for this layout.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Buildings are coming along ok now, I'm starting to get the hang of plasticard. Here we have the storage hut for the west end of the layout, and a loading platform for the east end. Waiting on a delivery of more plasticard before I tackle the rest.

 

I know the platform ends are too steep, but it was a bit late to sort it by the time I noticed. It'll do for now, and I can always make another one later down the line. It took less than an hour, so it's not too much of a hardship!

 

I've got a backscene on order, and I'm trying to work up the courage to spend vast amounts of money on track. We're slowly getting there!

 

day69_2.jpg.afe3d99966dde7c27596071f7882702b.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

That's a coincidence! My layout (more of a test track) is also 1200x200, on a salvaged baseboard section, and originally intended to hold Inglenook and Timesaver in their entireties which is just about achievable in N. Fits neatly on top of a piano-keyboard on indefinite loan from a friend.

 

Only got as far as building Inglenook though. The original plan would've resulted in a ridiculously dense sea of rails on the left side of the board while the other end basically just has a headshunt. Points are motorised with SG90 servos superglued directly to the underside of the board with a paperclip tie-rod and driven from an Arduino. The control panels are an early experiment into CNC engraving.

IMG-20180927-WA0000.jpeg.fb6f6512873e69ff711d15037e895e3a.jpeg

 

That photo was nearly two years ago, and since then… it looks almost exactly the same! Going to rebuild or possibly start over - have decided the headshunt needs to be the specified Inglenook length, with a facing connection (guarded with a yellow position-light signal) to the rest of the layout.

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11 hours ago, BusDriverMan said:

That's a coincidence! My layout (more of a test track) is also 1200x200, on a salvaged baseboard section, and originally intended to hold Inglenook and Timesaver in their entireties which is just about achievable in N. Fits neatly on top of a piano-keyboard on indefinite loan from a friend.

 

Only got as far as building Inglenook though. The original plan would've resulted in a ridiculously dense sea of rails on the left side of the board while the other end basically just has a headshunt. Points are motorised with SG90 servos superglued directly to the underside of the board with a paperclip tie-rod and driven from an Arduino. The control panels are an early experiment into CNC engraving.

IMG-20180927-WA0000.jpeg.fb6f6512873e69ff711d15037e895e3a.jpeg

 

That photo was nearly two years ago, and since then… it looks almost exactly the same! Going to rebuild or possibly start over - have decided the headshunt needs to be the specified Inglenook length, with a facing connection (guarded with a yellow position-light signal) to the rest of the layout.

 

Nice! I've tried to avoid ending up with a sea of rails, but might not have succeeded...

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36 minutes ago, TurboSnail said:

Nice! I've tried to avoid ending up with a sea of rails, but might not have succeeded...

Your layout looks grand IMO - there's plenty of separation between the sidings at the back and the loop at the front for a start, it looks like it won't crowd out the scenery and the industry the railway is there to serve. And the contrast between the buildings at the right hand side and the trees on the left.

 

If I'd gone ahead with my plan, it would be very obvious there's no space to access these wagons to work on them or unload them or do whatever they've been shunted here to do. The schematic cut into the control panel is much more spacious than the reality - didn't fully appreciate how dense it would look until I mocked up the trackplan fullsize.

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I think layouts tend to look a lot more densely packed in real life than they do in 2D plans, so I tried to factor that in when designing. Time will tell whether I've got that right or not!

 

Next jobs - lay cork underlay, lay track. Actually, first, buy track - the wallet's not looking forward to that!

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I was supposed to lay cork and track at the weekend - however, everywhere is out of stock of the track I need, my sheet of cork wasn't big enough, I forgot to collect the point motors, and I forgot to print the trackplan... If only my brain could organise itself properly!

 

So track is on hold for the time being. I did remember to pick up my old controller from home, so I'll try and dismantle that and hide it under the layout. While I was home, I made some rudimentary legs, which will make it a lot easier to do the track than having it sat on the floor.

 

There's also another building in the works!

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Having printed the trackplan, I've been able to make the cork sheet I had fit it - now stuck down with various markings locating the ends of points (for alignment), drill locations for electrofrogs and centre lines for aligning flexitrack. Point motor holes and so on will be sorted out once I've actually got the track pieces so I can be a bit more precise about the alignment.

 

Next job is waiting for all the track I need to be in stock somewhere!

 

image.png.08bee20a96d17fca80cbb9701a01ff3c.png

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  • 2 months later...

After neglecting the layout for a while (too many exciting locos to work on!), I've started laying track. I'm giving myself way too many headaches with the wiring though, it shouldn't be this difficult for me to work out... I'm putting power feed points on most of the rails (marked in red on the diagram) and have the switching points to do frog switching for me, but still need to work out what feeds I need to connect to what - it's these pesky three-way points and the run-round loop that are giving me grief - I think I'll need to set up the points either end of the loop to switch simultaneously to avoid shorts there.

 

Here's a quick diagram - red dots are feed points, blue dots are insulating fishplates and I've numbered all the sidings/loops for clarity. All points (including the three-ways) are live frog. Anyone done similar wiring before and might be able to make some sense of it?

 

image.png.7d24b6688c32da1e94dd87870b3f65a3.png

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The track is finally down, still need to add some electrical feed points but at least it's progress. I think the next step is to get the wiring and points working, and I think I've got the wiring plan sorted now. Then I can move on to scenery, which starts by adding some filler to blend in the edges of the cork areas, then have a go at painting/weathering the track. That's not something I've ever done before so will be 'interesting'. Finally ballasting, which I'd like to have a go at doing with actual shingle, but still haven't worked out how that would be done either! One step at a time, Tom...

 

image.png.1287e98d5ce8a3d62cd520812f8bd833.png

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  • 2 months later...

Ah yes, I'm supposed to be making a layout, aren't I?

I have a slight tendancy to get demotivated when things don't work, as was the case with this track wiring. I have finally tracked it down to a wire being inserted into a terminal block, with a few other sharing the same space. Said particular wire was held in place, but not actually making electrical contact, so maybe it was pushed too far in and the screw was contacting the insulation? Either way, it was a pain to find that as everything looked fine!

 

The upshot being, I can now run the entire length of the layout. I suppose this means I should add a controller and point control panel?
 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

One month on, and I've finally made the controller decision - I'll be using the bog-standard Gaugemaster Combi that I should have picked ages ago and saved myself faffing around with other options! I don't quite trust the Hornby controller's reliability and while it has great slow-speed control it makes the locos squeak rather alarmingly.

 

Anyway, on the modelling front, I've had a crack at painting track for the first time, which seems to have worked ok. Mostly a darkish brown, but with a bit of lighter grey here and there. I've tried to blend in where the treeline will go on the backscene as well, but that's proved a bit tricky in the corner as it channels the airflow a bit too much!

 

Time for a question too: what sort of ballast should I be looking for? The colliery is based just off the EKLR, so possibly shingle ballasted? 

 

IMG_20210214_164453.jpg.def088ebee275c2d1635838a928f35a6.jpg

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A few bits and pieces arrived today, including various ballasts, so I'll have to mix up a brew to represent ash or mine spoil from the various blacks and greys that have arrived.

 

The other main scenic items to arrive were trees to try and make a scenic break with. I've taken the decision to buy in more stuff for this layout, the original plan was to make my own trees and other various scenic items, but eventually I've caved in and admitted that the whole thing would never get finished and would probably be lower quality if I tried to do everything myself.

 

I was trying to get away from the standard tunnel or bridge at one end of the layout, and it's not come out quite as well as I'd hoped (then again, my modelling never usually does). It works from a low angle where I'll be sitting to control the layout, but doesn't look particularly convincing when stood up. I'll try a bit more work on the backscene to try and blend it in better, and I've got a few other smaller trees to patch in around the front as well, so hopefully it will improve.

 

IMG_20210218_181227.jpg.dab82fec2e7c9cb2abda9fe48689054e.jpg

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Have you thought about keeping your idea and also employing few cms of backscene (matching the rear and as high as) that protrudes out from in front of  the exit line.. 

 

 

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Hi TS,

 

Fair play to you for attempting to change the scenic break from the use of a bridge or tunnel with the trees. Have play abut and see if different arrangements make for a better effect. You're an engineer, you could mathematically model the positions and come up with a formula for scenic breaks (SB) based upon nodal points of trunk positioning (N), branch disposition (B), foliage densities (F), height of nodal points (H). I think that, SB= N + F X (B/F) or something like that would appear technical, sort of.

 

As for bought trees at least now you now actually have a valid claim to have lowered yourself to a bodge !!!

 

Gibbo.

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The positions will change, nothing's glued down yet. However, one of the flaws of being a human is the inability to place things at random!

 

More backscene experiments will have to be done, and I might try and tone the tree colour down a bit to match it better (well, I can't just buy something and put it on the layout without modifying it, can I?)

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1 minute ago, TurboSnail said:

The positions will change, nothing's glued down yet. However, one of the flaws of being a human is the inability to place things at random!

 

More backscene experiments will have to be done, and I might try and tone the tree colour down a bit to match it better (well, I can't just buy something and put it on the layout without modifying it, can I?)

Hi TS,

 

There are formula for that as well, look into the design of the swimming pool roof at the Beijing Olympics.

 

Gibbo.

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48 minutes ago, Gibbo675 said:

come up with a formula for scenic breaks (SB) based upon nodal points of trunk positioning (N), branch disposition (B), foliage densities (F), height of nodal points (H). I think that, SB= N + F X (B/F) or something like that would appear technical, sort of.

Gibbo.

Bejabbers and Begorra. That blows my mind !

 

With regards to the ballast, have you looked at the Greenscene range. They do black ash ballast and similar which you can use per se or blend.

 

All the best

 

Ray

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  • 1 month later...

I consider this the 'acid test' of the layout's wiring and tracklaying - does a tiny 0-4-0 get all the way from one end to the other at low speed without stalling? No, it seems - there's one more bit I need to iron out (it also stops much bigger locos) on the points, then I might finally get some motivation back to work on the scenery! Seemed like a waste of time to start anything else until I know the track is fixed, but that might just be me.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Scenic work has started! A basic ground covering is down over about half of the layout, and some trees have sprouted up. All needs a lot more work and experimentation to blend it all together, but it's a start.

 

IMG_20210420_213831.jpg.2fbdee38c01c59e2303083303a9c92ac.jpg

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