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Priory Road - North East Essex in BR days


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Priory Road.

 

North East Essex in BR days.

 

 

I have always had an interest in modelling the railways of my county of birth and in particular those in the area of it for which I have lived nearly all my life, North East Essex. This is not to reproduce any particular prototype location since I have neither the space or inclination, but rather a general representation as a fond remembrance of the times I have lived through and those I have travelled on. So searchlight colour signals, early diesels and DMU’s (class 15, Cravens 105 etc), plus early BR 25Kv OHLE, and of course the AM9/Class 309 EMU’s - the Clacton Electrics as they have become known, the chosen time period covering both the green and blue BR eras as rolling stock allows.

 

Priory Road is my latest 2mm layout attempt at this and it has been suggested that a thread on it might be of interest, so I hope it might be of use. The aim has been to make a simple home use portable layout that is easy to move around, store (vertically in a cupboard), and use on almost any suitable flat surface if needed. To this end it is made of layered card, artists mount board, for lightness ( it weighs just 2.5Kg), is small in size at 60” x 10” x 6”, and is an all-on-one-board design which has a folding sector plate fiddle yard to allow it to fit in the storage space available for it. It has a foamcore board cover to protect the viewable portion.

 

At the present time with the track having just recently being ballasted and weathered attention is now mainly concerned with making and adding buildings/scenery/smaller details, along with those items of rolling stock still needed to complete the picture, basically a blue era 4-car EMU set, either a AM2/302 or AM8/308, but that is along way off.

 

Here is it’s current state.

 

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As you may see it’s still very much a work-in-progress although in a fully working state for about a year, and is very basic in nature. Although the platforms are now fitted the station buildings are still being finished while other items are just placed in various ways to see what might be the best final positions for them. Here you can see a cement gravity hopper and a concrete provender store type building being tried out for it is intended that Priory Road will be the location for a cement distribution depot to provide some additional goods workings though the time periods covered, the initial inspiration being the feature on that at Barnstaple in the first MRJ compendium.

 

Control is via DCC, the base station output plugging into the layout using a standard 5-din socket which you can see on the right, which is wired using the same protocols as I use for my my very ancient (circa 1980) home brew modular DC system, so should I choose I can plug that in instead to test a DC loco for running qualities through the pointwork. Control of the latter is manual using DPDT slider switches located at the front as I am both the operator and viewer, while uncoupling of the DG’s is, at present anyway, also manual for maximum versatility. SPDT switches work the colour light signals with power coming from the DCC feed through a voltage regulator.

 

 

This is the track plan. The design is perhaps a bit different/unusual and is based on using St Boltophs (now Colchester Town) as the (very) general location, tracks 1 & 2 being two sides of a triangular Jcn. I took inspiration from the stations of Wells-next-the-sea (exGE) Norfolk, Lt Welthenham (exGE) Suffolk, and Bodmin (GWR) Devon, in coming up with the final design. Only the main platform can access both routes which have been reduced by necessity to single tracks, and it is assumed the connections with the double track branch are much further apart. The smaller platform is intended mainly to be for parcels stock use although 2 car DMU’s could use it during peak service times. Line 1 is to Colchester (North), line 2 to Clacton/Walton.

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It was generated in Templot, and the joined together A4 sheets taped onto some 1200 grade lining paper of the total board size so the location of various bits could be plotted and the plan proved to work by sticking rolling stock on it and playing trains a-la Lone Star push along. I find working to full size like this helpful in getting things right when space is minimal, usually showing where aspects just won’t work at all. Every time I make a layout plan like this using Templot I can’t believe how accurate the final joined up plan can be. I always output via saved PDF files so I can print out multiple copies as needed for actual track construction.

 

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You may note that the plan is laid on the foamcore cover of another layout of similar size which is in another scale, an unintended diversion from 2mm about which we will say no more…...except that like Priory Road it also has a card baseboard, has been revised/re-built 3 times (lengthened and then shortened!) and the lessons learnt from it have been helpful with the building of Priory Road.

 

A bit more next time..

 

Izzy

 

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This looks really interesting @Izzy - I also grew up pretty locally (in the 90s) and have ended up working in the area again now. The junctions around Colchester Town make for a fascinating prototype, and I've occasionally imagined what a little "selfie" like @Pixie 's Japanese layout might look like with 309s and new RevolutioN 321s weaving through the decrepit industrial units.

 

Do I remember correctly in thinking there was a 3mm scale rendition of Colchester Town in MRJ relatively recently?

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Yes, Pixie’s layout look lovely doesn’t it? Nice to read about it in the 2mm mag as well as seeing the pics. Now if I can get anywhere near that standard, or any of the other 2mm layouts around, all of whom have inspired me in one way or another, I will be happy....

 

I am not aware of any layouts of St Boltophs/Colchester Town, but then I only very rarely purchase mags these days. I have always thought it to be a station/location/situation worth modelling, with trains arriving/ departing to a variety of destinations over the years thanks to that triangular junction (East Gate)  with the Clacton/Walton branch.

 

Think it must have been quite a busy Jcn what with the extensive goods yards at both St Boltophs and the Hythe plus the dock lines.

 

Now I understand why you have the avatar you do......often wondered!

 

Izzy

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On 10/09/2019 at 18:33, justin1985 said:

This looks really interesting @Izzy - I also grew up pretty locally (in the 90s) and have ended up working in the area again now. The junctions around Colchester Town make for a fascinating prototype, and I've occasionally imagined what a little "selfie" like @Pixie 's Japanese layout might look like with 309s and new RevolutioN 321s weaving through the decrepit industrial units.

 

Do I remember correctly in thinking there was a 3mm scale rendition of Colchester Town in MRJ relatively recently?

 

Not quite - it was S scale (by Jas Millham); Abbey Street, in no. 260.

 

Adam

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The Baseboard.

 

Mount board is perhaps an unusual material to use for a baseboard but has several advantages which suit my particular needs, producing a light board which can be made using just a few tools indoors as there is no mess, a cutting board, scalpel/craft knife, straight edge, and pva being all that is needed.

 

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Priory Road’s board is 4-layers thick as is the folding sector plate, while the surrounding side/backboard is also 4-layer. The latter helps impart a measure of rigidity to it so it doesn’t twist too much over it’s total length, aided by 4-layer cross braces placed at regular intervals underneath, but arranged to miss where the mechanical point rodding/DPDT switches are.

 

Here are some shots of the individual parts/layers being glued together and assembled. Exposed edges are eventually normally covered with masking tape and then given a coat of poster paint mixed to match the charcoal colour board I generally use. This helps protect them and makes it look (a bit) neater.

 

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The glue used isn’t the general wood glue type but instead Anita’s Tacky pva, a craft glue suggested by my wife, who does a lot of card crafting. This ‘grabs’ very quickly initially, but is only available in small bottles, the largest being 240ml. However you only need to lay down thin bead lines, and this combination also helps in the prevention of warping. A 240ml bottle lasts a long while, more than enough for a small layout like PR and a lot more besides.

 

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Sometimes pretty patterns are made……..I think this may be the overlap for the main board top. Where parts are needed that are longer than the length or width of an A1 sheet then producing them using overlapped layers is used. Where multiple layers are involved I try and ensure the overlap joints are staggared one against another for better strength.

 

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The folding sector plate was made before the main board top was laid, both to ensure the idea worked (!), and to enable the main board to be cut to match the radius of the sector plate end and ensure minimal gaps.

 

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The sector plate base was set 4-layers lower and a two-layer overlap/underlap made with the main board/sector plate joint so their top surfaces stay pretty much the same level. Another prevention measure, this against the plate warping/curling up at the end. I did briefly consider making the sector plate a turntable/360 degree rotation one, but eventually decided having it folding was challenge enough with lining up all the track joints physically as well as electrically and having an end stop to prevent stock shooting off the end……...

 

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It’s something I can always change/adapt/remake later if felt desirable as it’s all pretty basic as can be seen. The plate rotates on an 8ba bolt, which are also the pivots of the two halves. Screws and bolts can be driven into mount board quite easily, cutting their own threads with the aid of a suitably sized pilot hole. Of course the more layer depth the better and small mutli-layer pads can be glued where screws and bolts are used to aid in this. Colour side facing mount board also slides nice and easily one layer against another.

 

The baseboard and sector plate are covered in 1/32” cork sheet fixed down using ordinary pva. This is done to give a stable base for the track which can absorb glue, paint etc and won’t warp the mount board since it doesn’t penetrate down to it. 1/32” was used to match with the under-sleeper tie-bar units I make using 1/32” ply.

 

Here, with the board assembled but before the cork was laid the trackplan has been cut to fit where the sector plate runs and is being tried out to make sure it all still fits…...

 

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Izzy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just a bit more baseboard info, a few shots to show the foamcore cover and how the layout is stored when not in use or being worked.

 

It stands on it’s end quite nicely and securely unaided both with and without the cover.

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This is most useful as this I how it is stored in the wall cupboard.

 

The side/backboard serves not only as protection but as a base on which to stand/lay the baseboard on it’s end for storage but also it’s side or back when being worked on. This is very handy especially for doing bits such as wiring. You can also see where the underboard support struts are positioned. 4-layer thick is adequate for the top, but I think that perhaps 6-layer would have been better. It’s all a learning experience.

 

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Izzy

 

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Priory Road’s track design of a single-slip and obtuse crossing led to the decision to use soldered trackwork for the relative ease of construction and particularly the adjustability it allows which I felt I would need. So it comprises Versaline etched chairplates on pcb sleepers underneath the code 40 Bullhead rail. Both plain track and pointwork uses the same construction for consistency of appearance. It doesn’t look as good, in my hands at least, as the chaired Easitrac, and was made before the etched fold-up chairs now available arrived, which might well have made it look rather better, but it’s robust and works well in addition to suiting my way of track making which were the primary considerations for me. It was sobering to realise that I first made soldered track in N gauge in the early 1970’s. Then it was the rail from Graham Farish track and points ripped out and used with pcb sleeper strip. I still have stocks of the strip, which seems more suited to narrow gauge use these days……..

 

I ended up making all the pointwork as one connected assembly after working out on the Templot produced sheets where all the rail joints and isolating breaks needed to be located which meant there were few clean breaks anywhere to make it as separate sections. Here the sleepers have been laid (using thin strips of d/s tape so the finished track can be removed fairly easily) and the chairplates fitted on them to double-check they all fitted where they should, the sheet being trimmed back to just the track area for ease of working. After this stage the plain track sections were then removed and made separately for ease of working.

 

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Once all the track had been made, on my workbench as I find that an easier way to work for me, the paper templates removed by soaking the track in water (dunked in the bath!) so they could be peeled off, and then under-sleeper tie bars units made and fitted, it was fixed down using 12mm wide double-sided tape. I have usually laid track using pva but after temporarily fixing down a length of track with d/s tape onto cork and having extreme trouble getting it up again I thought I would try using it as a permanent solution.

 

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This is with the pointwork down and the plain track about to be added. A few items of rolling stock were used to double-check the alignment as it was laid, not pressing the track down too hard until the position was found to be correct.

 

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Once laid it was wired up, the 0.9mm brass rods and DPDT switches to work the points fitted, and then used like this to ensure none of it lifted after a period of time, which was a concern I had, the long term durability of d/s tape.

 

The DPDT’s were sunk at the baseboard edge below the underside of the top so they lined up with the rodding running underneath. I drill a hole through them for the rod and use short lengths of tube on the rod at either side to set the amount of travel, soldering them in position when correct. The DPDT ones I use have a measure of springing in them so the point blades are firmly held in position without being over-strained or subjected to very harsh movement, which I find helps prevent tie-bar joint breakages.

 

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This is the sector plate and how the tracks are laid and connected up when it is unfolded.

 

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It’s all kept simple. K&S brass rod (1/16”) and matching tube soldered to the outside edges of the sleepers to ensure alignment and electrical connection, all the tracks being ‘dead’ except the one connected to either of the exit roads. The desire to have five fiddle roads and the distance needed between them to achieve this within the width of the sector plate means only one of the exit roads can be used at a time due to the different spacing between them. Spacing the roads to join both exits at the same time would I think have meant just 4 or possibly only three roads would fit. I haven’t to date found a situation when I wished both were available at the same time and might anyway cause complications with having both roads available at the same time stock wise. Does that make sense? Having stock leave and return to the same road – out to the layout and back again – whatever exit is used of the two makes it easy and simple to operate, which suits me fine. When things get too involved and over-complicated I’m afraid I rather lose interest. And just three roads would be pretty useless, five is tolerable but more would always be better for minimising the amount of stock that has to be railed or removed during an operating session.

 

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This next shot shows a later stage when the scenic break had been fitted along with re-railing strips of black plasticard. The large round head screws are stops to prevent the short lengths of brass rod from coming right out of the tubes, the idea being they can be unscrewed if the rods needs taking out for any reason. I had to fit them because the rods did keep coming out when the layout was moved around and I found myself scrabbling around on the floor for them!

 

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In use the tube and wire joining the two halves of the sector plate was found not to be totally reliable at transferring the current, so extra spring fingers in brass shim were added to assist in this. Unfortunately these have had the habit of getting caught and bending out of shape so they will be replaced by wire ones in the hopes of curing the problem. The sleepers look a bit big because they are actually some meant for 4mm I bought in the very distant past which just happened to be of the same thickness as the 2mm ones plus the Versaline chairplates, so could be used at greater spacing with the rail soldered directly to them. Saves the proper 2mm ones for the visual side, a waste-not want-not kind of thing besides being quicker and easier to make up. These tracks were again fixed down with the d/s tape and seem equally secure. A really nice and easy way of laying track, quicker and less messy than using pva.

 

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As with the track the point rodding was made before the newish 2mmSA rodding stool etches arrived so was done with what was available at the time and bodged to hopefully look reasonable. Etched parts to assist have been available from the 2mmSA for a long time, rodding runs, angle cranks/compensators/pulleys etc, and small pads of pcb plus wire thus comprise the stools. From my normal viewing distances of the layout when using it, between 9-18”, it seems to look okay.

 

The premise is that although colour lights were installed in conjunction with the 25Kv OHLE the funds didn’t run to power box point working or c/l ground signals, both of which remain mechanical at this point in time. In actual fact this did happen with the Walton branch (from Thorpe-le-soken Jcn), where semaphore signals etc remained in use until 2008 although Clacton-on-sea had colour lights installed in 1959, and well before the OHLE actually came into use.

 

I have fitted FPL’s of the LNER economical pattern type. Very helpfully there was a thread on FPL’s on Rmweb a while back with a post made containing the drawing of this type, which only use one box lever and set of rodding to operate both the points and the locking bar. These were made in a mix of plasticard, wire, and cranks to be a simple but robust representation (against damage when track cleaning etc) which fit in-between the blades. Here using the under-sleeper tie-bar units proved useful is leaving the space between the blades clear giving room to fit them without fouling anything.

 

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Using this type of FPL halved the number of rodding runs required which was very handy. This is no doubt why they were named economical and were of great benefit to me as I found that all points save the release crossover S/S needed FPL’s. I don’t quite know how I would have found the room for twice the number of rodding runs………

 

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Here’s a turnout before and after fitting them. I think they and the rodding were worth the time and trouble of making and fitting.

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After a year or so, the layout being stored for a time while working on other projects, I felt it was safe to ballast the track since it appeared unlikely to lift up from the cork after this length of time. This was done using Woodland Scenics extra fine grey ballast fixed in place with their scenic glue applied via a syringe and very fine needle.

 

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It was coloured/weathered using Rowney Pastels and stiff-haired brushes and toothbrush, a change from my usual method of applying Rowney poster paint via an airbrush, which can tend to be a bit directional if you can’t get at it from all angles, which I couldn’t.

 

This is the state it has got to at present. There is still quite a bit of groundwork to do to start to finish things off, a long way to go really to blend it all together and get a reasonable result. It does thankfully look a bit better in real life than my less than wonderful shots show.

 

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Positions are now being marked for the OHLE, the parts for which have just been obtained from N Brass along with helpful advice – and great service – from Nick Tilston. I’ll try and cover this as I proceed in case it’s of help to anyone else although to be honest I’m not at all sure how it’s all going to work out. More bodging probably!

 

Izzy

 

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The track on my Connerburn layout was laid on d/s tape back in the early 1970's amid dire warnings from many that it would not hold for long.  Nearly 50 years down the line it's still as secure as ever, so I wouldn't have any worries about it, Izzy!

 

Jim

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Thanks Jim. I do believe that now I have ballasted it won't move whatever, the Woodlands scenic glue seeping down through it and locking it all together. It's just that having experienced sellotape disintegrating after some time along with d/s not sticking too well to ply, (maybe the smoother surface of the cork is the difference), I did wonder.

 

Izzy

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I have heard it said that there are probably as many different point tie-bar designs used in 2mm as there are modellers working in the scale. To add to the general fun here’s another which is used on Priory Road. I have posted details before but felt it best to do so here to help with the overall view of PR’s track design aspects and the previous post about the track construction.

 

This design uses a tie-bar under the sleepers which is fitted to the turnout before it is laid down on the baseboard. The idea is that it fits into the depth of the baseboard top and can be moved using whatever method is preferred. On PR it’s purely mechanical via rodding at present, which is simple/easy/cheap and doesn’t need any power plugged into the layout which can be a very useful advantage.

 

Basically a thick pcb strip is drilled for Albion small bore tubing (0.85mmOD/0.45mmID) in which the 0.45mm brass wires soldered to the blades pivot as it moves sideways. More tube is soldered to the bottom of the wires to prevent the blades lifting higher than the rail. A rectangle of 1/32” ply (so it can be let into the 1/32” cork covering the baseboard) is glued under the sleepers with slots made for the wires. The tie-bar has PCB strips glued either side to keep it aligned with another piece of ply glued to these to make a kind of slotted box in which it moves. A third tube is fitted between the pivots into which a wire is placed to move it. The bottom ply has one large slot to clear all the tubes

 

Hopefully these shots of the assembly will make it all clear.

 

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The main advantage I find with this unit is that it can be fitted to the turnout and proved to work properly before the track is laid on the baseboard.

 

Although there is no way of getting to the units once the turnout is laid there is little to go wrong. The wire actuators can be re-soldered to the blades should the joints break, or withdrawn and replaced with new wire if this should be needed for any reason – I can’t think of one but it is an option. They are bent into an L shape at the soldered blade joint and filed flat to make a good strong bond. Part of the problem being that code 40 is only 1mm deep and the 2FS flange depth is 0.5mm, which only leaves the same amount for the soldered joint

 

Here is a shot of all the units before fitting to the track. Two are for the traps on the sidings. These are just single bladed but while only one wire is needed for the blades the three tubes are still fitted as I made these in batches of the individual parts before deciding what actual types to produce. You will see that the bottom ply was trimmed smaller so the recess in the baseboard is less than the recess in the cork for the top one.

 

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The DPDT switches were set to be basically in line with them using the 0.9mm brass rod to move them. This is cross-drilled at the end 0.45mm and a small piece of wire soldered in to fit in the centre tube of the tie-bar unit to move it. You will notice that the rodding is bent a bit. This is to prevent it twisting and coming out of the tie-bar tube but also to provide in many cases an extra measure of excess movement absorption. The retaining wires are the ever useful Peco track pins bent to a U shape before pushing into the board.

 

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Throw adjustment is by putting small lengths of tube on the wire either side of the switch – which is drilled to take the 0.9mm wire – and soldered in position when the correct amount of throw required is found. So the blades and tie-bar unit aren’t subjected to more force/pressure/strain than is needed. It helps that the DPDT switches have quite a bit of springing/leeway when set which helps with this. Although they are a fairly robust design I would not want to subject the tie-bars to the kind of ‘kicking’ that solenoid point motors dish out. That might be tempting fate with regard to the fracturing of the soldered wire/blade joints.

 

Should I fancy being able to operate Priory Road from either side/viewpoint in future, (something that has been considered a few times and is still being assessed as to the practicality), then some form of servo movement would be used in conjunction with a handheld control panel for both points and signals. However quite some thought would have to be made about this because using the DPDT switches has also allowed simple interlocking of the single-slip tiebars to prevent the wrong polarities being set, which would I think be much more complicated to arrange with servos.

 

With a double-slip (bear with me) only one route of the four possible can be set at any one time depending on how the two tie-bars/blades are set, and the crossing polarities will always be correct. However, with a single-slip there are still two tiebars, but only three possible routes, and it is possible to set the blades so that the crossings are the wrong polarities. This is when both are set for their straight routes, so must not be allowed to happen. To prevent this scenario I have fitted a pivot bar between the two DPDT switches so that although both can be set for the curved route setting one straight moves the other so only one straight route can be set at any time.

 

 

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I know those clever with electronics would be able to arrange something to do the same job when using servos, but it would probably get away from the ‘keep it simple’ approach I tend to favour.

 

Izzy

 

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Just a bit of updated info regarding getting parts from Bachmann USA. Not good news really. The other day I went to get some more drive bogies used in my class 15 build for powering another 309 build - blue/grey this time - since this seemed the easiest cheapest option, only to discover the postage costs are now bordering on the ridiculous. Others may already be aware of this but I was not. In the past I have paid under 5 dollars but now the basic charge is set at 25 dollars, which makes it all rather uneconomic. Other ways of producing drive bogies are now being investigated!

 

Izzy

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Hi Izzy, 

 

Which Bachmann bogies do you need? I bought a couple for motoring a 123 that are now not required, having been swapped for a Farish CEP chassis.

 

Love the layout and that 15 is a masterpiece!

 

Cheers,

Steve

Edited by Pixie
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Hi Steve,

 

Glad you like the 15, many thanks for the very kind comments. I must confess I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

 

Having used both the Farish drive units out of the twin motored parcels 101 DMU that got plundered for them, one in the maroon 309 and another in a Blue Cravens 105, both of which I hope to get around to writing about at some stage, It was just more bogie's of the type I used in the 15 out of the Bachmann H16-44 I wanted.  It's great Bachmann USA sell spares, just a shame the international postage is now so much, 5 times what it was before. I keep trying to come up with a design for a motor bogie unit that could be made up using 2mmSA parts, gears etc, but just can't seem to get there so keep using what's around. Bet your pleased you have a CEP to use. The Farish units run so nicely.

 

I had though about using them ( the bogies) in another 309 perhaps mated to some of the cheap e-bay 7x16 coreless motors I have in another Nigel Lawton belt drive arrangement. It's another long term project I am playing with in-between making up the OHLE, something else I must get around to saying a few words about. Although this plug-in bogie design now seems standard across the Bachmann American 'N' diesel range most of the older/previous ones used a different arrangement like the older Farish. Swiveling bogies and long drive shafts.

 

If you have one that fits the bill it would be good....many thanks for the offer

 

cheers,

Izzy

Edited by Izzy
spelling!!!!
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Some exGER area OHLE

 

The problem with modelling an area using 25Kv traction is that you really need to make some 25Kv OHLE to run it under otherwise it just doesn’t look right. So...having finally managed to make a 4-car AM9/309 EMU the catenary was next on the list…..

 

For anyone intending to make or fit some type of OHLE then these posts by Clive Mortimore are pretty essential reading and the drawings show the basic differences between the various types.

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/forum/146-electrification/

 

 

In recent times Dapol has produced some quite nice moulded plastic cantilever OHLE and when it first arrived I got some, but it is more modern Mk3 design stuff whereas for an exGE area I needed the early type mk1 type, the first design of 25Kv OHLE which has a different look to it, the main visible difference being the encumberance, the distance between the contact and support wire at the posts. I also required other bits to be able to make the parts needed for Platforms and Termination posts.

 

Luckily Nick Tilston at N Brass produces a range of etched brass OHLE bits, cantilevers, light and heavy portals etc, mainly of the earlier types, 1500 DC and 25Kv Mk1, along with fittings. I didn’t need huge amounts for PR, not much at all really, but what was required would need to be more than just a few cantilevers or portals along plain track as it involved the two bridge exits merging to the platform road. Since only 4-car emu’s would be using PR there was no need, or indeed desire, to ‘electrify’ the second platform road, especially as this would involve much more in the way of complicated catenary, loco release etc, and for which space for the posts in the right places didn’t seem to exist anyway. I was also trying to leave as much free room as possible to aid the manual un-coupling and track cleaning that would be needed.

 

So I got the parts I thought I needed, and then the fun began in ways I had not expected but which matched what has often happened in real life. As I started to make up the first cantilevers intended for use with wires under bridges I discovered that there just wasn’t the room under the bridge I had built that leads out to the fiddle yard through the two bridge exits.

 

Oh bother……...and other words…..

 

This led me to measure everything, and I soon discovered that blithely making up all the OHLE to the drawing measurements could lead to insufficient clearances so I then spent quite some time trying to work out just what heights the contact wires and pantographs needed to be set at for what I was trying to achieve.

 

With real OHLE the pantographs naturally rise and fall as the wires do the same, being different heights in places for safety reasons. So it tends to be set higher at platforms and in other areas where people might be at risk such as maintenance depots etc. And then lower to get under bridges and tunnels. This is all well and good but with a model where it’s all cosmetic and the panto’s will be set at a fixed height, and less than the contact wires to just give the illusion they touch, then the wires also need to be a constant height and with a reliable but not excessive clearance distance between the two.

 

This all seems quite easy really, just set the panto’s at a lower height, but here the not-to-scale sizes of N gauge panto’s then come into play.

 

When lowered a panto on a AM9/309 was at 13ft above the rail. The general height of the contact wire is 16’6”. So in 2mm terms 26mm and 33mm. Okay, this gives 7mm for the panto to rise. But the Dapol panto I fitted, the Stone-Faiveley, is sadly not to scale as far as I can determine being far too large in some respects, particularly the arms, and sits at 28mm when down. I intend to make a replacement when time allows but it will have to suffice for now. But this only gives 5mm total upward movment distance and to allow some space between the contact wire and the panto means really only 3-4mm max. This is no real movement as such and makes it look like it’s down.

 

The next problem proved to be the 33mm contact wire height which was only 2mm lower than the underside of the bridges and gave little real room for the support wire even though they can often brought down very close at times like this.

 

So the answer seemed to be to raise the wire heights to be able to raise the panto a bit, which thus meant the bridge needed to be raised as well. Up until this time I have generally set bridge heights at the structure gauge minimum, so 35mm above rail height. Eventually I decided to set the contact height at 37mm, the support at 39mm under the bridge, and the panto at around the 35-36mm mark. These figures meant adding around 5mm to the bridge height so a quick solution was to add a brick plinth of this size around the bottom of it. The result doesn’t look at all good and the bridge has also been knocked about a bit and looks rather the worse for wear, so when the OHLE has been made and fitted and the sizes are proved to be okay a new build will have to be undertaken. But it will do for now. Most of PR is a work in progress in one way or another.

 

This is it’s present state.

 

1138251012_RMwebOHLE03.jpg.ae6f4bea692c27c7eba7b179f191f106.jpg

 

And just to finish for now this is the difference between a Dapol mk3 cantilever and a standard N brass mk1.

 

 

1366112653_RMwebOHLE02.jpg.1cd4d6e8c80528a12929924bd62135d7.jpg

 

1382978003_RMwebOHLE01.jpg.0042e2881865849c4a8a0cbdc64cb968.jpg

 

Izzy

 

 

 

Edited by Izzy
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1 hour ago, jbmccarthy said:

Adding the wire sounds like a real labour of love! 

 

I think you might be right.....

 

The intention (ha) is to use my standard choice 9thou plain steel guitar wire so we shall see...  It won't be until spring though at the earliest as without anywhere inside to spray the finished bits with Halfords primer - (I feel there needs to be a good ambient temperature for it to take well) - it's all been packed away safely for now, and the stringing can't take place until they have been erected.

 

I do intend to post about their construction up to where I have got when I can.

 

Izzy

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