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Priory Road - North East Essex in BR days


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8 hours ago, Nick Mitchell said:

 

I missed out on the 309s. I went up to Essex university in October '94, not long after they'd gone.

Ironically, I'd occasionally glimpse one of the survivors round South Manchester when I was travelling home by train for holidays.

 

 

The layout really captures the atmosphere of St Botolph's as I remember it from the late 90s / early 00s, and evokes happy memories.

 

For me, the class 312s hold the fondest memories. When I was commuting into London from Wivenhoe, on the way home I'd try and time it so that I could catch the 12 car set at Liverpool Street that was diagrammed through to Clacton at that time. More often than not, I would sit in the dark on the fold-down seat inside the luggage cage in the brake coach. Nice and quiet so I could work on my PhD thesis until the battery of my laptop ran out...


Pleased it captures the feel of St Boltophs to others besides myself. It’s nice to think I’ve got it right, so thanks. 
 

Perhaps it’s just me, but having ridden on the 309’s from their inception I believe they were at their best and most comfortable pre-refurbish, especially in a compartment, the later seating, like later units, being harsher along with the ride.

 

Sadly of course the 312’s have also now gone. All that mostly trundles past the house these days - although Tornado did steam past a few times last year - are 321’s. When the new 720’s will appear I have no idea. Must just keep looking out the window I suppose......

 

Izzy

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11 hours ago, railtec-models said:

Nice job. If you're doing more then it may save you time (and sanity) to know that I'll be making a parallel 2mm offering that gives you any EMU set number, matching side vehicle numbers, depot code and data panel already made up:

 

Here's what the 4mm looks like and the 2mm will be the same:

https://www.railtec-models.com/showitem.php?id=2251

 

The set and vehicle numbers can be any colour, the vehicle numbers with/without prefix of choice, and where the set numbers are "quirky", c.f. 309s and 501s then I make them to suit too.

 

The white lining is already available.

 

Just thought it may be of interest as if I have resource to make modellers' lives easier then I will.

 

 

Thanks for the info Steve. I'm sorry I didn't think to check what you had before doing them, might have saved me a bit..  Whether I have the capacity in me for another EMU is moot. I would like a 302 and/or 308, but having to produce at least 4 coaches for these is where it can become tiring to do let alone sourcing the parts in the first place. A loco by contrast is a smaller chunk to tackle, and I have plans for a few more of these sometime... perhaps...

 

At present finishing Priory Road and doing some other different projects is my main focus. Then we'll see.

 

Izzy

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Amazing thread Izzy! Two things I found inspiring in particular - the folding integral sector plate, and the motor bogie. I think I have some of those motors, bought for another purpose and unused.

 

Tempted to plan a similar layout based on nearby Kirriemuir, a fictional version that was still open in the 70s and served by blue diesels. Should fit well with living in a rented one-room flat.

 

Those 309s are incredible! I have a minor nitpick - should the intermediate ends retain side-buffers? I think they were omitted.

edit: found a photo in amongst all the 3/4 views of the driving ends: 

Jaffa Cake 309 London Liverpool St Stn Autumn 1986-9

 

 

Are the tantalum stay-alive units off-the-shelf or DIY?

 

On 18/07/2020 at 23:09, railtec-models said:

Nice job. If you're doing more then it may save you time (and sanity) to know that I'll be making a parallel 2mm offering that gives you any EMU set number, matching side vehicle numbers, depot code and data panel already made up:

Brilliant! Any chance you could do the same for DMUs in N / 2mm?

Edited by BusDriverMan
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Pleased you find my thread interesting and useful and given you ideas for a layout.

 

You're quite right about the internal buffers. How I missed not removing them I don't know. Something seemed not quite right but I couldn't nail it down, so many thanks for spotting it. This is of course an issue with using RTR bits. Often as much needs removing and/or replacing as adding on.....

 

The stay-alives are home made using parts sourced off e-bay so they are quite cheap to make, a couple of pounds max, but also can be configured to suit the space available. Generally I find, having done a few now ( about a dozen), is that a pack of 3/4 220uf Tantalums, 660/880uf are enough for my needs of keeping a loco running smoothly when all else has been honed to suit. I aim to have good running on DC with DCC just being a particular control system added afterwards but stay-alive capabilities are certainly an added bonus.

 

Izzy

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  • 5 weeks later...

 

Turning things around….

 

I often think that some layouts are never really finished and tend instead to evolve with use. In common with many others such as the late Peter Denny, whose work has guided and inspired me since I first started modelling, I have often found myself altering and re-building layouts based on the experience of using them. Either adding bits or making alterations, mostly minor but sometimes major. A layout built in another scale some years back when I got stuck moving forward with 2mm has been re-built four times now and bears little if any resemblance to how it was originally.

 

Despite the initial decision that led to the building of Priory Road, not expecting it to be anything other than a stop-gap layout until I could produce something better, it’s turned out to be so much more than I envisaged that I now have no intention of scrapping it. Indeed it’s become clear that in many respects it’s ideal for me, satisfies a great deal of what I wanted to achieve, and will be in use ad infinitum, although it might find another longer term project of similar overall size being used alongside it at some point when, or rather if, that eventually gets built.

 

But whether Priory Road stays exactly the same as now is another matter, for as it has been used one aspect that has already been found wanting is the sector plate. Not that it doesn't work as intended, but rather that I have found it restrictive to use as it stands. How you may ask?

 

Well, it’s fine with the type of train that stays as a single unit, a dmu/emu say, that just shuttles in and out. And no problem with one which makes an appearance and is changed once back in the fiddle to be replaced with another. Where the stock gets removed and replaced. But there are other situations where it gets awkward. Or should I say, not as simple and flexible as it could be.

 

The first instance is two dmu’s. As it only has five roads putting two on one is space saving since they are only half a length each so can fit easily. But here’s the thing. Only one can be used unless both are used at the same time, one after the other, because of course one traps the other if not. Another instance is loco hauled stock of any type, passenger, parcels, goods. Once back in the fiddle the loco needs taking off and putting back on the other end even if the same train will be going out again without any other changes. And I don’t know about anyone else but I find it a chore trying to rail stock in the first place.

 

Slowly I began to consider that I should have done what I had thought about when I first built it, make it rotate. So a turntable sector plate if it could be described as such. I had in the end shied away from this because I thought making it fold up was enough of a challenge which I wasn’t sure I could make work satisfactorily, and getting it to rotate as well was just a step too far to contemplate at the time.

 

Now that it’s been used a fair bit, has proved workable and reliable, going that bit further seems not quite so unobtainable. Indeed, adapting what already exists as a know entity seemed less daunting as time went by. Especially as reverting back if it all went pear-shaped appeared quite feasible and helped remove the fear of wrecking it altogether. Actually, because it has all been made from mount board, adding bits can be far easier than with other construction materials.

 

So the end stop was cut off, a scalpel through the glue joints, a slow and carefully done job. Followed by two double layer curved sections being added to provide the undercut end that slides around and topped with cork to match the rest. The tracks this end were then lifted for about 5” and new sections laid which mated up with the two exit tracks, needing to be curved to do so, the previous ones all being straight this end. More K&S tube allows alignment and electrical connection the same as the original end.

 

579929033_RMweb36.jpg.b970bd329df3fb43cf580432ec86108e.jpg

 

1395481702_RMweb37.jpg.2cae355e309199c233982e2ef6cac3c4.jpg

 

749993041_RMweb38.jpg.16ead00f4da4467d68901dcc57c776ff.jpg

 

In order to provide stop blocks at both ends the system I have seen used by many other modellers with turntable fiddle yards has been added, again produced out of mount board. Two hinged ‘U’ sections that can be folded over as required to block just one or both ends, the latter as a safety measure when rotating the unit so stock doesn’t run off one end or the other if loose.

 

1534330137_RMweb39.jpg.b86ef1b1d1e0d4cf16da5ccf90d047c8.jpg

 

This rotating feature does need a bit more room to operate, that the layout has to be further away from any rear obstruction, wall etc, but I don’t have to use it if I don’t want or need to as it otherwise works exactly as before. So the best of both worlds.

 

1219630266_RMweb40.jpg.102eda21ae67474f83c08493c701d6c4.jpg

 

The only aspects I have to watch are that it can only be folded up when one way around due to the way it is built and pivots, and that when turned the stock and locos will be the opposite way around to before. Neither is a problem for me as I don’t have any stock that needs to be used in a particular direction, such as if single ended couplings are used, and I also use DCC so direction is fixed. Forward is forward whichever way a loco is facing.

 

Izzy

 

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A thought whilst reading the above post, specifically the mention of experiencing difficulty railing stock: Adding some board to infill the track like tramway (but without inner rails) both in the 4’ and between tracks may be helpful for railing stock. If there are only gaps for where the wheels should be then the wheels should go in the gaps i.e. onto the rails. 

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1 hour ago, richbrummitt said:

 Adding some board to infill the track like tramway (but without inner rails) both in the 4’ and between tracks may be helpful for railing stock. If there are only gaps for where the wheels should be then the wheels should go in the gaps i.e. onto the rails. 

That's exactly what I have done with my cassettes, using strips of card to infill. All you have to do is give the cassette a gentle shake and the flanges of the wheels (mostly) fall into the slots.

 

Jim

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Interesting thoughts about the railing. I actually added fill-ins a while back along with strips on the outside. This was in black plasticard so might not show up too well in this current shot. It has helped a lot but some stock still proves problematic at times. Part of the problem is it must be below rail head height for current collection and cleaning.

 

1116403135_RMweb41.jpg.af721ed145cf89ba1dd55e180d9240e4.jpg

 

I'm no doubt a bit cack-handed as well!

 

Izzy

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On my cassettes the running surface is the aluminium angle, so there is no need to infill on the outside.  In between the card is up to just under rail height, so the only place for the wheel  flanges to go is into the flangeway.

 

Jim

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I did think about using flat brass section as CF but rather lost interest when the cost involved became clear for the size and depth needed. I wonder if flat aluminium strip would work? Something else to think about.

 

Izzy

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  • 1 month later...

As Priory Road has been put away in it's slumber cupboard for the winter as is my usual practice due to the strains of seeing things in the darker months with my poor old aged eyes I thought I should update on it's current state and other goings on.

 

Not being happy with the rear retaining wall even after the last revision when it was altered to be of a rising height I have rebuilt it again. This was a bit more radical in that I removed it completely, trimmed it's overall height by another 5mm so the end behind the station buildings matched their height to the eves, and then replaced it but 5mm away from the backscene. I stuck some foamcore and mountboard spacing bits here so I can, if I wish, perhaps stuff a bit of foilage down there should this seem a good idea. Poking out over the top. I'm rubbish at scenery so it will be another test and see what results affair. I'm unsure whether it will work. We'll see. This work doesn't sound much but has made a very considerable difference which I'm afraid the rather poor pop shots don't really show too well. But I'm not going to disturb the layout just to take some more so they'll have to do, so apologies. Perhaps next spring it will look better....!

 

926984021_RMweb38.jpg.c48424bd3bbe3dc9c4e13086f36e0ea0.jpg

1965575361_RMweb39.jpg.8ebf1fc93a3ba158894a714dfc43e49e.jpg

1875942901_RMweb40.jpg.3f2dc60af8e38f499908a67fff75b599.jpg

 

A while back I was fortunate to acquire a loco I had long thought about getting, a Farish Ivatt 2MT. Two of these were allocated to Colchester for nearly all of their lives and it allows me to push the timescale envelope of Priory Road a bit wider, to the last days of steam, when steam, diesel, and electric traction all rubbed shoulders around North East Essex, between 1958-1961. Having converted this loco to 2FS via Nigel Hunt's very nice conversion etches allied to the 2mm SA bits for the newer Farish locos, bearings, muffs, etc, I though it might be a rather nice idea to also have a N7/3. one of the very last steam classes allocated to Walton-on-Naze. When they were withdrawn the Class 15's took over for a short while - on the passenger trains - until the electrics finally started, so it seemed logical.

 

Anyway here's how far I have got. The chassis runs and just needs some details, brake gear and so on, while the body is part done. The decoder and stay-alive are packed into the coal bunker but attached to the chassis so it can run without the body for test purposes. Again work will resume in the spring unless the winter months prove to have some days of decent light and I am not engaged on other projects. Turning some boiler fittings is something I haven't done in a while so I am looking forward to when I do get on with it.

 

369706296_RMwebN713.jpg.817a63a66d523ee5d6ee3fc5cb70e0be.jpg

698851990_RMwebN715.jpg.6856bc3462cd0510993e1b078c5a03d8.jpg

1136985182_RMwebN716.jpg.a712eeb077d72ac337927caf42b4aaf3.jpg

 

I have to say the new mk5 wheels are very nice. I had no problems soldering in the crankpins. I did use the flanged ones and countersunk the hole at the rear to flood solder in to retain them though.

 

Izzy

 

 

 

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Thanks Justin, it is coming on quite well I think. I should mention the body parts are just sitting on the footplate for the shots I took. It was to check the chassis with the stay-live/decoder pack could slide up inside okay. 
 

This might surprise but I have never used a fretsaw in my life for anything, metal or wood. It’s just 5 & 10 thou brass sheet mainly cut with a scalpel or started with drilled holes and then finished to size with files. My methods are the result of being mostly self taught and having to do things in early days with just the most basic of tools in the simplest way, which I have just stuck with as they work for me.
 

The trailing axle is a pony truck, as was the prototype. The N7/1’s (later to be N7/4), had radial trucks combined with sideplay in the leading drivers to cope with curves, but the later build N7/2’s & N7/3’s had pony trucks alone instead. 
 

Trying to keep it simple I did build the chassis originally with just a fixed axle in the frames, narrowed as per the real ones to give as much sideplay as possible, but the lack of the wheels taking up an angle caused it to derail on radii much below about 30”. So a re-build with the pony truck became a necessity. You live and learn. I’ll try and find a few more shots to show things.

 

Izzy

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1 hour ago, Izzy said:

 

Trying to keep it simple I did build the chassis originally with just a fixed axle in the frames, narrowed as per the real ones to give as much sideplay as possible, but the lack of the wheels taking up an angle caused it to derail on radii much below about 30”. So a re-build with the pony truck became a necessity. You live and learn. I’ll try and find a few more shots to show things.

 

Izzy

 

Many thanks - that's good to know. I've got a scratchbuilt N7 body that I found being sold without provenance on eBay several years back. It scales out nicely and is more or less complete, and seems to be made from tinplate or something like that. Trying to work out what to do about the trailing axle is one of the things that has kept it at the back of the drawer so far.

 

J

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13 hours ago, justin1985 said:

 

Many thanks - that's good to know. I've got a scratchbuilt N7 body that I found being sold without provenance on eBay several years back. It scales out nicely and is more or less complete, and seems to be made from tinplate or something like that. Trying to work out what to do about the trailing axle is one of the things that has kept it at the back of the drawer so far.

 

J

 

Yes, when I saw that I thought it was a lucky find.

 

Okay, I've found a couple of shots which might help - or not as the case may be....! The chassis is my normal arrangement of bearings slotted to allow the wheels to drop out, and give a bit of downward movement to aid track holding and current collection.

 

891536414_RMwebN708.jpg.3012493e97873b61102683b47497c827.jpg

 

1792877590_RMwebN711.jpg.33547f3f51b0a10095dc4c159e49c9e9.jpg

 

The narrowing of the frames isn't actually that much, but looks more. The pony truck was made of a 'T' section with two L shapes cryno'd on for the axles halves - simple insulation. Simple holes too, no bearings. I doubt the loco will get enough use to wear them much. It was all nip and tuck using the smaller 2.3mm muff, getting the clearance so it rotated freely but didn't push the top height of the truck too far. Bearings would have needed more room.

 

I did have to add a simple spring to keep it from riding up though. A bit of bent brass shim trapped between the truck and the chassis spacer to which it is attached/pivots. The bolt is also the rear chassis bolt.

 

Here's another shot when I was tack soldering the body for clearance checks which shows the relationship.

 

954477559_RMwebN714.jpg.a54f8b7454ca99be52d5d84c0a7909ad.jpg

 

The chassis and motor drive arrangement was chosen so that it both allowed drive off the middle axle, which I always prefer where possible (evens out coupling rod forces), and meant the motor part protruding into the cab could be kept as low down as possible, well below cab window height and hopefully unseen once a backplate is added on the upper bit and a crew positioned either side.

 

Izzy

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

Steam days….

 

Priory Road has turned out to be much better than I expected not only in terms of how it looks and works but also in how flexible it is in what I can run on it. Originally the aim was to run stock for the BR green diesel era which has slowly expanded to cover the later BR Blue period, with of course the ability to run them together given the quite long transition period between the two. This is useful given the amount of stock I have ended up with as a result of the initial desire over quite some years to have a circular layout, and the subsequent time and effort spent collecting sufficient stock to use for this now shelved project. At some stage I will have to dispose of some of it as it is now far more than I need or want.

 

However, despite this situation I recently obtained a model of a locomotive that I had considered getting for a long time, a Farish Ivatt 2-6-0 2MT. This was not only as a fond remembrance of some of the first N gauge locos I bought when I started in 2mm back in the early 1970’s, a pair of Minitrix Ivatt 2-6-0’s, but also and mostly because a couple of these locos were allocated to Colchester from new. This was from the batch produced at Darlington in 1951, three, 46465/66/67 going to Cambridge, and two, 46468/69 to Colchester.

 

These latter two spent almost their entire lives in the area (as did the other three), working on the branches to Clacton/Walton and Harwich along with the Stour and Colne Valley lines as far as Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds. They moved to Parkeston in the late 50’s when DMU’s and EMU’s became the norm around Colchester but could still be seen anywhere around the area of North East Essex at times. However there was a period after the Clacton/Walton/Colchester area OHLE was erected but before the EMU’s entered service when steam locos still provided the motive power and could be seen hauling trains alongside DMU’s and diesels. Mostly these were B1’s, B17’s and K1’s besides the N7’s at Walton, all locos moved out of London after electrification to secondary routes and duties. But the 2MT’s were also used. So when a loco became available, one that had started to be converted to 2FS and with all the parts needed to complete, it seemed a nice idea to get it and run a ‘before the EMU’s’ sequence on PR.

 

The Farish 2MT is a nice model. As with most of the recent ones it’s a world away from those of past days such as the Minitrix 2MT’s good though they were at the time. Converting it to 2FS using Nigel Hunt's conversion etch along with the 2mm association parts seemed to be a nice and different challenge to those I normally do these days, especially as I hadn’t played around with a walchaerts motion loco for some considerable years, and certainly not in 2mm.

 

Nigel supplies full instructions with the etch and these helped no end in making the replacement valve gear and fitting it. I’m not sure I could have done it without them to guide me. However, I changed how some parts were joined/converted and the order in which things were done in places where I found it a bit of a struggle. The result is without doubt worth the effort though and I thank Nigel for producing the conversion. Looking at the soon to arrive Farish 8F I wonder if the same kind of conversion would be equally beneficial, if it could be produced, for those that would fancy one.

 

Anyway, I thought that some details of the 2MT conversion might be of help to others and especially with regard to the alternative aspects I used. However, as I have a thread detailing conversion of the Farish Jinty & 4F to 2FS and DCC I thought it might be handy to add it there, which I hope to do as soon as I am able. Here’s the link:

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/82934-farish-jinty-4f-2fs-dcc-with-stay-alive-also-ivatt-2mt/page/3/&tab=comments#comment-4195339

 

So I’ll just add a couple of shots of it at the present time here.

 

1206636994_RMwebIvatt2mt01.jpg.f081ddb1ea41e0e4486a040674fc4aa0.jpg

 

1380494098_RMwebIvatt2mt02.jpg.c859cbe6b35d44b90d36e40663b4111f.jpg

 

It’s not finished yet as is probably quite obvious, the loco arrived in LMS livery which has been removed, and it awaits BR mixed traffic livery and numbering when I can find suitable transfers. Fox seem to produce the only lining available so it will probably wait until the N7/3 I am making also needs doing, although I have mooted making my own ‘one piece’ ones that could just be applied in one go. I might try that first since they wouldn’t have to be absolutely perfect. Most loco shots I can find of both these locos around North East Essex show them to be reasonably clean but the lining isn’t highly visible, mostly worn and covered in a dusting of everyday grime at the end. It’s a good get-out clause anyway!

 

Izzy

 

 

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