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Greenbooth: EM gauge Industrial/BR in East Lancashire


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As North Ballchulish is now finished (barring a decision to  replace the resident low flying Phantom with a Buccaneer), thoughts turned to what next, or more pertinently where.

Whatever it was it was going to be a lot smaller, 1 car and two operators small to be precise, and for the last year or so have been toying with the idea of a Spotland Bridge Mk2, ie a branch with an industrial line, having a growing collection of industrial locos both steam and diesel.  last year I picked up a superb book off Bill Hudson Transport Books "Industrial Locomotives and Railways in The North West" by Gordon Edgar.

 

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The front cover picture is of Yates Duxbury Paper Mills at Heap Bridge, (or Ape Bridge if you are a local) about 3 miles away from home and contained some quite inspirational pictures of said complex that Id not seen before.The line was reached via a branch off the Bury Knowsley St – Castleton line (Now part of the ELR, and the trackbed is still visible as you come across the motorway bridge) Now I didn’t want a straight copy, Ive had my fill of prototype modelling with New Hey, but I did like some of the track layout.

 

Around the same time our local free advertising magazine  had an article in it about a proposal to build a line off the Bacup branch up to Norden where I live, so it wasn’t hard to put 2 and 2 together and come up with the idea of Greenbooth, the next village up the line which had among other things a textile works as well as a quarrying industry at Ding. The village itself doesn’t exist any longer, it was all demolished in the 60s to make way for Greenbooth Reservoir, the site is now under a hundred feet of water!

 

The basic idea therefore is a small branch line termini with a line leading off into the industrial site. Fiddleyard at one end only although there will be a single line run through at the other end ostensibly to another part of the works and Ding Quarries. Station building will be that at Stacksteads to continue the East Lancs theme and the various industrial building will be taken from those at Yates Duxbury as well as some based on the very few photographs of Greenbooth itself. A track plan has been made using Templot, and bespoke boards ordered off Tim Horn which have had the track plan laser cut into them. Watch this space.

 

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Greenbooth is a layout of two halves, at the front an industrial sorting yard, which is a direct crib of Yates Duxbury’s, with a line off to Ding Quarry in the North and another to the South serving Greenbooth bleaching and dyeing, a malodorous industry giving ample scope for the import of various toxic materials there. At the back is a small station, I must have been thinking of this whilst on ELR duty because I’ve subconsciously almost replicated Rawtenstall’s track plan as it is now.

 

I was going to start joinery work myself as usual, but having chatted to a few people, decided to get some boards from Tim Horn as he could laser burn the track plan into the baseboard, which would make building some of the complicated pointwork a sight easier. The boards arrived a couple of weeks ago but as I've been a tad busy lately with CAMRA and ELR work (I work harder now Im retired than I ever did when I was paid for it), as well as building a new aircraft for North Ballachulish, today is the first chance Ive had of starting work on them.

 

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I must say I’m pleased the way they have gone together, its taken me 3 very easy hours (even allowing for waiting for glue to dry) to get the first (obtusely board 2) board together.

 

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There’s still the strengthening cross pieces to put on when Ive worked out the point drive clearances, but tomorrow should see work commence on the next board.

 

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https://newheymodelrailway.wordpress.com/

 

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Work continues - second board completed last week and now building the sub frame - One hard lesson of setting up at shows I've learned over the years is to label and mark everything on the legs and frame, so no one has to guess where things go!

 

newheymodelrailway.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/keeping-things-in-order/

 

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Sub frame finished and baseboards finally connected together properly.

 

I'm going to do a lightly different approach to this one, normally I'd be getting some track down right now, but have decided to do the lighting pelmet next so that the whole lot can be painted - White underneath to give some light whilst upside down at shows lol, and a smart gloss grey for the rest, The backscene boards will get a coat of a sky blue.  By that time I hope Ive got some 1.5 mm thick point timbers, needed as I'm using the new EMGS PECO track, the thinner sleepers wont match up the track height. Hand built pointwork as usual though.

 

All that whilst starting the selection procedure for pubs for next years Good Beer Guide as well, which does require some quality assurance ;-)

 

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Assembled sub frame, pleasingly rigid

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Greenbooth's lighting pelmets went up for the first time on Friday. As with North Ballachulish, it will be LED strip, warm white probably. I also unwrapped the new Peco EM track. It's quite impressive.  Ive got to honestly say this is the first time Ive used Peco track in over 40 years!

 

Ive previously used SMP and C&L flexitrack, but the one thing I don't like about both is that they use thin sleepers. This makes ballasting harder and it works loose easy. The deep (1.5 mm) sleeper of the Peco will help get a more solid bond. All my pointwork is going to be hand-built, as usual, I've already started filing and assembling common crossings, but despite having a Brazilian rain forests worth of wooden point sleepers it's all thin .8mm stuff, so I've had to buy another rain forest worth of 1.5 thick point timbering. Needed to build a test inch of track though to check the railhead heights matched before shelling out. They do so it's paint the baseboards this week then start laying track.

 

I'm out at the Warley NEC show in just over a week with North Ballachulish so that will be an opportunity to stock up on various supplies for the build.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So far the Greenbooth build had all been a bit arse about face in my usual order of construction, for example painting the finish on the baseboard outers and the basic backscene have been things always done at the end of the build. Continuing that theme I finished the lighting units this week, another job usually done at the end of the build. I've used two strips of warm white LEDs.

 

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 I also started to prep track laying and building. First job was fitting a routing bit to the Dremel and attacking the baseboards, carefully routing out a recess in between where the tracks are going to place the uncoupling magnets.

 

Its a heart stopping job at times making sure you don’t go through the baseboard and calls for a steady hand and patience with the Dremel – all done by hand and rack o’th eye. The magnets are fixed in place with two part epoxy. Ive decided to use permanent magnets in order to reduce the amount of wiring underneath and also make a simpler control panel – Ive also found the electromagnets (PK) I used on North Ballachulish a tad underwhelming in power.

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The next task has been to drill pilot holes and fix in brass tacks. I use these to anchor the rail to by soldering when point building, it avoids creep out of gauge whilst the Exactoscale chairs are curing on the ply sleepers and also gives the build a lot more strength. On points I usually put a pin in between every 5th or 6th sleeper.

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I also put pins in where every length of plain track goes, the bonus of this method is the pin protrudes below the baseboard and instead of having to put dropper wires in, I have a hard point to solder the track feed wires to, and which will give a good reliable track feed.

Of course as always nothing ever goes quite to plan, after getting a good two thirds of this baseboard done, I managed to snap my last 1mm drill. Job stopped, I’ll get some replacements at Warley this weekend.

 

https://newheymodelrailway.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/getting-down-to-brass-tacks/

Edited by Persephone
typo
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  • 4 weeks later...

Following a three week hiatus, taking North Ballachulish to Warley, visiting a new grandson in Oslo, a day at Manchester show and administering a voting exercise for next years good beer guide, Ive finally this week been able to actually do some modelling. Track has actually started to be laid this week.

 

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As with all things theres always a snag and this one was realising that the new EM Gauge Society track disappointingly has incorrect sleeper spacing, so it was a case of upending it, cutting the webs out and re-spacing the sleepers prior to glueing them down. This was followed by the tedium of around 150 cutting point timbers. Never mind, its threading chairs on rail next! More on the blog at : https://newheymodelrailway.wordpress.com/

 

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Very nice mate. My only question at this stage is why you felt the need to use pins between the sleepers when you could have just used track rivets in the sleepers a'la Rice. 

Regards Lez.Z.

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I'm using Exactoscale chairs on the track. As it stands, especially in curves, the tension within the rail, despite pre bending, can pull the track out of gauge as the butanone cures the chair onto the ply sleeper, no matter how much you weight it down. The pins are there to help hold the track in gauge and are easier to apply than faffing around trying to drill holes and punch rivets in point timbers! 

 

There's an added advantage as well, in that you can solder the track feeds onto the bottom of the brass pin, thereby eliminating the need for unsightly dropper wires, with it making a neater solder joint on the pin, and it easily hidden in the ballast. 

Edited by Persephone
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  • 1 month later...

Ah well, Christmas over it was finally time to crack on,  despite various calls on my time surveying pubs for the next Good Beer Guide, its a dirty job etc etc etc.

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The first quarter section of trackwork, the station throat, is now complete and its time to move on to the next quarter of the plan, the engine house side of the sorting sidings.

 

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The next bit also contains a three way, something Ive not built for a long while. It took a bit of looking at the wiring  of it before deciding an order of construction. As the point contains all sort of daft angles of crossing, i'm going to fabricate the two crossings wired in common with point motor one as a single unit, and do it following the laser cut plan on the boards. Just must remember to thread chairs on before it all gets soldered up.

 

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Edited by Persephone
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I just used some dulux primer/ undercoat we had left from a big decorating job. I also primed the underside as well but didn't put on a top coat. It all took two coats as the ply just drinks it in. The top coats are gloss for the facia and back, and vynil matt for the backscene

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And here's today's piece of work. The wonderful set of crossings on the three way at the engine house end of the sorting sidings. All in all about two and a half hours work including the two aborted pieces of rail which I got wrong. There's seven pieces of rail in this assembly, all bent or filed to a rare assortment of angles. I did try pinning the assembly down to the plan, but the ply used by Tim Horn is stern stuff and just laughed off my attempts to pin it securely and fast. It held it to a point but....... I ended up holding it down as well which is great fun when you are wielding a soldering iron! Strangely enough Ive had more trouble building the 1:6 crossing which fits below it.

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Time to give up for the day and come back to it at weekend after two days behind the bar at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival appropriately enough in the old Central Station.

 

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Hi Andy. You've made a good start on the 3 way mate however, as it stands you are going to have an issue with running through the left hand road. If we assume the crossing on the left is crossing A and the one on the right is crossing B. The upper wing rail of crossing B is too close to the upper closure rail of crossing A. It needs to have at least the same clearance as the crossing flangeway or it will derail any wheelset with the correct back to back measurement. Other than that it's fab.

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Best to sort it out before you get much farther.

Regards Lez.Z.

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9 hours ago, lezz01 said:

Hi Andy. You've made a good start on the 3 way mate however, as it stands you are going to have an issue with running through the left hand road. If we assume the crossing on the left is crossing A and the one on the right is crossing B. The upper wing rail of crossing B is too close to the upper closure rail of crossing A. It needs to have at least the same clearance as the crossing flangeway or it will derail any wheelset with the correct back to back measurement. Other than that it's fab.

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Best to sort it out before you get much farther.

Regards Lez.Z.

 

Cheers Lez

 

Sorted!

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  • 2 weeks later...

First board's track laying and point building finished yesterday.

 

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Spot the Scottish interloper - it was just resting there after converting it to EM gauge yesterday awaiting a coat of grime which was going to be done today after I'd put coupling bars on the other new recruit for North Ballachulish, an Eastfield 24. However before doing that I decided to tidy up the rail ends on the baseboard join, and then got carried away laying track and putting down the sleepers for the loco release crossover. Theres always tomorrow for weathering, but I need to get it done before Glasgow show in just over a weeks time!

 

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  • 1 month later...

After a brief hiatus concentrating on North Ballachulish's outing to Glasgow last month, its been nose to the grindstone on completing Greenbooth's track building. The last bit of plain track was laid on Sunday, the last two days have been spent doing cosmetic work putting in half chairs and tidying up in general. It all seems to run OK pushing the coach through so once everything has been fettled it's turn the boards over, fit the point motors and start wiring it all up. 

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Stunning work sir! Having also recently built a three way point in EM I can appreciate your trackwork! Keep up the stunning work and looking forward to some more progress.

 

Kind regards,

 

Will

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  • 2 weeks later...

So moving on, where to start with the wiring?  I was starting to put in the first point motor, but decided to do the right thing and read the instructions first. First time I've used DCC Concepts motors, and although the principle is similar to tortoise motors decided that to press on might be foolish.  

 

That brought on a change of strategy as I really need to test them in situ once installed, so decided to start on making the control panel. Two days later after a few hours mapping out wiring runs, woodwork and some time putting a fascia panel together on Publisher, I'm ready to start wiring the beast. 

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Well that's the hard part done. It all buzzes out with no shorts of wires in the wrong place so hopefully once power is introduced....  Next job fix the point motors and install the wiring looms , including wiring up the opposite end of that 37 way.

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The last week has seen board 2 upended and the wiring started. It seems off starting with board two but as this is next to the fiddle board, and where the controls are, this is where the power originates from, and all the hardware under the board is located.

 

First to go in was the bus wires.

 

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These are broken in each segment and soldered to a copperclad strip, from which all the feed wires jump off from, both to the track and to the polarity switches on the point motors.

 

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It looks a bit chaotic at the moment but I know where everything is, and once all the loom is in place it will be all tied up and made neat and tidy. Next to go in on this board are the point operating wires, via the 37 way from the panel. Ive cheated a bit on the business end of this by buying a ready made up terminating block and connector rather than soldering up my own using tag strip, its going to save some space in an already crowded environment. This gets installed next and the point motor operating wires connected. The signal wiring will go in later as I want the Megapoints servo control unit on the bench to set all the signals up as I make them, but thats an easy win as the leads are ready made and will just cable tie to the loom

 

Greenbooth was supposed to be a slow burn project whilst North Ballachulish was on the road but all this Isolation has seen progress made well in advance of what I thought, I'm spending 2 or 3 hours a day on it, having a break every hour or so to do something else and keep fresh. If things were normal I'd be on the ELR working or actually at this moment in time out visiting licensed premises to judge the Greater Manchester pub of the Year, such is life. At least its something to look forward to when his madness comes to an end.

 

 

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