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Booking Hall

Docks away!, or, making a virtue out of a necessity . . .

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So, an underlying lung condition is forcing me into self-isolation during the COVID-19 emergency. Luckily, we have a holiday caravan in the countryside to which I can go, but although walks in the fields are nice, what to do if it rains? Build another layout perhaps . . . .

 

I've long wanted to build a dockside layout and I already have several items salted away for just such a purpose - a couple of Triang Dock Authority shunters, one of those freelance 4-wheel Lima shunters that I want to detail up, a Heljan 1363 saddletank, DJH 02 diesel shunter, Airfix travelling crane kit (not quite right for a dockside, I know), and several Scalescenes download kits. Oh, and fond memories of the Weymouth harbour tramway which I saw in operation in the 1970's . . . . 

 

Also, out of said caravan when we had some alterations work done, came three seat frames which I carefully rescued as they looked very like baseboard frames to me. Joined together they make an end to end layout just under 7ft long by 1ft 7inches wide, quite a useful size, and using up more 'scrap' I'm going to make the tops from some left-over PVC planking. Additional height for the dock wall will be given by some 50mm PUR insulation board.

 

The trackplan isn't finally decided upon yet, but it will probably draw inspiration from Yarmouth South Quay which was published in the Railway Modeller some 40 years ago. And I'll have to give some thought to a name for it too.

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Oooh! that looks a  very promising way to deal with your temporary  'house arrest'.  For my sins Iv'e been given a list of of chores to complete, so probably not much modelling.

Looking forward to see how it comes along.

Steve W.

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1 hour ago, steve W said:

Oooh! that looks a  very promising way to deal with your temporary  'house arrest'.  For my sins Iv'e been given a list of of chores to complete, so probably not much modelling.

Looking forward to see how it comes along.

Steve W.

Bad luck, Steve.

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I've always liked that Yarmouth plan. I've no idea if it would work in practice, but it's a wonderful idea for getting lots of interest into a tiny space. And, done carefully, the end of the view-block is an excellent opportunity to do one of those fascinating "industrial line through a tiny gap between terraced buildings" scenes, which are always so photogenic.

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If following the plan exactly, it's quite a challenge to lay curves that tight. I like the basic concept but I think that I would be looking to make it wider and use standard setrack curves. I suppose that one might find tighter radii from tram specialists (and I think Roco used to produce a 10" radius curve).

 

Yarmouth did indeed have one of those locations where the train emerges through a narrow gap between buildings. There is a well-known photo of an 04 at that location, reproduced in RM in 1960 (or thereabouts). So strange that they did not incorporate it in this plan.

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

If following the plan exactly, it's quite a challenge to lay curves that tight. I like the basic concept but I think that I would be looking to make it wider and use standard setrack curves. I suppose that one might find tighter radii from tram specialists (and I think Roco used to produce a 10" radius curve).

 

Yarmouth did indeed have one of those locations where the train emerges through a narrow gap between buildings. There is a well-known photo of an 04 at that location, reproduced in RM in 1960 (or thereabouts). So strange that they did not incorporate it in this plan.

 For something so small, I'd be inclined to cut a sacrificial template of something like 3 mm MDF, get the curve in that perfect, and then use it as a rigid jig to hold the track in place while the glue sets.

 

Or, again feasible for so small a layout, this might be the place to learn trackbuilding. Whilst not the easiest first essay, that tight 180 might be easier to do from scratch. Handling single rails may be preferable to trying to bend flexi, both rails at once, and fight with its tendency to gauge narrowing at very small radii.

 

Edit: I'd also think in terms of using Code 75 rail, for its extra flexibility. When playing around at the margins of the feasible, every small advantage helps. Or maybe Code 80, salvaged from dead N gauge Streamline.

 

It's probably all a bit academic, though, if the OP is already self-isolating, and is looking at an end-to-end anyway.

Edited by PatB
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1 minute ago, PatB said:

 For something so small, I'd be inclined to cut a sacrificial template of something like 3 mm MDF, get the curve in that perfect, and then use it as a rigid jig to hold the track in place while the glue sets.

 

Or, again feasible for so small a layout, this might be the place to learn trackbuilding. Whilst not the easiest first essay, that tight 180 might be easier to do from scratch. Handling single rails may be preferable to trying to bend flexi, both rails at once, and fight with its tendency to gauge narrowing at very small radii.

 

Good idea. Following on from that thought, if using flexitrack, one could remove one rail from the trackbase, lay in place and glue, and then thread the second rail back in.

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Thanks for the comments all. The original plan for the south docks was laid out in a 4'x2' board, and I understand, was built and exhibited. I'd have liked to have seen it. I was thinking of adapting either the top or the bottom half of the published plan for my interpretation. The extra length I have will make the need for adapting bought points, or for making my own, unnecessary, and I will have perhaps a couple of inches greater depth i.e. 1'2" on the actual dockside, allowing for sufficient water to float one of the Scalescenes boats in!

 

If I'm clever enough and get the track centres right, the line could exit stage left onto the fiddleyard I built for 'Far Wittering'.

 

I'll have a play with some points and track today and see what develops.

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I reckon you'd be making life very hard for yourself on this sort of layout using flexi track, and as a lot of it will be embedded in plaster anyway I'd suggest that the way to go is setrack, which can be converted to flexi where required by cutting the plastic base between the sleepers on alternate sides.  The Airfix/Dapol/Kitmaster dockside crane is really a dockyard crane and does not have the capacity or jib length to deal with cargo handling for large ships, but this can be a corner of the port that deals with coastal traffic.  Something you might want to consider is that docks required hydraulic power to operate lock gates, swing bridges, and coal hoists, which required boiler houses to power the pumps, a useful corner filler with a siding for the coal wagon.

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Really interesting project Paul, I like the idea and plan so I'll look forward to seeing this come together. If it's anything like your previous layouts it will be a winner :)

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Amazingly Ultrascale makes replacement drop-in wheelsets for those Triang dock authority shunters. I have a set on order...

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Posted (edited)

Hi Booking Hall 

 

 

If you look on the UK Prototype Discussion pages on the RMweb site: 

 

 

There are some great pictures of the Swan Coal Yard at Great Yarmouth - hope that will provide suitable inspiration 

 

Nick 

 

Edited by stivesnick
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On 20/03/2020 at 11:56, The Johnster said:

I reckon you'd be making life very hard for yourself on this sort of layout using flexi track, and as a lot of it will be embedded in plaster anyway I'd suggest that the way to go is setrack, which can be converted to flexi where required by cutting the plastic base between the sleepers on alternate sides.  The Airfix/Dapol/Kitmaster dockside crane is really a dockyard crane and does not have the capacity or jib length to deal with cargo handling for large ships, but this can be a corner of the port that deals with coastal traffic.  Something you might want to consider is that docks required hydraulic power to operate lock gates, swing bridges, and coal hoists, which required boiler houses to power the pumps, a useful corner filler with a siding for the coal wagon.

Thanks for those ideas, I hadn't thought of a boiler house, but one would look good.

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On 20/03/2020 at 15:29, Barclay said:

Amazingly Ultrascale makes replacement drop-in wheelsets for those Triang dock authority shunters. I have a set on order...

Yes, the original ones are a bit crude, aren't they. I have had some success in grinding them down with a carborundum wheel in a dremel whilst rotating the wheelset in a lathe. Whilst that reduces the flange and ribbing on the tread, it doesn't reduce the overall width of the tread. One of the dock shunters I bought on Ebay already had the wheels turned down and a double reduction gear system installed in place of the original Triang one. Unfortunately, the gears are not very concentric and speed isn't even, aside from being very noisy.

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On 20/03/2020 at 18:22, stivesnick said:

Hi Booking Hall 

 

 

If you look on the UK Prototype Discussion pages on the RMweb site: 

 

 

There are some great pictures of the Swan Coal Yard at Great Yarmouth - hope that will provide suitable inspiration 

 

Nick 

 

Thanks for that link Nick, I'll have a browse.

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Hi Booking Hall 

 

Another source of pictures is "First Generation Diesels in East Anglia" by Alan Butcher - published just a few weeks back. The book also has pictures of the railways around Lowestoft and Ipswich docks.

 

Nick 

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Posted (edited)

Hmmm . . .  I'm having second thoughts - "what, already!!!" I hear you shout. Well, yes, but not about actually building this layout - just when to do it. Having finished the baseboards yesterday and having set them up, the first thing that struck me was just how much room they took up, and, having played about with some track I felt that i was in danger of crashing on with something that I hadn't properly planned. I think that it's just too big a project to do whilst I'm stuck in isolation in a caravan in a couple of days time, and I don't want this to be an added cause of stress, so I had a rethink.

 

The rethink led me to Paul Lunn's book 'Micro layouts' and his plan for a micro model of part of Milford Haven docks in 2'4" x 2'4". This has most of the elements I was looking for in a dockside layout, albeit on a much reduced scale and, happily, I had a piece of corrugated cardboard large enough to act as the baseboard, and a couple of leftover offcuts of insulation board. So this is the new project, in which I can 'cut my teeth' on water modelling, trackwork infilling and things 'coastal', and still build the Scalescenes Clyde Puffer to go with it or to use on the big one when I get back home.

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Edited by Booking Hall
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7 minutes ago, stivesnick said:

Hi Booking Hall 

 

Another source of pictures is "First Generation Diesels in East Anglia" by Alan Butcher - published just a few weeks back. The book also has pictures of the railways around Lowestoft and Ipswich docks.

 

Nick 

Oooh, thanks Nick. Might start dropping hints for Fathers Day . . . 

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On 21/03/2020 at 18:58, Booking Hall said:

Yes, the original ones are a bit crude, aren't they. I have had some success in grinding them down with a carborundum wheel in a dremel whilst rotating the wheelset in a lathe. Whilst that reduces the flange and ribbing on the tread, it doesn't reduce the overall width of the tread. One of the dock shunters I bought on Ebay already had the wheels turned down and a double reduction gear system installed in place of the original Triang one. Unfortunately, the gears are not very concentric and speed isn't even, aside from being very noisy.

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Looks like this very loco that was described here some years ago. I loved the idea of using the motor shaft as a layshaft and adding extra gearing - I hope you can get it to run properly.

 

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10 hours ago, Barclay said:

 

Looks like this very loco that was described here some years ago. I loved the idea of using the motor shaft as a layshaft and adding extra gearing - I hope you can get it to run properly.

 

Wow, yes, it looks to be almost certainly the same loco. Thank you for letting me know about this.

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Posted (edited)

A couple of days playing about with bits of track and points, and after looking at pictures on the net of the prototype location in the good old days has produced this layout which is slightly modified from the plan in Paul Lunn's book. As I have five inches more in one dimension than he planned for, I've repositioned one of the points to give a greater siding length (the one shown terminating in the oil tank compound). I've also assumed the use of two 'fiddlesticks', one at each corner, to increase operating potential, although it could be shunted without them, and probably will have to be for the time being, as I barely have enough insulation board to cover the area needed.

 

This design makes good use of the third dimension (height) to to compensate for the micro's inherent lack of area. There are three levels here, sea level, dock level and the the town overlooking the docks with the interesting road bridge masking the right hand edge of the baseboard (viewed from the front, which I am calling the watery bit!).

 

Tomorrow, construction starts, I'm really excited about this!

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Edited by Booking Hall
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Really liking the look of this so far. I like plans by Paul Lunn so it will be good to see this one built. :)

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Hi. This looks very promising. Inset track, dock cranes, what's not to like!?

Regards Lez. 

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Posted (edited)

Construction has started. I just hope the glue dries before I need one of those tins of soup! Once it has set, I will be able to turn it over and cut off the excess to fill in the gaps you can't see at the back. I will have enough to complete the dock level, but will have to come up with another solution for the upper road level.

 

I also kept one of the sheets of foil paper I peeled from the insulation as it might come in useful as the coverings for storage tanks.

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Edited by Booking Hall
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On 19/03/2020 at 20:27, Booking Hall said:

The trackplan isn't finally decided upon yet, but it will probably draw inspiration from Yarmouth South Quay which was published in the Railway Modeller some 40 years ago. And I'll have to give some thought to a name for it too. 

Capture.JPG

 

That's first time I've seen that plan! I am drawing inspiration from the White Swan "hole in the wall" and have amassed many photos off the internet (thank you Google) so the coal yard looks in the right orientation behind the Swan Inn - I guess the hole in the wall wasn't possible given the tight curve (it was a straight track originally) meaning exaggerated clearances.  Look forward to your build!

 

Steve S

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