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Lancaster Lane Sidings


LDM34046
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Hello!

 

It's good to be back!

 

Excited to finally be back posting on this page after a hiatus of about 6 years. My dad and I started a layout in 2012 in the spare room, DCC, electric points and signals and a control panel that would have given Apollo 13 a run for it's money. However the joys of Sixth Form and University took over shortly followed by the freedom of driving and 4 years of modifying (and ruining in some cases) three cars. The layout grew neglected, unfinished and eventually put into storage in the garage.

 

Fast forward to 2020 and half of the year spent in lockdown, like many modellers I found myself twiddling thumbs, scrolling through Facebook and many a Skype call. An interest slowly grew again and after fuelling it with a few visits to RMweb I found myself back down on the local mainline (socially distancing of course) photographing steam and diesel alike. The old layout room has since been turned into a home office so resurrecting the old layout was out of the question and to be honest I was slightly disinterested in it. Being the keen teenager I was at the time I had crammed more track than Kings Cross into a small L shaped layout which left space for scenic modelling much to be desired. Having learnt my lessons with the philosophy of 'Less is more' and dusting off the modelling knowledge of basic electrics, DCC and scenic modelling I decided to sell some of the old modern image stock and fund a new layout.

 

'Less is More'

 

The new layout is much smaller in size (3' x 1') to fit on my desk and to be relatively portable and slide under the bed when not in use. The hope with a much smaller layout is the scenic elements appearing much less daunting and more achievable as with the old layout I never really knew where to start. Four turnouts and a few lengths of code 75 flexitrack should hopefully provide plenty of operating potential (feedback welcome) as well as offering room for scenic ideas with the philosophy of 'Less track work is more'. Being a photographer by trade the layout is hopefully also a good chance for me to try out a bit of modelling photography. 

 

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The track plan is pretty simple, inspired by some of Chris Nevards plans. An arrival road in the middle hosts the incoming small freight trains with sidings to the top and a headshunt to the bottom for the individual freight wagons to be distributed as well as some light engine movements on my larger stock.. I'm hoping that the simple track plan will provide enough operating potential as well as getting to practice my scenic skills and model photography. My fix of steam will hopefully be provided by 57xx, Pecketts and 3MT and diesel for the later years provided by BR Blue Class 20's, 25's, 08's and 03's. I'm hoping to be able to run the layout in either steam or BR blue periods to satisfy my interests in both.

 

The layout will be DCC, having used it in the past and wanting to run my old sound locos with point work potentially being done with the wire-in-tube method. I understand the basics of DCC wiring (droppers etc.) however the point work, ballasting and scenic elements will all be a big learning curve, something I'm keen to teach myself.

 

Location, Location, Location!

 

The inspiration behind the name is our house is directly below the flight path for the Spitfire Heritage Centre located at Biggin Hill Airport. During the summer months, 3-4 times a week we get the roar of the merlin engines as Spitfires flying overhead and in some cases rather low. Our housing development is also built on the old site of RAF West Malling, from where my dad did a lot of his RAF glider training hence the aviation theme to the name. Occasionally, a few years back we used to get the Avro Lancaster flying directly above the house and a lot of the local road names, in ties with the old RAF site, are named after aviation terms so Lancaster Lane was born.

 

Still reading!?

 

So what's next? The plan is to order the baseboards from White Rose Baseboards purely as I find the prices pretty reasonable for a small layout and I don't want to deal with the hassle of woodworking, especially with trying to get supplies during the pandemic. Having mocked up the layout on A4 paper this morning the plan is to order the baseboards in the next day or so. Once the track plan is finalised (again, any feedback is welcome) and the funds are put together the track and locomotives will be ordered, hopefully in the next week or so.

 

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I'm excited to get the ball rolling on this project and would greatly appreciate any advice or feedback to what I have planned!

 

Stay tuned!

 

Luke

 

Edited by LDM34046
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The baseboards have been ordered. Having seen plenty of happy customers on RMweb I ended up purchasing through Tim Horn Lasercutting. After various of messages backwards and forwards I decided on a baseboard design. Different from the original plan however a much more thought out design incorporating the original track layout.

 

I'll hopefully have the boards in a few weeks to build and then an order will be placed for the track work and DCC system. 

 

Slowly but surely coming together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Currently twiddling thumbs waiting for various orders to arrive and the baseboards to get finished with Tim Horn.

 

I'm still in the dark regarding the wire-in-tube method for my point work. I've ordered 1.5mm thick cork underlay with the plan of running 1.5mm copper tube with a 1mm metal rod running through the tube to move the point blades. I'm struggling to find any clarity on a good thickness of copper tube and metal rod as the rod needs to have enough strength to push and pull the points. I'm not sure if 1mm rod is thick enough?

 

Any advice would be highly appreciated as I'm very much in the dark!

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  • LDM34046 changed the title to Lancaster Lane Sidings - Advice Needed!
3 hours ago, LDM34046 said:

Currently twiddling thumbs waiting for various orders to arrive and the baseboards to get finished with Tim Horn.

 

I'm still in the dark regarding the wire-in-tube method for my point work. I've ordered 1.5mm thick cork underlay with the plan of running 1.5mm copper tube with a 1mm metal rod running through the tube to move the point blades. I'm struggling to find any clarity on a good thickness of copper tube and metal rod as the rod needs to have enough strength to push and pull the points. I'm not sure if 1mm rod is thick enough?

 

Any advice would be highly appreciated as I'm very much in the dark!

 

Have a look at the Wizard Models site, they do the wire and tube.

 

https://www.wizardmodels.ltd/shop/signals/wire-tube-control-pack-sm4/

 

Adrian

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8 minutes ago, figworthy said:

 

Have a look at the Wizard Models site, they do the wire and tube.

 

https://www.wizardmodels.ltd/shop/signals/wire-tube-control-pack-sm4/

 

Adrian

Thank you Adrian!

 

That's helped me out massively. I may have to return the cork and get a slightly thicker sheet in order for the tube to sit flush on the layout. PTFE is new to me and seems more cost effective than copper tube.

 

Thanks again

 

Luke

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  • LDM34046 changed the title to Lancaster Lane Sidings

Slow progress at the moment, what with all the postage delays with Covid however the boards have been dispatched today so hopefully mid-next week a physical layout may start to emerge!

 

Much to my excitement various parcels have been arriving containing plenty of goodies. :yahoo:

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Two lovely new locos arrived from Bachmann today, a Midland 1F in BR Black with early crest and a Class 57xx in BR Black with Late Crest. Having previously owned a modern image layout this is my first dabble in steam locomotives and the first locos I've purchased in over 6 years. Clearly I've been out of touch with the modelling industry in my time away as I'm blown away by the level of detail on the loco and the inside the cab.

 

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Today's little project consisted of fitting decoders into these ready for the new layout. Whether it's always been this easy or times have changed I was impressed that it was a simple job of popping out the couplings and undoing two screws to remove the body and install the decoders. I seem to remember in the past having to dismantle pretty much the whole loco. :huh:

 

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Although a simple job it's satisfied my daily fix of railway modelling. Hopefully the post man get's a shift on with delivering the baseboards and I can get stuck into building over the next few weeks!

 

LDM

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A productive day complete! The postal gods were on my side today and the base boards arrived from Tim Horn today. Super impressed with the quality of the workmanship. Super helpful instructions and nice laser cut and engraved pieces. 

 

The boards were sturdy enough to be able to do a full dry run. 

 

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After the test fit was done each panel was carefully put together with plenty of PVA glue before letting it dry slightly and then securing with countersunk screws and panel pins. Glue was then used on the inside edges. The construction is rock solid as well as being lightweight to move around.

 

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With the baseboards left to dry overnight I couldn't resist in putting the paper track plan on the layout to put the size into perspective. No changes with the track layout, there seems to be enough space for operational interest and scenic potential.

 

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Next step is to let the boards dry completely before laying down the cork and getting stuck in with the track work and electrics.

 

LDM

Edited by LDM34046
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  • 2 weeks later...

Slow progress yet again, waiting for more eBay supplies. I suppose in hindsight I probably should have ordered all the material at the same time! With the board dry next step was to cut a glue the cork sheet down. 2.5mm cork was used with the plan to cut out channels for the point wires to lay flush on the board.

 

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Time to finally start on the track work. The points were unboxed and laid out on the board to get a sense of scale. The first length of track was then cut however a bit more finesse maybe needed on future cuts. It seems a bit of a skill to cut the correct length so the sleepers and fish plates don't clash. I may resort to cutting a few sleepers out each end and gluing them back on once the track has been laid.

 

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I would cut more track however my final Dremel blade has finally snapped and shot off into the abyss! So back to the waiting game! More blades to arrive on Friday with the final supplies for the point system hopefully arriving in a few days time. Only then should I have everything to finally get some momentum behind this project!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has managed to celebrate the festive period in the best way possible despite the setbacks!

 

Having stuffed my face with roast beef and all the trimmings I sat down for what was a rather productive evening. With the cork laid channels were cut out with a craft knife. Cut outs were made for the slide switches to sit flush. The PTFE tube was then superglued in place with copper wire running between the switch and the blades through the tube. With the points glued down with PVA the wire-in-tube method works a treat. The slide switches have enough throw to push and pull the blades perfectly.    

 

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Next step is to wire each of the point frogs to the slide switches so the polarity gets changed when the switch is thrown. Tomorrow's job will be to cut and lay the remaining lengths of track. Won't be far off having the first train running!

 

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With the superglue and PVA drying overnight the next job tonight is to sit down in from of the TV with a cider and ice cream and watch Indiana Jones. Raiders of course.

 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Edited by LDM34046
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Happy Boxing Day!

 

The first job today was to cut out a small hole for the NCE Powercab to sit in. With a few rounds of the drill and then sanded down to shape the NCE power unit now sits flush on the fascia of the board. It’s only push fit for now but once the wiring is done behind the plate will be screwed in place.

 

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Next job is to get the track cut and laid and then wiring can commence later today and tomorrow.

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A busy afternoon and the last of the heavy duty work has been completed. All of the flexi-track has been cut and glued this afternoon. Great to finally see the layout come together and now even more eager to get some trains running!

 

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To add a bit of interest to the track work a gentle sweep has been added headshunt and siding at the front. Nothing annoys me more than rows and rows of dead straight track.

 

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The final job this evening was to attach the temporary fiddle yard with M8 bolts, lay the cork and fit the track. I had run out of 2.5mm cork on the main board so the fiddle yard underlay was made up for left over strips and trimmings. It’s not the prettiest job however the main importance was making sure the track was level with that of the layout. A single length of track has been glued down over the baseboard join and then will be cut with a dremel once the glue has dried tomorrow.

 

Power to the fiddle yard will be provided through electrified washers attached to the M8 bolts.

 

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Tomorrow’s job will be somewhat of a major learning curve. Installing the droppers and wiring up the electrics. Tonight will be spent pondering over wiring diagrams for the 3-way turnout!

 

A very productive Boxing Day!

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A very productive yet time consuming morning. All the points have been wired up and the droppers installed. My first ever attempt at soldering and electrics so it’s far from pretty but they’re all solid connections so I’m happy. Droppers have all been pushed through and the next step is to solder them to the rails. 
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Once the droppers have all been connected I need to run power through to the fiddle yard via the electrified M8 bolt and then wire up the NCE Powercab panel so it can be connected to the mains. 
 

Let’s see how we get on!

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Last night was spent finishing off the wiring, soldering all the droppers to the track and livening up the fiddle yard.

I forgot how fiddly attaching wires to the rails was. In the past I’ve used code 100 so it’s quite easy with chunky rails. Having now used code 75 it’s a lot more fiddly to solder joints onto the rails but nonetheless it was finished.

 

To my suprise everything worked including the 3-way point. The only slight niggle I found was I missed out a dropper on the far sidings leaving that whole area of track past the point dead. A job for the morning. Having gone round the layout with a multimeter the layout was finally yet gingerly plugged into the mains supply. And so Lancaster Lane Sidings were born. The evening was spent running a few locomotives back and forth with a couple of wagons along with repeatedly cleaning the track. 
 

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The layout design works perfectly and provides enough operational interest, albeit with a few more wagons and trains in due course. My only slight niggle would be the length of the temporary fiddle yard which can only hold comfortably a 57xx and two 7-plank wagons. Again, this is only a temporary fiddleyard.

 

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Being new to NCE Powercab I need scratch my head a bit more about slowing down the speed steps on both locomotives. Although they run smoothly the speed increments are jumpy between 1-5. Ideally I’d like a range of speed between 1-10. My second question is the instructions mention that the locomotives should be run for 30 minutes in each direction. Obviously I haven’t got the facilities to do this, is that potentially the reason the motors are rather loud? Especially for brand new out the box locos.

 

I’d love to hear peoples thoughts. A landmark day last night! Tonight’s jobs, more locomotives from the loft and more ‘testing’ on the layout! 
 

Cheers!

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The joys of building a layout so small and light is that it can be lifted by one person with easy and moved to pretty much anywhere. Last nights photos were take on my bed as a temporary measure and today I moved the layout onto my desk next to the window for some nice lighting. One of the main reason of building this small layout was to enjoy a bit of modelling photography, inspired by Chris Nevard. The below photos are far from perfect but it's a start!

 

41726 arrives into Lancaster Lane Sidings with a couple of empty 7-plank wagons.

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5775 arrives with a lone private merchant coal wagon and heads into the headhunt where it will move the wagon into the merchant siding.

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Two of my latest additions. Some lovely weathered 7-plank wagons by Bachmann. The detail on each plank is lovely.

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With the wagon moved to the private siding 5775 moves back onto the junction and collects the wagons from 41726

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A final shot of 5775 from the fiddle yard looking down the line. A shot inspired by the lovely work of Chris Nevard on Instagram.

 

Really happy with these photos as a first attempt. Hopefully they'll improve with time and once the the scenics start getting laid down.

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Yes it is always best to give any new locomotives a running session in both directions as advised by the manufacture.

 

I use a rolling road to give a good  run to new locomotives purchased, there many different types.

 

The one I presently use I think was DCC Concepts type which just sits on spare piece of track similar to your very short fiddle yard 

 

One piece of advice is always run in your locomotives as purchased before fitting the DCC chip 

 

I’m looking forward to seeing the layout progress as my next micro layout is very similar size and track plan also using a Tim Horn baseboard.

 

Terry 

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21 minutes ago, ELTEL said:

Yes it is always best to give any new locomotives a running session in both directions as advised by the manufacture.

 

I use a rolling road to give a good  run to new locomotives purchased, there many different types.

 

The one I presently use I think was DCC Concepts type which just sits on spare piece of track similar to your very short fiddle yard 

 

One piece of advice is always run in your locomotives as purchased before fitting the DCC chip 

 

I’m looking forward to seeing the layout progress as my next micro layout is very similar size and track plan also using a Tim Horn baseboard.

 

Terry 


Thank you Terry

 

Thank you for your feedback, I might have to buy a rolling road in order for them to run smoothly or worse case just set up a temporary loop on the table to let them run in.

 

The temporary fiddle yard is isolated so if I get a rolling road I’ll be able to run it on that.

 

Let me know when you start your next layout, I would love to see the progress if it’s similar to mine. Tim Horn’s work is incredible. Very happy with the quality of the boards.

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Some different traction this evening with some BR Blue. I much prefer running steam and I’ve got some early 60’s stock on its way however it would be a shame not to run some of the new stuff I’ve had stored in the loft.

 

A mainline liveried Class 09 brings in a pair of TTA wagons in Lancaster Lane. I picked a set of four TTA’s from my local model shop as there were a limited set from Modelzone. Really nice model and I’ve not seen anymore since. The Class 20 is a Bachmann model, one of my favourites albeit covered in loft dust.

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The Class 25 is a Bachmann Sound model with the sound chip reblown by legomanbiffo for more realistic sounds. It’s nice to have it sitting in the corner of the layout just ticking away.

 

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Once the new stock arrives from TMC later this week I can thoroughly test the layout from an operational stand point before cracking on with the scenics.

 

New ballast has been ordered and will be a mix of GM’s light grey and granite as I found on my old layout light grey on it’s own was a bit too dark. I also need to order some sleeper grime to weather the track.

 

In terms of scenics there won’t be anything special, some nice embankments around the side with a stone cutting for fiddle yard. The headshunt will be slightly overrun with grass and possible a hard standing area over the merchant’s siding.

 

Now to spend the rest of the evening playing trains! 

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More ‘testing’ this morning. Still waiting on my next order of supplies so hopefully scenic work can start next week. A few photos from this morning.

 

41726 arrives into Lancaster Lane with an empty coal wagon with 5775 stabled in the background.

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5775 relieves 41726 of the coal wagon and moves into the merchant sidings to collect the remaining wagons.

 

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The 1F then moves back to the stabling road where it awaits further orders from down the line.

 

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In reality ‘further down the line’ to me is a slightly larger yard with a run around loop to assemble trains before heading off around the South East. Something I hope to potentially model in the future. Lancaster Lane poses as a smaller yard used for more smaller businesses and empty wagon stock to be shuffled around.

 

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With the ballast on it’s way my thoughts now turn to the scenic elements of the layout. I’m yet to decide how to build up the embankment however first I need to weather the track. The go to method would be to use a variety of colours through an airbrush. However I’ve not got access to an airbrush so my next resort is aerosol.

 

I’ve noticed hattons and GM have both got a aerosol available of ‘sleeper grime’ for a reasonable £7.50 which looks like it would do just the job.

 

Anyone had any experience with it or something similar? 

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  • RMweb Gold
27 minutes ago, LDM34046 said:

I’ve noticed hattons and GM have both got a aerosol available of ‘sleeper grime’ for a reasonable £7.50 which looks like it would do just the job.

 

Anyone had any experience with it or something similar? 

 

I haven't used it personally - I normally use Humbrol Dark Earth aerosol as a base colour for track - but I know a lot of people who have used the sleeper grime to good effect.

 

Al.

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20 minutes ago, Alister_G said:

 

I haven't used it personally - I normally use Humbrol Dark Earth aerosol as a base colour for track - but I know a lot of people who have used the sleeper grime to good effect.

 

Al.


Thanks Al

 

The few people I’ve spoken to have said Sleeper Grime works fine however with a layout set in the steam era I don’t know if the track would benefit from a slightly darker weather.

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This is an example of my track weathering, I start with an aerosol coat of Dark Earth, then the rail is painted with Humbrol matt 113 Rust, and the chairs are painted Humbrol Matt Leather 62. Then I use Smoke weathering powders to darken down the sleepers:

 

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I'm sure that the sleeper grime will give similar results, except you won't need to weather the sleepers as much, as it is already darker.

 

Al.

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1 hour ago, Alister_G said:

 

This is an example of my track weathering, I start with an aerosol coat of Dark Earth, then the rail is painted with Humbrol matt 113 Rust, and the chairs are painted Humbrol Matt Leather 62. Then I use Smoke weathering powders to darken down the sleepers

 


That looks brilliant Al

 

The dark earth looks the treat and I’ve got a few weathering powders in my box. I’m guessing the rails were hand painted with a small brush?

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2 minutes ago, LDM34046 said:


That looks brilliant Al

 

The dark earth looks the treat and I’ve got a few weathering powders in my box. I’m guessing the rails were hand painted with a small brush?

 

Thanks very much. Yes the rail sides and chairs were hand painted as you say.

 

Here's another shot of the same track after all the scenics were added:

 

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Al.

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