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Thanks Chris. About 4 hours sleep, but I'm surviving :D

 

We've now set it all up and run a few more test trains - all running happily so far. Added the drapes (borrowed from another layout, should we be using EWS maroon?) and some signs - still some more to add - and some stock.

 

post-203-0-82566400-1302902708_thumb.jpg

 

Will take some more photos in the morning.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Hello all,

 

Fortuitous personal circumstances meant I was able, surprisingly, to make it along to the Epsom and Ewell show today.

 

Glad I did.

 

Hinksey Road looks excellent, a real joy to see full length trains largely dwarfed by te 20' run available - a fine example of the true advantages of N.

 

Well done so far, and please keep the updates coming as I am enjoying following your progress.

 

And well done too for building those 25 NGS autoballasters - I get a real buzz out of seeing them. Especially as when designing the kit I made numerous trips to Hinksey for research purposes!

 

cheers

 

Ben A.

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Well done on getting so much work done in so little time! lovely to see the various construction stages, always good to see imo, as it helps others new to the hobby to visualise things in a way that isn't otherwise possible. If that makes sense?

 

Look forward to seeing it in its completed forum.

 

Kelly

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Saw the layout at the Epsom show today, very impressed watching the full length trains running on the main lines. An ideal layout for demonstrating what can be achieved in N gauge.

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And well done too for building those 25 NGS autoballasters - I get a real buzz out of seeing them. Especially as when designing the kit I made numerous trips to Hinksey for research purposes!

 

cheers

 

Ben A.

 

The autoballasters are a good use of mixed media, and whilst I’ve singed my fingers a few times with the framework around the crew platforms I’ve enjoyed putting them together.

 

They are something of a diversion from my normal activities which are 4mm LNER mid thirties. I certainly didn’t have any bright yellow or beige paint in stock. I need to press on and complete the construction, only 10 of the 25 are painted and none have had the decals applied yet. The aim is to get them complete before the Bachmann version appears.

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Well, I'm now refreshed after a nice glass of red wine, some food and a little snooze and I can say we've had a really good day, tiring but very rewarding.

 

The layout ran extremely well for it's first outing, we enjoyed ourselves, and there was a chance to chat to several RMWeb members (thank you for your encouraging comments). Lots of very positive comments generally about the scale of the layout and seeing trains in context.

 

Here we are ready to go:

 

post-203-0-21722000-1302986160_thumb.jpg

 

We had printed out a number of screen shots from Bing showing aerial views of the area and placed these in the appropriate places along the layout together with some signs explaining the features, or showing the work done on the layout:

 

post-203-0-16562600-1302986842_thumb.jpg

 

Some of the autoballasters Ben and David mentioned earlier are sitting by the ballast pile (OO wagon loads at the moment):

 

post-203-0-08840900-1302986852_thumb.jpg

 

The fiddle yard was loaded and we were off:

 

post-203-0-30471500-1302986864_thumb.jpg

 

post-203-0-56892000-1302987551_thumb.jpg

 

(not sure how the Chairman's Oliver Cromwell on a Steam Special got into this shot. Still on it's first run we put a class 67 on the back in case it broke down :rolleyes: )

 

Once again it was great to meet and chat with several of you and your comments are much appreciated.

 

And we get to do it all over again tomorrow :D

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Thanks Bernard - that is quite a compliment.

 

Well the dust has settled and we've survived our first outing. Generally the layout & stock behaved remarkably well, given the rush to get things to a working state. We managed to cope with manually switching the points at opposite ends of the fiddle yard loops - a code soon emerged to get the guy at the other end to set the incoming points for the correct road, to save walking down there. An odd electrical gremlin appeared in the last hour on Sunday, but we were able to cope with that.

 

Only one "disaster" - on the first time round a loco on the outer track found a bit where the inner rail was raised and turned over and (being right at the front of the layout) dived onto the floor. Crash! :O - it separated into 5 parts: body, chassis, 2 motor bogies and a broken buffer. I picked up 4 parts (couldn't find the buffer) and reassembled it. Amazingly it still worked :blink: The raised rail was soon encouraged by a large file to stay flat.

 

We've put together a list of things to do in the short term:

 

  • Finish off the wiring of the fiddle yard & main line - get the point motors wired up and working.
  • Put some better expansion gaps in - at one point, as the temperature rose in the hall, the outer main line developed a very interesting sinuous kink as the rail could only expand sideways. Everything stayed on but this needs to be fixed.
  • Check the Back to Back on all the stock and check rail gaps - there were a number of wobbles going over some point work.
  • Check for any raised soldered joints or point motor clips that might foul parts of passing stock.
  • Build our own set of legs that are height adjustable - the trestles we were using did not give a consistent height
  • Replace the Peco point motors (& associated switches) with Seep ones with integral switches - this is really a personal preference, having tried to wire one of these up (in a hurry last Thursday) and found that they really need a lot of careful adjustment. Phil, the wiring guy, also prefers the Seep ones, so was "suggesting" them.

So a short rest and then back to work, albeit at a more relaxed pace than the last 41/2 months.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Your diving loco wasn't a 66 perchance? I find, with the Farish ones at least, that the lifeguards that project downwards ahead of the wheels will catch on the slightest upward step in the rail and stop the train dead (amazingly not snapping the lifeguard!).

 

Regarding wobbles on points, these seem to be unavoidable for current British N gauge stock on Peco pointwork - something to do with the points having to accommodate older and coarser wheels I think. I've had interesting events where the front of a train being propelled catches in a point but the loco carries on by compressing all the coupling springs, until the resistance is overcome and the front end suddenly jumps forward.

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Hi Edwin, I've just checked and yes you are absolutely right, it was a Farish 66.

 

Some of the stock seems to run very smoothly, but other items do seem to hit bits of low lying trackwork, hence the intention to inspect very carefully what is happening as the stock goes over points.

 

I missed out some further points:

 

  • add a lip to the baseboard edge to prevent stock diving to the floor (both at the front and in the fiddle yard). :O
  • check couplings on mainline rakes to avoid droop & subsequent loss of connection.
  • change some couplings for shorter ones to improve the close-coupled appearance (the HST in particular would benefit from this).

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Hi Dave,

 

Something I keep meaning to try on our club layout "West Tilgate" is a fillet of thin plasticard in the common crossing for the flange to ride on as it passes through, it should stop newer stock lurching to one side.

 

It does of course mean that older stock may lift!

 

I look forward to seeing the completed layout, couldn't make your show this year as I had the Crawley show to run!

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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Thanks Bernard - that is quite a compliment.

And it was certainly meant as such, though there are also other parallels: the debut at quite an early stage, a big (indeed, even bigger!) main-line type layout and being right up-to-date (when it was started). Of course real time moved on, so by retirement AML was becoming quite historic, the Heathrow Express electrification and privatisation making a big difference to the prototype.

Good luck with the project :D

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After a few Monday evenings taken up by a post-exhibition review and some Bank Holidays, we've got back to work at a much more relaxed pace. So, point motors are being fitted, most of the scenic side ones have been done and the fiddle yards ones are next. Phil is continuing with the wiring.

 

Meanwhile, we are looking at some other areas:

 

Support system

 

At present the board are supported on 6 trestles which are borrowed from the club's test track, which leads to a conflict if both want to run at the same time. This was not a problem at the exhibition or while we are working on the wiring, but I would like to get our own support system.

 

Some ideas:

  • Use the trestle & beam idea described in the book on St Merryn. This uses a trestle at each end of the layout and two long (16ft) jointed aluminium girders to support the baseboards (with a further adjustable support halfway to ensure the beams don't droop).
  • Create more of our existing style trestles.
  • Create free-standing "table frames" for single boards or pairs of boards. Possibly with simple braced pairs of legs connected by clip-on braces.

Ideally the support system would allow the easy mounting of a lighting gantry and easy assembly. I'm not keen on our current method of putting the first board on two trestles and then balancing the next one on a single trestle whilst trying to bolt them together.

 

Lighting

 

This needs to be carefully thought out:

  • Minimum visual and physical intrusion
  • Even lighting where it is required
  • Easy assembly and storage

Again the St Merryn book has a useful idea: a single span made of 3 lightweight vertically stiff sections with suitably strengthened and angled joints to prevent sagging over the length. I would like to avoid intermediate supports getting in the way behind the layout if possible.

 

Clip-on front scenic boards

 

These would be a few inches deep and designed to prevent diving locos :( and provide an interesting scenic foreground. They would only need to extend the length of the visible scenic side (about 18 ft) so could be made as 5 boards about 44 inches long. This would mean that they would partially obscure the real base board joints and they could be attached to clips on the reverse of the backscene for storage. As the scenery at this part of Hinksey is mainly bushes and small trees, they could provide a useful foreground, with some larger trees placed to hide anything that shouldn't be seen.

 

So some thinking to be done. Any thoughts would be welcome.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Whilst the wiring is continuing, we are working on some other parts.

 

Flight case wheels

 

We originally put eight 6" wheels on the flight case to give it a smooth ride over the uneven slope we need to push it up every club night. Unfortunately the wheels were more fragile than we had hoped, and the hard plastic centres of several of them shattered when hitting bigger bumps at an angle. So we decided to replace them with four more robust ones.

 

The original wheels:

 

post-203-0-04853700-1309850985_thumb.jpg

 

Fixing the first new wheel:

 

post-203-0-84636900-1309851158_thumb.jpg

 

Finished:

 

post-203-0-04420500-1309851178_thumb.jpg

 

 

Front scenic boards

 

After much discussion about the add-on front scenic boards, we decided that they should be 2-3" deep and demountable on the front of the existing boards. The idea is that these add a little depth to the front of the scenic area and keep the front tracks further away from the front edge of the layout. Since the main boards are already a close fit in the flight case, these new boards needed to be demountable and stored on the fiddle yard side of the backscene. These boards will also have their gaps staggered compared to the main board joints to reduce their visibility.

 

After an abortive attempt at making ply boards 44" x 2" x 2" we decided to use some square aluminium box section. These are then mounted on the front of the main baseboards by small brackets:

 

post-203-0-23521700-1309853265_thumb.jpg

 

post-203-0-16688300-1309853281_thumb.jpg

 

post-203-0-68115800-1309853292_thumb.jpg

 

so by the end of the evening we had done three:

 

post-203-0-08628500-1309853308_thumb.jpg

 

The skirt hiding the legs will be velcroed to the front of these, the tops will have scenery on them and the gaps with be filled will some foam to allow for movement and to help hide the joints.

 

So we are still making progress, but at a gentle pace.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Last night we added most of the mounting points on the reverse of the backscene so the front extension boards can be stored.

 

In theory we could have put one on each of the 5 baseboards, but it is planned to put the main control panel on the central board, so some doubling up was called for. The clearance between the stacked pairs should allow enough room for some low level scenery.

 

post-203-0-82929600-1310454579_thumb.jpg

 

We also looked at one possibility for the lighting: a lightweight 620mm, 20W fluorescent tube (usually used above kitchen worktops). Although this would give good lighting if mounted less than 2ft above the layout, we felt that it wouldn't work when mounted 3-4ft above and up to 1ft in front of the layout. We may still use a couple of these in the fiddle yard where they could be mounted on the new mounting points.

 

So back to looking at alternatives which need to be light and bright. Various club members have offered some suggestions - possibly T4 size tubes and lightweight fitting, so we will continue to investigate. Any recommendations would be welcome.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Hi Dave

 

The box section aluminium is a neat solution for the additional scenic width. Will you fit ply "baseboard" strips to the top? Also, how did you achieve the chamfered edge on the end section?

 

cheers

 

Ben A.

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Hi Ben,

 

The aluminium will have some cork added as a foundation for the scenic work, our tests show that we can glue it successfully to the aluminium. This will give a starting surface slightly lower that the main boards which will give room for minor height variations in the scenery.

 

One of our members works for a coach builder and has the skills to cut and join the aluminium to create the angled ends. He did say there was a large file involved :)

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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A working Saturday and a club night saw the construction of four trestles to support the layout.

 

Starting from some lengths of 25x50mm (nominal) timber (and a few of 25mmx75mm) from our local timber merchant and a chop saw, we soon had a kit of parts:

 

post-203-0-51756800-1311059534_thumb.jpg

 

First we assembled the smaller leg frame:

 

post-203-0-36139100-1311059542_thumb.jpg

 

Then we built the larger leg frame around it (using £1 coins as spacers to give the legs clearance from on each other):

 

post-203-0-32778600-1311059550_thumb.jpg

 

Finally the hinges were added to the two top cross bars, and the folding hinged link added to the lower cross bars (this holds the legs the correct distance apart):

 

post-203-0-61524400-1311059560_thumb.jpg

 

This gave us a completed trestle:

 

post-203-0-28596100-1311059437_thumb.jpg

 

We then repeated the process to create all four trestles.

 

We now need to source some aluminium bars to place on top of the trestles, some brackets to hold them in place and adjusters to ensure they are level. The bars will be 20 feet long to support the whole length of the layout, but split into 3 pieces. The trestles will go at the outer ends and under the two joints). Unfortunately our previous source of aluminium bar has now dried up, so we are having to look elsewhere.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Hi Those legs are superb, and really helpful how to process of making them, very useful for someone of my woodworking novice status fantastic

and a great project going on, N has so many advantages when it comes to projects like this.

 

Great work

 

Neil

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Yes, a great "how to" in creating trestles. I have bookmarked this page for future reference as that looks a lot cheaper method than buying ready made, which seem so expensive these days.

 

Many thanks!

 

 

Dave

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Thank you both for your kind comments.

 

I have bookmarked this page for future reference as that looks a lot cheaper method than buying ready made, which seem so expensive these days.

We used straight timber with very few knots from a good timber merchant (Champion Timber) which cost £45. The 20 brass hinges were from B&Q and cost £15. That gives £60 for four trestles, so £15 each, probably still cheaper than commercial equivalents and we could choose the size (in our case 36" high and 33" wide across the top bar). The fact that they fold makes storage easier.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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A quieter evening's work last night.

 

Well it was, once Bill had finished grinding down the points of some screws with his Dremel. These were projecting through to the front of the back scene from the new mounting brackets on the back and in danger of causing injury.

 

We have started adding the "missing" sleepers. We had left quite large gaps between the sleepering on pieces of track when adding the rail joiners. As we were under a time pressure originally to get the track laid and running we didn't have time to add the cosmetic sleepers as we laid the track. So now seemed as good a time as any to retro-fit them.

 

As can be seen the gaps look quite obvious and call attention to themselves.

 

post-203-0-14554500-1311664736_thumb.jpg

 

With some careful work cutting and sliding the "filler" sleepers into place the visual feel of the track improves tremendously. Here you can see two new "wooden" sleepers (brown) and two "concrete" sleepers (light grey), in both cases one each side of the rail joint.

 

post-203-0-83218900-1311664747_thumb.jpg

 

We also added sleepers near the baseboard joints. Here they have to be fitted around the small woodscrews that are providing physical location and support to the ends of the rails. The lower joint has been modified, the top one awaits its sleepers. The screws themselves should eventually be hidden by the ballast.

 

post-203-0-00152600-1311664761_thumb.jpg

 

There are still quite a lot to do, and we also need to think about other items that need to be added before ballasting such as point motors on extended timbers and cabling passing under the rails. Does anyone have recommendations for cosmetic point motors in N gauge?

 

We were so quiet this week that other club members wondered if we were "sleeping" -_-

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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We've been quietly working over the last few weeks filling in all the missing sleepers and adding extended sleepers needed for the cosmetic point motors and hand levers.

 

I also started to add the orange pipes and concrete trunking needed to protect the cabling. I thought I had got the hang of where they went, until one of the club members, who is a retired signalling engineer, said that I'd need a few more than I had done. He volunteered to draw up some plans showing where the pipes and cabling would go. It is a much more complex subject than I had realised: cables are needed for signals, point motors, point heaters, track circuiting, TWS, distribution boxes, etc. He also helpfully explained the purpose of some of the "odd" boxes just visible in the undergrowth in photographs.

 

Here is where we are currently:

 

post-203-0-70559400-1314085348.jpg

 

So we'll see what still needs to be added.

 

We've started thinking about the curved corners to the backscene and tried out some hardboard to get a feel for how it would work:

 

post-203-0-04128400-1314085340.jpg

 

We've also been looking into trees - we'll need a lot for this layout to fill in about 20 feet of background to a depth of a couple of inches. So a mix of detailed ones and filler ones will be needed. Here are some ready made ones from the Model Tree Shop, which are quite nicely detailed and not too expensive:

 

post-203-0-79102200-1314085611.jpg

 

We will need some taller ones and a lot of bulk as well.

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Last night saw the completion of the curved ends to the backscene. These are made from pieces of hardboard forming a natural curve between the existing structural backscene and the wing pieces of the two end boards.

 

There is a small square wooden upright fixed to the back of the front wing piece to provide a solid location for the front edge of the curve.

 

post-203-0-68095600-1315293336.jpg

 

post-203-0-70524700-1315293366.jpg

 

Using this the hardboard was bent to the right shape and cut-outs added for the trains to escape.

 

post-203-0-01041700-1315293360.jpg

 

We needed to remove a bit of the cork to ensure the hardboard bedded in correctly.

 

post-203-0-71177600-1315293347_thumb.jpg

 

Finally then the curve edge was feathered to merge into the main backscene and fixed with small screws. There will be some filler added eventually to smooth this transition and some trees placed in front to distract the eye. This end will have a road bridge to partially disguise the train exit holes

 

post-203-0-82908800-1315293319.jpg

 

And the other end will have a footbridge as the scenic break.

 

post-203-0-42479100-1315293328.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Excellent work there Dave!

 

I have only just picked up this thread and as others have already mentioned, very good and interesting to see the construction of the layout.

The details on the trestles and scenic extensions along the front of the boards are very usefull.

 

Will follow with interest.

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