Jump to content

Eastwood Town - You wait ages for one, then two come along......

Recommended Posts

i am amazed with your station and engine shed.


don't suppose you could go into a more detail with what materials you used and how you built it up?


i'm in the middle of building Southminster station, could do with some tips?



Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Scott I can't really help you, as I didn't build them. As I said earlier they were originally built by Alan Downes for Great Northern's layout, Peterborough. They are mostly card construction with a few pieces of brass etches/thin mdf or ply. All use brick paper, rather than embossed plastic card. I guess they must be several years old by now, but have stood the test of time well. The station building is based on Sleaford.


Even though it meant replanning my terminus design, they really were to good to miss and miles better than anything I could make at this stage of my modelling life. To be honest I'm not sure I could ever get to that standard and would rather spend my time on carpentry/electrics and track laying.


I'll be happy to provide some further close up shots if it will help.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a few hours spare today, so set about the redesign of a troublesome piece of pointwork that forms the access to my hidden reverse curve. My way of testing trackwork is to take a reasonable sample of my loco's and then run them at various speeds up to full whack. I'm looking for no derailments at any speeds and will adjust my trackwork until that can be achieved. One of the beauties of pcb track is that you can tweak various component parts of turnouts until you can get 100% reliability. Of course the other part of the equation is back to back measurements and I check all my stock before it is allowed on the layout. With a known B2B and check rails that are accurately set, you should be able to eliminate most issues.


The other problem behind derailments is the transition from straight to curve track and that was the root cause behind this problem area on my layout. There was a 3' radius curve with an integral curved point with the inner road continuing that 3' curve. The other route was straight into an S curve and then onto a straight. This sudden change of direction was proving too much for certain locos, so I set about resolving the problem.


First stage was to open my Templot plan and change the transition area. Having arrived at a much smoother transition, the templates were printed off and stuck to my 18mm baseboard.




I always try to extend the basic turnout into the next piece of track, particularly on a curve, as the last thing you need is a rail join right in a transition area. I use 3mm SMP plain sleepers for plain track and C & L 4mm strip under turnouts. The plain sleepers are pre cut and I use an old Xuron track cutter to cut the strip to the correct length to suit. Once the plan is fixed firmly in place, I lay double sided tape on the plan to hold the sleepers in place. I always dab this with a dry tea towel to remove some of the adhesive strength and make it easier to remove the finished track from the plan.




I picked up some point filing jigs from Scaleforum one year and these are invaluable for filing up the frog. Simply select the required crossing angle and file away. I have two jigs to cover 5,6,7,8 and 9,10,11 & 12 crossing angles. The rail is held in place and filed in the hardened steel block. You can also use the jig to solder up the frog, but I prefer to make them in situ.





Once the rails are filed to the correct angle, I place them on the plan and hold them in position with Blutac. I tend to fill the join with solder and then carefully file the frog flat once it is held in position.




The first crossing rails can now be cut to length, bent to shape and soldered in position. I use a 1mm shim to set the gaps and once again, Blutack to hold it.




Once you are happy with that one, the second rail can be soldered in place using exactly the same method.




Now, there are several ways of making pcb track and this is the one that works for me. I'm not suggesting that this is the right way and it's not intended as a teaching exercise. I said at the beginning that the critical part of a turnout in my experience is the check rail distance from the crossing and not the actual track gauge. When I first started making my own track, I was gauging the outer rails from the crossing and then setting the check rails from the outer rails. Having now read a lot more about track issues, I changed my assembly method to set the check rails first, so the next thing is to cut and form the check rails and then gauge them from the crossing rails.






The next stage for me is to now add the outer rails. The important thing for me is the smooth flowing lines of any trackwork and whilst Templot is very good, I also use my own eyes to check that the rails are in a nice flowing curve and do not have any minor kinks. I only tack solder every few sleepers at this point in case something is not quite right.










So that just leaves the point blades to be filed. These are done by hand using a needle file. Once formed and cut to the correct length, these are gauged from the outer rails. To simplify things, particularly on hidden turnouts, I just use PCB strip as a tie bar, replacing one of the normal sleepers. The ends of the blades are carefully gapped using the 1mm shim and then soldered to the tie bar.






.....and basically that's it. A custom built curved turnout that cost a fraction of a RTR one and took less than 3 hours to build. The last job is to check all is OK and then solder the rest of the sleeper/rail joins and lighly cut through the copper strip with a slitting disc to isolate both rails.




Making pcb track is not that difficult once you have the right tools. A set of gauges, a decent soldering iron and a bit of patience is all that is required. It's a great way to spend a few hours and very rewarding once you have finished.....Add to that the cost savings that can be had and the freedom it gives in layout design and it scores all round.


Go on, give it a try....

  • Like 12
Link to post
Share on other sites

This modelling business seems like two steps forward and one step back at times and that's exactly what has happened over the past few weeks. I bought a Fiatrains model of the LMS 10001 about a year or so back and it is truly a beautiful model. It was built by Ajin in Korea and is of brass construction. However, smooth as it was, it wouldn't run through one particular turnout without derailing. The problem is partly to do with the wheels and the rigid 6 wheel bogie and I have ordered some new wheels from Ultrascale to solve that issue. Still not feeling comfortable with this particular turnout as it will be hidden from view on a lower level of the layout, I bit the bullet and decided to rebuild this particular section of the layout.


Construction of the turnout is covered in a separate post, but I have been asked about my slightly unusual baseboard construction, so will cover that as part of this update. Previous attempts at building multi layer layouts have failed on various things, gradients being one, but accessibility being the other. I wanted to ensure access to hidden levels was as easy as possible, so did away with conventional boards and came up with this idea of skeleton boards which can be easily reached and will also allow easy access to the underside of the higher level boards at the same time.


I will be adopting this construction method for the open plan trackbed on the upper levels but will only fit "girders/siderails" to the underside of the boards. I will increase the depth from 25mm to probably 40mm to ensure rigidity is maintained. The lower levels have to have upper siderails to hold the trains on the track in the unlikely event of a derailment. There is no room for error with narrow boards like these and the thought of one of my favourite loco's crashing three feet to the floor was keeping me awake at night....


OK, starting point for me is Templot. No link to Martin's software at all, but I am a convert. It has enabled me to completely plan out my layout and try things out on screen before cutting a single piece of timber. The software has been invaluable for track construction but in my case, it goes further than that. So this is the starting point, my junction template, which you will have seen earlier in this thread.





I print two sets of templates. The first to build the turnout and second to make the baseboard. Once I have the baseboard template put together, I mark out points 40mm either side of the centre line and then cut out that shape. I stick the template on to a sheet of 12mm ply or if it is a complex shape such as this, I may use two or three pieces, which are aligned by their straight edges. Stick the plan across all three pieces and then cut through the plan with a scalpel. In this case, I used two. Once the plan is stuck down, I just cut out the shape with a jigsaw. Judging by the burns on the side of the pieces, it looks like I may need a new blade....icon_lol.gif





The joints between the two pieces of cut ply are made using routed slots and "biscuits" which are small oval shaped pieces of wood. These are glued into the slots and the two pieces joined together. The glue makes the biscuit swell and makes a very strong joint.









The side rails are made from 25mm strips of 6mm mdf. Once stuck on either side of the 12mm ply they give a very light, rigid panel. As I said earlier, I will use this method on my open plan boards on the visible sections of the layout, but will use 40mm strips on one side only. To ensure the skeleton board is flat, I stick the side rails on with Evo Resin W and clamp the whole thing together on a strong flat board. Each rail has to be glued on in sections and you have to wait for the glue to dry before unclamping and moving onto the next piece. This process takes abot 20-30 minutes per rail and it took most of the day to complete this section. I'm in no rush though, so get on with other things whilst the glue is drying.








Once this is finished I will cut the ends accurately with a bench saw to make sure everything is square. The next stage would be to drop in the track plan to see exactly where the turnout fits and then place the track to check everything is OK. As you can see, the beauty of Templot is that it is an engineering tool that will allow you to build something that will fit. The last pic shows how well this new piece will replace the first one.


The final stage will be to lay the track, allowing an overlap each end and wire in the bus, droppers and Tortoise motor. All of that can be done at the bench and then the completed module dropped in place. I'm really hoping to finish the lower level loops this month and then the real stuff will begin.....small.gif









  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites
I print two sets of templates. The first to build the turnout and second to make the baseboard. Once I have the baseboard template put together, I mark out points 40mm either side of the centre line and then cut out that shape.

Hi Gordon,


Brilliant post! :)


There's no need to mark out the trackbed edges yourself -- Templot will draw them for you. Here's a quick bit of Jing video showing that (click to watch): http://www.templot.c...ckbed_edges.swf


(Sorry it won't embed here in the post on RMweb, I will put an embedded copy on Templot Club shortly.)


Here's a bit of printed template showing the result:






As you can see, trackbed edges apply to plain track and turnout main roads only. Templot is not too intelligent on this and leaves you to mark the turnout-road side and scribble out any unwanted marks before cutting. But it's still a lot quicker than marking all the edges yourself. :)





  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin, bloomin' brilliant.....smile.gif


How come you think of everything?

I try to -- been there, done that. :)


Happy to help.



I've spent ages measuring out the edges and then joining the dots with curve templates.....Doh! RTFM......icon_redface.gif


You don't necessarily have to RTFM -- you can always ask on Templot Club. That's what it's there for! :)


I've posted the video on there now and added a few extra notes: http://85a.co.uk/for...1005&forum_id=1





Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic track, Great walls!


Can I just ask what glue you used to attach the plasticard to the wood?








I used No more Nails or the DIY store own brand stuff. Avoid Evo stick as it melts the plastic. It has been suggested to use double sided tape, so I may give that a try later...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gordon....out of this world mate....totally absorbing, and Martins input too, its just so interesting.


looking forward to the next instalment.


Tried the embossed walling with one piece I bought for trial purposes. Took about six attempts before I had something acceptable.....not totally happy with my efforts as yet....but looking ok. Will do some further tests to see if I can improve when I get a minute.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gordon,


Thanks for a fantastic thread - please keep it coming!


The pillar is a piece of 18mm ply with a strip of 6mm mdf added to form the step as per the pic....Fairly simple painting covers the filler and a multitude of sins...


Any chance of some more details regarding the make/colours and techniques you used to paint the retaining walls please?


Ballast is Woodlands scenic.


The ballasting looks great -can you tell me what size and colour of ballast you used please - maybe it's a mix of colours?


i am amazed with your station and engine shed.


don't suppose you could go into a more detail with what materials you used and how you built it up?


i'm in the middle of building Southminster station, could do with some tips?




Hi Scott,

Allan Downes has done a lot of articles on buildings in Model Rail magazine. If you're really lucky these actual buildings may even have featured in one of those articles (does anyone know?). If not then similar techniques and materials will no doubt have been used for other buildings.


Best Regards,


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Gordon,

Great to see progress on your layout, do keep us updated its fascinating. The buildings are something I have long admired since I first saw them in one of the magazines. I then had the privelige of seeing them in position on their old home in Nottinghamshire and had I not made the decision to change over to "O"Gauge by the time they came to be disposed of by "G" you may well have had competition for your purchase. A very belated Happy New Year to you.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the compliments guys. Much appreciated as always. I'll keep posting updates as it's heart warming to know someone is taking an interest in what your are doing.


Retaining walls.


I originally used Humbrol colours for my walls. I found a light grey and dark grey combination that I was happy with and took a sample to my local paint shop. They mixed up some matt emulsion in those colours. Much, much cheaper than using those little tinlets and absolutely fine for use.


First thing was to paint the whole sheet in the light grey. Let it dry and then you are ready for the dark grey. You will need a stiff brush about 1/2" wide and I used an old artist brush which reminded me of brushes we used to have in the Art class at school. The actual bristles are about 1/2" long, no more.


My method is to dip the brush in the dark grey and then paint the bulk of the paint onto a piece of card or scrap wood. Brush off most of the paint and then using the brush at a 45 degree angle, just lightly brush across the wall. This will leave the dark grey on the raised surface of the stone without covering the mortar joins which will be left in light grey. It doesn't matter if you go over the raised stones three or four times. Just use a small amount of paint and quite light brush strokes. After a while you will build up the dark grey and things should look fine. If you start at the bottom of the wall, you will find the colour naturally fades out towards the top. This is fine with the dirtiest part of the wall being at the bottom. When I get round to weathering the basic finish, I will follow the same plan and brush from the bottom up.


The two Dulux colours I used are S4502Y for the light grey and S7500N for the dark grey which are exact matches for the Humbrol colours. Any DIY store or paint supplier with the Dulux system should recognise those numbers. I got a 250ml tin of each and that will last some time.





The ballast I have used is Woodland Scenics B1394 Medium Grey Blend. It has been used straight from the jar. I use the Capn Kernow method of ballasting, which is to apply neat PVA between the sleepers with a tiny paintbrush. Yes it's tedious, but I now find I can ballast a few feet in an hour and it gives me by far the best result with no rework required at all. It may not suit everyone, but certainly gives me what I require.


I can't access the old forum at the moment, but if you search on Eastwood Town or ballasting you should find some more info. In terms of painting the track, I spray red oxide primer over all the track. I'm using a car spray from Simonize. This dries in seconds and I then wipe the rail surface clean with a rag. I paint all the track in a dark brown, which looks fine to me from normal viewing distance. I started using Humbrol "Chocolate" but then Dulux came to the rescue again and I now use matt vinyl emulsion in the identical colour. I've checked the tin for a code and all I could find was 1108H473388. This is a different type of code number to the others, so don't take it as gospel that it is the correct shade.


Once the site is back to normal, I'll upload some more pics.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gordon, just catching up with this again smile.gif .


Apart from repeating everyone else, all I can add is


1) Nice collection of clamps you've got tongue.gif


2) I wish I was retired (seem to have to work longer hours now than I've ever done) icon_cry.gif


Keep it up!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I have been asked on a couple of occasions about the alignment of the traverser, so here's a little more detail.


Alignment of the traverser is quite simple, but does work. I am reviewing the actual alignment of the bed itself as for a traverser to work correctly it must be perfectly parallel and square in all planes. This may not be such an issue with smaller devices but this one is 9'6" long and has a bed 2'6" wide. My original design only had one in road and I found it virtually impossible to move a bed 1'3" back and forth from a central road and still retain alignment. The longtitudinal alignment was reasonable but float in the runners and inaccuracies in construction meant it was hard to maintain vertical alignment. Changing to two inroads reduced the movement in each direction and improved the situation. A little packing under some of the rails and an increase/reduction in height of the under rail screws before soldering the rail ends, solved most of the issues.


Each end of the bed has a machined hardwood L section. To drill the alignment holes, the track was laid and each line aligned in turn. Once clamped firmly in position, a 6mm hole was drilled through the hardwood rails from the top plate. To lock the table in position, all you do is slide the bed across to the required track and then just drop in a 6mm stainless pin to lock it. I will make one eventually, but a screwdriver is being used at present....icon_redface.gif


The 500mm drop from the terminus to the traverser bed is where the spiral comes into play. With a gradient of 1:100 minimum, I had to have a spiral of 50m in length, hence twice around the room to climb 500mm...


Today was also a landmark for me. I've been rewiring and upgrading the bus connections on the spiral so have incorporated a DCC Specialities Circuit Breaker and solid state reversing module. This work is now almost complete and so I'm moving onto the next stage of construction. The only main board that has reached an advanced stage of construction is the one over the stairs, so this has been built and moved into place. Of course I now have a spiral and a main board sitting seven feet apart and have to join them together. Even though I had designed the whole plan in Templot, this was akin to building a bridge from both sides of the river and hoping they meet in the middle. Every so often thoughts of "what if it doesn't join" have been entering my head and I have broke into a cold sweat just anticipating the issues.


Last night was spent printing out the various templates and sticking them together as normal. I had to fabricate some simple supports to hold the paper flat over the 7' gap and it was with some relief that I saw both ends come together. Phew!


Thank you Lord!



  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Another month nearly gone, but progress has been made. A new board has been constructed using my normal method of 12mm ply dual beams and 12mm open plan track bed. Once again Templot proved its worth as plans were printed out and stuck down with photomount. Once dry you just wheel over one of those wheeled wallpaper strippers that puts loads of holes in the paper. Slop on some neat PVA and stick down the cork strip. Add some droppers, spray the track bed with red oxide primer, then paint all track with dark brown paint. Add Woodland Scenics ballast and job done.


Next stage was to build the four track tunnel that will take trains to the lower level storage or around the folded eight. Once again, my usual method. Cut out the shape from 12mm ply and use a combination of smooth black and embossed stone Plasticard. Once complete paint the whole wall light grey and once dry, dry brush the dark grey over the top. The final stage yet to be completed will be to add smoke and water staining.


I was feeling quite chuffed when I had finished so cracked on laying some more track. I was horrified in the morning though, as I had not allowed for the overhang of coaches on the curve nor the height of US box cars, should they be run. In the end the only option for me was to slice across the tunnel mouth and build a whole new section. Running a bench saw just under the string course gave a nice clean cut, so a new lower section was built and then mated with the top half of the original.


Happy days.....












  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gordon, no idea how I missed this one..


Looking absolutely fantastic. The basebaoard construction is inspirational, the 4 track mainline through the walls is fantastic, and the ballasting really very special...


Excellent ! :icon_thumbsup2:



Link to post
Share on other sites

Good grief guys, I'm gob smacked....smile.gif


As you can see, this is a big roundy, roundy to watch trains, but that's what I enjoy. Feel free to ask any questions about the construction methods and I'll do my best to help. I'm building this antithesis of the small sleepy branch on my own, so it's great to know there are others who are taking an interest. To be honest, it's only started to move since I retired and I'm loving every minute of it.


I'll keep posting, if others are enjoying the journey.....

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • gordon s changed the title to Eastwood Town - You wait ages for one, then two come along......

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.