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Parrot Hall - 80/90?s 25kv NW suburban in OO.


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                                                        A new home for a Dinosaur!


Well, for a ‘’cheesy dinosaur’’ class 304 unit, this one -


Among other things! I’ve been plotting for a while now which project from within my head to begin after Loch Dour’s fiddle yard extension is done. Many moons ago I built a 5ft x 1ft shunting plank called Hill Foundry, which was about the perfect size for taking around shows (in a Mini Metro!) but of course it limited operations to a few wagons and a small shunter which lost its operating appeal quickly during a two day show!

But two 5ft x 18in boards would take about the same space when bolted face to face and allow some ‘’trains’’ to move up and down too!

So, a station is needed for the 304 to stop at and make nice noises, courtesy of Legomanbiffo’s nice v4 decoder. A yard would also be nice for my 08 to shunt wagons around in. Plus I also have a four car 310! So the fiddle yard would need to be at least 4 feet long, this isn’t all going to fit is it! After much thought, the ideas started to fit the available space like this.

A two platform electrified suburban station, somewhere in the Manchester area with a yard approach track behind. The clever thought was to have railway engineering works going on at one end of the station, off scene, so services are terminating and then returning to Manchester, well shows are at weekends mostly! A master stroke, as only one fiddle yard is needed, allowing 6 feet of scenic work between two bridges.

So far its only pencil marks on wallpaper but this is the fiddle yard board roughed out –


A six track sector plate with the 3 tracks on the left (marked P) serving the station, and the 3 on the right (marked F) for shunting engineers wagons about. After drawing this out I think I may be able to align tracks U & D with the first two P’s and have room to add a seventh road on the right, which would allow the 4 roads on the left to serve the platform, so some diesel units could appear also. U is the up road through the station but will be cosmetic only, as all trains will be using the down road D with the cross-over beyond the bridge. The tracks marked E are to connect with the main line, offscene, while the one marked H can be a headshunt or lead to a couple of sidings depending on space. Any thoughts out there before I start planning the main scenic board? Kev.

Edited by kevpeo
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Hi all. I’ve been trying out the plan with some stock, and with six roads the 304, 310 and a 153 can fit, along with a few wagons and the obligatory couple of 31’s and the 08 pilot to potter about of course! With seven roads, a couple of 2 car DMU’s could be added easily. Unfortunately the image I took has disappeared off my memory card after editing it to fit on RMweb. Bl****y computers! Kev.



Edit. Ha Ha, I found it again -



Edited by kevpeo
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Hi George. I thought it said that on the header? :biggrin_mini2: Like Loch Dour it'll probably vary eras, either 1990/91 with the 304 and an 85 shuttling about, or 1994/95 with the 310 joining the 304. I wouldn’t expect rapid progress though! Cheers, Kev.

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Hi Kev,


I'm liking the sound of this plan, and I'm sure that like any of the layouts your involved with this will look superb.

Is the length of the yard going to be enough that you can see trains arrive then the loco uncouple and run back off scene?

What was the metro, nog?



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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve been plotting on wallpaper again -




All drawn out in straight lines rather than the sweeping curves which the real thing will have, I hope! On the left are the platforms which are the full 5ft baseboard length including the ramps. So they will fit a four car EMU or a pair of ‘sprinters’ comfortably. The plan is to have these accessed from the road by modern PTE style steel and concrete ramps. The track marked ‘E’ is the yard entrance/exit road, or in the case of the model, a long headshunt. You have to allow for extensions! On the far right are a couple of sidings allowing for the parking of engineers stock or use as another headshunt. Above these in the corner is space for a pub and some low relief buildings. The tracks marked U; D & E will be electrified, although I haven’t decided which era of mast style to go for yet? Any ideas or comments gratefully received. Kev.

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I recognize that location Carl! That 'H' section portal style is often used on viaducts, including some brand new ones next to the old Coronation Street sets! Around Manchester must have one of the best selections of O/H types in the country. Early 60's down to Crewe, ex DC on the Woodhead side, the Altringham route prior to the trams plus a few more modern additions! Choices, choices? Kev.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, as the wife and kids were out for the day with dancing practice, I thought I’d have a day off decorating and do something useful and go into work and build some baseboards! And here is the result sat by the garage doors –







Next stop, the clubrooms for cleaning up and varnishing when the car comes home! Kev.

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  • 1 month later...

I really ought to come up with a name for this layout!  Favorite at the moment is ''Parrot Hall'' (which is close to the Furness Railway junction,Parrock Hall,named after a stately home near Roose. Now both long gone but as I work in a zoo the change appeals!) Anyway grab a cup of tea (or a beer in Ozzy's case!) because some work has actually been done.

Me and OzzyO have filled,sanded and varnished the baseboards up at the clubrooms, before getting some timber for the legs. A picture paints a thousand words apparently, so here's the fiddle yard board on its legs in the loft -






Shown without the sector plate in position. This has had Formica edging strip ironed on to the underside in line with the baseboard cross members, which have also had the edging strip ironed on. This is to reduce friction -






And here it is with the sector plate in place. The wooden shelf locks the legs in position and adds some low down weight, which improves the handling in corners, only kidding! But it does help to stop the layout wobbling. This ''two legs & a shelf'' set up will normally be under the scenic board, but can go under either for work to take place -






Now the tricky bit, getting the track across the joint! In the past I’ve tried toilet door bolts for this kind of thing but there’s so much ''slack'' in them these days, they're just not up to the job, so I thought I'd go back to brass ''wire & tube'' methods. To start with copper-clad sleeper strip was cut to three lengths- ½ inch, 1.5 inch and ''sleeper sized''. These were then epoxied to the baseboard in the position of one of the middle storage roads and weighted down-






Once the epoxy had set small holes were drilled through and countersunk and track pins added, belt & braces and all that. Next brass tubes were soldered to the outside copperclads and the brass wire cut and bent to an ''L'' shape. The sleeper length ones need to have a groove cut into the copper cladding to prevent shorts. The sector plate can then be slid over one position and the next set of copperclads attached -






And once that one is soldered on to the next -






I've even got the first bit of track down! Kev.

Edited by kevpeo
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I say chaps, steady on, your making me blush! Seriously though, thanks for all your interest shown in what is currently just some baseboards and Peco code75 track! As for the EMU’s, the 304 is the DC Kits model, while the 310 is the Southern Pride kit. The 304 is the easier to build (if you use the right glue!) but the Southern Pride one was the pleasure (if tedious at times) to build.

More progress to report. I do like it when a plan comes together –




The longer Peco tracks heading under the scenic break are headshunts/loco storage roads, and will be hidden under the bridge structure on the other side. Ozzy’s idea that one! The shorter C&L ones are the start of the running lines. All the copperclad is now glued down and just one more track on the left to lay, but I can’t finish the sector plate because my local shop hasn’t got any code 75 fishplates! Hopefully I’ll be able to pick some up at Kendal show next week. Kev.

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