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On 10/01/2020 at 20:40, mullie said:

Tonight my J72 ran along my layout, a Comet chassis built in EM with High Level gears running on PCB track. This is the first chassis I built, the J39 chassis also shows promise. This short video shows it running tonight. Hope it is of interest, for me this is a big step.

 

 

Thanks for looking, now need to finish it off.

 

Martyn

That's beautifully-smooth, Martyn,

 

Well done, and thanks for showing us.

 

It's a pity that a large layout (in the same scale, but a different gauge) didn't run so well at Stevenage over the weekend. Far too many derailments for me! 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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On 11/01/2020 at 09:18, richard i said:

I was looking on the Hornby page for what they were saying about the A2s and saw that for the A2/2 it said that they worked out of York shed down the GCR. I was told at a recent GCRS meeting that the only known picture of a Thompson pacific on the GC was of 500 at Nottingham Victoria going for naming. So is there other proof that Hornby’s statement is correct? 

Many thanks

Richard 

'So is there other proof that Hornby’s statement is correct? '

 

There is Richard,

 

I can't immediately find it, but I have a shot of 60501 at Nottingham Victoria. Based on that, you will have driven my model of 60501 on Charwelton. 

 

You'll also have driven a few other Thompson and Peppercorn Pacifics on the same layout. Any of York's loco types could be used (borrowed?) on the ex-GC main line. I believe the Pacifics tended to work at night on the line, on heavy freights, so, obviously, are rarely photographed. 

 

Good to see you over the weekend.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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On 11/01/2020 at 10:50, gr.king said:

Excellent! Is that step in the leading edge of the top access plate for the superheater header a genuine feature of the real thing?

Good morning Graeme,

 

'Is that step in the leading edge of the top access plate for the superheater header a genuine feature of the real thing?'

 

I would think so. It's on Bachmann's new V2.

 

It's something I've never put on the umpteen V2 models I've ever made. 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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19 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

Thanks Ray,

My source regarding the A2/3s on the cement train came from Peter Townend's LNER Pacifics at Work (my copy of which is still with Hornby). It could well have been in consultation with Jack Somers (I know his son, David, so I'll ask him), but once the big Thopmson Pacifics were on the job, any timekeeping problems disappeared. 

 

Occasionally, there's some surprise shown when the inability of the 9Fs to keep time on the train (the heaviest on the line?) is mentioned. The point is, the 9Fs aren't that big in comparison with an A2/3 (or even a V2). A 9F weighs 86 tons 14 cwt, with a tractive effort of 39,670 lb. An A2/3 weighs 101 tons 10 cwt, with a tractive effort of 40,430 lb (I know the TE is not entirely indicative of a loco's strength, but it's an interesting comparison, especially as the 9F has four more drivers). A V2 weighs 93 tons 2 cwt. I mention the weight because, if related to my models, the heaviest ones always pull the most, and, although any of the five 9Fs I've built can haul the 29-wagon cement train on LB, any of the four A2/3s I've built can take the rake with even greater ease! 

 

Regards,

 

Tony.

 

As I understand it, the problem with Pacifics vs, in this case, 9Fs, isn't that they don't have good TE (as you point out above, Tony, they certainly do), but it's getting the power down on starting that's the issue. The contact surface between wheel and rail is small, so 10 drivers are going to be better than 6. Then there's the issue of smaller driving wheels being less likely to slip on starting because the starting torque can be controlled more finely; the turning moment being less...

 

Mark

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On 11/01/2020 at 14:58, Headstock said:

 

Good Afternoon Great Central,

 

it's a no-go on Lord President I'm afraid, silly old Hornby have not produced the tooling for that particular locomotive. The DJH kit is also of no use for the same reason, Your best option is the PDK kit or the old Crownline one if you can find one. Alternatively, some sort of complicated cut and shut based on the Bachmann A2 that Mick LNER could show examples of. A2/3 steady Aim is a loco that pops up in a number of 1950s references.

 

P.S. You may have witnessed one of the final runs over the London extension by a Thompson Pacific. I don't have any references or evidence  later than 57.

'silly old Hornby have not produced the tooling for that particular locomotive.'

 

Though you might have intended the above comment to be 'tongue in cheek', Andrew, I think it's rather unfair. 

 

Though I'm not claiming any credit for what Hornby is doing (nor responsibility!) with regard to the Thompson Pacifics, Pauls Isles and I discussed at length which A2/2s to do. Because the first Hornby RTR Thompson Pacific was going to be the A2/3, when the A2/2 options were discussed, it made sense to exploit the commonality of parts - especially the later Thompson/Peppercorn boilers. It might have been very nice to tool up to be able to do the A2/2s as originally rebuilt (and 60503/4 until the end of their lives), offering them in full LNER regalia, but (as I've mentioned before) if it costs £6,000 to tool up for a new chimney on an RTR model, think what it would cost to make an entirely new (and substantially-different) smokebox, boiler, firebox, cab and footplate? 

 

It was exactly the same situation when I advised DJH (years ago) as to which A2/2s were viable, after the firm had produced the A2/3.

 

It really begs the question (or at least it does to me) what do folk expect? Since you've 'suggested' the question, in your case (I assume) you couldn't really care less. If you want something, because you're a most-accomplished modeller, you'll make it. The majority can't.

 

By the end of this year (or early next year), anyone (providing he/she has around £200.00) will be able to buy an RTR model of a Thompson A2/3 (for the first time ever!). If, by exploiting commonality of parts, an A2/2 can be produced as well (remember, Hornby already make both tender types for the P2 rebuilds), even though it's only four out of the six, why is that silly?

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

The point is, the 9Fs aren't that big in comparison with an A2/3 (or even a V2). A 9F weighs 86 tons 14 cwt, with a tractive effort of 39,670 lb. An A2/3 weighs 101 tons 10 cwt, with a tractive effort of 40,430 lb (I know the TE is not entirely indicative of a loco's strength, but it's an interesting comparison, especially as the 9F has four more drivers).

Looking at it from a slightly different point of view - a steam locomotive is a means of turning coal into power at the wheels. Provided that the designer did his job right (and I suspect it always was a man), and therefore all the gubbins between the fire and the wheels can cope with the energy produced, a bigger fire will result in more power and therefore a locomotive that can pull a bigger, or faster, train.

 

The 9F has a 40 square foot grate, a Thompson Pacific has a 50 square foot grate. Since we can assume that both Thompson and Riddles were basically competent engineers producing the best locomotives they could, whatever one's quibbles with particular decisions, it stands to reason that an A2/3 should be able to produce about 25% more power than a 9F. Provided all other things are equal, of course. LMS power classification worked more-or-less on that basis, and the BR passenger power classification also did so to a lesser extent - the BR formula tried to ensure proper proportions of boiler, cylinder, and grate, but basically two-thirds of it comes from being able to burn enough coal.

 

It's also possible to come up with a figure based on cylinder dimensions, which gives the A2/3 about 35% more power. Even the V2 has about 13% more than a 9F, despite its' lower starting tractive effort. I've not figured out the formula for boiler power yet, but good design practice was for the boiler to be capable of generating more steam than the cylinders could use.

 

Interestingly, and surprising nobody, there's very little in it between a Coronation, a Peppercorn A2, and a Merchant Navy - a King or Princess is about 100hp less, and an A4 about 200hp less. The P2s knock them all for six, of course . Seriously impressive machines, and I look forward to seeing a 12":1 foot model of one running on the main line in a few years.

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I'm away for the weekend, and Wright Writes is more active than ever (is there a message here?). 

 

My thanks to all those who've contributed over the last three days. Most-interesting. 

 

Mo and I had a great time at the CMRA Show at Stevenage over the weekend. It really was an excellent event. All together, we made £66.00 for CRUK (a very good start to the year) through my fixing locos and most-generous donations (many thanks, Bill). I was able to repair/fix everything brought to me, apart from a Bachmann DCC-fitted Brush Type 4. Having finally got inside it, all I found was a serpent's nest of wires, none of which made sense. I did get its lights working, though - then gave it back! 

 

143011094_mystand.jpg.35472b2571a24b9077755a6839c45786.jpg

 

This was my stand. Does its number suggest anything? 

 

 

May I please thank all those with whom I spoke? And, thank all the organisers of the show? 

 

Part of my role was to act as a judge with some friends for the Denis Moore Cup, in memory of a great scenic modeller.

 

72043885_Brinklow11.jpg.dbd8f55f2e9e7b6dccb3da16ea98c3c0.jpg

 

My fellow judges and I awarded it to Brinklow, from the Milton Keynes Club. It's what N Gauge could (and should?) be, but frequently isn't. Here we don't have too much crammed in. It worked impeccably, which was also a consideration we took into account, which rather precluded a layout or two from winning! 

 

1263605283_Brinklow08.jpg.e609bf5dd6b46b4c31b884d3209909cf.jpg

 

Not everything was dead right - 90732 running in BR days, still with a Westinghouse pump? - but the overall standard of modelling was very good.

 

Picking up on a few recent comments about inaccuracies in published material, what about inaccuracies on layouts? At the show, on one layout, I witnessed the prototype DELTIC hauling a rake of pre-War Pullman cars, on the GNR/GER Joint! This was closely followed by a pristine Ivatt Atlantic hauling a rake of post-War Thompson carriages, which was then passed by a BR-liveried loco hauling a rake of the newest PO coal wagons you've ever seen! 

 

I know the builders well, and when I was asked to comment I was told 'Well that belongs to so and so, and he likes to run them, and most viewers don't know, anyway.' To be fair, the layout was popular with spectators, but what an opportunity lost, especially as much in the way of spare locos/stock (all unmodified RTR in the main) was more 'accurate'. 

 

Finally, I had to chuckle when a friend came round who was in a most-apologetic (and even embarrassed) state. He's part of the organising committee of a show Mo and I attend, and he was afraid to say that we were no longer invited. He wanted me to attend, because he thought I was 'good value' at the show, but some others thought otherwise. 

 

It comes about because I'm frequently asked to present prizes and give after-dinner speeches and so forth - which I did (and have done on many occasions - and have been asked to do more this year). Now, my belief is that any 'ceremonies' should be slick, entertaining and (where appropriate) humorous. Oh dear!  'Where appropriate' is open to interpretation! Perhaps I'm not 'sensitive' enough, though having mentioned this to friends who were in attendance, they couldn't believe it. 'We just roared with laughter', seemed to be the response.

 

Have I finally achieved 'notoriety'? Does anyone remember the after-dinners at Doncaster, and Harrogate, and.............?  

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2 hours ago, RLBH said:

Looking at it from a slightly different point of view - a steam locomotive is a means of turning coal into power at the wheels. Provided that the designer did his job right (and I suspect it always was a man), and therefore all the gubbins between the fire and the wheels can cope with the energy produced, a bigger fire will result in more power and therefore a locomotive that can pull a bigger, or faster, train.

 

The 9F has a 40 square foot grate, a Thompson Pacific has a 50 square foot grate. Since we can assume that both Thompson and Riddles were basically competent engineers producing the best locomotives they could, whatever one's quibbles with particular decisions, it stands to reason that an A2/3 should be able to produce about 25% more power than a 9F. Provided all other things are equal, of course. LMS power classification worked more-or-less on that basis, and the BR passenger power classification also did so to a lesser extent - the BR formula tried to ensure proper proportions of boiler, cylinder, and grate, but basically two-thirds of it comes from being able to burn enough coal.

 

It's also possible to come up with a figure based on cylinder dimensions, which gives the A2/3 about 35% more power. Even the V2 has about 13% more than a 9F, despite its' lower starting tractive effort. I've not figured out the formula for boiler power yet, but good design practice was for the boiler to be capable of generating more steam than the cylinders could use.

 

Interestingly, and surprising nobody, there's very little in it between a Coronation, a Peppercorn A2, and a Merchant Navy - a King or Princess is about 100hp less, and an A4 about 200hp less. The P2s knock them all for six, of course . Seriously impressive machines, and I look forward to seeing a 12":1 foot model of one running on the main line in a few years.

As I understand it ,it was a long long journey with only a single unionized fireman at a time.

That is less than 3000lbs coal per hour.

The A2/2 advantage was maybe that the  grate did not go haywire so soon.

In the calculation of starting/dead slow effort it is also nessecary  to include  wheel diameter and pressure.

The  important thing for haulage is adhessive mass; 66 tons for the A2/2 and V2 and 77 for 9F

The downside to a big grate is that it wastes  more coal all the time with fire.

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5 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

Now, my belief is that any 'ceremonies' should be slick, entertaining and (where appropriate) humorous. Oh dear!  'Where appropriate' is open to interpretation! Perhaps I'm not 'sensitive' enough, though having mentioned this to friends who were in attendance, they couldn't believe it. 'We just roared with laughter', seemed to be the response.

 

Have I finally achieved 'notoriety'? Does anyone remember the after-dinners at Doncaster, and Harrogate, and.............?  

I reckon you'd give Ricky Gervais a run for his money.

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2 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

That's beautifully-smooth, Martyn,

 

Well done, and thanks for showing us.

 

It's a pity that a large layout (in the same scale, but a different gauge) didn't run so well at Stevenage over the weekend. Far too many derailments for me! 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

I would be interested in thoughts/comments by those who are able to attend shows regularly (unfortunately at the moment I can't). Is there variation in the quality of running of the same layouts at different shows, or are the good ones generally always good and the bad ones bad? More to the point .... having seen a layout run faultlessly on one occasion, does it tend to run faultlessly from there on in, or do things ever go wrong?

 

I ask because I would assume that different show conditions could effect layouts in different ways and also thoroughness of setting up/trouble shooting might suffer over a busy period? ... not that this should be an excuse.

 

My own smallish test track, once I got it properly up and running appears pretty consistent as does the stock once the same process has been gone through - but these are always run under the same conditions.

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1 hour ago, Lecorbusier said:

Is there variation in the quality of running of the same layouts at different shows, or are the good ones generally always good and the bad ones bad? More to the point .... having seen a layout run faultlessly on one occasion, does it tend to run faultlessly from there on in, or do things ever go wrong?

 

 

My own experience as an operator of a large, 36'*20' EM Gauge, layout at three shows now is that total consistency is somewhat difficult to guarantee.  We are very lucky in that we have a space where the layout can be set up permanently between shows as well so a lot of testing can be done but we still get occasions where the same train can run the same route 9 times but on the 10th run will derail.  Of course, every time this happens, the cause is examined to see if it is a particular wagon or the track and efforts made to fix the issue.  

 

One thing we have found that helps is that, once you do have a train that works consistently is to try and ensure that particular train is made up of exactly the same wagons the next time it is set up (easier said than done when you have, for example, almost 100 21T wagons).

 

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1 hour ago, Lecorbusier said:

I would be interested in thoughts/comments by those who are able to attend shows regularly (unfortunately at the moment I can't). Is there variation in the quality of running of the same layouts at different shows, or are the good ones generally always good and the bad ones bad? More to the point .... having seen a layout run faultlessly on one occasion, does it tend to run faultlessly from there on in, or do things ever go wrong?

 

I ask because I would assume that different show conditions could effect layouts in different ways and also thoroughness of setting up/trouble shooting might suffer over a busy period? ... not that this should be an excuse.

 

My own smallish test track, once I got it properly up and running appears pretty consistent as does the stock once the same process has been gone through - but these are always run under the same conditions.

An interesting thought, Tim,

 

Different environments can affect any layout, of course. 

 

In the case of the poor running I've cited today, every time I've seen the layout in question, the running has been poor. It is not alone! 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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57 minutes ago, Lecorbusier said:

I would be interested in thoughts/comments by those who are able to attend shows regularly (unfortunately at the moment I can't). Is there variation in the quality of running of the same layouts at different shows, or are the good ones generally always good and the bad ones bad? More to the point .... having seen a layout run faultlessly on one occasion, does it tend to run faultlessly from there on in, or do things ever go wrong?

 

I ask because I would assume that different show conditions could effect layouts in different ways and also thoroughness of setting up/trouble shooting might suffer over a busy period? ... not that this should be an excuse.

 

My own smallish test track, once I got it properly up and running appears pretty consistent as does the stock once the same process has been gone through - but these are always run under the same conditions.

 

Having operated club layouts at exhibitions over a number of years, it is my perception that the performance of a particular layout is pretty consistent over time, although there are always exceptions.  I recall one exhibition where a normally reliable layout kept derailing unpredictably.  After investigations we realised that the gymnasium floor was unusually ‘springy’ and caused the baseboards to physically move as visitors walked by.

 

Intensive working at exhibitions can give rise to problems if track is not cleaned regularly.  On one occasion, located next to a live steam layout, frequent track cleaning became a major requirement.

 

The biggest factor though is undoubtedly the operating team.  Every layout and certain items of rolling stock can have their quirks, so a good crew who know what they are doing, who know the layout well, and are familiar with the rolling stock are essential.  A focus on ‘delivering the show’, rather than maximising the social opportunities of an exhibition, makes a big difference.  Even when problems do arise, good operators who know the layout intimately are usually able to creatively work around these and keep the public entertained, whilst repairs are discretely undertaken by other team members.  

 

It’s not so much what goes wrong, rather it is how ‘situations’ are handled that makes the difference between a good layout and something exceptional.

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5 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

An interesting thought, Tim,

 

Different environments can affect any layout, of course. 

 

In the case of the poor running I've cited today, every time I've seen the layout in question, the running has been poor. It is not alone! 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

As someone who hopes in due course to build a layout which will be exhibited if it attracts any interest, This question interests me quite a lot. With your long experience Tony, do you have any comments or thoughts on those layouts which you have been actively involved with?

 

I also wonder if a large layout is not at a disadvantage here unless it is the beneficiary of either large club rooms or a large railway room. I would have thought it imperative to be able to actively work on a layout fully assembled between shows to iron out gremlins if they manifest.

 

Primarily I wondered if transporting a layout (with all the knocks and juddering this involves) and then erecting it in what might be very different environmental conditions to that at home, meant that there is an element of a lottery about shows?

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24 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

An interesting thought, Tim,

 

Different environments can affect any layout, of course. 

 

In the case of the poor running I've cited today, every time I've seen the layout in question, the running has been poor. It is not alone! 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

One has to wonder why consistently unreliable layouts continue to be invited to shows? Why do the owners of these layouts continue to exhibit bad workmanship?

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There is an element of lottery when it comes to exhibiting a layout at shows. However, if the layout has been built well then you'll have very few issues and any that you do have will be fixable.

 

I'm often surprised that my own layouts can spend ages in storage only to work perfectly once put up in an exhibition hall.

 

My best advice, clean wheels and clean track!

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45 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

An interesting thought, Tim,

 

Different environments can affect any layout, of course. 

 

In the case of the poor running I've cited today, every time I've seen the layout in question, the running has been poor. It is not alone! 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

Its interesting because the couple of times I looked at the layout that won the cup at Stevenage it was displaying several things which I don't like about N gauge layouts. The majority of the trains I saw were unaltered RTR, running far too fast. The worst culprit was an unaltered Minitrix 9F, which apart from having the same number of wheels doesn't look much like a 9F, clipping through the scene doing at least a ton with a rake of minerals bouncing through the Peco pointwork which, as can be seen in Tony's photos, is still at setrack spacing. Getting commercial N gauge to run round in circles at speed is not particularly challenging and hardly a fair comparison with many of the other exhibits at the show. I would have to respectfully disagree with Tony's choice of best scenic model at the show. Johnstown Road, Freshwater, Burntisland...... I could real off several others that, in my opinion, were far better.

 

Jerry

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3 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

'silly old Hornby have not produced the tooling for that particular locomotive.'

 

Though you might have intended the above comment to be 'tongue in cheek', Andrew, I think it's rather unfair. 

 

Though I'm not claiming any credit for what Hornby is doing (nor responsibility!) with regard to the Thompson Pacifics, Pauls Isles and I discussed at length which A2/2s to do. Because the first Hornby RTR Thompson Pacific was going to be the A2/3, when the A2/2 options were discussed, it made sense to exploit the commonality of parts - especially the later Thompson/Peppercorn boilers. It might have been very nice to tool up to be able to do the A2/2s as originally rebuilt (and 60503/4 until the end of their lives), offering them in full LNER regalia, but (as I've mentioned before) if it costs £6,000 to tool up for a new chimney on an RTR model, think what it would cost to make an entirely new (and substantially-different) smokebox, boiler, firebox, cab and footplate? 

 

It was exactly the same situation when I advised DJH (years ago) as to which A2/2s were viable, after the firm had produced the A2/3.

 

It really begs the question (or at least it does to me) what do folk expect? Since you've 'suggested' the question, in your case (I assume) you couldn't really care less. If you want something, because you're a most-accomplished modeller, you'll make it. The majority can't.

 

By the end of this year (or early next year), anyone (providing he/she has around £200.00) will be able to buy an RTR model of a Thompson A2/3 (for the first time ever!). If, by exploiting commonality of parts, an A2/2 can be produced as well (remember, Hornby already make both tender types for the P2 rebuilds), even though it's only four out of the six, why is that silly?

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

 

 

Swings and roundabouts views  on this Hornby decision , from me at least.

 

Make the original LNER version 503 and 504, this you can then make as at least two versions of each LNER and BR  out of the moulds = more sales and profit . Hornby have however decided to do the other two , one version of each variety . I know which versions I would buy , silly decision ?or perhaps at least short sighted or not at best ?.

 

Sadly the Hornby version is of no use to me, unless you want to backdate the body which would not be a easy conversion ( or use the chassis and Tender with the Bachmann  A2 body if you can find one) . Perhaps many others might think the same, when deciding to buy or not. The same train of thought applies to the DJH version .

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One of (by no means the only, there were several factors involved) the reasons for my parting company with the club I used to belong to was my dismay at the low standard of running quality.  As an operator, I am of the opinion that I should be able to replicate any move that was done on a prototype with that trackplan, but layout after layout turned up looking splendid, but 'you can't operate that stock into the bay', or 'you can only use half of that double slip' or, 'we have to use tension lock couplers on the goods trains because otherwise they'll derail when you propel them over the 30" radius shunt into the yard'.  We had 2 members who made themselves responsible for wiring (this is in the pre-DCC era) whose views on how it should be accomplished differed and whichever one attended the show would spend his time beneath the layout getting hot solder in his eyes rewiring it his way.  We even had one of those car mechanics trolleys for them to move about down there on.  My view is that the underneath of layouts should be used for hidden sleeping and the consumption of food and beer...

 

Meanwhile the operators had to blag things a bit up top to keep Joe Public entertained.  The same stock that didn't run last time kept appearing, and one quite large terminus which I believe the club still has never worked properly and AFAIK still doesn't; 'we're going to re-wire it one day'.  Life's too short, boys!  Individual members have exhibited layouts that run faultlessly, but we could never quite get it together as a club.  Baseboards were of superb, nigh on cabinet maker, quality, and fitted together without fuss, scenery was very good, tracklaying looked better than it actually was, and we never really got to grips with operating.  The club 'culture' was very much aligned to modelling, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you are doing it with the expressed intention of exhibiting, you need to make sure it runs well as well.

 

IMHO, of course!  I was eventually given my own way and the club built a layout which I designed and set the specifications for, and which I financed, the deal being that is was to be available for exhibitions. It worked faultlessly, with hand built points to a standard I could not have achieved and fully chaired track.  But a member turned up with some very nice looking TVR and Cardiff Rly locos using RTR chassis and plasticard bodies which didn't work, because he hadn't ballasted them and they were too light for effective pick up; really basic and annoying mistakes (I have long been in the habit of cramming as much weight over the driven axles on my locos as I can, a necessity I learned early with motorised Airfix locos).  

 

And some of the modellers, while being undoubtedly capable of very realistic work, were extremely rough drivers!  The attitude seemed to be that, once you'd built the thing, the job was over and nothing else mattered, but this is not the only thing that exhibitions are about.  A good exhibition should, IMV, show a variety of standards of modelling from RTR trainset to scratchbuilt fine scale perfection with as much as possible in between, to show the punters what they could do should they decide to become involved with the hobby, and it is absolutely vital that all these layouts, whatever the standards, should work, properly!!!   I can see the argument for exhibiting half finished layouts to demonstrate how they are built, but some of our layouts were never more than half finished, and the truth was that we'd committed ourselves to shows in order to prompt the finishing of a layout which was then rushed and didn't work properly.

 

 

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I'm not denying that exhibition venues can present major challenges.  Poor floors, extremes of heat, cold, humidity, and at one show we exhibited at, R/C cars slamming into the legs at real speeds of 30 or 40mph derailing everything.  It was a tragedy when one of our more bulky members accidentally trod on one...  But there are established methods of baseboard construction and connecting wires that will provide a layout capable of coping with most conditions; it is the operators who suffer in the heat and humidity.  A really bouncy floor is probably beyond redemption and my view would be to refuse to exhibit at a venue known to be unsuitable, but that sort of extreme apart, there is little excuse for poor running, especially if one has to pay to go and see it!

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22 minutes ago, Lecorbusier said:

As someone who hopes in due course to build a layout which will be exhibited if it attracts any interest, This question interests me quite a lot. With your long experience Tony, do you have any comments or thoughts on those layouts which you have been actively involved with?

 

I also wonder if a large layout is not at a disadvantage here unless it is the beneficiary of either large club rooms or a large railway room. I would have thought it imperative to be able to actively work on a layout fully assembled between shows to iron out gremlins if they manifest.

 

Primarily I wondered if transporting a layout (with all the knocks and juddering this involves) and then erecting it in what might be very different environmental conditions to that at home, meant that there is an element of a lottery about shows?

With regards to my 'experience', Tim, I can only comment on what I feel are 'essentials' with reference to the 'successful' exhibition layouts I've been involved with.

 

1. They must be very robust in their construction - ie; when boxed-up for transportation, sections must be strong enough for a grown man (or men) to stand on!

 

2. Every board must have a mate to which it can be boxed together, so that the 'tops' face each other, are separated by substantial end boards and can be strongly bolted together. This protects any scenery and minimises the risk of transportation damage. Ideally, a scenic board will match with a fiddle yard board to minimise the depth of the pair. I've seen some layouts where no two boards are the same size, so successful transportation (without damage) is compromised. When adjacent boards are fixed together during setting up, the same (10mm) bolts must be used as those which secure the transportation end boards. These should pass through 11mm holes in the (metal) endplates, giving some adjustment. Speaking of adjustment, always use a spirit level when setting up and have plenty of pieces of packing. Layouts which employ disparate sizes of means of fixing themselves together are doomed at shows!

 

3. All track ends MUST be very securely-fixed. On Stoke Summit and Charwelton, the rail ends were soldered to substantial metal sprags, Araldited into the baseboards. Any track ends MUST be protected for transportation. 

 

4. Electrics must be robust and reliable. For the inter-connecting of boards, there must be several spare leads. 

 

5. Before any exhibition (even after attending dozens) a layout must be set up beforehand to be thoroughly-tested. 

 

6. Any new items of locos/rolling stock MUST be tested beforehand, and NOT run for the very first time at a show. 

 

7. In conjunction with 6, if any items of locos/rolling stock fails/derails/jerks/stutters/etc, during a show it must IMMEDIATELY be taken off and the fault investigated. Though just popping something back on is all right if it's caused by operator error, merely re-railing a dud is entirely unacceptable. If the fault can be cured at a show, all well and good, providing any future testing is NOT conducted when the show is still open. If testing during non-open hours proves successful, then an item can be placed back on the layout, but NOT until the public has gone. There is no exception to item 7. No matter who the builder is, nor his or her status in the hobby, if what they've built fails, it's OFF

 

8. No team should be allowed to operate a layout until EVERY member has had a full practice session beforehand. I've seen some layouts where complex controls are handed over to a guest operator (who has never operated it before), in the middle of a crowded show, and the result is chaos! There are exceptions which could be allowed - for instance, if it's the last half hour of a show, youngsters might have a try, but only under supervision. And, tangentially, guest stock might be allowed to run, but never during the show's busiest times. 

 

9. When setting up at a show (say, a Friday evening), if possible, a layout should be thoroughly tested to make sure no faults have occurred in transit. It should also be thoroughly tested on the Saturday morning, to identify if any faults have occurred overnight, due to changes in conditions/temperature/etc. So, no lying in bed! Track cleaning is also essential. As is hoovering. 

 

10 NEVER, NEVER, NEVER assume fishplates will conduct electricity! EVERY section of rail MUST have its own feed. 

 

11 All operators should be concentrating at all times, and not be indulging in idle chit-chat with each other. This doesn't preclude having fun, but I've seen too many layouts where NOTHING is happening and the operators are blissfully unaware and just merrily chatting among themselves. To answer any questions from the public, it's a good idea to have a member of the team outside the layout, who's not operating, to explain things. We are in the (paid for) entertainment business. 

 

12 if a fault does occur (and it will), don't wave arms and shout at each other. Be calm, apologise for the problem and fix it as quickly as possible. Occasionally, a major fault will occur (a point failure, for instance), and fixing it will take time. If this does happen, explain the problem to the public. Ironically, someone wielding a soldering iron can prove of interest! 

 

13. If any faults do occur at a show (and their effect can be minimised, if not completely fixed), then they MUST be noted and attended to as near as soon as possible after the show, and DEFINITELY before the next one. I was a guest operator (fully-trained!) on a layout where a V2 constantly failed and a point caused derailments. When I asked if that had happened at the last show, the answer was 'Yes'. And that's all! I declined the next invitation to operate it. 

 

14. It goes (almost without saying) that all track and all stock must be compatible, and, under NO circumstances should dead-frog points be employed. Neither should any stock with plastic wheels be used. 

 

15. As with the layout, all locos/stock should be examined before a show and cleaned/adjusted/oiled as appropriate.

 

16. Others are less-imperative. For instance, on the layouts in question, WMRC members built the locos and stock for them, not being RTR-dependent. 

 

No doubt there are other imperatives which I've missed, and I invite others to 'fill in the blanks' as it were. 

 

My apologies for 'shouting', but I see far too much in the way of poor running at shows these days.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, micklner said:

Swings and roundabouts views  on this Hornby decision , from me at least.

 

Make the original LNER version 503 and 504, this you can then make as at least two versions of each LNER and BR  out of the moulds = more sales and profit . Hornby have however decided to do the other two , one version of each variety . I know which versions I would buy , silly decision ?or perhaps at least short sighted or not at best ?.

 

Sadly the Hornby version is of no use to me, unless you want to backdate the body which would not be a easy conversion ( or use the chassis and Tender with the Bachmann  A2 body if you can find one) . Perhaps many others might think the same, when deciding to buy or not. The same train of thought applies to the DJH version .

Thanks for that, Mick,

 

'unless you want to backdate the body which would not be a easy conversion' 

 

Just as difficult (financially) for Hornby. 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

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1 hour ago, queensquare said:

 

Its interesting because the couple of times I looked at the layout that won the cup at Stevenage it was displaying several things which I don't like about N gauge layouts. The majority of the trains I saw were unaltered RTR, running far too fast. The worst culprit was an unaltered Minitrix 9F, which apart from having the same number of wheels doesn't look much like a 9F, clipping through the scene doing at least a ton with a rake of minerals bouncing through the Peco pointwork which, as can be seen in Tony's photos, is still at setrack spacing. Getting commercial N gauge to run round in circles at speed is not particularly challenging and hardly a fair comparison with many of the other exhibits at the show. I would have to respectfully disagree with Tony's choice of best scenic model at the show. Johnstown Road, Freshwater, Burntisland...... I could real off several others that, in my opinion, were far better.

 

Jerry

Thanks Jerry,

 

Interestingly, the decision among the three judges was unanimous. 

 

That said, I'd have had no problem in awarding the cup to any of the others you've mentioned, with one exception. Though primarily awarded for scenic work, running was taken into consideration. I saw no derailments during the (several) times I looked at Brinklow, which is more than can be said for other layouts. 

 

It was an actual prototype as well (which I'm always drawn to, as you know), and (though you seemed to think the running was too fast), nothing failed when I observed it.

 

I honestly thought it was a worthy winner..............

 

917293649_Brinklow02.jpg.0e60ecea5f0f3c7f38b3a9266e7a2036.jpg

 

383117058_Brinklow03.jpg.7d32fd305b57605657ed136de6dc49b8.jpg

 

1822054874_Brinklow05B.jpg.ba2f13e43be8439376705903b8de6097.jpg1752776766_Brinklow07.jpg.890bba9b7145a900776d7c40d8ea7f95.jpg

 

1829347398_Brinklow12.jpg.8cdc607a8754c4fa4a26a2ac540a4e35.jpg

 

1239378366_Brinklow15.jpg.4b7bf31498c5e9516ef615ff19e74a99.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tony Wright
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The Anglo Scottish Cement Trains on The ECML commenced in August 1960 with the introduction of The Purfleet to Cambuslang / Leith Service. Initially these were loaded at just 15 Presflos and were hauled by 9F’s and V2’s. This train grew progressively in length until August 1961 when a new Anglo Scottish Service commenced between Cliffe and Uddingston loaded to 28 Cemflos. 9F’s were initially the mainstay until the introduction in December 1961 of  2 Class 33 diesels on the working, the second unit being provided because of the high rate of failure on these locomotives at the time.

However I have been unable to identify any photos or detailed observations of the use of A2/3 Pacifics on The Cement Trains and wonder if the use of The New England A2/3 was just a one off trial. It would be interesting to discover which locomotive was used on the initial trial.

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39 minutes ago, Tony Wright said:

With regards to my 'experience', Tim, I can only comment on what I feel are 'essentials' with reference to the 'successful' exhibition layouts I've been involved with.

 

1. They must be very robust in their construction - ie; when boxed-up for transportation, sections must be strong enough for a grown man (or men) to stand on!

 

2. Every board must have a mate to which it can be boxed together, so that the 'tops' face each other, are separated by substantial end boards and can be strongly bolted together. This protects any scenery and minimises the risk of transportation damage. Ideally, a scenic board will match with a fiddle yard board to minimise the depth of the pair. I've seen some layouts where no two boards are the same size, so successful transportation (without damage) is compromised. When adjacent boards are fixed together during setting up, the same (10mm) bolts must be used as those which secure the transportation end boards. These should pass through 11mm holes in the (metal) endplates, giving some adjustment. Speaking of adjustment, always use a spirit level when setting up and have plenty of pieces of packing. Layouts which employ disparate sizes of means of fixing themselves together are doomed at shows!

 

3. All track ends MUST be very securely-fixed. On Stoke Summit and Charwelton, the rail ends were soldered to substantial metal sprags, Araldited into the baseboards. Any track ends MUST be protected for transportation. 

 

4. Electrics must be robust and reliable. For the inter-connecting of boards, there must be several spare leads. 

 

5. Before any exhibition (even after attending dozens) a layout must be set up beforehand to be thoroughly-tested. 

 

6. Any new items of locos/rolling stock MUST be tested beforehand, and NOT run for the very first time at a show. 

 

7. In conjunction with 6, if any items of locos/rolling stock fails/derails/jerks/stutters/etc, during a show it must IMMEDIATELY be taken off and the fault investigated. Though just popping something back on is all right if it's caused by operator error, merely re-railing a dud is entirely unacceptable. If the fault can be cured at a show, all well and good, providing any future testing is NOT conducted when the show is still open. If testing during non-open hours proves successful, then an item can be placed back on the layout, but NOT until the public has gone. There is no exception to item 7. No matter who the builder is, nor his or her status in the hobby, if what they've built fails, it's OFF

 

8. No team should be allowed to operate a layout until EVERY member has had a full practice session beforehand. I've seen some layouts where complex controls are handed over to a guest operator (who has never operated it before), in the middle of a crowded show, and the result is chaos! There are exceptions which could be allowed - for instance, if it's the last half hour of a show, youngsters might have a try, but only under supervision. And, tangentially, guest stock might be allowed to run, but never during the show's busiest times. 

 

9. When setting up at a show (say, a Friday evening), if possible, a layout should be thoroughly tested to make sure no faults have occurred in transit. It should also be thoroughly tested on the Saturday morning, to identify if any faults have occurred overnight, due to changes in conditions/temperature/etc. So, no lying in bed! Track cleaning is also essential. As is hoovering. 

 

10 NEVER, NEVER, NEVER assume fishplates will conduct electricity! EVERY section of rail MUST have its own feed. 

 

11 All operators should be concentrating at all times, and not be indulging in idle chit-chat with each other. This doesn't preclude having fun, but I've seen too many layouts where NOTHING is happening and the operators are blissfully unaware and just merrily chatting among themselves. To answer any questions from the public, it's a good idea to have a member of the team outside the layout, who's not operating, to explain things. We are in the (paid for) entertainment business. 

 

12 if a fault does occur (and it will), don't wave arms and shout at each other. Be calm, apologise for the problem and fix it as quickly as possible. Occasionally, a major fault will occur (a point failure, for instance), and fixing it will take time. If this does happen, explain the problem to the public. Ironically, someone wielding a soldering iron can prove of interest! 

 

13. If any faults do occur at a show (and their effect can be minimised, if not completely fixed), then they MUST be noted and attended to as near as soon as possible after the show, and DEFINITELY before the next one. I was a guest operator (fully-trained!) on a layout where a V2 constantly failed and a point caused derailments. When I asked if that had happened at the last show, the answer was 'Yes'. And that's all! I declined the next invitation to operate it. 

 

14. It goes (almost without saying) that all track and all stock must be compatible, and, under NO circumstances should dead-frog points be employed. Neither should any stock with plastic wheels be used. 

 

15. As with the layout, all locos/stock should be examined before a show and cleaned/adjusted/oiled as appropriate.

 

16. Others are less-imperative. For instance, on the layouts in question, WMRC members built the locos and stock for them, not being RTR-dependent. 

 

No doubt there are other imperatives which I've missed, and I invite others to 'fill in the blanks' as it were. 

 

My apologies for 'shouting', but I see far too much in the way of poor running at shows these days.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

 

 

 

As a regular exhibitor, I cannot agree more with your list of items to be taken into account on exhibiting layouts, Tony.  I would add one other - that operators do need regular breaks.  Too many continuous hours operating can often lead to the brain not computing properly and silly mistakes happening  - and they seem to always happen at the busiest times of the day!

 

I intend to print off your posting - if I may - and let the other members of our team see it - sadly they are not all RMwebbers!   Your note says what a few of us have been saying on many occasions in the past.  (AM) 

  

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