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Phil Parker

Building Your First Layout Supplement

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Good evening all

 

Well a little more progress as you can see from the photo, still unsure about the placement of the water tower at present. Still lots of fencing to do and now the layout has a name, Little Highley.

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Good evening all

 

Well thats me near enough finished my little take on phil's layout. First I would like to say thank you to phil for giving me the inspiration to attempt something bigger than my little 4ft shunting plank. As mentioned before I have a soft spot for the SVR with my previous shunting layout called Little Highley also. My original Little Highley quickly became very restrictive on what i could run, could have had something to do with me purchasing more and more models :). After a big clear out i'm left with a sensible about of stock to give me variation in operation which for my purposes are fine. My first layout was okay but it always left me wanting a little bit more or even just changing some of the static grass colours as they were far to vibrant. I also obtained skills which I wish I had known in the begining. If anyone would like to see my original little highley just type in little highley in your favourite search engine. I may one day do some form of weathering to the station area, but I really like the well maintained and almost pristine look of my little heritage line.

 

Once again thanks all and happy modelling.

 

Kind Regards

 

David

 

(Ps sorry for terrible grammar, typing on a mobile phone is not for the faint hearted)

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Cracking job. That's a good looking layout and I hope you've enjoyed building it.

 

Nothing wrong with a tidy heritage line either. I've been wondering if we need more of these at shows as they are the sort of railways many youngsters are familiar with from days out. Maybe a few more Little Highley's and less Thomas will bring new recruits into the hobby. 

 

Well done.

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For uncoupling in the station for running around what method have people used?

 

A dental probe! - it works well and does very loosely have an historic connection as uncoupling poles were used in period I believe - all my couplings are singled up with hooks removed from one end which was a good tip picked up on here.............

 

Good to find another novice focussed topic

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To second Halsey's comment - I've just done the same to most of my couplings and made new loops (cut out of plastic card to the same shape as the originals) to replace some of the large couplings on old Hornby stock.  A piece of stiff wire taped to a pencil is just as effective as a dental probe for uncoupling.

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To second Halsey's comment - I've just done the same to most of my couplings and made new loops (cut out of plastic card to the same shape as the originals) to replace some of the large couplings on old Hornby stock.  A piece of stiff wire taped to a pencil is just as effective as a dental probe for uncoupling.

 

Stiff wire taped to a penlight is better...

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So use the couplings which come with the item of rolling stock and remove the hook from one side?

Probably a bit late now, but yes.  It makes the vehicles easier to uncouple.

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I am a big fan of the simple approach used here.  I have more or less completed the basic work on Cwmdimbath, a South Wales blt which is pretty simple, and which I designed to be easy to build and wire.  Peco code 100, Insulfrog points, all wiring above the baseboard.  When I say all wiring, I mean all 4 of them...

 

Power feeds to the track are simply wires from the controller (a single knob Gaugemaster dating from the Silurian era) attached to the ends of the rails at the 'town' end of the layout by crimping them in fishplates which are then attached to the track and crimped tight with pliers.  This appalling crudity was then test run and, when I was fully satisfied that 100% reliability was achieved, buried in ballast and scenery.

 

No droppers, no holes to be drilled in the boards, no faffing about underneath with solder dripping in your eyes (happy memories...), and most of all, NO SOLDERING.  I have never mastered the art of soldering to the extent that I am able to be convinced that a joint is 100% reliable, and have had countless issues over many years with soldered joints, not just my pathetic attempts but professionally soldered ones as well.  My opinion, which I admit is a bit extreme and will cause howls of protest here, is that soldering is inherently unreliable and, well, doesn't work.

 

I have been running Cwmdimbath on most days for varying lengths of time for about 3 months now, and have yet to have an electrical problem.  Because I paid a lot of attention to smooth and level track laying, the only derailments have been to vehicles whose back2backs were out or wheels not running true, or lock buffering due to my early coupling problems.  With clean rails and pickups I can put my hand on my heart and say there have been NO stalls; you just turn the knob and the train does what you tell it to.

 

All my stock was fitted with 'scale' couplings, and because of the running problems and my deteriorated eyesight and steadiness of hand (don't laugh, you'll be old and useless one day, too), have 'reverted' to tension locks, a move that wasn't as simple as I thought it would be but we are there now!

 

The point of simplicity of design and operation is to achieve absolutely reliable running, which has been accomplished on Cwmdimbath.  The layout is a return to the hobby after many years absence, and the culmination of some bits of experience picked up over a long time.  It is a simple single line terminus with a run around loop, which has siding off each end of it.  This restricted width fits the very narrow baseboards, or shelves as IKEA called them when they were originally bought and before they were chucked out by someone and skip raided by me, and suits the Valleys 'railway confined on a shelf on the mountainside' feel I was going for.  You need to run around all the time to marshall freight trains from the two 'opposing' sidings, and this will while away a good hour, more if the pickup has to get out of the way of the next auto...  

 

Good running is essential, especially on a beginner's layout as bad running will put people off the hobby.  

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I am a big fan of the simple approach used here.  I have more or less completed the basic work on Cwmdimbath, a South Wales blt which is pretty simple, and which I designed to be easy to build and wire.  Peco code 100, Insulfrog points, all wiring above the baseboard.  When I say all wiring, I mean all 4 of them...

 

Power feeds to the track are simply wires from the controller (a single knob Gaugemaster dating from the Silurian era) attached to the ends of the rails at the 'town' end of the layout by crimping them in fishplates which are then attached to the track and crimped tight with pliers.  This appalling crudity was then test run and, when I was fully satisfied that 100% reliability was achieved, buried in ballast and scenery.

 

No droppers, no holes to be drilled in the boards, no faffing about underneath with solder dripping in your eyes (happy memories...), and most of all, NO SOLDERING.  I have never mastered the art of soldering to the extent that I am able to be convinced that a joint is 100% reliable, and have had countless issues over many years with soldered joints, not just my pathetic attempts but professionally soldered ones as well.  My opinion, which I admit is a bit extreme and will cause howls of protest here, is that soldering is inherently unreliable and, well, doesn't work.

 

I have been running Cwmdimbath on most days for varying lengths of time for about 3 months now, and have yet to have an electrical problem.  Because I paid a lot of attention to smooth and level track laying, the only derailments have been to vehicles whose back2backs were out or wheels not running true, or lock buffering due to my early coupling problems.  With clean rails and pickups I can put my hand on my heart and say there have been NO stalls; you just turn the knob and the train does what you tell it to.

 

All my stock was fitted with 'scale' couplings, and because of the running problems and my deteriorated eyesight and steadiness of hand (don't laugh, you'll be old and useless one day, too), have 'reverted' to tension locks, a move that wasn't as simple as I thought it would be but we are there now!

 

The point of simplicity of design and operation is to achieve absolutely reliable running, which has been accomplished on Cwmdimbath.  The layout is a return to the hobby after many years absence, and the culmination of some bits of experience picked up over a long time.  It is a simple single line terminus with a run around loop, which has siding off each end of it.  This restricted width fits the very narrow baseboards, or shelves as IKEA called them when they were originally bought and before they were chucked out by someone and skip raided by me, and suits the Valleys 'railway confined on a shelf on the mountainside' feel I was going for.  You need to run around all the time to marshall freight trains from the two 'opposing' sidings, and this will while away a good hour, more if the pickup has to get out of the way of the next auto...  

 

Good running is essential, especially on a beginner's layout as bad running will put people off the hobby.  

I hope you'll excuse my ignorance, but I've seen the expression 'BLT' used to describe layouts a few times now and I've got absolutely no idea what it means. Any chance you (or someone) could enlighten me, please?

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Its good to ask "obvious" questions many of us aren't brave enough to do so - I have always assumed Branch Line Terminus - lets see if I'm right!

 

When I joined here and rejoined my hobby after 40 years "off" I couldn't believe how much jargon there was - it was like learning a new language or, god forbid, starting a new job

 

BFN

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Its good to ask "obvious" questions many of us aren't brave enough to do so - I have always assumed Branch Line Terminus - lets see if I'm right!

 

When I joined here and rejoined my hobby after 40 years "off" I couldn't believe how much jargon there was - it was like learning a new language or, god forbid, starting a new job

 

BFN

Hi Halsey,

 

Thanks for the reply. Branch Line Terminus - it seems obvious once you say it, but as I was saying to my daughter when she asked for help with her HW the other day, sometimes you just can't see the obvious answers for looking.

 

If you want obvious questions, or even downright stupid ones (!!), then I'm yer man.  :-)

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No droppers, no holes to be drilled in the boards, no faffing about underneath with solder dripping in your eyes (happy memories...), and most of all, NO SOLDERING.  I have never mastered the art of soldering to the extent that I am able to be convinced that a joint is 100% reliable, and have had countless issues over many years with soldered joints, not just my pathetic attempts but professionally soldered ones as well.  My opinion, which I admit is a bit extreme and will cause howls of protest here, is that soldering is inherently unreliable and, well, doesn't work.

 

OK, you are trolling, but I'll bite.

 

Soldering is NOT "inherently unreliable". Working on the basis that you are posting on an Internet forum, you own at least one piece of consumer electronics. I can assure you that the electrical connections in this aren't crimped!

 

Many will own devices full of soldered connections that have lasted many, many years performing more service than any model railway and in conditions far more arduous than our layouts will experience. I bet your kitchen fills up with smoke and steam more often than the layout room!

 

Electrical soldering isn't a difficult process. It's important to make sure both wire and rail are clean, use a hot iron, tin/lead solder (lead free will work but it a little trickier) and a non-corrosive flux (DCC Concepts do an excellent one). Tin the wire and the rail then bring the two together with a bit of flux heating the joint until the metal runs. Take the heat away, let the joint cool for a few seconds then give it a tug. If the wire stays attached, you'll be fine.

 

If soldering really does scare you, Peco sell some nice fishplates with pre-soldered wires. Drop them through the baseboard for an almost invisible connection.

 

Crimping in the manner you describe will work, but only for limited track plans. You can't crimp in the middle of a circuit and some point formations will leave you without power if you feed only from the ends.

 

There are loads of ways to achieve our aims in this hobby and if they work for you, that's great, but don't denigrate the methods other people use to just as good effect.

Hi Halsey,

 

Thanks for the reply. Branch Line Terminus - it seems obvious once you say it, but as I was saying to my daughter when she asked for help with her HW the other day, sometimes you just can't see the obvious answers for looking.

 

If you want obvious questions, or even downright stupid ones (!!), then I'm yer man.  :-)

 

There's no such thing as a dumb question - apart from the ones not asked for fear of looking dumb. I am sure you aren't the only one who didn't know!

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Its good to ask "obvious" questions many of us aren't brave enough to do so - I have always assumed Branch Line Terminus - lets see if I'm right!

 

 

Acronyms can be great typing and time savers, but unless you know what they stand for can be rather confusing. And it is possible to get them wrong - I once thought that BLTs were the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches I was eating for lunch but now I know what those crunchy bits of rusty iron were.

 

G. 

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Acronyms can be great typing and time savers, but unless you know what they stand for can be rather confusing. And it is possible to get them wrong - I once thought that BLTs were the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches I was eating for lunch but now I know what those crunchy bits of rusty iron were.

 

I'd imagine they might also have been almost as dry as my sense of humour.

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Coming at this via a rather circuitous route and having read the book-a-zine from pocketmag.com I've enjoyed it greatly. I think the choice of prototype, the scenery treatment and the general level of care given is a true compliment to the hobby. Certainly, Phil's approach of treating the reader as both an an adult and not borne with an innate knowledge of skills required was lovely.

 

It has given me some food for thought for my own plank ahead of a larger future layout (which much like the Hydra appears to regrow every time is slay one of it's heads).

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I really could not resist doing this in TT 14.2-Fine. The slightly smaller scale but higher fidelity of trackwork mean it fits into roughly the same footprint (8'6 x 1'4"). 

 

8pQqJka.jpg

 

All turnouts are B6 with an 11' way on the passing loop. The whole layout is on a slight concave curve and doesn't run parallel to the board edges (which I see all the time and can't help but feel is silly with hand laid/flexi-track ??)

 

In this version of Edgeworth the fiddle yard in this would have to be a traverser - assuming backscene thickness and some form of stop on the other end, one would have a usable 2' or so which in TT is a Small Prairie and a B-set or a Pannier and a rake of half a dozen wagons and a brake van.

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Only finding this thread now, does anyone know if David Andrews still visits the site?

 

 

If I've got the correct poster 

 

dandrews2000

 

If you click on the link to his profile it says he was last active Nov 2017, you could try sending a message as a copy would go to his email address.

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If I've got the correct poster 

 

dandrews2000

 

If you click on the link to his profile it says he was last active Nov 2017, you could try sending a message as a copy would go to his email address.

 

 

Thanks for your response, I've tried but nothing as yet.

I'd be interested to know if a track plan exists for the model 'Highly' that he built, it looks superb.

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I found this on Youtube

 

Yes, I think there are a few of his videos there, and very good they are too.

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