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Mid-Cornwall Lines - 1950s Western Region in 00


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Thanks Brian. If I ever get to build a representation of Tregissey it will probably look something like Charlestown, with the clay discharged down the wooden chutes into the ships below. We used to stay at the Pier House Hotel for our summer holidays in the late 1960s when Charlestown was still a working port - long before Poldark was on TV! Watching the coasters being warped in and out of the harbour and through the sea lock was fascinating. Most of the coasters were grey - many of Dutch registration - but there were some that were bright blue and were named Lady S..., for example Lady Sylvia or Lady Sandra. The Artitec/Langney Models kit would be a good starting point for a model.

There are three photos of the Dutch coaster Hoendiep of Hoogkerk at Charlestown in 1967 at the following URL. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that these were taking when we were actually staying at the Pier House.

 

http://www.shipspotters.nl/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2159&start=5

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The Dutch coasters were my era as well; always a bit of a wiggle to get them past the breakwaters into the dock.  Still is a fascinating place, my grandfather worked in the foundry there years ago.

 

Brian.

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All the L-girders for the main line are now in place, except for the final section that will support the hinged end of the lifting flap.

 

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These photos show the L-girders along the West wall of the railway room. The dropped area is where Nancegwithey Viaduct will bridge a shallow valley. Structurally, thin risers will support the trackbed, which will be on a slight curve of something close to 10 m radius. The viaduct itself will be made with Wills piers and Atlas plate girders, being inspired by (but not a copy of) Coldrennick although not as high or long. The piers and girders will be cosmetic, fixed to the structure after the track has been laid and is operational. Some Faller railings will finish off the viaduct nicely I hope.

 

The baseboard here is quite narrow in order to maintain sufficient clearance for the passage between the viaduct and Pentowan, so the scenery will probably consist mostly of trees to disguise the lack of depth, as was done extremely effectively by the late Alex Mathieson on his Far West Somerset Railway here in Sydney.

 

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This photo shows Alex’s stone viaduct on the main line and the girder structure on the branch line from Carhampton Junction to Porlock Quay.

 

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A fellow BRMA member in Adelaide has designed and made a very fine lifting flap that is pivoted below baseboard level and which in effect folds itself round the baseboard when raised. I intend to use an arrangement based on this design but built from wood and ply rather than from battleship armour plating (sorry John!). The hinges will be wallpaper pasting table hinges, which – like the Fixit blocks – were unobtainable in Australia so again I had to order them from the UK via eBay. The lifting flap will carry three tracks, namely the Up Main, Down Main and Down Goods Loop, and the track power feeds will be arranged so that when the flap is raised all tracks between Tremewan Tunnel and Porthmellyn Road will be de-energised.

 

Aside from the lifting flap, the next task is to fix the freestanding baseboard legs to the floor. After that I can start on cutting and fixing the ply trackbed for the Paddington and Penzance loops.

 

Edited as I can't tell the difference between brick and stone.

Edited by St Enodoc
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Good wood  :imsohappy:

 

There's nothing wrong with narrow boards either as you would be aware from following my own topic.  Around a quarter of the layout is only 9" wide.

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Good wood  :imsohappy:

 

There's nothing wrong with narrow boards either as you would be aware from following my own topic.  Around a quarter of the layout is only 9" wide.

Thanks Rick. The width across the faces of these L-girders is 250 mm. The final layout width might be a little more to accommodate the width of the tunnel mouth, the curve of the viaduct and the three tracks approaching Porthmellyn Road.

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Decisions, decisions...

 

The prototype passenger service between Lostwithiel and Fowey was worked by an 0-4-2T and an autocoach. My venerable Airfix pair will work between Pentowan and Polperran, so do I need to get a Heljan AC Cars railbus to run between Porthmellyn Road and Tregissey?

 

Answers on a postcard please.

Perhaps the postcards have got lost in transit, but given the 100% response so far in favour of going ahead (thanks Rick, yours was the only reply) I have placed an order with Kernow - W79976 in matt light green finish with whiskers, as delivered in 1958. This will look very nice shuttling (or scuttling perhaps) between the branch platform at Porthmellyn Road and Tregissey across Nancegwithey Viaduct and through Tremewan Tunnel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Perhaps the postcards have got lost in transit, but given the 100% response so far in favour of going ahead (thanks Rick, yours was the only reply) I have placed an order with Kernow - W79976 in matt light green finish with whiskers, as delivered in 1958. This will look very nice shuttling (or scuttling perhaps) between the branch platform at Porthmellyn Road and Tregissey across Nancegwithey Viaduct and through Tremewan Tunnel.

The railbus arrived yesterday, only 9 days after placing the order and with Easter in between - not bad. I will probably run it in on the rolling road while the Waratahs play the Stormers on Saturday. With a TCS 21-pin decoder, a driver plus one or two (no more) passengers and new destination blinds she'll be right, as we say round here.

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The railbus arrived yesterday, only 9 days after placing the order and with Easter in between - not bad. I will probably run it in on the rolling road while the Waratahs play the Stormers on Saturday. With a TCS 21-pin decoder, a driver plus one or two (no more) passengers and new destination blinds she'll be right, as we say round here.

Bad news and good news...

 

The Waratahs were taught a lesson in defence and counter attack, losing to the Stormers 32 - 18 :( .

 

However, the railbus is now run in and runs sweetly down to a crawl :) .

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Bad news and good news...

 

The Waratahs were taught a lesson in defence and counter attack, losing to the Stormers 32 - 18 :( .

 

However, the railbus is now run in and runs sweetly down to a crawl :) .

Fitting the decoder, driver and destination blinds to the railbus should have been easy, and to be fair those specific parts of the job were. However, getting the blasted thing apart and even more so getting it back together again was probably the trickiest operation I have ever come across on an RTR model.

 

Getting the handrails out was easy, but shifting the steps was not. Once I eventually got them off – they are in two parts, which is not mentioned in the instructions – the body came apart without problems and the decoder went straight in. I printed the destination blinds on ordinary printer paper in Gill Sans MT Condensed. For Tregissey 6 point was fine, but try as I might I could not get a legible version of Porthmellyn Road to fit. In the end I settled on just Porthmellyn in 5 point. The old blinds were removed and the new ones held in place with sticky tape.

 

The driver started life as an old Merit ticket collector, but he needed some major surgery below the waist to get him to fit. I’m afraid he’ll never walk on his own legs again, and he certainly won’t father any more children. In the process of squeezing him in, the driver’s seat came away so the whole thing, driver and all, was stuck back in with Multigrip. The seats in the saloons are in low relief to clear the motor, so in the end I didn’t fit any passengers at all. Probably fairly prototypical in fact.

 

The body went back together all right, but getting the handrails back in was a real trial, even with a bright light and a magnifier.

 

While all this was going on the exhaust pipe and the battery boxes fell off, so again the trusty tube of Multigrip came to the rescue.

 

Finally, to help operators work out which is forward and which is reverse, I blackened the exhaust port in the roof. While the texta was out I also blackened the handrails and underframe where the paint had rubbed off while I was fighting to get the handrails back in. The green paint had got damaged in a couple of places too, so I will have to touch that up with the right colour when I can find it.

 

Was it worth it? Yes, but it was all a bit frustrating and more time-consuming than it should have been on a GBP 100 model.

 

Anyway, the railbus is now in service and here it is on a proving run on the Pentowan branch at St Enodoc.

 

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The lifting flap is the last part of the main line baseboard frames to be built. To get the fulcrum as close as possible to the top of the boards, I decided not to use L-girders for the flap and the adjoining section but to make the surface from 18 mm ply with 64 mm x 19 mm framing at the edges, in the form of an inverted tray.

 

I used the same ply to make the hinge mounts which curl round the end of the fixed board when the flap is raised. I attached the paste table hinge to the ply with nuts and bolts for strength, and attached the hinge to the fixed side with long screws.

 

The lifting flap will rest on a ledge at the Porthmellyn Road end, so during construction I clamped a piece of timber in the correct position as a temporary ledge.

 

Because of the restricted clearance between the flap frame and the wall, and the narrowness of the flap itself (less than 300 mm wide), I am building the flap in two halves, with the plywood surface going on last to lock it all together. Today I only had time for two or three hours’ work in the railway room, so I only managed to get the wall side frame built. The inner frame should take less time to build, and then the top will just be screwed and glued to the two frames. I haven’t decided how to fix the flap in the open position – probably a bolt or removable pin will do the job.

 

I will use dowels to locate the opening end of the flap, and hold it in position by strips of magnetic material cut from a local real estate agent’s promotional calendar that came in the junk mail.

 

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This photo shows the whole arrangement in the closed position. The temporary ledge on the right is held in place with clamps.

 

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This is a closer view of the hinge arrangement in the closed position. My jigsaw went a bit wonky while I was cutting out this hinge mount, so I used it on the wall side where it won’t be so visible. The other one is a lot neater.

 

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This shows the hinge arrangement with the flap in the raised position. You can’t quite see from this angle, but the hinge mount doesn’t project past the door architrave so it won’t reduce the width of the door opening. With luck this will mean that it won’t get caught as people move through the doorway.

 

Finally, here are two more shots of the railbus at St Enodoc, this time with the lights on.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

An overseas business trip at short notice meant that instead of working on the layout last weekend I was able to treat my daughters and grandchildren to a surprise Sunday lunch in Sussex, between connections at Heathrow. No time for a visit to the Bluebell this time though.

 

Back in the railway room today I finished off the structure of the lifting flap.

 

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These two photos show the flap in the lowered position. The joists and ply at the Porthmellyn end are there temporarily to set the level of the top of the flap. The flap longitudinal members rest on the ledge at the Porthmellyn end. At the hinged (Paddington) end the wall-side longitudinal member rests on a small ledge, while on the inner side the plywood top rests on the fixed framing. This means that the hinges do not carry any load when the flap is in the lowered position.

 

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This close-up of the hinged end shows the hinge in more detail. The two transverse struts at the top are temporary, to locate the legs and frame. When the top board is fitted that will perform the same job.

 

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In the raised position the flap is well clear of the door opening, to minimise the risk of damage as people pass between the railway room and workshop. I have fitted horizontal struts at the bottom of the fixed framing at the hinged end to hold the legs in position, and one of the legs is screwed to the viaduct board frame as well. I think I will do the same for the other leg too, using a Fixit block. The flap doesn’t quite go over-centre when it is raised so I have held it open temporarily using Velcro until the final locking arrangement is in place.

 

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I thought about fitting both hinge mounts on the inside of the legs, but this would have required either putting them closer together than I wanted or widening the fixed framing. In the end I decided to build both hinge mounts to the same hand, making the fixed framing the same width (250 mm) as that for the viaduct board.

 

Next weekend I plan to tidy this all up, fitting the locating dowels at the Porthmellyn end (and possibly also at the hinged end) and the permanent arrangement to lock the flap when raised. I will also lay the top board at the hinged end. After that I need to fix all the legs to the floor before I start fitting joists and baseboard tops.

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I decided to use a simple barrel bolt to hold the lifting flap in the open position. The “socket” for the bolt – I don’t know its proper name – is screwed to the door architrave, which is made of pressed steel and not timber. I didn’t realise this until I tried to mark the holes with a bradawl :no:.

 

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The housing for the sliding bolt itself is screwed underneath the lifting flap framing, about 600 mm above baseboard height. There are two reasons for this. First, if it were lower a larger vertical component of the gravitational force on the flap would be reacted through the bolt, which would be undesirable, and secondly the bolt needed to be above the height of the future backscene. I am a fan of high backscenes, even if most of the scene is sky, as long as you don’t have to peer over them to operate the layout. They will also largely block the view of the storage loops from the scenic parts of the layout.

 

Next I fixed the legs to the floor, before I install the baseboard top at the hinged end of the lifting flap and before adding the locating dowels, in case things don’t line up afterwards.

 

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I cut a piece of 42 mm x 19 mm timber to fit between the front and back legs at each location and screwed this to the concrete floor. I then screwed the front leg to this piece of timber using a steel angle bracket. This completes a nice rigid structure for the frame supports. There was no need to fit a bracket on the back leg as this is already screwed to the skirting board.

 

Lastly for today, let’s celebrate the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s daughter, graciously named after a Churchward Star locomotive.

 

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Without a doubt the most sophisticated lifting flap I've seen. That engineering background must help!

Ian, it's probably not quite as sophisticated as the steel version on which it was based (see post #81). I haven't got metalworking facilities at home so wood and plywood are as good as it gets.

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Proper Job!

 

Just shows Rugby + Beer + LUU Rugby = properly engineered model railway layouts... 

 

I must have gone wrong somewhere!

 

Keep up the good work !

 

Baz

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Proper Job!

 

Just shows Rugby + Beer + LUU Rugby = properly engineered model railway layouts... 

 

I must have gone wrong somewhere!

 

Keep up the good work !

 

Baz

Too much cricket in your case :)

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I spent a few hours this afternoon finishing off the lifting flap assembly. First, I replaced the temporary ledge at the Porthmellyn end by a section of L-girder cut to fit between the flap longitudinals, which will guide the flap into place when lowering. I then fitted DCC Concepts locating dowels to the flap and the ledge, followed by the magnetic latch cut from a real estate agent’s promotional calendar. I have to say that although this seems OK at the moment I might add a more positive latch (probably another barrel bolt) if it proves necessary in future.

 

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This photo shows the ledge, dowels and magnetic strip in place, with the temporary joists and ply that I used for levelling.

 

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Here is the corresponding arrangement on the flap itself.

 

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I fitted one more dowel at the hinged end of the flap. There wasn’t room for one on the wall side, but I decided that three dowels were enough, on the milkmaid’s stool principle.

 

The last major task was to attach the hinged end baseboard, another piece of 18 mm ply. This required a fair amount of fettling (Brighton MRC term) or adjustment (Leeds MRS term) and yes a hammer was involved.

 

Once I’d got everything lined up, I unscrewed the two hinge mounts from the flap longitudinals and applied some glue before putting them back together. I added some more screws for good measure.

 

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At the hinged end, the geometry means that quite a large clearance is needed as the hinge mounts curl round the baseboard. This will be hidden by the trackbed, which will be 3 mm ply rather than cork in the lifting flap area. The trackbed on the flap itself should be able to overhang the hinged end baseboard.

 

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These two photos show the completed lifting flap in the open and closed positions.

 

Finally, this week’s big news was of course Hornby’s announcement that they are going to introduce a range of Collett 57 ft bow-ended coaches. Anybody out there want some unmade BSL, Comet and Westdale kits?

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Hi John,

Nice work on the flap, using the locating dowels is a good idea along with the magnets. I am guessing it wont be long until you start laying track.

 

Cheers Peter.

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Hi John,

Nice work on the flap, using the locating dowels is a good idea along with the magnets. I am guessing it wont be long until you start laying track.

 

Cheers Peter.

Thanks Peter. No, it shouldn't be long now. I will start in the storage loop area. I've got enough timber for that, so a trip to buy some cork sheet is next on the agenda. The plan is to work round the room with a plain double track circuit (no points) first, then progressively lay the storage loops themselves before moving on to Porthmellyn Road. But, as always, I'm getting ahead of myself.

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For the first time in many weeks I had a break from woodwork in the railway room this weekend, apart from fixing up a very simple cantilever bracket to hang a clock in the corner above the Down end of Porthmellyn Road. Instead, it was time to start looking ahead towards the tracklaying stage of the project.

 

In the early planning stages, which led to the design of the garage itself, I used my CAD system – Computer-Absent Design – to develop the layout concept. This involved drawing out the key elements of the plan on graph paper then adjusting their relative positions to get a layout that met my requirements as closely as possible. The result, with the individual elements stuck to a thick card backing with Blu-Tak, looked like this:

 

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Porthmellyn Road is at the top, with the lifting flap and Nancegwithey Viaduct on the left, the Paddington loops at the bottom and the Penzance loops on the right. The Pentowan branch snakes its way up and down the middle. This plan formed the basis for cutting and fabricating the baseboard framing.

 

Now that the framework is complete, I will work up the final design of the track plan so that I can cut and fit the baseboards joists and top surfaces – closed-top in the storage loops and stations, and open-top elsewhere. I started with the Paddington and Penzance loops.

 

Each set of loops consists of 12 tracks, the outer ends of which are accessible from both the Up and Down main lines. In other words, the Paddington loops are accessible from both tracks beyond Tremewan Tunnel, and the Penzance loops are accessible from both tracks at the Down end of Porthmellyn Road.

 

Two through tracks, one Down and one Up, flank the loops to allow continuous running for testing or playing trains. These through tracks also connect to the inner end of each set of loops, the Down through track feeding the Paddington loops and the Up through track feeding the Penzance loops.

 

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This sketch shows the schematic layout of the storage loops. In reality, these will stretch round two complete sides of the railway room and indeed encroach on the other two sides as well, due to the arrangement of the pointwork that feeds the loops.

 

On the second St Enodoc layout, the one in the trussed loft, I maximised the lengths of the loops by using curved points at each end. I developed a configuration using five points to feed six tracks, the points extending almost 90 degrees round the corner. The points themselves are B8s, curved so that the inner radius is approximately 30 inches and the outer radius approximately 48 inches. This was very successful, and I used the same configuration – which I call a “standard fan” – on the third St Enodoc layout, the present single-track passing station, where the Up and Down fiddle yards each have six tracks.

 

On the Mid-Cornwall Lines the most complex area of trackwork is where the two sets of loops overlap each other, with the Paddington loops on the outside, at the bottom-right corner of the plan. Squeezed into this corner are four standard fans, two on each set of loops, plus the two through tracks and their respective connections into the loops themselves, so this is where I decided to start.

 

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Here is the whole of the railway room in outline. As each section of track is designed and then built, I will fill in the plan progressively until the whole layout is shown. I was going to show the proverbial “clean sheet” here, but forgot to photograph it until after I had started drawing lines.

 

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This is a close-up of the bottom right corner of the plan, showing the fourteen parallel tracks on each side and the arrangement of the standard fans and other pointwork linking them. The setting-out lines show the centres of the circular curves (there are no transitions in the off-stage sections), with the radius marked against each one, and the associated tangent points. I have also noted the type of each point or group of points so that I know what to build and where to put it. All the curve centres except for two will be off the edge of the baseboard, so I will set out the curves on the top of the boards using templates cut from thick card.

 

The triangle in the extreme corner will be an open void, allowing some rather restricted access to the roller door and to the electrical distribution box on the wall.

 

Although I will set out all the track and pointwork on the baseboards at the start, in the first instance I will only lay the two through tracks as plain line so that I can start playing trains. I will add the points progressively as they get built. Once both sets of loops are complete I will move on to Porthmellyn Road before working my way down the branch.

 

A couple of business trips are going to keep me out of the railway room for a week or two, so not much will happen now until after the June long weekend which of course is when the Thornleigh exhibition put on by the Epping club takes place – well worth a visit if you’re in the Sydney area.

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The lifting section above looks very neat and a lot simpler than what I created. Very nice piece of engineering. I also really enjoyed the most recent photos of the DMU (I think). Looks fantastic and progressing very nicely. Keep up the good work.

 

Regards,

 

Anthony Ashley

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  • 2 weeks later...

Exciting times today – although not at the Thornleigh exhibition which was, to be frank, a little disappointing. The show occupied the whole sports hall, but with less than 40 stands it all looked rather empty. Not the best show that the Epping society has put on in recent years I’m afraid. At least there was plenty of opportunity for nattering. Two British-outline layouts were on show – Bridport South Western, a dual broad/standard gauge terminus to EM standards with a multitude of working features, built by Peter Betts who is a member of both the North Shore Railway Modellers’ Association and the British Railway Modellers of Australia; and Linden Ford, a neat little scenic Inglenook built by gazmanjack of this parish.

 

No, the excitement came from marking out and cutting the first plywood tops for the storage loop baseboards.

 

I had had the 9 mm sheets cut by Bunnings to the right width for the straight sections of the loops, with larger left-over bits for the corner sections. First, I set out the curve of the Down Through line using the 1/10 scale drawing as a basis, and then marked a line at 45 degrees giving a clearance of 30 mm to the track centre line. I cut the corner off and clamped this board to the L-girders without fitting any joists at this stage.

 

Next, I clamped the two adjoining boards in place and set out the curve of the Up Through line. I drew a further line, offset by 30 mm again, to mark the inner edge of the boards. I cut this curve on all three sheets with the jigsaw and placed the boards back on the L-girders to admire them and to visualise how they would look with some trains on them.

 

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This photograph was posed slightly I have to admit, to show all the setting-out bits and pieces in the shot. In the left foreground is a curve template cut from thick card, in this case 36” radius (old money). Pointing directly towards the camera is my trammel bar, which I have had for about 40 years. Unfortunately, the clamp that joins the extension bars together got lost a long time ago so today I joined two of the bars with parcel tape. There is another curve template, this time with the 36” radius on the inside and the outer edge cut to double track spacing (55 mm centres, to include an allowance for throw). I used the pair of spring compasses to set out the cutting line for the inner baseboard edge. A couple of squares, a straight edge, a measuring tape and a pencil are the only other tools I used.

 

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Here are the boards after cutting, with a (fairly) smooth curve following the line of the Up Through track. After the track is laid, I will add an MDF fence at both front and rear to act as derailment containments. The front fence might also have the point and uncoupler controls built in – I haven’t made up my mind on where to put these yet.

 

The void at the back is easily big enough to reach though to get to the distribution board – I moved the right-hand trolley and had a go after I took this photo.

 

Getting along the straight sides should be straightforward, and then I intend to cut the two other corners in a similar way to the first. I will probably glue the cork trackbed to the plywood boards before fitting the joists. In this regard, what is the current thinking on gluing down the cork? I have used PVA in the past, but it doesn’t dry very quickly and I am wondering about using a water-based contact adhesive instead – any thoughts?

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  • 2 weeks later...

After not doing any work on the layout itself last weekend – a combination of post-rugby stiffness, a persistent cold and cough and the after-effects of a very fine birthday dinner meant that working on the layout plan while sitting down was a much better option – I had hoped to get a fairly long session in today. Unfortunately, although it was drizzling this morning it had cleared up by lunchtime so I felt obliged to spend some time tidying up the garden. Once I had filled two green bins I was allowed into the railway room but with only a couple of hours left before dinner :( .

 

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At the top right  (the throat of the Penzance loops) you can see some faint lines extending the main line tracks toward Porthmellyn Road, plus the two sidings on the Up side (I learned from Horizontal of this parish that at Par these were known as the Chapel sidings. There won’t be a chapel here on the layout, but I will keep the name). Although these tracks are drawn parallel to the wall, in fact they will be on a slight curve so that the platforms at Porthmellyn Road are at a shallow angle to the wall. This will leave room at the Up end for the station building and somewhere to park a bus or two.

 

The Penzance throat will use three A5 Y points. This will give much gentler curves, around 1600 mm radius, and therefore less throw. Excessive throw as trains leave or enter the on-stage part of the layout won’t look good. Placing the scenic break as far from the points as practicable, ideally at least the bogie centre distance of the longest coach, will minimise this undesirable visual effect.

 

At Paddington the through lines will also use Y points at the throat, but in this case the tracks will be at a 1:10 angle to the wall as they approach Nancegwithey Viaduct. Tremewan Tunnel mouth will also be far enough from the points to minimise the visual effect of throw.

 

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Having drawn out the Penzance and Paddington throats, setting them out and cutting the plywood for them and the rest of the loops wasn’t a hard or a long job. Here is the Penzance throat corner. I’ve left an access space again so that I can get at the roller door if necessary. The narrow board on the left, carrying the throat pointwork and the Chapel sidings, may be cut back further in width once I have confirmed the precise location of the tracks.

 

It looks as though there is a problem with one of the storage cartons under the Penzance loops – I’ll have to sort that out before I need to move that trolley to get access for wiring.

 

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At Paddington, there is no need for an access void so I just cut a small corner off the baseboard top to allow for the small fillet between the walls. The extra space will be useful for storing stock.

 

Last time, I mentioned fitting the cork trackbed to the boards before installation. I have changed my mind, as there is no sense in having to cut the cork to match the joins in the baseboard tops. The next task is therefore cutting the joists and installing them. I will fix the joists in key locations such as joins in the tops both to the L-girders and to the baseboard tops, but leave the rest loose until all the track has been set out, to minimise any interference with point motors.

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