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APA Box Modelling- Starting Again (again!)

Russ (mines a pint)

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  • RMweb Gold

Well thats it I just realised the last time I had a working layout was about 2009.


Old Topic: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=40458

I'd started work on this and its completion was cruelly denied by the prospect of a large scale move, so to the landfill it went. Having had a couple of years to settle down in a new house job & environment I decided that given space & time available that 2mm/N guage might offer the best solution, as I no longer have a cellar at my disposal.

At the time I was flitting between 'normal' OO and EM , I liked the EM appearance but it was really outside my capabilities, I had had some success with Deadwater Burn a single point layout but even then when I look back it was probably more out of 'bloodymindedness' than skill that it had ever worked, it certainly wasnt relaxing even though I loved the end result.

To cut a long story short even though I started out with N gauge thirty odd years ago and even though the new stuff is so much bett er, I am struggling with the fiddlyness and the small size of the much better looking stock now still doesnt give the satisfaction somehow. ( If you want first bags on points/108/24 blue now's the time to hit the pm button- before they goto an ebay nr you :)

I think I probably knew all this when I started 'Old Lane Sidings' - which was a peco code 75 bog standard inglenook inspired by a slightly more complex plan by Hugh Flynn on the previous version of the forum.

The NEW old lane sidings (keep up at the back!) - compared to the old

- will be built in an IKEA APA box (see also: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/39667-the-apa-box/ )
- use C&L or exactoscale track base instead of Peco code 75
- fiddleyard sector plate instead of 3 way point to save space
- instead of a 4th siding at rear representing a truncated through line that will be done on the 3rd siding, which will be fair game as it no longer comes out of the 3 way point so is no longer part of the yard track neccessarily. & again to save space - the new layout will be 27 inches by 15 inches instead of the old 4ft by 1ft!!!
- be diesel shunted by classes 08/03 not steam this time, though will try keep it so that changes can be rung in as seen fit! :)
- back to scale couplings 3 links instanters etc etc - YAY! thats the thing I missed most about N gauge!

Next I'll try ressurect a few pics from the old in cases it jogs any memories?

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  • RMweb Gold

Missing the delights of the W Riding already?

er... NO!!


-but it was a layout idea which I had not really finished with! Ideal for its compactness, although its going to be condensed a little further into essentially a box file space.


using the APA box gives you a boxfile type scenic area plus fiddle space all in one self contained space! - plan to follow

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  • RMweb Gold

Ditto, I thought you had gone quiet.


lol- I have been lurking and commenting the odd time, but yes all was quiet.


been looking at loftspace potential, but to be honest if it was so out of the way I'd never bother- O I know some people like a bit of escapism, but I'd rather be in the comfort/company/warmth of the house! -so the agreement is if its a self-contained and entirely in the box it can go out of sight when not in use :)

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  • RMweb Gold

In between measuring up for this shunting layout I've been looking at prototype pictures of the area in 70's /80's trying to decide whether an 03 or 08 shunter would fit the bill.


I originally thought the 03 would be good as it is a little more compact than the 08 - however the West Yorks and particulalrly Hammerton Street 03's all seem to be running match trucks for the track circuits - something I hadnt recalled on my own pic of 03371 in Interchange station shunting parcels stock.  If match trucks involved then the 08 is the obvious spacesaver! 





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  • RMweb Gold

Good luck Russ I will be following with interest.


Out of interest will this version be OO or back to EM as before?



OO is looking the likely contender, much as I loved the EM look conversions were hit & miss - I had a number of loco's /wagons that ran really well in EM plus a fair few that were an absolute to convert, the main thing to me is good looking track as I'm more interested in the look than the trains.


So bullhead code 75 throughout but it'll be 16.5 mm gauge, sorry if that disappoints but I'd just like to run things rather than converting them first!

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  • RMweb Gold

Mickey, have you thought of going to 00-SF for the pointwork? I've been impressed by Gordon S Eastwood Town trackwork. You can keep the plain track at 16.5mm & use flexi, but just tighten up the tolerances in the crossing area to improve the look, but without the need to change wheelsets (if the back-to-back is 14.5mm). I think it's far better than normal 00 & I'm intending to have a play with some copperclad pointwork soon...

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Russ

Out of interest where are photos taken of the old tunnel?



They are from a footbridge which leads from Old Lane up onto A647 rd to Bradford via Queensbury - whole area is easiest accessed from round the back of North Bridge Leisure Centre, you can also get an aerial view of whole area from the North Bridge itself. Will try post a map later.

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  • RMweb Gold

So been having a good old think, my final decision was I hope the right one and my 2mm & N scale stuff is slowly getting listed on Ebay, I dont know just how well the easitrac will go on there - forum policy prevents listing on here but if anyone is interested and cant find stuff send a PM and I'll be happy to send a point in the right direction. Has anyone else had trouble with the forum new selling section, the one time I thought I had managed to get into it there appeared to be nothing for sale ? it may just be me?


Anyway enough of that and on with the new or erm old?!


I've got some C&L track now it seems they are sending the stuff out as seperate rails/bases now - although it still came in a 'track size' box.


Pic below gives an idea of the sort of space I'm working with



a boxfile scenic area within a box - back in 4mm scale now if you are keeping up :)

- I could go for a full scenic APA box but then the fiddleyard would need to be external which is not something I really want - either carpentry or space wise!

- quite liking the small space idea really always liked the 'boxfile' ideas.

The 'woolen district' ideas as already discussed are pretty much at the top of the list possibly with the mill siding updated/replaced into a scrapyard or maybe even departmental yard?


- of course there are always competing ideas:


loco shed diorama

wharfe shunting (either canal or east anglia tramway style!)

oil tank unloading (along the style of a small depot like Fort William as detailed in Ian Futers book)


so as they say, watch this space!

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  • RMweb Gold

A quick update: Things are  going quite well with getting rid of the old, and I've started to think what I can replce with -


Work on the APA box has also been ongoing to get it ready to accept track.




Unfortunately as usual I have been quite spectacularly indecisive about what to put in the box! - I did start with good intensions in mocking up the Old lane type of thing in the box, using paper templates fro buildings and the like, but somehow it was just not doing it for me?   and of course other things started coming into my head.


I mocked up some of the 'competing ideas' too.  I remember reading Ian Holmes blog (http://smallmodelrailwaylayouts.blogspot.co.uk/ ) about filling this type of box with a quay based in Kings Lynn, it looked quite an interesting prospect possibly with an 03 or 04 shunter and a handful of wagons. It's not an area that I know a great deal about however.


Likewise the idea of a locoshed diorama was also interesting, especially once I found a few pictures on here http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/61633-fort-william-in-1972/ of the interesting old shed at Fort William.  If the correct colours and flavours of BRCW had been in season at the boxshifters- this could have been the one to go for :)


So it was still undecided just what was going to end up inside this rather compact space of an APA box.


Forward to a day off today, had a bit of a lazy morning sorting through and reading old books and magazines once again bringing me to remember an 'unfinished  business' type of scenario. 


When I'd more or less done with the Deadwater layout which of course was NBR - I'd collected a fair bit of Scottish region info, books etc.etc, so there were another couple of companies that intruiged me, I'd always been interested in the Highland railway branches of course, but also the GSWR and GNoSR were also quite interesting.  The latter had alot of small and interesting modellable stations in the NE of Scotland - I'd started a Speyside station at one point and also had designs on Banff- so seemingly have a few other people!


So where I'm at now is trying to fit in one of these smaller stations SLT style, but along also with a siding or two into the box, I've already given up on trying to make the whole thing self contained as it leaves very little scenic space, so I've conceded that a 'bolt-on' cassette or fiddle yard will end up being required.



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  • RMweb Gold

yeah possibly so!


I have two APA boxes and the idea always was to do one industrial and one rural , so not writing anything off just yet. 


Scrapyards are a great thing to model- something I thought of right back at the original 'old lane' 4 yrs ago! -- the only downside is the open wagons, with van traffics its a lot less obvious that the wagons are not actually getting loaded/unloaded.

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  • RMweb Gold

Sorry you have given up the 2mm stuff I liked your 2mm buildings but the name of the game is doing what you enjoy. Best wishes


ps If you cannot shift the easitrac let me know

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  • RMweb Gold

Thats the thing, I just wasnt really getting to grips with the fiddlyness of the small scale and it was making me cross! :)


The easitrac seems to be doing quite well on Ebay which suprised me a bit but tho' I suppose people use it for N too.


Well I think I'm decided- rural scottish Apa Box first then to be followed by a grotty industrial scrapyard in the other Apa Box!

- better get the track down before I change my mind - (again!!! ) :no:


edit for typo!

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  • RMweb Gold

 I liked your 2mm buildings


Well I think the most progressed of the 2mm buildings were the Backsboat goods shed and the Banff trainshed  so at least with the 'rural' Apa box you will be getting more similar stuff, just twice the size! :)


I made a start on the station building today, despite vowing after the Deadwater building to always get 'ready to plonk' - having struggled a great deal to get the windows looking anywhere near.




I was following the plans in the Railway Modeller June 2012 which feautured 'martinwales' Kinmundy - there were some plans for the station at Urquhart - I'd identified that this building was similar to the ones I was looking at on the Oldmeldrum and St Combs branches.


Now I dont know what I did different to the Deadwater building - the windows are far from perfect but I am happy with them, it could just be the difference in wall thickness I suppose?  The deliberate mistake which I noticed as soon as I compared with the plan was of course the solid door, instead of a panelled glazed one- it could have been replaced over time I suppose. There is (obviously) still the roof to do and quite a bit of neatening and also internal bracing.



following getting the glue set I was able to put the now square building into the APA box, I had thought of a slightly smaller structure ir possibly reducing the dimensions by a percentage to make a smaller building but seeing as there was a good plan it seemed as well to use it.


So that helps with a rough idea as to how it will look -

- the line to St Combs was a light railway, but the passenger service held on right to the end in 1965, long enough to be operated by Cravens Dmu's the platform did not look a great deal longer than the steam-hauled 2 carriage train.  The station building appeared similar to the type here.   Oldmeldrum had a slightly different building but a couple of goods sidings.  What will hopefully be produced here is a bit of a mix & match of features from the two, but the main thing will be making something believable within the small space !!

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  • RMweb Gold

Back to the model:



I was going to roof the station building this evening, but with tiredness I decided to postpone this in favour of getting the tracklaying started.

- glad about that as subsequently decided to 'low relief' the station building which would have been harder had it been much further progressed.

Noticed from photos that the GNSR seemingly placed their buildings well back from the platform edge, unlike Deadwater where there is barely 3 feet between edge & building!  





Though I dont normally go in for 'contrived' scenic breaks an overbridge with the platform continuing under it should make it look like a smaller part of a longer platform, and although there should be space for a 2-car DMU with ease I suppose part of one car could be left under the bridge again to suggest a longer platform.


In front of the track laid there will be a further 2 siding lines one the full length next to the platform line and another shorter one in front of that. (plan to follow) = this also gives 'inglenook' possibilities but relying on self discipline rather than physical siding capacity!



Plan view, the APA box has a lid which is still in the loft ! - that will be made to hinge and have lighting built in.




I will need to cut a gap in the end to allow fiddle yard or cassettes to be mounted, but leaving this til I find out how big the hole needs to be, as I would prefer the hole to be the minimum size possible.


Goods inwards is likely to be agricultural suplies animal feeds etc. domestic coal.

Outwards probably minimal, possibly the last vestiges of sheep/cattle traffic, but probably pushing my luck there even with a pre-beeching timeline?



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