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Everything posted by 34theletterbetweenB&D

  1. The naughty part of my character suggests that the new team member might produce an illustrated and stimulating fortnightly bulletin styled 'The Traction Maintenance Depot'. Or possibly owned? No names, no pack drill...
  2. You want a model of the original (most celebrated for being aerodynamically destroyed ) Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge? There's upside and downside in all such things. Taken overall, the UK's dithering over railway electrification produced the significant benefit that when it was generally adopted in principle, 25kV AC technology had matured sufficiently to be practical. And during the ditheration some very fine steam loco designs emerged...
  3. I think that was the earliest of Hornby's Chinese productions to have a largely diecast loco body, and there was quite a gap in time before we saw this technique regularly employed. My feeling is that this has not had the recognition it deserves, considering that the cast metal body shell of H-D is quite often cited as something sadly lost from UK RTR OO when H-D/Wrenn production ceased.
  4. It was a combination of three factors: The UK prototype is - in round numbers - a foot narrower than Berne gauge European stock. UK steam is dominated by designs with some or all wheels inside close fitting splashers. The European HO manufacturers had won acceptance of vari-scale, which never caught on in the UK. So here's how it goes: an OO model is 36mm maximum width, a true scale HO Berne gauge model 35mm wide, a true scale HO UK model 31.5mm wide. The RTR HO technique of the time to pack in outside cylinders and Walschaerts valve gear was just not quite adequate for true scale UK HO. Then there are the splashers, to fit over the somewhat wider RTR wheels of the time. The outside faces of the splashers finish up at the same dimension for both OO and HO, both overscale for width, but more readily seen in HO. The experienced HO manufacturer's solution, apply vari-scale around the running gear to win the required width. This is happily accepted in mainland Europe, the UK will be fine with it. Let the record show we weren't, use near 4mm scale in footplate width of necessity, and the disproportion with 3.5mm scale elements is obvious. In the years since, improvement in RTR technique has got to the point where true scale RTR HO UK steam is now in reach, a slightly finer wheel standard would do it, RP25/80 or thereabouts.
  5. Of course not. The materials cost and tooling will be little different, but whatever hand assembly element is required will be more expensive than a machine assembly. How large a factor that is in the total UMC, unknown. But it won't affect every aspect of the production process. And I expect that those working on the product will find a way to mechanise, because that's how the factory system works. Take the most expensive step(s) and look for methods to improve on it: a constant search for cost reductions and productivity gains by process step revisions and eliminations, materials and energy efficiency savings. When something novel is attempted - such as RTL bullhead rail track - that's often where the big savings are to be found. You look around like fury and find something applicable, possibly in a completely unrelated industry or technology sector.
  6. I doubt there are many additional sales to be had by introduction of a new alternative. But look at what Peco have done with the BH product: priced it for much increased profit margin.
  7. In addition to those you mention, LNER A1*, A4**, SR MN**. (*1925 and **1948 exchange trials.)
  8. I would suggest a round dozen different 'angles' on this hobby, many of which segue fairly seamlessly each into others in some complex network which we can leave a topologist to work out! I recall being very amused reading Jim Whitaker's account of his 'coming to knowledge': that what really lit his fire was modelling GWR brown stock, and everything else model railway could go hang... Never been 'inside' Peco, but I do know a little about physical manufacturing from design through to shipping finished product. In respect of track, Peco have a core engineering competence which they must retain: the ability to design, tool, procure, manufacture and assemble all the necessary materials and components for this end product. To maintain that skill set it has to be exercised: any time not taken up in maintaining and troubleshooting existing product ranges, needs to be deployed in keeping up with state of the art by engaging in design and materials evaluation. I would suggest the ability to develop new product is already present and budgeted for, as a necessary element of maintaining their core competence. I suspect the greater difficulty is marketing and distribution; persuading their retailer base that yet another 16.5mm gauge track will make them a worthwhile profit...
  9. Yes, and I have the answer from a sophisticated guy, an engineer who successfully built his own business, and yet has a set track OO layout. "At a fashion show, are you looking at the girl, or the catwalk?"
  10. Did whichever operation manufactured it fail to include something in the information sheet on the lines of: Add-on detail parts. The footsteps fit as shown. The parts may not be suitable for use on tight curves - check before fitting permanently. (That's a direct lift from a Bachmann OO product, and pretty much describes what seems to me an accepted convention: user optional detail parts are made so for a reason, because the owner has to test them over the smallest radius on the layout the item will operate on, to see if it is possible to permanently fit them. The model out of the box will by design operate over whatever is the specified minimum radius.)
  11. It's pretty safe to say that most of the customer base has to be shown potentially better options, before they will take an interest.
  12. Even at the current crossing angle a 4' radius slip would be much better. I wonder how long it will need before Peco take the logical next step in their better OO track range: that of abandoning complete conformity with legacy Streamline point geometry, and venturing at least some 'incompatibility' in the way of a shallower crossing angle.
  13. There's no universal description to cover Railroad, other than it is the product that Hornby brands this way, largely based on older tooling. The particular example you have is slightly off scale - the wheelbase has dimensions fixed in the 1950s, as a reasonable compromise to enable it to power a wide range of models, while being true scale for none - but looks well enough to pass. There's far worse in Railroad, the basic 0-4-0 used under Smokey Joe and the rest of his family a good example, and somewhat better, such as the Railroad A4.
  14. On the NG front Roco waved a Double Fairlie in OO9 at the UK trade at the German Toy Fair 2007 or 2008. This didn't go ahead, very explicitly explained at the time as 'insufficient trade interest'. However, George was expecting 'really rather good': a model that represented the prototype as well as was achieved by the Bachmann OO versions. The width over the cylinders alone pretty much sank its chances on appearance grounds, and the problems associated with the drive arrangement dissuaded him from thoughts of fixing the various shortcomings by DIY. (He had known from announcement that he would have to provide the BR1F tender top by DIY, that Dapol didn't include in this release. Why not cover the most common - and usefully in the context of this model's mechanism plan - most capacious tender type?) He has the WD from Farish, and still hopes that one day Bach might revive the plan for a 9F in their Farish range, to that standard.
  15. This is economic inertia at work. The basis of railway in model form is two carefully arranged parallel wires for the vehicles to run on. From there it was a relatively small step to use them to conduct the electrical power to the traction. Simce when steady improvement in technique has driven the cost of this down, and the performance up; which constitutes a barrier to entry to the introduction of alternative entirely practical methods such as that you suggest.
  16. That's good information. Combined with all the other information: slow top speed, less than free running, and some reluctance to start, this takes us back to the @Nigelcliffepost: there must be an intermittent and somewhat resistive connection path between rail and that rail's motor supply somewhere on the chassis. No effect whatsoever on DC, but will constantly degrade DCC operation. Take the worm off the motor shaft so that model rolls, and with the decoder still installed but no power on the track, test for conductivity between rails and motor terminals as the model is rolled about. (And at least you can get your money back on the Lenz warranty.)
  17. But we should, it is experimental data. In a good quality mechanism I should expect it to perform pretty much the same as the Zimo as far as maximum speed is concerned. (I use both decoder types regularly.) If that is so, then I would suggest it is inadequate track voltage from the DCC system that is the problem, resulting in much less than 12V available at the motor terminals, whichever decoder is used. It's tangential to this problem, but because there is no standardised relationship between voltage at the motor terminals and scale speed in RTR OO, I have set my DCC system for higher than standard track voltage, in order to make the more sluggish mechanisms achieve a scale maximum speed. This had the side effect of making my kit built mechanisms capable of galloping along at the rate they had achieved on 12V DC in the 'days of analogue past'. (All are slow locos so this capability isn't required, and the CV's were set accordingly to produce a plod along rate of progress.)
  18. Read your policy very carefully before considering a claim. I would pay particular attention to the status of the elderly relative, both their health and the terms on which they live in your home. With all our elders now in care homes - some over several years - I have heard many stories relating to other families, and one was very sad indeed. An 'In the family' arrangement by which elderly mother paid (toward the mortgage used to buy the necessary larger house): she was ruled to be an undeclared tenant, and the significant damage she accidentally caused while left unsupervised was not covered.
  19. I well recall my one N gauge modelling friend very disappointed when Bachmann dropped their N gauge 9F because Dapol beat them to market; and this then proved to be a heavily compromised model which really didn't look right. (Bach also dropped a 'Voyager' for the same reason, but no idea how that came out.) Ixion stopped their announced UK N gauge programme after the first model, a GWR Manor. The 43xx and another green wet and rusty job never appeared. In OO Bachmann didn't complete on their all new Jubilee: sadly the originally announced sloping throatplate boiler version didn't appear. (But the all new V2 is coming next year, and that's enough to put a massive smile on my face. ) Dapol dropped the DP2 they had announced, Heljan having got a model out. Hattons dropped their King after Hornby beat them to market. A proposed UK OO offshoot of Austrains never achieved lift off: one of their prospective products was an outside frame Derby 0-6-0 which caught my eye, but 'twas not to be... It also appears that the DCC Concepts plan for RTL bullhead points was dropped when Peco announced their bullhead range.
  20. That was the intention, and some packing between wheel back and the gear tower will be required to limit side to side movement. (Even in OO, since I use relatively generous radii, it is helpful to limit this sideplay on the four end wheelsets so that the bogie frames are always tangent to the curve.)
  21. With much twin bogie traction, the axle seating is deep enough to permit 'bumping out' the wheelsets 0.85mm each side , then packing behind to restrict sideplay sufficiently to keep the axle gear well meshed with the idler driving it. A neat feature of the Bachmann mechanism is that the body can be lowered relative to the bogies for closer to scale spacing, as the cast block simply rides on top of the bogie pivot which needs nothing more sophisticated than a craft knife to modify. How far you may go with this will depend on the minimum curve radius the model is to negotiate.
  22. I'd be looking at the soldering underneath the board as @Pete the Elaner suggests. Bachmann are - in my experience of their product - pretty consistent in the use of a grey and murky pinky-brown insulation for the motor connections. So I'm wondering how that blue wire got there...
  23. You are looking at the arithmetic mean of the population as a whole. But there is a significant sector of the population well above that mean point: older, with the money and the space; perhaps sold the house in town, temporarily lived in the 'holiday cottage', then sold that when the home for their retirement was found or constructed.
  24. In no particular order: LT&SR 4-4-2T LMS Turbomotive WD 2-10-0 Class 124 Trans Pennine set Metrovick Gas Turbine
  25. I regard this as a good thing. Generally more activity = growing market. I am of the opinion that the retiring cohort that grew up in the 50s, 60s and early 70s when a train set was still an aspirational hobby is providing a steady supply of new customers looking for an indoor hobby: with money to spend if a good choice of appealing product is available. There's still comfortably a decade of these 'potential recruits' to come, many with final salary scheme pensions, and/or decent nest eggs of one sort or another. The trainset/'complete system' segment, probably rapidly contracting. The message for Hornby is 'adapt fast'. Sell off to the highest bidder whatever is least profitable, use the available production slots for whatever offers maximum margin.
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