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Rugby in N - a long term project


njee20
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Cheating a bit here and smashing a few context posts together as I'd posted them elsewhere! This is 9 months of progress disseminated into a handful of sequential posts!

 

...

 

Thought it about time I started a thread for my forthcoming layout, as it’s becoming dangerously close to cutting some timber.

 

A house move last year has provided a 12m long garage to house a layout. To accommodate all the bikes, lawnmowers and general garage detritus I’m going to split the garage in half, giving an internal room of roughly 5x3m for a layout.

 

My magnum opus has always been Rugby, set in the present day. Whilst this still requires a lot of compression in this space I’m unlikely to have any better space for a couple of decades, so thought I’d have a go. It’ll be a long-term project, not least I’ve yet to actually do the garage conversion, so I have no home for a layout. But I’m getting bored of having nowhere to actually run any stock, so I’m going to make a start, with a view to building one (1.8x0.75m) board, and then potentially another, and so on, as a bit of a distraction as much as anything! I can do the garage conversion in parallel, most likely once spring is here and it’s more pleasant to be out there. 

 

To that end, a load of wood is turning up tomorrow from my favoured timber merchant.

 

Track in the scenic section will be code 40, Easitrac plain line (it’s a bit cheaper than Finetrax, and there are some neat things like brass sleepers to take unobtrusive power feeds and for board edges), Finetrax turnouts in some places, with others being handbuilt. I can’t decide whether to go for soldered PCB construction, or to 3D print bases hopefully using Finetrax chairs (pending Wayne selling me some!) to give some consistency. I like that idea, but not sure how practical it’ll be. Fiddle yard track will be code 55– I’m hoping to get 28 roads in, to maximise the amount of stock I can leave on the layout, I need to plan that bit to work out the best way to maximise length of roads – I’d quite like to be able to do ~26 container flats, but that’s about 3.5m, so not sure I’ll get it in. We shall see!

 

I’ve got the scenic side planned in Templot, which doesn’t really work nicely for screenshots, too messy, but below anyway! Orange is platforms to show a bit of context. At the LH end the four leftmost tracks are all sidings, the other 6 are the through routes feeding the fiddle yard.

 

image.png.590f678b0078846bcc44b1ed37ffe685.png

 

There’s a fair bit of artistic licence – the gradient on the Northampton line will arrive ‘on scene’ already at height, to minimise the gradient and avoid undue compromise on the length of trains - the fiddle yard roads on that line will have the gradient, but I should be able to keep it below 1%. There’s some fairly significant compression to the north of the station too, with the scenic section finishing just before the start of the flyover on the Birmingham lines. The curve through the station is about right, but obviously sharpened markedly to get around the bends at the end, albeit still pretty gentle - the innermost line is ~30" radius. Usual thing that real platforms are bloody long, so one platform will only be able to hold 9 car Pendolinos, and I’ve shortened the others, from their prototypical 3+ metres.

 

Anyone who’s followed any of my other projects will know that I’ll be very heavily using my 3D printers for this! Not necessarily the best tool, but the one I know best how to use, so virtually everything will probably come out of my printers; OHLE, signals, buildings, station furniture etc! I’ve already made a start on the station building CAD:

 

image.png.ce1b4a7ad9160cd20767a53a1775543f.png

 

First board will be the station, I’m not totally sure where to truncate it – obviously want to avoid any turnouts over board joints, and with long turnouts that gets increasingly difficult! Some of the crossovers at the LH end of the plan are F20s, which makes for a ~900mm crossover. Should hopefully look good with stuff at reasonable running speeds.

Hopefully will keep this updated as I actually make some progress…


 

Edited by njee20
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I got my copy of the track plan from planprinting24.co.uk. No connection, but very satisfied. 36 hours from order to delivery of 22 sheets of A2, folded to A4, for £13. £5 was postage, I was going to get two sets, but it seemed inevitable I’d want to make changes and it would be wasted. I’m not so worried with Peco track, but with the handbuilt stuff it’s great, I can see me buying copy or at least the subsequent version!

 

I set up the station side on the kitchen floor, I was keen to see how it looked 1:1; I find things like platform widths really hard to discern on screen. I must say I’m really pleased, to me it evokes a feel of Rugby straight off. Platform 1 can only hold 9 coaches, but that’ll be fine, the others are comfortably 11 (or 12-car 350s). Platform 3 (the bay) seems to never be used, whilst the other bay siding I always recall having a 92 in it, nowadays a DRS 57!

 

1147-090121193019.jpeg

 

One of the compromises I’ve had to make is shortening the distance from the flying junction to the east of the station, so again I wanted to try measuring a bit and just staging some track to get a feel. I should be able to keep to ~2.6% descending gradients (and negligible ascending), so it should be ok. There will be a couple of turnouts on the gradient, but I think it’ll be alright if I avoid the transitions. 

I’ve worked out which bit I’m going to build first, it’ll include the bay platforms, and the down crossovers, plus the new and old station buildings. I need to get my head around all the figures before making a start! At one end the track is ~25mm higher than the surrounding land, whilst at the other end it’ll be the same, so the cross members will need a bit of working out. 

In the mean time I’m going to see how long I can get away with leaving the track plan down. It was far more fun than it deserved to be just posing some stock on the paper!  :-[

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The weather's just not been good enough for me to want to spend the time in the garage to clear even a bit of space,  and I'm desperately trying to exercise restraint, rather than ploughing ahead with building, and consequences be damned. It's very unlike me!

 

Rather than make a straight frame, and add risers for the track I thought I'd steal Chris Morris's idea he employed on the excellent Dawlish Warren layout, and cut the cross members to the correct profile to support the track. Unlike Chris I have no skill at all with a pencil and paper, so I thought I'd do a bit of CAD to help me identify how it could look. This has kinda turned into virtual layout building, helping to give me an idea of how the various features will look, it's actually quite a cathartic alternative to building a real layout!

 

I added an image of the track plan as a layer, to be able to 'build' all the structures. I find things like platform dimensions much easier to envisage in 3D, versus measuring on a 2D plan.

 

1147-200121215810.png


This is the main station, without the baseboard top, but with the profiling on the cross members showing:

 

1147-200121215710.png

 

This shows the ROC, which I've shrunk a bit, as I think it's just a bit too dominant, probably still needs to be shrunk a bit more! As you can see I've also started to mark out where the OHLE portals will go. The idea is that as I do the CAD for the individual items I'll try and add them to this, to maintain a bit of a '3D plan'. I know a lot of people do this with card, but I'm not sure I trust myself with scissors  :worried:

 

1147-200121221325.png

 

This view shows the flying junction at the southern end of the station. The up slow is the only line which is flat, the UF and DF both dip down slightly to give extra clearance to the US, which passes over the top. I'm hoping to keep any climbing gradients to ~1%.

1147-200121222054.png
 

Edited by njee20
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And today's actual update!

 

Well only 7 months after my last post I've actually done a thing! I actually went to Rugby this week too, I went and took 300 photos of boring things like bins, the canopies and the platform surfaces! Spending a few hours there totally reinforced my desire to build it, a great variety of traffic, with stopping and fast services, it definitely inspired me! Who'd have thought actually visiting a location would provide inspiration!?

 

I still need to convert the garage to make it a more pleasant place to be, but that's probably a way off, due to general life constraints! However, I've built a single board, the idea being I can make a start on it, no doubt make loads of mistakes on the handbuilt track, and then by the time I've got the space to build it all I'll have an idea what I'm doing!

 

This board will be the southern half of the station, including the old station building. I got my track plan printed out on A2 paper, I've stuck the first three bits down, badly. Double sided tape was a right pain, reverting to spray adhesive from here in (learning number 1, I shalln't be counting them... :doh: ).

 

51387328118_826fa18ac4_c.jpg by njee20, on Flickr

 

I made up a 1.8m length of Easitrac (ie the length of the board), and laid that. I'm conscious of expansion, but I think that'll be ok, particularly as I won't be using rail joiners, so there should be some movement at the board joints. The rail can move a bit more freely in the sleepers too, as they're all threaded onto the rail in sets of 6.

 

I also finished and laid the first Finetrax EV15 turnout. It's long, and I've got some F20s planned, which are significantly longer still! Construction was fiddly, but not too bad, and stuff seems to run nicely when pushed through it, surely the acid test! I'm as good as certain that I'll end up rebuilding this one in the long term, as I'm sure once I've made a few this one won't cut it any more, but that's rather the point of this board! All the sleeper bases are painted with Plasicote Suede, as there was a lot of tonal variation in the plain sleepers, some being very silvery, whilst others were very dark grey, and everything in between, including some marbled ones covering multiple shades! A bit disappointing frankly, but never mind, it'll all be weathered in time, but it at least starts off a consistent colour!

 

It also brought to light another learning :doh: , that is that the separation distance using Finetrax spacing is smaller than Templot's default, so my whole plan becomes 'indicative', as I'm not getting the whole thing re-printed for a 3mm adjustment in parallel running lines! It actually plays to my advantage, as I can now tweak either the platform widths or the gaps between lines, which are wider than I realised between P4 and 5. The 0.42mm gauge difference between the (2mm FS) Easitrac and the Finetrax turnouts is ok, I'll try and make sure there's a bit of a taper, but it doesn't seem to cause any problems.

 

51388088400_62588aa109_c.jpg by njee20, on Flickr

 

51387081546_4204eae27e_c.jpg by njee20, on Flickr

 

Anyway, that's enough progress. I'll be back in another 8 months with another 6" of track, no doubt!

Edited by njee20
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5 hours ago, njee20 said:

the separation distance using Finetrax spacing is smaller than Templot's default,

 

Hi,

 

If you select bog-standard N gauge in Templot, you get the standards for UK commercial N gauge.

 

Templot has several other pre-sets for 2mm approx scale, but not the Finetrax option because I didn't know it existed. You wouldn't believe how difficult it can be to get definitive information about the various track standards in use:

 

2mm_gauge_options.png.a4de2f74a1a7fb8110e9cbc939f82c7e.png

 

I will add an option for Finetrax i.e. 9.0mm gauge but otherwise 2mm/ft, with prototype 22.33mm spacings. In the meantime it can be created as a custom gauge setting if desired.

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

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3 hours ago, martin_wynne said:

 

Hi,

 

If you select bog-standard N gauge in Templot, you get the standards for UK commercial N gauge.

 

Templot has several other pre-sets for 2mm approx scale, but not the Finetrax option because I didn't know it existed. You wouldn't believe how difficult it can be to get definitive information about the various track standards in use:

 

2mm_gauge_options.png.a4de2f74a1a7fb8110e9cbc939f82c7e.png

 

I will add an option for Finetrax i.e. 9.0mm gauge but otherwise 2mm/ft, with prototype 22.33mm spacings. In the meantime it can be created as a custom gauge setting if desired.

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

Thanks Martin, wholly user error, I just didn’t really check it. As I say it suits me anyway, as I don’t need the over-wide ‘commercial’ N gauge separations, so I’ve got a few mm extra to play with now!

 

34 minutes ago, bmthtrains - David said:

Superb to see this starting, I’m very jealous of the space you have available to do the whole station!

 

David

Thanks David, be better when the space is actually suited for it, but I’m too impatient for that, apparently things like new kitchens are more important! At least a ‘module’ gives me something to play with! Very much looking forward to watching your rendition develop too!

 

Nick

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  • 2 months later...

Plodding on with this, now have 3 turnouts completed and installed along with the running lines. Turns out it's really hard to get a nice smooth curve, it's all a bit wobbly, not helped by the Easitrac glue which grabs impressively quickly. I thought that would be an advantage over the likes of Copydex which requires weighing down for hours, but it simply introduces alternative headaches!

image.png.3a085c5395f3da252b77aef17570ee8b.png

 

 

The gradients finish coming into this crossover (ie the bit I've not built), so I need to start working out how to do that! Photograph of the real crossover here (from the perspective of the bottle of glue!):

 

image.png.004c3e1735fc937c192dbb42d08bd7e4.png 

Edited by njee20
Fixing photos!
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  • 2 months later...
  • RMweb Gold
On 19/08/2021 at 04:36, martin_wynne said:

 

Hi,

 

If you select bog-standard N gauge in Templot, you get the standards for UK commercial N gauge.

 

Templot has several other pre-sets for 2mm approx scale, but not the Finetrax option because I didn't know it existed. You wouldn't believe how difficult it can be to get definitive information about the various track standards in use:

 

2mm_gauge_options.png.a4de2f74a1a7fb8110e9cbc939f82c7e.png

 

I will add an option for Finetrax i.e. 9.0mm gauge but otherwise 2mm/ft, with prototype 22.33mm spacings. In the meantime it can be created as a custom gauge setting if desired.

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

 

Hi Nick,

 

The above will be in Templot update 233c shortly, with the name N-FX:

 

nfx_settings-png.3076

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

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As I’m typing here I may as well post a small update, and it is just small, as there’s not much to say!

 

Track laying carries on, with most of the track laid on the first board. Some dodgy laying on points which may still be torn up and replaced, but that was always the threat!

 

Here with some half finished printed JHAs, the inside bearing bogies make for a good test of dodgy track laying! Sorry for the odd camera angle, balancing trying to get it all in, whilst simultaneously trying to avoid showing all the rubbish on the board and around the layout!

 

image.jpeg.6b4e56ba358a6f919b382772f266a0d0.jpeg

and looking the other way:

image.jpeg.eeb6de7a81afe1129c038f14270fab8e.jpeg

 

Also been playing with printing OHLE, here a registration arm, quite chuffed with how this worked, although it’s extremely flexible, definitely wouldn’t put up with wires, which I would quite like to add. I’ve done a couple of portals too, but they need a bit more refining, mainly as I keep breaking them when removing them from the printer!

 

image.jpeg.ed6223ed097e5cbd2f89f0e94ad6a22d.jpeg

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Yes, they came out pretty well, I wasn’t overly careful with support placement either, so I should be able to get them a bit crisper. I think etched is probably slightly more suitable, if only for their strength, but knowing I’ll need ~100 or so of several different styles, printed will likely win out! I also wasn’t too impressed with the etched insulators on the N Brass ones - just being a flat etch which folds into shape, but I’m sure better could be done. 


It’s amazing how much the OHLE varies around there, far easier to just model the GWML!

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Just found your thread and picking up on one of your points above re fixing track, I’m using Finescale track and have been glueing track using a thin smear of PVA and hold down with drawing pins. Has worked well for me and to remove track all it takes is a misting with water and sliding a butter knife underneath. 
 

Brian

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Thanks Brian, the Easitrac glue appears to be PVA based, but obviously contains some additional solvent. It grips very quickly, which I like, but a bit more flexibility may be nice. Perhaps I’ll revert to Copydex as I’ve previously used!

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12 hours ago, shanks522 said:

Very nice Nick, The point work looks excellent! 
 

Could do with some more pictures of the JHAs,  they look very tasty! 

Haha, cheers! I’ve printed dozens, but none for me, so finally started on a rake! In the spirit of laziness I’ve been experimenting with printing the blue stripe with the Hanson logo as a single decals, these are the ‘right’ blue (from their corporate palette), but it’s too light, so needs some tweaking. Underframe needs painting too, plus obviously the other details. I’ll try and update my wagon thread linked below!93806681-66C3-41D3-944B-525AE7BE3859.jpeg.772cb142ab24ab2ad8f7138680acaaa0.jpeg

 

9AD93395-ECE4-4C3A-A907-24132762FE21.jpeg.370a0761d3f4a795ac6a392391570e9a.jpeg
 

totally out of place for Rugby, but I’ve always really liked the JHAs!

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