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Paisley Canal No.2 Signal Box


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Yes - I found this out when I went to buy the book online sad.gif It seems that Espedair Street is also the title of some pop music album too.


Oh well - back to square 1 on that Christmas present book idea....

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Err, Iain Banks wrote The Bridge and Espedair Street (among others). Not to take anything away from Iain Rankin who is also a brilliant author.






Oops. Communication error between brain and keyboard...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've spent some days drawing up the booking office frontage for the layout based on photographs on t'internet and books, confirmed by dimensions taken by a G&SWR Association member shortly before demolition.


I've also started on the side elevations, but need to confirm a few details before finalising these drawings.


Unfortunately I don't have space for the full 66' of frontage required, so I'll probably have to lose one of the fanlights from each side.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Some additional CAD work completed - here is the south elevation of the building with the stairs down to the platform disappearing behind the stone wall






At this period, Scottish Region still seemed to be using the old LMS building colours of cream and brown, so just for fun I spent a enjoyable half hour with IrfanView putting some colour on the walls. Maybe I'll print these views out and stick them to card for a mock up of the station.






I have drawn the south wall as shown in the 1957 WAC Smith photo included on P58 of "An Illustrated History of Glasgow's Railways". This clearly shows two

window panels similar to those on the main frontage. These are missing from later photos (see link below). I don't know when the change took place, but I've included them as they're nice...




There are three photos of the Paisley Canal booking office a little way down the page. The 1901 shot on that link seems to show a distinct dog leg in the frontage which does not seem to be present on the 1980's shot or the WAC Smith photo - there are other minor differences too (such as the diagonal cross bracing on some panels and the 3 finials above the entrance). It's possible the building was extensively rebuilt at some point - maybe due to road widening?


Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the North face of the building - I've come up with an arrangement from notes from a G&SWR Association member but I'm a bit unclear on the north side.


The main outstanding work before I start to make the model is to revisit the vertical dimensions on the platform side - unfortunately the only thing I have to go on is the rather low resolution website shot and some minor/assumed dimensions.

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Hi Jamie - I'd seen the first shot, but wasn't aware of the RCAHMS website - very interesting - I'll need to spend some time trawling that resource. Thanks for the tip.


Incidentally I was on the 105 shown on the photo. A scratch unit with 3 driving vehicles, as I recall.


I was taking the opportunity to travel on the last day of Kilmacolm services and very clearly remember passing the 27 at Paisley Canal. We planned to bail at Paisley for photos and I was gutted that the 27 left just before our train arrived. C'est la vie. Murphy's Law in action.


I think I still have a photo of the closure notice taken on the platform on the day. Very sad.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This week I shall mostly be building signal boxes.


I've finished the drawings for the booking office and these are very kindly being checked by a member of the G&SWR Association who took some measurements of the building shortly before demolition. If I'm really lucky he might just have some photos too - fingers crossed.


Until I get the drawings back, I've started work on the Signal Box to develop the constructional methods for the larger buildings. I decided to base the model on a mirror image of Hawkhead box on the Canal Line. I found a couple of excellent shots showing the front and rear of this box on the Railscot Website.





I estimated the dimensions based on the brick sizes and deduced from this that the planking was almost certainly 3" wide, which helped to work out the remaining major dimensions. Rather unusually for G&SWR boxes this box has vertical planking - the same as the booking office building.


I started off by making a simple sketch of the box in CAD to check that the sizes panned out, then it was straight off to the shops to see what sort of materials were available. As I live in Norway and my only local model shop is primarily a radio control car & plane specialist, there is normally absolutely no chance of coming across anything other than the most basic materials, tools and paint, but for once they turned up trumps with quite a good selection of small pine sections and thin plywood. The local art shop also came good with foamboard and some art card.


Finally I had no excuses to delay further and I made a start. I'll let the pictures tell the story from here on:



I've scribed the planking onto a sheet of thin modelling ply before starting work proper.




I started out by cutting out the side walls and gluing in some 5mm sq section to support the floor at a later stage. This section also served to remove the slight warping in the ply section.



The Front and rear wall are made the same way. I've also glued in position card, scribed on the lower section to represent the brickwork. The front wall has the cut out for the point rods and signal wires. I've also glued the large section upright timbers in place.



Here is the corresponding card section for the side walls - I took the opportunity to draw in the planking and detailing on the door. Hopefully this detail will still be visible when painted. I hope no rivet counters will comment that I've put the wrong number of nail heads on my G&SWR signal box door....



I used a square to try to ensure the sections remained in good alignment as the glue set....



....and reinforced the joints with more 5mm square section.



Here the basic shell is complete. you can see that I used a double thickness card on the lower front wall to allow me to make a "pocket" into which the bullhead rail that would support the brickwork shall fit.



The roof was bodged up using a small amount of basic geometry and a lot of trial and error. I'll glue the slates on at the next stage - still undecided whether to use strips or individual slates.



The entrance porch is basically complete. I'm waiting on a NWSL "Chopper II" tool arriving before I start cutting the treads for the stairs and the remaining timbers for the window panes, etc. This should allow a neater result and satisfy my incessant "tool junkie" cravings - at least for a while.



This is the box in it's approximate location on the layout. I'll be away from home for a couple of weeks so it'll be a while before I post any more photos, but I'm quite pleased with progress to date.

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Very nice. I've so far failed to get a satisfactory result in 4mm despite a couple of attempts, and a successful but useless (to me) 2mm model.


From what I've seen, practically every of the GSW's lines had one architectural quirk or another - a fascinating subject in itself. :)


(Shame it and you're in Norway though, the layout would make an admirable addition to the current GSW renaissance on the 'circuit' here)

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Jamie - Funnily enough, I'm actually just back in Norway again after a brief visit to Scotland to work on the Intercity DMU and to take in the Glasgow show.


Unfortunately this has meant that there has not been much progress on the layout, but I received my NWSL Chopper tool in the post recently so had a good opportunity to try this out in making the steps for the box.




Marking out tread positions from the drawing.





Very impressed with the tool - it makes this type of repetitive cutting work very straightforward.

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Guest Max Stafford

Bravo Andrew, what a lovely piece of work this is shaping up to be. It's all the better for being constructed from something close to prototype material. I'd like to one day try this in 4mm.


An education to watch, thanks! :)



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Glad you're enjoying the build, Dave. It's quite nice working with the small wood sections. They are surprisingly strong and the wood glue dries very quickly -giving enough time to adjust the fit, but without too much need to hold the assemblies together for a very long time.


Jamie - thanks for the link - a nice find. Interesting to note how early the colour light on the platform end must have been installed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Andrew, I have approx 20 odd colour pics of Canal Street station taken just prior to closure. They are mostly of the Causeyside Street wooden building and of the stairs leading too the platforms. There is also some general shots including one of the box. If you wish I can lend them to you for your project. They are not great, as they are taken with a cheap camera, but they show all the neccesary detail. As an aside I spent most of my informative years [early sixties]living next to the line at Hawkhead and I have seen many a 'cop' some very unusual,going along the line. Oh the memories of summer days and the long Sunday walk along the line to Corkerhill [line was closed on Sundays by the way].

regards Allan

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Hi Allan, thanks very much for your very kind offer. I've not got many detail shots of the building so these would be very useful to check details. I'll PM you my address.


I'd be interested in hearing some of your 'cops' too. I'm still at early days on my loco & stock building programme so it'd be useful to have some info on some locos that actually appeared on the line (the everyday and the unusual).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm working away from home over Easter, but mindful of the impending closing date of the 2010 challenge, I took along some materials to get started on the booking office. Apologies for the dodgy mobile phone photos





I'm finding the NWSL Chopper tool invaluable for the tedious repetitive cutting tasks. With a bit of planning it really speeds up the job and gives much better repeatability.





I used the tool to trim all the panels and timbers above and below the windows.





Current state of play.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sometimes it astonishes me how much (wasted?) effort I manage to put for so little tangible progress. This weeks toil is a case in point - I need to get the main structural elements at the "Ayrshire" end of the layout established. Central to this is the road bridge representing Causeyside Street with the overtrack booking office.


Causeyside Street is quite a major road - two lanes in each direction - and I therefore wanted to make it as wide as possible, but this obviously is at the expense of eating up valuable real estate on the "visible" section of the layout. After much agonising and deliberation and consulting of old maps, photos, Google Earth, etc, I eventually settled on a scale 40' width (broken down to 6' pavements on both sides of 14' carriageways. I decided that in 1968 there was still a good chance of the tram lines still being in place. In any case I like tram lines.... and cobblestones, so both shall feature. All the pictures I have found show a traffic island/crossing in the centre of the road. This should be quite an interesting feature - a sort of "road ornament" if you like. Probably there is a cast whitemetal fitting I can use for this - I'll have yet another trawl of tinternet to find something. Langley probably seem like a good starting point.


I measured from Google Earth that the road crosses the trackbed at about 14 deg, but as I have horribly sharp radius points to hide, this has an effect on the angles - I settled on a 10 deg angle to the fiddle yard. After much doodling and conjecture, I've also come to the inescapable conclusion that, to avoid butchering the actual buildings in the surrounding area too much, the siding on the north side can be nothing other than a bay platform. Many happy evenings photographing from the top of platform 11A at Glasgow Central station in the 1980s mean that this shall be primarily dedicated to parcels traffic to allow very heavily weathered CCTs and GUVs to be run.


All in all, it took me three solid evenings of searching for information and agonising decision making just to decide how to model a road over a railway (!) without even so much as beginning to cut any materials.


I have quite a few shots available of the retaining walls in the cutting, but as the road is at an angle to the baseboards, none of the tracks are straight and the street is on a slope, the nightmare of marking out the cut lines reared it's ugly head. I also suddenly realised that I had absolutely no idea what the underside of the bridge might look like..... I started to calculate and mark out the principal reference edges on the foamboard - juggling these took the best part of an afternoon - and then went back to the PC to search for any information on the underside of railway bridges. I eventually found this shot of a similar bridge at Paisley West, clearly showing longitudinal girders (probably with brick barrel-vaulting to support the roadbed above). Result! Now I lose some hours practicing image enhancement in Photoshop Elements and Irfanview to see the details more clearly. I also get sidetracked seeing if I can do the same with scans of my old railway slides. After a relatively few hours of actually building something, I am now the proud owner of this bizzarely shaped foamboard

construction. gallery_7058_611_10334.jpg


All in all, it doesn't seem like much to show for a week's toil.... Now to waste at least a day working out how large the flagstones, kerb stones, etc in Causeyside street are (or rather, were.....)

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After much agonising and deliberation and consulting of old maps, photos, Google Earth, etc, I eventually settled on a scale 40' width (broken down to 6' pavements on both sides of 14' carriageways. I decided that in 1968 there was still a good chance of the tram lines still being in place - in any case I like tram lines.... and cobblestones, so both shall feature.




I think I remember that tram lines went quite quickly after the closure of the system. In some cases they were ripped up - I remember seeing this happening on Glasgow Road in Dalmuir/Clydebank, and in other cases they were just tarmaced over. On frosty winter mornings you could see the line of the rails in the frost. So I think tram lines on a major road in 1968 might be pushing things a bit. :)


I suspect the tram lines that lasted the longest were the ones which were shared with the railways.



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  • 5 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

My last post post was about the lack of apparent progress with the layout, but I now look back fondly on those days as the "Golden Age of Productivity"....


The main reason has been the move to a new and larger house. I lost a lot of time in May due to the rush in preparing our old place for sale (time well spent as it happens as we got a good price). July was spent packing and moving to the new place. August and September were lost to painting and decorating The first week in October was spent in Scotland visiting family and friends plus a (very) brief visit to Bo'ness to work on the DMU. Suddenly it's October and the layout is in a worse state than it was in April....


The logical thing to do is throw in the towel and withdraw the layout from the 2010 Challenge, however if I do that, it might never get finished, so I've decided to press ahead and get it as complete as I can before the deadline.


Unfortunately the trackwork and the traverser both suffered damage during the move. This was very disheartening, but after finally deciding to press on rather than scrap the lot, the damage was fixed in a day.

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After some TLC...

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The scenery is beginning to take shape - I want to make this removable for now as I need to complete work at track level (eg ballasting, point rodding, etc) before I fix this permanently.

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Hang in there Andra' - it continues to look very promising, not to mention attractive.

That's only partly from my mind's eye painting in the local stonework and the overlooking Paisley architecture of course ;)

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Thanks for the encouragement, gentlemen. It's appreciated.


As I will not manage to finish the layout to the level I had anticipated for the deadline, the goal for me must now be to finish as many as possible of the "important things" to get the main structural elements of the layout complete.


This needs to be the main buildings, the cutting walls, the scenic treatment and the ballasting.


Don't think I'll have time to finish the windows of the buildings, but I can take this later. Likewise detailing jobs like putting on individual slates, etc.


Looking at the outstanding jobs and my remaining (very limited) time, the critical path shall now be determined by how long it takes for glue and/or paint to dry... As watching paint drying is not normally known as the most interesting pastime, I have started to work on several simultaneous jobs to allow glue to dry on 2 jobs at the same time. Twice the producivity.


Last night I left the basic scenery shapes to dry and these were more or less ready for first carving today. It was an advantage to be able to take the scenery blocks off the layout for final shaping, but ultimately it would have been much quicker to do the lot in place. One of the disadvantages in building a "temporary" layout.


Despite what your "better halves" may try to persuade you, the best knife to cut expanded polystyrene is your best bread knife. This is very important, Cheaper knives are honed on one side only and may not cut so accurately. Please do not quote me on this in any domestic dispute. Others' priorities may vary.


The main "sticking" job is finishing off the booking office. I have only ever built 4mm scale buildings and the size of the structures for this 7mm layout are surprising me with their sheer size. The booking office is like building a dolls house....


Given the fact that I have very few hours left to complete the layout, the decision to scribe planking detail to the interior seems a little misjudged... My thinking is that once the walls and roof are on, I'd miss not having done it.


The decision to add the nails was ludicrous, but easy & fun. Hopefully "rivet counters" don't go down to nail level as I think a few may be slightly out of place....

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The decision to add the nails was ludicrous, but easy & fun. Hopefully "rivet counters" don't go down to nail level as I think a few may be slightly out of place....


AHemm..... If your floor is tongued and grooved planks, which was normal, then the nails would have been hidden in the joins, and flooring nails were usually oval wire nails with small heads. :D :D :D



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