Thursday, 31 December 2009

Walls and Hedges

I'm having to spend some time this Christmas on a wargaming project. Painting some walls and making some hedges. Realising that this is all good practice for the forthcoming layout I thought I could justify posting my efforts.

My wargaming partner painstakingly carved a number of masters out of wax for these walls and from these we created moulds. The walls are then cast using plaster and painted with a number of acrylic colours before the bases are flocked. I'm practicing taking photographs with my girlfriend's camera as my camera has finally given up. The photo above is a little bleached in colour, the walls are a little warmer, but gives a reasonable impression of the finish.

The hedges are simply made from kitchen scouring pads and flocked and stuck on card bases. Wargaming structures do have to be more robust than those seen on a railway layout as they are constantly handled. Which does make me think that this is not the total method I will be using for hedges on the layout but I may use something like this as a base for hedging.

More can be seen at

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

GW Pannier Tank 4666 (1)

Well there it is, my first P4 loco and it works!!!!

The Ultrascale Bachmann Class 8750 'Pannier Tank' P4 wheel conversion pack has been sitting around for far too long. But today was the day I got to grips with it and 45 minutes after starting I had my first P4 loco. Placed on a short piece of P4 track and it ran just as well as it did as a OO loco.

Following Ultrascale's own conversion instructions for the Bachmann Pannier, I found the most difficult bit was removing the pickup plug. I was then extremely ham-fisted when plugging it back in and broke the plug socket off the circuit board (I didn't swear, honest). A quick repair with the soldering iron and all was well.

I decided to trim off the brake pull rods rather than file them down. I will refit them shortly. I also have some Bill Bedford coupling rods to solder up and fit. This will be done when some Carr's 188 solder arrives. All I then need to do is apply some balance weights to the wheels followed by general detailing and weathering of the Bachmann model.

4666 along with 4694 were allocated to Wadebridge shed (72F) in early 1960 to take over the duties performed by the SR Class O2's.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas t0 all.
Many thanks for following this meander and leaving any comments,
it's all much appreciated.


Wednesday, 23 December 2009


Just been thinking through how I'm going to construct the baseboards. Last time I built a baseboard for a layout it was in the days of 2" x 1" timber frame topped with chipboard. I keep reading about how important well laid track is for smooth running (which does make sense). So I figure that a flat, rigid baseboard that (hopefully) will not twist or warp has to be a basic requirement.

The above diagram is my first thought, nothing new as it's all been done before.

Cross beams constructed from plywood and softwood creating a sandwich. The track bed will be supported by risers and also fixed to the 'Back facia contour board' to create an 'L girder'. The 'Front scenic support board' will be fixed straight onto the cross beams and also to the 'Front facia contour board' again forming an 'L girder'. I am hoping that the combination of the cross beams and 'L girders' front and back with give stiffness. I may cut some circular holes in the 'Scenic support board' and cross beams to reduce a little of the weight. Polystyrene packing will be used on top of the 'Scenic support board' and 'Track support board' to form the base for scenic material.

I would like to have the Backscreen curved around the corners from the back onto the ends. At the moment I have a bit of a blank in how to do this. Using hardboard for the backscreen is a thought and curving this between the plywood 'Backscreen support board' and the 'End board'. Problem is it will be a very tight curve and until I get some hardboard I won't know if that will work. May just use some stiff card pasted onto the 'Backscreen support board' and 'End board' with a plywood former at the top to help create the curve.

If anyone has any suggestions or can see pitfalls please comment.

Unbalanced picture

I've been looking at the plan of Tredethy Wharf again and I agree with Trainspotter-USA that the layout is a little unbalanced. With buildings on the right and open country on the left the weight is on the right, never the less I think it should be OK.

The line at this point in the valley does pass though open country before entering a wooded area again. I've discounted a line side hut with some platelayers in attendance as I'm not sure there were any huts on this line. There were no signal boxes or signals on this line either. There was an interesting watering point at Pancarrow Woods further down the valley, stage right, between Helland and Boscarne. Not sure I could justify moving this further up the valley. I know it's my universe but I'm also trying to keep it reasonably close to reality. I'm struggling to find anything else to put at the left other than suggesting the line is entering a wood.

There are some interesting trees that feature in photographs on this line. I've not yet identified type of trees but my hope is that I can create a couple of them and plant them mid left to help balance the picture a little.

Tornado saves the day

I thought I must give this a mention, this is such a brilliant story. Steam comes to the rescue and proves that it is a more reliable means of traction in the current cold conditions.

The text below was posted on the SEmG forum:

"Tornado rescues Southern commuters last night at Victoria
Posted by: "rog"
Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:12 am (PST)

Hello there and hope you are all well.

We were out with Tornado yesterday as you may know on the SR Kent coast lines, we were the ONLY train around in the area almost all day !

Saw a few Javelins, parked up, and a poorly Southeastern train being doubled headed by 2 x class 73's !
We had a slow run in the morning but in the evening as there were no electric trains around we had a good sprint!

When we got back to a snowy Victoria for the dinner run at 1745 we had about 100 commuters who were stranded at Victoria and couldn't get home to Kent on SE and SR trains. They came over to platform 2 to see that we were stopping at Bromley,Swanley and Maidstone, and as we were not full and took them on free of charge. They were very grateful and many said they never even normally get a seat !

Such fun, and some very happy converts to steam, albeit not a SR one but we all had a hoot.

Merry Xmas

The BBC have the story at,

Now that is what I call a Christmas special.......... What more an you say but fantastic.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Tredethy Wharf

Oh no not another plan.......... Well let's hope this is it..............

After finally making it to the December Scalefour Area Group meeting and riding the initial comments of 'Who are you?' and 'Hello stranger', I was treated to some advice........ 'You need to get something running'. Well, I must admit, I have been beating about the bush a bit, and probably spending too much time composing blog entries although it has all been about setting the scene and developing my world around Grogley Junction. I do feel it is coming together but the guys are right I do need to get something running. I was impressed with Gordon's Fish Dock shunting puzzle layout as a quick essay in layout building and came away with renewed thoughts about trying to build an Inglenook Siding style layout.

Over the past couple of weeks I mulled over the question: What to build? What ever it is, it still has to fit the following parameters:
1) Be part of the overall project so any stock can be used on subsequent layouts
2) Be smaller than my original proposed Boscarne Junction starter layout
3) To be achievable as a first project.

The story so far with the different layouts:
Grogley Junction? Far too big and advanced for me at the moment.
Boscarne Junction? Considered too big, but have not totally discarded the idea.
Polbrook Engine Shed? Discarded on size and I'm not sure it fits in with the project.
Wenfordbridge? Would be nice but even when compressed, with the scenic section at 12ft long, it's too big.
Ruthernbidge? Again too big.
Nanstallon Halt? Nice but only one siding, so minimal operation and could well end up with more hidden sidings than scenic section.
Dunmere Junction? It is what it is, a junction and even if extended to Dunmere Wharf would only be one siding and become too big.
Dumere Halt? Again nice but no sidings.

While all these thoughts and plans were being mulled over there were two photographs in my collection of books that kept popping into mind. That of a Beattie Well tank crossing the road at Hellandbridge crossing and a Beattie Well tank shunting at Tresarret Wharf, both on the Wenfordbridge line. I've been intentionally avoiding any serious considerations on this line due to it being a 'goods only' line. I then suddenly saw this as an advantage. With the pace I've been working and time available it does considerably reduce stock requirements. So how about combining the two images into a fictitious wharf on this branch? Recollecting that Tresarret Wharf had a siding removed in 1932 .... eureka ..... there was my Inglenook siding layout. OK not exactly the 5:3:3 ratio of the original Inglenook but never the less it is in a similar style.

Ultimately this will need hidden sidings at each end to allow through workings of china clay trains but on its own, without the hidden sidings, I think it could be a small shunting puzzle. Not a very complex puzzle but something to operate in 7ft. The loop holds three wagons, the siding holds seven wagons. I may take up a two to three wagon spaces at the end of the siding with a small unloading vignette. From the left hand baseboard edge to first point there is enough space for a 57xx and three wagons. At the right hand side just enough space for a 57xx and one wagon. I know the 57xxs didn't work this branch but until I purchase a suitable loco I'll have to make do.

Why Tredethy Wharf? .... Tredethy is the other side of the river to Helland. My alternative history is that Tredethy financed the bridge across the river Camel and so this area became known as Tredethybridge not Hellandbridge. Hence the layout being named Tredethy Wharf .... tenuous I know and I do apologise to the inhabitants of Hellandbridge for taking this liberty.

So in reality this layout is set at Hellandbridge but with the wharf siding the other side of the road, not behind the farm buildings as the original siding. My Tredethy Wharf siding would have stayed open until 1970 which was when Tresarret Wharf closed. This will allow me to build a loco roster consisting of a Beattie Well tank, 13xx tank engine, and Class 03, Class 08 diesel shunters. I will probably only need a selection of fifteen wagons before embarking on building a couple of rakes of china clay wagons. The layout is much smaller than I was hoping but more than enough to keep me going for the next twelve months.

Better get an order off to P4 Track Company for their new line in turnout chairs then start building the baseboards..............

Monday, 7 December 2009

Diagram of lines connected to Grogley Junction

I've been carrying the diagram below around in my head for far too long and thought I'd better put it down on paper in case I loose a few more grey cells. The diagram might also help those that don't know the area very well and are trying to follow this blog and understand this alternative universe.

So below is an outline diagram of the lines in the area including my modifications to history. This should help plan goods and passenger traffic, which in turn will affect the design of Grogley Junction's track plan. I will probably need to add distances and finally decided station locations on the extension to Mawgan Porth to create a new timetable.

The lines in red indicate my alterations/additions to history

The building of the line from Ruthernbridge to join the Newquay line reduces the number of reversals required to transport clay from Wenfordbridge to Fowey. It would also take this traffic away from the GWR man line.

The inclusion of two stations on the Mawgan Porth extension are only speculation at the moment. Thought St Columb Major was mentioned in a proposed Wadebridge to Truro line.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Polbrock Engine Shed - first plan

Below is a screen shot from Google Maps of the proposed location for Grogley Junction’s Engine Shed at Polbrock. Last time I was there I remember this area (to the north of the road bridge at Polbrock) to be reasonably flat between the old track bed and the river. Scaled down to 4mm scale it would cover an area of approximately 12 foot long, from bridge to trees at the top just short of the river, by 3 ft 6 inches at its widest point.

Below is my first interpretation of how this engine shed might have looked. I've reduced the area that the engine shed to under 8ft long and the width down to just under 3ft.

Anyway…….I've tried to let the actual location dictate the layout of the engine shed but must admit that there is a little of GW’s Leamington shed in the design. Hope that carries no offence to the staunch LSWR followers. If I do build the layout it would work mainly as large moving diorama for displaying locos. The main line, running though the layout at the back behind the coach sidings, would initially be non functional.

I’m thinking of basing all structures on those at Wadebridge. The engine shed being constructed from wood cladding with a brick base to the water tower. The coaling stage was a platform with a corrugated roof where coal was shovelled from wagons on one side and loaded onto locos the other. With that said I'm still trying to research other LSWR engine sheds for ideas. Wadebridge's original engine shed was sympathetically extended in a rebuild. I'm proposing that the LSWR, instead of this rebuild, built a brand new engine shed at Polbrook so they might have considered a new stone structure rather than move the original wooden one.

I have increased the size of the turntable to 55 ft as 50 ft seems very tight to turn an N Class loco. A 50 ft turntable must have been big enough as Wadebridge had a 50 ft turntable which was used to turn N Classes. But a 55 ft should give a little bit more lee way when trying to operate the layout and position an N class on the turntable's deck.

The map above shows the relationship between Polbrock and Grogley Junction. The yellow line indicates the course of the track bed, The red area indicates the approximate area covered by my proposed Grogley Junction.

One thing that I'm not sure about with this layout is the way I am connecting the engine shed with Grogley Junction. I am proposing that the engine shed line exits the layout stage right and runs parallel with the main line to join Grogley's goods marshalling sidings loop, entrance to the engine shed being controlled by Grogley's signal box at this point. I'm also proposing two ground signals within the engine shed area, one for the carriage sidings and one at the exit of the engine shed itself, both being controlled by Grogley's signal box. I need to run this past my local P4 Area Group to see if this might be correct.

Overall I like this plan and think it has great potential. Viewing the engine shed across the river between a couple of trees with the coach sidings and a gentle tree lined embankment behind seems just right for this area. Perhaps there are couple of Maunsell two coach ‘P Sets’ in the coach sidings with an O2 backing on to one of them? A couple of Beattie Well tanks and a 57xx Pannier on shed while an N class is being turned and prepared for its next duty. Nice.......

Overall, with scenic areas, the layout is big at 28 sq ft. This makes me wonder how practical this track plan might be especially as it has been drawn with only two baseboards each being 4ft x 3ft 6in. I need to discuss this with the new boss. :-))

BUT….. possibly more importantly for this project, designing this layout has started me thinking about Grogley Junction again. I now have to decide if there is enough room or not for an engine shed and carriage sidings at the proposed site for Grogley Junction. The above plan looks good for a stand alone layout but for the whole project it has to be right and fit in. If there is enough room within the environs of Grogley Junction for an engine shed I doubt that the LSWR would have built a remote one 500 yds up the line.

Oh well, one thing is certain I’m enjoying using Templot and I’m also enjoying the thought process in creating this alternative universe. Not sure that I’m any closer to a layout but more will definately follow......

Monday, 30 November 2009

Universal thoughts

Thanks for your last comment Iain, I’ve not come across Schrodinger's Cat theory before. Wow...get your head around that one.

I'm currently reading Phillip Pullman’s 'His Dark Materials' it’s all about parallel universes and could not resist the mention in my last blog entry. It just seems to fit where I'm going with this project. Don’t we all, if we cannot find a prototype that fits our needs, invent a little history that could exist in an alternative universe? Just need a Subtle Knife to open a window and there it is.

Boscarne Wharf/Junction would make a perfect starter layout for me as it has minimal buildings. After some failures many years ago at scratch building buildings I'm very nervous about an Engine Shed layout. So much could go wrong with all the required structures. But as space is a big issue a smaller layout it has to be. Wanting to keep what ever I build as part of the overall project I’m struggling to think of another layout that would be worth while building that is smaller than Boscarne Wharf/Junction on this proposed branch.

My first thoughts with Grogley Junction were to keep it as real as possible and not over blow the ‘what ifs’. With this new “what if” I’m a little nervous that the project is drifting away from reality a little too much. I can hear the purists barking already. This sounds like I’m searching for a reason not to build this Engine Shed. Trouble is I’m getting to really like the idea. A small but busy Engine Shed backed up with a couple of carriage sidings and single track main line behind, all situated on the banks of the river Camel. It will be a real test for my track building skills as I’ve already included a 3-way turnout and a turntable but I’m now thinking a single slip might be needed. Oh dear what I’m I getting myself into?

Just need to stop planning and get started, though they do say that ‘the devil is in the detail’.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Change of tack

After much musing I'm gradually coming to terms with the possibility of an engine shed layout. Many designs have been sketched and much thought has been given to events that will create my alternative universe for this branch. All very 'His Dark Materials' stuff.

I'm currently Temploting a couple of plans for a loco shed but think I have almost settled on one in particular. Just need to get to grips with drawing a 3-way point and a turntable in Templot. Nearly there though. Once finish I'll publish the plan.

Extra background and events that I've so far thought through to justify an engine shed at Polbrook are as follows (my alternative universe events in red):

1862 - An extension from Ruthern Bridge to Withiel was constructed for the Iron Ore mine.

1873 - An extension from Ruthern Bridge to join the Cornish Minerals Railway was built and used to transport Clay, Iron Ore and De Lank Quarry stone to St. Blazey and Fowey which offering better sea access than Padstow.

1882 - North Cornwall Railway, with the backing of the LSWR, obtained an Act to build a line from Launceston to Wadebridge and Padstow.

1882 - The North Cornwall Railway with the backing of the LSWR obtained and Act to extend the line from Ruthern Bridge to Mawgan Porth.

1886 - An agreement drawn up between the LSWR, Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway and the GWR to control GWR access to Grogley Junction. The LSWR were to rebuild the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway including a new station at Grogley Junction.

1888 - (3rd Sept.) GWR completed the extension from Bodmin to Boscarne

1895 - LSWR arrived at Grogley after the opening of the Delabole to Wadebridge Junction section of the North Cornwall Railway on the 1st June. But instead of running directly into Wadebridge the connection was direct to Grogley Junction and then on to Mawgan Porth. Mawgan Porth now being the end of the North Cornwall Railway not Wadebridge.

1907 Instead of rebuilding Wadebridge's engine shed the LSWR took the decision to build a new Engine shed at Polbrock and move all Wadebridge's loco facilities to this new location.

All the above means that my first thought of a triangle being formed at Wadebridge Junction does not happen. I've got to think a little deeper as to how all the above would affect operation on the North Cornwall Line but it does give me scope for creating an important junction station at Grogley.

Brief summary of traffic though my version of Grogley Junction:
Grogley Junction to Wadebridge/Padstow passenger and goods. (SR)
Grogley Junction to Bodmin North passenger and goods. (SR)
Grogley Junction to Bodmin General passenger and goods. (GWR)
Grogley Junction to Wenford Bridge goods including china clay traffic (SR)
Grogley Junction to St. Blazey/Fowey goods including china clay traffic (GWR)
Grogley Junction to Par passenger (GWR)
Mawgan Porth (Grogley Junction) to Okehampton/Exeter passenger (SR)
Mawgan Porth (Grogley Junction) to Exmouth Junction goods (SR)
The Ace would split at Grogley Junction – 2/3 coaches for Wadebridge/Padstow and 2/3 coaches for Mawgan Porth.

I'm debating whether Grogley Junction will become the main hub for all goods traffic in the area. i.e. all Exmouth Junction goods workings terminating at Grogley then split and forwarded on via local engine hauled pickup goods to Padstow, Bodmin, Wenford and even onward to Mawgan Porth. This would give me an excuse to shed an N class and other tender locos over night at Polbrook Engine Shed. I'll have to re work my proposed timetable a little.

I've also still to decide how the above would affect Shed allocations in the area. I would like to keep some identity with the real life location (Beattie Well Tanks, O2's, T9's, N Class, 57xx, 45xx, etc.) but I could have opportunities to pull in other locos (0-6-0 700's). In this universe I think Padstow and Wadebridge would not, by the 1960s, have ended up with any turntables. Which would mean, without the triangle at Wadebridge Junction, Polbrock Engine Shed may require a 60ft turntable. Mawgan Porth would have loco stabling facilities along with a turntable to turn the West Countries and other tender locos that would have reached the end of the line.

Would Grogley Junction also need coach sidings? I think it might. I've a rough idea how Grogley Junction would look but not completed any sketches yet. It will certainly be different to the one published earlier in this Blog.

21-11-09 An evening to remember

I'm sorry this is not a railway related posting and hopefully I will not be offending too many people as I realise this is not everyone's taste in music.

Saturday 21-11-09 six of us trolled off to Leeds to see Skunk Anansie for bit of a music anniversary and a birthday celebration.

10 years ago (10th October 1999) I 'corrupted' my two offspring by taking them to a Skunk Anansie gig at the Town and Country Club in Leeds. Amazingly Muse were the support act that night. Previously I'd taken them to a V Festival and they'd also been to see Bryan Adams, Take That and a few other stadium type gigs but not to, what I would call, a proper gig. A small, standing only, hot and sweaty gig were bands make contact with the whole audience and perform with passion/attitude. In the years that have followed they have both commented that it was that gig that really turned them on to music and seeing bands live. Both have been to countless gigs of this type since plus numerous festivals and it still ranks in their top 10 best gigs/acts seen live.

For those that have not heard of Skunk Anansie they were, in the 90s, a top selling Alternative Rock band. They recorded three platinum selling albums and had good chart success with 14 single releases. The band were named, in 2004, as one of the most-successful UK chart acts between 1952-2003 with a total of 141 weeks on both the singles and album charts. They split in 2001.

We have seen Skin, the vocalist, as a solo artist a couple of times since 2001 and my partner was well impressed. When I heard that Skunk were reforming and playing at the O2 Academy in Leeds (The old Town and Country Club) the week of my son's 24 birthday, I had to get tickets.

I was concerned that after 10 years they would not have cut the mustard or that I was excepting too much and building up the gig too much. I should not have worried as it was an excellent gig. With all things considered, this being an anniversary for the three of us, the first Skunk gig for my partner along with my partner's daughter and son's girlfriend who all thought they were awesome, along with the meal and drinks before the gig, it was possibly one of, if not the best gig, I've been to in 30 years. My son even passed the comment that it was the best birthday present ever. A memorable night, big smiles all round.

Video clips are gradually appearing on YouTube and below are a couple of links. As always with these clips quality of sound is very suspect and the view is from the balcony not the same as that from the floor. They give a good impression but don't quite capture the atmosphere.

Compelation from the Leeds gig, Skin literally walking on the audience.

Skin climbing the lighting rig and working the crowd on the balcony.

New track 'Because of you' live at Leeds

Welcome back Skunk Anansie. New album out in Feb. 2010.

Monday, 9 November 2009

A smaller project

On holiday in the Lakes. Sitting looking up at Hallin Fell from our cottage window....... I'm thinking about Grogley & Boscarne layouts. With all that has happened in the last four months I'm considering a smaller project. Just a couple baseboards using the two points I've nearly completed. Enough to get my teeth into and keep the project rolling towards Grogley. The constraints being, any starter layout will be part of the overall project, be an extension not a distraction. Any stock built/collected to be used on all layouts. But what to build?

During the last couple of weeks I've given some thought to a shunting puzzle but been struggling to justify one within the overall project. Also struggled to find a location in the area that would warrant an extra Wharf siding. Considered Wenford Bridge but to do it justice would take more than two baseboards. I have almost resorted to sticking to my original plan of Boscarne until another 'what if' cropped up.

The original premise for my version of Grogley Junction was the LSWR extending the Ruthern Bridge branch to Mawgan Porth. Also a proposed branch was built to link Ruthern Bridge to St. Blazey via the Newquay branch. Any North Cornwall train would have a reversal at Wadebridge to continue though Grogley. My 'what if' is that this reversal could be removed by the building of a triangle junction outside Wadebridge. Being away from reference books and with no access to the internet, I cannot remember the name of the junction between the North Cornwall main line and the Bodmin Branches (Shame on me). Wadebridge and Padstow would be operated as a branch from Grogley. This would probably give justification for moving the Wadebridge engine shed to Grogley. Shedded there would be branch engines like the Beatties/13xxs to operate the Wenford Bridge branch and O2s/57xxs for Bodmin North to Padstow passenger. Mawgan Porth would have facilities for larger locos. Would Grogley be the focal point for all goods traffic? If so, it would become an important junction for transfer of freight and passenger workings including an engine shed. The ACE would split at Grogley. Rear coaches for Padstow front coaches to continue to Mawgan Porth.

The engine shed would basically mirror Wadebridge facilities minus the turntable, the triangle being used to turn any locos that might need turning. Could this engine shed be built as a separate item on two baseboards? Probably yes. Until I get home and check, I'm thinking of sighting it at Polbrock. I seem to remember there is enough land Wadebridge side of the road overbridge between the river and railway. Can it be built with just two points? No, but a smaller almost selfcontained layout at the present time might be an advantage. Something that would fit on the dining table and allow me to run a few locos backwards and forwards. Time to get sketching a few plans. I'll post these as soon as I can but this 'what if' would also change my original Grogley plan.

Hmmmm..... gives me something to do while I'm away and may well produce a very interesting Grogley Junction.

(Posted while in The Crown at Pooley Bridge have a swift half).
-- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 15 October 2009

I'm still alive

No progress to report on this project but I think I can see light at the end of the decorating tunnel. I've booked most of next week as holiday so should have most of the rooms finished by the end of the week.

Adding to the above madness I've been honoured by my girlfriend. She has decided that she can put up with me and there is a lot to put up with :-). I am very happy. We are in the process of trying to reoganising and package two houses into one. Not an easy task especially as we have made the crazy decision to move into the smallest house. As mine is not very big I'm loosing the garage to storage boxes. Hope to have a little space left for baseboard construction. The rest of this month is going to be interesting.

On top of all this my Mum ends up in hospital with a broken leg.

The above, highlighting my lack of time (or is that mis-management of spare time) combinded with loosing space, has started me to rethink my P4 project. I can now see that Grogley Junction is a couple years away from being started. Boscarne Wharf might now be a tad too big for my current situation. Too soon for a final desision on that but I am becoming more interested in micro/shunting puzzle layouts. At least as a starter to practice P4 skills. The important thing is I get something started soon and stop thinking about it.

More to follow soon when life settles down to some sort of normality.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Scaleforum 2009

After reading the 'Scaleforum Weekender 2009' that came with 'Scalefour News' this week I could not see how I could miss this exhibition. To see Bodmin again will be worth the journey, let alone the other layouts and traders that are attending. Discussed the trip with my partner and discovered she wants to attend a conference in London on the Saturday so this sealed the trip. Booked train tickets this evening to travel down together.

This will be my first visit to Scaleforum and will my first trip to London by train for many years. Sounds a little naff but I am quite excited. A wants list will have to be drawn up to make sure I spend wisely. Let's just hope I can find a little bit of time to do some modelling before then ......

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Class 25 on a china clay train at Par in 1976

Decorating is progressing steadily. Two rooms done another nearly finished, just hoping I don't have to start decorating the outside.

Previous posting was probably showing some of my frustration that I've no spare time for either hobby at the moment. Both comments that were left were correct. I was over complicating things, I have to concentrate on getting this house ready for sale or re-letting. Also a class 25 fitted with sound would be nice. Could not resist a quick search on the net for info on class 25's in Cornwall. Found a few photos, the one below were taken in 1976 so a little later than I am thinking but still nice shots.

I like the weathering on the front of this loco.

Clay wagons were not all white!! Nice

It looks like the top of the axle boxes have been weathered with clay dust but the bottoms are black, unless that is a shadow effect. I will have to learn some subtle weathering techniques to achieve anything like the above finish on my proposed fleet of wagons.

More photos of Class 25's can be found on this excellent reference site here.

Onwards and upwards and back to the decorating tomorrow.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Thoughts while decorating

While decorating, my mind is tending to wander a little......

I keep getting thoughts about the amount of stock I have planned to build for Boscarne. The realisation that I have to plan my next purchase due to the extended lead times of some manufacturers means I have to place my next order soon. Also the need to know what I need so I can purchase other items when I come across them (as they might not be in production for long). These thoughts are causing me to ask myself continuous questions. This flipping decorating malarkey is also putting me well behind schedule! How can I get myself back on track?

My original idea was/is to base both layouts in 1961/62. During this period there were many changes to the locos shedded at Wadebridge and seen on this branch. These changes give opportunities for the following locos to be used: 1 x Beattie Well Tank, 1 x 13xx, 1 x N Class 2-6-0s, 1 x O2, 1 or 2 x 45xxs, 1 or 2 x 57xx, 1 or 2 Class 22 Hydraulics, plus an 1 Ivatt 2-6-2T 2MT. This is 8 - 11 locos to convert or build and detail. This is without listing all the coaching and freight stock required.

Hmmmm .... Irrespective of the fact that all the above will also be seen running though Grogley Junction, I'm thinking this may be a little too much to be my first objective for a reasonable timetable to be represented. Granted I would not require it all straight away but Boscarne Wharf Junction layout is only suppose to be, a test P4 layout, a layout on a plank, something I can put together in a reasonably short period of time!!!! Trouble is it is starting to grow arms and legs and becoming more than I originally planned. This might not be a bad idea as ultimately, if it turns out OK, it could be an extension to Grogley Junction. Question is, just for now, do I need to cut down my thoughts for Boscarne's initial stock list? Doing so may enable me reach a state of completion that will allow me to progress onto the main project, Grogley Junction, sooner rather than later. Think I need to put some blinkers on ......

My thoughts over the last few days are turning to considering the 1970s as a possible era for Boscarne. The line was freight only by then. I think passenger services ceased in 1967 but Wadebridge was kept open for freight via Bodmin General until 1974. I would only require two locos and a few freight wagons plus clay wagons with or without hoods depending on year. One Class 08 and, depending on when in the 1970s, one of the following, a Class 22 or Class 25 or Class 37. The thought of hearing a Class 25 stood idling in amongst the trees on a hot summers day (it's a shame we can't depict a misty/rainy Cornish day with dripping trees) while waiting for the 08 to bring full clay wagons down from Wenford is attractive.

Operationally this will be limited but would enable me to reach a point where I could say 'finished for now'. I could then move on to the main project, Grogley Junction. Two problems are: I would struggle to justify running these locos through Grogley as its track would probably have been rationalised in the 1970s and I think all wharf sidings on the line were closed or lifted by 1969.

I'll keep stripping and painting ........ and thinking.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

A little progress (not a lot)

For those of you trying to follow my meanderings with this project I must apologise for the lack of postings recently. It has not been intentional. A situation has arisen that means any spare time has to be spent stripping ................. wall paper, from six rooms plus hall stairs and landing of a three bedroomed house. Then all I've got to do is redecorate, all in evenings and weekends plus any days holiday I can take at short notice. Oh well I didn't have much else to do in my spare time !!! If anybody wants to buy a house by the sea with a 22' x 13' garage (suitable for a model railway room), give me a shout!

With all that said I've been able to find a few moments here and there to work on the quarter scale model.

It's starting to come together but I still have a little bit to do.

I was hoping to be able to hide all entries/exits by well placed trees but the exit to the Bodmin North line is being difficult to mask. Looking through the trees, up river, it is easy to mask both exits at this end of the layout. As you progress further towards the signal box and level crossing it gets more difficult to mask the Bodmin North exit.

Looking up river.

Looking towards Bodmin North exit from opposite the wharf siding.

Also I have been thinking about adding a provender store on the wharf siding not typical on this stretch of line but thought it might add a little more interest. At the moment I think it unbalances this end of the layout so I am undecided about whether to include it. If I do include the store, the siding will have to move slightly closer to the running line to give a little more room around the store.

With provender store

Without provender store

After trying the cottage in a couple of positions I've decided that it looks best in the position shown on the photograph above, which is roughly its actual location. It seems to balance the signal box in this position and stops the signal box looking like an orphan on that side of the track.

There is a lot more undergrowth to be added. In all the photographs I have seen the bank at the back looks heavily covered with trees and bushes. The level crossing also needs to be represented in some form along with the gates at the entrance to the Wharf siding. I am also going to play around with adding more trees and bushes at the front of the layout as again this edge seemed overgrown in the 1960s. At the front the trick will be adding enough to indicate this overgrown vegetation but still allow good viewing angles between and through the trees.

I could really do with another site visit to get a true feeling for the place and take a few shots of the cottage and road area around the level crossing.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Beattie Well Tank 30586

I've been browsing the web for photos and discovered this little gem.

What an excellent photo of the one that did not survive into preservation.

Taken 17th July 1962 and can be viewed as part of ricsrailpics collection on Flicker. He has published many photos from the 1960's up to the present day.

Two nice discoveries

Class 22
Just discovered Genesis Kits and their Class 22 pilot scheme loco kit (D6300 - D6305). These were all shedded at Laira shed during my chosen period. As yet I haven't turned up any photographic evidence that they would have been used on the Bodmin General to Wadebridge duties but one would be a good addition to my collection.

In stock to build I already have one old MTK kit which is earmarked to be D6339 as seen on the branch in 1962 near Grogley Halt. This will be built with the split headcodes (two roller blind route indicator panels) and finished in green with yellow warning panels and the 25kV warning signs. I also have a Silver Fox Models resin kit which is earmarked to be D6315 as seen at Wadebridge in 1961. This one has the folding head code discs and will be finish in all over green livery (no yellow front ends).

Recently, while scanning though one of the railway magazines in a newsagent (should have bought the mag really), I read that Dapol are going to produce a model of a Class 22. It's like waiting for a bus.

Beattie Well Tank
Kernow Models have come up trumps with their proposed model of a Beattie Well Tank. I've been putting off buying a kit for one of these locos as I'm not sure of my skills at soldering brass kits together. OK the model will be OO but hopefully not too difficult to re-gauge. At the pace I am going, Ultrascale may have a conversion pack ready by the time I need to run a Beattie ..... here's hoping. I've just got to decided which one to order out of the three they are proposing to produce.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Getting side tracked (again)

With all this talk about pink foam on '4mm scale agonies' blog and using it for baseboard construction, it got me thinking about my proposed quarter scale model of Boscarne. I purchased some foamboard weeks ago just for this purpose but it has been languishing beneath my bench waiting for me to pluck up the courage to make a start ever since. I say courage but the will is probably more to the point. I've never really seen the need to build a scale model of a proposed project before. I know Mr. Rice and Mr. Norman advocate it as good practice but I've always thought I held a good picture in my head of what I wanted to achieve. With my Boscarne Junction layout I am/was having problems with deciding how to make a start on the baseboards, especially the Y shaped board at the junction end. This started to convince me that building a quarter scale model might be a good idea.

After wangling a day off in lieu, for some weekend work I did a few weeks ago, I decided to make a start. Should I have finished off the A7 point kit? That might be a good question and yes ought to be my answer but I felt in the right mood to attempt something new today. Also I have to build baseboards before I can install and use any points I construct. I also have to decide on how to construct the baseboards. So the point can wait a few more days.

This model is nowhere near finished but it is being a very useful exercise. It has already given me a better idea how to tackle the Y shape baseboard. It has also highlighting that I had not thought enough about the ground contours in Y of the junction. As you can see it is this area that I am still working on. It's very easy to draw contours on paper but to see them in 3D brings them to life.

I am not sure how far I will detail this model over the next few weeks. Adding trees of some description should help me decide how to break up the layout into frames to create views that the trains can pass though. Adding the few buildings is also a must just to check sizing and position. I am still not sure about adding the cottage/house that is behind the signal box at the real location. Need to give this some thought, but to be honest I've never been that confident about scratch-building buildings.

It's a shame there is not a building on the same side of the railway as the wharf side but on the opposite side of the road to act as a scenic break for the fiddle yard. If I do build the cottage/house it might fall foul of my fictitious history and be moved to this position ..... would probably balance this end of the layout better by being moved.

Sorry about the quality of the photos but I had to use my phone to take them as my camera is playing up.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

A7 point kit

Where has this week gone...? It doesn't feel like over a week since I started this point kit. This weekend being first opportunity to pick this kit up again since the 18th. Thought I would put up a few more photos showing progress.... mainly for anyone who does not know these kits, or is hesitant about having a go.

This is what you get in the kit.

I had already started to solder a wire dropper onto the V before taking this photo. As with the previous kit I found the instructions to be daunting, along with seeing all the small chair components. When seeing the kit laid in the above photo there doesn't seem much to it.

I was not happy with using the plastic sleepers on the first kit. This must be something to do with reading Ian Rice's books on track construction and his use of ply and rivet construction, also due to my early results in staining wooden sleepers. I have been very pleased with the stained plywood sleepers and think I will find it very difficult in achieving the same result using plastic. So picking up from my last blog on this point kit I discarded the plastic sleepers.

I have purchased Templot software to help design the track plans for these projects and find it an intriguing piece of software. I thought I'd build this kit over a Templot template using wooden sleepers.

Above photo shows the V in place and so far so good. The plastic chairs seem to be sticking to the wooden sleepers well.

Apart from the sleeper spacing and overall length being different between Templot and the kit, there is also a difference where the V to closure rails end and start. I only realised this once the V was fixed. Don't think this will affect the points operation just the visual look. It was not until later that I spotted Martin's comments attached to my previous blog and read the form entries on this link to RMWeb.

This photo is showing the closure rails going in place.

Next day (Sunday morning) and daylight.... switch assembled.

At this point other events took control of the day. Not sure when I'll get back to this kit but hope to finish it during this next week. I've taken note of a comment re the check rail. It is thought that making the check rail live improves running though the point, something I hadn't thought of with these kits. Coming from Paxolin sleeper construction this was never a problem.

Being new to P4 standards (I really consider myself a novice to railway modelling - full stop), the questions that have been thrown up regarding these kits accurate are beyond me for the moment. Using these kits as supplied enables anyone to make a very functional P4 turnout that certainly looks the part. Exactoscale have got to be commended in bringing P4 standards closer to the masses. Beautifully made they give anyone, with a modicum of kit building experience, the capabilities of building P4 track. I need to finish the kit before deciding which standard to follow, Templot (reality) or Exatoscale (functionlity). In the end there will be few people that will be able to notice the difference. It will all be down to me accepting any inaccuracies.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

57xx coupling rods

Some Bill Bedford coupling rods for a 57xx arrived in the post this morning. Now I've got no excuse to complete the conversion. That's if I can work out how to put these coupling rods together!!!

I've found some assembly instructions for a NER E1 here on Bill Bedford's web site . This kit looks to have similar coupling rods to the 57xx so may be able to use these instructions as a guide.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Ultrascale order but more to the point

My Ultrascale order has arrived : P4 wheel conversion packs for a Bachmann Pannier and a Class 29. Hmmm ........ which one to tackle first.

While I am now excited by the thought of quickly having a P4 loco, I am also bathing in the success of the B7 point kit. So this evening I've made a start on the A7 kit but using wooden sleepers.

Templot template PVA'd to 3/16th balsa with the pre-stained sleepers.

Templot's sleeper spacing or the length of the point does not match the P4 Track Company's kit. Not sure that this will cause too much of a problem. I hope to be using Templot to build other points and the rest of the track so this should be a good starting point .... sorry about the pun.

All ready for tomorrow night...!

More posts will follow along with photographs hopefully in the next few days......
Sorry .... just noticed that posting date for this blog was wrong not sure how I manage to post this before I'd started doing it!! Amended posting date to 18/06/09 (20/06/09).

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

At last I've built it

Last night I finally finished my first B7 P4 Track Company point kit. I'm really pleased with the result and the crossing V seems to be OK. Ran a couple of wagons through the crossing V with no problems, nice and smooth. I still feel the V is out of specification but this does show that there are some tolerences within P4. Next test will be a six coupled loco.

I only broke one fishplate and lost one very small part chair component from the switch assembly. I also seemed to be two slide chairs and three S1 chairs short. Replaced most with spares that come on the sprues but had to resort to some C & L S1 chairs to finish the job. There are a few chairs that may need tweaking in the future but at the moment I am just pleased I've got this far.

Next task it to work out how to weather the sleepers to match the wooden ones I'm producing for the plain track. My first attempt is not good need to rethink colours and how to apply the paint. I also need to think about how to operate the point. Tortoise motors seem to be the favoured option and I've purchased a pack of P4 Track Companies base plates. Just need to purchased some motors.

Overall I think these kits are superb and more will be purchased, just a shame that the sleepers are plastic and not wooden.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

North Cornwall Railway (An Illustrated History of)

For anyone that is interested in the North Cornwall Railway this book has got to be part of their collection.

Bought by my partner as a birthday present, I have only, up until the last few days, scanned the pages. While I've been away I've started to read more and found this book to be a very in depth book on the NRC. Chapters cover the history of all stations from Okhampton to Padstow, including track plans and signal diagrams and a few drawings of typical structures. Also chapters on freight and passenger workings, and loco diagrams along with excellent appendices containing coach diagrams and timetables. Included throughout the book are many splendid photographs with very informative text, in many cases itemising train make up with coach numbers and freight descriptions. So far I have not read anything that might alter my proposed layouts or my alternative history for Grogley Junction but there is plenty of information that will help to enhance the project.

A truly excellent book.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Sunny weekend or a point kit. No contest.

Still not much practical progress on this project. Firstly, when starting my first B7 point kit from the P4 track company the crossing V seemed out of specification. Secondly the Pannier and Class 29 (22) wheel conversion sets have still not turned up. Thirdly my wargaming interests (MI Territorials and planning a game for last week) have recently had to take priority.

The point kit was a disappointment. One side of the V seems very tight and had this confirmed by a another Scalefour member. But after speaking to the P4 Track Company they assured me that the crossing V should be OK. So I put this last weekend aside to start the kit and hopefully complete it.

But how could I spend this last weekend indoors with the weather forecast and a suggestion that we might go camping. Out came the tent and we swanned off to the Lake District to spend a fantastic weekend bagging five Wainwright's (Cat Bells, Arthur's Pike, Loadpot Hill, Wither Hill and Steel Knotts).

Ullswater from Loup Knott on the way up to Arthur's Pike

On my return home Monday evening I set out the point kit, reread the instructions and put a little thought into how to match the plastic sleepers with wooden ones. Got stuck into the kit Tuesday evening. The V is in place complete with all chairs, sleepers painted but not sure I have achieved a good enough result. Then realised I should have soldered some wire droppers off the V before applying the chairs. Oh is said that success is buried in the garden of failure. I am learning as I go along. I'm now away from home until Friday evening and working this weekend but hope to find time to complete the point kit.

On the plus side I have just received a reply from my email to Ultrascale enquiring about my order and the wheel sets should be with me in the next couple of weeks. I've also ordered a few MJT components from Dart Castings for a some wagon kits I have to build and I hope to see these soon.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Timetable (version 1)

So far this month I have been very disappointed with myself. Was hoping to have made progress with baseboards for Boscarne Junction, built my first P4 point, and built at least one wagon. Not only have I been unable to complete the above but I've also missed a Scalefour Area Group meeting.

Looking on the bright side there are another 14 days to the end of the month and I have made progress on a timetable for Grogley Junction and Boscarne Junction. The creation of this timetable has been going in the background for many months during short amounts of spare time and/or when I've been away from home. The main aim of this project is to build Grogley Junction, the emphasis is to create a timetable to make Grogley Junction an interesting layout to operate. But if I can build Boscarne Junction successfully there is the potential that I could operate both layouts together. So the idea behind putting the timetable together before I start building either layout is, I hope, to confirm the track plans and confirm that they will work together.

The timetable below does show that my original Grogley Junction track plan will probably need altering. This junction has developed into an important goods exchange between Wadebridge, Wenford Bridge, Bobmin General, Bodmin North, St. Blazey and Mawgan Porth. There are a number of goods movements which may prove that the two original exchange sidings are not enough. It also raises a question that I might be able to justify creating a duty for a shunting engine at Grogley Junction to shunt the exchange sidings. It is becoming a small marshaling yard.....

Below is the complete timetable so far, 9 pages in total, outlining 59 movements though Grogley Junction and 38 though Boscarne Junction. I am/will also be adding to this document all stock, loco rosters and duty numbers required for each train movement but this is it for now.

The timetable is still a work in progress but it looks like the track plan for Boscarne Junction will be OK. Any comments would be welcome.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Fiddle Yard

I have only just found time to read the latest Scalefour News and found the article by Bryan Johnson on his Thurstaston project very interesting. He has already spent many years collecting and building locos and stock while continuing with researching the site. Something that I wish I had been able to do. What I did find really interesting was his thoughts on fiddle yards. Like myself he is proposing the cassette style fiddle yard and like myself he has freight trains that travel in one direction though the layout that need to be returned to their starting point behind the scenes.

My decision for a cassette style fiddle yard was made for two main reasons:
1) saving space,
2) the need to swap full/empty clay stock between fiddle yards behind the scenes.
Though I am worried about walking stock between the fiddle yards I could not think of another way to move the stock from one end of the layout to the other. But Bryan is suggesting installing a hidden track behind the back screen. What a thought.... Could still use cassettes but then slide the cassette across the board to align with the track that runs behind the layout. This would help avoid the catastrophe of a dropped cassette, containing eight or more precious hard to replace Ian Kirk clay wagons, while moving them between fiddle yards. Need to look at how this can be incorporated into my baseboards but I do like it.

Nice one.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Boscarne Junction + Wharf (5)

I've been thinking for a while about building a quarter scale model of the layout. Seems a little over the top for a test bed but then nether have I built a quarter scale model of a layout before. A test model of a test model, I'll be making Russian dolls next!

Whether I build this quarter scale model or not, I need some idea, as a starting point, of the external contours of the layout. So I've spent a couple of hours this evening looking into the scenic contours around Boscarne Junction. I have eventually decided that the height of the trackbed above river will be in the region of 26 feet (104 mm on the layout). This is not as high as I was expecting but the decision has been made after many measurements on Google Earth and also looking at all the photos I can find. I've marked other heights on the track plan below (trackbed being zero). These are all best guesstimates with an eye on trying to create a good impression of the real location.

The trackbed to Bodmin North looks as if it rises slightly. At the moment I am unsure of the gradient but thinking it might be around a 1:120/150. Thing is, I doubt that this would be that obvious on the layout. So may not recreate this gradient. I do like the idea that the Wharf siding should be slightly lower than the branch so have added a 1 foot drop (4 mm) from siding turnout to just past the gate. This will be approximately 1:100 gradient and should leave about 2 feet of level siding to play with.

Though I knew of the footpath that crossed the line I was unsure of its exact position and had purposely missed it off the plans. While looking though some photos on the web I discovered a photo of this path crossing the river over a bridge adjacent to the rail bridge on the Bodmin North line. This looks an interesting feature so I've started to draw this in on the plan but cannot decide how to squeeze it into the rest of the layout. A little more investigation is required over the next few evenings before I finish adding this footpath.

The other scenic item that I'm questioning is the Mill Race. I am beginning to think that in my alternative history in the early 1960s, as possibly in reality, it would have been disused. So an overgrown, if not completely hidden by undergrowth, Mill Race will be probably modelled.

I am beginning to get a good feel for the layout now. Starting to see a 3D image and I'm surprised at how low the contours are. Still have ideas about changing the track plan slightly to increase operational potential but not convinced myself yet. Have only got a couple of weeks left to decide, as once baseboards are being built the track plan will be set. I will have to revisit my proposed timetable to see if my thoughts can be justified.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Boscarne Junction + Wharf (4)

While driving to work this morning I was reflecting on what I was doing the previous evening. Watching the Barcelona v Chelsea game, more sleepers where being cut and stained. I also opened the P4 point kit and read though the instructions. This brought me to thinking about my lack of progress with Boscarne. To create another short piece of test track and/or build the point kit is fine but I don't feel I'm making any progress. Building baseboards is where my head is really at at the moment and putting this off until I have more information on the Boscarne site is frustrating me. So why have I not put the wood to the saw? It's because I have this demon that says it has to be right. Boscarne is a real location so my layout should reflect this, including the correct height of rail above the river bed. Without this information I don't know the height of the baseboard edges. Hmmm.... is this so important?

This layout is suppose to be a test bed to see if I can achieve an acceptable standard. It is not an exact model of the real Boscarne Junction. A real location it is but with a fictitious history applied creating a junction that is different to the reality. I've already shortened the track plan and moved the river closer to the junction. I do need to keep an eye on the scenic areas to try and capture the feel of this location but it should not matter if I am a few feet out in the height of rail over river bed. I need to start building the layout soon.

So Bank Holiday weekend coming up should be an ideal opportunity .... but working Sunday and Monday, this is after a trip to Stratford upon Avon, for a bit of culture, on Friday/Saturday. Baseboard building will have to be postponed until the following week. At least I've made the decision to make a best guesstimate of track height. If it doesn't match reality I'll have to live with it.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Bodmin Parkway (Road) station

Many years ago in the mid 1980s a Model Railway Club thought about building a layout based on Bodmin Road station in Cornwall. Why a railway club based in the flat lands of Lincolnshire ending up with this as a potential model I will not go into here. Apart from the track plan in R.H. Clark's Survey of Great Western Stations we had little to go on. So one of us wrote to a local club in the Bodmin area and asked if someone might be kind enough to take photographs of the station. I have published the resultant photographs here at The date I have put on this survey is 1984 but this is approximate. If anyone would like to own up to be the gents that kindly took these photos please do as I will then gladly fully credit you on my site. This was the start of my interests in this area, Bodmin Road, to Bodmin General and eventually Wadebridge, Padstow and the North Cornwall line.

I've also posted a few other photos taken of the station in the mid 1990s, approximately 1994. These were taken as the Club had by then folded and I was hoping to build the layout myself. Though the 1984 photos are extensive, I was struggling to workout heights of structures. So, much to the amusement of the family, I packed a piece of 2" x 1" marked with 1 foot increments. This you should be able to see in a few of the photographs.

May be one day I might be able to contemplate this as a model again but in the mean time I hope they are of use to someone.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Progress over Easter

Easter has come and gone with reasonable success. I've been able to create some space in the garage which should be enough to build and put up a couple of baseboards. This was after four trips to the local tip. More trips will follow if I can get permission to throw more out. Why do we keep so much rubbish?

The camping trailer was found and is still receiving some TLC but should be up for sale soon. Once that has gone even more space will be created which should be enough for the whole Boscarne project.

One bonus is that I think I've found enough softwood for the baseboards, second bonus is I've discovered a small supply of plywood at work. Possibly a little on the thick side as it is 9mm but it will help to create strong stable baseboards which hopefully will not add too much to the overall weight. Will still need to purchase some 4mm for the side edges, as I doubt I'll be able to curve the 9mm.

So what next?
Build my P4 Track Company point kit?
Build another length of track with full height sleepers?
Build a small quarter size mock up of the layout to work out lie of the land?
Build a wagon or two with compensation?

I suppose realistically I need to concentrate on the mock up. As I will need to know rise and fall of the land before building any baseboards. Could also do with knowing approximately how high the tracks are above the river. Last time I was at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway in 2007, when looking from the train, I was surprised at how high the bridge was over the river. A guesstimate would be between 30 - 40 feet, but this is from memory. I know I could throw the modellers' licence card into the ring at this point but ..... Is this a good excuse for another visit? I'll have to work on it.

So if the mock up and progress to baseboard construction has to be postponed until more information is found, it has to be testing track/point building techniques and/or wagon building.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Ballasting (3)

"What type of ballast are you going to use?" was a question asked and to be honest, though I have several published colour photos of the branch, due to potential colour casts in reproduction I was still unsure to type and colour.

After posting a thread on RMWeb I've been informed that the likely source for the ballast during S.R. days would be Meldon Quarry on the edge of Dartmoor. If anyone else in interested the three links below offer a reasonable background information about this quarry and include photos.

If there was any ballasting completed after being transferred to WR, Stoneycombe quarry would possibly have been used.

I'm still trying to track down if any of the branch was re-ballasted during the 1950's and 1960's but I am now more confident about the colour of two photos on this website taken in 1986. To me this looks like ballast from Meldon. But I do believe ColourRail have a number of slides of this branch which I am also going to try and purchase as reference.

The thread on RMWeb is still running so more information may well surface.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Clay Wagons

Just a quick posting to record a reference site.

I'm going to need one or two clay wagons for Boscarne and Grogley and just landed on Paul Bartlett's fotopic site showing clay wagons. What an excellent reference site.

Looking at the photos I'm not sure that I'm looking forward to weathering these wagons.

Already have a dozen Ratio kits to build and 8 Ian Kirk kits. The Ian Kirks will need converting as I was build them to EM gauge specifications. Could do with some more Ian Kirks but they are very hard to come by.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Project for Easter

Well there it is....... where it's all going to happen. Underneath all that there is a camping trailer that needs some TLC. First I have to find it, then administer the TLC before selling it. With that out of the way and some general tidying up I should be able to create enough space to start building some baseboards.

Brake Vans

After posting a thread on RMWeb, I've gleaned information on types of Brake Vans that might/were seen on the Wenford Branch and in the area.

It looks like it was a N.E. Toad E Van that was regularly used on the Wenford Branch not an LMS one as I first thought. But in saying that I could justify a 20T LMS van, a SR 25 ton van and the Standard BR van. Interestingly there is a case to justify a Queen Mary van in the early 1960s. One would be added to the goods train if there was a paying passenger. The train would then have two brake vans. That I have to model so it can be included as an option.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Scalefour North 2009

What can I say ...... most enjoyable day spent at Scalefour North last Sunday.

I meet a good friend from the Mablethorpe club days, Nick Cook, who has been trying to convince me to convert to P4 for many years. We were both impressed by the demonstration and layouts that used DCC control. Not only because of the addition of sound but also for the control of the locos. After chatting to Digitrans guys it definitely looks as if this will be the way to go, if purse strings will allow. It was also good to meet Roger from the Craven Area Group, and James of Eastmoor and the Botanic Gardens fame. I must not forget the North Lincs Area Group. Gordon and the guys gave me a warm welcome at my first Area Group meeting and were there with Clive Impey's Milton layout.

Purchases made included a P4 Track Company point kit, and some full thickness plywood sleepers. I was encouraged by being told that they know of a number of modellers that use the ply sleepers with plastic chairs and no rivets. Just proves that I'm not doing anything new. And thanks to Gordon for reminding me to purchase some coupling rods from Bill Bedford for my first P4 loco conversion.

The only layout I'd seen before was Sheep Pasture and still think it is a fascinating layout beautifully modelled and presented.

It was the first time I'd seen Bramblewick in the flesh, and I wasn't disappointed. Its a real piece of artistry, a complete moving picture. I've uploaded a few photos below. But I was impressed by all the layouts on show: Almwick with the quality of PW and ballasting; Nottingham Goods; Newham Goods; Western Road Diesel Depot; and Milton. They all added to the quality on show and provided plenty inspiration. Just a pity I didn't take many decent photos of all these layouts. Taking photos without flash shows my shaky hands, need to invest in a tripod for the next show.

I have been in awe of P4 modellers for years. Ventured to ScaleFour North before and always thought I can't achieve what these guys are doing to the point of being put off from trying. Now I have decided to take the plunge into P4 and, though still in awe of the standards on show, with the support being offered I am hopeful I might achieve an acceptable standard. All the guys at the show were willing to talk to the new guy and the help on offer seems limitless. If anyone is considering converting to P4 I would highly recommend going along to one of the Scalefour exhibitions and talk to the exhibitors, demonstrators and traders.