Tuesday, 23 February 2010

RCH 7 Plank Wagon (Pt.4)

I have been undecided whether to have Morton Brake Gear on both sides or just one side on this wagon. The old packet of 9ft Brake Gear produced by Kenline contains two identical castings. I was sure that, while this might be OK for independent brake gear fitted to wagons with bottom doors, for this wagon it would not be correct. In my earlier modelling days I would have just added the brake gear as supplied. I wouldn't have batted an eye lid to any possible inaccuracy, hiding behind the thought that you only see one side of the wagon at a time, but today I feel different.

So what would the other side of the wagon look like? Are the brake handles identical? Should there be double V hangers on the side with no brake gear? I remember comments about rackets, reversing clutches, dog clutchs, cams and other technical terms concerning Morton Brake gear. What do they all mean? How and where were they all used? To those that are in the know about these things please remember that I am on a big learning curve with the whole of this project. The problem I've had is finding a wagon with Morton Brake Gear that has been photographed from both sides and/or ideally from underneath. While it might be possible to deduce from a single photograph whether a wagon has brake gear on both sides or not, it's difficult for a novice like myself to understand what the other side should look like.

Eventually, after rummaging through all my wagon books, I found a couple of pictures showing both sides of the same wagon. They're of a badly loaded NE 6 plank open wagon in J.H. Russell's book 'Freight Wagons and Loads in service with the GWR and BRWR' (figure 14 and 15). These photographs clearly show that the arrangment on the V hangers on each side was different. On the none brake gear side, there was a reversing clutch on the V hanger at the end of the brake handle. I've also seen photographs with a reversing clutch on the brake gear side of a wagon fitted with brake gear on only one side. But until I saw these two photographs of the NE wagon, I was a little unsure of the complete arrangement. But I now take it that the reversing clutch could be on either side of a wagon fitted with brake gear to one side.

So......my current understanding is that, Morton Brake Gear, on wagons with no bottom doors, has to have a reversing clutch on one side of the wagon to change the direction of rotation of the connecting bar between the V hangers on each side of the wagon, so that the brakes can be applied from either side of the wagon. Makes sense..........if I'm right that is.......?

Now to the model..............To try and show the reversing clutch, I carefully cut a piece plasticard to shape and then slightly modified the Kenline brake handle. While not 100% accurate, hopefully I have been able to capture the essence of a reversing clutch on the wagon.

OK.......by blowing up photographs this size does show up some issues, but overall I'm pleased with my effort so far. Door stops have been fitted since photographs were taken. Just drawbar hooks to be added. I was going to use Smith's 3 Link couplings until I realised that they are larger than the ones I'd used on my old EM gauge wagons. It had already been mentioned to me that Smith's couplings are a little over scale but until I saw the difference, I didn't realise by how much. I'm now waiting until I receive some couplings from Exactoscale before progressing this wagon any further. Once the drawbar hooks are fitted I can start painting.............

Saturday, 20 February 2010

1968 Model Railway News

I have been putting together an order for bits and bobs from ABS Models. To work out what I might need in the foreseeable future I've been trying to track down information on wagons that are in my 'to build' box. In a previous clear out of old magazines I'd saved cuttings with articles of anything I thought might be of interest in the future. Remembering I'd saved a few articles on wagons I dug out the files, then by browsing through them I came across this article...........

I remembered these pages in the July 1968 copy of Model Railway News being another article that started to change my concept of what a model railway could be like. I thought 'I might be able do that!' At about the same time as this article appeared I was allowed to take over a small room at the back of my dad's garage (but only being aged twelve it seemed large). It was a spacious 9'6" by 7'6" and had been his office but had declined into a junk/store room. What I would do for that amount of free space today.........

I had to modify the article's track plan slightly to fit it in the room by curving the track through 180 degrees from opposite the signal box, round to the road overbridge and beyond. Curving the layout created space for a better designed engine shed in the resultant corner. Locos ran off the main line on to a spur then back towards the station to access the loco shed and facilities. The loco facilities were also improved by the addition of a turnable in the same corner. Another addition was a parallel siding to the platform at the back which was to be used as a coach siding. The rest of the track plan was basically the same as the article.

This layout kept me occupied for a few years until I eventually found girls interesting. Sadly when I left home the layout was broken up. I've just sold the final three Peco code 100 points from this layout on ebay. This track plan still holds a fascination for me which must show by the fact that I've kept this article for all these years. I wonder if I could use this as a basis for the Mawgan Porth track plan?

The article goes on for a couple of columns to briefly describe the use of Superquick buildings which is probably as still relevant today as it was then. Below is the key to the above track plan, and interestingly, I'd ticked all the Superquick models that were built for the layout but now long gone.

Of interest is a book that is mentioned in the 'Bookshelf' column....... little did I think that nearly 40 years later I would have bought the book by Mr. Roche on the Withered Arm.......

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

RCH 7 Plank Open Wagon (Pt.3)

Modelling time during the last couple of weeks has been minimal as I've been busy putting a lot of redundant railway and wargaming stuff on ebay. This is to declutter and help to raise a little cash for this project.

This evening, however, I earmarked a little time to progress the RCH wagon and had a go at adding the axle boxes, springs and brakes. I started by looking over a lovely model of a MINK D built for me as a birthday present many years ago by my good friend Nick.

The compensation units that he used are very similar the the current MJT units and the wagon has been easily converted from EM to P4. The springs on this MINK are J-hangers and Nick had cut the spring away from the hangers on the rocking unit allowing a good 1.5mm of movement.

I thought I'd try and follow his example but after adding the springs on the rocking unit the movement has been restricted to 0.5mm which is most disappointing. The buffer beam height looks OK when compared to the 57xx so I'm not sure how I can achieve more movement?

I cut the springs away from the shoes thinking this would be the least obvious place rather than having a gap between the spring and axlebox. Perhaps I should rethink the way I'm doing this as I would have thought a 1.0mm movement would have been preferable? Also I'm not sure of the look of the gap in the springs?

While at the Leatherhead show I purchased one of the 'more modern' sprung subframe compensation units from Masokits. Looks like I'll have to learn how to use a soldering iron again! Perhaps give this unit a try on one of the many minerals wagons I have to build?