Sunday, 18 December 2011

Winter project - Chassis awaiting hornblocks

Below is the current state of play:

I've used Alan Gibson short handrail knobs for the CSB fulcrum points. All holes were drilled for the breakgear assembly and frame spacers adapted to fit their locations. These tasks were all completed before soldering the chassis together. High Level's hornblocks were very easy to fold up. My soldering could be a little tidier but so far for my first attempt I'm feeling happy


If anyone wants to follow my stumbling progress in a little more detail I'll try and illustrate below.....

Before cutting the frames out of the etch I marked the position for the CSB fulcrum points using High Level's CSB jig. A 0.4 mm drill was used to mark the centres, as this size drill seemed the best fit for the holes in the jig and I was reluctant to do any alterations to it at this early stage. The jig was then removed and a 0.7mm drill used to drill through the frames. The holes were still very tight for the handrail knobs so a 0.8mm drill was used to open them out. At this stage I also drilled though all the pre-marked locations on the frames for the brakegear hangers using a 0.5mm drill.

The frames were then carefully cut out of the etch. Then, in accordance with Comet's instruction sheet, the etched springs were removed in preparation for the fitting of the hornblocks. The handrail knobs were then soldered into position using a length of 0.4mm straight brass wire to align them. I must admit to making a bit of a mess here, accidentally soldering the brass wire to one of the handrail knobs (it was rectified at the second attempt). Where required the frame spacers were shortened as per my previous diagram. Also a couple of holes were drilled in one of the end spacers to help with threading the CSB spring wire through the handrail knobs at a later stage. The frames were then soldered together using Comet's P4 chassis jigs giving the result shown in the photo above.

Progress has stalled a little over the last couple of weeks but, when a little time has been available, I've been working on getting the bearings to be a smooth fit in the hornblocks.

With Christmas fast approaching this may well be my last posting until the New Year. So
may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very enjoyable Christmas and thank you for persevering in reading this blog.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Extracts from Trains Illustrated magazine (2) July 1953

One random, rather tatty, copy of Trains Illustrated I picked is from July 1953. It has a few interesting entries regarding workings to and around Wadebridge. I quote...

'...Of the two Pacifics loaned from Stewarts Lane to Exmouth Junction in the spring, Nos 34066/8, the former was still to be seen at Wadebridge in Mid-May, still carrying a 73A shedplate, it was working the "A.C.E." in both directions. On 2/3/53. "O2" No. 30203 failed at Bodmin North, and the elderly 2-4-0 well tank No. 30587 was turned out to work the 2 p.m. Bodmin North-Wadebridge and the 3.10 p.m. return, but the "O2" had recovered sufficiently to work the 4.23 p.m. from Bodmin.
On 19/5/53 a standard 2-6-2 tank. No 82013, appeared at Wadebridge for the first time, working in on the evening goods; it was dead on shed all next day, but after taking up a midday petrol tank train working to Bodmin North, it returned to Exeter on the 4.30 p.m. goods....'

I was under the impression the the Standard Class tanks did not start to venture down to Wadebridge until the last few years of the NCR's existence......

Monday, 28 November 2011

Winter Project - Test track

Thinking through what I need to do to build the 57xx chassis I suddenly realised I don't have anything to test the chassis on. My test track would have been ideal if it had not been relegated to the garage (and is currently in pieces). Earlier in the year I was treated to a Bachrus rolling road and I've found this very useful in testing some of my RTR locos, though, I don't think it gives a true picture of how a loco will travel along the track. Or is this just because I like to see the locos move....?

Anyway a random length of redundant wooden shelving was retrieved from the dark recesses of the said garage (I knew it would come in useful one day), and thoughts were put towards what I might require on this strip of wood for testing locos.

1) A length of straight OO track for setting up the Bachrus rolling road and testing RTR locos prior to conversion.
2) A length of straight P4 track for setting up the Bachrus rolling road and testing locos after conversion (also for testing any chassis I manage to build during their construction).
3) A length of P4 track with a reverse curve to test a loco's abilities to travel through a minimum radius curve.

Item three above is the tricky one as what is the minimum radius curve for P4? Or possibly more importantly, what is the minimum curve for any locos I may be building? Templot shows alarm warnings at 39.4" yet the P4 Society seems to recommend not going below 48" for large locos. I guess it must come down to the length of a loco's wheelbase as to the minimum radius curve the loco can travel through. The shorter the wheelbase the tighter the curve. For the time being I cannot see myself building anything much larger than the wheel base of a WR Pannier tank. Beyond that perhaps, if my skills will allow, a 4-6-0 'N' Class and a Manor, both of which have driving wheel wheelbases similar to a Pannier tank. So I've plumped for the 39.4" radius curve as a minimum.

It's a bit rough and I will put some ends on to stop flying locos but for the moment it's located on my bench with a wall at one end and crocodile clips at the other. It may not be the most suitable test track but for now I think it should suffice.

Monday, 21 November 2011

A winter project - Getting to grips with CSB

Understanding the principles of Continuous Springy Beam and using the spreadsheets have been the first steps of this project. In principle it all makes good sense, but the maths and the theory do get very confusing for a lesser mortal like myself. However, the spreadsheets are the tools that turn all the theory into usable figures.

Unfortunately the first spreadsheet I downloaded caused me some confusion. It was one of Will Litchfield's and with hindsight my confusion was mainly due to me not knowing what I was trying to achieve. If only I'd realised what I would be doing now I would have tried to attend Will's lecture on CSB and John Brighton's on Chassis Building at Scaleforum ...... Anyway, at first sight Alan Turner's spreadsheet seemed to make more sense to me. The only drawback that I could see with Alan's offering is how can I calculate the centre of gravity of a model that I haven't yet built? But.... working on the principle that, if I put the centre of gravity roughly around the centre axle and weight all axles as near the same as the spreadsheet will allow, I can add weight to the finished model to move the centre of gravity over the centre axle.

After a little fiddling around I ended up with the calculations below. This was using Alan Turner's spreadsheet, for a 57xx chassis.
Once I'd started to use the above spreadsheet some of the theory started to sink in. I'd also been pointed in the direction of a different spreadsheet produced by Will which was not as daunting as the first. After some further discussions with group members, and a few more reads about CSB on CLAG's web pages, I was gaining a better understanding of the principles. Especially about the reasons for reducing the weight of the centre axle. Which, if my understanding is correct, is to help with: keeping the loco level; to enhance traction/grip; and reduce/avoid waddling ('porpoising') of the loco as it progresses along the track. I'm starting to feel I as if I'm getting to grips with CSB.....

The same figures entered into Will's spreadsheet seem to confirm that I might be on the right track.....

Considerations I have tried to take into account while using the spreadsheets to calculate fulcrum positions are: position of brake hangers; position of frame spacers to avoid the CSB mounts and wire; position of the frame spacers which will be used to mount the wire pick-ups; the position of motor and gear box. The diagram below hopefully shows my thoughts......

The only bit that I'm still trying to work out is how to support the motor/gearbox.... One idea (marked in green on the above diagram) is to solder some wire to the inside of both frames around the centre axle and bend them in and under to support the motor. Then either solder them to each side of the gear box, or drill a hole in the gear box for the wires to pass through supporting the gear box but not fixed permanently. The wire supports would be like a cradle for the motor to rest on and secure the gear box vertically. Would there be enough play in the articulated part of the gear box to allow suspension on the rear axle? The wire forming the cradle might not give a solid support but one that might have some flexibility allowing the gearbox some slight vertical movement. there a better method?

I don't see that not knowing how to support the motor/gear box should stop me from installing the handrail knobs (that will be used as the CSB fulcrum points). So, I'm hoping to get started on construction during the next few evenings while I'm thinking/asking questions about the support for the motor/gear box.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A winter project - What to build?

Over the last couple of years I've been steadily collecting locos, RTR and kits, for my chosen period and project location. The most recent being two Dapol Beattie Well Tanks and a Perseverance Beattie Well Tank kit. For the moment though I do realise that the latter is way beyond my current capabilities as I've never constructed a loco kit.

While adding these kits to the shelf, I have been chewing the fat as to which one to build as my first attempt at a loco chassis. Ideally I thought it would be best to have started with an 0-6-0 tender loco. Starting with the tender chassis and then progress to the loco chassis. In my alternative universe I think I could twist history enough to justify running a Class 700 (Drummond's "Black Motor") - 30697 & 30700 were allocated to Exmouth Junction in 1961. I also have a BEC kit on the shelf waiting to be built. It was very tempting to make a start on this kit until it was very kindly pointed out it would take a lot of work to produce a decent looking loco from it. The tender frames are of different lengths and other castings are of dubious quality. It would also be my first white-metal loco kit and I've had little experience of constructing white-metal kits. So this kit will have to wait until I think I have enough experience.

I have also collected High Level's 03 and 57xx chassis kits. These look superb and the instructions seem second to none. However without any previous experience of building loco chassis I have found reading though the instructions daunting. Also, the thought of ruining one of these kits half way through the build is very off putting. I feel I need to cut my teeth on a kit that I could dismantle and start again, or at worst even throw away with the least worry over costs. I need to get my hands dirty with something simple.......

Thoughts turned to purchasing some Alan Gibson side frames for a DJH 1366 and/or a NuCast 16xx. I thought the 16xx kit could be a good first kit, apart from the construction of the white-metal body. Again I've had no experience of white metal kits and would like to ruin a few white-metal wagon kits before starting on the 16xx.......I could go on with many more excuses as to why most of the kits I've collected would not be good starting projects....... and you may ask why collect all these kits if I'm going to be such a chicken?

So, to cut to the chase, I've been encouraged by members of my area group to attempt to put together a Comet 57xx chassis with a Bachmann body. Compensation will be Continuous Springy Beam and the motor and gear box will be from High Level. Over the last few weeks I've been collecting all the items needed and recently purchased, off eBay, a suitably priced Bachmann body.

I do realise I am approaching this project with some naive enthusiasm but I've been receiving much encouragement and advice from members of my local P4 area group. It is invaluable having "hands on" on their locos; seeing their projects under construction; and the different techniques they have used. Having this access does much to demystify the written word in books or magazines. Hopefully I will get something running and not be too ashamed to show the result.........

Friday, 28 October 2011

Extracts from Trains Illustrated magazine (1) Jan - June 1960

Modelling time since the Leatherhead show has been a little limited but progress is slowly being made on a few more wagons. I've also been thinking hard about attempting to build my first loco chassis. I hope to post blog entries of progress of these tasks soon.

One other thing I have been doing is off loading a few duplicate copies MRJs and GWRJs on ebay, the proceeds of which have been put towards purchasing copies of Trains Illustrated. So far I've focused my purchases on 1960/1 looking for any information that might be relevant for my twist on history for Grogley Junction. Train workings and engine movements in and around Bodmin, Wadebridge, Newquay, St. Blazey and along the NCR.

For anyone that might be interested the first few entries that I've found are copied out below.....

February 1960 magazine
"A possibly unprecedented incursion into W.R territory by an S.R, engine was reported on December 18 (1959), when Cless “N” 2-6-0 No 31846 (72A) headed a 12:45 p.m. special Freight from Tavistock Junction, Plymouth to St. Austell; after servicing at St. Blazey, the “foreigner” returned light to Friary shed."

"Three W.R. pannier tanks Nos. 4666/94 and 9756 are now allocated to Exmouth Junction and Nos. 3633/79 are at Wadebridge."

April 1960 magazine
"On each Sunday in February and the first Sunday in March the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash was closed for maintenance work and through passenger traffic between Devon and Cornwall by this route was interrupted. Passengers were conveyed across the Tamar by bus. On the first Sunday at least the 1130 a.m. up freight and the 12.35 and 5.40 p.m. milk from Penzance were booked to travel via Bodmin and Wadebridge on to the S.R. route via Launceston and Okehampton. The morning freight was hauled throughout by N.B. Loco Type “2” diesel-hydraulic unit No. D6304, which had to run round its train both at Bodmin General and at Wadebridge. Two “45xx” 2-6-2 tanks brought the first milk train into Wadebridge, where it was taken over by S.R. Class “N” 2-6-0 Nos. 31834/8 sent down light that morning from Exmouth Junction. Two more 2-6-0s were despatched from Exmouth for the second milk train, but this was able to take its normal route owing to early completion of the work at Saltash and the pair of 2-6-0s when home jobless."

At Eastleigh "….....also Beattie 2-4-0 well tank No. 30586, which was receiving a general overhaul although it is believed listed for withdrawal this year."

June 1960 magazine
"The first Birmingham R.C. &W. Co. three-car diesel multiple-unit for the Western Region, Nos W59302/17 and 59469, arrived at the Harwell Street diesel depot, Plymouth early in April and was put on to crew-training between Plymouth and Truro. As reported on page 233 of our April issue, the Birmingham order is for 15 three-car sets similar to the suburban railcars already delivered to the W.R. by Derby works, the principal difference between the two varieties being that the Birmingham version has lavatory accommodation in the centre trailer."

"From April 11 a daily duty over Par-Newquay line was added to the Laira diagrams for pairs of N.B. Loco Co. Type “2” diesel-hydraulic locomotives. The only jobs performed singly by the N.B. Loco Co. units are banking duties and one afternoon and evening trip from Plymouth to Exeter via Okehampton and back."

Hope this is of interest to someone, I will post more relevant entries as I discover them.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The paint brush has been put down

I think they're finished, that is finished to the best that my current modelling capabilities allow. I'm not totally happy with the wagons and realise that there is a lot of room for improvement. I could spend more time on trying to perfect my weathering techniques but could also very easily ruin one or all of them by over doing it. So I've put the paint brush down and will now concentrate on getting ready for the 'big day' on Friday.

My original intention was to build six or more wagons, from many manufacturers, and use different components, especially some etched brake gear. In the end I've only used kits from three manufacturers and components from a limited selection of suppliers. So looking at what I wanted to achieve against what I have produced I could think that I've failed. But on the contrary, in entering the competition I have pushed my skills, gained confidence and learned new techniques along the way.

The last wagon (above), the slope sided wagon, has been the most difficult to build. It has, however, developed into my favourite, the one I've gained the most satisfaction from building. More wagons will follow.......

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Encouraging comments

A very quick update....

At this evening's Scalefour Area Group Meeting I received some favourable comments on three mineral wagons I took along for scrutiny. None of the wagons are completely finished, and with only four modelling evenings left, time is getting tight. But with the encouraging comments received this evening I'm starting to feel I'm getting somewhere.

Above is a shot of the slope sided wagon before I started to add the white stripes. I still need to work out how to blacken the Exactoscale wheel rims. I've tried all the Carr's Metal Blacks with no effect. However, after all my struggles, I feel it is starting to come together with this one.

All six still needing numbering, some touching up of the rust patches, and final weathering to be applied. Doesn't sound much left to do....... does it?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Kingdom of Rust

Apart from being a good album by Doves, a 'Kingdom of Rust' does seem to be where I might be heading at the moment.

The first wagons to hit the paint shop.......

They do look a bit of mess and as you may realise from viewing the above, I'm not quite sure what I'm doing at the moment. I did start a practice piece on some scrap plastic but with less than two weeks of modelling evenings left before Leatherhead I thought I'd better just get on with it.

On the two rusted wagons above I'm going to try Martyn Welch's technique using Maskol to mask the areas of rust I need to show through the grey top coat. I do hope they start to look better as I apply more layers of paint.

The era I'm working to depict with Tredthy Wharf and other projects is 1961-2. In looking for colour photos of wagons in the early sixties, I've found one that shows mineral wagons with minimal rusting. This photo appears on the back page of Great Western Railway Journal no.66 showing Dulverton goods yard on 11/6/62 with two 16t minerals in view. Other B/W photos taken in the early 60s also generally seem to show minimal rusting on wagons. My recollection during the mid to late 60s and early 70s was of rust buckets travelling through our local station. So I'm a little undecided as to what state the wagons should be. I have to consider that my memory has been corrupted with seeing many colour photos taken during the 70s and 80s of repaired, rebuilt and well worn mineral wagons.

So maybe I will not fully enter the 'Kingdom of Rust', there might not be so much rusting involved on these wagons. I will look at numbering the two rusted wagons above from lots that were built in the early 1950s. On the remaining wagons I'll probably have a go at depicting minimal rusting. Well I'm going to try.........

Sunday, 21 August 2011

A long overdue update

I don't seem to have had much time for any modelling since June. The original plan was to have six wagons completed by now leaving me time to build a couple more and pick out the best for the Leatherhead show. At this point in time, with only three weeks left in which to find modelling time before the show, I've still two wagons to finish building before any enter the paint shop. Best laid plans and all that........ Anyway it's not all doom and gloom. Today I have been able to find a few hours to work on the old Airfix kit and Parkside's slope sided wagon.

In building the Airfix kit I'd removed the over scale hinges. So picking up the model this morning it was time to recreate the hinges.

Not as neat as Geoff Kent's example in his book "The 4mm Wagon Part 1" but hopefully my attempt will pass reasonable examination.......especially after a little paint is applied.

Next was the slope sided wagon. I do like this wagon. Well that was until I started to build it..... it's becoming a pain especially as I've made a right c**kup of appling the first of the four side stanchions that are either side of the door. Previously to get the two elements of the sides to fit snugly I'd filed a little off the join. Then I applied a wash of grey paint along the join to see if I'd been able to disguise it. At this point I was very pleased with my progress. When I then presented the first stanchion to the side it seemed it would not fit. Out came the knife and a little was trimmed off the top. After carefully gluing in place I realised that it was too short......Ahhhhh...

At this point after much cursing this wagon had been put to one side, while I got on with the others. Over the last few weeks I'd looked at it a few times and was even contemplating scrapping. But today I decided to have a go at trying to salvage the mess.... A few bits of plasticard later and I think I might be able to get away with it.

The corrected stanchion looks a little long in the photo so with with a little more work it should be OK. After all, as long as the mistake does not jump out at you, once the wagon is part of a train of wagons it will just be another wagon.

There is still work do be completed on the other side, applying the stanchions, second V hanger, brake lever, door stop, then it's adding the buffers and couplings. Then all six wagons should be ready for the paint shop......There's a glimmer of hope that I might have these finished for Leatherhead.

Friday, 10 June 2011

No progress due to a pressing engagement

There has been no progress since my last entry due to what is happening in the follow two weeks... more on which can be found here. Preparation, training and planning have taken up much of my spare time.

I'm off on my 'holidays'........ two weeks of which are concerned with the Coast to Coast walk, plus a third week, to spend time with my partner. Well if I'm truthful, and if I'm able to complete the walk, more as a week to recover. So I apologise in advance for lack of postings on this blog for at least a month. Thereafter I'll have to get stuck in and focus a little on this project and the six wagons for Leatherhead.

Ahh.... but I will have to fit in a little ceremony the week before Leatherhead..... No pressure then....

Monday, 30 May 2011

Another first for a new boy

Soldering white metal kits may not be difficult for some but for a new boy like myself it is a daunting prospect. Having read many tales of white metal kits being destroyed by soldering irons I was reluctant to have a go myself. Then on the other hand I read that soldering white metal kits is the best option.... So 'have a go' I thought, 'I must', but the question was on what?

I'd previously used super-glue to fix the brass brake safety loops in place onto the white metal brake castings. This was a little fiddly due to the super-glue taking a little while to go off. So I thought I'd try my hand at soldering the safety loops. Thinking if I make a hash of it I've only lost a small, easily replaced, component in a brake gear casting.

So equipping myself with what I think is the right gear: Antex White Metal Master soldering Iron; Carr's yellow flux; and Carr's 70 solder, I got stuck in.

And the results are......

Not over tidy but I'm pleased with them....

This was an easy task with an instant result and no disasters that has given me some confidence to go a little further. It is going to take me a little while to sum up the courage to tackle a white metal loco kit but a white metal wagon kit could be a good stepping stone...... Another small hurdle crossed.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Parkside PC21 - BR 16T Mineral wagon (B594749?)

Construction is almost complete on my first 16t mineral wagon with the addition of axle boxes and brake gear.

The above shows the addition of standard BR split axle boxes from 51L, with springs from MJT. I have adapted Fore Most Models 2 shoe brake gear with Bill Bedford's Brake Safety loops and added 0.6mm brass wire between the V hangers. Adding the Brake levers will finish the fitting of the main components. Then it's some final bits of titivation, adding corner strengthening gussets, door stops, fitting solebar brackets and couplings. It might then be the first of the six ready for the paint shop.........

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Off the radar

I've been off the radar for a while, not checked any blogs or RMWeb forums nor progressed anything relating to Tredethy Wharf. All because, a few weeks ago, I asked a question of the little lady and she said 'Yes'....... then........ we decided to put my house up for sale with the aim of moving into a house that we can call ours once the deed is done. I also realised that I'm running out of time to prepare myself for a little saunter from St. Bees to Robin Hoods Bay that is coming up in June. These events and realisations have set a few things in motion that have taken up a lot of spare time recently, but today I had a day off, playing trains, at the Cleethorpe's Model Railway Show.

Gordon's P4 layout 'Fish Dock Road' was booked for this year's Cleethorpes show. It is a two day event and I had volunteered to help out on the Sunday. Fish Dock Road is essentially a very compact shunting puzzle with the setting inspired by Grimsby's Fish Docks.

The layout drew a lot of local interest with many people passing on memories of the docks, the workings of the fish trade and the fish trains. I learnt a lot.

For me, one other layout that stood out at at the show was a finescale OO interpretation of the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway:

Ashamedly I'm not over-familiar with the tramway nor with the area apart from travelling through/past Wisbech on business. The layout had a nice feel, a good consistent standard of modelling throughout. After a little research on the Web this evening the layout seems to represent the area well. Apparently it is going to be featured in a forthcoming edition of one of the Railway Magazines. Well deserved I feel.

With my hovel on the market I'm under orders to keep things a little tidier. This has meant Tredethy has been dismantled and stacked in a corner of the garage along with numerous boxes. Should be able to concentrate on wagons and loco conversions during the next few months so hope it wont be too long before my next post.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Wenford Bridge

Just purchased, from British Railways Books, two British Railway Journal magazines (issues 62, 63) that contain an article spread between them by Gerry Beale on Wenford Bridge. Not a great deal of text mainly informative captions to the photographs. There are 22 B/W photos, (including three of the Wenford driers in issue 62). Issue 63 focuses on Wenford Bridge and the De Lank Quarries with reproduction OS maps of the terminus and the De Lank Tramway.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Wiring Stage 1

For a simple layout it's taken me a couple of evenings just to get the track dropper wires plumbed in.....

There are still the point motors to be connected, auto coupling solenoids to be installed, along with the baseboard to baseboard connectors. It's also about time I firmed up my thoughts as to how to build and where to site the control panel! The wiring will need a little bit of a tidy, I'd better leave this until my wiring is proven....... but I'm happy with the progress so far.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Parkside PC27 Slope sided mineral wagon

Yesterday evening I spent a few moments wondering how to construct this kit. It looked a little more complex than the previous Dia. 1/108, 1/109 wagons. The sides are in two sections and have to be put together with an angle that matches a couple of supports that will be applied to the sides later in the construction. Also the floor does not fit flush to the outside edges of the ends with the sides recessed in from the ends. I was a little confused as to how to fix the floor to the ends, keeping it all square, then fix the sides on at the correct angle all in one go. After much thought, then running out of fingers and hands in many dry runs, the photo below shows my solution.....

After cutting off the buffers, in readiness for the sprung buffers, I realised that I could support the ends with two angle plates. Then after a little work with a file and some gentle encouragement I managed to position the floor in the centre of the ends.

Gluing the bottom side sections was easy, but the top sections needed a lot of work with a file to encourage them to fix snugly but...... hopefully...... I've captured the correct alignment and angle for the sides.

There is some filling to be done to mask the joint on the sides between the top and bottom sections. I think this should be attempted before installing the stanchions each side of the door.

My initial thought for this wagon is to try and replicate the one shown on page 6 of David Larkin's Pre-Nationalisation Freight Wagons on British Railways. As much as I like the condition of this wagon, I especially like the fact that it has spoked wheels.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Armchair Challenge (Part 4)

A brief update to report a little progress on the initial six wagons for the Scalefour Society's Challenge. The current state of affairs at the close of play this evening is shown below.........six 16 ton mineral wagons all in different stages of construction.

Two Parkside standard Dia. 1/108 with W irons attached can be seen at the back. Top left is an old Airfix kit Dia. 1/108 with a replacement floor fitted. On the left is a Cambrian Models LNER 16 ton mineral wagon. In the centre is a Parkside Dia. 1/109 riveted wagon. Scattered across the cutting mat is the next victim under the knife, a Parkside's slope sided wagon.

When the six bodies are completed I'll get back to the under-frames, hopefully plucking up courage to have a go at Exactoscale's chassis kit.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

At last - Track laying finished

I received a parcel last week from a very kind member of the China Clay Branchlines Yahoo Group that contained a number of P4 track items. One package in the parcel contained slide chairs which are something I've been lacking. This spurred me on to try and complete the track to a point where I can start installing the wiring. Bringing the layout down into the living room over the weekend enabled me to work on a couple of bits that were a little difficult to get to where I normally have the layout erected.

And here it is ........ last, track laying finished...... and I hear you say "It's about b****y time as well". I can't believe it has taken me nine months just to build three points and about three yards of track......

During the last few months I've noticed that a few people paint the baseboards before laying track, wiring etc. Is this to help seal the wood from absorbing any dampness: from glues used in track-laying; scenic treatments; and/or from any damp storage conditions that the layout might experience? I'm starting to think it might be a good idea to paint the baseboards, even if it's only to tidy the layout up a little. So, a little late in the construction, I'll aim to dig out some white undercoat from the garage next weekend and give the boards a quick brushing........ Then it's time to get to grips with putting power to the track.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Compensation units

One month has passed since my decision to enter the Armchairs Modellers Challenge was taken. With the holiday and a few other things going during February not a lot has happened. So over the last couple of evenings I've squeezed in some modelling time and started to look at a couple of wagon compensation units.

My aim is to try two or three different compensation units on the wagons. I've a couple of frets from Bill Bedford, some MJT frets plus some Exatroscale units. I've used an old D&S unit on the 7 plank wagon which did go together easily enough and seems to work OK. Unfortunately this fret was the only one I had so cannot consider this as an option for future projects.

First to try was the Bill Bedford units.........

Hmmmm....... Above is my first attempt at putting together one of Mr Bedford's compensation units. To be fair it was built a few months ago, the units were easy to fold and I ran a little solder along the internal folds to stiffen them a little, but as can be seen it is not a very successful attempt. The W irons are not square to the base and when the axles are depressed the W iron splay out a little further..... I couldn't see where I'd gone wrong and the unit was put onto one side for some thinking time. I was sure that, as these units have been around for some time, it was the way I'd put them together that was the problem.

In a subsequent discussion with one of the P4 area group members it was suggested that I use Exactoscale square axles with these units. This I did and the next unit I built.........

has gone together nice and square.....................

The MJT units are similar to the D&S units but again I'm not totally happy with my first attempt as the axle is a sloppy fit not as rigid as the D&S units. The rocking unit is shown below......

I'll persevere with the MJT units on one of my wagons but the jury is still out as to which unit I prefer. I have yet to pluck up the courage to build one of Exactoscale wagon chassis kits which do look a little more complex to put together than either of the above. No doubt once one is built they it won't seem that daunting.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

How's this for signal box?

This is a late posting but we're back from our trip to Sevilla (Seville). We flew into Malaga so we had a 2.5 hour train journey between Malaga and Seville. The option to travel via bus was somehow not a considered option. Overall we were both very impressed with the Spanish Railway system and the service provided by Renfe. The outbound journey was on a three coach stopping train calling at almost all stations on route. Leg room on the train was outstanding. I'm 6ft 3 inch and I probably had 6 inch knee room left between seats. The train was full.... with no standing passengers, no rubbish around station nor on board and the train running to time....... this was on a 5:00pm departure from Malaga .....and all for 36 euros each return....!!!

We did however cause major confusion within our carriage on the outward journey. When booking the tickets a couple of weeks before our trip I seemed to see an addition, optional, charge to reserve seats which I did not include in the ticket price. On boarding the train at Malaga, after stowing our luggage, we took the first available seats in the carriage and settled in for 2.5 hour journey. We were then approached by a Spanish lady stating that we were in her seat...... After a struggle with translation she politely offered to move to our allotted seats, luckily in the same carriage. Unfortunately this had a knock on affect as all seats are allotted on the tickets. You could see the Spanish muttering under there breath but once the musical chairs was put in motion it was very difficult to put right....... We sat in our correct seats on the return journey.

Back to the title of this entry........I noticed an interesting feature at the stations ..... there seemed to be no signal box at the stations only the following.......

The above was worked by a member of the station staff scurrying across the platform pulling one lever, winding another and the train was on its way again.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Watching the trams go by

Just spent a very pleasant day wandering the streets of central Sevilla where there is a very small tram system. One line no more than 2 kilometres long with four stops. It must be one of the shortest public systems in the
world? Still nice to watch though.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Trial and (plenty of) error

Back to the track this evening and a little more trial and error with the V on the B8 point. I now hope I've produced something that will work OK. The rail seems firmly fixed, there's electrical continuity between V and wing rails and, to my amazement, a wagon will roll effortlessly through it. For the amount of time and effort I've put into building this V this is all very satisfying.

The technique I've used is to glue to the sleepers some of Bill Bedford's brass Point Slide & Special Chair etches to which I've soldered the V and wing rails. This has been the trial and plenty of error bit. Very little of the brass etches are visible either side of the rail which has tested my soldering skills to the full. I'm getting good at burning sleepers! ....... Hope the joints hold up when in use as I've only soldered one wire dropper from the V and will be relying on the brass etches to transfer the current to the wing rails. Next time I scratch build a point I might consider soldering some wire droppers on to the wing rails. The chairs around the V still need to be installed but this will be done later when I'm fully satisfied with the whole point.

The photo below is of my trail run for constructing the switch blades and might help to explain the above technique.

The above photo shows where the brass etches will be glued to the sleepers. I'm hoping that two soldered joints will be sufficient to hold the switch blade in place. Use will be made of brass fish plates at the joint with the closure rail. This should help secure the switch blade in place and also help with electrical continuity between them and the closure rail.

Any alternative suggestions to the above will be gratefully received........

Friday, 28 January 2011

What to build

Well I've done it.........entered my first Model Railway competition! I've no illusion that I've any chance of being placed but hope it will spur me on to build a few wagons and develop my skills.

So what to build?

Ideally for Tredethy Wharf I would build six Clay wagons….. Hmmmm…..I've set the bars fairly high in the respect that I would like to try to install sprung buffers on all goods stock. As yet I've not found a supplier of sprung self-contained buffers for clay wagons and not sure that I'm ready to tackle converting those supplied with the kits. For Tredethy Wharf I'll need 20 or more wagons and more for future projects.……. I don't want to fail to meet one of my objectives at the first hurdle.

So six general merchandise wagons it is…… the next question is, six of the same type or six different ones?

The decision I've made is that I'm going to tackle six of the same type. My thinking is that it will be quicker to batch build, then, if I have the time, I'll gradually build two or three of another type and so on and so forth. Finally, if I've managed to build more than the initial six, I'll be able to select the better ones for my competition entry.

I've always had a liking for 16T mineral wagons. Not sure if this was from seeing endless trains of mineral wagons rattling though Reepham station when I was knee high to a grasshopper. I've collected a few kits for these wagons over the years. Wenfordbridge branch saw its fair share of these wagons for local coal and coal for the Wenford driers. They will offer me excellent challenges in weathering. and not be too difficult to compensate. Sprung buffers, etching/castings for brake gear and different castings for axle boxes are all readily available. I have relevant books by John Hayes, Geoff Kent and Martyn Welch and a few reference photos in other books. It makes sense, to me, that these will be the first six.

So, out came the kits, from the Parkside range, 4 x Dia 1/108 PC21s; 1 x slope sided PC27; 1 x riveted PC54; 1 x French PC22; 1 x Cambrian LNER; 2 x Airfix kits; plus a few part-built Airfix kits from my EM gauge days; and a part built Parkside French type. Out came all the compensation units and different castings I've collected during this last year. Might need a few more bits as I go along, especially sprung buffers. There are plenty unbuilt kits for me to go at, so the part-built kits while be put to one side for the moment. I've collated a few components together and hope to make a start over the weekend...... Well.....hope so.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Do I or don't I?

This is what I've been thinking during the last couple of weeks about whether I enter the Scalefour Society's Armchair Modellers Challenge. The challenge is to build, depending on type, 4 to 6 wagons. Closing date is the weekend of the annual Scaleforum Exhibition in September. As I will need to build a few wagons during this year, one wagon a months does not sound much. In reality though, while trying to keep the build going on the layout, finish the 57xx, and wanting to start the High Level 03 chassis kit, time might be tight........This along with the fact that I will have to stay later on the Sunday than I would normally have planned, was making me think I'd give it a miss and build wagons at my own pace.....

But..... news in the last few days has made me rethink.... I may be required to help one of the exhibitors! If this turns out to be the case I will have to be at the show for the whole weekend. Bearing in mind that, apart from the RCH 7 Plank wagon, these will be the first wagons I've attempted to build for a number of years. I don't think for one minute that any entry of mine will have a chance of winning. The challenge will be another incentive to get on and build something, which I think is its main aim. Deadline for entries is the end of February. This should be enough time for me to think about which kits I could complete during, what no doubt will be, my normal erratic modelling stints over the next few months.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

First Crossing V

Just to while away a few moments, before going to a family event for the day, I've built my first crossing V from scratch for the final point on the layout. The previous two crossing Vs have been from the excellent P4 Track Company's kits. As this layout is just a test track I thought I'd have a go at scratch building the final point. For a first attempt, at creating a crossing V for some considerable time, I'm quite pleased with it.

Shame it's the wrong angle...... Somewhere in my head I had it that the last point was a B7 but when presenting this to the track plan, I said a non too polite word, and realised it's a B8 ......... It's a good job that practice makes perfect...... Hope to try again this evening ..............

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Brake Van

While I was re-watching the Wenfordbridge DVD, looking for more information on the Dunmere buffer stop, I saw a running number of a LNER 'Toad E' brake van. The footage looks to be from the late 1950s of a regular goods train, being hauled by 30585 a Beattie Well Tank, running to Wenfordbridge. Apparently an LNER brake van was regularly used on the Wenfordbridge goods turns. For anyone who is interested the running number is E153583, the body has narrow vertical planking with a pressed steel ducket and it is sporting the grey livery. The Bachmann model (33-803 - 20 ton brake van BR grey unfitted) looks to be a good starting point for a model of this brake van......

Buffer Stops part 2

Some further thoughts about a buffer stop for Tredethy Wharf......... I have a Mikes Models kit for a LSWR buffer stop and was intending to put it to use on the layout. Photographs I have of Wenfordbridge, and the photograph below of Dunmere Wharf, seemed to indicate they were all of the standard LSWR design on this branch.

That was until, one day in September, while browsing through my collection of photographs, I saw in the corner of one particular photograph of Dunmere Crossing a three quarter side view of the buffer stop on the Wharf siding. Below is the relevant corner of this photograph.

Back in September, Clive kindly offered to to make a new rail bending jig to help create this buffer stop. His current jigs don't quite bend the rail correctly for style of buffer stop. Before he does this, he has asked for a scale drawing of the buffer stop. I thought it was about time I created this drawing so yesterday I started, but it's not going well.

My problem is with the uprights.... Looking at the first photograph, it looks like there is one upright and, I would guess, it would be a single section of rail. When I enlarge the second photograph it looks like the upright is made up of two vertical sections of steel, possibly rail, bolted together. The angled sections of rail coming from the running rail to the vertical uprights look as if they have been bent through 180 degrees around the verticals as one continuous piece of rail. If the vertical section is made up of two sections of rail I should see a joggle in the rail as it bends around the verticals. It's not obvious in the first nor the second photograph.....

The other problem I have with using this buffer stop on Tredethy Wharf is that the Dunmere Wharf siding was very short, which is probably why this style of buffer stop was used. Without the rear supports running from the verticals back down to the running rail, this style of buffer stop does save space. However, on my Tredethy Wharf layout the siding cannot be classed as short for a Wharf siding, so a standard LSWR buffer stop could have been used......

So where do I go from here? Sorry Clive but I'm thinking of reverting back to my original idea of using a standard LSWR buffer stop on Tredethy Wharf. I'll keep the Dunmere buffer stop on ice until I can confirm its correct structure. At some point in the future I'll probably need a buffer stop that does not take up much space. I'm thinking of two such plans where a Dunmere style of buffer stop could be used, my fictitious Polbrook Engine Shed and, more probably, on the fictitious Wharf siding at Boscarne Junction. Hopefully by the time I start to consider building another layout, I will have confirmed its structure. With all the photographs taken of the Wenfordbridge line there should be at least one other photograph out there somewhere that will help to confirm its structure. Does anyone know of one????