Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Photos of Bridges at Boscarne Junction (part 1)

Boscarne Junction is now probably not a first choice for a future model. However, when I was in Cornwall it was still a serious option that was on the table. The two bridges over the river Camel at Boscarne would be an important part of any layout of this junction (fictitious or accurate) and to record these was one objective while I was there. So for anyone that might be interested, a few photos follow showing the bridge that carries the old GWR line to Bodmin General over the river Camel:

Photo looking back up the line to Bodmin General from Boscarne Junction

Looking down stream on the south bank.

Looking across stream from the previous photo

Looking back up stream on the south bank.

As a guide for scale, my trusty stead is 10.5 hands tall to top of saddle (107cms or 42 inches in old money). I'll publish photos of the bridge on the SR line to Bodmin North in a future post.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Clay Wagons GWR dia 013 (part 3)

On my first wagon nearing the completion of its rebuild, I've installed 4 shoe brake gear with connecting rod and the clutch handle towards the end door. This would seem to be how the vacuum brake gear was fitted to BR's diagram 1/051 wagons.

I'm just starting to realise that this might not have been the case with these older refitted non-vacuum braked GWR wagons. My understanding is that they were initially built with DCII non-vacuum brake gear with both the brake handles at the opposite end to the end door. After 1939, conversion to Morton brakes was initiated to conform to the 'right-handed' ministry rules (though possibly not to all as I've seen a photograph of one preserved at Brewdley with DCII brake gear). 

My problem is, was the DCII brake gear replaced with 2 shoe, 4 shoe, or 4 shoe independent Morton brake gear? If either of the first two which side was the clutch, handle towards the end door, or towards the fixed end? Looking again at the few references I have, and photographs I have since found on the web, it would seem that they had 4 shoe independent brake gear. Some photographs however are not clear and are confusing me slightly. So I'm wondering if there could have been a variation of brake gear fitted to these wagons.

I’m starting to think (partly as an excuse to my possible mistake) that, as St. Blazey wagon works repaired these older GWR wagons, there could well have been a variation in brake gear fitted. That said I would like to have the majority of these wagons fitted with the most common type of brake gear that they were equipped with. Though I will probably also include at least one with DCII just to 'tip my hat' to the heritage of these wagons.

I’ve posted requests for further information on a couple of forums. In the meantime, while I wait for confirmation/criticism of my thoughts, these wagons will be put to one side.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

GWRJ No.82

Since April 6th I've had weekly visits to my local newsagents looking out for the next issue of the Great Western Railway Journal. At last I was greeted this afternoon by the sight of  issue No.82 on the shelf....

Passenger Operations at Paddington Station Part 7, (the last instalment in this series)
GWR Horse Traffic and Horseboxes
A Honeybourne visit
'Bulldogs' at work Part 2

Monday, 14 May 2012

A cracking weekend

The title sums it up really. My birthday on Friday, followed by playing trains at the local Cleethorpes Model Railway show on Saturday, and then a good few hours on Sunday working on modelling projects.

One of the many modelling related presents I received was a very informative book covering a Summer Saturday working in 1961 on the North Cornwall Line, along with the Wadebridge to Bodmin services, including loco rosters and carriage diagrams. It will become another excellent reference as the Grogley Project unfolds.

Saturday saw me being tea boy and lunchtime operator on Gordon's model of Donington-on-Bain. This was its first public showing and very much a 'work in progress'. However being a local station it generated a great deal of interest about its history, as well as the model's construction.


Along with Gordon's model two other P4 members, (Dave and Martin) were at the exhibition showing the initial stages of their next project. They are at the very early stages of building a model of Swan Yard at Great Yarmouth, and had on display location plans, photos, part of a Templot track plan, some stock and the beginnings of the baseboards. There are plans afoot for Swan Yard to make an appearance at next year's Cleethorpes show as a 'work in progress' showing the early stages of track laying, along with Gordon's Fish Dock Road and my Tredethy Wharf making its first public appearance. The organisers are kindly allowing our P4 area group to take over a complete room again next year...

During the exhibition it was also good to catch up with two friends that were members of the defunct Mablethorpe and District Model Railway Club, Steve and Bob. Bob was showings his Winterschlaf layout with Steve as support operator, a position I'll be filling at two exhibitions later this year. There was a good selection of other layouts at the show covering 009, N, HO American. HOm Swiss and OO gauge. Gamston Bank stole the show for me.

The thought that Tredethy Wharf has to be near completion in a year's time has spurred me on. During Sunday I think I managed to banish the two remaining track gremlins, no doubt more will surface as I use the model but for now it's working well. Once I've tidied up the wiring, I'll start to put some flesh on the bones. There are still the hidden sidings to design and build but I am looking forward to making a start on the scenery.

To top off this weekend, my son's band released their first single on iTunes with a supporting video on YouTube. I know it will not be everybody's taste but I do like what they are doing so please forgive me posting the following link...
Shades - A Note from Me (Official Video)
Please pass on this link to anyone you think might be interested. lad is the good looking one hitting the skins... :-))

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Grogley Junction - Another idea

Since coming back from Cornwall I’ve been thinking about my Grogley Junction project. Spending time on the Camel Trail walking the line from Grogley Junction to Polbrock and beyond has really fired my imagination for the project.

In my collection of photographs of the line I have one of an O2 passing in front of some cottages with the river Camel in the foreground. To me it is one of those photographs that, along with photographs of Beattie Well tanks passing between the cottages at Hellandbridge, typifies the feel of this line. Until my visit to the location I could not place where the photo was taken as it is constantly referred to as being at Grogley. In fact the cottages are Grogley side of the road-over bridge at Polbrock. Finding the location and discovering from Andrew Jones survey that there was a continuous check rail though the reverse curves leading to the Polbrock road bridge, made me question whether I could include this section of line in my model of Grogley Junction. Unfortunately I would need something like 60 feet in length to model the whole section of line from Grogley to Polbrock in 4mm.

Considerations I’ve been trying to take into account over the last few weeks are: how far I want to bend history to suit my own ends; how much time the project might take; and the space I have available. As it seems to be taking me an eternity just to complete a little test track it would seem any grandiose plan of a large junction station with freight marshalling yard is way beyond my capabilities, not just in the space I have available, but also time I would have to get the model to an acceptable stage of completion in my life time.

Part of my time on the Camel Trail was spent photographing the bridges at Boscarne with thoughts that I might end up building a model of Boscarne Junction. Other thoughts have taken me to consider using the track layout at Boscarne Junction as a template for my Grogley Junction. This would mean that, in my alternative universe, Grogley Junction will be worked in a similar way to Boscarne Junction but with the addition of a few sidings. The extra sidings would be used for the marshalling of goods traffic for the different branches radiating from Grogley. If all goes well, the space I could have available to build this model is 23ft x (just under) 9ft. Taking off about 4ft each end for hidden sidings leaves me 15ft in length to try and do this fictitious junction justice.

Above is my initial attempt. The area that I've mapped out is drastically compressed in length and width compared to the actual location. I've also hacked a large section out between Grogley and Polbrock to bring the cottages, in the above photo, into the area to be modelled. I would be trying to replicate the scene in the photograph above looking from point A on the plan. After all the compression the hope is that the model can capture the feel of the valley and it would still be recognisable as Grogley/Polbrock. I'm also hoping I don't offend the locals too much with the butchering of their landscape...

The numbers on the plan are the metric heights above sea level. The track bed is about 10 metres above sea level. In 4mm scale the highest point at the back of the model would be about 20 inches above the track. At the front each side rise to approximately 7 inches. In the centre of the model the viewed is over the river and meadow to the track on a small embankment. The baseboard width is about 4.5 ft and, with the reverse curvature, will no doubt cause me some headaches to build.

So is this it...?  I doubt it, as the above is still a very rough and no doubt over the course of the next year I'll be reworking the plan many times while I'm trying to prove my modelling capabilities with Tredethy Wharf. The applying of information learnt from Andrew's survey in 1972, rail lengths, type of chairs and sleepers per length, into the track plan will also need to be undertaken. I also realise I have a lot to learn about the goods workings in the area and how my fictitious spin on the line would affect these workings and the need for the extra sidings.

Grogley Junction might still be a 'pipe dream', however, I do like the feel of the above plan and in my head it is creating some great images. I've now just got to stop dreaming/planning and get on with Tredethy Wharf...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

One Gremlin banished

One of the little Gremlins that surfaced when testing Tredethy Wharf was the in continuous check rail area where a road will cross the track. For some reason I purchased S4 plastic check rail chairs instead of P4 which caused some slight wheel binding on a converted Pannier Tank in this section of track.

As all of this section will be fully covered I decided to try and solve the problem by relaying this section using copperclad sleepers. A sharp knife blade was slid between the plastic chairs and the wooden sleeper and the rail removed. Copperclad sleepers were then laid between the wooden sleepers. The rail was cleaned and then relayed with some very crude soldering. Some advice I'd been given was, as this section is to be covered, to double gap the copperclad sleepers as a 'belt and braces' against electrical shorts.

After a brief test I think I've sorted it... Should have laid this section in copperclad from the start.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Winter Project - Gearbox

The holiday (or should I say field trip) in Cornwall and the hasty day at Scalefour North has renewed my enthusiasm for all things P4 and Grogley Junction. Over the weekend I found a couple of hours to build the High Level gearbox. The gearbox came with very comprehensive instructions, which, at first, make the construction look complicated. But when all the components were all laid out on the table and each paragraph was read a couple of times, the mist started to clear and the gearbox was very quickly assembled.

After a quick test under power it was soon installed in the chassis and it is starting to look promising... Oh and it moves!!...

I think the next task will be to create a cradle to support the motor and work out how to install the pick-ups.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Buffer Stops (part 3)

I think I've solved the mystery of how the buffer stop at Dunmere Wharf might have been constructed. Below are a few photos of the current buffer stop at Boscarne on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. Apart from Dunmere buffer stop having a wooden buffer beam this one seems to be very similar to the photos in my previous posting on buffer stops here.

These photos help to resurrect the idea that this style of buffer stop could be installed on my Tredethy Wharf...