Thursday, 28 December 2017

How about some cattle and a dog

One would think that after painting hundreds of wargaming figures I'd be able to quickly pick up a brush and get a number of figures completed for a Brake Van Special. Well it's not been that easy as at some point I seem to have lost my mojo for painting figures. So thought I'd try to break back into figure painting by having a go at cattle.

I always intended to have a small herd of cattle in the field on the left, just to add a little more interest at that end of the diorama. Trouble is, I didn't want the standard Black and White Friesian cattle that seem to be most prevalent across the UK. A little research has shown Guernseys are also present in Cornwall so the below have been painted to represent this breed of dairy cattle. They've not been installed on the layout yet as I'm waiting for a delivery of Testors Dullcote. My can of spray varnish seems to have expired since it as last used.

The cattle are from Langley Miniatures and, in my opinion, are nice castings. Hope they are a good portrayal of Guernseys.

At the Lincoln Show it was mentioned that Tom could do with a dog. Well 'why not' I thought, and in using a model from the Dart Castings range I'm hoping it now looks like Tom has a Border Collie by his side. I've mused over many names for Tom's best friend and finally decided on "Pip".

So we have Tom and Pip being distracted by Nancy Trevorrow, the Wharfinger. The question still to be resolved is whether Tom and Nancy are husband and wife?!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Polbrock Engine Shed Building

During lunch breaks (whenever I've manage to grab one) I've been attempting to draw the main engine shed building for Polbrock. This is following on from the idea proposed at Octobers Area Group meeting that I could create a master of one wall section and cast subsequent sections. Also be able to use one of the members Silhouette cutters to cut out other bespoke sections out of platic card.

Below is the current drawing.

I'm planning on using the water tank from the Dapol kit which has fixed the dimension for the building underneath. Before committing to cutting plasticard I'll print the drawing and mount on card to test size and fit to a full size Templot track plan.

For one who's not scratch built buildings before, big project, me thinks... Smaller building to cut teeth on, Panawan would be wise.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

BR Class 03 at Tredethy Wharf

A new addition:

BR Class 03 where briefly used on the Wenford Branch when they replaced the WR 1366 locos and before Class 08s took over haulage along the branch.

A couple of years ago I'd purchased a High Level Chassis kit along with Gibson wheels and all the bits to build a chassis for an 03. Though I'm being told that High Level kits go together very well, with instructions that are second to none, I still feel this kit might be a step too far for me at this moment in time. This is mainly due to the fact that I've not yet completing a simple 0-6-0 chassis successfully.  So, I was very pleased when one of our local area group (Clive Impey) offered to build the chassis for me. Clive embellished the kit with his preferred method of current collection which is  split axles.

The loco requires renumbering along with some very light weathering to tone down the paint work of the Bachmann body, even so, I'm over the moon with this seeing this little loco running on Tredethy Wharf.

Thanks Clive...

Friday, 24 November 2017

Silence is golden

Well not golden, rather inspiring and exiting.

I've been invited to help backstage with Kyle of Sutherland at Railex next year. As a prelude I spent a very enjoyable day in Skipton being introduced to the layout and its creator.

Also, much to my surprise, I've been invited to show Tredethy Wharf at Scaleforum 2018...

This invite has spurred me into action with; rectifying some of the faults en-counted at the Lincoln show earlier this year; thinking further about auto-couplings; also about progressing some scenic improvements. I also have realised I need to give thought to completing some locos and extra rolling stock for this prestigious show. Not sure I'll be able to covert the layout to DCC as I would have hoped for a Scaleforum. Also to keep it authentic to the line I'm trying to depict it might have be a diesel only layout but I'm already looking forward to the weekend in September.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

In Flanders fields

Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae, May 1915

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Well, is this finally Polbrock Engine Shed?

Again, after much thought, I proposed a further trackplan for consideration to Mr Severs and he very promptly came back with some sound advice. So unless someone can offer any further constructive advice I think the below plan for "stage one", Polbrock engine shed, will be rubber stamped "Approved".

 As can be seen I agree with previous advice given that the double track between Polbrock and Grogley would not be typical of this stretch of line. I feel Mr Servers thoughts on the signalling, along with the addition of the "Sand Drag" to protect the Padstow Wadebridge line, could well satisfy the BoT. One comment he did make was he thought the LSWR would have built the engine shed at Grogley Junction. I do agree and there may well have been space. The problem I had when revisiting the Grogley's track plan was that I could not find a way to fit the engine shed at Grogley where it would have been located and have enough room in the "Man Cave" for a work bench. If only the "Cave"  could be 2-3 foot wider...

I've drawn the track plan in Templot and to me it feels good. It will offer operational interest for one person to build and operate. It will also be a good stepping stone to continue on to Grogley Junction for the building of rolling stock.

The two three-way turnouts need to be completed in the above Templot track plan. Even so I printed out a full size plan as a discussion point during last week's Scalefour meeting and it seemed to gain approval. Very rough full size mock ups have also been created of the engine shed and water tower to test location and size against the track plan. I'm now investigating how to build them. The initial plan was to build them using Wills Plasticard. During the last Area Group meeting a comment was made about making a master of a section of the engine shed wall, then to take several resin castings off the master to build the shed to save some time and effort. Seems a good plan to me especially as I've never scratch built any building before.

I'm now looking forward to posting about progress on this project and further tweaks on Tredethy Wharf.

Previous post

Sunday, 13 August 2017

An itch that might need scratching

A while back, in a previous post, I'd mentioned a long held desire to build a GWR Branch Line Terminus and that I might put my thoughts together in a blog posting. Not sure if this is the right time but consider this post as therapy to either cement my ideas or dispel them for good.

In the past there have been a number of layouts and magazine articles that have "floated my boat" but the ones that have stuck with me over the years are:
  • P4 model of Bodmin General by the North London Group.
  • Articles in the Model Railway Constructor about the construction of Bodmin General.
  • An article in the January 1975 Railway Modeller by N.J. Pocock titled Bigbury Bay.
  • An article in the April 1979 Railway Modeller Plan of the month - A Southern branch line.
  • Iain Rice's "Witheridge" track plan from his "An approach to Model Railway Layout Design, Finescale in small spaces". 
There have been other layouts, in books and magazine articles, that I've pored over but the above have been the ones I've always returned to and contemplated for a BLT project of some sorts.

Let me expand on the above:

My interest in the Bodmin area was sparked by the Mablethorpe & District Model Railway Club choosing to build a layout using Bodmin Road's track plan. Then after seeing the North London Groups' P4 model of Bodmin General and reading the articles in the Model Railway Constructor, brought home to me what could be achieved, not only in modelling standards but operation. This was in the 1970s when I was just starting to discard the toy train cloak and learning how to build finescale track to 00 and EM standards. Up to that point I'd only constructed one layout called "Edgcroft" using Peco Streamline track and "Prototype" card buildings.

I think the Railway Modeller issue from January 1975 struck a cord due to the diligence that Mr Pocock put into the research for the article. The article describes a fictitious branch line from Ivybridge to Bigbury on Sea. Mr Pocock goes to great lenghts to describe the location, then describes his fictitious reasons why and how the branch was built including a map of the branch and gradient profile, there is also a proposed track plan of the terminus (dare I say very 1970s). He then goes on to describe traffic backed up with a timetable and mainline connections at Ivybridge, finishing off with his thoughts on the required rolling stock. All that needs doing is building the layout. Unfortunately I always thought the track plan left something to be desired.

The April 1979 Plan of the month is a fictional plan based on Swanage and has all the necessary BLT features; single platform with runaround loop; goods yard with goods shed, cattle dock, coal yard and head shunt; engine shed with water tower, water column and coaling stage; there is also provision for industrial/private siding in the shape of a diary. All to fit in an L shape space of 8ft x 4ft in 00. Along with track plan and signal diagram the article has a 3D full colour illustration. I have to admit that this is probably why I initially warmed to the plan along with it seemed to have all necessary features.

There are many Ian Rice track plans that I've mused over and redrawn but Witheridge is one has always struck a cord when thinking about a GWR BLT. I especially like the way buildings have been used to mask the entrance to the fiddle yard along with the level crossing. The kick back to the goods shed also adds operational interest. It has the all features I feel a BLT should have bar one, the exclusion of an engine shed is the only down side.

So, what I am I considering?

Is there a possibility that I can build a GWR BLT using Mr Pocock's background information on Bigbury Bay with the April 1979 Plan of the month and a smattering of features from Witheridge all to similar standards of Bodmin General?

For a layout based in the 1930s, I already have two P4 locos that would fit the bill as they will need no further alteration apart from possibly renumbering.

Secondly; I have a number of Ratio GWR building kits ready for bashing into shape.

Thirdly; I already have a OO GWR liveried "B" Set as well as a P4 Auto Coach in GW livery along with 30 or so wagon kits that I've collected over the years just for this long held desire.

I may expand on the above thoughts in a future blog, but, if I intend to have a layout to exhibit, once Tredethy Wharf has out lived its usefulness, this one itch I may have to scratch, though may I suggest you don't hold your breath...

Friday, 28 July 2017

Web site update

eBay sales have been going well, which has enabled me to fill in gaps of coaching stock requirements for my ambitious Grogley Junction. Oh, golf clubs have also been purchased.

On the modelling front I've made a start on converting a couple of Class 08 shunters for Tredethy Wharf. These two will eventually be St Blazey engines but a little more research is involved as I'm realising that the differences between 08s is a potential minefield. Also on my workbench are four 7 plank wagons.

Three of the above are Bachmann models which are receiving either a complete repaint and/or weathering. A fourth is a very old wagon of uncertain parentage which I've had for some time in a part-built state. My plan for the next few months is to try and clear as many part completed wagon projects as possible before starting on new builds or conversions. These part-built projects include a Cambrian LMS steel box van; a repainted Bachmann steel open wagon with wooden doors and a SR Plywood 12T van which I've also repainted; aalong with a couple of part-built Cambrian Models 16T mineral wagons. I'll then make a start on a few Brake Vans and people for the Brake Van Special. Once these are completed I hope to have cleared more "stuff" via eBay and created a reasonable hobby fund for making a start on Grogley Junction.

The title of this post of "Web site update" is due to time also being spent updating my Tredethy Wharf Web pages. The updates have now been applied and the new pages are now live. If anyone is interested the site can be found at:

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Back to the big project - Signal diagrams

Can I suggest you settle down somewhere quiet with a glass of your preferred beverage before embarking on reading this blog entry... it's a bit of an epic... :-))

While I have read a couple of books (British Railways Signalling, G.M. Kichenside & A. Williams and Pictorial Record of Southen Signals, G.A Pryor) and think I'd given a fair fist at creating signal diagrams for the project. I was still unsure if I'd understood signalling practices correctly. While members of my local Scalefour Group are very willing to offer advice and documentation, they're knowledge is heavily LNER influenced. So a few months ago I sent my thoughts to a long time friend who might help. Fortunately he new Paul Severs who is very knowledgeable of SR practise and wow... what a response. I feel indebted to him for taking the time to read and understand my thoughts then produce the following diagrams. Paul also supplied comprehensive explanatory notes, which, with his permission, I copy out in full below.


Grogley Junction and Polbrock Shed

a] Distant signals on single lines were invariably 'fixed', i.e. not operated from the signal box, and never in the 'off' position; the very short distance between station and shed boxes would not require any distants [though for interest I have included a repeater for the down station home on the post of the Polbrock down starter, and a fixed distant arm on the post of the up main advanced starter on the Grogley Station diagram]; therefore this also simplifies signalling: those numbered 24, 25 in shed box would exist as fixed distant, and so would not have levers allocated in the frame - those numbered 1, 2 in same box, and those shown on same posts as 21, 22, 23 would not exist at all. Very sad for modellers who would like to have as many different coloured levers in their signal boxes as possible - if you want yellow levers you must have long stretches of double track!

b] Junction [DOWN] end of station too complex - I realise it is inspire by the multitrack junction at the north end of Barnstaple station, but that was highly unusual - at first I thought that the line behind platform 2 was platform 3 - I see it is labelled as a goods loop, presumably to be used for the exchange sidings. Therefore this would be connected to the up line [Platform 2] at the point of the junction by way of a double slip - greatly loved by the LSWR! See revised plan suggestion, Grog Jcn Revision 1.jpg. This also simplifies the signalling. Small suggestion - junction signal box would be better on down side, as per SBD.

c] Exeter/Wadebridge [UP] end of station would be better without the facing crossover [necessitating two FPLs] and replaced by connection from down main to loop, with trailing connection from loop to up main, forming a single slip, and up to down connection via a trailing crossover [Grog Jcn Revision 2.jpg]

d] Ref. revised SBD [station/junction] [Grog Jcn Sig Diag.jpg] - There are 34 active levers required, so the box in reality would have had a 36 lever frame with two spare, though if society levers come in fives, you could have 35 with one real spare and another imaginary spare! Here's the lever numbering with labels as they would appear in the levers::

10 FPL ON No 11 POINTS [UP] [Bu]
12 FPL ON No 11 POINTS [DOWN] [Bu]
15 FPL ON No 16 POINTS [Bu]
21 SPARE [formerly shunt signal to down siding*] [W]
29 FPL ON No 28 POINTS [Bu]
35 DOWN MAIN HOME [with repeater] [R]
36 SPARE [W]

Legend: R = red lever [signals], B = black [points], Bu = blue [Facing Point Locks - always operated individually], W = white [spare]

* SR was very economical with signals, especially on single lines, so where possible, shunting moves made use of running signals; shunting signals were only used for movements for which there was no available running signal. Furthermore, where LSWR [like many pre-group companies, and as GWR continued to] used a shunt signal for each route, the SR used just one for all routes from a given stop point; after all, they argued, both driver and signalman knew which route was intended, and the latter could only set one route at a time. So under LSWR there would have been a Stevens drop-flap ground signal at 18 for down to up main shunts, and another [21] at the entrance to the down siding. Some companies used ground signals as 'detectors' operated by the point to indicate which route was set; neither LSWR nor SR used such a practice. Early LSWR signal practice economised on levers by having two shunt signals [covering the opposite directions through the same crossover points] operated by one lever, which in the 'on' position was vertical in the frame - to make one signal 'off' you pushed [to the 'normal' 'on' position], and for the other you pulled [to the 'normal' 'off' position in the frame] ! SR removed all such 'abnormalities' as soon as possible!

# Entry to the goods loop: from both the Bodmin and Mawgan Porth branches, entry does not entail crossing a running line, so LSWR/SR both economised by placing the goods arm on the same post as the home signal, below it, hence Nos. 4 & 13 signals; entry from the down direction requires crossing the up line, so that would be made clear by placing the goods arm in a lower position on a bracketed doll, hence the No. 30 signal.

(Where any signal [running or shunt] permitted movement through a facing point that was locked because of passenger running movements, the signal wire ran through a detector box on the line side which was operated by the FPL - if the lock had not engaged, the signal wire could not be pulled.)

e] Polbrock shed: owing to the very short distances [real or model] between the station and the shed the need for signals is greatly reduced. I offer a much simplified SBD [Polbrock Jcn Sig Diag.jpg] requiring only 15 levers - no ground signals needed for movements in and out, nor within the shed area. All movements governed by the running signals, or in the rare event of a light engine off the Exeter line needing direct access to the shed, by hand signals.The minor suggestion I would make is to move the scissors crossover points nearer to the points into the shed, and the signal box nearer to the junction as in the revised part plan [Polbrock Revision.jpg]. The alternative is of course two successive simple crossovers, as at e.g. Tipton St. Johns, but a scissors crossover is interesting, and a challenge to one's point-building schemes, so I can see why Ian has put it in! Anyway, the Polbrock lever frame would look like this:

7 FPL ON No 7 POINTS [UP] [Bu]
8 FPL ON No 10 POINTS [Bu]
16 spare

* Being a 'trailing' crossover, no FPL is required
** This would be an interesting signal - a miniature arm, with or without ring, but painted YELLOW: in the 'on' position, like a distant, it could be passed when going from
headshunt to the shed complex, and no signal is required for the opposite direction; when pulled off, it signified that the points were set to cross to the up main, and thence
to No 3 signal for movement to the station, or in reverse to the No 12/14 signal for authority to proceed onto the Wadebridge or Exeter lines
# Although the Exteter route was the major route, in signalling, the taller arm refers to the route straight ahead, the lower arm to the route requiring crossing the points.

Now to the questions Ian asks:

1. Positioning of distant signals. I have already answered this in my notes above [Note [1]]

2. Operation of shunting [ground disc] signals. LSWR/SR virtually never used these as route indicators, so were always worked by a separate lever. As noted above, economy demanded that they were only placed and used when a necessary movement could not be authorised by running signals; pulling off a running signal authorises the movement you are supposed to do, not necessarily to proceed to the next block post!!

3. Facing Point Locks [FPLs]. These are only required on points which face the direction of travel of a passenger train. The necessary locks are indicated on the revised signal box diagrams.

4. Grogley junction complex [!]. The similar complex at the north end of Barnstaple station was of course necessary because of limited space, the sharp curve to the river crossing, and the number of passenger routes; since the third route here is into a goods loop, it would be accessed by a double slip point at the throat of the junction, obviating the necessity of the third crossing road - see Grog Jcn Revision 1.jpg for my suggestion.

5 & 6. Distant signals . Again see note [1] - they would all be 'fixed' distants, not operated by the signal box, and never 'pulled off'. There are no 'outer' and 'inner' distants, only inner and outer home signals [and outer homes were only required on faster, double track lines]. Sometimes because of the shortness of block sections on main lines, the distant for the next section is on the same post as the starter or advanced starter signal of the previous section, and where through running of expresses needed to be signalled, distant arms were used as 'repeaters' for the next stop signal, again mounted below the previous stop signal. However, even on a busy branch such as this [!] speed restrictions would mean that no operational distant was needed - strictly speaking, neither the banner repeater for Grogley's down home, nor the fixed distant on Grogley's up advanced starter would have been needed or used, but I include them for a bit of variety, on the authority of 'modeller's licence'!

I offer this as advice - none of it needs to be accepted, but it does reflect what the LSWR/SR would have done if this station/shed complex had been a reality.

Paul Severs 


I've sat on this information for some considerable time, trying to take it all in. Now the Lincoln exhibition is out of the way, the "Man Cave' back in some sort of order after our holidays away along with eBay sales creating a small hobby fund, my thoughts are back to the big project.

I'm fully in tune with the Paul's suggestions for the simplification of the junction and the alteration at the up end of the station, as I am with the minor alterations at Polbrock. The only suggestion I'm having a problem with is moving Grogley Signal Box into the remains of the quarry. I'd position the signal box on the platform to give a good view around the curve. Moving the box to the inside of the curve would severally restrict the view due to the contours of the surrounding land. Would the lie of the land have influenced the positioning of the box or its location close to a complex junction? As the building of the Grogley Junction section of this project is way in the future that decision can wait.

The only other problem I have is that I agree with Ullypug's comments on two previous RMWeb posts (1) & (2) about the scissors crossing at Polbrock and the double track being a little out of character for the North Cornwall line. However, I would still, somehow, like to replicate the two adjacent single lines that ran out of Wadebridge... I also need to find an example for the junction at Ruthernbridge or re-think that section of the line due to Compound2632 comments. Any suggestions anyone?

Well.. next project has to be a P4 loco chassis Pannier or Class 08 along with the Lincoln "show outcomes" on Tredethy Wharf, so I've still some time to mull over this quandary...

If you have read this whole post and reached this point my I thank and congratulate you.

Friday, 7 July 2017

What's happening then?

Well, after the Lincoln Show not a lot, that is on the modelling creation side anyway. What I have been up to is tackling the mess in the "Man Cave" after Tredethy Wharf was dumped after the show before we left for New Zealand. Then, on our return home while tidying the "Man Cave", I  also decided to sort though the accumulated "stuff" from both hobbies (railways and wargaming) with a view to raising funds for future hobby projects, oh and a set of golf clubs! This exercise has been very successful, golf clubs have been purchased along with more rolling stock for Grogley/Polbrock. There is much more stuff to eBay so sorting and selling will contine for a few more months. The aim being that space and finances have to be made available for the construction of Polbrock Engine Shed...

There is a problem though, is not that always the case? Apart from the big project of Grogley Junction and Polbrock, there have, and I suppose still are, other dreams. One being a Welsh Colliery layout based in the Taff Valley, the other (a long held desire) to build a small GWR Branch Line Terminus. Oh no, not another one I hear you all shouting, have there not been enough built! Why not build a Caledonian BLT or some other obscure project?

Let me try to explain...
  • While sorting through all the boxes, items I've collected have risen to the surface for the above two projects. While I can easily give up the Welsh Colliery layout the GWR BLT is much harder. The itch of a GWR BLT has not been fully quelled by Grogley Junction.
  • It all probably started from reading many magazine articles in the late 1960s early 1970s, warming to the attempts at picturesque layouts rather than the industrial scene others were using to mask baseboard edges. I've always been a country bumpkin at heart.
  • Then I was fully indoctrinated into the GWR by a good friend when the Mablethorpe and District Model Railway Club was formed in the 70s. This introduced me to Bodmin and its railway environs, and hence why I've ended up with Grogley Junction.
  • My early holiday memories are of time spent in Devon and Cornwall. Unfortunately, in the 1960s, we never travelled there by train but later in life I've had many visits to Paignton, Buckfastleigh and Bodmin railways along with Didcot and the Severn Valley.
  • Tredethy Wharf has fulfilled a purpose, that being to get me started in P4 and now tentatively introducing me to exhibiting. While I have enjoyed the two exhibitions I've attended with Tredethy Wharf, the end result is it is a very simple layout to operate. 
  • Grogley Junction with Polbrock Engine Shed will, in essence, not be exhibition layouts. So if I'm to continue to have something to exhibit would it be possible for me to scratch the itch of a  GWR BLT? Maybe, maybe not, but I'll still keep the project in my thoughts. Therefore I'll be  storing all I've collected for this project until it becomes fully evident it will not be possible to build it.
So the Welsh Colliery project items are marked up to be auctioned off. While doing so I have the list of "show outcomes", mentioned in the previous blog, to tackle before the Polbrock project is embarked upon. At some point I might post my thoughts on this GWR BLT project but for the moment I'll get back to creating more eBay auctions... Blimey just heard the "till ring" on my phone so I must have sold some more stuff, better get that in the post.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Tredethy Wharf at Lincoln show 2017

Last weekend was an excellent experience on a number of fronts.

Firstly for the help I received from Gordon prior to the show and during. Also from a good friend, Nick, who travelled from near Ilkley just to play trains on the Saturday before nipping to Derby to visit his son. He enjoyed the show so much he called in on Sunday morning on his way home to offer help for a few hours. To both I offer my sincere thanks.

Secondly for the organisation of the show. From setting up on the Friday to leaving on the Sunday I cannot fault Alan and Nigel for their help and organisation (along with the friendly banter). May the show grow.

Thirdly my thanks to all the people who stopped to have a chat. I think this was the icing on the cake and what made the weekend a truly excellent experience. Not just because of the kind comments but because people took the time to stop, look and try to appreciate what I was trying to achieve with the layout. This is something that I have not done enough when visiting shows as a member of the public, I must change that in the future.

One couple kindly gave the two characters on the layout names, the Wharfinger is now Nancy, the farmer is Tom. One surname proposed by Nick is Trevorrow. So Nancy Trevorrow it is, just need to decide whether Tom is her husband or neighbour.

My only regret from the weekend was not being able to fully appreciate the other layouts at the show. Though Diesels in the Duchy was very close by I was able to sneak off a couple of times to take in this excellent layout.

A few pics of Tredethy Wharf taken over the weekend.

Overall view of Tredethy Wharf

A very busy Wharf

Wharf close up

Tom and Nancy

A less busy wharf towards the end of the show.
Show outcomes:
Apart from building up my own loco roster, Beattie Well tank is a must, other outcomes from the show are:
1) The layout requires more storage cassettes,
2) One point needs looking at as it stopped working,
3) A few wagons need looking at due to poor performance,

Other work required on the layout will include:
1)  The installation of auto-uncouplers and finally decide on type of couplings,
2) I'm not sure about the back screen. Might look at creating one the wraps around the corners and is continuous which will remove that join line,
3) I'd always had plans for a couple more trees and still think they are needed,
4) Tom requires a dog,
5) Some live stock are required at the right hand side of the layout, not many just enough to add a little cameo.

Item one on the "other work" list is because I became very aware that shunting wagons in the wharf meant standing in front of the public and blocking their view. Oh... and operating three link couplings while being watched gave me the willies, the result is often pulling a wagon off the track after ten attempts at coupling the darn thing :-).

So enough to get on with and keep me busy for a while.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Test running session

Sunday afternoon saw the "Three Amigos" put the layout through its paces. There were a few gremlins dispatched by my compatriots and a couple left over for me to sort during the week. It was a productive afternoon.

Once I've sorted the final two gremlins the layout would seem to be almost ready for the weekend. That said, I don't consider it completed, I'll not get time during the week to do all that I would have liked. The extra bits are just that, extras that I doubt will be missed until added to the layout.

Empty clay wagon train

Well, I think, for the moment, the empty clay wagoms might be finished...

In the future I might do a bit of extra weathering but they will definitely be OK for the Lincoln show next weekend.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Farmer and wharfinger (maybe his wife?)

Being regularly away from home for work has stopped me progressing Tredethy Wharf as much as I would have liked. This has had a major effect in the preparation of the layout for next weekend's Lincoln show. I'm hoping that what I've been able to achieve will be enough to show the layout and the Scalefour Society in a good light.

Anyway this week I decided to take with me a couple of figures to paint while staying in a hotel for work. After my colleagues had departed during the day on Wednesday, I found myself being "Billy no mates" for an evening, so I broke open the paints and splashed a bit about on the figures. After a quick dry brushing last night and a coat of matt varnish I think they are ready to be installed on the layout...

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Empty Clay Wagons

Just to prove I have been doing something relating to Tredethy Wharf during the last few weeks. I've posted a couple of pics below of the next batch of china clay wagons that are now ready for the paint shop.

These five clay wagons are being built using the Ratio kit with modified axle boxes and brake gear. The intention is for these wagons to be empty versions of the early unfitted British Railways Dia. 1/051. British Railways built the first 300 unfitted but quickly converted to vacuum brake but I'm hoping that a few might have remained unfitted until the early 1960s. The next batch will be the vacumm fitted versions.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The next project - Polbrock Engine Shed?

During more nights away for work before Christmas and last evening while in rainy Stalybridge, I've been continuing to consider what comes after Tredethy Wharf. Though I was now fairly certain it had to be Grogley Junction there was still doubt it might be one huge step too far. Ullypug made some good observations on one of my recent RMWeb posts and, though I've been wondering if I could split Grogley up into manageable projects, his comment spurred me on to think a little deeper.

So... after yet more pondering, along with drawing a few more track plans and I've come up with a "cunning plan mi Lord".

How about building Polbrock Engine Shed as stage one?

Either with a single track main line,

or double track main line?

I'm errring on going back to the double track version of Grogley v.14, but even so which ever one I decide on;
  • Polbrock Engine Shed would allow me to build locos for Tredethy Wharf with the knowledge that they will also be used on the Engine Shed layout, then eventually Grogley Junction.
  • The layout would fit nicely above my work bench and could easily be extended when I gain the time and or courage to progress to Grogley Junction.
  • The track plan will give me more experience in building track, especially as it looks like there will be a 3 way turnout and a diamond crossing.
  • It will test my skills further in constructing buildings, whether that be kit bashing or from scratch.
  • Building a working turntable will be an interesting project in its own right.
  • Polbrock will introduce me to the skills of building a selection of signals, along with the task to get them working.
  • As Polbrock could be operated as an end-to-end it will allow/encourage me to gradually build coaching stock and further locos that could run between the fiddle yards and in the future be used for Grogley Junction.
  • Once built Polbrock may, depending on where I can position the baseboard joints, be a possible exhibition layout.
  • On an organisational level, to fit Polbrock into the "Man Cave" I'll have some major reorganising to do. This will entail lightening the load of items that I've collected over the years for projects that will not now be built. Once committed to Polbrook there will be no Taff Vale Colliery layout for starters and much less chance of that GWR branch line terminus.
  • The final bonus is that as the engine shed layout will fit into one corner I'll still be able to keep Tredethy Wharf up and running along the back wall of the "Man Cave" until I extend it onto the Grogley Junction.

I'm starting to really like this idea. It feels like a "no brainer", though there are a few thoughts to be pondered during the next 6 - 12 months before the first timbers are cut for the baseboards.
  • Will the main line be single track or double track?
  • Position of the baseboard joints (Grogley Junction was being design as a permanent layout so until now I've not had to think about point work missing baseboard joints.)
  • The design of the engine shed building. Will it be a timber shed as Wadebridge's, or a small version of Salisbury's brick built, or a shed built of stone?
  • Would the LSWR have positioned the water tower over the engine shed?
  • What signals will be required? To check this I'll need to create a signalling diagram and seek advice fron knowledgeable people. The diagram will include all signal boxes on my proposed route from Wadebridge Junction through Grogley Junction and onto Ruthernbridge
  • Is the track plan for the engine shed OK? I feel I've covered all activities and the shed would work quite well but I may need to confirm this by doing little more research into the workings of a loco shed.
  • Should I continue with DC or take the plunge and go DCC? (DCC would come into its own with an the engine shed, no need for any isolation sections so all locos, irrespective of size, would be able to be stored buffer to buffer).
BUT...and it is a big but... before I even think about another project in P4 I still have to convince myself I am capable of constructing a working loco chassis. There would be no point in building Polbrock Engine Shed in P4 if I can't build a Beattie Well Tank or two in P4...

When home I must put these thoughts to one side and get on with Tredethy Wharf...