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...