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Ennitoun – Update 19th April 2020

Ennitoun has been hit by savage cutbacks and withdrawal of all Locomotives and coaching stock.  These cuts are more severe than those of  Dr Beeching’s savage cuts in the 1960 of  British Railways.  At least his cuts left some lines and motive power.   A decision had been made to upgrade to Digital Command Control (DCC ).  To allow the smooth transfer from DC (Direct Control) to DCC (Digital Command Control) the wiring of the layout tracks had to be altered.  In DC mode 1 Locomotive.Train can be controlled at one time by one controller. This means that in a dual track system two or more controllers are needed and care mast be taken to prevent short circuits. DCC has one controller/cab and all parts of the layout and all lines are live.  Control of each loco is by means of  DCC chip fitted to each locomotive, this chip is a programmable device and will only allow power to the motor when it gets the correct coded signal from the CAB/Controller.  Once a system has been converted to DCC operation DC powered locos can no longer be run on the layout.

Once the decision was made to upgrade to DCC suitable motive power was sourced (i.e. those fitted with decoders or DCC ready).  Some of the older locos were assessed to see if they could have decoders fitted and be upgraded.   Stock survey on 9th April 2020 revealed that out of 70 locomotives:

  • DCC Fitted 9 – able to be run on new system
  • DCC Ready 19 – awaiting fitting of DCC Chip
  • Non-DCC – 33 with possibility of 14 being converted to DCC by fitting chip
  • Possible DCC stock = 42 out of 61 as at 9th April 2020.

The older Triang/Airfix/Palititoy/Bachmann models will be withdrawn and placed in display cabinets.  Perhaps at some future date they may be converted.  Reaming 33 non DCC stock will be upgraded by the fitting of a chip within the next few months (once the present restrictions on movement are rescinded).

With 9 locos ready to run under DCC and the decision to go ahead all rrolling stock was removed to allow the necessary rewiring to be undertaken.   The DCC controller/CAB selected was NCE Power CAB starter set.   To ensure that power went to all parts of the layout the self-isolating points/turnouts had to be made non-isolating.  This was achieved by the use of Hornby DCC point clips .  Once all 42 turnouts were fitted with the clips it was time to test the track using one DC locomotive.  Placing it on a site that would normally be isolated from the controller a test power application was made – For the first time in my life I was pleased to see that the isolation of the shed was breached the engine was tested all over the track to ensure even if all points were set against it power was still getting to the loco.

With that simple test it was time to set up the DCC controller and test a DCC fitted loco. Looking at the diagram image to the left it is a simple procedure to link the two wire (the only wires you need) to the controller.  Ah there is always an Ah at this stage

in the proceedings.  When it came to fit the plug from part 6 to the socket part 5 it was found that diameter of the plug was larger that the circumference of the socket. Swearie  word time, rant at manufactures that cannot do a basic parts check etc etc. Regardless of language, rant the point was at this stage the project ground to a halt.  The PW Team leader advised the Fat Controller that they were screwed and the job was at a stop until the correct PSU with the correct diameter plug was obtained.  The loss of revenue was the Fat Controller’s fault for ordering incompatible gear.

With luck and Royal Mail being its’ usual service the replacement part will be here on Monday 20th April 2020 and the final test be completed.

Oh the joys of lock-down, model railway and mail order (with priorities being enforced) have added two weeks to a three day project.


Link to Ennitoun Motive Power Album

Click on image below


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Ennitoun – Update 5th April 2020

It is still an all change situation at Ennitoun.  When Susan and I started the layout in 2016 it we used the surviving coaches, engines etc from my layout in 1971. The majority of the stock was Tri-ang Hornby with some earlier Tri-ang locos (original black Princess Elizabeth and Princess Victoria), along with LNER & BR version of A1 Flying Scotsman and a type 37 Diesel locomotive .  A M7, Dockyard Shunter, and an old “Hornby Double 0 City of London  converted to two rail), Tri-ang Hornby B12 and Britannia.  It became apparent that the older Tri-ang and some of the Hornby-Tri-ang stock would not run on the newer finer scale rails – the points in particular caused them problems due to the wheels on these loco being a lot broader than modern.  Mind you that was no surprise as the earlier locos were really toys and not fine scale models so the wheels were broader to let little hands get the engines on the rails easily. Considering that in 2016 many of these locos were 45 years and in the case of the City of London 50 years old.  I was amazed that all ran straight from the storage boxes to track.  In addition to the original stock I had 3 locos purchased in  2002 3 Black Fives which changed Honby from a tour train to a precise model railway.  The detail was superb and the wheels were to scale.  3 version were released by Hornby LSM, Early BR Crest and Late BR Crest.  The latter was weathered to reflect the closing age of steam power on the railway.

The oldest loco was the converted Hornby Double 0 three rail loco.  This was heavy die cast metal body a frames it had no problem on the finer track.  I’m a Glesga keelie and an engine named City of London was not my favourite name.  The model did represent a class of express steam locomotives I admired.  I call them Coronations after the original streamlined loco 6220 Coronation. Now days the go by Coronation, Duchess Coronation and Princess Coronation – to me they will always be Coronations.  I had one particular favourite in that class BR Number 46242 “City of Glasgow”.  A good friend of Susan and myself , Paul James, undertook a repaint and renaming task and the “City of London” in BR Red became “City of Glasgow” BR Green later totem:

Ennitoun locomotive stock now numbers 65, 20 of them will be retired or sold on if they cannot meet new modifications as Ennitoun is going DCC (Digital Command Control) Adding this add so much more to the atmosphere of running a model rail layout.  As well as being able to control more that one train/loco at a time with one hand controller sound can be added to the locomotives when fitted with DCC decoder chip+sound.   To enable this change over the layout underwent a big P-way task.  The engineers were out in force replacing 37 Hornby points/turnouts and two diamond crossing to Peco points/crossings.  This solved one problem of older engines stalling at the points / crossings. After that task was completed all locos were tested on all routes – two of the older (Tri-ang) locos still failed… they have now been selected for the Ennitoun Railway Museum and will shortly be encased in their own highly desirable display case.

Of the 65 locos – 14 will not be used on DCC layout (they will undergo a conversion programme – currently held in abeyance due to current movement restrictions.  7 are undergoing Conversion and held in workshop again due to current movement restrictions. 8 are fully fitted with decoders some with sound they can be run on old system at present but without the sound <sigh>.  17 are DCC ready – i.e. they have the connections in place and they just need chips fitted. This will be done as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

However, before any DCC can be run the layout has to undergo another track replacement programme.  Under current operation if more that one loco shares a line it has to be isolated from the controller and that means isolation track has to be fitted.   In total there are 36 isolating tracks (approx 6″), this mean that all the 6 inch/12 inch track between the isolated track can be replaced with 36 inch continuous track, all points have to be made continuous power – thankfully that is a minor job using point clips which elevate the self isolating points problem (too expensive to replace all 60 points)

Timescale – task has started supplies of clips, DCC fitted locos available, DCC controller needs to be ordered so it is planned to have all completed by End of this month (April) failing that middle of May 2020.

Regarding the Hornby Double 0 City of Glasgow it is earmarked for a special display cabinet – however a special order has been placed for a new modern version.  One that has sound, DCC, smoke, crew, flickering fire box and operating oil lamps and in BR Green to take pride of place on revised Ennitoun layout.  Meantime there is still a City of Glasgow loco – only it is in LMS Wartime Black numbered 6242:

Just for my friends in Auld Reekie to keep them happy I  have 6241 City of Edinburgh as well:

Link to Ennitoun Motive Power Album

Click on image below