Pictures by Walter

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All Change ..Part 4 – Control is the thing.

The problem with making throw away statements is that they can come back and bite one.  My simple comment of “I can build that” did exactly that. As a child all I had to do was put up my train set – in a big circle and run it.  As a young man I planned and built a model railway, but did not get round to doing any of the scenic work .  However, I did have station, bridges, some houses and a painted road and and painted grass.  It did have electric points and signals but no extensive backscene, history or logical reason – it was a big boys toy train set.   In 2002 I had the basic layout set up with a continuous loop as well as two terminal stations.  I never got round to completing that one.  So here I am with an L shape layout.  Track laid and dead (isolated) sections in place.  All has been tested using temporary wiring for providing power to the isolating tracks and of course for stopping power.  20160722-IMG_0048

A total of 23 isolated tracks are installed in the layout, 6 of them have manual switches built in – the other 17 need to be wired to a control board of some sort.  A control board would sort out the confusion I encountered whilst testing the isolated sections.  Sid provided the skill and soon had a panel ready for me to wire up.  A straightforward task I thought… Hmmm.   I started off and soon realised his was not going to be an easy task.  I had opted for plug in connectors, one side is female the other male.  They were selected to allow the removal of the control panel to facilitate access to underneath the baseboard in event of problems. they were in set of 12 so I had 24 wires to connect, 12 each side.  17 connectors = 34 connections. I then had to wire the said 34 connections to the 17 on/off switches. Two days later I had the wiring completed and tested. Along the way I had to resolder some of the wiring as the solder joint failed.  Sort out miswiring – tracing the wire back to the track concerned. Friday night saw me barely controlling my temper and frustration, as for Saturday I was totally exhausted bain wise by the end of that day. However all was well, the tracks isolated and became live at the flick of a switch I could feel the frustration seep away after each successful test.  I now had a working control panel complete with a very rough drawing of the station and she layout lines drawn on the panel face wired into the layout.WP_20160730_001

Yes control is the thing, or one of the things needed to build a model railway.  Temper control, work control and frustration and stress control.  Building a layout is such fun………hmmm

My thanks go to Sid Morgan for the woodworking skills, to Susan Wales who took many of the pictures used in this blog for her diary and gave permission for their use in my blogs.  Next step is ballasting…Oh the joy, the joy.

 


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All Change … Part 3 “Ennitoun”

Having now got a test/potential layout the testing of tracks, connections and operation began.  During this stage I felt I was trapped on the Island of Sodor – Engines stalled on points, carriages toppled on bends and points.  In fact if it was a real railroad manager I would be imprisoned for being a danger to public safety.  Of the 22 locomotive models  6 of them are over 40 years old.  The oldest is an original Hornby Dublo “Coronation” pacific – unstreamlined “City of London”.  This engine is 50 years old that I know of.  20160621-SAM_8995

This engine has not graced the new layout as it is currently away for some much needed TLC.  Hopefully on completion of the TLC and makeover it will be returned in BR green and renumbered/renamed as 46242 “City of Glasgow”.  This work is being carried out by another good friend Paul James in Bury.  Six of the older engines have been consigned to display models as they have trouble with points due to the current Hornby and Peco set tracks being of a finer scale than the old system 4 Hornby track. The models’ wheel flanges are too deep for the modern scale tracks.   The other 16 have managed (eventually) the full layout with little if not none adjustment.

Testing of the track layout revealed that I needed to add dead (Isolated) sections.  Current price for Hornby Isolated rail is 8.10 UK Pounds, Peco ranges between 3 to 5 UK Pounds dependant on where you purchase them.  Cheapest way is to purchase Peco plastic fishplates and provide off/on switch to turn on /off the isolation.  Apart from the original 11  isolated tracks a further 18 were required.  As a young child I watched with wide eyes the various layouts at model railway exhibitions. The miniature landscape, towns and trains captured my imagination and attention.  However, I never really gave a thought to how all that was achieved and the skills one needed to bring a toy train set into a miniature railway. Now at the age of 65 I was about to enter that reality.I’ve failed at many things and in particular Technical work at Senior Secondary School. Hand me a tool and I was sure to do more damage to myself than to the wood, metal etc.  As for soldering, it was more like branding I have dim recollections of taking the soldering iron, filing it clean, heating it and then introduce it to flux and solder and watch the item melt.  Now I was about to handle a small cutting disc to cut a rail track, then make use of these new fangled electric soldering iron (a lot smaller than those I used at school) and solder wire to the side of a small rail. Needless to say, but I will, I got burned but one soon learns when driven by necessity.

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This was the stage were I should have been removed for the sake of safety to the public.  The joint may not be tidy or pretty but it worked, it held the wire to the rail and power flowed when turned on.  One done only another 18 pair to do.  Of course one has to run the wires to a convenient accessible spot so the iso track can be switched on when needed.  At this stage of construction I did temporary bridging to a) test the joints, b) Test that all stock ran and c) until I created a control box.

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Once again it was time to test every loco and carriages to ensure that they could get by the solder joints and that the isolating did work, track was isolated and power could be restored making it live again.  I did spend a few hours gently sanding down the bumpy solder to a smooth level for all to pass without falling off the track.  During this time my partner Susan had been busy creating backscene, devising a station road approach and producing platforms to meet the requirements of our station.  Like all stations it need a name our joint decision was:

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“Ennitoun” pronounced “Any Town” .  Oh yes I forgot, it was not all playing with tools, trains and wires.   Inbetween times we built from kit form, the Station from a “Superquick” kit.  A signal box, 20160722-IMG_0047

 

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and a locomotive shed.   It was not all playing with trains..sometimes it was playing with emmotions ranging from frustration, anger, tears and satisfaction when all worked.


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All Change .. Part 2

Busy day today, just completed the control board for the isolating sections of the layout.  However,  back to the tale in chronological order.  It was over a fortnight before we could create the baseboard (tables) for the miniature railway.  During  that time I expanded the original idea from a steam shed to a steam shed plus station.  In the end the revised layout was an L shape design.  The larger part of the L would be 12 feet, the smaller would be 8 feet, four feet of that would form a fiddle yard/traverser.  the baseboards would be 3 @ 4×2 feet , 1 @ 2×2 feet and the fiddle yard would be 1 @ 6×2 feet.

Construction of the baseboards began on Wednesday 6th July and completed on 8th July ..  Work done by my good friend Sid Morgan.DSC02698

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(Photographs courtesy of Susan WAles, used by kind permission).

Once the baseboards were completed, track laying according to the revised, revised layout plan commenced.  At this stage the track was not tacked to the baseboards.

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Whilst Susan got on with the backscene ..

IMG_0001All this work culminated in a working test bed.  All of the tracks, turnouts (points) were tested by all models to check for any problem areas.

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Testing would continue at each stage/change of design.

 


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All Change….

Life is full of changes, some good some not so good.  I’ve recently undergone a change within myself.   For some time I have felt a disatisfaction in my photography. I just did not get the same buzz when taking or editing pictures, this became clear in my recent pictures.  I felt I was on the same treadmill visiting the same places at the same time of year. In fact I often took the same shot from the same spot.  Yes it was a different picture, light was different, weather etc.  Apart from taking event shots for SCDA I’ve taken no personal pictures since the 8th June 2016 and that was of a wild flower. 20160608-_DSC4633-Edit

On the 12th June I took a picture at a Model Railway Exhibition at Summerlee Museum of Industry of a Steam Shed Layout in Hornby DoubleOn three rail and exclaimed that I could create something similar.  20160612-_DSC4850 This elicited a question from Susan (my partner) about how? I lightly said I have a model railway in storage and I’m sure I could build a similar layout using the stock and track I have.  Her retort of “Well why don’t you” set me to thinking. It did not help matters when our friend Sid said “Yes why don’t we”.  Please note the we – it is important.  On returning home I extracted my old train sets, tracks etc. from storage.  Yep all were there apart from one case – and I’m still looking for that case.  A lot had changed since I packed it away in 1970 and again in 2003.  however,  I had ample stock and track to make a layout that measured 12 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet – a U shaped layout in 2002.  I had previously attempted to restart the hobby in 2002 but life events interfered with that plan so I took up photography.  Seeing that simple layout re-activated the interest I had in model trains of the 1950-1960 era of BR. The computer age and Internet came to my rescue by allowing me to access free track planing software – I opted to use Simple Computer Aided Railway Modeller SCARM.  Using that simple utility I came up with the design of the layout shown on the above image.

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However, if you have a engine shed, you need a reason, so changes to the plan were made:

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Still not quite right, yes I now had a reason for the shed, a station – good.  Now what happens to the trains …

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Now the Shed made sense, the station made sense and trains would leave the station and disappear into a tunnel and away on its journey.  Now the discussion became serious.  I had a viable playout plan, the track and the stock.  I also had the room – but I did not have the know-how to build baseboards and that is where the very important “we” uttered by Sid came in.  He was a chippie, a worker of wood, joiner, housebuilder and soon he would be a baseboard builder – when we got the wood.  Continued in next blog.