Pictures by Walter

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Ennitoun – Update – 5th September 2020 – Future Plans

Future Plans

5th of  September 2020 – The Managing Director (That’s me folks) made the decision, at considerable pain (akin to migraine) that it was time to move on.  However, as he was the last Director he was told he was staying.  On hearing that news he promptly announced that no further building of tracks would be undertaken or commenced. A new programme of improvements was to be put in place.

  1. The conversion of the last 9 non-DCC ready and 16 DCC ready locomotives would be completed before Christmas 2020.
  2. A new project would commence in Spring 2021 with the remaining 16 DC locomotives providing the motive power.  Further details will be announced in January 2021.
  3. The offer from a ballasting expert to undertake the ballasting of the “Ennitoun” tracks has been grasped with a two hands – there is no getting away with it Frank.  We have dispensed with the last clown who really mucked up the ballasting – (that was me folks).
  4. Prior to the Ballasting,  work will commence in powering the many points/turnouts on the layout – expert advice is currently being sought or some-one to undertake the task out of pity or for a small libation..
  5. Sourcing of material for the building of bespoke station platforms has been undertaken.
  6. Questions were raised concerning the time period of the layout.  At present we can run LMS/LNER locomotives from 1923-1948 – BR from 948 – 1966.  Apart from  3 car DMU the remaining locomotives are steam outline, though consideration is being given to obtaining Diesels such as Type 37, 47 & 55. plus others up to 1971.

Motive Power (as at 5th September 2020

Not counting the Class 110 DMU there are 48 steam outline locomotives available to be run on Ennitoun’s tracks, breakdown as follows:

LMS:

  • 8 Duchess/Princess Coronations – which includes the oldest model in our collection Hornby R685 LMS 6220 “Coronation” Blue/Silver (Circa 984/85) recently converted to DCC with a motor upgrade  by Horns & Whistle Workshops  as may be seen on video below:
  • 2 Princess Royals
  • 1 Black Five

LNER:

  • 2 A4 Mallard, Golden Shuttle
  • 1 B17 Manchester United
  • 1 A1 Flying Scotsman

BR:

  • 10 Duchess/Princess Coronations
  • 4 Princess Royals
  • 2 Britannia
  • 3 Jubilee
  • 1 Patriot (Baby Scot)
  • 1 Royal Scot
  • 1 BR Standard 8
  • 1 A1
  • 1 A3
  • 2 Black Five
  • 1 Ivatt 4
  • 1 J36
  • 1 J38
  • 1 Jinty
  • 1 K3
  • 2 Stanier Moguls

Things still to be done – build station platforms to meet new width and track lengths, ballast track beds, enhance scenery

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Ennitoun – Update – 8th August 2020 – Ennitoun Reborn

Ennitoun  Reborn

8th August 2020 – After 3 weeks of dithering, snags and problem solving except for one problem I can honestly state that Ennitoun’s tracks have been screwed to the baseboards and the layout finalised sans the “Bridge the Gap” track.  I’ve decided to accept the fact that in its current configuration it is not viable to have a continuous track/loop.  However all was not lost as we did accomplish several things and sorted out several problems:

Baseboards were levelled, joins were smoothed so track was not bouncing  or jig-sawing.  Hornby points were replaced by Peco points, there is a slight difference in them but one that proved beneficial to running DCC engines with the smaller wheelbase  i.e. 0-6-0 and some 4-6-0.  As well as the station have a more simplified approach, which by the way allowed the addition of two platforms.  This in turn has given more operational options.  The curves have been sorted as has the fiddle yard.  The fiddle yard now hold 6 trains which is ideal with the station having 6 platforms.  No major changes to the shed layout – tracks have been fixed to the board there as well.  At present the layout has been set up with BR liveried locomotives (all steam outline).  I can set up running sessions under LMS, LNER, and for one engine North British – or SRPS (Scottish Railway Preservation Society).  Not all engines have sound chips, but all are DCC (Digital Command Control).  On one of the FB groups I joined the following questions was raised – “DCC sound, it’s nice and all but is it just a tad unnecessary? Do manufacturers take advantage of this by adding it to locos to bump up prices?  I get the impression that to some people Sound is not for them.  I went to DCC as I wanted the sound of steam – it added to my enjoyment.  However, I will admit that have  or more engines sitting in the station and all with sound on can be annoying.  I know I do not like it when I am a model railway exhibition – were some sound is extreme.  The good thing is sound can be turned off.   The track is actually screwed to boards, I opted to use track screws instead of pins it is easier to get screws out without damaging the track.

Since I undertook the DCC route I have learnt the following:

  1. DCC can be expensive whilst you can run a DCC fitted engine on a DC (analogue) system you can’t do the same with a non-DCC loco on DCC track..
  2. Use Peco points in preference to Hornby – it is all to do with the isolation gap on the frogs of the points.
  3. Decoders can do the task – but some engines need a little boost – like having a stay-alive capacitor fitted.  Most those of the smaller wheel case configuration, or older models which have coarser wheel flanges.  Modern track is set to to the finer scaled wheels of modern models. Older models having larger wheel width and larger rims can short out as they cross the frog – this short cut power.  A stay-alive capacitor retains enough charge so the model carries on and the system does not record a short.
  4. Avoid a large group of points/turnouts.  Keep it simple.

I have shot a small video showing the new layout, it is approximately 8 minutes long – You will notice I refer to the City of Sheffield as the City of Liverpool (which was on the station track – platform 1).  There are no train movements just a look around the revised layout.  I will get some movement shots when I get a bit more competent in videoing and operating the train.

Things still to be done – build station platforms to meet new width and track lengths.

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Ennitoun – Update – 31st July 2020 – Ennitoun Testing of Finalised Layout

Ennitoun  Mark 2 – Testing of Final Revision

 

31st July 2020  A landmark decision was made – to pin the station & engine shed tracks and secure to boards.. However a minor change had to be made to allow the Factory on board 3 to have its private sidings restored.  On this occasion I decided not use the traditional method of pinning the tracks, especially after the hassle and track damaged on attempting to remove the pins.  I opted to use track screws 8 mm in depth and was very pleasantly surprised at the ease and time it took to cover the shed head shunt and platforms 1 to 5 and main lines up to start of board 3.  Platform 6’s track is awaiting final fixing as the track may be lifted when the “Bridging the Gap” board is put in place.

Prior to the track fixing a lost of testing was covered this week.  80% of the engines were giving a trial and any teaks needed to ensure smooth running were made.  In response to a comment made with respect to when can you see a video?  My answer is now.  I shot a short video for you. A lengthy one regarding time shooting and editing for me 🙂

Please forgive some shakiness and some bad editing/splicing (need when I dropped the video camera.  I really missed Susan more than usual as she was the video expert though I did help with editing.  So without further ado I present The Video of a small running session used to test power, track alignment etc.

 

 


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Ennitoun – Update – 28th July 2020 – Ennitoun Operational

Ennitoun  Mark 2 – Finalised

28th July 2020 10 days ago the  hard decision to demolish the old layout to allow for the station/shed baseboards (1& 2) to be refurbished, levelled and old wiring removed.   Over the past year the operation of the layout was compromised by board deterioration.  I knew at the time I would not be going back to a complex station layout.  As the conversion to DCC progressed too many points in one area caused problems with the smaller wheel based locos, i.e. those of 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 configuration.  The initial mock up shown left was just that – it proved just as problematic as the original configuration.

Whilst the image taken on the 21st July shows some simplification to the track it was not sufficient. Testing was undertaken with small tank engine, Flying Scotsman, City of Glasgow and City of Manchester proved that the smallest & largest locos could get round the system with no problem and that power was getting to all the routes.   Unfortunately the design still had problems which needed resolving.  A lot track required replacing as did the fish-plates (theses joined tracks together)

All the isolating tracks (those with the switches at the side of them) had to be replaced with normal track.  Isolation tracks are not needed on DCC system.  They are needed on DC (anolog) systems to isolate engines on same track.  With DCC all tracks are live the DCC chip acts on the command from the controlling pad (CAB)

Current state of play images as at 23:11 28th July 2020.

Ennitoun station now has 6 platforms much simplified point/turnout system.  All platforms can be reached from the goods yards and fiddle yard.  Extensive testing over the past 4 days has lead to further refinement to the layout.  With the track now finalised Ennitoun is back in operation and I have had a good 4 hours running session on it tonight and am pleased to say no problems (apart from the operator that is).

Next challenge starting on Thursday will be the actual “bridging the gap” .  Where a loop will be taken from the fiddle yard to the station to provide a tail chaser and allow a train to  run and not interfere in other engine movements.   Extra track, points etc will be collected on Wednesday 29th July along with new locomotives.

This week saw  2 locomotives joining the DCC system, A1 60163 Tornado and  6244 King George VI

 


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Ennitoun – Update – 21st/22nd July 2020 – Ennitoun Station Redesigned

Ennitoun  Station Track Layout Redesigned

21st July 2020 Today’s update answers the question posed on July 19th Update – it was the end of that design of Ennitoun Station.  It had become very noticeable to the owner  that the station layout was no longer fit for purpose.   The closing image was of a potential layout giving 6 platforms instead of 4 and leaving the Engine shed road and a carriage siding between platform 4 & 5.  The previous design had several turnouts/points clustered in centre approach to the station and engine shed line.  The redesign was in line with the plan to “Bridge the Gap” and have at least one continuous circle line – hopefully 2.   A lot of time  has been given to the implementation of this expansion.  Use of computer design software “AnyRails” made the task simpler yet at  the same time a bit awkward as not all went as per the drawings.

Following images shows the extent of the work carried out yesterday (21st July)

The station track work was simplified, and the shed was kept the same.  A test with small tank engine, Flaying Scotsman, City of Glasgow and City of Manchester proved that the smallest & largest locos could get round the system with no problem and that power was getting to all the routes.    Having spent 14 hours  on boards 1 & 2 I called it a day and took a break.

22nd July 2020 – Started on the Station approach and Board 3 – Factory 1  and small siding and progressed to boards 4 & 5 – Fiddle yard and goods depot.  Board 6  The scenic Factory and Housing estate would be converted to track on last stage and the “Bridge the Gap” boards would be in place be end of week (if all goes to plan (hmmmm)).  Well that plan of action went out the window in first 30 minutes.. I realised that I had used the isolating track on the shed layout instead of replacing them with normal track.   On re-assessing the expansion link the station layout needed alteration to remove a diamond crossing which would not be used in the  new layout.   Board 3 main track and sidings would have no change apart from replacing the isolating tracks.  What a palaver that was! Factory and Goods  station had to be removed in total as the track needed replaced (from Hornby to Peco).  Then I had brain failure – total mind wipe.  I realised that the plan I had created in the design software for the good factory/yard was wrong..  Time for a late lunch and relax before I tossed the teddy out with the bed.

Coffee/Lunch was just what I needed – I found that I had 1 picture of the Factory Goods Yard as well as a quick capture in a video -[ Brain recalled what I had done to modify it from original plan.  The last two boards 5 & 6 were reconnected to system, no changes to track – just clearing the factory off of board 6 ready to lay track and then call for the builder to connect board 7 to bridge the gap and (hopefully) have a least with continuous line (tail chaser). A small change was made to station layout  as the middle track originally planned between platforms 2 & 3 was scrapped on removal of the diamond crossing.  This allowed an additional track to the station which became platform 6.  Alas no room for platform 9 3/4 on this layout.

Current state of play images as at 23:11 22nd July 2020.

 

 


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Ennitoun – Update – 19th July 2020 – Ennitoun Totally Demolished – Tracks Lifted

Ennitoun  Factories and tracks all gone

Today’s news not good at all.  At 10 a.m. on 19th July 2020 the demolition of Ennitoun was carried over to the goods yard and factory sites, All track was removed and back-scenes taken down.   What is going on with this lot.  It was utter mayhem.  How is one to run a service when there is no station or tracks!  To add insult to injury Sid  Morgan arrived and the baseboards were taken down…  Is this the end of Ennitoun?

Photographic evidence points to this being the end as can be seen from these images taken today:

Hope is eternal they say – so perhaps this last image of the day may give hope as the station was replaced but with a different track layout.


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Ennitoun – Update – 18th July 2020 – Ennitoun Demolished – Shock

Ennitoun  Station & Engine Shed Demolished

Stunned staff bewildered! Owner and Operator unilaterally close down the station and locomotives were put in storage.   It was only 5 days ago a new steam locomotive joined the growing list of locomotives operated by the Ennitoun Owner.  What has gone wrong?  Has he thrown a hissy fit?  Got downhearted with the railway, fallen out with the hobby?

Ennitoun was started by Susan Wales and Walter Hampson with the assistance of Sid Morgan in June 2016 and took shape over the years.  Much work was undertaken by Susan Wales Hampson before her untimely death in September 2019.  This was how it looked on the 13th July 2016

It had undergone considerable change as this image from 1st February 2019 shows:

This image taken at 21:35 BST on 18th July 2020  shows the Current state of the former station/shed site.

Considerable expenditure and investment was made, Conversion to DCC with older non DCC (DC) engines being chipped, some with sound etc.  New Rolling stock purchased as well as locomotives.  The conversion was proving simpler that once thought suddenly all was stopped as Sid arrived and a hurried consultation resulted on all rolling stock and locomotives being removed and placed into long term storage.  When asked for a comment the Owner said simply “You’ll have to wait and see.   What is going on… we need to know!.