A matter of Liberty

A Matter of Liberty

Luckily for you this isn’t going the be a post about Liberty or any of that political nonsense. No, this one is about my Liberty Belle loco for the Eternity Diamond Mines RR.

The loco is a Liberty Belle 2 which was a special edition available through Brandbright but made for them by Roundhouse Engineering. A bit sobering is the realisation that as it was bought for my 40th Birthday its now 20 years old. Due to the lack of a garden railway it is genuinely a low mileage engine.

As delivered, it was fitted with RCS radio control which was horrible to use. It may have been fine on a flat line, but it just didn’t react quick enough for a line with frequent changes in gradient.  As a result, its first re-equipping was to fit it with standard (then) 40MHz radio. This was done for me and at the same time it was fitted with a whistle.  It was then only steamed a couple of times before the old line was dismantled.

It probably sat just on a display shelf then for about 15 years. Last year we upgraded it to 2.4 GHz digital radio by swapping the receiver. It then steamed twice, once at home and on my incomplete line and a second time on a visit to the Slap & Tickle Railway where it failed in traffic. Investigation revealed that it had melted the servo horn on the whistle servo with it in the open position.

Plan A was to replace the servo arm on the whistle. Getting the cab off this one isn’t straightforward due to a lot of the cosmetic additions. Once it was off it was obvious why it had failed. It was far too close to both the burner and the superheater pipe from the lubricator.

Plan B was to re-site the servo for the whistle but the loco fought this all the way. Some of that was the loco and some of it was down to the fact that none of the tools in the model room for the electric trains were big enough and everything in my main workshop was too big. In the end, partly because I was getting nowhere and partly because I was not convinced by the whistle anyway, I hit on Plan C which was ditch the whistle.

Plan C came with a twist. During all this messing about the old and massive throttle servo gave up the ghost. Plan C became: –

  1. Remove the whistle
  2. Blank of its steam take off
  3. Replace the direction servo. There was nothing wrong with this on but at 20 years old it seemed sensible whilst the loco was apart.
  4. Replace the throttle servo which involved a new servo bracket as the new servo is a different format.
  5. Set up and test
  6. Reassemble

I have got as far as (5) and am writing this whilst waiting for it to cool down. Here is video to prove it works on the bench. Hopefully, tomorrow there will be video of it pulling trains.



It’s a stick up

Have you ever wanted to stick something temporarily and had a bad time with double sided tape?

Double sided tape tends to be a faff to use when it comes to pealing the backing off and it’s a real pain in the nether regions when you want it to come apart. You usually end up scraping away at the surface trying to get the adhesive off.

Here is a tip I learnt recently watching You Tube videos. Not ones of railway stuff, building guitars actually, but I enjoy watching craftsmanship happening and, as this proves, you can learn something useful.

Things you will need are: –

  • Masking Tape. Ordinary white, painters blue or, as in this case, Tamiya model tape does well.
  • Superglue: Nothing fancy, the ordinary cooking varieties work fine.
  • Superglue accelerator/activator spray. Mine is RS brand but its not important other than it being a spray.

Now, I happened to have all of those, so I know what they do but for the uninitiated some explanation is probably worthwhile. The experience modeller can have a snooze for a few moments. The tape is any low tack tape that is meant to be removed, typically referred to as masking tape. Superglue, officially cyanoacrylate glue, comes in many varieties with different claims to the different things it sticks and its sticking time. The bog standard cheap stuff works for this trick. I used a posh one as it was what was on the desk and its properties are such that the sprays effect is reduced. Accelerator/Activator is a spray that speeds the setting of the superglue when it comes into contact with the glue.

So, the trick…

Wanting to put the buffer beam on this chassis temporarily but be able to remove it later this is the plan.

  • Apply tape to both parts and make sure you press it down well. Also make sure there are no wrinkles in it.
  • Apply superglue sparingly to one part. I did the black chassis.
  • Apply activator to the other part

  • Press the two together. This one has a hole to line up so I stuck a screw in it to align them.
  • Hold together just for a moment

That’s it. The two parts are aligned and stuck together and as its over a reasonably large surface area they’ll stay put. When you need them apart you pull and the tape peels off one part or the other and you can then peal it off the other part just like easy peel tape.


In this example I did the same to add the cosmetic 3D printed buffer beam to my large scale diesel chassis.

More on the diesel later

Thanks to Ben at Crimson Guitars for this tip



New Sales Arrangements

Having undergone surgery (I wasn’t expecting) and from which I am still slowly recovering EDM Models has been closed. Covid-19 hasn’t been the cause of this but it has made recovery and treatment more complex.

It’s been made clear to me that I am not returning to work or reopening EDM Models until I am well enough and that when I do it will be a soft reopening. At that stage Covid-19 will have an impact on how we work. I need to maintain separation as the surgery puts me in the at risk group.

Here’s the plan….

UK Shipments

  • Sales will be web only. That is orders placed via the website only. Phone orders, e-mailed orders will not be taken. Phone calls will still get the “we’re closed” message.
  • Sales will be stock items only. With many suppliers closed restocking is not possible at present.
  • Shipping will by courier only and once or twice per week. I have a no contact collection/drop off arrangement that maintains separation. Queuing in a grocery store pretending to be a post office doesn’t comply with the separation.

International Shipments

  • Europe & International shipments will be sent by a courier that will collect
  • The website will estimate [guess] the shipping erring significantly in my favour
  • I will refund the difference once I know the actual shipping cost

Out of the UK shipments are more awkward to do with any sort of fixed rate or even a consistent guess. Every shipper needs to know not only the weight of the shipment but its size (volume) and without a massive effort on measuring every item that we sell plus coming up with some fiddle factor for how it fits in a box there is no other way. I have a lot of sympathy for the Amazon packer who just chucks your tiny order in a huge box and stuffs it with paper fill. Then again Amazon is big enough to tell the shippers how much they will pay for shipping unlike us small fry.


There is currently one exception that will be dealt with differently. The 2020 0n30 Annual isn’t expected to arrive until mid to late May but when they do they’ll be shipped out in bulk thanks to some help. They are later than expected but the publisher is having the same lock down and staffing issues as we have in the UK then international shipping at the moment is slow.  I have arranged that these can ship in bulk with the Post Office thanks to the help of a friend who isn’t restricted.

Need to get one ordered?   When the website opens on the 18th and through to when the bulk supply arrives orders for the annual with only the annual in the order will get the £3.50 shipping rate. Once that bulk post has gone they’ll be in the standard courier shipping

Initially at least I won’t be accepting telephone or e-mailed orders – these methods will still get the closed message

It is impossible to predict my recovery and how the country will proceed with Covid19 so I will be keeping the situation under constant review.  I have already had a number of e-mails telling me how to run my business so I’ll deal with a couple of these here: –

  • No, I won’t switch to Herpes because they’re cheaper. I won’t use a company that can lose two orders to the same address equating to about £800 and take no responsibility for it. Their service round here is crap anyway with some bloke in a barely legal knackered minibus turning up to collect stuff and who thinks leaving stuff on the garden wall is safely delivered.
  • Thanks for all the advice how I could dress up like a spaceman so I could go to the post office. Not going to happen. We used to have an independent post office in which social distancing would have been possible. The post office forced the owners out in their well publicised accounting scandal. They replaced the post office, after a foregone conclusion survey, with a counter in an understaffed 7-11 grocery store. Often the queues for the Post Office and Groceries are intertwined and half the length of the shop as the one member of staff tries to run both counters.

Please bear in mind that my health issue doesn’t change how likely I am to catch it unless I restrict where I go to avoid catching it but it does seriously affect my chances of recovery from it. Much as I love some of my customers you’re not worth killing myself for.

Health – A Close Shave

As you may gathered, I have been ill which culminated in surprise surgery. Recovery is proving to be more protracted than I had hoped. When I first escaped hospital, recovery appeared swift but that was short lived with some complications setting in made all the more difficult to deal with by the Covid-19 situation to deal with it.

As I was leaving hospital “on the up” I promised myself that I would write the saga up but as things turned out I really couldn’t be bothered until now.

First thing we need to deal with is EDM Models, www.ngtrains.com , current closure and eventual reopening. The closure will remain in place for the foreseeable future. All my advisers plus Annie are telling me not to rush recovery and to only return when properly mended.

There will be more details here soon……New Sales Arrangements……for once we do re-open


The Great Guts Saga.

Back what seems like ages ago but was just four weeks ago a meal kicked of something in my guts that had me doubled up in pain. That lasted two days and pretty much meant I couldn’t do a thing. It eventually passed through on Sunday night and was put down to “something I ate”

Monday, whilst knackered, allowed some work to be completed as I thought crisis had passed. That all ended at teatime when my simple tea went off like a napalm bomb in my guts that again had me doubled over. This time 111 (NHS Help) was consulted and a DR phoned back with advice using over the counter drugs. Again, nature took its course and ended explosively.

Wednesday evening, suddenly, it felt like I had been stabbed in the side. This went on into the night, resulted in another call to 111, a consultation by phone and orders to attend the out of hours GP at York District Hospital soonest!

Two things you need to know at this point because of the Covid 19 situation: –

  1. No admissions to hospital. Basically, you have got to have a bloody good excuse to get in.
  2. Absolutely no unnecessary surgery. Infection risk is too great.

So, early on Thursday morning I was admitted (breaking rule 1) onto the surgical assessment unit for tests. After sitting about for an hour a junior doctor turned up to take bloods. She wasn’t very good at it and I ended up looking like a second hand dart board.

About an hour later the consultant and her entourage swept in. You probably need to be “of an age” to see the funny side but if you’ve seen the Doctor in the House films and seen consultant Sir Lancelot Spratt sweep in to the ward followed by his entourage of house, junior and trainee doctors you can’t help but giggle. The only difference is that to modernise the view is that there is a junior scooting along with a pedestal desk with a laptop on it for notes.

The first consultant team, the ladies darts team, then set about me with an interesting technique that seemed to consist of thumping different parts of my abdomen to see which bit made me squeal loudest. Following a left uppercut under my ribs that doubled me over she announced, “ah, gall bladder!”

The rest of Thursday was spent with more blood rests, CT and MRI scans whilst plumbed into drips of saline and antibiotics. The plan was still drug therapy, but it still wasn’t making much impression.

Normally you have to queue for CT & MRI scans so one after the other is unusual. For the CT scan you need to drink a litre of “contrast liquid”. They were quite proud that their latest version was ‘palatable’ as it used to be so disgusting it had to be laced with strong aniseed to make it drinkable. It’s still horrible.

Just an hour later it’s MRI time and another ‘contrast drink’. This lot are chuffed and bragging that is natural and that its  pineapple juice not like the nasty stuff the CT people give you. Now, I don’t mind a bit of pineapple juice but a litre of the stuff. Yuk! Anyway, I got it down me, they did the scan, got me back on the bed and then tried to sit me up when I don’t bend in the middle. Turns out projectile vomit of pineapple juice goes a long way. The MRI tech got about half a litre.

Back on the ward the consultant didn’t think I was sitting up fast enough, so got hold of me and pulled. She got the other half litre!

After a rough night, Friday morning up to 10:30, they were still talking more tests and drug therapy when a new face turned up. This face turned out to be the chief gut surgeon for North Yorkshire NHS. He explained that:-

  1. they didn’t think that drug therapy was going to work and
  2. he reckoned that as the Covid19 peak for York was still some way off there was an opportunity for surgery to remove my gall bladder and get me out of hospital before the shit hit the fan.
  3. his final point made me laugh, ” it can’t bother you if its in the bin!”

He had to go higher to get the Operation ok’d.

There followed ‘nil by mouth’, explanations of how they intended to do the op keyhole but they then have to explain how it may have to go large and all the possible complications. Next you get the anaesthetist along to tell you how that can all go wrong but usually doesn’t. Then it’s “we’re using the emergency theatre” so if something more urgent comes in you’ll have to wait. Planned op for 16:00.

At 16:10 not the porters but the surgeon and anaesthetist turn up to drag my bed down to theatre. It’d have been better if they’d gone the right way. I asked why no porters and the response was they wanted to crack on and it was quicker to fetch me themselves. 8pm I’m waking up minus gall bladder and being told by the surgeon that drug therapy would never have worked and I was better off without my gall bladder. They had done it keyhole so I had five smaller holes in me instead of a bloody great big one. Two of the holes still had pipes coming out of them to drain bags.

It was explained to me how I didn’t really need a gall bladder and just how many people had theirs removed. Something that has been backed up by the number of people wishing me well whilst letting on they were without.

Come Sunday lunchtime they’re ready to chuck me out.

I think I amused the sister as I said I couldn’t go before 12:10. Now, York District Hospital backs on to the York to Scarborough railway line and told her I had to wait until the 12:05 to Scarborough had passed. Not sure she believed me so Sister came and stood with me as the train went past playing a fanfare on its horns with its driver waving. I had to explain that the driver was Rimmer, a fellow Festiniog driver.

Up to this point the care had been exemplary under difficult circumstances but being sent home early, for fully understandable reasons, was the beginning of it all going a bit off the rails. I am going to skirt over most of this but its included: –

  • Infections
  • Fever
  • Nose bleeds
  • Headaches
  • Coughs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wild and massive errors in getting my bloods right

The bloods thing is because I am normally on warfarin to thin my blood but they countered that so they could do the operation. I was then kicked out with injections to do to myself to correct it again whilst the slower acting, but supposedly more stable, tablet based dosing. Testing was now being done by the nurses at the GP’s surgery and each time we went there was different protocol in place each time. It started with them in mask, then me in a mask, both in a mask. Its now a drive up, stick your hand out the window, get stabbed for blood on to the machine them ask the computer/pharmacist what’s next. My INR should be 2.0 to 2.3 but they managed to get it to 6.4 at one point.

The current none contact medical arrangements and the fear of Corvid19 made matters worse.  As a result of the anaesthetic I left hospital with a persistent cough. Then my surgery had an infection issue causing high temp and fevers.  I expect you can see where high temp and persistent cough are going even though neither was Corvid related but the no contact, no testing regime just means a) you’re on your own and b) you have to behave as if it is.

Pottering 1: I found my airbrush holder was broken so I made a new one

Only now as a type this in late April am I feeling sort of human again and feeling well enough to want to do things. Even then its proving to be a case of the mind being keener than the body. I am doing a bit more each day but it only amounts to pottering about at things that take my fancy. Even then things that would have taken an hour are taking a lot longer with enforced breaks.  The good news wanting to get back to them as soon as I can.

What is clear finishing writing this on the 27th April with EDM Models and www.ngtrains.com closed is that it will be a couple of weeks yet before I consider reopening in any way, shape or form. Opening before I am well enough would be stupid and just make recovery longer.

What I can do and when I am allowed to do will be controlled by Annie as I wouldn’t trust myself to be the one that decides.  Opening will be announced in a newsletter and, as always, check the website for details.


Westside 12 at the Colorado Railroad Museum

The Brymston RR – Episode 7 – Loco Trouble

In a literary break from the actual layout we’re on to a loco issue.

The next stage in the layout planning process is to sort out the lower level tracks, access to and the size of the engine shed.

Someone wisely suggested mocking up the buildings. This I intend to do but to do so their first has to be some thought about what is the largest thing to go in the shed. This diorama is the home for my geared loco collection so whilst the Uintah Mallet and a K class have appeared in images they aren’t going to live on this bit. What is needed for the planning process is my largest Shay. This is a model of Westside Lumber #12

There is just one problem. It’s in a lot of smaller parts and needs putting back together and its a bit more complicated than just putting it back together as it has never run in this format.

A little aside to explain my soft spot for #12. When I first went to the USA with two friends our host in Colorado, Ed Gerlitz, was a good friend of Lyndsay Ashby, the operator of the Georgetown Loop RR. We all met up in the old depot which is the opposite side of town to the new depot where the trains ran from. We were having coffee and passing the time when Lyndsay decided we could just make it to the depot in time for the train. A mad dash across town followed, into the employees parking, over a fence and up the steps onto the loco without a real look at the loco. As soon as I was on, it tooted and set of. Only then did it dawn on me that my first proper view of a shay was from inside the cab. Guess which one it was.

When new the Sunset Models Shays had a 1/4″ wide toothed drive belt from the motor to a pulley on the crankshaft. Over time these perished and lost their teeth. You could get spare belts but it took a lot of dismantling the loco to fit them. A well known modeller in the USA, Lee Snover, developed a re-motor and chain drive solution. Sadly, Lee is no longer with us since 2018 but way back on 2009 just the boiler section of my loco took a trip back to the USA for Lee to work his magic on it.

You can see in this image the gear head motor on a bracket and the delrin chain drive into the crank shaft.

The reason its still in bits ten years later is that it keeps going in the too difficult pile. No, that should be the too involved/complex pile. What I plan to do is not too difficult but it keeps getting deferred as taking more time than I can spare just now.

I plan to detail it some more, upgrade the rather poor pickups, add DCC, Sound and a Keep Alive, LED lighting  and then, of course, a full paint job and weathering.

The decision I need to make now is do I…..

  1. Put it back together enough to do the clearance trials with the aim of doing it properly later
  2. Get on and do the mods and installation even if it diverts my personal modelling time away fr0m the layout
  3. Put it back in the procrastination box

Answers on a post card to…….


A 3D Printer Comes in Handy

I’ve had a fancy 3D printer for the business for over a year now but for the model business the emphasis is always the finest resolution and the smoothest finish.

Those that follow this blog will know I spent the weekend working on The Brymston RR layout but a snippet that only made it to Facebook reporting that my repaired Bandsaw was working fine mentioned that the dust vac extractor pipe had fallen out of place so everything was covered in dust.

As I am not using power tools on a daily basis in the workshop, I only have a portable vacuum that I connect to tools as needed. Prior to its repair the bandsaw hadn’t seen much use – or at least I hadn’t noticed its dust being a problem.

The problem is that the connector on the hose and the socket on the bandsaw are different diameters. In the past bodged working had been facilitated by either a stick wedging it in or the universal fix all – some tape.

There are commercial connector kits available but none of them seem to include an elbow which is what this really needs to make the pipe sit right to where the portable vac lives.

Time for a home made fix

First thing was to measure the various diameters and the tapers that were on them to make the parts lock together. Then it was time to fire up the CAD and get it drawn.

This turned in to a bit of a CAD lesson as I ended up using some features I hadn’t used before.

The result was this.




From there the CAD file is saved as an STL format file ready for the printers software to set it up to print.

This sets up the orientation of the print and creates the supports that hold it all together whilst it prints. The image to the right is what you see in the software but this is upside down to what happens on the printer.

The software normally sorts out the orientation to prevent resin pooling anywhere as it tends to cure by association if it isn’t able to run off back into the tank as the print rises from the bath of resin. This shape gave it a headache and it took several goes to get it right. From here it sends the print file across the network to the printer downstairs in the workshop.

Its all quite clever with the network control and monitoring but you do still have to go and press the start button. Instead of finest resolution of 25 microns this was printed at 100 so it was quite a quick print. Left to dry and cure in UV overnight today we have a proper connection the saw.



Naturally, this coincides with the bulk of the sawing having been completed


THE BRYMSTON RR -Episode 6 (I’ve started)

Well, its taken long enough but I have started.

Slightly gung ho and ahead of detailed planning I decided to cut wood. My thinking was this. I have been procrastinating the design of this for ages and have not actually done anything physically and for maintaining my own interest I felt I needed to do something with actual material on the layout.

I refer you to the Plan B plan adjacent. This plan is a plan view. Its 2D and doesn’t show any changes in height. (I’ve been messing with 3D printers too long as I first type the `changes in the Z axis’).  I really want to have different parts of the layout at subtly different heights really. This really reflects that when you build something as big as a railroad you rarely get a large dead flat area. That’t the reality, on the model I don’t want the layout to look like its on a flat piece of plywood.

In the plan point A enters the board at datum plus 2mm. This might yet get increased to +4 or +6. Form their the line climbs from the left hand road of that turnout  to just before the second turnout on the route. Its actually plain track because line B has been deleted. At that point it flattens out at datum +25mm and remains flat to the end of the line.

The line that kicks back towards G is held flat until clear of the turnout and then climbs to datum +40mm which it reaches about where the G is on the plan.  From there to the end of the board its flat. The flat areas are intended so that freight cars put there stay put and its also the best place for coupling and uncoupling.

Construction started with a sheet of 4mm ply I had. This was laid on the boards and marked out using a couple of models and some 0n3 flex track.  The profile was cut out with my recently refurbished bandsaw. I just wish I had noticed that the dust collector pipe had pulled out.

Whilst at it with the saw I cut up an old softwood drawer from to make the stand offs for the raised sections. Other bits of MDF were cut to make thinner shims and offcuts of the ply made joiners for the larger bits of ply.

Its all just been screwed together for now.

Right so the end of Sunday – ie Dinner and time for some festering in front of the TV – it looks like this.

The ply raised surface is temporarily screwed to the spacers which shows the height differences. More supports will be added, particularly ones custom cut to support the sloping sections. The ones near the turnout at the top of the grade will  be left loose until the point is built as there will be an operating mechanism to install and you know Mr Sodde and his laws would result in the inevitable if I glued them down.



First picture shows the raised siding that will be behind the shed.

I haven’t decided if the drop will be wall, sloping embankment or just the back of the shed. I’ll have to wait and see how the shed plan turns out.


The other end has a flat area which will have some further increase in Z above rail level when I decide what is happening.

The siding may be a dead end or it may be another way off this module to the `rest of the world’


Finally for this evening is a couple of shots with some track and rolling stock placed on the layout to give some idea of context







The problem now is that I have my modelling mojo back and I want to crack on with it but tomorrow is a work day. Alright for those with forced separation from their layouts but this is also my workplace. Its going to take some effort to leave it alone.


THE BRYMSTON RR -Episode 5 (a name at last)

(up to this point on the forum the layout had no name)

The layout with no name, has a name, I think…….

The Brymston Railroad.

Its bugged me since I started this that I didn’t have a name for it. I always fancied a name like Updah, amusing and with a life of its own but I couldn’t think of one and when I did think of one there was a reason it had come to mind, someone had already done it.

Then I got to thinking, well, reading and I was in the tiled reading room. The book in hand was Slow Trains Down South by Mallory Hope Ferrell. [incidentally, I only have volume 1, if anyone has a vol 2 they’d like to part with let me know]In it there are loads of shortlines that ran all sorts of odd services that ran out of habit more than demand.  One caught my eye, The Brimstone Railroad. It ran Shays, I hauled lumber and stone and the crunch for me was there was a picture of the two shays stood outside the loco shed.

I’m not building a model of a prototype just looking for ideas and all the best ones are stolen, or someone has had them first. I just want a credible back story to somewhere to run my geared locos.  I looked up Brimstone in a thesaurus and when you got past all the film references there were some alternative spellings and the anglicised version is Brymston.

So, now we have the Brymston Railroad which is a subsidiary of the Brymston Railroad and Navigation Company. Other subsidiaries are Brymston Logging Company and the Brymston Mining Company.

I now need to decide a name for the location of the loco facilities modelled. Given the thesaurus let on that the German derivative of Brimstone is Bernstein that might have to be the name. For some reason Bernstein Wharf appeals apart from the fact that its not very American, I suppose there it would be Bernstein Landing but even then, I have no plans to add any form of wharf or landing.

Where did my line run? Well, like the real thing probably from Sulfur to Brimstone, probably with branches to Hell and Damnation with the never built extension to Sodom and Gomorrah

In February 2019 Two alternative slants on the same news emerged.

V1.     Evil multinational corporation raids embryonic railroad funds leaving the Brymston Railroad coffers depleted leading to concerns for its future. Railroad management seeks to assure customers and employees that all is well and that the current cash flow crisis is short term.

V2.         The Brymston Railroad is delighted to announce an addition to its loco roster through good offices of noted auction house Echo Bay of San Jose, California. The new locomotive will serve the Railroad for a good many years. Concern has been raised regarding the financial state of the RR but management has assured interested parties that whilst there may be some short term deferral of other capital projects the RR is on a sound footing.

The truth is that if you’re flogging stuff on eBay to finance your new model you really shouldn’t do searches to see what’s for sale. However when you find a seller that doesn’t know his 0n3 from his 0n30 its to your advantage

The Brymston Railroad has acquired, on very favourable terms, a 40 ton Class B Climax manufactured by The Car Works. Delivered to the Railroad today it has undergone initial trials on the extensive one yard of our main line and appears to be very satisfactory.

Film may emerge later of the test runs but for now there will be a few more trials to evaluate the new acquisition and decide what adaptations may be required for Brymston RR service.  It will almost certainly be converted to an oil burner as the RR is trying to phase out other fuels because of the fire risk. Modern lighting and a turbo generator are likely addition. The loco is already air braked which is a saving. It will gain sound and control modifications in due course.

Well, that has got the Brymstone RR blog up the point we left off on the forums a year ago. I’d better go and do something to the layout so as to create some new content


THE BRYMSTON RR -Episode 4  (first contact)

Well, the layout with no name went to its first show on Saturday which was all a bit fraught as on Thursday morning there was no track on it.  Truth be told it went more as a display shelf but a versatile one.

A single point was made and then a length of PSC code 83 flex track added. It was a versatile layout being either DC or DCC as the only connections were by crocodile clip so it was easy to swap.

Actually, none of the track is going to stay where it is. The point was the first one made with the fast track jigs and is best considered a practice for getting my eye in. As is often the case I end up making two of things as the first one just tells me how I want to do better with the second one!

I am currently scheming ideas as to how to build the turnout in the jig on the PCB ties, then add temporary gauging strips on top so I can remove the PCB’s ties and spike the track down to all wooden ties.  If this were an extensive layout I wouldn’t bother and just slap some paint and camouflage on the copper. That may well happen on the ties at the rear of the layout or the one behind the shed but the ones near the front are I think worth the effort. A better tie bar design is fermenting in my head at the moment too.

A length of dual gauge track was also nailed to the front of the board just to display some 16.5mm gauge items and, bizarrely, a bit of H0/H0n3 dual gauge was the first bit to hand. On the way from York to Derby it was just pinned but, on the way, back it had added blue tack.  I didn’t pin right to the end and on the way there in the car it kept going boooinggg!!! like you used to do with a ruler on a desk at school. It was getting right on our wick!

You will also recall that the purpose of this layout is to provide an exercise ground for my geared loco collection which has previously just sat on display shelves. In the last-minute nature of this commitment to take the layout to the 7mm NGA open day I got three shays off the shelf and all of them decided to throw a tantrum. One went to the show. One got a repair started that wasn’t complete in time and the third needs a new gear sourcing so is a longer term casualty.

The one that got fixed but not in time has just had a test run. The loco has a Grandt drive in which a gear head motor points down through the floor with the male part of a UJ on the motor shaft. This bit is Delrin and it used to be a press fit but it had relaxed. The torque involved was too much for Dr Mikes glue, so the fix used slow setting araldite. I cross drilled the Delrin part and then roughed up the shaft with a cutting disk to give a key, smothered it in glue, pressed the Delrin on making sure glue extruded out the holes, wiped the surplus off and set it aside to harden. The theory is that even if the glue doesn’t bond to the Delrin its now effectively a keyed fit. I’ll leave you with a video of its test run.

Incidentally all the track laid for this outing has been lifted as it was just thrown down for the day



THE BRYMSTON RR -Episode 3 (still catching up)

Yes , still catching up to what was posted on the modelling forums a year ago. This instalment should get the words up to date so I can start posting some new stuff.

This episode deals with layout planning, well, the initial efforts as things and thoughts have already moved on as will be discussed in coming episodes.

As is traditional with model railways Plan A tried to cram too much in. To some extent this was forgivable as one of this boards reasons for existing is to provide a home for my geared locos and I have got rather a lot of them due to my habit of collecting them.

This version featured standard, but short, turnouts, too many of them and too much track. The three locos in the foreground are “on shed” and the headshunt to the left of them (where the circle thingy is) is too short to be off any use. Basically, this version is all turnout and no room to move.

A quick aside – Turnouts:   Having said short I should quantify this. In the USA turnouts have a number be it #4. #6 or #9. What this number denotes is the angle of the vee be it 1 in 4, 1 in 5 or 1 in 9. It only sort of equates to radius as a) radius of turnouts is something modellers have dreamt up and b) the diverging route is only curved between the blades and the vee.

It does still mean that my bendy shays will go across a #4 but my K36 2-8-2 doesn’t stand a chance needing a #6 as a minimum or a #9 to look prototypical.  It does also reflect the space they take up which I will illustrate in the future. Another handy thing for the ancient industrial layout is the sub turnout. Instead of fixed stock rails and moving blades the stub uses moving stock rails as in the picture. These were common but not suited to any sort of speedy running to they died out except in yards and on ancient none passenger industrial railroads. One really handy feature for fitting a quart into a pint pot on a layout is they are shorter than a bladed turnout,

Right back to the layout.

What comes after Plan A, plan B of course.

Plan B evolves. Since the original plan was posted I have revised it using a couple of wyes and a 3 way

  1. Point that connects to the rest of the world. Needs to be in this front corner at datum level to connect to future plans.
  2. This siding originally came off the back road. It may yet go back there or get deleted
  3. Water tank and pump complex – something like the Argent one
  4. 3 way stub turnout, because I can and it allows the access to Siding E
  5. Sand facility. May lead to siding B getting deleted (I have a Durango sand house kit looking for a home
  6. Fuel facility.
  7. Loco shed reduced to two roads. Two engines inside and two outside. Losing one track allows wider spacing and for the shed to feature a workshop lean to.

Turnouts in the diagonal route will be standard bladed turnouts whilst the 3 way and the front right one will be stub turnouts

Since that proposal was put to the group on the forum siding B has been deleted. The back siding has been moved nearer to the back and its turnout downgraded to a stub for space winning reasons. One of the design constraints/requirements was to make sure that a loco and bogie wagon would fit in the headshunt behind the shed (or as illustrated a Uintah 2-6-6-2 mallet fit in it.

Currently there is also some rethinking with regard to the length of the headshunt at the front that gives access to siding E. This will be discussed in future episodes as a design constraint that didn’t exist a year ago has presented itself.

I may also change the last remaining bladed turnout at the entrance to the board to a stub so that all on this module are stubs. I suspect that the fiddling with the access to line E the inch or two that being a stub gains may be crucial.

The centrepiece is likely to be the three way stub that gives access to the shed and headshunt.

I am currently toying with an idea to build all the track in sheets of 2mm MDF for a number of reasons. The main one is that once I have the alignments off the layout I can build the details of the turnouts on the workbench where the tools are and I can twist and turn the build to work at the best angles.

The other reason is that I want to mess with the ground level heights in the model. Nothing massive or alpine but I don’t want a flat layout. Raising the track, even if only 2mm allows some ground to be below track level.