Monday, June 29, 2009

Progress Report 21 - Platforms and ballasting again

Sunday was a day of unbroken sunshine and so unfinished 'work' work was put to one side and a full 14 hours was spent on doing a few of those railway jobs which have been on the to do list for more than a while.

Platforms for Beeston Castle

First of all the platform sections were cast for Beeston Castle station. As this is a curved island platform it had to be prefabricated, using the same method described in 'How I made the platforms'.

The moulds were made from 1/2" chipboard for the bases and 1/8" ply for the sides. These were liberally greased before the cement was poured in both the protect the wood and to prevent the cement from adhering to it.

Using the technique learned from Bickerton station platforms, the platform edges were masked with off-cuts of wood and sand was sprinkled into the centre. When the cement was partially set (ie 'green'), the masking strips were removed and the exposed edges were scribed with the end of a trowel to represent stone edging blocks.
These will now be left for a week for the cement to harden off, then they will be removed from the moulds, tidied up and cemented into position.

Here's the platform in situ (just after clipping the hedges). All that needs to be done next is ballast the track.

Ballasting the extension

The extension to Beeston Market and the Copper Mine was ballasted using a combination of the techniques described in 'How I ballasted the track'.

This time, once the dry mix of sand, gravel and cement had been brushed into place:

... and the whole lot dowsed in water from a watering can (with rose attached). Liberal amounts of watered-down PVA adhesive were dribbled on in an attempt to bond the mix together and help it stick to the underlying roofing felt.

After this, the sides of the rails were cleaned up with a screwdriver, to removed gunge from the running surfaces, and a damp cloth was wiped over the surface of the rails to remove as much PVA as possible.

So now Beeston Market station:

the Copper Mine sidings:

and Peckforton station:

have all been ballasted.

Only Beeston Castle station remains unballasted. This will be done once the platforms have been fixed into place.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How I made a wooden platform

The station at Beeston Market is mounted on timber supported around three feet from the ground. It seemed sensible to make the platform from wood rather than concrete as in the case of the other platforms. However, I found when positioning a plank in the location as a temporary measure that underneath it attracted the damp (and an accumulation of woodlice, centipedes and the odd slug). I needed some way to protect the wooden platform - even though it is treated timber I could see the rot setting in pretty quickly! I considered wrapping it entirely in roofing felt, but that would be difficult to fix down realistically. I therefore decided to embed it in the existing layer of felt.

The first job was to make an incision in the felt roughly along the centre line of the platform, The felt was folded up and the platform plank was eased into the gap.

Next, the edges of felt were trimmed to a uniform width.

The edging strip was snipped at intervals to represent paving slabs. And more felt was cut to fill the gap in the centre of the platform.

The whole lot was then stuck down with bitumen-based felt adhesive and weighted down with a series of concrete blocks and rocks and left for a week.

When the weights were removed, Evostick was used to fix the odd few bits of edging strip which had not stuck.
It needs a little tidying-up and detailing, but the foundations have been laid.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How I skewed the LGB truss bridge

In addition to the large 'bridges' which span access to the patio and the sheds, I have two smaller bridges, one across the stream and one taking the upper section of the line over the lower. Both these bridges are skewed, in that the stream and the lower line are crossed at an angle. Both these bridges are simple (and cheap) LGB truss bridges which have been modified slightly (you could say 'bodged') into skew bridges. A ten minute job:

Firstly, the bridge as taken from the box.

Next, the bridge is sawn in half, following a joint between two planks on the bridge deck.

The two halves are then slotted-in beneath the tracks (very handy if ever you need to replace a bridge without having to remove the tracks).

Because this bridge needs to accommodate a point leading into Beeston Castle station, I widened it by cutting a strip of planking from a broken bridge I had available. A strip of Plasticard could be used if you don't have a spare bridge to hand.

The stream bridge was also widened in the same way, as the track curves to one end of the bridge.

At present, I have not glued the extra planking in place, in case I need to remove the bridges for maintenance. However, this can soon be remedied with some liquid polystyrene cement.

Progress Report 20 - Coaching stock developments

I have just taken delivery of two Pickering coaches from Accucraft - which are quite magnificent. At some point in the future I will have to decide on the livery for the coaching stock, but for now they will have to remain in GWR colours - I haven't the heart (or possibly the courage or skills) to repaint them.

Prior to their arrival, I was running two Bachmann WP & YR observation cars and a baggage car as a temporary measure. My thinking was that one day I would 'bash' these into something resembling Pickering coaches - at least they had the correct bogies. These will now go the way of all redundant stock (via eBay).
Prior to the observation cars coming on to the scene, I made do with the two four wheel balcony coaches which came with the original LGB Starter Set. They saw good service but I decided they were too 'continental' to be anglicised and so had to go.

I have actually got three four-compartment coach kits on order from Maddison Coaches. The plan is to construct these over the summer holidays to have two distinct sorts of passenger trains available - which is, of course, more than the Welshpool and Llanfair had in its former life.

Update - June 2013

 Eventually, I decided to sell the W&LLR coaches as they fouled the platforms and I did not want to modify them to be able to run on the railway. The Maddison coaches were constructed (see How I constructed a rake of coaches from kits). Maddison coaches are now no longer available.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Progress Report 19 - Goods stock update

Over the past year I have been steadily acquiring more rolling stock. Ultimately each item will be 'anglicised' or 'bashed' into something more appropriate, but for now I am beginning to accumulate enough stock to enable me to start running the railway in a realistic way.

Open wagons
At present the line only possesses four open wagons, all partially scratch-built using Hartland chassis (see how I built the second batch of wagons).

As time permits, I will construct at least another eight of these, mostly carrying coal or coke.

Closed vans
So far, I have accumulated five closed vans of various types.

Two are Accucraft:

One appears to have been made from be a Brandbright kit:

Unfortunately, owing to an error in the eBay advert, it is presently 32mm gauge - however, it looks a relatively simple process to regauge to 45mm (famous last words?).

Two vans are bog standard LGB box cars. These will eventually be modified to remove the platforms - either by extending the van body or by shortening the chassis.

The final van is a GRS conversion which will need very little modification, though I do think it looks somewhat large for my type of railway.

Tank wagon
Up to now, I have just one tank wagon, to transport fuel for to the copper mine machinery. This will eventually be super-detailed and repainted.

Tipper trucks
I have managed to accumulate two trains-worth of tipper wagons, which will be used to transport crushed copper ore from the mine to the mainline railway. The rationale is that the copper mine company has an ore processing plant elsewhere.

Most of the tippers are LGB. Eventually, there will be one train of empties and one train of filled wagons. These will be interchanged to give the impression that the full wagons are emptied and vice versa.

Six tippers are from Hartland. These are a stopgap until I can accumulate more LGB tippers. Their chassis will then be used for the construction of more open wagons.

Timber wagons
To serve the needs of the timber yard at Peckforton, I have been collecting stake wagons. So far I have six, plus a pair of timber bolsters.

However, I will probably retain only two or three stake wagons, the chassis for the rest will form the basis for scratch-built cattle / sheep wagons.

Flat trucks
I've also gathered a collection of four one-plank wagons and a flat truck

My thinking was that I would keep a couple and use the rest as chassis for other stock.

However, I hadn't realised how long these wagons were so I may pass these on and use the accumulated income to buy some Accucraft flatties.

Brake vans
The line now possesses four brake vans in various states of completion.

The first and original (in all senses) was constructed from lolly sticks on a Hartland wagon chassis. It is (still) awaiting detailing in the form of handrails, brake gear, chopper couplings, lamp brackets, etc. It was constructed whilst on a self-catering holiday in Pembrokeshire. After two days I had to find something useful to do having taken nothing with me. A set of craft knives and a hacksaw from the local pound shop, together with a pack of lolly sticks and PVA from a craft shop and I was happy for the remainder of the holiday. It was more by chance than planning that the body just happened to fit a Hartland chassis with the minimum of tweaking.

The remaining three came as part of a job lot of wagons picked up on eBay.

Two seem to be scratch-built from thin ply. One is more or less complete, though needs a paint job and the addition of running boards and brake gear.

The other is only partially completed and, unfortunately came without the missing pieces. However, it will not be a major task to complete it.

The fourth brake van is a partially completed GRS conversion of an LGB box van. Again, there are several parts missing and it will need a repaint, but it shouldn't take an enormous amount of effort to finish it off.

The future
As indicated above, the line needs several more open wagons and some cattle trucks. The open wagons will be constructed from plasticard as previously while the cattle trucks will probably be made in the same way as the brake van, from lolly sticks. The opens, as before, will be based loosely on W&L / Southwold prototypes while the cattle trucks will be inspired by those on the W&L. I have plans to construct an explosives van for the copper mine and am considering some sort of wagon to transport silver ore - it seems that copper and silver were often found deposited together which might give a further reason for the railway's continued existence.

All the remaining stock will we modified, repainted in grey livery and then weathered. I'm aiming for a 'tired' slightly distressed look into which minor lines like this deteriorated between the wars.