Monday, May 31, 2010

Progress Report 29

A visitation from my three year old nephew plus parents encouraged me to get the layout working sufficiently well for an audience. I had thought of buying a Bachmann Thomas the Tank Engine set but the cost put me off somewhat - so a £30 Playmobil remote control railcar from eBay enabled him to control his own train.

This session enabled me to check out the clearances under the two new overbridges (see How I cast two concrete overbridges) and check that there had not been significant subsidence or encroachment of the undergrowth. So far this year I've not had sufficient time for a proper timetabled running session but at least all the stock has had an airing.

Cattle / Loading Docks
I am in the process of casting in-situ, concrete loading/cattle docks (See How I cast cattle/loading docks from concrete). These are to complement the cattle wagons (See How I made two cattle wagons) and flat wagons which will ultimately be used to transport agricultural equipment up the line.

More coaches
The rather fine Accucraft W&L Pickering coaches which I purchased a year ago (See Progress Report 20) have so far never been used because their brake gear and steps foul the platforms at Beeston Market and Bulkeley (See How I cast platforms in concrete). I did try narrowing the width of the platforms with an angle grinder but it collapsed under the strain amidst much blue smoke. Maybe the platforms were cast a little too well! So, I am considering three alternatives:
  • I will have to recast the platforms so they are lower and/or narrower, 
  • I will have to remove the brake gear and lower steps from the coaches,
  • I will have to replace the coaches with alternatives which something with better clearances
A while back I bought three coach kits from Maddison Coaches and so I am in the process of constructing these. I have completed one (minus the paint job) and it seems to pass through each of the two stations without catching on the platform and so it looks as if the third option is what I will be going for (See How I constructed three Maddison Coach kits - pending).
I am loath to butcher the Pickering Coaches and I have always been reluctant to repaint them; I'd never achieve the same quality of finish. So it looks like I will be offering them for sale on eBay

Stock boxes
All the stock boxes have now been constructed (see How I made some stock boxes) - one for each siding on the line - thirteen in total.
Ultimately, when I start operating the line as intended, with a timetable and the computer generated goods traffic (See Progress Report 16 - Freight Operation), at the end of each operating session I will be able to load the goods stock in each siding into the stock boxes, store them and then restore them in their original locations ready for the next session.

Future plans
I'm considering adding a water mill beside the stream near Peckforton Station. This will be on the opposite bank of the stream to the railway and be served by a short siding. In reality, there is a water mill at Bulkeley which I have long though could, in my imagined history, become a timber mill. The intended location would put the mill nearer to Peckforton than Bulkeley, but operationally it would still serve the same function. Just by chance, I have already made a stock box on the off-chance this comes to fruition.

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