Sunday, August 21, 2011

Progress Report 37

It's been a while since the last report but there was a lull because the other part of my life took over. However, a combination of low level tick-over on various projects together with a flurry of recent activity has given a few developments to report on.

Running sessions
Some decent weather recently has provided an opportunity to have a few running sessions. I try to run a realistic timetable with regular passenger trains, a daily pick-up goods and an afternoon mixed train, interspersed with full and empty ore trains to and from the copper mine. (See A typical operating session)

 The pickup goods arrives at Bickerton

 The down passenger ready to depart Beeston Market with a full ore train about to reverse into the exchange siding.

I also spent a happy day or two producing a couple of videos showing train movements to which I added relevant sound effects:
 Engine shed
It took a while but eventually I completed the double-road engine shed for Beeston Market.

It was constructed from a plywood shell covered in weatherboarding made from coffee stirrers. It was inspired by the shed at Southwold, though this was only single track. For more information in its construction see How I constructed the engine shed

Four more open wagons join the stock roster
Three more wagons have been constructed using the resin moulded sides as previously (see How I constructed the third batch of open wagons).

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find Hartland wagon chassis in the UK but Steve Warrington at Back2Bay6 managed to track down six more which will enable me to eventually bring the total to twenty, which will be sufficient for the railway as a whole. One open wagon has been constructed from a GRS conversion kit.

 Two LGB wagon chassis are cut and shut together to produce a short wheelbase open wagon and a long wheelbase van. I am still in the process of constructing the van and will make a posting describing the process once completed. (See How I constructed an open wagon and a van from a GRS LGB conversion kit). See also Stock List.

Two more cattle wagons join the line
These were constructed from IP Engineering wooden kits, though slightly modified (see How I constructed two cattle wagons from IP Engineering kits).

I also bought an open livestock wagon kit and intend to construct this once time permits. I will then either buy a few more kits or construct something similar myself from scratch. See also Stock List.

The BP tank wagon is anglicised
The secondhand tank wagon had been bashed into something more UK looking along the same lines as the GRS tanker wagon converter kit.

As I didn't have any 10mm square section plasticard to hand for the timber baulks, I created my own from some 8mm square tubing with two layers of 2mm thick plasticard. The open ends were plugged with filler.

I now have two tanker wagons which is sufficient for the railway. For more information on the conversion (see How I anglicised an LGB tanker wagon). See also Stock List.

Detailing the workman's coach
The four wheeled workman's coach which was bought some time ago as part of a job lot from eBay has at last been improved and detailed. Footboards were added (from lolly sticks), brass door handles and grab rails were added to the exterior and a compartment divider and some basic seating were added to the interior.

A re-spray of undercoat and a final coat of chocolate brown Plasticote spray finished off the re-fit.

Goods stock is liveried and weathered
All the goods stock which had not previously been painted in PLR livery and/or weathered has now been duly treated using Halfords grey primer and my time-honoured method of daubing with mucky brown/black acrylics and wiping off with a paper towel while still wet. Once this dried the wagons were given a light dusting of matt 'sand' and 'dark earth' spray from Humbrol rattle cans.

The stake wagons were also given removable timber loads (chains yet to be added) 

The bolster wagons will be having a papier mache tree trunk load (under construction)

Two Schleich cattle have been added to each of the two existing cattle wagons, together with straw represented by strands of hessian recovered from an old skipping rope.

 See also Stock List.

Power Buffer added to Loco No. 2 (Bickerton)
A Massoth Power Buffer has been added to loco 2 (Bickerton). One of the irritating things about running 0-4-0 track-powered locos over pointwork with dead frogs is the tendency for them to stutter or grind to a halt. I decided to experiment with adding a power buffer to one of the locos to see what difference it made. A great difficulty is, of course, that the buffer uses a large electrolytic capacitor to maintain electrical continuity over dead-spots in the trackwork - which takes up a fair amount of space. It's frustrating that the smaller the loco, the greater the need for a power buffer, but the less space there is within the loco to house one. Finding a location for the buffer more or less required a complete dismantling of the loco and a re-jigging of the lead weights. However, with some re-fitting sufficient space was found within the firebox to locate the power buffer.

I had hoped to be able to re-program the CV values to enable the buffer to be automatically switched off when the decoder is re-programmed. However, this proved impossible with my Universal remote and I therefore added a hard-wired switch into the circuit to isolate the buffer when the decoder needs programming.

There has been considerable improvement in the smooth running of this loco since the buffer was added and so I am considering adding power buffers to the rest of my locos which are largely 0-4-0 motor block powered.

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