Saturday, September 03, 2011

Progress Report 38

As a former teacher, September always marks the end of the summer for me and, to a large extent, opportunities for running and working on the railway diminish as I still work part time (and as any teacher will tell you, this job is never really part-time!).

The tag-end of August has been very productive as I managed to work on the railway for just over a week with very few interruptions (not including fitting new worktops in the kitchen - worth a blog in itself!).

Running sessions
The weather cleared long enough for a couple more running sessions. These enabled me to complete a day's worth of timetable (see A typical running session) and test-run the newly weathered rolling stock (see Progress Report 37).

 The pickup goods shunting at Beeston Castle

 The copper ore train arrives at Beeston Market

The down passenger train passes the pickup goods at Peckforton

Rolling road and Sprog
Having made some lineside Point of View (POV) videos of the railway in operation (see Progress Report 37), I realised that I needed some finer control over my locos. I decided to invest in a Sprog DCC Decoder Programmer. I also felt the need for a rolling road on which to program and test run the locos but not having around £80 to spare I looked around for a cheaper alternative. A trip to Back2Bay6 resulted in the purchase of two home made roller units for £20. These comprised two pairs of roller bearings mounted on aluminium angle which in turn was mounted on a sheet of plywood. After re-gauging the units from 32mm to 45mm, I produced a sub-assembly from a piece of ply and a couple of lengths of stripwood. This was wired up and connected to the Sprog.

I have now re-programmed all the locos' acceleration and deceleration settings to something more realistic - on the rolling-road at least.

Closed van
In addition to the open wagon (see Progress Report 37), I've now had time to complete the closed van from the GRS combi-kit. This is presently still in need of weathering but complements the other combi-kit closed van which I purchased on eBay a while back (see Stock List).

Wagon loads
I am slowly constructing oddments for filling the newly completed open wagons (see Progress Report 37 and/or Stock List). So far, I've completed two packing cases from coffee stirrers plus a gear wheel in a cradle.  Some whitemetal milk churns from GRS complete the load for one wagon. This will be mounted on a sheet of scribed plywood so it can be removed for return journeys.

I have also made a large tree trunk for the bolster wagons from a cardboard tube covered in PVA-soaked paper towels scrunched to resemble bark. I will add more restraining chains when I've figured out how to make them easily removable for return trips up the line.

Passengers for the workman's coach
A trip to my local 50p shop resulted in the purchase of a pack of eight hand-carved wooden miners for the princely sum of £1.00.

These were duly dissected and repainted to dull down their colourful garb.

They were then glued in place in my workmen's coach (see Progress Report 37) for journeys to and from the copper mine.

They do not bear close scrutiny but look somewhat craggy and artisanal, peering out through the windows of the coach.

Planning the railway
For some time, I have been preparing a posting on the process I went through in planning the railway (see Planning the railway). I tend to spend quite a while planning my railway layouts having built a few over the years (see Railway Modelling and Me). I'm not sure how useful others will find my account of the planning process but I found reviewing my scribblings and notes quite interesting and somewhat nostalgic.

Microlight flight over the railway
As a present for a rather significant birthday, my wife bought me a trip in a microlight aircraft.

The pilot was persuaded to fly over my house and also around Beeston Castle and for a short distance along the hypothetical route of my railway.

 I must admit that, if I didn't already have a hobby, I could easily become hooked on this mode of travel.

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