Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How I built some storage roads in the garage

For about the past five years I have been storing my stock in boxes which I have carried in and out of the leanto (see How I made some stock boxes)

This was a good solution at the time, as each box was matched to a siding on the railway and I was able to remove goods stock in its exact location at the end of a running session and replace it at the start of the next - freight operations are one of the things I enjoy about running my railway.

However, the disks in my neck have been giving me health problems which are exacerbated when I lift, twist and carry things - such as loaded stock boxes. It looked as if I needed either to find an alternative method of storing stock or abandon my railway.

Before we built a new garage, the station at Beeston Market was terminated by the fence which separated the front and back gardens.

The position of the newly built garage led to the removal and repositioning of this fence - but also opened up an opportunity to extend the station.

 I  decided, that if the extension to the station was angled towards the garage (see clothes prop lying on the ground in the above photo), I would be able to run a line into the garage.

Having decided on the geometry for the extension, I dug a couple of holes for the support posts.

 Two posts (recycled from the boundary fence) were cut to length and concreted into the holes (see How I mix concrete).

 A framework was then made for the baseboard, using the palings recycled from the removed fence (which incidentally was erected 34 years ago).

 When the framework was completed ........

...... it was boarded with more palings .........

...... and given a liberal coating of wood preservative.

It was then covered in roofing felt (tar paper), the edges glued in place with bituminous roofing adhesive.

The baseboard was now well placed for a spur to lead into the garage.

A chance meeting with the builder who constructed the garage resulted in a 4.5inch diameter hole appearing in the garage wall in the position needed.

 When I had erected the storage shelving in the garage, I had ensured that the lower shelf coincided approximately with the railway baseboard for just such an eventuality as this.

 However, a 4.5inch hole was never going to be large enough, and so the largest item of rolling stock was used as a template ......

..... for enlarging the hole. In addition, I needed to angle the hole in the same direction as the plank bridge leading up to the hole. On reflection, the 'pilot' hole should have been more central to the planned hole - but hopefully this will help you avoid my mistake should you want to follow in my footsteps.

A long 10mm masonry bit was used to drill a series of holes around the perimeter of the envisaged tunnel mouth. These were then linked together by drilling downwards and upwards from each hole.

The hole was then knocked through with a hammer and cold chisel. The pilot hole proved invaluable at this point in allowing the debris to be removed.

The Thermalite blocks inside were much easier to shape, with a saw.

 Clearances were checked and some fine tuning was carried out with the chisel, a hacksaw blade and a rasp. Unfortunately, when I plugged in my angle grinder, there was a blue flash and a puff of smoke, otherwise I would have tidied up the hole with it. Maybe Santa will bring me a new one.

Four pieces of 2"x1" treated timber formed the tunnel portal into which a flap, made from a couple of pieces of fence panel, was hinged.

The plank bridge was cut to size and made to sit on the lower edge of the frame for the flap. The other end resting on another piece of 2"x1" timber.

The end of the outermost former engine-shed siding was extended (to make a carriage siding) and then run across the plank bridge.

 Once inside the garage, the track divided into three using a couple of R1 points (turnouts) which were recycled as part of my ongoing upgrading of the main line - replacing all R1 points with larger radius points (see Progress Report 51 for example).

 The ends of the track on the plank bridge were aligned by soldering two short lengths of 2mm outside diameter (OD) brass tubing and using a bent galvanised nail as a bolt. 

Unfortunately, because the air temperature was low and there was a stiff breeze, it was difficult to heat the rail, even with my 75watt soldering iron, and my soldering was not as neat as I would like. In the balmy days of summer, I will re-solder these joints.

At this point, some stock was run in and out of the garage to ensure the clearances were sufficient.

Rather than splashing out on expensive track for the storage roads, I opted for a cheaper method - using 4mm x 12mm stripwood.

Two pieces, mounted on top of each other, provided the rail, which were notched to align with the brass rail.

To avoid splitting the stripwood, 1.5mm holes were drilled to take the brass panel pins.
 A track gauge (lying on its side behind the drill) was cut to ensure the rails kept to the right gauge.

Sleepers made from the stripwood lifted the wooden rails to the correct height, before it was then gently lowered to shelf-height.

To tidy-up the original pilot hole, a Thermalite plug from the original 4.5" bore was shaped with a saw and will eventually be concreted into place.

The wooden sidings were extended across the full width of the garage which gives me around 50' of storage space. This allows me to store all my goods and passenger stock with a few feet left for later expansion of the fleet.

All the stock has now been test-run in and out of the garage. This required a little tweaking here and there to provide sufficient clearance and in places the wooden rails needed to be re-gauged, but otherwise all now seems set for operations.

 Meanwhile, outside, the second former engine shed road has been extended to form another carriage siding and the platform roads extended into the newly positioned engine shed. There is still a lot of landscaping to do - a coaling stage and water tower will be added to the platform road leading to the shed and a station forecourt will be made towards the back of the board.

And, of course, I will need to find somewhere to store all the junk which was on that shelf in the garage. But hopefully, this work will ultimately help to save my neck from further damage..........

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