Thursday, March 30, 2017

A quick introduction to batteries for model trains

Introduction

This page is designed to be a fairly simple and straightforward introduction to battery power for model trains. It is by no means a comprehensive or definitive guide. Hopefully there will be enough here to get you started and answer some of your basic questions.

I've covered the following:
  • Cells, batteries or packs - what's the difference?
  • Disposable or rechargeable?
  • Types of disposable battery
  • Types of rechargeable battery
  • Battery capacity
  • Battery packs
  • Connecting cells in series
  • Connecting cells in parallel
  • Combination packs
  • Choosing the right sized pack for your loco
  • Battery protection
  • Charging batteries
  • Battery chargers
  • Controlling speed
  • Manual control
  • Radio control
  • Radio control systems for model trains

Cells, Batteries or Packs - what's the difference?

To be pedantic, a battery is a collection of individual cells wired together - ie a 'battery' is really a 'pack' of 'cells'. However, it has now become common parlance to refer to 'cells' as 'batteries' so, when we refer to an AA 'battery', we are really describing a single 'cell'.

In this posting, will use both 'cell' and 'battery' to refer to cells, but will use 'pack' to refer to an interconnected collection of cells.

Disposable or rechargeable?

Disposable (or Primary) batteries

This is the simplest way to power your locos - insert some batteries into a battery box, connect the box through a reversing switch to your motor and away you go!
To be able to reverse the direction the loco travels, the DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw) switch would need to be wired-up like this:

When the switch is moved to the right, the motor leads are connected directly to the battery leads
and when it is moved to the left, the motor leads are swapped over, thus reversing the motor.

Types of disposable battery

The most effective disposable batteries for use in model trains are alkaline batteries. They are now the most readily available and tend to last longer than zinc carbon batteries. However, with more recent developments in battery technology, disposable lithium batteries are now becoming more common, though their price makes them less competitive than alkaline.
Zinc-carbon, also known as carbon-zinc or the Leclanché battery. These are the earliest and least expensive sorts of primary batteries. They deliver 1.5 volts but their capacity tends to be lower than alkaline batteries (ie they do not last as long before becoming depleted)

Alkaline. (Alkaline-manganese), is an improved version of the zinc-carbon battery and also delivers 1.5 volts. Generally longer-lasting than zinc-carbon and less prone to leakage.
Lithium (Lithium iron disulfide (Li-FeS2)) Normal lithium primary batteries deliver three or more volts, but Li-FeS2 batteries are usually rated at 1.5 volts to be compatible with AA and AAA formats. They are most often found as button cells (eg for use in hearing aids) but have a much longer life cycle than alkaline batteries (eg a heart pacemaker battery can last up to ten years). They are becoming more readily available and are beginning to drop in price. Some airlines do not allow any type of lithium battery to be carried on board planes.

Rechargeable (secondary) batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be used directly in place of disposable batteries, using the same wiring diagram as above. However, the batteries would need to be removed from the battery box to be charged. Alternatively, the batteries can be left in the loco and charged in-situ. If the  DPDT reversing switch does not have a 'centre off' position, an SPST (single pole, double throw) switch must be included in the circuit to switch between the motor circuit and a charging socket - to help ensure that the loco is not left on while it is being charged. 

As an additional precautionary measure, I usually use 2.1mm DC power sockets for charging which include an isolation switch. 



 When a plug is inserted into the socket, the connection between the battery and the motor (the blue wire in the above diagram) is cut-off. 

There are four main types of rechargeable battery available 'over the counter - Nicad/NiCd (Nickel Cadmium), NiMh (Nickel Metal Hydride), Lithium and Lead Acid. Nicads have now largely been replaced by NiMh. Lithium batteries are available in an increasingly baffling range of sub-types but are becoming a lot safer and more reliable. Lead acid batteries, as the name suggests, tend to be quite heavy and bulky.

I used to use NiMh batteries but now use lithium-ion batteries. These provide more power for their size than NiMh, but need to be handled with care.

NiCd (Nicad - Nickel Cadmium) batteries were once the recommended rechargeable battery for models but they have largely been superseded by NiMh (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries. NiCads are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Each battery delivers 1.2 volts.

 NiMh batteries do not suffer from the 'memory effect' which plagued NiCads - they can be recharged at any time, without the need to be fully discharged. As with NiCads, NiMh cells deliver 1.2 volts.


A major disadvantage of ordinary NiMh batteries is that they slowly become depleted when stored. It can be very frustrating to take your loco out into the garden only to find it needs recharging. Low Self Discharge (LSD) NiMh batteries (also known as Eneloop) overcome this problem. They tend to be slightly more expensive than ordinary NiMh batteries but, to my mind, they are well worth the extra expense.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) and Lithium-Polymer (Lipo) are now being used more extensively but many modellers are cautious about using them as, if not handled correctly, they are more volatile and can burst into flames. Their main advantage over other sorts of rechargeable battery is their capacity. Whereas each NiMh cell delivers 1.2v, each lithium cell delivers 3.7v. Hence, li-ion and lipo batteries take up considerably less space inside a loco than NiMh batteries. 

 Li-ion batteries are inherently more stable and reliable than Lipos because of their chemistry and their construction. They are available in a range of cylindrical styles:

By far the most popular is the 18650 sized battery (18mm diameter x 65.0mm long). Most laptop computer battery packs comprise three or six 18650 li-ion cells, giving 11.1 volts. 14500 batteries (14mm diameter x 50.0mm long)  are the same size as AA cells.

Because of their durability, range of sizes and slower discharge rates, li-ions are better suited to battery powered locos than lipos. 

 Lipo batteries are generally favoured by model car and model plane enthusiasts because they are capable of delivering large bursts of power and can be recharged more quickly. However, these capabilities can make them less stable than cylindrical li-ion batteries. Lipos are generally constructed into flexible plastic pouches ........

.... though sometimes they can be further encased in rigid cardboard or plastic cases but generally retain their cuboid shape:

 Small sealed lead acid batteries, such as those used as back-up batteries for burglar alarms, can be used inside large scale locomotives but their major disadvantage is weight and size. 


 Their advantages are the ease with which they can be recharged and the relative simplicity of their wiring. 

 Battery capacity

The capacity of rechargeable batteries is measured in Amp Hours (Ah) or MilliAmp Hours (mAh). For example, this NiMh battery is rated at 2600mAh (or 2.6Ah).


In theory, roughly, this means that if the electric motor which powers your loco is drawing 1 amp, then a 2Ah (or 2000mAh) battery should be able to power it for two hours. However, many other factors will affect this rating and so it should be taken only as a guide. Furthermore, many of the cheap, 'bargain' batteries which  are offered for sale on eBay exaggerate their capacities. For example, a set of li-ion batteries which I bought cheaply on eBay were advertised as having a capacity of 3200mAh. I discovered their actual capacities were closer to 1600mAh - and one of them ceased working after less than a year and only three charges.

Ideally, you should choose the batteries with the highest Amp Hour rating you can squeeze into the available space in your loco. Larger batteries, as you would expect, tend to have higher capacities.


Battery packs

Ready-made battery packs can be purchased from specialist suppliers such as Strikalite, who will construct battery packs to your own specifications. However, it is possible to make your own.


Connecting batteries in series

When batteries are connected in series, the output voltage is increased in proportion to the number of cells in the pack. For example, three 1.2v NiMh batteries connected in series will give an output of 
3 x 1.2v = 3.6v.

If the three cells are li-ion, then the voltage of the pack would be:
3 x 3.7v = 11.1v

If the cells were alkaline disposable batteries the the voltage of the pack would be:
3 x 1.5v = 4.5v

However, the capacity of the pack would be the same as for one of the cells. For example, if the pack was made from three 1500mAh NiMh cells then the capacity of the whole pack would also be 1500mAh

It is not advisable to mix batteries with different Ah ratings in the same pack. You should only connect batteries of the same type together into packs - and in the case of Li-ion batteries, they should preferably be from the same manufactured batch to ensure the charging and discharging characteristics are the same as these can vary with the age of the battery.


Connecting batteries in parallel

If batteries are connected in parallel, then the overall voltage of the pack will remain the same as for one cell, but the capacity of the pack will increase. For example, if three 1500mAh NiMh batteries are connected in parallel, then the voltage of the pack will be 1.2 volts but the pack's capacity will be:
 3 x 1500mAh = 4500mAh
 Just as the pack of three cells in series is designated as 3S, a pack of three cells in parallel is designed as 3P

Composite packs

A 3S2P pack would comprise of six cells - three pairs of parallel wired cells in series. In other words, pairs of cells are wired in parallel and then the three pairs are connected in series:
As you can see, a 2S3P pack would comprise two sets of three cells connected in parallel, wired together in series.

Let's assume that the each cell in the packs above are 1.2v, 1200mAh NiMh. 
  • The output from the 3S2P pack would be 1.2v x 3 = 3.6v, 1200mAh x 2 = 2400mAh  
  • and the output from the 2S3P pack would be 1.2v x 2 = 2.4v, 3 x 1200mAh = 3600mAh.
So, the 3S2P arrangement would be used for a higher voltage, lower current motor  and the 2S3P for a lower voltage, higher current motor.

For more information on wiring up battery packs see - http://scriptasylum.com/rc_speed/lipo.html

Choosing the right sized pack for your loco 

 It can be quite confusing trying to decide what size of battery pack you need for your loco. For example, most of my battery locos use commercial motor blocks designed for track-powered locos running off a maximum of 24v. However, because I don't require express train top speeds, I use 12v battery packs. My modelling mate in Australia also uses 24v motor blocks and most of his locos are happily powered by 9.6v packs and has some powered with 7.2v packs.

Before cramming every nook and cranny in your loco with batteries, try out a few different configurations of battery pack sizes to determine what sort of top speed you want for your loco. There is not point in having an excess of volts if you never use them.
 

Battery protection

It is very important that lithium cells are protected with electronic circuitry to ensure they are not short-circuited or are over-charged. Most importantly, lithium cells must not be overly discharged. If their voltage level falls below 3 volts then the cells can become permanently damaged. Some li-ion batteries include miniature protective circuity to prevent this and are sold as 'protected' batteries. 
 However, individual 'protected' cells cannot be connected in series to form larger battery packs, 'Unprotected' li-ion cells can be connected into packs but it is highly advisable that protection circuit boards are used.

The wiring for the board is fairly straightforward. The board needs to monitor the condition of each battery in the pack and so connections need to be made between the board and the ends of each battery.
 Two further connections are then made from the board to the wiring and the charge socket in the rest of the loco as normal. 


Although the convention is for a two way switch to be used in locos to switch between powering the loco and connecting the batteries to the charge socket for charging, it is not essential. A simple on-off switch will suffice, provided you remember to turn the loco off when charging. One advantage of having the charge socket 'live' at all times is that a meter can be plugged into it to monitor voltage flow when the loco is in motion.

Charging batteries and battery packs

It is vitally important that you use the correct type of charger for the batteries you are intending to charge. A charger designed for NiMh batteries should NEVER be used to charge li-ion batteries and vice versa.

If your batteries can be removed from the loco then a standard 'wall' charger can be used provided you ensure that it is compatible with the type of battery which you are charging. 


If you are charging batteries and packs inside your loco then you need a charger which is specifically designed to charge the type of battery and the size of pack you are using. For example, if your loco is powered by a pack made up from three NiMh cells wired in series, then you need a charger capable of charging a 3.6v NiMh pack, such as this one which is designed to charge NiMh packs from 3.6v (3 cells) up to 12v (10 cells):

It is an 'intelligent' Delta charger which senses the state of charge of the cells and will automatically go into trickle charge mode when the batteries reach their full charge. As can be seen, it includes a range of connectors making it fairly universal.

Similar chargers can be bought for charging lithium-ion packs and lead acid batteries.

For maximum flexibility, I would recommend the iMax B6 charger. This is capable of intelligently charging NCad, NiMh, Li-ion and lead-acid batteries. It seems to have become the most popular smart charger available and as a consequence has dropped in price. Its disadvantage is that it looks very complicated to use when it is first taken out of the box, compounded by a largely incomprehensible handbook, but one its basic features have been grasped it is surprisingly easy to use and is very versatile. (see How to use an iMax B6 charger - pending)

These can be purchased quite reasonably on eBay. I prefer the original version of the charger as Version 2 requires obligatory connection of a balance charge lead when charging li-ion batteries.

Balance charging ensures that the level of charge in each cell in a pack is the same. If the charge becomes unbalanced then the efficiency of the pack is reduced. If the imbalance becomes too acute then the cells can become damaged beyond repair and so it is advisable to balance charge any pack from time to time. Again, the wiring for this is fairly logical - just as the protection board needs to be able to monitor the condition of each pack, the charger needs to do the same. Consequently, the connection to a charge plug - usually a JST multi-pin plug - is the same as that needed for the protection board.

The loco is then connected to the charger through an additional balance charge lead....

....connected to the balance charge sockets on the side of the charger.
Once in balance charge mode, the charger will automatically sense and manage the charging of each individual cell.

 Controlling speed

Manual controllers

A manual speed controller uses a potentiometer to adjust the voltage supplied from the battery to the motor. You could use a wire wound potentiometer to adjust the voltage, but there are more elegant and efficient ways to control the speed. Speed controllers can be bought in kit form from online suppliers such as IP Engineering or Cambrian Models or, if you are competent with a soldering iron, then you can make your own using a potentiometer and a single component such as the IRF3205 MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semi-conductor Field Effect Transistor).

 You may need to bolt the MOSFET to a heat-sink (eg a small piece of aluminium sheet) if the motor is put under a moderate load as it will generate heat which will need to be disipated.

Alternatively, you can buy a PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) motor controller circuit board quite reasonably on eBay, such as this:


The speed control knob can be disguised as a chimney, brake handle or wheel, or even a bucket.

Radio control

Radio control enabled you to control the speed and direction of your loco remotely from a distance. More sophisticated radio control systems allow you to control additional features such as lighting, sound and other gadgets such as remote uncoupling.

A traditional radio control system uses a transmitter, receiver and an electronic speed controller (ESC).

Most ESCs designed for model railway locos control speed and direction (eg Brian Jones' Mac5)


or the MTroniks Viper 10 Loco,

 - but some of the less expensive ESCs control only speed and so a separate radio controlled direction switch is needed. If looking for low-cost ESCs, make sure you buy one advertised as controlling 'brushed' motors.

Any standard radio control system can be used to operate the loco. I have used a cheap transmitter designed for use with those tiny battery powered helicopters and a standard receiver, into which is plugged the ESC (in this case a Brian Jones Mac5)

It is possible to get receivers which have an ESC built-in (eg the Deltang / RC Trains Rx65b).


These tend to be more compact and so will fit into smaller locos (eg the IP Engineering Plate Frame Simplex) and. of course, the wiring is simplified.

Radio control systems designed for use with model trains

 The disadvantage of standard radio control systems is that they are primarily designed for use with model planes, boats or cars and so tend to have joysticks or levers to control speed. If the joystick is sprung-loaded then a finger or thumb has to be held on the joystick continuously while the loco is in motion. Fortunately, there is a range of radio control systems available designed specifically for model trains. Here is a small selection:

Timpdon Ultrarad
http://www.timpdon.co.uk/timpdon/telec/products/products_urc.php

RC Trains / Deltang
http://rctrains.co.uk/Transmitters.htm

Yatton Engineering / Deltang
http://www.yattonmodelengineering.co.uk/radiocontrolsystem.html

LocoLinc

http://www.locolinc.com/locolinc.html

I have only had direct experience with Deltang and RC Trains equipment and also, as I used to construct and sell RC Trains transmitters, it would be unfair of me to offer opinions on the relative merits of each system. Over the years (well before I set up RC Trains), I have accumulated considerable knowledge of the Deltang system - just enter Deltang into the search box at the top of the page or browse through the radio control section in the blog contents for more information.

For general information on radio control in large scale garden trains see my blog entry on getting started with radio control.




Sunday, March 26, 2017

Progress Report 66

As you will have noticed, it has been over six months since I posted my previous Progress Report (see Progress Report 65). I usually aim to produce them within two months of each other, but the online business which I set up at the start of 2016 (RC Trains), proved to be considerably more popular than I envisaged. Furthermore, members of my family have been suffering from a series of health issues and as a consequence, I have not had a great deal of spare time to devote to working on my railway and keeping up my blog as I had previously.

However, I have been able to take time out from my commitments to work on various projects:

Rolling Stock

I have been tempted to acquire or construct new items of goods or passenger rolling stock, but the storage roads in the garage (see How I constructed storage sidings) ........

...... are now full to capacity and so it is more likely that, in the future, I will start super-detailing wagons and coaches and maybe replace some items with better alternatives.

As my locos are stored in the house, I have been able to add a couple more locos and, as part of my RC Trains activities, I have converted a range of locos to battery power for various customers.

 Regner Chaloner

Probably the most significant development is the acquisition of my first live steam locomotive. As slow-running and controllability are important considerations for my approach to operation, I decided a geared loco would be more appropriate. I was fortunate that a fellow modeller on one of the forums which I frequent offered me a Regner vertical boilered 'Chaloner' loco at a reasonable price.

She has so far had two outings on my railway and I am slowly getting to grips with the demands of a loco which requires fuel and water at regular intervals. My next plan is to install radio control so that she can be better integrated into my usual operating sessions. I appreciate that she is substantially over-scale (being nearer to 7/8ths scale), but have never been a rivet-counter often exercise the gentle art of compromise.


 Angliscisation of Stainz 

This project has been ongoing since the Summer. Although I could quite legitimately justified the running of a loco with German origins on my 1930s fictional rural narrow gauge railway (see A History of the Railway and its Locality), I decided to indulge in a bit of kit-bashing to turn her into something more Anglicised (see How I Anglicised my LGB Stainz loco - pending).
LGB Stainz conversion - work in progress
I have described previously how I converted her to battery power using a trail car (see How I converted an LGB Stainz loco to battery power with a trail car and How I converted an LGB Stainz loco to battery power without a trail car). In addition to changing her appearance, I replaced the large head and tail lights with more appropriate loco lamps (see How I made some loco lamps - pending) and stripped out the circuit board to use the directional lighting outputs from the Deltang/RC Trains  Rx65b receiver instead. I also replaced the simulated sandpaper-rasping default soundcard with a more sophisticated Dallee soundcard (see How I interfaced a Dallee soundcard with a Deltang / RC Trains Rx65b receiver/controller - pending).

ToyTrain Diesel

Quite a few of my locos were constructed using LGB ToyTrain 0-4-0 motor blocks (eg see How I constructed a Hunslet loco from a GRS kit). I like to have at least one motor block 'in stock' as a spare or in case I have an urge to construct another locomotive. To this end, I bought a brand new LGB ToyTrain diesel loco for a reasonable price on eBay.

I am considering using this as the basis for another diesel outline loco - watch this space!

Soundcards

I must confess to being fascinated by soundcards and whenever one comes up on eBay I tend to place a tentative bid and then forget about it. In this way, I have recently acquired three soundcards - a couple of older versions of Dallee soundcards (one diesel and one steam) and a Phoenix BigSound 2k2 soundcard.

I am also working with Alan Bond on developing a small soundcard for diesel locos, though this project has been on the back-burner since the summer. Maybe, now I have a little more free time, I can resurrect it.

 Battery conversions

As indicated above, through my work with RC Trains, I was commissioned to convert customers' locos to battery power and/or radio control. For example:

Piko loco
I converted a G Scale Piko DB BR80 loco so it could run either on battery power and radio control or from conventional DC track power - see How I converted a Piko DB BR80 loco to battery power.

I tried to make this loco uncomplicated and self-contained by using three 18650 li-ion batteries and an iMax B3 charger. However, one of the greatest problems was finding a suitable panel mounted four-way socket to link the charger to the loco.

I used a 3.5mm four-pole jack socket and plug but was not entirely happy about it as, if it is not inserted fully, it could cause problems with the charger connections. It was therefore never intended to be more than a one-off experiment.

PLine diesel loco
The greatest problem with this loco was finding space for the batteries. Some 'flat' li-ion phone batteries were a perfect fit but proved reluctant to have leads soldered to their contacts and so two14650 li-ion batteries were squeezed in under the bonnet together with a Deltang/RC Trains Rx65b receiver/controller.

She responded well to the receiver and seemed quite happy trundling around my SM32 copper mine tramway see - How I converted a manually controlled PLine Lister to radio control)

Dapol 0 Gauge Terrier Tank
This was a complete departure from my usual loco conversions and proved to be quite a challenge, as space was very limited inside the body. I did, however, manage to squeeze four 10440 (AAA sized) li-ion batteries into the side tanks (wired as two parallel pairs - 2S2P) and a Deltang Rx60b receiver/controller into the smokebox.

With her flywheel and superior motor and gearbox, she proved to be a very smooth runner - quite a tempting proposition if ever I decide to venture into 0 gauge ...... (get thee behind me Satan!).

Permanent Way 

The layout of my railway is now quite firmly fixed and so developments with permanent way tend these days to be more associated with maintenance than track laying. However, there is always room for improvement and so there have been a few developments.

Peckforton re-alignment

After widening Peckforton Station and laying a new siding (see How I enlarged Peckforton Station), I decided it was time I sorted out a long-standing problem with the main tracks passing through the station. Since creating the station (see How I added a new station at Peckforton), the concrete blocks on which the track was laid, have settled - causing an unwelcome dip. This has meant that pulling in and out the station is a bit of a challenge, particularly when using inertia control on the RC Trains/ Deltang transmitters and even more so with visiting live steam locos. Rather than lifting all the track and re-positioning the blocks, I opted for a less intrusive approach which I've used before - I removed the screws holding the track and replaced them with longer ones. The track was then temporarily raised on various pieces of slate, tile and stones ........

.......and the space beneath the track filled with concrete.


The dip has now been removed and it is a lot easier to control the stopping and starting of trains. Though the platform now also needs to be raised to allow the poor passengers to reach the steps up into the coaches.

Level crossing

Having acquired a level crossing kit from North Pilton Works, I installed one of the crossings on the approach to Peckforton Station.

As with all railways built under the Light Railways Act of 1896, the Peckforton Light Railway was constructed in the cheapest way possible. Instead of expensive over- and under-bridges, most of the road crossings would have been on the level. As a consequence, I have to find space for three more level crossings. Each North Pilton kit provides me with sufficient parts for two single track level crossings and so is proving to be a cost effective approach to solving this problem. All I need to do now, is find suitable locations for the remaining crossings. (see How I installed a level crossing)

Lineside

 Picket fencing

In addition to the level crossing kit, I also invested in some picket fencing from the same supplier. Having tried (and failed) to make realistic picket fencing myself, I decided this laser-cut fencing was a cost effective solution. The kits come with a variety of different fittings, large gates. small gates, corner posts etc. and so I opted for a couple of kits with gates and an additional fencing pack. So far I have installed fencing around the forecourt of Beeston Market station (see How I installed some picket fencing ).......


 People

Having set my fictional railway in a real life setting (rural Cheshire) and a specific time period (the early 1930s, I realised that I could actually give the passengers and railway staff real identities, based on the names and occupations of local inhabitants drawn from census returns. Unfortunately, as census data is only released on the 100th anniversary of a particular census, I shall have to wait another fourteen years until the 1931 census records are made available and so I have had to use some artistic/modellers'/historical/genealogical licence to use the returns from 1911 to give identities to the figures which populate the platforms, station yards and carriages (see How I created identities for my populace). For example, this chap is John Boote, the foreman of the sandstone quarry in Bickerton.

..... and this young lady ....

.... is Ann Kirby, the cook at Bulkeley Hall.

In addition, I have also acquired a clutch of new characters for my railway.

These will eventually be assigned names and personalities as they take up their places on the railway. My next aim is to search local newspaper archives to identify specific events which occurred at the time and then create life stories for some of  the characters. Who says this hobby is uninteresting?

Operations

Operating sessions

I have managed a few operating sessions since the last Progress Report, but they have been few and far between. Mostly, operations have been restricted to testing converted locos or running a few unscheduled trains when visitors have arrived (see below). I did squeeze in a couple of timetable-led sessions during August and October, however - here are a few photos from one of them them.
Diesel loco No.8, Wynford on the first Down ore train of the day
Manning Wardle 0-6-0T No.6 Harthill eases out of Beeston Market with the Down afternoon mixed
No. 6 Harthill approaching Beeston Castle station with the Down mixed

The Down afternoon mixed pauses at Bulkeley station to allow an Up ore train to pass, hauled by diesel mechanical Fowler loco No. 7 Tollemache
Peckett 0-4-0 loco No.1 Peckforton taking the Up pick-up goods out of Bulkeley station across the swing bridge

No.8 Wynford on an Up 'special' (taking stock back to the storage sidings)

Visitors and visitations

During July, I paid a visit to Peter Butler in South Wales to see his magnificent Brockhampton and Umbridge Railway, and more particularly his fine collection of scratchbuilt Far Twittering and Oystercreek Railway models in inspired by Rowland Emett.
Peter and his friend, Mike, preparing one of the Emett trains at Brockhampton Station

0-2-0 loco Hero
2-2-2 loco, Neptune
0-4-0 Steam Railmotor
0-4-0 loco No.5, Nellie, hauling the milk train



During August, Zach Bond made what is becoming an annual visit, this time bringing his trusty Accucraft Excelsior (River Butley).

..... together with his 'momentum van'.


More recently, Phil Partridge's freelance battery powered diesel loco with a small collection of mineral wagons paid the line a visit.


It's always pleasant to welcome visitors and also to gain inspiration by visiting other people's railways.

Developments

 

Canal basin extension

I have been steadily accumulating lengths of track and pointwork in preparation for constructing an extended siding from Beeston Market station to reach the canal basin where, it is envisaged, there will be a run-round loop and a siding for transhipment of goods between canal boats and the railway.

RC Trains

After much deliberation, at the beginning of this month, I decided to hand over my online business supplying radio control equipment for trains to a fellow modeller and electronics enthusiast, Phil Partridge. With members of my family undergoing various medical procedures, I decided I could no longer care for them and keep the business going. I am confident that Phil will continue to develop the business and I can refocus my attention on my own railway and this blog (oh, and my family, of course!).