Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Progress Report 67

In the past month, I have managed to finish off some projects, start a couple more, carry out some maintenance and run a few trains. The weather hasn't been conducive to a large number of running sessions, but I did manage to complete a full operating session over two days.

Rolling stock

The most significant progress has been the completion of the conversion of my Stainz loco to something which looks more appropriate for a UK narrow gauge railway in the 1930s (see How I Anglicised an LGB Stainz loco).

I am very pleased with the result. I feel she has a passing resemblance to the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway's Beyer Peacock locos, though that may have something to do with the large rectangular windows in the cab.


 Having been running my Leek & Manifold(ish) coaches for two years without interiors, I decided it was time the passengers had somewhere to sit.

 The panelling and seating were constructed primarily from balsa wood as I figured that it was easy to work and would not be subject to too much stress once the roofs were fixed in place.

For more information see - How I made interiors for my coaches.

Permanent Way

 The main development here has been the replacement of the supports for the raised trackbed at the side of the sheds. For some reason, maybe because this section never sees sunlight, the posts supporting the railway here rotted away completely below ground level.

This section of the railway has been in place for around eleven years, and the timbers which I used were recycled from a fence which was already over twenty years old and so I suppose I can't really complain.

The track was removed ........

.............. and the concrete foundations for the posts were dug out.

New 4" pressure treated posts were placed in the holes, given some additional generous coats of preservative........

...... and concreted into place.

Once the concrete had set, the planks supporting the track were mostly reinstated, though one small section needed to be replaced as its ends were starting to go soft.

The planks were then covered in roofing felt, tacked on with galvanised clout nails.

The track was then reinstated, being screwed in place with 1" woodscrews.


The swing bridge was constructed over seven years ago, from sections of uPVC angle trim.

It has lasted well, though the raised middle section has suffered a little from accidental knocks. I decided to replace this section and reinforce it. Plastic angle was bought from a DIY chain and four uprights fixed in place using good quality Superglue (after discovering the cheaper variety from the pound shop was worse than useless).

Cross-beams were then glued to these and, to provide additional strength, diagonal braces linking them together fixed across the top.

Once the glue had set ......

...... the whole bridge was given a complete repaint with red oxide primer.


To populate the coaches to which interiors had been added, I needed some passengers. I had a few 1:19 seated figures but these proved to be a little too large for the closely-packed seats in the coaches. I had previously acquired some 1:25 figures from China but hadn't used them because they were underscale. However, they were perfect for the coach seats - apart from the fact they were in modern clothing.

They required some modification to be more appropriate for the early 1930s - the period in which my railway is set. In most cases, this simply required the addition of a hat, but other figures needed more work, particularly in the case of female figures, replacing leggings with skirts or lengthening the hemlines of dresses.

The additional features were added using a product called Green Stuff - a two-part epoxy putty which can moulded to provide very fine detailing - see How I modified figures for the 1930s - pending.


 A Crest for my Railway
When finishing off the coaches I felt they needed some embellishment on the outside as well as inside. The most glaring omission was a railway crest. After looking at providers willing to create custom made decals and wondering if I could justify the cost, I decided to create my own - using a free Drawing package (Serif Draw Plus Starter Edition).

The resultant crest was modified from that of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway and with the addition of the coat of arms of the Tollemache family - who built Peckforton Castle. For more information see How I created a crest for my railway.

Loco lamps
While completing the modification of my Stainz loco, I felt the non-UK-prototypical lamps looked out of place and wanted to provide something which was more appropriate. After scanning the web, I felt bog-standard loco lamps would look the part and so set about making some, based around 5mm LEDs (warm white and red/white bi-colour).

They were constructed from small sections of Plastruct and brass wire. They were wired into the Deltang / RC Trains Rx65b receiver to provide automatic forward and reverse lighting.

For more information see - How I constructed some loco lamps.

General Maintenance

In addition to replacing the trackbed beside the sheds, I have had to repair and refine various sections of track around the layout - in much the same way as would happen on a real railway. Two of the LGB point motors stopped working (see How I operate my points by radio control). In one case, the connection between the screw connectors and the copper winding had corroded and so this connection was restored, and in the other case the actuating arm had become stiff owing to accumulated debris inside the motor - this was cleaned out.

While replacing the li-ion batteries in loco 1 (one of which was no longer holding its charge), I managed to accidentally short-out the wiring. Amid much white smoke, the wiring loom insulation melted. Fortunately, the new batteries were unaffected - though somewhat depleted - and they charged-up with no problem. For some reason, I had not included a Polyfuse in this loco's circuitry, which would have saved me a lot of hassle.

Running sessions

Apart from running the occasional train now and again, I have only had the opportunity so far this year to have one full operating session - running to timetable with full freight movements.

Here are a few shots and a video taken during this session.
0-4-0 Beyer Peacock(ish) Loco No.10 takes the early Down past the Copper Mine
No. 10 hauling the Up Early Mixed beside the River Gowy
0-4-2 Bagnall loco No.11 brings the Up Goods into Peckforton station
while freelance diesel No. 8 awaits the off on a Down empty ore train
No. 8 brings an Up ore train into Bulkeley past No. 10 on a Down Mixed
No. 10 takes the Up Mixed out of Bickerton while No. 11 passes overhead with the Down Goods
No. 10 departs with Peckforton with an Up Passenger while No.11 waits to depart with the Up Goods


The operating year has got off to a good start with a couple of big maintenance jobs being completed and at least one full operating session having been run. Since handing over RC Trains to my successor, I've been able to catch up with a few jobs which have been lurking and, provided all goes well with the medical procedures affecting various members of the family, I am hoping I will be able to make the most of any good weather which may arise over the coming weeks.

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