Monday, June 19, 2017

How I made a coaling stage

Since I first started running trains on my railway around ten years ago, my locos have primarily been steam outline. I am ashamed to say that, in all that time, the entire railway has been without a means of coaling and watering locomotives. That has now changed. Beeston Market Station, where the railway's engine shed and workshops are located now boasts a water tower and coaling facilities.

When the engine shed was moved from one end of the station to the other (see Progress Report 59), I added a siding alongside the shed roads primarily for a loco coal wagon. I decided that the space between this siding and the shed roads could accommodate a narrow coaling stage.

As with most of my projects, I started off by drawing a rough sketch of what I wanted, showing the most significant dimensions. I made allowances for the heights of the loco running plates and a typical open wagon, together with a calculation of the width which would be available between the siding and the road leading to the engine shed (more of that later!)

The six 70mm long uprights were then cut from 7.9mm square section Plastruct tubing.

The three cross-pieces and four longitudinal beams were then cut from the same tubing (34mm and 156mm respectively).

All pieces were then roughly scribed with a blade of a razor saw to simulate wood grain.

 The verticals were then marked at their midway points to show where the horizontal beams should be glued.

Some pieces of 1mm thick plasticard were cut out, roughly 10mm square ......

.... and glued to the one end of the uprights using styrene solvent adhesive.

Once the adhesive had set, the excess pieces of styrene were trimmed off ......

..... to provide end-caps for the verticals.

The side beams were then glued to the verticals at their mid-points .....

The transverse beams were then glued to one side and the other side then glued on.

Diagonals (56mm long on one side and 40mm long on the other) were cut from the 7.9mm Plastruct square tubing and scored with a razor saw to simulate wood grain.

These diagonals were then glued between the uprights and the longitudinal beams.

10mm wide strips of 1.5mm thick plasticard were cut .......

..... and scored with a razor-saw blade for planking.

The edges were then bevelled slightly by dragging a craft knife along them.

 Planks were then cut to around 53mm lengths, their ends were made jagged with a triangular needle file before being glued across the beams for the flooring.

Similarly, planks roughly 100mm in length were glued across the verticals.

Three more diagonals were then cut out and scored .......

.... to fit across the base.

The structure was now almost complete. I felt the longer planks needed some additional bracing and so .....

.... a couple of 32mm long pieces of 2.5mm square Plastruct rod were glued at the midway points.

The whole thing was then given two coats of red oxide primer using a Halford's rattle can aerosol.

Once dry, the structure was painted with dark brown acrylics, the grain being emphasised by dry-brushing over with a couple of lighter shades of brown.

Some off-cuts of polystyrene were then shaped and glued into the corners of the staging.

These were painted with black acrylics .......

...... before being coated in PVA adhesive and sprinkled with crushed coal.

Once everything had dried, the stage was test-fitted beside the engine shed at Beeston Market. It was at this point, I decided to try it with all my locos and discovered that some have much wider running plates than the one I had based my measurements on and so, unless I was prepared to move the tracks, the coaling stage wouldn't fit!! I had broken the first rule of any DIY project work - measure twice and cut once!!!

However, I realised that the crew on the PLR would have applied a belt and braces approach to coaling their locos. An open wagon, parked on the siding, could serve as a perfectly adequate coaling stage, without the need for the coal to be shovelled twice, provided a suitable plank was placed between the wagon and the loco.

I have decided to modify the coaling-stage so that it is one-sided, and use it at Bickerton Station - the other terminus on the railway. So all is not lost.

They say experience teaches you lessons in life ...... we never stop learning, do we?

No comments: