Monday, August 13, 2018

Progress Report 74

A month or so since my last report (see Progress Report 73) and quite a few developments.
  • I have completed a boiler house and water tower for the sawmill at Peckforton
  • I have constructed a loading bank for Bulkeley station
  • I have constructed the ruins of Beeston Castle
  • I have added a siding to Beeston Castle Station
  • I have started construction of fruit boxes for the loading bank
  • I have converted an LGB US style box car into something more appropriate for the PLR
  • I have written-up the construction of the IP Engineering Albert loco kit
  • I have pressed ahead with the development and fitting of my LGB coupling replacements
  • I have purchased and deployed camouflage netting to help disguise ugly backgrounds when filming or photographing scenes on my railway
  • I have had a couple of very satisfying operating sessions


 Boiler House and Water Tower for the sawmill at Peckforton

After finishing the sawmill (see How I constructed the sawmill and How I detailed the interior of the sawmill), I realised that the mill engine powering the equipment at the sawmill would need a boiler to generate steam. Although, in reality, it would have been unlikely that an elaborate structure would have been used to house the boiler, I decided to make a fairly substantial structure from PVC foamboard using the skills I had acquired when constructing the water mill (see How I constructed the water mill from foamboard).

I am in the process of making a smoke unit for it so that, intermittently, smoke will emerge from the chimney (see How I constructed a smoke unit for the boiler house - pending)

 To accompany the boiler house, I realised I would need a water tower. Again, I opted for something quite substantial as I reasoned that it could also serve to replenish locomotive tanks as Peckforton is the midway station on the system. PVC foamboard, plasticard and the barrel from a ball point pen were pressed into service to make the tower (see How I constructed the water tower at Peckforton station - pending).

The water tower and boiler house need to be properly bedded-in to the locations at the station, but they do seem to fit the bill quite nicely.

Beeston Castle

For more than ten years, Beeston Castle has been represented by a cluster of small sandstone pebbles concreted together. These have now been replaced by a gatehouse, a representation of the walls of the outer bailey and some walls of the inner bailey, carved from a couple of Thermalite blocks. For more information see How I constructed Beeston Castle from Thermalite blocks.

I am now in the process of adding more detailing at Beeston Castle Station to, for example, allow passengers to access the site of the castle.

Loading bank at Bulkeley

I have always assumed that one of the prime sources of traffic from Bulkeley station would be fruit-growing - eg see

To assist with the loading and unloading of apples and soft fruit, I felt a reasonably substantial loading bank would have been required, and so I cast one in concrete:

For more information see - How I cast a loading bank in concrete.

Fruit boxes

To hold the fruit, I needed some fruit boxes. These were kindly donated to me by a fellow modeller who had some laser-cut frets surplus to his requirements. I am in the process of acquiring more 1/24 scale apples to load into them but my original source seems to have run out. I may have to resort to making my own from Fimo.

Permanent Way

New siding at Beeston Castle Station

A new siding has now been added to the passing loop at Beeston Castle. The old siding at Beeston has always been rather short - accommodating no more than three wagons. The new siding should be able to hold up to seven wagons. I am trying to decide whether to add a lineside industry to the siding - either a brewery or a dairy.

Rolling Stock

 Anglicisation of a US style box car

These days, I don't often add more rolling stock to the roster as my railway has more or less reached its capacity. However, I have had an LGB US style box car sitting on my shelves for a couple of years and, after using it as a test-base for the development of my LGB replacement couplings (see below), I decided it was about time I resolved its ignominy and let it enter service.

Before .........

..... and after.

For more information about the conversion see How I anglicised an LGB box car

IP Engineering Albert loco

Since my last Progress Report, I have completed this little loco, by adding some detail and giving her (or him?) a paint-job.

For more information about this build see - How I constructed an IP Engineering Albert loco from a kit


 As mentioned in my previous Progress Report, I am in the process of replacing all the large (and to my mind ugly) plastic LGB hook and loop couplings on my rolling stock with smaller alternatives. I have decided to retain the hook and loop style of coupling as I want something with is simple, reliable, cheap and compatible with LGB couplings. I couldn't afford to replace the couplings on all 75+ items of rolling stock with realistic models of couplings and so opted for a much cheaper alternative, which is compatible with LGB couplings to enable me to replace them over time rather than all at once.

I am now about 2/3 of the way through converting the rolling stock and have had a couple of operating sessions using a mix of couplings. There are a few teething problems, particularly when linking the new couplings to LGB couplings, but overall I am pleased with the way in which the new couplings are faring. For more information see How I constructed my own LGB style hook and loop couplings - pending


Camouflage netting

The range of photos and videos I have been able to shoot on the railway has been restricted in the past because I have considered the house, garage, sheds and fencing to have been unsuitable backdrops. I did experiment with using blue screen superimposition to hide backgrounds, but was never really convinced by the result (see Progress Report 73). A fellow modeller suggested using camouflage netting to disguise unwanted backgrounds. I duly invested in some and am so far quite pleased with the results.


 ..... After

The netting seems to be more effective if it is a fair distance from the camera and/or is viewed through foliage in the middle distance.

Less effective .......

...... more effective

Operating sessions

As indicated above, I have had a couple of full operating sessions since the last Progress Report to, among other things give the now couplings some rigorous testing.

For this session, I used my two ex Southwold locos to handle the bulk of the traffic

And this one employed principally my Bagnall 0-4-2T and ex Davington Manning Wardle 0-6-0T. In this video the mix of new and old couplings is clearly visible from 1:50 to 2:10.

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