Sunday, May 05, 2019

How I made brake gear for some HLW based wagons

Having recently constructed a rake of nine hopper wagons based on those which ran on the Snailbeach and District Railways using Hartland Locomotive Works (HLW) wagon chassis (see How I constructed some Snailbeach hopper wagons - pending) , I realised I would need to represent the brake gear - which on the Snailbeach wagons bore on two wheels on one side of each wagon. Many narrow gauge wagons had simple brake gear which only operated on one wheel, so the Snailbeach brake gear was going to be slightly more complicated.

After drawing up a sketch plan, based on the dimensions of the HLW wagon chassis based on drawings of the brake gear in Eric Tonks' book The Snailbeach and District Railways (Industrial Railway Society, 1974)  .......

...... I decided that I would use thin brass sheet, rather than plasticard, for this construction as I thought the flimsy components might be susceptible to damage. Fortunately I had some thin brass shim available in my box of bits and so started marking and cutting out the various components. As I was fitting-out five wagons, I could batch-produce each component.

I started with the brake lever, which as you can see below, was 45mm in length and 3mm, tapering to 2mm wide, with a 1mm diameter hole at the 'thick' end.

I marked-out six levers, drilled them, cut them out and shaped the ends with a file for the five wagons (and one spare, just in case!).

I then marked-out five pivot plates. The dimensions for each are shown on this drawing.

I find drilling the holes easier after marking out these small parts and before cutting them out, as it is easier to hold and position a large piece of brass than several small pieces. The holes, by the way, are 1mm diameter. I could have saved brass by marking these out back to back.

These were then cut-out. I actually used a robust pair of scissors rather than tin snips.

Next, I marked-out the droppers to support the brake operating linkage. As can be seen the droppers were, overall, 31mm x 3mm, with a 1mm hole drilled 2.5mm from the upper end of the dropper. The 5mm divisions at each end are where the droppers will be folded (see below).

Again, the droppers were marked-out, drilled and then cut-out in batches. I needed ten for the five wagons, but marked-out twelve - just in case!

Next, I marked-out the linkages - 30mm x 2.5mm, with a 1mm hole 2mm from one end.

These were marked-out as a batch of twelve.

Finally, the brake shoes were marked out. These were 8mm x 4mm with a 1mm hole drilled in the centre of the 8mm side, approx 2mm in from the edge.

The concave surfaces were filed before each shoe was cut-out - again, it's easier to do this while the shoes are part of a larger chunk of metal.

Now. armed with all the requisite bits and pieces, I was ready to solder them all together. As I don't possess asbestos finger-tips, I drilled a few holes in a piece of 8mm plywood to locate the various components. The holes coincided with the main components shown in the original sketch plan (see above) - two holes in the centre, 5mm apart. Either side of these were another two holes, one ??mm to the let and right, ??mm above the upper hole - and the other ??mm to the left and right, ??mm below the lower hole.

The various components were then tinned with solder at strategic points .....

 ...... before being located via the holes in the jig, using dome-headed, brass escutcheon pins.

Heat was applied to the various tinned joints .......

........ and then excess solder was filled clean with square needle file.

(Note: the guide for the brake-lever was soldered on last of all).

The three pins which had been soldered were then snipped off at the rear.

To fix the gear in place, one hole was drilled in the sole bar to coincide with the lowermost hole in the support plate. An escutcheon pin was then passed through the hole ........

..... and bent over to secure it in place.

This process was repeated with the other two holes in the plate.

The ends of the droppers were then folded over, a hole drilled through the longitudinal member, a pin inserted and then glued into place with superglue.

The guide for the brake lever was then fixed in place with a couple of pins .......

...... drilled and superglued into place.

The gear was then given a coat of red oxide primer ........

....followed by a coat of black acrylic paint with the end of the brake lever picked-out in white.

The wagons were then weathered  ........

......... and recoupled together in their rake and given a few test-runs.

As indicated above, I have constructed different versions of brake gear, dependent on the type of wagon for which they were intended. Some using plasticard components .....

... and others with vee-hangers using a combination of plastic and brass components.

I am intending to construct some single-wheel brake gear systems, based on those of wagons on the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway.

As they say, watch this space!!

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

How I detailed the coal yard at Beeston Castle

After making some coal bins / staithes from foamboard (see How I made some coal bins), I was faced
with the prospect of installing them at the stations on the Peckforton Light Railway. Whilst there was very little space at Bickerton, Bulkeley and Peckforton for any detailing beyond the bins themselves, .......

The bins at Peckforton Station
.... there was more scope for additional features to be added at the recently created goods yard at Beeston Castle (see Progress Report 74). I have already documented the development of the coal yard at Beeston Market station (see How I made some coal bins and Detailing the approach to the station and Progress Report 59).

Having created a small amount of additional space at Beeston Castle .....

 ...... I set about making a simple coal office (basically a shed) and added a few additional details such as a set of coal scales and other associated clutter.

The coal merchant's office

The structure for the office was mostly made from one A3 sheet of 3mm thick PVC foamboard purchased online from Simply Plastics. I needed an extra piece of 3mm foamboard to finish off the roof - which came from my stock of off-cuts.

The dimensions for the office were - sides = 192mm x 96mm; ends = 160mm x 96mm (128m to peak of gable); the roof panels were 200mm x 95mm. The door was 40mm x 102mm and the window in the centre of one side was 64mm x 40mm. Horizontal planking was marked at 6mm intervals along the sides and ends, with vertical planks on the door at 5mm intervals.

The horizontal plank divisions were then scored ......

.... with a flat bladed screwdriver .....

......... and weatherboarding simulated by dragging the 6mm wide blade of a screwdriver along the scribed lines at an angle.

 Wood grain was represented by dragging the teeth of a razor saw along each plank.

 a 3mm wide strip was left at each corner of the end pieces. This was given vertical wood grain with the teeth of the razor saw.

The window frame was made from 2mm x 2mm strips of plasticard (cut from a 2mm thick piece of plasticard) glued in place with thick superglue (I use VitalBond, available in 50g bottles from eBay).

The walls and roof of the office were then glued together with thick superglue. The ends butting on to the sides to give a 3mm square pillar in each corner. 8mm wide eaves were glued to the gable ends, using 1.5mm thick plasticard. A 3mm wide sill was glued beneath the window and a 3mm wide rainstrip was glued above the door. These were cut from a 2mm thick piece of plasticard. The structure was then given a coat of red oxide primer and left to dry.

 The interior

Although it will hardly be visible, I decided to add some interior detailing. A base for the office was cut from a piece of 2mm thick plasticard to fit snugly inside the building. At the midpoint, the base for the counter was made from 2mm thick plasticard. This was 40mm high and 35mm wide.

The counter top was then glued on to stretch across the width of the office (assuming there would be a lift-up flap at the end).

A 15mm deep bookshelf was made to fit across the back of the office, with shelves at 20mm intervals.

 Stacks of box-files for the shelves were made from 16mm x 8mm pieces of 5mm and 3mm thick foamboard. These were glued together in stacks with superglue.

The drawers for a desk were scored on to a 35mm x 20mm piece of 2mm thick plasticard. Drawer handles were made from mapping pins superglued into holes drilled into the centre of each drawer, the shank of the pin then being snipped off at the back.

 The structure for the desk was then made from pieces of 2mm thick plasticard, to fit into the space between the counter and the bookcase.

A chair was made from scraps of 2mm thick plasticard (1.5mm thick for the seat and backrests). The rear legs were 48mm x 3mm (with a 3mm indent in the middle) and the from legs 24mm x 3mm.The seat was 20mm x 20mm.

The rear legs were glued to the seat first with solvent adhesive. The backrest and lower strut were then glued into place.

The struts linking the rear and front legs were then glued .....

...... and then the front legs glued on.

It was then left for the glue to harden.

The interior was then given a coat of red oxide primer. Note, the underside of the base was also given a coat of primer to help prevent it from warping.

The floor and furniture was painted with varying shades of brown acrylics and the box files were painted with acrylics in various appropriate colours and white labels painted on. The log book was made from a square of 2mm thick plasticard, glued to a square of 0.5mm thick black plasticard.

 A seated figure was painted and glued to the chair which was then glued in front of the desk.

The outside of the office was given a coat of green acrylic paint and the roof painted mid-grey. The window and eaves were painted cream.

 The intended site for the office and coal bins was cast in concrete and, while the concrete was still in its 'green' state, a depression for the structures was hollowed out with a trowel.

A piece of Corriflute (also called Correx) was cut to fit the site ......

..... and given a coat of red oxide primer on both sides.

The office and some large barrels (of paraffin and fuel oils) was then glued to the corriflute.

The site was then sprinkled with coarse sand and sieved potting grit, before being soaked in SBR adhesive. Once this had set (after a couple of days), the site was flooded with a wash of black and brown cement dyes to tone down the 'newness' of the ground cover

Various other details were then added:
  • A nameboard for the roof of the office (created in Word and then printed out on Vinyl Sticker paper in an inkjet printer)
  • Resin cast coal sacks (bought on eBay)
  • A coal merchant figure (originally bought from Back2Bay6 before Steve Warrington's sad and untimely death)
  • A set of coal scales (see How I made a set of coal scales)
  • A gate (made from plasticard) 
  • A wagon crossing (made from some 5mm PVC foamboard)

The name for the coal merchant (William France) was taken from the 1911 census returns for Beeston. William's father was the coal merchant in 1911 and his son (then aged 21) was his assistant. I have assumed William will have continued the business in 1932, provided he was fortunate enough to survive World War I.

I will leave the office etc. out over the summer but will bring it in during the winter months). I have no concerns about the durability of PVC foamboard and its ability to withstand the weather, but I do not want to have to repaint the building each year.

The detailing at Beeston Castle station is now more or less complete. The brewery building has been added to the other siding (see How I constructed the brewery - pending) and the castle ruins have been upgraded (see How I constructed Beeston Castle). The cattle dock was moved from the old siding and repositioned in the new siding (see How I cast some loading docks). Whereas, previously, goods traffic to and from Beeston Castle was minimal (the siding could hold only three wagons), it will now feature more prominently in daily freight movements. The weightings for wagons in my home-grown computerised freight management program has been modified to ensure the level of traffic will increase. I look forward to shunting stock in and out of the sidings and such movements will no doubt feature in my next video.

I am gradually adding more detailing such as this to my railway - but with five stations and station yards to contend with, it is a slow and steady process. However, it is also very enjoyable to see each station gradually become more alive.