Contents

What's where.......

Contents contents

Over the years, this blog has grown in size as I keep adding more and more information. The original contents list (below) is now so large that I have made this summary list of the contents list to help you find what you are looking for.



 An introduction to the railway

A tour of the layout

The trackplan has been modified over time. The original looped 8 with a terminus and a through station now features two termini and three through stations. There's also a reverse loop, a 'branch' line and a hidden connection between one terminus and the copper mine. The design tries to make the most of the available space and give opportunities for end-to-end running when I want to run trains realistically, and also opportunities for tail-chasing when I have visitors who are more interested in seeing trains running round the garden. 
 

The 'real' location for the railway (ie where it would have been if it had existed)

The model is my attempt to create a fictitious three foot (well, two-foot nine-ish) narrow gauge railway which might have been built in mid-Cheshire to transport copper ore from the mines in the Peckforton Hills to the mainline station at Beeston Market.


Planning

This took about five years from the original sketches to that moment when I laid my hand on the spade and started construction.
 

Landscaping

The railway is between six inches and two feet above the rest of the garden to ease running and maintenance and to present the models more clearly. The garden was landscaped specifically the accommodate the railway, requiring somewhere in the region of 2-3 tonnes of soil being wheel-barrowed from one end of the garden to the other.

Buildings and structures

The majority of structures in the garden are railway buildings and, of course there are the bridges which enable access to various parts of the garden. Some buildings have been made from resin kits, some made from scratch, one modified from a toy, one bought ready-made from a pottery which specialises in buildings for garden railways and another cast in concrete by a garden railway supplier.


Buildings

 

Structures


Platforms  

 

Detailing

 The fine details of lineside items, people and general railway related clutter are what, to my opinion, brings the railway alive. It's taken me around six years to get the railway to the stage where I feel I can concentrate on adding the finer details and so this section is presently fairly thin. However, this will change as I continue the detailing process.

Plants

I'm no great shakes at gardening. I tend to see something at a garden centre which looks right and then shove it into a gap. Occasionally, I'll move a plant if it doesn't seem to be thriving, but mostly I work on the principle of 'survival of the fittest'.


Track foundations

As I used flexible track, I needed firm foundations into which to fix the track. In the rockery section I used concrete (breeze) blocks and in the hedge section treated timber.
 

Laying track

I have ended up with five varieties of track (whatever I could buy cheapest at the time) - Piko, Trainline, Tenmille, LGB and Aristocraft. I've had no problem mixing them together and use LGB rail joiners without modification. In the days when I ran all my locos from track power, I bonded all the rail joints with soldered 'jumper' leads. Using knowledge and experience of constructing indoor layouts in 00 and 009 gauges, I opted for flexible track.



Rolling stock

I decided to use G Scale (45 mm track, 16mm/foot) mainly because I had a time-consuming job which left very little free time for hobbies. Also, coming from a OO scale background, track power was a less severe learning curve for me. I am also a great fan of the Southwold (3 foot) and the Welshpool and Llanfair (2' 6") railways and so 45mm track is a sort of compromise, being around 2' 9" in 16mm scale. The majority of rolling stock is 45mm gauge, but recently I have started constructing 32mm gauge stock for the feeder line from the copper mines to the crusher plant and loading hoppers.
  •  Stock list - complete list of the rolling stock presently available for the line (Updated 18/9/18)

 Construction techniques


Locomotives

The locos are a mix of scratchbuilt bodies on LGB, Piko and Playmobil motor blocks and some kitbuilt locos. They are all loosely based on UK prototypes with a fair bit of modellers' licence applied.
Steam outline locos

Coaches

From the LGB starter set original four wheelers, I progressed to Accucraft W&L Pickering coaches but found they fouled the platforms and so constructed three wooden coaches from Maddison kits.
 

Wagons

A mix of off-the-shelf, kit-bashed and semi scratch-built. I am gradually replacing non prototypical 'stop-gaps' with more appropriate UK looking models.


Modifications

 

Kitbuilds 



 Scratchbuilds



 32mm gauge and GN15 stock

 

Operation

I deliberately wanted to model a representation of a complete railway, terminus to terminus (with a continuous loop included for days I want to play trains). Passenger and freight movements are based on practices for a light railway of this type, with some degree of "modellers' licence".

Control and electrics

I started with the most basic transformer controller (from the starter set) and track sections, went through radio control (Aristocraft Train Engineer), remote digital command control (DCC). With end-to-end, a continuous circuit and a reverse loop, I have gone through most of the track-power alternatives. Eventually, I found track cleaning to be a chore andmy locos are now all battery powered with radio control! I certainly have not regretted the move (see Track Power v Battery Power - my perspective)


Direct Current (DC) control

 How I first started with analogue control from a fixed controller and then through a wireless controller

Digital Command Control (DCC)

My foray into DCC using the LGB MTS system

 Battery power / radio control

My railway is now exclusively controlled by Deltang radio control equipment, after experimenting with other systems and evaluating their potential. Most of the posts here are therefore focused on using Deltang equipment.
 General information

Installing radio control in locos
 Arduino


Other 

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8 comments:

Unknown said...

Good evening Rik.
I have checked your excellent information of your build up of Radio Control Systems on your Railway with Deltang Rx 65 recievers and Tx 22 Transmitters, and your modifying the program by the Deltang Prog4. I am myself in the situation having the same equipment and tryes to program it and it works. But it is difficult when you not can se the actual program in th Rx. When I from a text file send the command " type0 4,1 end" I will have back a big HEX file, that I do not understand. I would have back a file that shows the same type of command rows as you send, eg 2,14,1,7,1, so you more easyli can check what rows has to be changed. Is it possible for you top give me some information of that.

Thanks in advace and best regards

Tore Svensson
Trelleborg
Sweden
mail:tsautomationab@gmail.com

Bill McG from New Zealand said...

I have a large amount of LGB railway and track. I wish to put this on an elevated platform much like you extension. (Single leg with small platform for the rails) I am doing this for ease of access as I grow older. Have you found any real disadvantage with having the railway on a raised section, from your vast experience, and would you do this again?

Regards,

Bill McGavin
Pauatahanui
New Zealand

GE Rik said...

Hi Bill
The only disadvantage I have found is that wood rots eventually - no matter how much preservative you use. I've had to replace a couple of legs and I noticed the last time I was crawling underneath that one of the boards was getting a bit mildewy. Might be worth considering plastic composite boards and legs if you can afford them.

Mind you. My raised section has been there for eleven years so far, so I suppose that's not bad. The timbers which rotted were ones I'd recycled from an old fence so they were probably around 30 years old....

Rik

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Perhaps the "history" of the railway should mention England's only "tornado" railway disaster on the 27th October 1913 (http://chester.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Sandstone_Ridge#The_Peckforton_.22Cyclone.22) - I would imagine that at least some station buildings would have lost parts of their roof in one of many dramatic incidents in the history of the railway. There is probably even a monument somewhere to a signal-box blown away without trace after the occupant refused to quit his post, and a peculiar local railway rule about barometers:

"Rule 1913: In the event of a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure caused by the approach of a cyclone, the driver shall use the increased steam pressure to complete his journey with all due dispatch"

Best Regards

Peter

GE Rik said...

Thanks for that info, Peter. I wasn't aware of that story. As you say, it would have certainly made an impact on the railway if cows were thrown over hedges and roofs were lifted off buildings. I'll have to write it into the history somewhere and somehow.

Rik

Peter said...

Hi Rik,

Given I'm stuck in the house I added a bit more about the Gowy on my site. It may be of use as background "colour" for all those Edwardian Tourists. I was also thinking about the broader economic effects of an Edwardian coppermine at Gallows Tree Bank. The obvious markets for copper would be the leadworks at Chester and BICC at Helsby, both of which were well established when your railway was "built". I don't know where the smelter would have been, although I suspect Chester would have got it. Copper/lead alloys are used for bearings and some electrical connectors and both industries could have flourished in Chester. The minerals might have included barium. I also noted that John Naylor would have still been living at Beeston Towers: I wonder if he would have built a Spa Hotel? - there was a Spa at Beeston and an excellent site for another at "Horsley Bath Well". If there was an established Spa then I can see a big argument between the railway and the Staffordshire Potteries Water Board as the abstraction of water at Peckforton has dried up most of the local springs. Of course, we have to assume that the local copper deposits are in a rather rare form as otherwise the acidic run-off into the Gowy would make it a dead river and an environmental disaster. Perhaps the figures on the model railway should include an early environmental protestor with a sandwich-board? (obviously I've been stuck in too long!)

Rgds

Peter

GE Rik said...

That's brilliant background info, Peter. Thanks. I must update the history to incorporate as much of this as possible. Maybe I could make another Newsreel film which includes a bit more about the area..... Now there's a thought.

Since lockdown, I've been buying my ground coffee online from the Lost Barn Coffee Roasters based at Tilston. Apparently, the barn in question was lost during the Big Wind....

Rik

Unknown said...

Hello,

Found your blog. I am just finishing off a book on the Eaton Railway. I would like to use a few of your photos of the Eaton Railway in it eg the nos 22 and 27 (all photos acknowledged). If you think you can help, please email me james@maudfoster.co.uk

Many thanks

James Waterfield