Potpourri #1012

Firstly today, for ESNG members, I’ve been shopping again…..

Any ideas?

Well, it’s a second-hand Z21 DCC set, with wi-fi.  Just 6 months old, and spotted by Sean on the NGF emporium at a good price.  So, ESNG have invested in a DCC controller for the new fiddle yard – for that day sometime in the future when we can start meeting again.

And once again, a few inspirational photos to keep the modelling juices flowing!  Old postcards come up with great pictures.

Havant in 1910.

And West Moors (LSWR) in 1920.

Back to ordinary photos.  Alton in 1905

And Micheldever Sidings, just post-war.  Even in the 1970’s and 1980’s, there was lots of old and interesting stock parked here, waiting for disposal.  Interesting to see the number of wagons still lettered ‘SR’.

Still one of my favourite engines – an ex-LSWR G6 shunter.  A very neat Adam’s design.

Finally, here’s an ESNG club night in 1887 (on the LSWR, I think.)

And the ultimate in weathering?

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A Minories of my own – 7 – and the first board built

Over the last few days, lockdown has enabled me to carry on working on the layout.  Having marked up and cut out a lot of plywood, I ended up with a kit of parts for the main board.  Looks a bit like one of those commercial laser cut boards, as in the background, but without the accuracy!

I slowly and carefully glued and pinned (in places) the bits together to build the shadow box of the main board.  Stiffening was added to the underside, using a diagonal pattern rather than the more usual cross-pieces.  This should be more rigid, and is made easier – and indeed possible – as I haven’t got to dodge the point motors under the board.

Back the right way up, I’ve added the spacers between the two board scenic levels.  On the left are the two roads under the station, Waterloo style.

And with a coat of primer inside (pretty rough, but it will be covered in due course) and varnish outside.  Just a tin of dark mahogany varnish that was lying around, but it brings up the plywood nicely.

Having placed, but not fixed, the upper board in place, I fished a few trains out of their blue plastic boxes to get an idea of what the finished article might look like.

Not bad!  Next job will be cut the holes in the ends of the board for connection to the next baseboards.  I may also get the sky backscene in place.  Then tracklaying?

Setting this up has brought up a few thoughts and problems.  Once again I muttered about the silly idea of putting the station on a raised section.  It occurred to me that I need to get some scenery on those roads under the station before I fix the top board down.  So there will be a little pause whilst I work out how to do the road and bridges for this section.  And I suppose those long road ‘tunnels’ ought to have lights, too.

The other question is whether to lay the Finetrax track in situ, or build it off the layout and then install it.  Although the latter would be easier, the number of adjacent points on the layout suggests that it would be better to build them in a single unit.  The solution is actually simple (for once).  I’m going to split the upper board in two, so that all the pointwork is on the right-hand, 750mm, section.  This is a small enough size to be worked on off the layout, completed, then fixed in place.  Splitting the board will also make fitting the upper board in place easier.

We’ll see what happens next…..

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East Croydon

No, I’m not about to build another layout – progress continues to be good on the Minories, and all will be reported soon.

Last month I came across this picture of the tracks just to the south of East Croydon station, and the interesting track layout to the approach roads.  (Photo by Charlie Verral)

I was tempted to have a look at this area on the National Library of Scotland maps.  They show just why there is the odd layout of tracks above.  Around 1896, the branch to the left terminated just off image in Central Croydon station.  This little station opened in 1868, failed to attract enough passengers, despite direct links to the GER and LNWR, and closed in 1890.  The remnants of the branch became the engineers yard shown below, and the old station site became the current park and town hall.

By the 1950’s. the engineer’s depot had become the inevitable car park, and the trackwork slightly simplified.  But the slightly complex entry to East Croydon still shows some evidence of the original branch.

Despite there being 5 or 6 tracks on the main line, this does have potential for an exhibition layout.  The length of track between East Croydon station bridge and the footbridge to the south is quite short, and the retaining wall makes an interesting, and simple, backdrop.  Lose a track off the boards, and it’s almost an N-mod layout…..

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Potpourri #1011 – Off to Taiwan

This delightful set of photos popped up on my Facebook feed.  All in Mandarin, so I am totally unsure of ownership, but nothing on the post.  Just a wonderful set of narrow gauge pictures.  Looks like an ore or coal carrying line, pictured in the wet, monsoon, season.  And some interesting push-cart lines for passenger services.

Makes you wonder about the hidden gems of railways tucked away in the less (to us) well-known parts of the world.  You’d need a whole new set of scenic techniques to model tropical vegetation and monsoon weather.

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A Minories of my own – 6 – under way

A little progress.  I looked at the scenery again, and where the road bridges might get in the way of the point motors.  So I changed the scenery a little.  It will probably change again when I mark things out full size, but this is close.

And so to the loft…..

I got the Finetrax templates glued down to give an accurate track layout.

Marking it up full size gave an accurate check of clearances and the length of the loco and parcels sidings.  They were all a little different from my ‘scale’ drawing.

Once again, my set of railway curves came in useful.  These were commonly used by draftsmen before the age of CAD.  This set were ‘rescued’ from work during a massive clear out – they were otherwise headed for a skip.

And here’s the upper level, cut to size.  Next job, will be to mark up the lower baseboard, making sure that there are suitable holes for access, wiring and point motors, but that the solid sections for the roads under the station are still there.

And here’s the road level board, with holes for access and point control.  Point motors could be a bit short of space, though!

Hopefully, I’ll cut the rest of the pieces for the board tomorrow.

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ESNG meeting – 6 January 2021

First meeting of 2021, as we go into tier 5 or more, and lockdown once again.  One day, we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when.  Oh dear, I feel a song coming on!

No Mr Dawes this evening….

Sad to say on early start in the morning. Started the week with 14 people off. Holidays/sick. Only 12 off at the moment for the morning. Still got to get 9 rounds covered. But not me luckily. Just going in to cover the depot and do stocks. Please give my regards to the lads. Speak to you soon.

At least, as Allan admitted, he’s close to the tea and the toilet….

We got a fair turnout of seven punters.

Paul ran plenty of trains…..

And Peter showed off his tram layout….

Meanwhile, Simon has done some shopping:

A lovely European Rheingold train, plus something even more interesting….

Hi Jon, Forgot to send you this for the blog perhaps?  I ordered brass foil from China on Ebay – got dried starfish!

(PS My own view is that they are not good to eat, and useless for your model railway – bit too big for N gauge.)

And Martin is making progress with a new layout to replace St Elizabeth Street.  Moving faster than me, with a little design consultancy from Sean:

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Potpourri #1010

A visit to the January sales…..

A new Jinty from NGF for a very reasonable price.  And some reasonably reduced items from The Model Centre.  They are usually expensive, but some good reductions here.  Two Bullied coaches, a Southern Railway bogie utility van, a BR 4-wheeled CCT, and two Southern Railway brake vans.

And just out, another Strathwood album of Southern EMUs and locomotives.  Once again, some excellent shots, some of rather obscure prototypes.  I remain amazed how the Southern Railway, and then Southern Region recycled their EMUs.  Bodies from old suburban coaches were modified to form early EMUs, and then, after these were life-expired, the chassis were reused under ‘brand new’ EPB units.

Fortunately, I’ve nearly balanced these purchases with some sales on NGF and elsewhere.

And in those early days of electric units, Strawberry Hill station in perhaps the 1920’s.

And some good modelling potential.  The tunnel exit at Southampton.

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A Minories of my own – 5 – a few tweaks?

As you realise, not much (if any) progress with the Minories over Christmas.  For the last few days, I blame Amazon Prime, with loads of live football to watch.

But, gentle reader, you may recall a design something like the below:

Of course, I was soon overthinking this.  I had several issues with the design:

  1. The platforms are marginally short for what I was looking for.  I know I also thought that smaller is better, but I did want to comfortably run a Brighton Belle EMU.
  2. Although this is a classic Minories, I preferred an extra siding to the design, to have a little more stock standing around  – more interesting to look at and operate.
  3. That long strip of waste ground is not very interesting, and not really realistic for an inner London layout – though in the 1950’s, a WW2 old bomb site would be appropriate.
  4. I had doubts about the break in the platform at the baseboard joint.  Yes, I’ve seen it done well, but I think it would be a little too obvious.

So I came up with the design below, with two 900mm boards.  I also added back the separate locomotive and parcels spurs.  This needs another point, but also ensures that a full length platform is all on one baseboard.

I still wondered about this design.  Really, I find the left hand board just uninteresting!  As I commented in yesterday’s post, it is difficult to make a busy urban platform interesting.  The lack of movement is not helpful.  The actual concourse has some interesting features, but long empty platforms are a bit boring.  And that length of waste ground is still rather uninteresting.  Some under arch industry would be OK, but again not really appropriate under a London terminus.  It would be better to have another length of road here, but I then lose the two buildings at either end of the board.

Really, all the interest in a terminus is at the station throat, bringing back memories of transpotting on the outer end of platforms at Kings Cross and Paddington.  So, I tried cutting the board down to a single 1200mm long board.  I feel this works rather well.  It presents a singe, scenically interesting, picture, much in the Iain Rice ‘Bitsa Station’ tradition.  On the left, a short board gives the extra train length, and as it is off stage, it can represent a 10 coach long platform in 300-400mm.  It also makes uncoupling very easy for loco hauled trains.  There is still the fiddle yard to sort out on the right.

The baseboard is still just 250mm wide, as originally I’d left 50mm at the back for the baseboard framing to support the top of the board and its lighting.  However, with a single board, this isn’t needed, and we can widen the visible section to 300mm.  This would allow, say, 25mm at the front and 25mm at the back to increase the scenic potential.

I’ve decided (for today, anyway) to opt for this version.  I’ve ordered the extra point, and will start marking up the track on a board.  I’ve decided that with the new year, I must get back into modelling.  This is NOT a resolution, as they always get broken.  But you never know…..

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Happy(?!?) New Year 2021

A Happy New Year to you all!  I’m sure none of us could have predicted how 2020 turned out.  I hope that you all keep safe and 2021 gradually improves.  And that we’ll begin to see ESNG club nights start up again and perhaps even an exhibition or two (exhibition, what’s an exhibition) as time goes on.  Meanwhile, we’ll be back on Zoom next Wednesday.

Just one photo to start the year.  Waterloo around 1900, full of elegant LSWR coaching stock.  Something to get the modelling juices going.  It also highlights the problems with modelling any significant station.  The platforms are either full of people – as platform 1 here – or empty as on the adjacent platform.  It’s very difficult to make these changes between full and empty realistic…..

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‘Nuff said….

This just sums it all up!

Just wish human beings behaved as well as swans do…..

Swan song: German firefighters remove ‘mourning’ bird blocking railway line

Or maybe this one, as the ultimate 2020 tree decoration….

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