Well I have struggled to get the relain trackwork to run smoothly and the scenery really has had it after 30+ years. The track work is a problem with going from 12mm to 14.2 but still using the original radii so parts end up rather tight.
So, in the end I have lifted as much track as I can, saved the buildings and other fixtures and the rest now resides in the local recycling centre!
I can now get in my model room with ease without having to duck under the layout which was becoming very irksome especially with a bad back! I am now designing a new permanent layout based on Brampton on the Exe Valley line in Devon This will go down one side of the room leaving the other side for Lananta Quay and 50×50 Shades of Grey.
More to come as I progress……..
I have now got around to reinstalling the signals on Eggesford. The late Jeremy Dixon had fully working signals using hand made controls. These consisted of a magnet attached to a small length of brass tube whic was made to slide up and down via a crank attached to an old Triangle TT point motor;
A fairly crude but very effective mechanism. The end of the operating wire from the signal has a soft iron end which is attracted by the magnet when it drops and is pushed up when it rises.
I have removed the old solenoid and replaced it with a servo which is operated by Heathcote servo boards;
The operating wire for the servo board is fed back to the locking lever frame and we now have fully interlocked points and signals. Below shows. The UP stater in situ with the DOWN inner home in the distance.
Now I can play proper trains!!
As I progress to rework the scenery the original painted plaster is really looking tired. Recently I have been revamping the area around the station and river.
Considering the buildings are over 25 years old they are in remarkable condition and have needed very little work other than a repaint from Southern to LSWR livery. I have now done all the paintwork around the station as well as freshening up the surface of the platform as well as the road. The platform surface, as described before, has been done with talc sprinkled into wet Humbrol no. 40 gloss grey. This is the method described by Gordon Gravett in his marvellous book on modelling grassland; a book I would thoroughly recommend. The road surface is a lighter grey with chinchilla dust added to the wet paint. It still needs further weathering with weathering powders.
Goods shed with signal box in background. The grass is a mixture of long and short static grass. The road surface is the original and will eventually need some re-working.
The next photo shows the original scenery in the foreground with the hill in the rear re-worked with scatter materials and new hedging. The trees come from the original layout but have been freshened up with a dusting of new fine Woodlands scenic scatter. The second half of the river is waiting for a new coat of varnish similar to the bit seen in the distance.
I am really pleased with how the scenery is improving with relatively very little effort mainly due to having such a good base to start with. I am now looking forward to adding more details and atmosphere to the scenes.
I have now finished the 3mm Society/Malcolm Mitchell kit of a Great Western 517 class tank which is now running on Eggesford with a rake of 4 wheel coaches which are also from 3mm Society kits.
The picture below shows a busy time at Eggesford which, I’m afraid, has become rather “Westernised”! The 517 can be seen on a Down local passenger with a steam rail motor on an up service and a LSWR Ilfracombe goods shunting the yard
A Merry Christmas to all my readers. I look forward to progressing more in the New Year with reducing my store of flat pack kits!
The fiddle yard/traverser is now complete having added the storage cassettes. I now have an up and down continuous run and a third position feeding up and down cassettes. When not in use these will be stored on a shelf under the layout. The cassettes themselves sit on small brackets that hinge out from the side of the main boards. Electrical feed is done using small bulldog clips.
The next step will be the installation of the signals and their servos and linking them up to the locking frame. This will finish all the electrics. Then there is the updating of the scenery, more locos, more coaches, more freight……………..
The scenery that the late Jeremy Dixon had done on Eggesford was very solid when I took the layout over. The finish was mainly done by painting the scene and lacked much texture. The pictures below show the state before I started;
I have added texture to the rough area on the left along the river bank with Woodland scenics coarse scatter and bushes and to the field on the right with various grades of static grass mixed in with fine turf scatter. I have improved the trees using a mixture of scatter from green scenes and Carrs. Finally the river has been given a new coating of varnish.
It has been quite a while since I reported on the progress with Eggesford. The trackwork is all finished and trains are running well over the complete circuit. The locking frame has been installed and the points all operate from Hoffman. Point motors. The signals have yet to be connected to the frame.
The next stage is to install point ridding and start on the job of ballasting. In the past I have done this by brushing in he ballast then fixing with dilute PVA, always a horrible messy job! Talking to a member of the scalefour society at a recent meeting of the Devon Finescale Group it was suggested I try furniture polish. There is a good thread on the scalefour website forum about using Johnsons Klear liquid floor polish. I had difficulty finding that particular make but got an equivalent at B&Q. When the polish is dropped neat along the edge of the ballast it seems to be quickly sucked into the ballast without disturbing it at all and best of all it drys quickly. I decided to do a comparison test with two lengths of track.
The first picture shows the test after five minutes;
The next one is after two hours. The polish has dried but the PVA is still wet and mucky.
Finally by the next morning both are dry but the PVA one shows very shiny sleepers where the glue has dried and the ballast has been very disturbed. The one fixed with polish is more even and neater and would not require too much in the way of weathering.
The winner is the floor polish method. Now to do the whole layout!
Having relaid all the track and getting the points working from the original wire in tube I am now looking to the operating side of the layout. My plans were always to have a fully interlocked signal frame and to ‘drive’ the trains to the signals. As Eggesford is a passing station I have decided to have one controller for the UP line and one for the DOWN line with the yard be workable from either. Electrically there will be a switchable section in front of each starter signal which will be switched between the two controllers to represent the change over between he two token controlled single lines. Other electrical feeds will be determined by the position of the points.
I have now built the interlocking frame. The locking rules have been worked out using the ‘TRAX 3’ computer program that comes with Jeff Geary’s book ‘Signalling & Lever Frames’ published by Noodle Books. This also includes another program to determine the locking bars that are needed. Before forging ahead with the construction of the frame I built a mockup in plasticard to check whether the locks would all work
Having determined it would work I then moved on to constructing the frame. The locking bars are made from 1/4″ x 1/8″ brass and the tappets from 1/4″ x 1/16″ brass. These are connected to the lever frame (a GEM 12 lever) with 0.7mm brass wire. The pins on the locking bar are 8 BA screws. The tappets were connected to the frame before the notches and pins were put in, one bar at a time.
The four levers to the right control hand points in the yard and are not interlocked. On the other side of the frame the levers are connected to subminiature switches which will control the Hoffmann point motors and the servos for the signals.
The next step will be to fit the point motors and start to wire the whole thing up.
It has taken a while but I have now sorted the fiddle yard traverser so I can have continuous running. It has been complicated by the need for the traverser to also be a lift up section for access. The original traverser had five running lines and also included a turntable and loco storage area. I have simplified it to two though lines and a line from each side connecting to a cassette which can be removed for storage. When the traverser needs to be raised then it is only a matter of running at the most two trains off to the rest of the layout.
The original didn’t slide very smoothly as it was running on old plastic curtain track. This has been replaced with proper draw runners and is much smoother. I have retained the original indexing system which used a brass bar with notches in it for the various positions and a sprung pulley wheel which ran along it. This can be seen in the next picture.
Power is fed from either the up or down line through a two way centre off switch and to the respective line via a sliding contact switch underneath. This can be seen in the picture below which also shows the whole traverser raised to allow access. When the traverser is lowered alignment is maintained with the use of a split hinge and pin. Note the work desk is in it’s usual state of clutter!!
Well I haven’t posted much recently. Gardening, House maintainance and entertaining grandchildren eats into modellinG time in the summer!
Actually I have managed to finish all the point work and lay the main running lines. Trains have run from one end of the layout to the other but the complete circuit is not possible until the storage yards are sorted out. I am now ‘fettling ‘ the trackwork to get it all running smoothly. Not all the sidings in the goods yard have been laid as I have temporarily run out of track!!!