Monthly progress

October Progress

Posted on November 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

My track record with pick-ups is not brilliant, so I took the opportunity of building a split-frame chassis under the guidance of one of our local gurus (thanks, Frank). I already had a conventional P4 chassis underway for a Peckett 0-4-0, so decided to experiment by way of making an alternative 00-gauge chassis to compare pick-up performance.

1151 181022 4880

There are a number of potential shorts to resolve in a split-frame chassis, and here is one of them. The gaps in the split axles are off-centre, for example to avoid clashing with the gearbox. However, the gap entered the chassis top hat bearing, which had to be filed back to the frame. The space between the chassis and gearbox frames was padded out with fibre washers to maintain the central position of the gearbox. There are lots more gotchas still to come.

In the middle of the month I demonstrated tree-making (I was one of about ten demonstrators covering most of the skills from signalling and electronics to loco and layout building) at Expo Bowland 2018, appropriately held in the Forest of Bowland AONB at Newton in Bowland. It was a small, friendly gathering organised by the Ribble and Craven EM Group with an excellent cooked lunch, which should ensure my attendance next year.

This was also a good preparation for my first tree-making workshops at Pendon Museum in June and November 2019, which are now open for booking.

Finally, towards the end of the month, I continued by making more slow progress on detailing coaches. The next job, at long last, is to make a batch of Stones ventilators before I add glazing to some early LMS coaches

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September Progress

Posted on October 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

I’m continuing to upgrade my coaching stock, but haven’t yet reached the level of detail I achieved with an LMS D1720 BCK, the very first coach I made over ten years ago. This coach was from an Alastair Wright 5522 kit and I detailed the underframe right down to the dynamo safety chain. However, the gangways, as on most of Kyle of Sutherland’s coaches, need upgrading.

Coaches 19 180929 4872       Gangway upgrade

This LMS/BR D2161 BTK was intended to be paired with a Stanier 3P for the Thurso Branch Mixed on Kyle of Sutherland. I bought a loco chassis test etch from Mike Edge, but decided this would not be a quick build for Railex, and put it on the back burner along with the part-finished coach. It now has an interior and glazing, and I have just prepared a set of parts for the gangways with late LMS/early BR suspension arms.

I travelled in M24718M, on which the model is based, from Carstairs to Edinburgh in 1967. The photograph shows there is still an amount of detail to model, such as the locking arms for use when connecting gangways between coaches.

My beautiful picture       The prototype in 1967

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August Progress

Posted on September 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

At long last there is progress to report.

Coaches 17 180828 4840       Sunshine modelling

This LMS D1807 Open Third didn’t make the cut for Railex, so is only now getting its interior. I then have to decide between 8 Stones and 2 hooded vents (early coach) or 3 Stones and 7 hooded vents (later coach). I should have added the hooded vents before painting.

Most of my modelling time in August went on the Swansea East Dock Peckett I worked on during my Missenden Abbey Summer Holiday. And a dozen or so trees not native to the North of Scotland.

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July Progress

Posted on August 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

Railex Cabinet 180718 4802       Exhibition Stock Display

When the workshops re-open, a first job will be to carry out minor repairs following the Railex Exhibition, and then continue by adding further details to this and other rolling stock.

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June Progress

Posted on July 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

The Kyle of Sutherland workshops are on annual shutdown.

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May Progress

Posted on June 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

Thanks to everyone who made Railex 2018 such a great success for Kyle of Sutherland, and most especially the dedicated band of operators who kept the layout running over the busy bank holiday weekend. I had the enviable task of sitting out front chatting to the viewing public and watching the trains go by – awesome.

KoS Mk 4 180524 4794

I’m now on holiday.

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April Progress

Posted on May 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

A pre-Railex run-through with improved lighting, a new train and a new loco, seemingly endless layout jobs completed, the re-painted Pullman fitted with new-style, easy-to-use couplings, figures painted and added to some locos, a couple of figures embedded in Kyle of Sutherland’s landscape (numerous requests for this), a more powerful servo transformer, more attention paid to rolling stock back-to-back measurement, extra pick-ups on locos, continued progress with 1649, and more. Like the curate’s egg: good in parts.

Shuttleworth Train 1959 4760       One of the good parts

This eight-wagon mixed goods was made especially for Railex (thanks, Tim) and paired with Pickersgill 4-4-0 54495 represents a train photographed by F.W. Shuttleworth from several viewpoints at Helmsdale in May 1958.

D8032 180426 4766       Inverness D8032 (also good)

In April 1960 the then new Type 1 D8032 complete with cab side recesses and tablet catchers makes its way light engine through Culrain back to Inverness after helping an ailing north-bound Black Five from Dingwall (well recorded at the time). Thanks, Bob.

Back to the present and I am only making slow progress with 1649.

1649 180427 4763       1649 ready for painting (less good)

1649 now has most of the upper works completed, but lacks brakes and sanding gear. The axles are still removable individually to allow more detailing of the chassis. Time is running out, so I am painting the body as is and will see how things go before painting the chassis.

The pre-Railex trial sequence sheet was highlighted separately for “South Operator” and “North Operator” (thanks to Ian for an example of this from a well-known Devon layout). I am now producing the Railex exhibition sequence with alternative train and stock opportunities. This includes two Restaurant Cars and a Mini Buffet: an ex-LMS Pullman to Helmsdale, a 12-wheel ex-LMS to The Mound, and an RMB in a BR Mk 1 rake to Wick, as well as the ex-HR TPO and other stock which (as with the prototype) change trains between travelling north and returning south. The plan is to have at least 10 trains available, with spare locos, and run different sequences morning and afternoon, weather permitting.

Finally, some Modelu lamps and loco crew are on their way, and I am fitting bogie pick-ups to the last, and most difficult, loco; the tiny ex-HR 55053 with only 2’6” bogie wheels.

Stop Press: the 06.40 Inverness to Wick and Thurso with Restaurant Car for The Mound is on the cover of the May issue of Scalefour News – all good PR for Railex.



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March Progress

Posted on April 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

Less than two months to Railex and I still have a very long list of jobs.

A top priority is to get the locos to run well. 1649 has benefitted from another session with the maestro (thanks, Allan) and I’m gaining experience all the time. 57587 now has added pick-ups and runs as well backwards as forwards. Especially when I bent the vacuum pipe alongside the valance out of the way of the coupling rods, ditto the middle steps. 54458 has been fitted with suppression and has had extra pick-ups fitted.

54458 180331 4738       A first for bogie pick-ups

A capacitor is soldered between the motor terminals and the inline resistors are connected to a piece of 4-track stripboard – I really should do this sort of work on first building a loco: retro-fitting is much more difficult. I have left the middle two tracks for future use, though I am not at all sure for what purpose. The new PCB pick-up pad sits between the bogie frames above the rear axle, and a trial set of pick-ups is soldered in.

The stripboard was then used as a junction box, as with 1649, to connect to the two pads (bogie and drivers), and the bogie pick-ups were shaped to bear on the back of the wheel rims. So far, so good.

The two Dornoch coaches are slowly coming along. They will be seen at the very front of the layout in the bay siding and consequently need more detail than stock viewed further back.

The layout is now set up at exhibition height in its short form with 2’6” cassette tables ready for a practice operating session early April, by which time two special deliveries will have arrived. I will let you know.

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February Progress

Posted on March 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

Holidays in the second half of February limited overall progress, but I first found time to work on increasing storage space on the cassette tables. I’ve mocked up a shelf system, initially for the 2’6″ cassette tables, out of ply and aluminium strip with the added benefit of also being able to display stock behind Perspex at exhibition.

KoS Mk 4 180301 4736       Cassette table improvements in progress

Meanwhile, I took the plunge and swapped new for old Mashima motors on 1649.

1649 180212 4728       Back to basics

Discussions with Chris Gibbon of High Level confirmed there are differences in bolt spacing in some old motors, and the new motor fits much better. It’s also less bulky. I tested the latest configuration in Devon (thanks, Ian) on a layout-in-progress based on a well-known Devon prototype. 1649 runs much better forwards than backwards until I can add an improved motor restraint.

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January Progress

Posted on February 1, 2018. Filed under: Monthly progress |

January Progress (Monthly progress!,1/2/18)

January was devoted to 1649 in the hope that it will be completed for Railex. It had its first comprehensive field trials near the end of the month on Allan Smith’s ex-GWR layout, which were very successful (with Allan’s help). I’m now in course of improving and simplifying the wiring, and I’m also considering a change of motor. More about that soon in Project Progress.

I did, however, take a little time out in the middle of the month to improve the trackwork on Kyle of Sutherland. My rolling stock has certainly benefitted, and stock that was previously troublesome is now running much better.

All of this has given me more confidence for Railex, which now seems very close.

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    The epic struggle to build a model railway exhibition layout at 4mm to the foot


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