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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Project 16 - Up Sidings

The void beneath Misterton baseboards is where we store our Thornycroft Sidings layout, which has been away recently for exhibition and photography. The temporary vacant space gave opportunity to install Misterton Up Sidings since clear access is needed beneath the baseboards to connect a number of drop wires from tracks that span the modular baseboards.

The Goods Shed (reused from the previous layout) sits in a loop so that shunting engines can move wagons to/from either end efficiently.

There is just one piece of track left to lay and that is another siding that comes off the three way turnout beyond the shed. I'll leave that until later.

There is such variety in things to do in this hobby that when one task becomes boring or tedious (like track laying using my method) it can be set aside to start the next, which being somewhat different in content and skill requirements makes for a refreshing change. With most of the track now laid there is a lot of scenic work that can commence.

To Part 23.

To Part 1.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Project 16 - Up Headshunt

Looking back at the proposed track plan in Part 1 there are three single turnouts ahead of the Up Headshunt. When I came to convey the plan to the baseboards I found that the one of the turnouts spanned the bridging baseboard and the headshunt itself was far too short. This will not do.

The solution was to replace two of the turnouts with a three way and to my surprise when I looked again at the real Crewkerne track plan I found a three way in use there as well! It is documented that Crewkerne suffered with space constraints and complex track arrangements like this were deployed to fit everything in.

To Part 22.

To Part 1.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

expoEM 2016 Review

I spent much longer at this exhibition than expected, 2 hours to see 14 layouts. But, it was not so much the layouts that demanded my attention but the plethora of specialist trade stands that serve the serious modeller. This is what makes expoEM special.

I was able to get all but one item on my shopping list, a Peco turnout would you believe. None available from the trade stands and perhaps not surprising considering the focus on EM and finescale.

Thanks to Geoff over at Llangunllo who's remarks in a recent posting about cosmetic fishplates available from the EM Gauge Society I was able to purchase said item from their trade stand. In fact, I bought the last from their current stock (sorry to would be purchasers).

Another feature of expoEM is the demonstration stands manned by the Society members. There were quite a number of modelling demonstrations generating much interest among visitors.

And so to the layouts. Narrow Road (EM) is noted for its busy London Terminus Station scene of 4mm scale people milling about with many obscured by the overall roof to the station platforms.

Ynysbwl (EM) captivated my attention due to the amazing modelling of gardens at the rear of a terrace house row. A lot of thought and craftsmanship had gone into modelling the gardens in a most naturalistic manner to depict 1920s passion for livestock and food.

The garden shown below features a birdcage populated with 4mm scale budgerigars (I assume), so small and yet plumage colours could be distinguished.

My best in show was a toss up between Ynysbwl and St. Merryn (P4) the latter being a finely detailed yet uncluttered layout. Although fictitous a lot of care had been taken to reflect the countryside of  North Cornwall and the practice of early British Railways with people and vehicles from that era.

No wonder that both these layouts won awards at the show.

Finally, a mention of something only enthusiasts who were active in the 1960s and 70s will connect with. That is, the Automatic Crispin, the brainchild of Peter and Stephen Denny. Their mechanical computer (in effect a virtual human train controller) was on display. Now just a jumble of strange mechanics and cables that would be a quite a challenge to get working again.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Project 16 - More Signals

The single Down Home and Up Starter Signals were reclaimed from the previous build. They are both Ratio products that have a remote control mechanism, basically a sprung crank operated by string pull. I modified 12V relays to provide electrical signal control from push buttons.

The movement of the relay actuator arm operates the crank but to achieve sufficient arc a long extension was added to the actuator.

This completes all signalling requirements for the layout. Some may question the absence of ground discs for turnouts that are under signal box control. The fact is the 12 lever capacity of the type 1 Signal Box used at Crewkerne did not have sufficient room for ground disc levers. Trains using the sidings were waved on by hand from the signalman. Ground disks were introduced when the Type 1 box was replaced by a modern, austere box in 1960. Whilst the period of my model is 1960s I prefer the style of the Type 1 box so, I have adopted pre 1960 practice for signalling.

To Part 21.

To Part 1.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Project 16 - Down Starter Signal

I did not plan to make a signal at this stage in the project. It came about because I was making a shopping list for my visit to Expo EM this month and signals were an item of interest to buy.

The Down Starter Signal at Crewkerne is a co-acting type on a tall post so that drivers the other side of the bridge can see it. It included a Distant signal for Crewkerne Gates. On my Misterton layout the Distant applies to Hewish Gates, which is the next landmark around the oval layout.

It is most likely that whatever signal kit I bought would need substantial modification to achieve this specific layout and that set me thinking. I had some left over parts from a Ratio LNER signal kit that has been in storage for some years. Perhaps I could scratch build the missing parts to make the complete signal.

The only photograph of the Crewkerne signal I came across showed a LSWR lower quadrant semaphore on a lattice post mounted on the station platform. These signals were generally replaced by the Southern Railway to upper quadrant semaphores on dual Bullhead rail posts and this would have been the arrangement in the BR(S) period of my model railway.

The two 30' rails were 3D printed and pinned together at 2'6" intervals with copper wire 'bolts'. The semaphore arms, lamps, cranks, ladder and track circuit diamond came from the Ratio kit. Access platforms, signal control wires, handrails and post cap were fabricated from card, copper wire, and plastic sprue respectively.

It was never my intention to remotely control these signals . My plan was to simply move the semaphores by hand, if required. However, I did want the lower co-acting starter to move in unison with its parent.

I have always found it difficult to get signals moving correctly by their control wires and this build was no exception. Too much fiddly trialling resulted in the control arm of the starter breaking off and my repair attempts failed to get the two signals working in unison so now it is a static model with the semaphores set in the off position. I can move the arms independently of each other but I doubt I'll bother, except for scene photography perhaps.

To Part 20.

To Part 1.
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