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Friday 26 October 2018

A Model Railway - Loading & Cattle Dock

Entrance to the loading and cattle dock is through a 5 bar gate set in a four bar fence line.

The fence is Hornby R537 and the gate DIY 3D printed. Both are painted in BR(S) building cream. Each section of fence has a thin piece of wire glued to the ends. The wire extends into the ground to hold the fence upright. The gate and its hinge post are one piece held upright by the post that extends into the ground. Rotating the post opens the gate.

The cattle dock is my own kit of 3D prints. The posts are simulated bullhead rail with moulded in planks between. Gate latches are formed from brass wire. Short lengths of plumbers hemp representing straw are scattered and glued to the ground.

The cattle dock was designed from a plan of the Wool, Dorset installation. Colouring is unknown but Googling cattle docks came up with a selection in black, brown and white. I opted for black.

This loading dock next to the station bay road, including angled fence line, is very similar to that once at Lyme Regis, Dorset.

With the platforms and station forecourt finished (apart from super detailing, which will be carried out when the basic landscaping for the whole layout is complete) the Country Station Building can be placed.

To Part 7.

To Part 1.

Thursday 18 October 2018

A Model Railway - Platform

The platform height should be 13.5 mm above rail top. Track height needs to be added to this and will vary depending on track design. For Peco code 100 a platform made from 18mm thick pine wood is a viable and quick solution. I used 5 mm thick foam board, as I had this in stock and it makes for a light weight construction.

The platform sides were glued down first and for the station forecourt a honeycomb of supports were applied. The distance from inner rail to platform edge should be 11 mm but care is needed to ensure rolling stock clears the platform especially where curves are present. The turnout at the far end of the platform is a case in point, as is the access curves at this end. Testing with locomotive and coach at the far turnout revealed that the platform side could lie alongside the Peco tie bar when it is set in the turn position giving a distance of about 13mm from inner rail to platform side. This was adopted throughout except at the curved access end where the gap had to be opened out to about 15mm for long coach clearance through the curve.

The platform sides were covered with a blackish stone decorative paper.

Platform top and station forecourt is another piece of 5mm foam board. I wanted a textured finish for the platform so painted it with black household emulsion paint followed by a sprinkled mix of granite dust, ash, and grey scatter whilst the paint was still wet. This came out as too coarse so, when dry I reduced it by rubbing with fine emery paper. The edges were painted with white acrylic paint.

The station forecourt was painted with dark grey emulsion paint without adding texture.

To Part 6.

To Part 1.

Friday 12 October 2018

A Model Railway - Track Laying

The track plan is for a fictitious BR(S) branch line terminus, although some aspects are taken from real locations. The platform accommodates two roads. Road 1 can hold a pacific class locomotive with two MK 1 coaches and includes a run around loop. Road 2 is a bay that accommodates a tank locomotive and two pull-push coaches. It also doubles as a loading dock and cattle dock. An engine shed is served from the run around loop. A separate goods siding branches off  before the station.

Track is Peco code 100. Turnouts are medium radius insulfrog and manually operated. Track is pinned to the foam board with 31mm dress making pins. This is not a firm fixing in foam but when the ballast is glued in place it should hold the track firm.

Three tracks span the baseboard joins. Since the baseboards can be separated for transportation some means of electrical connection is necessary and consideration given to a more robust means of track fixing at the baseboard joins.

For simplicity no special treatment of the track at baseboard joins was undertaken. I may live to regret this. A robust method I have used before is to replace the last sleeper with a copper clad sleeper that is glued to the baseboard and the rails soldered to this.

I had given no thought to electrical connection whilst building the baseboard. Since the boards are solid then any plug and socket arrangement, wire connections or any other gubbins below track level cannot easily be contained within the baseboards unless chunks of  foam are cut away. With hindsight it would have been useful to extend the hardboard side panels to give a void beneath the foam board to retain such items. Happily, this omission has so far not manifest as a problem.

At the board track joins I soldered bare wires to cut down Peco fish plates that slipped over the end of the rail. Wire runs were easily embedded in grooves cut in the top of the foam board *. Where a wire has to run beneath rails an insulated sleeve over the wire stops short circuits.

The existing metal board connecting hinges serve as electrical connection simply by using a board hinge fixing screw to hold the wire as well. Of course, only two wires can be connected this way - the feed and common return, and yet there are three tracks spanning the baseboards requiring six connections. The workaround was to wire the feed and return to all three tracks. No problem for DCC but for DC there are sections of goods siding and run around loop that are always live where a train cannot be held isolated whilst another is run. For my track plan this is unlikely to cause operational problems. The elegant solution is to use a multi-pin connector with the six rails connected to their mating rails through it. But, I wanted to keep things simple for this model railway. Hence the compromise.

*Postscript - Short Circuit

A modellers nightmare, worst still is an intermittent one. I had tested the track with powered locomotive and for a week or so no problem. Then, the locomotive came to a grinding halt. The electrical meter confirmed a short circuit between feed and return. I started to desolder wires from the rails but no cause of the short could be found and it eventually cleared itself. I put the wires back and locomotives ran again - for a while, and then the short returned. I could not fathom how the short arose and even suspected a faulty turnout. So I desoldered all the wires from the rails again, which cleared the short from the tracks. But there was still a short between feed and return and yet the two were now physically isolated. It then dawned on me where the fault lay.

I deliberately used bare wire (except between rails) to be unobtrusive to the eye above ground and buried it in grooves cut in the foam board where appropriate.

What I did not account for was the aluminium foil board covering. Somewhere along the wire run the bare feed and return momentarily touched the conductive aluminium foil causing a connection (short circuit). To correct the problem I re-cut the grooves a little wider taking care to strip the foil from the area. If I used this burying method again I would ensure the wire is sleeved with insulation where it is buried.

To Part 5.

To Part 1.

Thursday 4 October 2018

A Model Railway - Baseboard #3

My research for a suitable paper-aluminium glue lead me to a recommendation and tutorial found on the paper modellers forum. The glue to use is Aleenie's Original Tacky Glue (£3 from Hobbycraft). The bottle does not identify what materials it can stick but it works on metal and paper. One bottle was sufficient for the two boards with some left over.

Using 80gsm ink jet print paper track mat I was not able to get as smooth a finish as in the tutorial. It tended to crease and bubble. The bubbles disappeared on drying. Any deformation left is no problem as the surface is to be hidden with scenery.

To Part 4.

To Part 1.
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