Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Edging Along

The town area is coming along nicely now after we spent another full day working on the railway this weekend.
We began by installing the switches for the two extra signals at Sueston although, as yet, only one of these has been installed. The switch for the fourth and final signal at this location has been wired and put in place so that, when the signal is installed, the wires will be already there in readiness.
After we had completed the installation of the switches, and tested them, we returned to the town and edged around two of the paved areas on which stand most of the shops.
This proved somewhat fiddly, not helped by the fact that these areas are in the middle of the layout and, as such, involved us leaning over to reach them. As a result, not only did it mean working at a stretch, which is not good when the job itself is a tad detailed, but, also, some of the scenery along the edge of the board had to be subsequently repaired when we had finished, thanks to it being leaned on by stomachs that are, probably, a little larger than they should be!
The edge of the paved area under the front of the shops opposite the clock is a bit higher than it is elsewhere so we decided that some steps were necessary here for those shoppers crossing the road. We are thinking of adding a zebra crossing here and would like to add working belisha beacons but don't know if such things are available in OO scale.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peak Oil

Following on from my previous post, we now see the Class 45, previously seen waiting at Platform 1, coupled up to the 100 Ton Oil Tank Wagon in the Fuel Terminal.
Normally, of course, this duty would be performed by one of the shunters or by a Class 24 or 25 but, clearly, all of these locos were otherwise engaged and the Peak just happened to be on hand.
Besides, using a Class 45 also provided me with the opportunity to use a neat title for this posting.
The Fuel Terminal, Pump and Storage Tank are all by Hornby while the Security Fencing is by Bachmann - something that followers of this Blog may recall proved very fiddly to erect!
Ideally this should have been a through terminal but lack of space meant that this was not possible. However, at least it does provide a useful feature at this corner of the layout with yet another location to send our trains as well as a further opportunity to perform shunting manoeuvres.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Red, Green and Blue

Here we see a busy scene at Sueston station, featuring a number of blue diesels, as captured over the weekend. The photo also serves to show the third, 2-aspect, colour light signal that we installed on Saturday.
This latest signal controls trains departing from Platform 1 and this just leaves one more signal to be added to control trains departing from Platform 4.
Anyway, back to the photo above where we can see a Class 47 getting the 'green light' and departing Platform 2 with an Inter-City train bound for the North.
Meanwhile, a Class 37 approaches Platform 3 with an up semi-fast as a Class 121 bursts out of the tunnel and into Platform 4 with the branch-line service from Saggy Bottom.
Finally, standing on Platform 1, is a Class 45 which is held at red whilst waiting for the Inter-City to depart. Once the express has cleared, the Peak will head for the Fuel Terminal to pick up the 100 ton oil tanker that is parked there. This tanker can just be seen, in the distance, under the road bridge.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hornby's Handsome Hoppers

As I mentioned in my previous posting, we acquired some of the new Hornby Yeoman PGA Hopper wagons at the weekend - these, we thought, would look great behind our Class 20 or 37 locos.
Indeed, they have already, briefly, featured in our latest video and will doubtless be seen again in future productions.
We bought six in total: a pack of three in weathered condition that are all individually numbered plus three individual ones that are in pristine condition.
The pristine hoppers are numbered 14001 while the weathered ones are numbered 14002, 14003 and 14004.
These are certainly superb wagons and we will be filling them with loads in due course.
We will also, most probably, increase the number from the current six to nine or, possibly, more since we need a decent rake for the locos to haul.
The Product Code for the single pristine hopper is R.6534. For the pack of three weathered hoppers the code is R.6486 while Hornby also do a pack of three pristine wagons for which the code is R.6511.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting Stoned

After taking a break from working on the layout the previous weekend - of which more later - we decided to spend much of last Saturday getting back down to it again.
We began by painting the road system within the town and, also, paving the areas beneath the shops and the town clock.
We then installed a third Traintronics two-aspect, colour light signal at Sueston, to control Platform 1.
Most of the wiring for this signal was also connected, however,  we were unable to get the light working because someone (namely me) forgot to to buy some more single pole double throw switches! Anyway, I duly ordered these from Maplin on Sunday so they should be here well before next weekend's session down the Shed.
That just leaves one more signal needed for Sueston in order to control Platform 4.
Actually, it proved to be quite a productive session and, at the end of it, we could see that a fair amount of progress had been made. We even had time to run a few trains before heading off for a celebratory drink or two!
As to why there was no work done the previous weekend, this was because we went to Taunton to take some more locos to be weathered by Alex. These were 'Lion', 'St Paddy' and 'D1746', our Green Class 47. As soon as they are back I will post photographs of them on the blog and, hopefully, include them in the next video.
Whilst at Mikron we also bought six of the Hornby Yeoman PGA Hopper wagons - a set of three weathered and three individual ones that were pristine. These have already been featured in our latest video, flashing through Gunnmere behind the Class 20, however, I will talk more about these in the next posting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Bunch of Fives

Class 05, Nº DL26, in BR Black livery at Didcot
11136, later renumbered D2550 shunting at Ipswich.
CJM Collection
Rear view of Nº DL26 at Didcot
Nº DL26, in BR Black livery at Didcot
Adrian Griffith
The British Rail Class 05 diesel-mechanical shunters were built by the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds between 1955 and 1961 and they were mainly used on the Eastern and Scottish Regions of BR.
The class was not a great success because the gear change mechanism was awkward to operate. Most of the class was, therefore, subjected to an early withdrawal and were replaced by Classes 03 and 04. 
However, there was one member of the class that survived and this was Nº: D2554, which was transferred to the Isle of Wight in 1966. 
Here it was put to use assisting with the electrification of the Island Line. It was soon after being transferred that it was allocated the TOPS Nº: 05 001, the only member of the class to receive a TOPS number. It then remained in service until the mid 1980's before being sold to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. 
It is now named 'Nuclear Fred' and can frequently be seen working on the Island railway but, sadly, it is unable to haul passenger trains because the railway has old, air-braked stock whilst the loco is fitted with vacuum train brakes.
Three other Class 05s have also been preserved and these are:
D2578 'Cider Queen'
D2587 at the Heritage Shunters Trust
D2595 at Ribble Steam Railway.
The production run of 120 locomotives featured two slightly different designs which, chiefly, involved the arrangement of the cab windows and a different wheel diameter. However, there were also changes in the design of the buffer beam as well as the style of the buffers.
The fleet was fitted with the same reliable Gardner 8L3 power unit that was fitted to the Class 03 and Class 04 shunters. Originally they were all painted in BR black livery and were, later, repainted into standard loco green.
As far as I can ascertain no-one has, to date, produced a model of a Class 05.
The full loco specification is given below:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Four Runner

D2212 in original 'as delivered' condition
J Rush
D2298 at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
D2279 shunting at Chappel and Wakes, Colne
Ashley Dace
D2202 in green livery at Barrow Hill
Rich Mackin
The Class 04 diesel shunter was, actually, the forerunner to the Class 03, despite its later numbering. They were supplied by the Drewry Car Co who, having no manufacturing capability themselves, contracted out the construction work to both the Vulcan Foundry and to Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns.
The Class 04 was, mechanically, identical to the Class 03 with the same Gardner engine, 5-speed gearbox and a similar overall design. The cab layout was, also, virtually symmetrical so that the driver could work from either side.
The class itself was derived from a demonstrator loco built in 1947 (DS1173, later D2341) and the fleet was built due to the BTC's desire to rid shunting yards of steam traction in an attempt to clean up city areas.
They were delivered in black livery but this was later changed to BR green with only a few being painted in BR rail blue. They were also originally fitted with side and nose end guards for use over tramway lines, as shown in the first photograph, but these were later removed.
The Class 04 could once be found throughout the BR system, however, the decline in the type of work for which these locos were built meant that there was soon a surplus of shunters on the network. Because of this it was decided by BR to make the Class 03 the standard, light, diesel-mechanical shunter while Classes 08 and 09 became the standard larger diesel electric shunter.
The Class 04's were withdrawn from traffic between 1968 and 1971, which was earlier than the Class 03's, and it was because of this that, as already mentioned, very few of the class received the BR blue livery. As far as I am aware, none of the class ever received a TOPS number either.
Because of their early demise, quite a few of these shunters found there way into private ownership and, as such, many of them subsequently passed into preservation. Sadly, none of them are operational in mainstream traffic today.
So far as I know, Bachmann is the only manufacturer to produce a model version of the Class 04 - in N, OO, O and Gauge 1.
The full Class 04 specification is shown below:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Crafty Move

Our work last weekend centred on the corner of the town where, until now, there was but a pub and tea rooms. Over the past few months we have had several ideas as to what we should put here but I think, at last, it is finally taking shape.
We began by laying some more of the grey board. This raised the level of this area by two or three millimeters and it also allowed us to set into the card the ornamental pond and square gardens - of which more later. 
We then, carefully, removed the craft centre shops from their  position above the crawl-through near Gunnmere. This part of the layout is earmarked for future redevelopment  anyway so these shops would have to be moved at some point. It, therefore, made sense to move them now and have them form a part of the town. Also, since each shop is named after a member of the family, it seemed like a good move to put them where they could more easily be seen by everyone.
The ornamental pond, to the side of the shops, is by Harburn Hamlets and was also beside the craft centre in its original location albeit partially hidden by the road bridge. So, at least that, too, is now more prominent.
The garden square, meanwhile, is something that I purchased while in Brazil and is actually HO in scale. However, I loved it when I saw it and thought that it would make a lovely centre-piece for the 'new' craft centre, as well as being a memento of my trip.
As can be seen in the photos, there will also be a car park here to serve the craft centre and the town as well as the pub and tea rooms.
Both of these latter premises will have their own garden backing on to the river where customers will be able to sit and watch the ducks whilst eating and drinking.
Finally, we plan to create a play area for children where, currently, a blue ice cream van is parked. This should be interesting since we don't know, at the moment, how easy it is to create or buy swings and a roundabout etc.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Three, Cheers!

D2133 on the West Somerset Railway
03 084 with dual brakes and high level air pipes fitted
03 099 with vacuum brakes fitted
D2069 at Doncaster Works
Phil Scott
The Class 03 diesel shunter was built by British Railways at both Swindon and Doncaster between 1957 and 1962There were 230 of these little 0-6-0's built and they were, without doubt, one of BRs most successful small shunters.
As with Classes 01 and 02 the Class 03 was built for use where larger locomotives and, even, larger shunters, such as the Class 08, could not go.
As such their duties included working at various docks, shunting duties at goods yards, occasional freight trips and work as station and depot pilots. Class 03s were even used to haul boat trains along Weymouth Quay during the 1970s.
The gradual reduction in the number of duties that required these shunters meant that they were progressively withdrawn from the late 1960s onwards with many being sold into private industry. Virtually all of the class had been withdrawn from BR by the late 1980s, however, two of them remained in operation on the Isle of Wight until 1993, these being Nºs: 03 079 and 03 179. 
In 1998 03 179 was then brought back into service by the West Anglia Great Northern Railway for use at their Hornsey Depot. This, now, remains as the last Class 03 operating on the national rail network. It is named Clive and, as far as I am aware, is currently owned by First Capital Connect.
Fortunately, some 55 examples of the Class 03 shunters have been preserved and, as far as OO gauge models are concerned, Mainline used to produce one before Bachmann acquired the tooling. They have since released a model of the Class 03 in various liveries.
The complete loco specification is given in the table below: