Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feather Wait

Class 50, 50007 'Sir Edward Elgar' gets the green light as she waits at Sueston station with an express for the North.
You will see that we have changed the signal here for a two-aspect with feather for those trains departing Platform 3 and crossing over to the down line. The ordinary two-aspect signal that was here has now been moved to control trains departing from the Diesel Depot, of which more next time.
Like the other signals that we have used this one is by Traintronics and was fairly straight-forward to wire up. We had to use two SPDT switches though, one for switching between Red and Green and the other for turning the Feather lights on and off.
Having done this I think that we now need to use a similar signal to control Platform 4 where trains can either cross to the main line or carry straight on into the tunnel and on to Saggy Bottom Halt.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Control Tower

Well, the rather poor photograph at the top shows the current set-up of our Bachmann E-Z Command Dynamis Wireless Digital DCC Control System. 
Wow, now there's a mouthful!
To make it a bit easier to understand what is shown here I have labelled the various components piled high on the shelf as well as lined up along the wall.
I reckon that we now have as much as we need to operate the layout effectively, as well as being able to run several locomotives at the same time without any loss of power.
What we did not know before we bought the Power Booster is that it has an internal cooling fan which is rather noisy; so we plan to hide it away in a cupboard underneath the layout. This will also mean that there will be a lot less cables dangling from the tiny shelf and leave just the Base Station and Pro Box sitting above the layout.
The Booster comes with a large transformer (not shown in this photo) and is connected to the Pro Box via a single cable that is supplied with the Booster.
The wires to the track are connected directly to the Power Booster rather than the Pro Box and so, with the Booster hidden beneath the layout, and both it and the Pro Box plugged in to the mains beneath the layout as well, it should be both much quieter and look a lot neater.
The Pro Box, as with the Base Station, allows for one Wireless Receiver to be plugged directly into it. However, unlike the Base Station, the Pro Box also allows up to four more Receivers to be plugged into it. These are purchased individually and each comes with a long length of cable so that it can be positioned some distance from the Pro Box. The higher the Receivers are mounted the better it is since this will improve reception between it and the Wireless Handset, shown in the lower picture, and this, in turn, allows for more efficient running. 
To make things a little bit neater we have tied together the four cables running between the Pro Box and the four Receivers to form one loom. We have also placed all four Receivers fairly close to each other but they could be positioned separately and, more or less, wherever you want them, up to the limit of the cable of course.
Please note that up to four Wireless Handsets can be used in conjunction with the Pro Box whereas, with the Base Station, only one Handset can be used. I think that a fifth Handset could also be used but this needs to be connected directly to the Base Station / Pro Box so is not so flexible. 
Obviously the more Handsets that you have the more operators you can have and, subsequently, more trains that can be running on the layout!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going Green

A superb composition in two shades of green. This line-up
at Bristol on April 10, 1965, includes diesel-hydraulic 0-6-0
D9526 (later Class 14), "Peak" D40, two Brush Type 4s, with
D1612 in the foreground and, in the distance, "Peak" D24
and a diesel-hydraulic "Hymek" B-B.
Time for another picture taken from the pages of "Rail Enthusiast" and this is a great photo of various diesels in two shades of green, taken at Bristol in 1965.
Unfortunately the photographer is unnamed but the caption, above, is as it appeared in the magazine.
Currently we only have two green locomotives operating on our layout - a Class 08 and a Class 47. We have, after all, loosely set it in the mid 1970s.
However, I daresay that we will be able to find room for at least one more in time since the colour scheme is quite striking.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Washing Machines

This weekend we spent more time working on the Diesel Depot by way of adding the carriage walkways and a site office and, also, adding more scatter to the ground. 
This will be a slow job which might take two or three more weeks to complete but, and I hope that you will agree, I think that it is coming along rather nicely.
In the photographs above, you can see a dirty Class 53 'Falcon' entering the depot before moving through the washing plant.
It then parks itself beside one of the new carriage walkways - for a final rub down perhaps!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Bit of a Boost

A small section of the wiring beneath the layout showing the bus
wires (blue and brown) and the wires to the track (white)
The Bachmann E-Z Command 5A Power Booster- 36-520
Because our layout is somewhat on the large side and, with the addition of the Diesel Depot, is now larger still, we have been experiencing increasing problems with power reaching (or, rather, not reaching) all areas. This has proved to be especially so in the southern half which now includes said Depot.
We had long since wired the northern section but have been relying on Hornby point clips to get the power all the way around the southern extension. So, it would be fair to say that we have been very fortunate to get away with it for as long as we have done although, of course, it was always our intention to extend the bus to this half of the layout. However, we tended to concentrate on getting the building work done first before we turned our attention to the electrics.
Well, following the addition of the Diesel Depot we definitely started to get some  stuttering performances from many of our locos, particularly in and around Sueston, and it became quite clear that we could not postpone the wiring any longer.
So, during the Christmas break, we commenced this work by soldering lots of wires to the track at various suitable locations around the southern section and, then, connected these wires to the bus that now traverses the entire layout running beneath the baseboards.
I think that we have probably added more wires than we need but it definitely seems to have done the trick because, upon testing it last weekend, the difference in the performance of the locos was amazing.
Something else that we had always intended to do, in order to improve performance, was to connect a Bachmann E-Z Command 5 Amp Power Booster between our Dynamis Pro Box and the layout. Well, with the wiring now completed, it seemed like a good time to do this so we purchased one at the weekend. It is not connected as yet but, when it is, it should provide more power to the track and will mean that we can run more locomotives without seeing any loss of performance.
I will report back with our findings in a future posting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One of a Pair

In the twilight of its life, the ex-LMS diesel electric co-co 10001 rests at
Willesden Shed in the company of Class 24/2 B5092 on September 12 1964.
Photo: Dick Riley.
I recently decided that it was high time to dispose of my collection of old 'Rail Enthusiast' magazines, however, before saying goodbye to my collection, I thought that I would quickly look through them one more time and scan any interesting pictures that I could use on the blog so that other people might get the chance to see them.
I started to collect Rail Enthusiast (which changed its name to just 'Rail' in 1988) when it first appeared back in 1981. It began as a bi-monthly publication but soon changed to a monthly and is, now, a bi-weekly publication.
So, here is the first of these photos and it is a great shot by Dick Riley taken in 1964 of one of the twin LMS diesel electric locomotives, 10001.
These two BR Class D16/1 locomotives were the first mainline diesel locos in Great Britain. They were built by the LMS at its Derby Works and were each fitted with the English Electric 16SVT 1600 hp diesel engine with electric transmission. Both locos were allocated to Willesden Shed.
10000 was withdrawn in 1963 and scrapped at Cashmores in January 1968. 10001, meanwhile, was withdrawn in 1966 and scrapped at Cox & Danks, North Acton, in February 1968.
The caption beneath the photograph is a repeat of the one that appeared with the photo in Rail Enthusiast magazine.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Bachmann To Work

Well, after what has been almost two months without any activity on the blog, due to Christmas and other work and home commitments, it is high time that we got back to work on both the blog and the layout.
This, then, is an update on the latest state of the diesel depot which we have been working on these past two weekends.
Most of the buildings and structures that can be seen in the depot have now been stuck into place and scatter and ballast applied to the ground. A predominantly brown and black colour scheme has been adopted to replicate the mud, coal, dirt and oil that would be found on the ground in such a location and there is still more work to be done in this area but we feel that it is coming along nicely.
All of the items we have used here are by Bachmann with several more things still to be added.
In the bottom picture, from left to right, can be seen the following:
Modern Washing Plant (44-095) for keeping all of our locomotives nice and clean!
Depot Crane (44-072) for replacing old and worn out wheels on our wagons.
Fuel Storage Tanks (44-016) for storing the fuel used by our fleet of locos.
Diesel Fuelling Point (44-040) for filling the locos with the fuel stored in the aforementioned tanks.
Modern Servicing Depot (44-016) where the locos are serviced to keep them performing at the best.
Riveted Water Tank (44-037) a throwback to steam days but still in occasional use today.
The following list of items are those that are still to be added:
Depot Water Tower (44-097), this item is not yet available but is due any time now.
Carriage Shed Walkways (44-112)
Office Block (44-039)
There will also be a Bicycle Rack (44-035), some Lifting Jacks (44-042), Oil Drums (44-519) and Caged Gas Bottles (44-537), dotted around the site, to make it look busy, along with some people of course.