Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Double Crossing

After treating Gunnmere to a face-lift we decided to do the same to Coneyvale Halt at the weekend.
This little station is situated just south of the viaduct and is primarily used by workers at the adjacent Coal Depot although walkers and climbers visiting the area around the viaduct use it too.
We have also added some cross-over points here to allow trains to and from the Depot to easily access the Up line, something that we failed to do when we first decided to include a halt here. This time we used Peco Electro-frog points and these look much better than the insul-frog variety. The only thing that we had to do was to put an insulated rail joiner on to the two rails emanating from the frog.
As there is no footbridge here since it is difficult to include one on such a small and slightly staggered station, passengers needing to cross the line must do so via the barrow crossing which we also installed at the weekend.
We have not quite finished our work here but hope to do so next weekend and I will, of course, post photos of the result next week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Track Changes

After a bit of a hiatus as far as blog posts go, methinks that it is high time for an update on our progress and, having almost completed the Diesel Depot, we decided to turn our attention to Gunnmere, the main intermediate station on the layout.
As can be seen from the bottom photograph (taken in April 2008) this was originally going to be terminus station with a facility for a locomotive runaround on the up line. However, when we could extend the line into the other half of The Shed, Gunnmere was lengthened and converted to a through station. 
Unfortunately, in installing the runaround, we had to kink the track slightly in order to prevent loco buffers hitting the platform when crossing from one line to the other. This was in the day when we had not discovered Express Points and were still somewhat green when it came to track laying. That said, the kink was camouflaged beneath the canopies and was not too noticeable. It was noticeable, however, as soon as we made Gunnmere a through station with less canopies at which time the crossover points also became, well, pointless!
We also had an issue with the up line as it entered Gunnmere, under the road bridge in the distance. A slight gap had appeared in the track that was sufficient to derail some of our goods trucks.
Now, though, after two or three sessions ripping up track and relaying it, the points, the kinks and the gaps have all been removed and the track through the station is now much improved.
While we were working on the permanent way we also took the opportunity to revamp the station itself. We have long been unhappy with the look of Gunnmere using, as it does, original Hornby platform sections. These have always looked somewhat plasticky with gaps and, compared to Sueston and Petersfield, it looked very unrealistic.
So, we covered the platform with Metcalfe Tarmac Sheets and faced it with some of the Metcalfe Stone sheets. We had a few of the platform edging sheets, that come with their stone platform kit but this was insufficient for our needs. So we scanned one of these strips and created our own!
Originally, the large station building was on the down line while a couple of the smaller buildings were on the up line. Other buildings were also further along both platforms but looked silly because they were really too wide for the narrow platform. So, by creating some extra width to both platforms at the north end of the station, we were able to have the larger building together with the gents toilet on the up platform and almost all of the other smaller buildings on the down line. 
To allow us to increase the size of the platforms here we had to lose a short length of the branch line track as well as some of the car park but this was a small price to pay for what is, I believe, a vast improvement.