Monday, July 23, 2012

Going Round The Bend

At the weekend we finally finished the point work at Gunnmere, correcting the omission that we had made the previous week in not allowing for trains off the branch to access Platform 3 and, thereby, onward travel to Sueston.
This was not so easy to do, given the confines in which we were working, but we finally achieved what we wanted.
We also extended the four track main line around the corner and through the new, intermediate, station of Manxton. Here only the two outer tracks (up and down slow lines) are platform facing leaving the two middle tracks for non-stopping trains to pass through.
The four tracks will then continue to just before the next bend, to the right of the lower photograph, where they will revert to two tracks prior passing below the soon to be extended branch line.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spaghetti Junction

Last weekend we made a start at laying the complex track and point work beyond Gunnmere, so that the two track mainline can become four tracks. This track-laying has continued during the evenings this week so that we have now reached the point (no pun intended) that you see above.
Our aim was to provide as much flexibility as possible such that trains could enter all necessary platforms and sidings upon arriving at Gunnmere, as well as access most tracks when leaving.
This proved a bit of a headache but, as the photos above show, we managed to achieve most of what we wanted to achieve, such that:
  • Trains arriving off the Up slow line can access all platforms and sidings.
  • Trains arriving off the Up fast line can access Platform 3 only.
  • Trains departing Platforms 1, 2 and 4 can access both Down lines as well as the Branch.
We still need to add one more point to allow trains coming off the Branch to access Platform 3 so that these trains can continue to Sueston - this was a definite oversight in our original planning but should be easy to overcome although it will mean that the track here will resemble, even more, the Gravelly Hill interchange!
Hopefully, by next weekend we should have all of this track work completed and tested so that we can commence the large amount of wiring necessary to ensure the continuity of supply to all sections of track.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tommys Rot

Photo by Graham Wignall
Here is another, more poignant, picture scanned from the pages of an old Rail Enthusiast magazine. 
This photo was taken in April 1982, showing three dead Class 76 EM1 electric locomotives, awaiting their fate after the closure of the Woodhead Line in July of the previous year.
The photograph was taken by Graham Wignall and the caption that accompannied it was as follows:
"The final hours of 76003, 76037 and 76040 in Frank Berry's Leicester scrapyard - alomgside the former Great Central main line - on Wednesday, April 20."
These locos were originally numberd: E26003, E26037 and E26040, respectively, and were three of a fleet that numbered 58 in total. These were all withdrawn in July 1981.
The prototype of the class, E26000 (formerly LNER Nº 6701), was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built at Doncaster Works in 1941. However, because of the Second World War, electrification of the Woodhead Route was delayed. So, in 1947, the loco was loaned to Dutch Railways to assist in the post-war shortage of motive power 
She remained with Dutch Railways until 1952 when the Woodhead Line was complete. 
It was during this time that it acquired the name 'Tommy' after the nickname that had been given to British soldiers.
It kept this name for rest of its working life and also carried a nameplate that included an explanation of the name's origin, as follows
"So named by drivers of the Netherlands State Railway to whom this locomotive was loaned 1947-1952."
It has, in fact, the distinction of being the first non-steam locomotive to be named.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Davemoor - No More!

As we are going to scratch build the new station at Davemoor we plan to use the Skaledale platform sections, that formed the old station, at other locations on the layout to create two new stations.
These will be another, small, intermediate station on the main line plus a new terminus station at the end of the extended branch line.
So it was, then, that the old Davemnoor was removed from the layout at the weekend and the platform sections cleaned up in readiness for use elsewhere.
The old Carswater station, which will also be rebuilt at a different location, together with its tunnel and level crossing, were also taken out of service at the weekend. The tunnel is not going to be rebuilt but the level crossing will definitely be used elsewhere.
Following the removal of these features, plus the lifting of the track, all that was left was a forlorn Whistle sign, standing deserted and alone amidst the destruction!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Window Plain

As you can see from the photos above, we had the new window installed at the weekend, despite the appalling weather, and this was done much more quickly than we thought it would be.
We decided on a plain window since there is no need for any openings. This meant that it was both less expensive and, also,  it gives the impression that the window is a little larger than the old one, despite the fact that it is actually smaller.
As you can also see, work is now well underway on remodelling the northern section of the layout, with much of the old trackwork carefully being taken up and cleaned so that it can be used again. 
However, many of the points will probably be discarded and new ones purchased where necessary. This because, not knowing any better, we used mostly Hornby points in those far off days whereas we only used Peco now and we also want to use, where possible, medium or express points rather than the standard set track type.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wood Work

The Hornby Timber Depot and Timber Yard were recently discontinued from the Hornby catalogue and, in a seemingly similar move on our part, they have also just been removed from our layout.
This is as a result of the modifications that are now taking place in the northern section, in which both the Depot and the Yard were situated.
They do feature in a couple of our videos, so we will always have a record of them, however, we felt that they were more appropriate for an American or Canadia based layout rather than an English one so, unfortunately, they had to go!
I am not sure about the Timber Depot (top picture) but the Timber Yard (second picture) has certainly been around for some time - in the guise of Tri-ang's Side Tipping Car Set (bottom three pictures).
The more recent Timber Yard was hand-operated by pulling a lever on one side of the track which would raise a hook in the hut on the opposite side that would, in turn, tip the carrying frame on the wagon. This would then deposit its load of logs into the collection bin. 
However, the older Side Tipping Car was tipped automatically as it passed the operating ramp. This tilted the carrying frame so that it deposited its load in the bin, as before.
The Catalogue Nº for the Side Tipping Car Set is R345.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Enterprise Zone

Copyright: E N Bellass Collection
I thought that it was about time that I featured another photograph taken from my collection of old Rail Enthusiast magazines and, this time, it is a magnificent shot of English Electric's Diesel Prototype Number 1 - or DP1.
The actual caption that accompanied the photo in the magazine reads as follows:
"Immaculately restored, externally, pending her transfer to London's Science Museum, the prototype English Electric 3,300 bhp Deltic stands outside Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows, after her five-year proving trials with British Railways, which began in 1955."
Apparently the intention was to name the locomotive 'Enterprise', however, when it emerged, it carried the name of its prime mover 'Deltic'.
Deltic was initially allocated to Liverpool Edge Hill and began work on 13 December 1955. During the middle part of the following year, Deltic was temporarily allocated to Carlisle Durran shed from where she was subjected to test trials over the Settle and Carlisle route.

By the autumn of 1956 she returned to Liverpool and worked on such services as "The Merseyside Express" and "The Shamrock". Then in 1959 she was transferred again, this time to Hornsey on the Eastern Region, where more trials were conducted including operations of up to 105 mph with a BR dynamometer car. However, it was also during these trials that it scraped the platform edge at Manors near Newcastle and, in another mishap at Darlington, it lost its cab steps.

During June 1959 Deltic crossed the Scottish border for the first time with more tests in and around Edinburgh and over the Waverley Route.

Her tests were almost complete by July 1959 and she was diagrammed to work along the A4 Pacifics on the East Coast Main Line.

Sadly, in March of 1961 and having amassed over 450,00 miles during her time with BR, Deltic suffered a serious powerplant failure and was returned to EE's Vulcan Foundry. Here she was stored whilst a decision was made as to her future.

By this time, however, the production Class 55 lcomotives were coming into service and plans were made to modify Deltic for operation in Canada. This was in an attempt to attract overseas customers, more especially in Canada and the USA. However, these plans fell through and, instead, the locomotive was donated to the Science Museum. It is now in the National Railway Museum in Shildon, County Durham.

Growing Nicely

Despite us now starting work on remodelling the northern half of the layout we still do,  occasionally, work on the rest of it. 
As if to prove this, here is a recent photograph of the diesel depot, which now has a few weeds and bits of grass growing here and there. 
This depot will continue to be a (slow) work in progress as our attentions are turned elsewhere but it is coming along very well.
It has already been visited by several members of our diesel fleet for servicing, cleaning and / or refueling and we hope to feature it in a video at some point in the near future.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Baby Face

Here is another photo of D6319 at the head of a rake of wagons for the coal depot.
She is missing one of her side valence panels so, presumably, someone forgot (or couldn't be bothered) to replace it following a recent service. Apparently it was quite a common occurrence for these locomotives to have missing or ill-fitting valences in later life.
I must admit that I personally love this diminutive loco and have wanted a model of a Class 22 for a long time now. So, congratulations must go to Dapol for doing a truly excellent job in creating a scaled down version of this long defunct class.
I have owned one or two Hornby Class 29's, and I liked those too, but it was always the 22 that I really wanted. Maybe it is because of the loco's sad 'expression' or, perhaps, it is because none of them survived into preservation. 
Whatever the reason I am delighted that we have been able to add one to our fleet and it has already been put to good use on both local passenger services as well as a variety of goods trains. 
It has even been used to haul demolition trains away from the former goods yard prior to us remodelling the northern half of the layout. Hmm, shades of their duties on the S&D during the late 1960s methinks!

From Gunnmere to Gone mere!

This weekend saw us lifting the track from just north of Gunnmere as well as on the section across the middle of the Shed that, effectively, divided the room in to two.
The idea was to allow us to remove the crawl-through, which we had to negotiate every time we wanted to move from one half of the layout to the other. 
Well, as you can see, by the end of the day we had achieved our objective and the crawl-though had gone. 
I must confess that it was fantastic to be able to move between the northern and southern halves of the layout without having to get down on our hands and knees. However, on occasion, we would still find ourselves automatically starting to dive under the now non-existent barrier!
Of course this does mean that we no longer have a large continuous loop around which we can run our trains but there will be a smaller loop incorporated into the new-look layout.
Other plans include newly located stations for Davemoor and Carswater plus another, smaller, intermediate station called Manxton. 
As I have mentioned before, the branch line is going to be extended from the current terminus at Lake End to a new terminus at Anchwood. This section of line will cross the new formation of the main line a couple of times and the plan is for this to be a steam-operated, preserved railway.
Finally, as can be seen in the bottom photo, immediately beyond Gunnmere, the double track main line will become four tracks with fast and slow lines in each direction. 
These four lines will extend to where Carswater is at the moment before reverting to two tracks again and will allow us some interesting workings with expresses being able to pass both goods trains and local stopping trains.
All of this is, of course, for the future and our first step is to begin by relaying the track beyond Gunnmere - not an easy task, I must confess, due to the point-work that is now necessary.

Window of Opportunity

Work has now started in earnest on remodelling the northern half of the layout, as is obvious from the photographs above.
The top two pictures show the area in front of the window being slowly dismantled, although much of the track is still in situ. In the new scheme of things, the former goods yard will disappear completely while Davemoor, the northern terminus of the line, will definitely reappear, but in different guise and in a different location.
As you can see in the bottom photograph the old window, the frame of which was made of wood and starting to rot, has now gone and we are waiting for the arrival of a replacement. This, hopefully, should be installed in about two weeks.
We also took the opportunity to raise the sill of the window so that it would allow us to continue the branch line from where it currently finishes, to the left of the window, to a new terminus to the right of the window.
Plans for how the northern section will look have yet to be finalized but, rest assured, we will take this opportunity to undertake some dramatic changes and make, what was, a fairly boring section far more interesting.