Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Extending the Extension

This last weekend saw us finally lay some track on the branch line extension and we also made the decision to keep this line level, as opposed to what I said in my previous posting. 
So, there will now be no gradient which will mean that we will have to lift the brick bridge up a bit by raising the level of the ground beneath it.
The bridge is currently at Mikron Models so that Alex can weather it and, until this is done in a couple of weeks, the branch line has to come to an abrupt stop at the gap where both the brick bridge and the railway bridge, which carry the branch over a minor road and main line respectively, have yet to be put into place.
Now that we have the track in position where the new interchange station will be, between the BR bit of the branch and the preserved extension, you can see that we have marked out the position of the platform between the two tracks. 
This new station will be quite a bit longer than the original one that was at this location and, as can be seen, it will be almost completely on a curve.
Indeed the trackwork here is full of reverse curves, unlike previously where it was boringly straight. This will also be the first time that we will have trains running on a double-sided embankment as well as running over and under each other.
In the final picture you can see that we have made progress at Manxton and have added a couple of buildings from the Bachmann Scenecraft Shillingstone Station set to the down platform. These are the Signal Box (44-165) and the Platform Shelter (44-171) and quite beautiful models they are too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Bridge So Far ...

Time for a quick update on the progress made, so far, on the embankment that will twice carry the extended branch line over the main line, before entering the new Lake End station. 
The location of this new station is going to be just beyond the pillar, seen in the foreground of the second photo, and will probably be a single platform with lines either side.
Because of the slight difference in height between where the branch terminus was previously situated and its new location, we have had to introduce a bit of a gradient between the tunnel and the brick bridge, which is as far as we reached last weekend. 
This gradient is not too severe but does bring to mind the 1 in 50 on much of the Somerset and Dorset as it traversed the Mendip Hills!
The old Tri-ang brick bridge, which is going to be weathered before it is permanently fixed to the base board, will carry the railway over a minor road. It will also sit beside a larger bridge that will carry the branch line over the main line.
The boards of this embankment have yet to be fixed in place, as has the track of course, and we plan to make further progress with this at the weekend.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Testing, testing ...

Last weekend saw us testing the newly laid track even though this section has not yet been connected to the bus. For the time being, Hornby Point Clips are being used on their own as the sole means of carrying the current and, thankfully, they seem to be working well. Of course wiring will be performed just as soon as all of the track is laid.
So, the first train to traverse the new line was the Class 42, which was chosen because of its notoriety for not liking tight curves. We hooked up a couple of Bachmann Mk2 coaches and sent her from Gunnmere to the current railhead, which can be seen in the last photograph. 
The top two photos show the train on its return journey, first of all pausing briefly at the new station of Manxton and, then, travelling on the up fast line of the four track section, on its approach to Gunnmere.
In the third photo we see the latest addition to our loco fleet, in the shape of D400, resplendent in its original blue livery. This particular loco is a conversion from Hornby's 50037 'Illustrious' expertly done for us by Alex of Mikron Models in Taunton. He has also lightly weathered the loco and we think she looks ab fab. The loco is fitted with Hornby's own DCC sound files which are not too bad apart from the distinctive 'tick-tock' clock sound when she is idling. We do intend to fit a bass reflex speaker to this loco in the near future and this should, hopefully, improve the sound a little bit.
I will also include a close-up of D400 in a future posting.
In the photo above, the train can be seen passing through, what will be, the new tunnel which will carry the extended branch line over the main line. As mentioned in my previous posting, this tunnel has a single portal at one end and a double portal at the other end and it would be nice to think of a suitable name for this unusual tunnel ... any ideas?
The fourth photo gives an overall view of the track layout beneath the window. This shows the two single lines leading off to the central section. The edge of the baseboard for this new area of the layout can just be seen behind Manxton in the first photograph.
This coming weekend will, hopefully, see us start work on the baseboard for the branch line extension as well as continue running the main line towards Davemoor. We might even get around to capturing a short video of trains running on this new section.