Monday, January 21, 2013

Snow Go!

Due to the adverse weather conditions this weekend no work was done of the layout. However, before the snow came, we had made some progresss on creating the embankment for the branch line as well as laying the platform surface of the newly located Lake End station.
You will see that this station has also acquired a small, single road, engine shed for storing the tank engine that will work the line. This shed was by Scenix (Catalogue EM6102) rather than by Hornby or Bachmann, and is ideal for what we wanted.
Hopefully the weather will have improved by next weekend and this will allow us to continue with the embankment. 
The next job will be to give it a coat of earth wash because, at the moment, it looks as if it has been affected by the recent snowfall!
Once the structure of the embankment is in place we will turn our attention to construction the platforms at both Davemoor and Anchwood. 
Anchwood marks the interchange between BR and the steam railway and will just be a single, curved platform while Davemoor is going to be quite extensive with lengthy and complex platform faces.
Hmm, should be fun!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Smart Grids

This is another photograph taken from an old copy of Rail Enthusiast dating from 1983.
The caption that accompanied this great picture was as follows:
Using their combined might of 6,500 bhp, the newly-named 56031 Merehead  and 56032 move a 3,300-tonne payload of stone out of Merehead Quarry during a one-off publicity run on Friday, September 16. The train is nearly half a mile long and, at 4,500 tonnes gross, will be the heaviest in Britain when it starts running regularly in the new year.
Photo: British Rail.
The first 30 examples of this class were built by Electroputere of Romania but, sadly, they proved to be unsuccessful due to poor construction standards and were soon withdrawn. 
The remaining 105 locomotives, of which 56031 and 56032 were the first two, were all built bebuilt by BREL at Doncaster (56031 to 56115) and Crewe (56116 to 56135).
They were nicknamed "Gridirons" or "Grids" due to the grid-like horn cover fitted to 56056 onwards.
These are Type 5 locomotives with a Ruston-Paxman 16RK3CT power unit developing 3,250 bhp.
The engine was a direct descendent of the English Electric CSVT with its closest relative being the 16CSVT as used in the Class 50
Technical advances incorporated into the engine included significantly uprated turbochargers, gear driven camshafts (in place of the timing chain as used on the Class 50s), and uprated cylinder heads, fuel pumps and injectors.
In service the Class 56 proved to be strong and capable, however, the class could not compete with the more modern Class 66s in terms of availability and maintenance costs. 
As imports of the Class 66 increased the EWS-operated Class 56s became obsolete and looked increasingly like locomotives from another era.
To me, though, these mighty machines will always look and sound like true freight locomotives.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The End Of The Lines

So into 2013 we go and, during the Christmas break, we managed to extend the track of the branch line over the two bridges and into the new Lake End.
We have also finished laying the trackwork on the site of the new Davemoor station, at the end of the main line from Sueston. All of this track has also been wired to the 'bus although we still have to test this, hopefully next weekend.
The top photograph gives a good view, beyond Davemoor, towards the northern end of the layout while the other two pictures show the layout of the track at Lake End and Davemoor, respectively.
The latter station will actually cover quite a large area and will include a small factory unit, seen in the bottom left-hand corner of the lower photo. This will, probably, be a paper factory which, as you can see, already has it's own platform from where it can send its wares by rail.
We have also made a start on the scenery around the two bridges but wanted to finish laying the track before we did any more landscaping.
If you look closely you will also see one of the two locations where the track will, eventually, cross the gap to a central section that will include another station and, possibly a ballast depot for our fleet of hopper wagons. 
However, work on this part will not commence until we have completed the rest of the layout since we need to use the table for working and storage.