Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Deltic & Her Baby

This weekend we finally managed to get all of the coloured light signals working at Gunnmere and the first locos to make use of them was Class 55, 55001 'St Paddy', and the Class 23, D5909.
While the Deltic was at the head of a special train, heading north, the Baby Deltic was busily delivering wagons to the small goods yard.
In a busy session this weekend, we also installed lights at one of our smaller stations, Coneyvale Halt, as can be seen in the bottom photograph. In the background can also be seen the lights of the small coal depot.
Next time it will be the turn of Davemoor to have its signals wired although, thankfully, these are nowhere near as complicated as those at Gunnmere!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Half-way There!

Last weekend we managed to get almost half of the feathered colour light signals working at Gunnmere Junction, as can be seen in the top photograph, looking north from the station.
The middle photograph gives some indication of the amount of wiring involved under the baseboards and you can now see what happened to much of what was dangling from the control panel in my previous posting.
There are wires here for the feathered signals, the three double aspects (also seen in the last posting) as well as lights for the platform and goods depot. Different coloured wire is obviously essential here but, also, coloured numbered sleeves help us to track the wires from switch to light to power source etc.
Painstaking work but satisfying and, thus far, successful.
In the bottom photograph a Class 37 is seen heading towards Gunnmere from the north with a rake of Yeoman hoppers. The signal the train has just passed is one of the ones that is still to be done .. tut, tut!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Almost Under Control

For the past two or three weeks we have been busily constructing and wiring the panel of switches that control the assortment of signals and lights at Gunnmere, as seen in the top photograph.
This mass of coloured wires is slowly being organized into looms that feed the various signals as well as the mains supply.
This weekend we managed to get the yard lights, platform lights and the three double aspect signals all working.
These signals can be seen in the photographs above with a Class 20 being held prior to gaining access to the small goods siding while, at the other end of the station, a Class 50 awaits departure with an express for the south.
So, with fingers crossed that we do not get any wires crossed, we hope to have all of the signals fully working during the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Lion-side Photographs

Here are a few line-side shots of 0260 'Lion' and 50007 'Sir Edward Elgar' hauling the Cumbrian Coast Express set of coaches. 
We begin with Lion' awaiting departure from Davemoor (top photo) with the southbound working while, in the top left-hand corner of the photo, can just be seen the engine shed at Anchwood, the terminus of the branch line from Gunnmere Junction.
Next we see the train passing Manxton, on the up fast main line. Note the very wide, specially-made, footbridge that spans the four tracks.
The third photograph shows Lion approaching Gunnmere, through the plethora of coloured light signals that we are currently in the process of wiring! Hopefully, soon, all of these lights will be fully operational.
The last photograph of the southbound express sees it pausing at Gunnmere Junction, the only intermediate stop for this particular train.
Finally, we see Class 50 50007 'Sir Edward Elgar,' passing at speed with the return working, heading north.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Updates From Above

As well as adding signals to the layout, especially around Gunnmere, we have also been making a few changes / additions to the layout, at various locations. 
At Gunnmere, above, gone is the old engine shed to be replaced, at the bottom of the photograph, by a Bachmann Scenecraft Shillingstone Goods Shed (44-170). The engine shed was never used and we felt that Gunnmere definitely needed a goods shed so it now has one. We will need to add another yard light here but, apart from that, the shed is pretty much 'goods to go'!
We have also been planting a lot of trees around the layout, as can be seen from the photos above, showing either end of the viaduct, at the northern end, and around Carswater at the southern end.
Finally, along with the trees, we have also added some telegraph poles to the branch line, above. Trees (and telegraph poles) do certainly add a realistic dimension although, with a layout of this size, it is a slow job.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rivarossi Royal Scot

Rivarossi 1350 - 'Royal Scot' Class 4-6-0 6140 'Hector'
Rivarossi 2931 - Corridor 3rd Class Coach 14289
Rivarossi 2932 - Corridor 1st Class Coach 15604
Rivarossi 2933 - Corridor 1st Class Coach 15933
Rivarossi 2934 - Brake Corridor 3rd Class Coach 16100
Rivarossi 2935 - Corridor 3rd Class Coach 14250
Rivarossi 2931 - Corridor 3rd Class Coach 14250
I recently had the good fortune to come across this Rivarossi 'Royal Scot' Class locomotive plus six coaches in a local charity shop.
All of the items were boxed and hardly seem to have been used. It has since been tested on our layout and the loco runs extremely well and the whole train looks quite stunning.
Rivarossi, an Italian company that began life in 1945, later became a part of the Lima group and they found quite a large market in the US.
In 1977 they decided to try and break into the UK market but, for some reason, they failed to understand the importance of the scale difference between HO and OO and, as a result, they produced models that sat somewhere between the two. This meant that their models looked too small when compared to their OO gauge equivalents.
This is a shame because the quality of their models was outstanding and, had they decided upon OO gauge from the start, they could have developed quite a following in the UK as well.
All of the above items, plus Hector's sister loco 6100 'Royal Scot' and two further LMS coaches, were all produced around 1978 / 1979 but some were still in the Rivarossi catalogue some ten years' later.
All of the coaches came with clip-in corridor end boards plus replacement tension lock couplings while the locos came with just the one replacement coupling plus a bag of accessories. 
The founder of the company, Alessandro Rivarossi, died in 2010 and Rivarossi is now part of Hornby International.

Signals Galore!

For the past few weeks we have been continuing to install the remainder of the coloured light signals at the northern end of Gunnmere.
These signals control quite a complex track layout, with the two track mainline becoming four tracks plus a branch line.
All of the tracks need to feed into and out of the four platforms at Gunnmere, plus its two goods sidings, hence need for predominantly feathered lights.
With all of the signals now fitted, but not yet working, we have been adding the hoops and ladders etc as well as working out how best to wire the innumerable switches required to operate this amount of signals. 
Hopefully all will be completed during the next two or three weeks!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tri-ang Gold Plated Train Set T.43

I found this very unusual train being sold at a local antiques shop recently and, although I had neither seen nor heard of it before, I realized at once that it was probably a rarity.
It is a TT scale model (i.e.: 3 mm : 1 foot) and it was produced by Tri-ang in 1961 for the Kays Mail Order Catalogue.
It features SR Merchant Navy Class Nº 35028  'Clan Line' together with three coaches all of which have been finished in vacuum-plated gold
I believe that only 300 oft these sets were made and, to be honest, I cannot imagine that they would have proved to be all that popular at the time. However, because of this, and its resulting rarity, this set has now become highly collectible.
Originally it would have come in a box, together with an oval of track ... please see the picture below:
Sadly, though, the set that I acquired was unboxed and had no accompanying track. 
So, as I have no TT scale track myself, I am unable to run the train but I have applied power to the locomotive's wheels and they do seem to turn okay. Therefore, all it probably needs is a good clean and, maybe, some lubrication and then it should run very well.
The train is by no means in mint condition but it is still an eye-catching model. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Signalling The Way Ahead

A junction signal controlling at the northern end of Petersfield station.
The first of two two aspect signals at the southern end of Petersfield.
A two aspect signal at the southern end of Gunnmere Junction.
The first of several signals controlling the northern end of Gunnmere Junction.
This weekend we finally embarked on installing some more coloured light signals on to the layout. Those at Sueston, which we installed some time ago now, have, rather embarrassingly, been the only proper signals on the system and the only mitigation that I can offer, in defence of this, is that we have been busy rebuilding the northern half of the layout and wanted to make sure that all heavy building work and track laying was completed before we installed delicate (and expensive) signals!
Well, I feel that we have reached a point now where we can safely install the signals and we have now made a start both at Petersfield and at Gunnmere Junction. 
The latter station, in particular, requires some complex signalling, especially at its northern end with all platforms and sidings needing to access four main running lines plus the branch line!
The signals are not yet in action because I wanted to install them all first before wiring them to the power supply and innumerable switches!
This process of signal installation is, by the very nature of the size of the layout and the cost of the signals, going to take some time to complete but it will be fun to do and will look fantastic when it is finally finished.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Station Refurbishment

We have been spending some time making much-needed improvements to Coneyvale Halt, one of the smaller stations on the layout.
As with some of the other stations, we began with some straight sections of Horny platform plus a couple of platform ramps. Over this we laid some 1/32" cork and painted this grey. We then applied some platform edging and acquired some old Airfix Platform Fencing, which really does look the part, I must admit. 
The buildings are from the Hornby Skaledale range and are pretty basic for a simple halt. On each platform there is a Small Wooden Shelter (R8718) while on Platform 1 there is also the Wooden Platform Signal Box (R8721). This controls access to the small coal yard just seen in the top right of the first photograph. 
Indeed it is the workers at this yard who, probably, provide most of the passengers who use this little station although both platforms do seem to be well populated with people waiting for trains in the photos above. 
There is no footbridge at this station so the only way to go from one platform to the other is via the barrow crossing seen in the lower photograph.
Lights will, however, be provided in the near future since, being stuck out in the middle of nowhere, Coneyvale Halt can be a dark and lonely place on cold, winter nights!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ballast Yard Lights

At long last we have installed lights in the Ballast Yard plus a couple of buffer stops that also have red warning lights. The buffer stop lights are supplied direct from the track while the yard lights, as well as the platform lights at Carswater station, are all controlled via the 12V dc supply on an old H&M controller.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hornby ACT Freightliner Wagon

This Hornby Freightliner Container Flat with three 20' ACT Containers was produced, I believe, for the Australian market.
I am not sure what ACT stands for but it could be Australian Cargo Transport.
These wagons were only made between 1970 and 1972 and the containers were also produced in silver and blue, as opposed to the white and blue above. These silver and blue versions are rarer to find than the white and blue as they were only produced in 1970.
The Catalogue Number for both versions is R839.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Outlines of Power - Nº 6 : Class 35 'Hymek' B-B

For the sixth 'Outlines of Power' article by Mike Turner, that 'Rail Enthusiast' ran during the early 1980s, we have the Class 35 'Hymek' with a great portrait of D7000 in BR green livery with small yellow warning panels.
The accompanying annotation reads as follows:
With that smooth, busy beat so much associated with locomotives of the Western Region's bold diesel-hydraulic era, the 'Hymek' B-B locomotives produced a notable performance when you consider that their weight in working order was just 74 tons. 
Their 16-cylinder Bristol Syddeley Maybach MD870 engine, producing 1,700 bhp at 1,500 rpm, drove through a Stone Maybach Mekydro transmission and final drive. The short, stubby locomotives, with their endearing inward-sloping front-end design, had a starting tractive effort of no less than 49,700lb, a continuous tractive effort of 33,950lb and a top speed of 90 mph.
Numbered from D7000 onwards, the locomotives were ordered from Beyer Peacock (Hymek) Ltd., in 1959 and they first appeared in 1961. Although they performed many and varied mixed-traffic duties, events led to their early downfall and by the start of 1973 only 20 survived, D7000 herself succumbing in July of that year. Happily, however, a handful of the distinctive "Hymeks" have survived into preservation. D7017 is preserved by the Diesel and Electric Group at the West Somerset Railway; D7018 is preserved by the same group at Didcot; D7029 is working on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, preserved by the Diesel Traction Group, and the Bury Transport Museum has acquired D7076 (together with some parts from D7096) which had been at the Derby Research and Technical Centre.
By way of updating the current state of the preserved "Hymeks"
Both D7017 and D7018 are now on he West Somerset Railway. The former is operational while the latter is undergoing a long-term overhaul at Williton Shed.
D7029 is still undergoing major restoration work and was recently moved from Old Oak Common shed to the Severn Valley Railway for more restoration after which it will be returned to service in BR blue.
D7076 in currently on the East Lancs Railway and was taken out of traffic in late 2008 for repairs. It was then discovered that the engine would need a complete rebuild so a Maybach MD-655 engine from D1041 "Western Prince", which itself was being overhauled, was fitted to D7076 to make it operational. Unsurprisingly, the resultant loco acquired the nickname "WesMek". However the oco was again taken out of service early in 2010 when MD-655 itself developed a fault.
During the summer of 2011, two ex-Hymek MD-870 engines were discovered in a York scrapyard! Both engines were in excellent condition and both were purchased by the East Lancs Railway and one was subsequently fitted to D7076 with the second engine being kept as a spare. So it was that, in the summer of 2014, D7076 emerged in BR blue livery with full yellow ends.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tri-ang Pullman Cars

These Tri-ang Pullman Coaches were first introduced in 1958 and were scaled at 57ft (9") as against 66' of the real cars.
The body profiles, with the upper sides sloping slightly inwards, was closest to the electric multiple unit Pullmans and could be quite easily modified to represent a Brighton Belle car.
The tables mostly had plain brass lampshades but, sometimes, they were painted pink, as in 'Mary' above. At one stage the lamps were even reduced to a narrow spike!
An example of 'Jane' has apparently been found with blue lampshades instead of pink. I have not seen one myself and, not surprisingly, it is considered to be quite rare.
Other rarer versions of these cars had them with cream coloured roofs instead of white ones and I have seen examples of these.
Later models were adorned with white rimmed wheels, as in 'Jane' above.
In 1962, Golden Arrow stickers were also supplied, separately, together with a locomotive headboard. 
The Catalogue Number for all of the three parlour cars was the same, i.e: R228 while for the Brake Car it was R328.
These iconic coaches continued in production until 1973.