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Discussion Starter · #381 ·
I have started purchasing more elements of what will become Fornham Road engine shed.

Publication Font World Eyewear Wood


I plan a 4 road shed and this is as good as any. The ready made examples can be up to £150 ...... or more and this at £4.99 is a snip. The snag is that there is endless printing, cutting, sticking on boards, bending, pulling it apart to do it properly next time ............... oh dear. I searched youtube for help and came up with this Station road engine shed from a great modeller. Sadly it put me off.

Searching some more I found this: Engine shed by Torri Laser constructed by LNER 1946 ................... and the idea formed that I could take the best from these two chaps and make it my own. The Torri Laser mdf kit is £59.99 on eBay listing and I duly ordered it.

Packing materials Shipping box Rectangle Motor vehicle Packaging and labeling


It is actually a precision cut kit and I am not displeased. The instructions could be better but it's quite straight forward. A half hour's fun of dry assembly has given me confidence.

The LNER 1946 chap chose to cover his kit with Scalescenes brick and tile sheets but I think that looks a bit flat so I have downloaded the Scalescenes engine shed kit and chosen the red brick example which I can easily weather up. I've read about texturing the downloaded sheets and once printed, applying a light roller with the paper laying on fine grade emery or sandpaper gives the brick a bit of depth. I will, experiment. It's important to get a 3D look, especially around the windows so the lintels and other features included in the Scalescenes kit will add that extra bit of character. Included in the paper kit are pits and flooring plus there is a pit lighting kit option ........ oh I definitely want that. (Reminds me of a railway meeting where I mischeivously suggested that a "mobile pit" would solve a lot of our rolling stock failures in remote locations and one chap asked where we could get one. I felt very guilty).

The Torri Laser instructions are a set of black and white printed sheets. Rather basic but adequate. Not a patch on the excelent Scalescenes instruction but I'm buying laser cutting professionalism so I'm not complaining.

Property Rectangle Wood Black-and-white Architecture


The only thing I need now is the time to start building .......... come now ................. don't make excuses before you have even started ............ but ............... I have civic duties to perform and meetings or events to attend throughout the week. I am just getting over a busy 4 days in which I officiated at 3 remembrances services, two British Legion concerts and two post covid re-instated markets plus 3 zoom meetings ........... and there was me worried that retirement would be boring.

Best regards ........................ Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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...(Reminds me of a railway meeting where I mischievously suggested that a "mobile pit" would solve a lot of our rolling stock failures in remote locations and one chap asked where we could get one. I felt very guilty)....
Glad it is not just me. As a youngster in the office I proposed using Nikolai Tesla's wireless electrical supply concept to speed a greenfield project to completion, and someone swallowed it whole. Yet later joy, and this time on the railway front, at an Ove Arup hosted presentation to local residents, on the possibilities for fourtracking the ECML bottleneck of Welwyn and Robbery Bottom viaducts and tunnels. I asked whether there had been any thought given to a TGV style solution, of simply ramping the fast lines over the low hills, including second decks built on the viaducts; for much less constructional disruption to the current running lines. The Arup representative came straight back with 'Entirely possible and would be an ideal solution'; the slow motion explosion in the room was most gratifying.
 

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Hi John,
That is hopefully going to be one lovely looking engine shed in due course.
Like 34C, I had to titter at the thought of a “mobile pit” - ha, ha, ha!
Back when I was a long term member of the Mickleover club, we had a “branch” layout and the guys involved with it were very serious. They were also passionate about the Ffestiniog railway and so added a narrow gauge section and one evening, Phil T. Was chattering away about the dual gauge track.
Deap pan, I looked him in the eye and asked if he had any dual gauge stock to run on it. He spluttered for a few moments before realising then just muttered “pillock”!!!
Cheers,
John E.
 

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Discussion Starter · #384 ·
Back when I was a long term member of the Mickleover club, we had a “branch” layout and the guys involved with it were very serious.
Cheers,
John E.
John, you have reminded me that many years ago I was invited to visit the Micleover Club hut where there Duffield layout was up and running. I took with me a Gutzold DR Class 50 2-10-0 steam loco and 5 Piko double decker bogie coaches. I watched as a Hornby HST set struggled around the oval layout with the power car leading. I then was invited to place my stock on the rails and I set it up with the coaches leading, the steam loco pushing from behind (this was after all push/pull stock). The German rake then flawlessly circulated around the layout ............. to much interest. A decision was taken to reverse the HST so that the power car was pushing from the rear. It didn't work out too well as it derailed on the curves .... rather generous curves at that.

The point was well taken that the standard UK couplings were not ideal and that pickups also needed to be improved to ensure smooth running. This was back in the 1990's and I hope that Hornby have upgraded their engineering standards. I have to admit that I have a few "continental" models that would have struggled on the Duffield layout but most would run in a similar fashion to the double decker stock.

Life moved on and with British Rail privatisation I lost touch with my colleagues in Derby who were the Mickleover club members who had invited me.

Best regards ....................... Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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...The point was well taken that the standard UK couplings were not ideal and that pickups also needed to be improved to ensure smooth running. This was back in the 1990's and I hope that Hornby have upgraded their engineering standards...
Much has improved in RTR OO, by the simple adoption of proven HO mechanism technique since the move to China. In particular the Athearn pattern of a centre motor driving both bogies has made the former feebleness of OO unpower bogie D+E but a distant nightmare.

Couplings though, UK still in the dark ages. Despite near two decades of continuing trouble with tension locks not operating swinging close coupling systems anywhere near optimally, the best practical effort is Hornby's inclusion of the Roco pattern coupler head (albeit on an overlong mount) with their coaches.

Even one of the newer outfits bidding for the 'better than ever' place in RTR OO: 'Accurascale', have not grasped the nettle of informing their potential customers that really you do need to make the move to a coupler that forms a rigid link between the coupler pockets to get the best from these close coupling systems. Equipped with Roco 40271, their fitted mineral wagons have buffer heads in contact, such that the buffers compress on curves.

Or alternatively follow Bachmann's path on a couple of knuckle coupler equipped vehicles by installing their Kadee clone, correctly positioned with the shank through the bufferbeam frame end crossmember; although they then dropped the ball by not making provision for a matching height knuckle coupler on the appropriate traction. (Easy job by DIY.)

Presumably the wall of silence on the inadequacies of tension locks is lest near the entire group of UK RTR OO purchasers run away screaming at the prospect of Tensionloxit...
 

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...one evening, Phil T. Was chattering away about the dual gauge track.
If there's one thing that I wish had been enough of a commonplace in the UK to enable reasonable justification on any mainline layout, it is that NG had been used more extensively. Just so that I could fit in a dual gauge section somewhere, with a couple of divergences and a sway...
 

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John, you have reminded me that many years ago I was invited to visit the Micleover Club hut where there Duffield layout was up and running. I took with me a Gutzold DR Class 50 2-10-0 steam loco and 5 Piko double decker bogie coaches. I watched as a Hornby HST set struggled around the oval layout with the power car leading. I then was invited to place my stock on the rails and I set it up with the coaches leading, the steam loco pushing from behind (this was after all push/pull stock). The German rake then flawlessly circulated around the layout ............. to much interest. A decision was taken to reverse the HST so that the power car was pushing from the rear. It didn't work out too well as it derailed on the curves .... rather generous curves at that.

The point was well taken that the standard UK couplings were not ideal and that pickups also needed to be improved to ensure smooth running. This was back in the 1990's and I hope that Hornby have upgraded their engineering standards. I have to admit that I have a few "continental" models that would have struggled on the Duffield layout but most would run in a similar fashion to the double decker stock.

Life moved on and with British Rail privatisation I lost touch with my colleagues in Derby who were the Mickleover club members who had invited me.

Best regards ....................... Greyvoices (alias John)
Good heavens!
I might well have been in attendance on that occasion but sadly, I don’t remember, sorry. In the early 1990s I was still busy with my studies and chasing girls. As a friend once remarked of his wife “I chased her and chased her until she caught me”.
I dare say your invitee may have been someone like Vic Evans? He was certainly very interested in H0 Continental/German throughout my membership. Probably still is if he’s still with us.
Anyway, the Duffield layout.
Through the 1990s when I was in attendance (!) I was an American outline modeller and I was determined to show off just how good American as well as European mechanisms were so I set up more or less my entire collection at the time - 100+ bogie wagons with three diesels at the front and one at rear. I managed a couple of fault free circuits but I didn’t have everything weighted properly nor did everything have genuine Kadee couplers fitted.
Had that been the case, I should have wowed them but my couple of faults let me down!
Never mind,
John E
 

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Discussion Starter · #388 ·
Planning what has emerged as Fornham Road Depot has provided me with an escape from my civic duties which come thick and fast around this time of year. In the past 7 days I have attended 4 church services, twice layed a wreath in the Memorial Gardens, attended a British Legion concert plus a Diwali Stories evening. In the midst of all that two committee meetings, sorted out a planning issue (are they ever really resolved) and had two zoom meetings with bodies that have lost their grant funding from county and borough levels of government. As austerity bites ever deeper the elasticity of town and parish safety nets are now severly tested. Now I am preparing myself for the Friday evening town christmas lights switch on and desparately trying to arrange a substitute for the usual Santa (it appears that the Claus household is in quarantine). Oh yes, planning the loco depot is a brilliant escape from all that.

Hair Head Hairstyle Facial expression White

Possible copyright link. Council meeting.

I have made a few purchases towards this build but basically it's about plugging gaps in what I have stored on shelves and in boxes. I do however need the odd thing and I will come to those at the appropriate moment ................ suffice it to say that I am ................ well I'll list the basics:

  1. The structure will be a 64" x 23" x 18" box with the two long sides open for viewing.
  2. Ply and foam sandwich construction made from from my grandchildrens old layout base.
  3. Electrics will be based around my original Esu Ecos (the non colour screen one) linked with DCC Concepts points control and my new Digitrax hand throttle (yes I had to buy the Esu L-Net gubbins to make that work). All that contained in a separate "control box" that can be clipped onto the layout or placed on my desk.
  4. I plan on using the DCC Concepts point levers that have lanquished in the box they were delivered in over 10 years ago. I have everything else to make them work except .. ah yes the Alpha sniffer converter.
  5. I don't want any under baseboard electrics so I am designing a "trough" along one side for the track feed bus and ancilliary bits and pieces. I am experimenting with this to see if it can be adapted for the bigger layout downstairs in the converted garage. At my age I don't want to be scrabbling around under a layout.
  6. I was going to use up the draw full of point motors that have accumulated over the years (at least 10 solenoid and a box of a dozen DCC Concepts slow acting tortoise killers) but I am tempted by the new (well new to me) surface mounted point motors on offer in Settle. Half sunk in the base board I am sure that they can be scenic'd out of sight.
  7. No new rolling stock is needed. Definitely not. No .............. but I just found a yet to be constructed D&S GER 2 coach push/pull kit in a draw; the Saffron Walden branch train. No. Resist. I wonder if Ian who built some other GER coaches for me is still in business.
Well that's the basic idea. All I now need to do is find time to get this show on the road. I just have time this evening to order the sniffer thing and the point motors.

Best regards ......................... Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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Discussion Starter · #389 ·
I left you last night with the intention of ordering a sniffer unit from DCC Concepts but logging onto their website I thought it best to check exactly what I needed. I have a variety of literature gleaned from DCC Concepts over the years but my knowledge (if I can claim my uncertain grasp of the subject to be knowledge) is somewhat dated. So I checked out what is best way forward. I had added a sniffer unit to the basket but then clicked on the odd link and came to this: DCC Concepts Alpha Range booklet and turned to the relevant Esu Ecos page:

Font Cameras & optics Electronic device Technology Advertising


I didn't realise that the Ecos command station could actually feed straight into the Alpha Box as I always assumed that the flow of information would be one way from the Alpha system to the Ecos via the sniffer input (with sniffer unit interposed). So looking at that setup what do I already have:
  1. Alpha Box
  2. Cobalt Alpha
  3. 12 x Class analogue DCC Concepts point motors
  4. Accessory Decoder CDU Solenoid Drive SX 8-Way (the original one)
  5. 12 x DCC Concepts point levers
By my reckoning the only thing that I lack is a power supply to the Alpha Box. I checked the box containing the Alpha Box (sorry about that) and and it is supplied without a power supply so that has to be ordered. So it looks as if I have decided to use the under baseboard point motors but as the layout is a sort of diaorama it should be possible to tilt it on its side to gain access to underboard wiring. By using items that I already own I will be saving a few pennies ....... that can then be spent on the rather more expansive mimic board control system that I plan to use downstairs on the Hennigsdorf layout.

Oh no ......... I thought that I had a day off from civic duties but I just had one of those good news/bad news phone calls. It appears that a replacement Santa is on his way from the North Pole and should be with us in time to be in the Christmas Lights Switch on grotto on Friday. The bad news is that we have no elf to assist him ................. I am desperately trying to resist the obvious comment .............. no, I give in so here it is ................ Santa's little helper has fallen foul of Elf and safety rules. I know. I am suitably ashamed. Onward and upward.

Best regards ................... Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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The bad news is that we have no elf to assist him
Can't you get a replacement from the National Elf Service?
I'll get me coat ...

David
 
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Discussion Starter · #393 ·
I love this phase of a project ............... the armchair phase. The danger is that you get stuck in a time loop, endlessly tinkering with the plan and never getting to leave the armchair.

That said .............. I have had delivered the DCC Concepts Alpha Power (courtesy Peter's Spares), the ESU Ecos L-Net adapter and today I ordered the red/white mimic panel kit from DCC Concepts. I was swayed by this: DCC Concepts video featuring a lever/mimic panel combination. I can do that. Well I think I can. I still think of electricity as being magical, a mysterious force that brings light at the flick of a switch but I have no understanding of what's behind that switch. DCC is a complicated variation of that mystery and is way above my pay grade. So. let's see how these claims of plug and play work out for me.

There is also the little matter of sorting out my Brassmaster turntable:
Watercraft Typewriter Combat vehicle Self-propelled artillery Office equipment


A wonderful bit of kit that has been languishing in a cupboard for years. I know how this works as I have had it slowly turning using a 12 volt dc controller. I have no idea how to get this working via DCC so that too has to be investigated. There is also the matter of registering (if that is the correct word) with track leading into it. So much to learn. As you can see there is a lot of work to be done to get this looking right; brickwork, walkway and painting. The brass girders are magnificent and what you really pay the money for. The builders plate an accurate Cowans Sheldon prototype. A B17 loco just fits on it so it is of prototypical GER sub shed length. A visiting Britannia may be a tight fit.

The J15 needs some work too but thankfully only a bit of cleaning away the dust of years on an exposed bookshelf .............. oh and perhaps a bit of lubrication before it starts to run. This is a kitbuilt brass loco.

Once I have the Christmas lights switch on event out of the way later today I think that my weekend is then my own. I therefore plan to make a start cutting up the granchildrens old layout board and making a start on the basic box for the layout. That should be relatively easy though I have to prise off the track which I glued down. I hope that I did not use Evostick.

Best regards ............... Greyvoices (alias John)

PS. The elf shortage has been solved as we now have two elves joining Santa this evening. I asked the inevitable question, "does the council possess two elf costumes?" only to be told that elves are elves so come as they are ....... elves. Stupid me.
 

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The 'Little Goods'. looks lovely, the dusty look suits it at the scale it appears on screen, and the turntable has 'good bones' so will look very well once painted up and located in a brick lined well. You could always go for the Norwich Thorpe look, and part fill it with water. (Doubtless this happened at other GER territory locations.)
...Turntable... I know how this works as I have had it slowly turning using a 12 volt dc controller. I have no idea how to get this working via DCC so that too has to be investigated. There is also the matter of registering (if that is the correct word) with track leading into it....
A loco decoder does the job. If you happen to have one that has no warranty burn out half the the rectifying bridge - so it is no good for a locomotive as it will only drive in one direction - that's a repurposing opportunity, wire a DPDT switch in the motor feed and you can turn in both directions if that's necessary.

Aligning the approach track to the bridge deck rails is no great problem in construction: then you learn to drive the bridge, finishing with a slow creep to bring the rails in line. DCC really scores for repeatability of the dead slow creep on speed step 1. Don't worry about it, this is all an intrinsic part of the DCC package; just like you don't worry about your TV somehow fishing the one programme you want out of a mutiplexed digital stream with 378 channels available.


...I still think of electricity as being magical, a mysterious force that brings light at the flick of a switch but I have no understanding of what's behind that switch...
Quite right too, we can't all be on the team of Michael Faraday and his peers. What the electron gets up to is beyond our imagination.
 

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Don’t forget to include a means of altering the polarity to the bridge track!
My way was to feed the bridge track via a simple return loop or wye detector - which then does all the switching for you.
My mates way was to add a DPDT switch near the table and feed via that but he has to remember to flick the switch.
Cheers,
John E.
 

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Going back a ways and pertinent to any model railway;

I have been to Miniatur Wunderland and never recall seeing any such pull over screens, of course when the great unwashed arrived the whole place is open, now they have plastic screens to reduce activity between German backpack man and the railway dioramas, yes backpacks are a real menace in this place as they sort of double the size of any already well fed German, my wife however being responsible for attacking the chocolate factory, hmm quite tasty.

I do recall however cleaning crews who armed with a variety of equipment keep the dreaded dust away but these people go to work when visitors have gone away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #397 ·
Electrons ............ to me they are the the Mysterons. Good advice 34C. I will experiment. Also thank you John E; I like the return loop detector idea.

I also want to thank David for the National Elf Service joke. I was told by the clerk that the staff were betting on me making the elf and safety comment to the masses who would turn up for the switch on (possibly two thousand did) so I was on my mettle. David's NES joke was duly delivered to good effect.

Smile Hat Organ Santa claus Standing

In the town hall with Santa before we all got frozen.

Now that is done I have the weekend without any duties. A rare two days before December duties kick in with a vengance. I'm not knocking it as I realise that what people need in these troubled times is reassurance that life goes on, that there is a future .............. children even more so as they are beset by climate emergency fears and disruption to their education and normal social life. Father Christmas and his little helpers doleling out presents in his grotto at the Christmas lights switchon gives comfort that life goes on regardless. So, with Friday behind me I can turn to modelling and time to start cutting up that baseboard for I need some comfort too.

Best regards ................... Greyvoices (alias John)
 

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Ah, all is revealed, you are a member of the chain gang! I was thinking that your recent duty list sounded suspiciously like LA leader or some like role.

There's an idea for your layout, get yourself scanned in 'full dress' and you can preside at the opening ceremony of the new <insert worthy civic facility> amongst the scenery of your layout
 

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I doubt I can claim credit for the NES joke. It's sure to have come from a comic or Christmas cracker. ;) I just a memory fo such trivia.

David
 
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