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    • My point motors and lever switches arrived and it took me from early afternoon until late evening to wire them all in. I now have 7 operational points at the west end of the storage yard with just the cross-over still to do.  I've been able to test them and confirm they work but it got so late that I just didn't have the energy to run any trains through them. I used some offcuts of MDF and 2x2 timber to add a narrow shelf in front of the points at the east end - nothing fancy by any means - so from this position I can now manually change the points directly in front of me and remotely change the points at the west end via these Peco lever switches. How long they will last remains to be seen but for now at least they work perfectly. I might countersink those screw heads and tidy the shelf up a bit later. The only downside today is that one of the Gaugemaster point motors doesn't work and will need returning - it's solid and doesn't move. Luckily it's not required at this moment in time.
    • Aerated blocks it is. I've got several bucketloads of pebbles lined up in the garden which should mean I can make a start in the spring. I'm continuing to improve my buildings. With the Bank's relocation it's left side is now very prominent so a re-skin was required and I cracked on with that yesterday, putting it all together today once glues and paints had dried. Here's a photo to compare with last weeks post. Several things have changed. "In Boutique" has finally got its name and the Church and "667 Dark Avenue" (the tall building in the back scene) have both received new steps leading up to their doors. A closer look at the side of the Bank shows that the plotter cutter has been hards at work. The shelves are now in place at the bookstore and it has received a chimney breast (see first photo). All these improvements are causing a problem. The plotter cutter has enabled me to work at a much finer level of detail. The style of the buildings were determined by bird feeders I purchased form Lidl. I've tried to follow this chunky style, but I'm now finding that I'm making details a lot less chunky. At some point I will have to make a decision on how detailed I want to make things. I'm not going to switch to fully realistic, the cartoon like feel is key, but I foresee some reworking of several of the buildings. Especially they ones I'm not happy with. For the Bank and the Book Store I've developed a new way of working. I'm creating a new skin for a wall from cereal box card and putting on all the paint and detail before attaching the new skin to the building. It is a lot less frustrating working with a flat surface rather than a 3D building.
    • Another unproductive day on the layout mainly due to messing around with my remaining class 56 and trying to rectify another. I purchased a 'brand new' Hornby 56003 in Loadhaul livery which proved to be anything but when it arrived. It had the correct body but a replacement chassis which had had modifications done on it. Some of the detailing parts had been fitted while the rest were missing. One of the cam couplings had broken clean off (not a bad thing really considering their usefulness) and both of the bogies were seized solid just like my own had been. I'll spare you the remaining faults. Anyway I finally got the bogies stripped, cleaned, and re-greased and it's now pretty smooth but sourcing spare parts to replace those missing or broken isn't proving very fruitful just yet. I just need to construct a coupling base to accept a Kadee and it can then commence its duties while spares are located. My own remaining 56059 has also now been stripped, cleaned, and re-greased and it too is now working well, albeit minus 2 of its buffers. I've managed to locate one buffer head but I'm still missing the little spring and without a reliable means of securing them in place. When the loco was reassembled there were no lights working so I had to remove the body again, clean the contacts, and eventually they were there - thank goodness. I used to think of the class 56 as one of Hornby's better diesel locomotives but I'm now thinking otherwise. 6 seized locos is beyond a joke.
    • Hi Thomas, nice bridge, here is a pic of my bridge drawn to scale quarter inch a foot, this time with the new design the arch be in one full piece, the main arch wont be in full piece will have to join  18 inches on to make up the arch, 10 foot in diameter not quite 12 foot half circle . Be on the hunt for 18mm by 1/1/2 wide pine at 10 feet in length, in metres 3 metres is not 10 feet, there is a demo timber mob just down the road now , handy indeed, hangers be 12 inches wide, the second pic is what my bridge be based on this time not a double deck, road bridge be beside the rail bridge. the only difference is on the pic the arch continues onto the pier, my bridge wont have that. Arch is still 2 foot high, still be able to have kite flyers jump off the top of the arch and easier for them to scale the arch too, lots of steps and hand rails , lots to do on those hot days work o the bridge in the hall way which is quite long in the nice  cool house.  Don't need the 12 foot curve decking cutting that up for the bridge arch, will have to ask my brother if he can bring over his battery jig saw wont take long to cut , be on the con for a 18 volt Ryobi battery jig saw. soon. another  hot day again tomorrow, hate this time of the year too unstable, hot night 24 degrees, keeping the air con on till we go to bed. Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead  
    • Hi Thomas, wow very nice indeed, I will have to wait for my birthday before baying any trains, but am  after a second power for my Mehano ICE 3 set of 8 only have one power unit need to win the lotto to buy any sound decoders . Look forward to seeing those new trains run lightening speed look awesome. Tony from very hot down under now we are copping bad storms, yesterday a storm passed through dropping 20mm's in 20 minutes and other one today very hot and humid hate summer here, need to come to the UK for summer.  
    • The next bit of planning i've got is to sort out how the railway will exit the shed. Currently, i'm thinking of building an extension piece on the left side of the shed. This should hopefully give me the room for two full length sidings in the shed to serve as a fiddleyard. I've got a curved point to help with this.  One thing i'm keen to avoid is tight curves, so i'll be making a template right angle 3ft radius curve out of cardboard. When I start to lay track, i'll use this to check i'm not going below this radii. One thing i've not decided on its control of points. I'd normally just go with a CDU + srung center off toggle switches, but this would make computerised control harder later on. I could use DCC with jmri, but this means I need to buy expensive decoders. Alternativly i could develop a hybrid system with arduino and microcontrollers...  ideas on a post card...! I've had a note from my swedish language expert.. and thus the correct name is 'Stenbrottkulle Järnväg' 
    • I've managed to motorise two of the points using bits and bobs that I had to hand. It isn't how I would choose to do it but I think it's necessary to keep costs to a minimum now, especially in areas that aren't intended to be publicly viewable. For the point operating switches I want something that indicates which way the point is set and I don't want to go to the expense of fitting panel LED's or to create more work for myself as I have enough of that as it is. Before deciding to use the Cobalt point levers in the shed I had purchased a couple of Peco passing contact point levers to try and as they're still not being used I decided to try them in the attic. I've connected them up via a Gaugemaster CDU running off an old Hornby train set transformer and they're working just fine. Not fancy but functional. I've had to think about the train operating position, as in where to position myself in order to control the layout when trains are running. I was going to position the controller centrally along the storage road side of the layout but I'm now thinking of staying at the far end of the storage road area (the east end) where I've been temporarily plonked. I've actually wired the two Peco point switches to a position mid way down the storage roads but now feel it would be better to move them right along to the east end which is easy enough to do. By doing that, as I think I've suggested before, I can then manually change the points at that end and not have to worry about the financial aspect of more point motors and switches and so on. I managed to source some Peco point levers today at half the usual price and have ordered some more Gaugemaster point motors in order to motorise the remaining points at the west end of the sidings.  Being able to route trains into any siding without the need to walk back and forth across the attic will be a real boon - not to mention a huge relief.
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