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  1. Today
  2. I made it up into the attic last night and spent some time coupling the MGRs together using the instanter couplings. It's a fiddly and often frustrating job putting the couplings into the short position but I eventually managed it and they run together just fine. I'm not sure if the following photo tells you a great deal about it but here's the 2 sets of loaded MGRs alongside each other. A 36 wagon non-canopied HAA set on the down mainline behind 58048 and a 34 wagon mixed set of HAA/HBA/HFA on the down loop behind 56095. My two empty MGRs which still require weathering will be a full canopied set of 36 wagons (seen above in the sidings behind 56040) and another mixed set of 35 currently stabled in the main storage yards. Oh and I've discovered there are 2 versions of Smiths' instanter couplings. There's item No. LP2 which is the standard version and there's LP2F which is sold as a 'Fine' version. I've used both types but the fine ones, which I assumed were just finer detail, actually have slightly smaller links which, when assembled, are a very tight fit over the coupling hook. I would opt for the standard version should I be crazy enough to do this again as they are much easier to couple.
  3. That's an impressive total running length Noel, ideal for lots of scale length trains and you can take it from me, building a garden railway takes several years even without the intervention of your employment! Out of curiosity, is a garden layout your favoured choice or did you choose this route due to the lack of space for an indoor layout? I actually chose the garden route because I wanted scale length freight trains but then discovered what a pain it would be having to place them all on track at the beginning of the session and have to remove them all again afterwards. That's when I decided to scale down train length outdoors and use the attic for a permanent home for the freight. An outbuilding of a size capable of stabling several long trains was out of the question. Of the two the outdoor layout gives me more satisfaction and is more akin to operating a real railway with all the maintenance it entails - much of which I quite enjoy.
  4. Yesterday
  5. Thanks for the comments guys, so a bit more detail. I started the layout 4 years ago, initially as an end to end with a view to making it a full circuit. That has taken 4 years thanks to work getting in the way. The first section built was the main station at the top end of the garden. This features 4 platform roads (Platforms yet to be built) 2 fully reversible, 4 carriage sidings and a small stabling point. From there it went slightly up hill to go round the top of the rockery and then down the far side of the garden to the shed. This section included a long passing loop on both the Up & down lines, whilst the shed consists of three terminal lines. The next extension was from the other end of the station down the opposite side of the garden to the smaller 2 bay platform station with two "through" lines laid ready for the bext extension. This came last year and starts 1/2 way down to the shed but swings out and round the front of a flower bed then across to join the two through lines that were previously laid ready. The station is built on external ply, but is in desperate need of a rebuild after part of the tree landed on it last year. Temporary fix done for now, with the replacement planned to be external py laid on decking boards and covered with roofing felt. The rest of the layout is on treated decking planks fixed to breeze blocks, the whole layout is between 1 & 2 foot above ground level. Hopefully if the weather stays and I don't get called into work then a large bridge is being installed part way round. I have got several other vids which I need to get off of the phone, none of progress through building, but attached is the only video of the full circuit.
  6. I was looking forward to going up in the attic and coupling the MGRs together today but with the weather being nice I decided to spend some time outdoors, after all, it's not often we can do that kind of thing lately. I began by cleaning the rails over the small viaduct and then from the rear of the shed round and over the larger viaduct. It wasn't as bad as I had expected with just the usual bird droppings which brush away easily once they've dried. At least there were no sloppy ones! With the rails cleaned I turned on the track power and tested each section for continuity. Everything was in order and working as expected. The ground level section that I re-laid late last year is currently unpowered as the droppers have yet to be connected up to the power bus and the insulating joiners on the two electrofrog points giving access into the yet to be reinstalled loop prevent any power getting past them. Lifting the old plywood track base had also meant removal of the wooden lineside 'fencing' which has resulted in a lot of soil being brought down onto the tracks by the birds. Before worrying too much about the power feeds I thought it best that at least some sections of 'fencing' were reinstalled to hold back the soil in the borders, primarily that to the outside of the track which is slightly higher. So some old log roll sections left over from the previous fitting were soaked in preservative and cemented in place, this time slightly higher than before. I haven't concerned myself with keeping them level or straight, nor in removing the remnants of rusty wire as I think it all adds to the scene. Once I can get the thyme growing over the top again it should look fine. I know that isn't a lot of progress for an afternoons work but time is something we have an awful lot of right now and with some settled weather on the cards for the coming week I may even get some more done.
  7. So my replenishment of cut wood has arrived. I immediately installed some of it. 😁
  8. Never mind the photos Tony, the Swing Bridge is permanently manned and does swing. Still fully operational despite the lack of big river traffic that used to be the River Tyne.
  9. Hi Roddy, how are you going, thanks for the link, had a look , the swing bridge doesn't swing anymore going by the pic , thinking of building the side beams the same shape as that one . Big day tomorrow will be doing the big mock-up decking of the layout to see how it will fit in , if I need more curved decking, know I need more straight sections , pics to follow , days are cooling down now in the high 20's next Saturday 24 degrees, going to make the most of the cooler weather now. Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead.
  10. Last week
  11. I've had the airbrush out today and thankfully it worked without a hitch so taking it apart and cleaning it thoroughly has made a big difference. I was able to complete the weathering on all the MGRs making up the second loaded set as well as going along the chassis and roofs of 56095 and 58048 that I began weathering a couple of days ago. Once the spray-painted wagons have dried I will be adding the layer of real coal and then I will be able to couple them all together for the first time. While I've got rid of the black plastic look of the loco's chassis they need going over again lightly with some brown 'track colour', but here's what they look like at the moment after a dusting of the dirty grey used on the MGR's I suppose I'm going to have to dismantle them to do something with the cabs as they really do stand out now, and perhaps also fit drivers.
  12. Thanks for the kind comments. One more shot:
  13. Have a look at th swing bridge in Newcastle. Seagoing ships used to pass through here. There are lots of photos on Google. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Newcastle+upon+Tyne/@54.9673077,-1.6073544,237m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x487d857e0c6f64cd:0xbe252b072a76191!8m2!3d54.978252!4d-1.61778
  14. Hi Mick, many thanks have seen on Google Earth you can change it to Google maps and no logo but street names and building to a link , l will post the links , , sadly you can't do the same with street cam . https://www.google.com/maps/@-34.9359407,138.5808006,88m/data=!3m1!1e3 Fist link a close up of the auto wagon siding loading dock dock and ramp for the second level of auto wagon, moved out the way for access to the lower level . https://www.google.com/maps/@-34.9371878,138.5821937,707m/data=!3m1!1e3 Second link of the station building and two platforms, second platform is and island platform with access ramp to under the r the track to station building, I hope to contact the AMRA president in South Australia, to ask if any of his members has pics of the station building inside mainly . Today I plan to start getting out the module to pull up the track and wiring so I can start modifying them where they be set u in the garden shed, also want to do a complete mock -up on how the decking will fit in the back yard and garden, may need more ply for decking mainly station area, also want to see how the swing bridge will fit. Can anyone give me idea on how the bridge deck will slide in on the main decking, have seen some modellers have curved decking like in a turn table. Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead
  15. It's usually the case that the more spare time you have the less you manage to do. I'm not sure how I used to manage to do the things I did when I was working because now with time on my hands I tend to struggle to get anything done. It looks like you've made a start reinstating the campsite? Did you manage to find some static grass? The weather's looking better for the weekend and the middle of next week, though it's forecast to be a little breezy at times but hopefully there'll be an opportunity to get the soldering iron out.
  16. Even though I (we) can't leave the house at the mo, I've found little time to model. I've been out to the shed a most afternoons to shunt a few units around. This afternoon I allowed my mates Parcels unit out to turn it's wheels. I've found a few more bonds that need replacing. I'll get my iron out once warmth arrives and the wind subsides.
  17. There are now just 2 more MGRs that need instanter couplings fitting and although I'm so close to the end I've done about as much as I can manage for now. I've decided this will be the 34 wagon set because that's all the moulded loads I have and although I could probably make a couple for the remaining wagons I think it's just as well to do it this way. There has to be a 34 wagon set somewhere. Here's one of the wagons I was going to use for spares but which has now been reintroduced to traffic. It's basically sound with just a missing doorstop underneath and a missing handbrake guide on this facing side. It looks like it's seen better days but so did so many of these wagons in their later years and with a bit of weathering I've no doubt it will blend in with the rest.
  18. Good to see you around and still hard at it Tony. I was only thinking yesterday that I hadn't noticed you here for a while. It seems you are okay to post images providing you follow certain rules. “Without exception, we require attribution when Content is shown....”, while specifically for Google Earth it states “You can personally use an image from the application (for example on your website, on a blog or in a word document) as long as you preserve the copyrights and attributions including the Google logo attribution.” You can read about the Google attribution guidelines here https://www.google.com/permissions/geoguidelines/attr-guide/
  19. It's surprising just how quickly the ground recovers from a good dousing. Just a few weeks ago there would have been no way you could have done anything outdoors but now, for us fortunate enough to have escaped the flooding, it's as if those winter rains never happened. A pleasant weekend on the cards too so for those lucky enough to have a garden or outside space - make the best of it, but stay safe!
  20. Been out and watered part of my garden this morning. The grounds like concrete in places. I assume the windy weather has dried the top soil off as it's cracking up.
  21. In stark contrast to the previous months rainfall totals, here's the rainfall table for March showing that this year has been the driest March since I erected the weather station in late 2011.
  22. A new approach module has being reborn, I decided to straighten the bridge and station up to do away with that small curve making way for the new approach module, got to use the double and single slip cross over and small one on top of the 3 way point. Giving access to the double tack main line and platform track , I be building the triple track first , still working on the curved approach module a second curved deck be merging onto the first one, heavy modifying . The first three pics , I be repaint the decking but will have to cut slot an inch past the to three cross overs so the decking for the triple track and auto side dock cut line up, have left the cross overs on the deck to do that , I will find out from Mick if I can put Google Earth pics on the post. Forth pic I made use f the ceiling fan yesterday, still was hot in the garden shed yesterday, next summer will have put a whirily bird on the roof to get the heat out, at least I have a good area to work outside the shed with the shade where I will do the cutting on Friday. Luckily last the new track plan , I have done away with the Tehachapi loop ides, not working out with the shipping canal , good news is construction is now under way, loo at the top end where the spiral is I am planning a swing bridge have a 7 foot span so big ships can pass through , may never extend the length of the layout . Tony from sunny down under keeping on moving ahead
  23. Welcome Noel, great video have you actually finished the whole circuit, would love to see more, yeah how I would love to have a permanent garden railway and bugger having to shift house now have to plan a new garden railway, got progress pics to share be awesome . Tony from down under
  24. Hi Thomas, wow very awesome indeed, you having a staging yard in too can't wait to see trains running on the curves, pretty big like mine. Keep the good work up and more pics, how is the weather stopped raining and warming up still in the low 30's here wont start dropping down till mid May. Tony from nice down under.
  25. No photos today and just a quick update. I've fitted instanter couplings to another 5 MGRs, 4 of them being ones that were destined for spares but they look okay and with a bit of weathering they should be fine. In a train it's not going to be noticeable that a few underframe parts are missing. Real coal has been added to the moulded loads on a further 8 wagons that had been most recently weathered. Before I could do that I had to go out into the garden with my box of real coal, place a quantity inside a folded cloth and, using a wooden mallet, smash it into smaller pieces. I then sieved the crushed pieces to obtain fine coal destined for the 'power station' and put the remainder through a larger sieve to obtain 'house/domestic coal' to be used in my HEA's and PFA containers. The larger pieces were returned to the box for next time. On what will become one of my empty MGR sets I've spent the evening removing red and yellow paint that the previous owner had managed to get all over them. I had thought of using them for the loaded set so that the paint splashes wouldn't matter so much but I had some other wagons with the door detail inside the hoppers broken off so it was best to load them and keep the painted ones for the empties. I'm already planning my next project and intend giving the MGRs a break while I set to work on the aforementioned HEA hoppers and PFA containers, both of which will be in loaded condition. I'll be getting my little box of real coal out again shortly.
  26. This evening 56095 'Harworth Colliery' received a wash of enamel as the first step in its weathering. Unfortunately I was just a little too enthusiastic with the cleaning off and I've lost a small part of the coal sector logo, but who's to say that it wasn't like that in real life. Maybe I can touch it back in or maybe I'll just leave it as it is. Again, as with the class 58 yesterday, I've done just the body and will leave the chassis until I get the airbrush out later.
  27. 3 more MGR's have now been fitted with instanter couplings which I think brings the total to 22 leaving only another 14 for me to convert. The set is currently standing on No.1 road in Skew Bridge Sidings and can be seen in the following photo. The 14 canopied wagons awaiting my attention are immediately behind the loco. I've been following in @chris footsteps today applying a small drop of oil to the axles of the HTA wagons in order to rid them of an annoying squeak. I've also been fine-tuning the couplings, some of which haven't been secured properly leading to occasional uncoupling. Most of the HTAs were purchased second hand so a little work is to be expected in order to get them running the way that suits me. I could do with a supply of spare couplings as half the HTAs are fitted with tension locks and half with Bachmann E-Z mate couplings. I much prefer the more realistic buckeye type but there seems to be several types and lengths and right now I'm not sure which is the correct one.
  28. Welcome to the forum Noel(?) A new garden layout is great news. Thanks for including your maiden video. 'Challenging gradients' are generally best avoided but if your loco's are up to the task then there's no reason why you can't incorporate them into the layout and as you say, if it means having to 'drive' the trains then that surely adds to the enjoyment. I never experienced many problems with diesels up the gradient on my previous garden layout but many steam loco's were another matter. Is the layout relatively new or has it been operational for some time and is it plain track all round or do you have stations, storage yards etc? Looking forward to learning more about it and seeing further videos in due course.
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