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  1. Yesterday
  2. Unfortunately I worked quite a few over the years Iain and the quality of the ride was dictated almost entirely by the train driver no matter where the van was marshalled. My worst experiences were with unfitted spoil trains and I briefly mentioned the divided train scenario a few posts back. That was on a train of old 16t mineral wagons where the driver managed to yank the whole drawbar out of the wagon and continued on his merry way with half a train leaving me stranded in my brake van at the rear with the remainder of the wagons. I think they looked upon it as a form of amusement to see just how much they could shake the Guard up! In their day, long loose coupled trains were definitely the worst as there was so much slack in the couplings for them to play about with. After our divided train scenario I don't ever recall working with old mineral wagons again so perhaps someone took notice. Today I decided to look at the Caledonian Sleeper coaches to see if I could change the couplings to Kadee's in order to standardise things. I knew they were fitted with old tension lock couplings but didn't know how much work would be required to change them. Here's an underneath view of a MK3 sleeper bogie and the large tension lock coupling. And here's the bogie after removal from the coach. I'm not keen on couplings fastened to the bogies and what was immediately apparent from the first photo was the amount of free space between the leading edge of the bogie and the rear of the bufferbeam - plenty of room to fix the coupling directly to the underside of the coach floor - but how to do it? Well first of all we need to get rid of the old coupling so it was out with the razor saw. Using a Parkside PA34 NEM coupling mount fitted with a Kadee coupler and temporarily taped to the underside of the floor I discovered that fitting it directly would result in the coupling being slightly too high and so a thin packing piece would be required. Dismantling the old tension lock coupling I noticed that there was a plastic fitment that looked just about right (seen in the centre of the following photo). It would require the ridges on each side cutting off as well as part of the central pip but it was worth a try. Below: A close up of the plastic to be used as padding for the coupling mount. Only the bottom flat section is required so cut and file down the edges and central pip. Below: On the left a Parkside NEM coupling mount and beneath it the plastic padding piece after removal of the waste sections. Above right of the photo is a coupling mount with the packing piece glued to its base. And below is the finished coach complete with floor mounted Kadee coupling. If the wheels look a little rusty that's because the bogies and underframes had just been weathered with the airbrush I now have a rake of 6 Caledonian Sleeper coaches fitted with Kadee couplings so that's another task crossed off the 'to do' list. Hopefully I'll be able to get some photos or videos of them in action in the coming days.
  3. Did you ever work many ballast drops, Mick? Ive heard people say that they always preferred a "Shark" to be marshalled in the train, rather than on the tail, due to rough riding. Any truth in that?
  4. Last week
  5. I just remembered mentioning some video clips that I was going to try upload when I had the time - well here's a few that I've just uploaded including views of the recently completed ballast wagons.
  6. I'm not so sure about buying 'weathered' loco's and rolling stock because usually they've just had a quick blow along the chassis with an airbrush and it rarely looks convincing. I much prefer having a go myself in an attempt to recreate what I remember. I do agree with having small parts pre-fitted because the fiddly bits usually cause me problems. I've almost completed my ballast set now although I'm not sure it will always run as a complete rake - maybe I'll just run a few of them at a time as 12 wagons is pretty long for my layout and I need to have a siding where I can back it in out of the way in order to run other trains. I decided that the two 'Dutch' liveried Seacow's would be permanently ballasted and they look much better for the extra ballast along the central section. I've ballasted one of the Sealion's using a full length piece of plastic as the support but I'm not quite so pleased with that one. The two 'Shark' brakevans have been weathered and the whole rake is now fitted with Kadee couplings. This is the 'Dutch' liveried van... And here is the complete rake of 12 wagons passing over Low Shott viaduct. I may alter the loadings at some point as there are still 4 empty wagons but for now I'll leave things as they are just in case I decide to run a shorter rake. I find the Kadee's make handling stock much easier. If you want a wagon out of the middle of a rake you can simply lift it up and remove it without having to fiddle about with hooks and bars. The only problem is fitting them and getting them all at the same height, a task not made any easier by the differing heights in NEM sockets (where provided) from model to model. The Sealions/Seacows dealt with here have a flimsy plastic extension on the bogie holding the NEM socket which is very easily bent and can result in the Kadee being either too high or too low. Too low and the wagon derails when the operating pin catches on pointwork, so it's vital to get them at the correct height. If you can do that then they are excellent. I had to cut the coupling mounts on the Limpet's to get them at the right height.
  7. Yes, I like to buy weathered locos and cars, I like it also if someone else has assembled all the small parts...😎
  8. I'm curious how and if that will work at some point. But the control is something that is partly independent of the construction of the infrastructure. At least I have so far built so that I can divide the layout into blocks and drive to the distress quite classic with track occupancy detector and block release. My goal is still to control it with this model GPS "Games-on-track". But that is still a dream of the future, at the moment track construction is still the priority.
  9. You're too kind Iain but I agree, wagons, loco's, coaches, they all look much better and far more realistic once they've been weathered, providing it's been done reasonably well. I'm not 100% happy with my ballast loads having removed them from the cling-film and replaced them in the wagons. I may have to resort to 'permanently' loading them in order to get the load looking as I want it to. There was the possibility of laying plasticard along the wagon just above the central divide to create a single piece load but then I feel it would have resulted in a wagon that either looked overloaded or too flat. I don't think they were ever intentionally loaded to the brim. The more wagons you do, the more difficult it becomes to take a photo of the whole rake - especially on the kitchen worktop - but here's where we are at the moment with a couple of 'Shark' vans added to the mix. I understand there's no real need for 'sharks' with seacows/lions but I remember them being in such trains. I also remember having 16t minerals for the spoil and a resulting divided train when the drawbar was pulled clean out of the wagon by an overly enthusiastic driver, but that's another story. I still think the ballast load would look better running across the central divide rather than being in two heaps.
  10. Everything has to be weathered! (especially when it looks as good as this!) I actually think people are more into buying weathered items, so I don't believe you are going to de-value something - not when its this good. There are, of course, some hideous efforts on well known auction sites, that are so called professionally done - by a blind person (no disrespect) by the look of them.
  11. That's unreal! I look forward to seeing how it all works out. I don't suppose multiple trains in operation on an oo/ho gauge outdoor layout is anything new because there are a couple of well-known layouts in this country that operate with several trains running simultaneously but they are few and far between. I would always advise anyone thinking of building a layout outdoors in OO or HO gauge to not be overly ambitious - to start small and see how things go. It's not for everyone as you can see through some peoples's attempts at layout construction. Your layout on the other hand is on another level (several levels actually!) and it looks extremely well engineered. I'm optimistic!
  12. I wasn't able to do anything with the ballast wagons until late today but managed to get the airbrush out and give the Limpet chassis's a light coating of frame dirt. The two 'Dutch' Seacows had their bogies removed and were similarly treated. It makes a huge difference once the bogies are weathered and the wheels are painted too but looking at the photos I might just add a touch more weathering to those rear facing handrails above the bufferbeams to lose a bit more of that clean white. Should I renumber them to save having duplicates? - maybe I could change one of those last 3's to an 8 and make it easier. I toned down the interiors a bit too as I thought they were just a bit too yellow so there's a bit more brown on there now. I then made a start adding ballast loads to the Seacows and Sealions and some spoil to a couple of the Limpets. It's not easy doing the Seacows/Lions using my normal method with Cling-Film due to the central divide so I've started by doing one compartment at a time. The trouble with that is I'm going to end up with two peaks as if they'd been loaded under hoppers rather than how I remember them with a more uniform load as if done by a digger. I'm trying the cling film in an attempt to keep the loads removable but if that fails then I'll just have to do away with it and have non-removable loads. If there ever comes a time when they need to be sold then I doubt I'll be the one with any need to worry about it. So here are this evenings loading attempts on the kitchen worktop. Two limpets with dirty spoil and one currently empty apart from some scrapings on the wagon floor and the five Seacows/Lions in various loaded states all waiting for the PVA glue to dry before I can reveal them fully. I was planning on 3 fully loaded, one part load and one empty with the option of removable loads to alter things around but this might change if they need to be permanently glued. I'm not sure how others feel about weathering but looking at the before and after photos the pristine ones don't really do anything for me whereas the weathered ones seen here are how I remember them even if my recollections have become slightly clouded over the years. Does it devalue the models? I don't know but as I said earlier it's not really for me to worry about - I just want to recreate what I believe I remember and these make me feel a bit warmer inside.
  13. Hello Tony I bought the bridge piers via eBay from Italy. I'm already driving my trains with DCC. But without a controller that controls block sections, signals and switches as well as the trains, I can only drive one train on each circuit. On a circuit perhaps two if I take good care ... And yes, I have provided signals. However, not on the high-speed lines, there is no longer even with the real railway. It's still a lot to do and since the August is relatively cold and rainy, I'm afraid that the first trains will not run before next year. I'm behind my timetable now. Regards Thomas
  14. Hi Thomas, looking at your bridge piers, I like the shape of second pic of your Tuesday post 458, I am working on my bridge piers Tuesday , still a bit work till finished, aim is for the bridge to sit on them with out screwing to the floor, will have pavers inside to weight them down. You will have fun running more that two trains on DCC could be different than DC , will you have signals on each point to know when th ethe is on straight or curve, I did on my previous layouts and will on this layout working signals, I can make my own signals. Can't wait to see trains running on your layout, still a lot of work ahead. Tony from cool down under, has the hot weather settled down , it was raining in the UK last night my time , they had to to cancel the first match of the second ashes test cricket because of the rain.
  15. Hello Mick! The number of trains also depends on the expansion of digital control. Without anything, 5 trains can run at the same time in the first stage. But even if I set up only a few blocks on each circuit, it is 10 to 12. An automatic control of the parking station allows then from 25 trains upwards. Regards Thomas
  16. It's been a 'tweaking' day today, sorting out all those little problems that have been left 'for another day'. There was a point blade in the terminus siding that just wouldn't sit flush when set in one direction causing the wagons to lift slightly when passing over. In fact today it caused a derailment which ultimately led to even more 'tweaking'. There was nothing amiss with the point that I could see, no stray ballast or glue residue, so in the end I just gently filed it down and it's now sitting as it should. The derailment over the above point concerned two Bachmann OTA wagons, the ones I added additional weight to although the weight had nothing to do with the cause of the derailment. The OTA's, like several other wagon types, have swivelling axles to enable them to go round train set curves but the Bachmann ones, unlike the similar Hornby model, do not have a centering mechanism and I found that when propelling the train the axles can be quite significantly skewed resulting in the wheels not being in line with the rails. To compound things further, when the axles are off centre the Kadee couplings won't couple. I've seen many occasions where modellers have glued one of the axles solid so that it can't swivel but I decided that I could do something similar with both axles. I just lightly glued a packing piece in position so that the axle has barely any sideways travel. No problem with them going over double pointwork and now the couplings remain centred. I've done the same with all my Bachmann OBA's and will look at the VGA's later. Another tweak - one of my class 158s was stuttering and sometimes coming to a stand. No problem with the track and the wheels were cleaned without any improvement so I took it apart and discovered a wire to one of the bogie pickups had become detached. I dismantled the bogie and re-soldered the wire and we're back in action again. Such a relief as normally I end up making things worse. Then I fitted a Hornby TTS sound decoder to one of my class 20s using a 21 pin to 8 pin adaptor. A tight squeeze but I just about managed to get the body back on. Unfortunately the class 20 runs better in one direction than it does the other but maybe a few laps round the garden will improve it. Almost forgot. I fitted a Kadee coupling to the Dapol class 68 in place of the tension lock so that it could propel the track cleaner round the layout and give 26024 a break. When it had finished I decided to fit a Kadee at the other end but found that there was no NEM pocket! Looks like it's been missed off at the factory so I've had to request a spare. This evening I've begun weathering ballast wagons, namely Bachmann Sealion's, Seacow's and Limpet's. I have four olive green Sealion's and two Dutch liveried Seacow's as well as four Limpet wagons. The olive greens will be in rusty condition and the Dutch in lightly weathered. The Limpets really should be battered but I'll see how I get on with them. Here's the 'out of the box' Sealion ...and after I'd attacked it with the first coat of enamel paint stippled with a sponge. The inner requires more rust around the top part and I'll go over the body sides again once this has dried. I'll do the bogies with the airbrush. Here's a Seacow before ..... ....and after. I've only done the sides and interior so far. The ends, chutes and bogies await treatment. And this next little fella has been my 'cab ride' camera holder for as long as I can remember. I'm going to have to find another suitable wagon to hold the camera now. Still work to do on this one and another three to start. I'll do the chassis with the airbrush. I think that's all for now.
  17. Hi Mick, good to hear that bad weather has settled down, we are heading for silly weather, next Monday going to be 31 degrees, crazy, hope that doesn't mead we will have a hot summer., hopefully the layout be up and running by then. I cut out and made the piers for the bridge today, made the them big enough for four pavers each side of the arch for weight so the bridge be able to stand up on its own without having to screw to the floor., main part of the bridge is nearly finished, next will paint the rail deck so I can nail down the track, wont be having bus wires , just solder in feeder wires to at each flexi track join . In the first pic is what my piers be like when finished with the arch , can see just before the bridge a maintenance gantry bridge, plan to have one on my bridge too, be cutting out a hole so the gantry can access the other side of the bridge, be like the last two pics, actually what my double deck bridge is based on the double deck cable stay bridge between the Sweden and Denmark , was my first bridge . Tony from nice donw under keeping on moving ahead.
  18. Looks fantastic Thomas. How many separate circuits are there and thus how many trains will you be able to run simultaneously?
  19. I was able to have a decent running session yesterday using the stock that was already on the layout as well as two class 158 DMU's. I discovered that there's too many wagons on track to make forming trains easy and so I'll need to decide which ones are required or a better way of operating. I probably need to start thinking of complete running sessions extending over several days rather than trying to run everything in a single session. A lot of time yesterday was spent altering CV's, especially on the class 158's, in order to get smooth acceleration from a standing start. I managed to hook up the laptop and use DecoderPro to view and edit the respective values which becomes much easier when you can see what the current value is. Here's a few photo's from yesterday with apologies for there being just the usual loco's on view so they'll probably look very much like all my other photo's. I did manage a few short videos but just haven't had time to do anything with those yet. 37025 'Inverness TMD' with a decent freight train crossing Low Shott viaduct. 37025 then makes it's way round Low Shott Flatts, a view not often seen as it means scrambling amongst the shrubbery to reach this vantage point. And once again we see 37025 this time hauling its' train along Stackgarth Gill towards Stack Gill viaduct, a much more accessible viewpoint. Not to miss out on the action, and a relief to not be hauling the track cleaner around, 26024 is seen hauling a rake of VGA's in the opposite direction along Stackgarth Gill. And finally, 26024 again crossing Low Shott viaduct with the VGA's. I think I need to get out more!
  20. A little further towards the Italian train station.
  21. Earlier
  22. Thankfully we weren't affected by the power outage Tony - I believe it was mainly southern areas of the country. Much calmer weather today but not sure how long that will last.
  23. I was in the shed today using the airbrush to weather some wagon chassis when I remembered a few days ago thinking that the 6 Bachmann TTA wagons felt a bit lightweight compared to some other wagons so I decided to pop them on the scales and weigh them. I thought it would be a good idea to see how they compared against the other wagon types on the layout. Hornby HEA hoppers (empty) 33g Bachmann OTA log wagons (empty) 35-36g BACHMAN TTA tanks 41g Bachmann HEA hoppers (empty) 46g Hornby OTA log wagons (empty) 47-49g Bachmann OBA open wagons 52-53g Bachmann HEA hoppers (my coal loads) 58-62g Bachmann PAA Grain wagons 59-60g Bachmann VAA Vans 89-90g Bachmann VGA Vans 108-111g As I thought, the TTA's were a bit light so I glued a small piece of lead strip directly underneath each axle (the only place it couldn't be seen) and it's added on average 4-5g per wagon. Doesn't sound much but it's a noticeable difference. What surprised me most from the above list was the Bachmann OTA log wagons which, minus their accompanying cast log loads, come in at just 35-36g each whereas the empty Hornby version is 12-13g heavier. I decided to glue some lead strip underneath the Bachmann OTA's too raising their tare weight to 45-46g as I intend running these in an unloaded condition. It's interesting to learn that my 'real coal' loads add only 12-16g per wagon to the Bachmann HEA's. I'm not sure what the 'ideal' wagon weight is but I would consider a minimum weight of between 40-50g for a 2-axle wagon - it just feels so much better.
  24. Hi Mick, has the wild weather settled down , herd that the Uk had a total block out , not good for that to happen, how long did it last, we have being lucky not to have a black out that lasted days like in some parts of Brisbane and Ipswich with wild storms. That is a long time , I am not so worried now, be great if I can get the trains running this year, yesterday I started work on re doing the bus and feeder wiring on the corner module, I wont have that issue my layout being a module layout why I has taken so long to build, a bit longer with the changes.. It has being very windy here, yesterday I couldn't do any cutting,, today was worse so we went out to visit my wife's mum , had lunch there, she had a town house with a good size court yard, at the end she had the side as well could have a good size layout around the fence line.and out into her car port and back. Once I level the spiral module after changing the way I be hinging the legs to fold inwards, will start work on the spiral next weekend , as soon as the wind stops will cut the timber for the piers. Tony from windy and cold down under, could be snowing in QLD tomorrow in the highlands.
  25. Well I've not finished yet Tony and I started in 2012 so I've been going at it for 7 years! It's been that long that I'm already at the stage of having to replace sections of base before the layouts even completed. It's been wet and windy here and yes, the west coast main line was stopped earlier north of Carlisle due to flooding. The West Highland was stopped a few days ago likewise. It's been much the same all over the country.
  26. Today I've managed to get another selection of wagons almost ready for use on the layout starting with two Bachmann VGA's. Weathered and fitted with Kadee couplings these still require their chassis weathering when the weather calms down and I can get the airbrush out. Next comes two Bachmann OTA wagons again weathered and fitted with Kadee couplings and like the VGA's requiring chassis weathering with the airbrush. I don't like leaving wagons empty but I can't have everything running around fully loaded so they'll stay log-less, at least for now. The HEA's I sorted a couple of days ago have now had their real coal loads added. I thought I'd sieved the coal fine enough but it still looks a bit overscale - never mind. I mentioned previously that I had a number of HEA wagons that were earlier versions fitted with those awful large tension lock couplings. I thought about selling them on but instead I decided to hack off the old couplings, construct new NEM pocket bases and fit Kadee's to a further 7 wagons. There's another red one as above, 3 in Transrail and 3 in Loadhaul sector liveries. I might as well put them to use on the layout. Here's the 3 Transrail wagons shortly after having coal loads glued in. I've use a plasticard base that sits just below the top of the wagon to support the coal but place a piece of cling-film in the wagon first until the PVA glue has dried. The cling-film is then lifted out, separated from the coal load and the load then replaced in the wagon - meaning it can be later removed as and when necessary. Among the wagons in my 'to do' wagon box are a number of 16t mineral wagons and some 21t hoppers so while paint has been drying on the wagons I've been weathering I've also been messing around with a couple of 21t hoppers. I feel I can really go to town with these and model them in any condition I like so I've been doing a dirty one and a rusted one. Here's the dirty one, though with a rusted interior. Haven't touched the chassis on either wagon yet. And here's the heavily rusted one. Still work to do on both. Neither of the above two wagons are meant for the layout but who knows....I could go back a bit further in time? It's just fun and enjoyable weathering these sort of wagons and seeing what effects you can come up with.
  27. Have finely made the double deck stern ramp, took three attempts , I had to use a tooth pick for the pins, the smallest I could find, the stern ramp is taking me longer than I thought just as hard as the bow section, which I will rebuild later, glad the ship is in four sections, if I make a mistake can start that section again , is a learning curve as I want to build a radio control model. Pics one and two and second last pic gives an idea on the hinges, can notice more on the single stern ramp which is higher up, my hinges are different, didn't get the pics till after I made my hinges, take a closer look there is acap between the ramp when it is down and the main deck , mine is 7 mm's, I plan to use tape glues to the ramp and the bridge plates for it to work. Tonight I be starting work on the single ramp, still won't be able to glue the end bulkhead in place till the work on the ramps are finished , I have made the ramp to site 2 mm's lower that the main deck, can see that in the second last pic and ramp ison a 45 degree angle, mine not needed , the last pic showing how big that plate is on the stern, must be to stop wash from the props flooding the main deck More progress work tonight , still have hydraulic rams to make, like the m to be working ones,thinking of using heavy string for the rams, any ideas. Tony from windy down under.
  28. Hi mick, many thank's what happened to Roy I wont let happen it has being 4 and a half years now with quite q few changes I know, yes to ambitious I know but I will not give up, the hospital say wasn't planned I had a blocked bowel, luckily it unblocked it's self and didn't need surgery is what the doctors were talking meaning going to another hospital, I was in a lot of pain wife had to call the ambo's , the medical condition I have and previous stomach surgeries I had in the past the course as well.. I had an argument with a tree branch two weeks back , the branch won, going to take some time to heal but that isn't going to stop me working on the hobby I love, the trains will run this year, got that new ICE3 train to run, will have to go to my train clug next week to run it. Today I be cutting up the timber for the two main piers 19 inches clearance, it is pretty windy her, how are you going with the wild weather in the UK, see Scotland is copping it bad with main line tunnel flooding., cutting the piers for the bridge is out also the wild is pretty cold too, got plenty of wiring to do and might be able to level the modules as well.. Actually it be 5 years next year, didn't take you 5 years to finish your layout, not going to give up, as I said designing if we ever have to move the layout be going to my mum's house, here front yard be perfect for a garden railway and no need fora lock. My ship project is coming along, working on the double stern ramp, lot of work there with special hinges =, mine are pretty close to the ships, will post an update today I will keep pressing on, gone too far to give up now, have three full boxes of flexi track in the spare room for the layout hopefully enough for the main circuit, keep posted Camdale is moving a head. Tony from cold windy down under keeping on moving ahead.
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