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Everything posted by fungus

  1. Thanks for the searches. I too had seen the university project video. It looks good, but note that his hand does something behind the gates before they open, so I presume there is a mechanical catch to hold them shut. I might end up doing the same. The gate is made on a frame of 9mm x 10mm beams made by laminating 10mm wide strips of 3mm thick high-impact polystyrene sheet.
  2. I have built a lock gate test box to establish how well a model lock is held closed by water pressure, and trials are under way at the moment. I will report in due course.
  3. Impressive work, Mick. My viaduct uses similar construction techniques to yours, and is double-track, but not trouble-free! The worst part is the S-bend section between the lawn and the barn, where the calculations to provide a gradient of 1 in 50 on the curves proved too much for me and I reverted to trial and error!
  4. I note that I haven't logged on since May. I've done a lot of work on the railway since then, mainly modifications to improve reliability and reduce maintenance. I also now have sidings and crossovers outside the barn. The other major project since the railway was put into hibernation is construction of a 1/24 scale canal in the garden. This doesn't really fit into the scope of the 00 garden railways forum, but as it shares a corner of the garden with a 00 garden railway, I'll give a brief history. When I was a student, I built 1/24 scale model of a canal narrow boat. For the next 47 years, it didn't receive much attention, but recently I decided to refurbish it and fit radio control. The question then was, where to run it. The bath is too small, and it doesn't look right on a pond or boating lake. So the obvious solution was to build a canal in the garden.
  5. I am having trouble with Magpies. One of them seems to have taken exception to the scenic additions in one corner of the layout - fences, hedges, dry stone walls and telegraph poles (visible in the photo in 17th April post above). I regularly find that they have been torn up or damaged, and a few weeks ago I caught the Magpie red-handed! How do I repel Magpies? I will try hanging a few CDs over the area and see if that spooks them.
  6. Not really enough weight for either traction or good electrical contact outdoors. Looks pretty though, and runs well indoors on clean, level track..
  7. It's a Hornby model of a Sentinel industrial shunter.
  8. A very "Southern" day! It's all looking very good.
  9. I've been adding a bit of simple scenic work to the raised sections. Also needed to replace some of the telegraph poles and fences that were chewed by the wildlife.
  10. The quarry company has bought a new diesel shunter. Here it is seen returning from a disused and overgrown part of the quarry with three withdrawn trucks.
  11. Today I saw a Gresley P2 2-8-2 at Danes Wood, and fortunately was able to get a photograph. They are certainly very capable engines, ideal for this line with its long, steep gradients an fast schedules. I hope we will see them again.
  12. Now is the time for indoor tasks such as maintenance of stock and removable structures. Meanwhile, the rest of the railway slowly deteriorates in the winter cold and damp.
  13. That's some impressive viaduct Mick, and I especially like the girder section in the middle. Your viaducts look tidy and professionally built (though I know you built them). Yours will still be standing long after mine have fallen down!
  14. Today I had enough of the track modules for the quarry sidings complete and ready for a live operational test. There are two removable modules; the "black plank" and the "quarry turnouts". The "black plank" is effectively a bridge allowing space below it for the tree roots to grow. It contains the main line, single track at this point, the shunter refuge siding, and a turnout switchable between the main line and the quarry sidings. The "quarry turnouts" module contains two turnouts toe-to-toe, fed from the quarry turnout on the "black plank", and feeding back to the refuge siding and forward to the exchange siding or the quarry floor. The turnouts are switched using Peco point motors, which are hidden under appropriate-looking building. The building on the "black plank" is a ground-frame cabin, based broadly on the one at Midford North sidings near Bath. It was purpose-built from "plasticard". The other building covers two motors, and I found something suitable in Hornby's range, a weighbridge office I think it was described as. I decided that in real life, these turnouts would have been operated by the train crew using a special token to unlock the ground frame. In model form, therefore, I use the same principle; I have a ground frame in a box, which is plugged in to the track modules via a length of cable, and used to operate the points. (If you are an expert in these matters on real railways, please let me know whether the terminology in my description is correct.)
  15. The steps are an alterative route to the compost heap, the other being over the tunnel. They also lead to the extreme tip of the garden, were there is theoretically a view of the real railway. However, at the moment the view is obscured by bushes, as Network Rail only clear them at irregular intervals, and they were last done about 5 years ago. No viewing platform for the model railway.
  16. Today's excuses for a running session were 1. Indoor testing and running-in of newly-acquired loco complete; garden testing required. 2. Frog switch for viaduct turnout replaced and needs testing. 3. Who needs an excuse, anyway! So here is Midland 1F "half-cab" 0-6-0T number 41708 photographed at various points along the line. The engine is still in "out of the box" condition, with no detailing or weathering yet applied.
  17. Anyone running a 00 garden railway in Britain will very soon discover that keeping it clean can take up a lot of time. And it's not like cleaning the car, or the house, which can always be put off until tomorrow. If your rails ain't clean, the trains won't run. Something our railway owner might also discover is that running trains regularly helps keep the track clean, especially if assisted by an occasional run with a railhead polishing and vacuum cleaning train. If done once every few days, this seems to be adequate; if left for a week, a manual clean with a track-cleaning rubber will be necessary. It's not just the rails that need cleaning. The tunnel attracts a wide variety of wildlife, from insects, woodlice, spiders that build webs across the tunnel bore, slugs and snails that derail your train, to mice that eat nuts and acorns and leave the shells on the track. I've even found a large frog jammed in the tunnel. Today's short running session doubled as a running test of two locos recently acquired second-hand, and needing quite a bit of attention to minor but annoying faults. The first was a Bachmann "Hall", originally supplied with DCC decoder fitted. In its first outdoor trial, it had suddenly lost the changes I had made to CVs (mainly just changing the address away from 3) and reverted to the default (address 3). So I changed its address in the handset, and continued the trial. For its next trick, it waited until I was bringing it to a stop, and when the selected speed was down to 1 or 2, it suddenly shot forward for about a second at high speed. Not good! I opened it up, and the only thing I could see that might have caused this sort of problem was the two capacitors and inductors fitted in the feed to the motor. I thought I'd start with the capacitors as they are easy to snip off, which I did. Today's trial was to see if the symptoms had gone away. I did several runs at different speeds up the 1 in 50 with 6 coaches (all it can manage), and it ran sweetly. It will take a few more hours of trouble-free running before I am confident the fault is fixed, but it looks promising. The other loco was a Bachmann BR standard 4MT 4-6-0, to which I had fitted a decoder. It ran up and down the 1 in 50 with trains of between 7 and 11 coaches, double heading with a class 4 2-6-0. The only observation was that the tender seemed to be dragging on one side, and at intervals would emit a creaking, groaning noise. On later examination, the cause of this proved to be a large dob of carpet fluff and hair wrapped tightly around one of the tender axles. When I had first received the model, the loco's axles had been similarly encumbered to the extent that it would barely move at all, and I had spent a couple of hours with a pair of tweezers removing it. But I had missed one of the tender axles, an omission I have now rectified, and I hope that there will be no groaning at the next running session. Attached are a couple of pictures of the double-headed train. If you are a regular follower of these reports, you might notice that I have put the GWR Centenary coaches away in their box, and found a rake in the BR maroon that is more appropriate to most of my locos.
  18. The first train ran through the diversion more than a week ago. Since then my railway time has been spent wiring, ballasting, weatherproofing, operator interface, and all the other jobs that go with a significant change to the system. This evening I put the diversion back into place for a few record photos. The first picture shows the train entering the diversion through a short reverse curve including a left-hand turnout. The other arm of the turnout goes into the quarry. The ground-frame hut was purpose built to disguise and protect a Peco turnout motor and frog switch. The original main line is in the left foreground.
  19. I must read your report on point motors in more detail, as I am upgrading the points at Quarry Junction to electrofrog remote control. Although it is not really necessary as part of my "tree root" recovery programme, it makes sense to do it at the same time. It will make the junction more usable; small shunting engines and insulated frog points don't go well together!
  20. That's impressive! Your bricklaying skills are well above mine. You are also sensible to have a "party-proof" loop; mine requires guests to cross the line to reach the bar.
  21. This evening I made up two trains to run in opposite directions at the same time. Running clockwise was 34045 "Ottery St Mary" with 7 anachronistic GWR "Centenary" coaches. Running anticlockwise was 9F 2-10-0 92203, with 7 Hornby Mk 1 coaches and a Bachmann GUV. They completed about a dozen circuits before I packed up for the night. There were no derailments or other incidents. A short video clip can be found at
  22. WiThrottle, or the Android equivalent "Engine Driver", is pretty well essential for my railway, as there is no point from which I can see more than about a third of it at any one time. It allows the driver to "walk about" with the train. Make sure you have adequate wi-fi coverage though, especially if you get a building between you and the router/access point. I had a look at your pages; that spiral is impressive!
  23. Last night I ran a reliability test, with "Wilton" and seven coaches running non-stop round and round the circuit. I got up to 8 circuits without incident before I was called for supper. Looks promising! Earlier tests with other engines were not so good, but have highlighted a few places where the track is uneven, a decoder needing CV changes, and two locos whose rear couplings were too short for certain coaches.
  24. This evening's shots, showing progress on the diversion past the tree. The old main line is still in place and in use, and will remain so for as long as is possible to minimise restriction of services.
  25. Unfortunately the loco crew have forgotten to change them after their previous turn, a local passenger train from Evercreech Junction. They should have moved the one above the left buffer over to the right buffer for a freight on the S&D line.
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