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Everything posted by chris

  1. chris

    Grand Central HST

    I've been after a Grand Central HST for Amblethorpe all year, but only the power cars have been available, until today. Hornby have just released the 1st Class coach. The 2nd (Tourist) Class coach is expected next month with the Buffett slated for November. It appears to me that the DCC fitted HST power cars come with the dummy car chipped as well. I'm not sure about the Hornby decoders, but an extra £10 for the fitted version is good if you get two decoders installed. Now all I've got to decided is what formation to run it as. These days they run with 6 coaches, but I think I'll go with 5 for now, Amblethorpe's stations will struggle to fit it in even at that length!
  2. Long day on the railway, but little progess made. I was laying my first non-striaght section of track. This should have been simple, but I'd decided that a pair of points needed to be on this 90° curve. This made things far more complicated. Simply trying to decided on the radius of the curves took a couple of hours of trial and error. But it was a hot sunny day and it was all rather enjoyable.
  3. Just spent the last couple of hours converting all my points for outdoor operation, following Martin's tips on soldering and Ian's what needs to be done. I found some 10 amp fuse wire (in an old tabaco box I inherited from my granddad) which was perfect for the job. I gave it a quick rub with some glasspaper to remove the tarnish and then it tinned very nicely. My technique quickly improved and doing a dozen points in one sitting certainly gave me the chance hone my skills. Thanks for the advice chaps, all very useful and most importantly, put into practice.
  4. Thanks for all your comments on my soldering. I plan to get some practice on some old hornby track and polish up my technique. While I was soldering I was thinking about the weight of the wire I was using and how much power would be going through it. I did come to the conclusion that it would be measured in milliAmps rather than Amps and that a much more discrete wire would be fine. Next time... Ian, thanks for all your information on points. I kinda knew what modifications were required after web research and close inspection of all your photobucket snaps (but I was trying to ignore the small wire between the rail and the blade). I will have a go at modifying a point and if I'm brave, I'll post a photo. Still not decided on point motors. I'm going to buy a Peco one, and a switch and an extension arm... and see how well I get on with it. I also have plans for modifying the Seep motor. Not sure when I'll have time for all this, but I'll keep you informed. chris
  5. Yesterday turned out to be a free day so I cracked on with construction. My first aim was to get on with the removable section (located in the narrow space between the fence and the conservatory). With one end supported by brackets I decided to use some off cuts of gypframe to provide the support at the other. Strengthen with fixing plates I screwed the gypframe to the ends of the fixed base board with about 5 cm of them protruding. It's not great aesthetically but it does do a good job of supporting the removable board. The next job was to stick the roofing felt to the removable board. With the boards ready I finally turned my attention to the track. It was a strange moment, seven months of thinking, planning, buying and constructing and finally I got to lay some track, and truth be told I wasn't sure I was ready. Anyway I laid out a few metres of track including a few points and then pondered everything for a while. Having not got to the bottom of the point motor dilemma, I thought it best not to fix them down. I did put in a short twin track section, one of the lines is 3 lengths of flexi and the other 2. I then went to work with my soldering iron and confirmed that I'm still not very good with one! It was great to get the first fixed section of Amblethorpe in place, now if I can get my head round what i'm going to do with with regards to point motors then I could make some serious head way. There are a few more pictures in the gallery http://gallery.me.com/chrissharp#100038
  6. I managed a good 8 hours of construction the Sunday before last and got all the base boards for phase one painted in bitumen and more importantly got them onto their brackets and braced in place by the gypframes. I'm very happy with the resulting flat surface. A few hours here and there during the week allowed me to put in place an extra bit of baseboard to allow for a larger radius on a corner and get my head around the removable section which is on a narrow path by the house. The aluminium brackets are great but are not suitable for a section which needs to stored in the shed. In place of them I've purchased a couple of rather heavy duty shelf brackets which will be attached to the underside of the baseboard. In the fenceposts I've screwed in some "dowelscrews", these are wood screws at one end bolts at the other. The shelf brackets slide on to the dowelscrews and wing nuts then hold them in place. This system should enable me to but this section of the baseboard in place relatively quickly. On Monday I found I had the time to stick the roofing flet on to the baseboard. This was becoming urgent, because the two months of dry weather had gone and I needed to get the top layer of protection in place before the rain started to be an issue. The roofing flet adhesive was a real hit and miss affair. I had no experience of using this stuff and just had to guess how much to use. I can't say I was pleased with the process and I've had to clamp down wood blocks on top of sections where the felt was "bubbling up", but the final result looks like something I may be able to live with (at one point I thought about lifting the lot and starting again!). I still need to put the roofing felt on the moveable section and having learnt a few lessons I'm hoping for more impressive results. This all leaves me at the point where I could soon be laying track. I'm spending a fair bit of time pondering the electrics, which going DCC basically means woking out the points. I've played around with a SEEP point motor and it's simple design seams very suitable for outdoor installation, all I need to do now is work out how to keep water away from them! I'm busy over the weekend, and I really must get down to some work next week, once the Tour de France is no longer a daily afternoon distraction! But I do hope to find sometime soon to make some more significant progress.
  7. Message received and understood. Manged another trip to B&Q on Friday so this morning I was ready to begin. Things were delayed a little when I concluded that I had to cut the grass, something that hasn't been done this year due to a broken mower. I borrowed my neighbours, but that needed a service before I could use it! With the grass tamed I got cracking with installing the brackets and then cutting the base borads to length. It took a while I as got to grips with things but I am happy with my progress. I haven't got the bitumen out or the Gypframe attached so it was all a bit rickety. Of course I couldn't resists the temptation to run a train or two. At first I just ran the my 153, but then I got the DCC hooked up and gave all three of my Northern units a turn. I did snap a few photos along the way which I've put in a gallery
  8. Ian, thanks for the drawing, I hadn't noticed that the Gypframe was slightly asymmetric! The aluminium brakets arrived yesterday so I now have all the main bits required to start. After close inspection of your photos I've made these observations. Your baseboards don't join over the brackets. You use simple 4 screw fixing plates on the underside to join the baseboards. You have drilled two holes in each the the aluminium brackets to allow you to screw the baseboards down. You cut out a small section of Gypframe so they fit round the brackets. You've cut extra holes in the Gypframe to allow easier access to the wires. Are these observations correct? and Did you make the Gypframes line up with the end of each base board, this would be required on corners, but what about the straights? Did you drill extra holes in the rear side of the Gypframe to allows wires enter/exit unseen? Did you cut roofing felt to exactly 6 inches before putting it down, or did you trim it afterwards? What have I missed? If you were doing it again, what would you do differently? I'm eager to get started, but don't want to rush in and make mistakes. Cheers chris
  9. Shelf brackets ordered, thanks Ian. Please spill the beans on how you've attached the Gypframe. I have looked closely at your pictures on photoBuket and I noticed that you have them closed at the bottom rather than the opening and I haven't worked out how to attach them that way round yet. Cheers chris
  10. The 9F is very impressive hauling that huge line of wagons, but I fear that there in lies your coupling problems. The couplings on these models are not designed to cope with prototypical loads. They are designed for running with shorter, lighter formations and don't appear to be able to cope with the forces that you are subjecting to them. With that in mind I would thing twice about adding any extra weight to your wagons. Adding coal loads to 46 six wagons will add a lot of weight, 25g in each of 40 wagons is 1kg! You may want to test the effect of extra weight by adding a couple of coins to every 5th wagon and see what effect it has.
  11. I'm thinking long and hard about the points. I'm going Electrofrog and I've been getting my head round the wiring since I bought one. It seems to me that the best bet is to make sure that the points themselves are not expected to control the supply of power. Their purpose is to control the direction of the train while wires and switches are designed for power. The Peco Electrofrog are an excellent design and appear simple to wire for DCC. Ian's point motor covers look simple and effective, and if he would like to share any tips on their construction I would be very interested. Ended up spending 7 hours of yesterday working on my fences. Burning the old fence panels, painting the new and making repares to the others. Still got several more hours of fence painting to be done and that's before I open the can of bitumen.
  12. Amblethorpe is my new OO gauge outdoor railway that will run in my smallish back garden in Copmanthorpe, York. To maximise the running length of the railway it will run along the fence, through the shed, back along the other fence and along the wall of the conservatory. Or that's the plan anyway. To begin with a 10 metre end to end will be constructed. This initial phase will start with a terminus branchline station close to the house which will run along the 9 metre fence before turning 90º into another branch terminus in front of the shed. About 6 metres in the middle of this will form part of the main loop, eventually. The second phase will take the railway into the shed. Being 1.8m by 3.6m there is plenty of room in there, but there is also a lot of stuff already in there. The shed may contain a fiddle yard, or I may use the the dry space for some modelling opportunities. Phase three will take the the route out of the opposite corner of the shed on a tight corner before heading back along the other fence for a a 9m run back to the house. The final phase will run in front of the conservatory on a 3m long viaduct before joining phase one at the throat of the initial station and completing the loop. I'll be modelling the present day. When it comes to rolling stock I am limiting to myself to anything that goes passed my house, but living 4 miles south of York on the ECML I think limiting is probably the wrong word. The layout is more inspired by the railways of the Northumberland Coast, but imagining that the branchlines to places like Alnwick, Seahouses and Amble are still in situ. To begin with I purchased some rolling stock. Initially I went for a couple of Hornby multiple units, a Northern Rail 153 and a 156. The 153 was DCC fitted and I've popped a Hornby decoder into the 156. At the same time I ordered a NCE PowerCab which I'm more than happy with. At the York Show I picked up a Bachmann 158 and a slave controller for the PowerCab. The DigiTrains people sold me a TCS chip (T1) for the power car of the 158 and a Hornby to control the lights on the dummy end. The fitting of the DCC chips to the 158 was a lot simpler than I first expected, some of the online guides made it very complicated which required cutting or "breaking" of the model, this included the PDF on the Bachmann site. Fortunately I checked the TCS site and they linked to a guide by Bromsgrove Models which was much smiler and far less destructive. The combination the Bachmann 158 and the TCS chip is very impressive. These three units will do for now as I build the first phase, a 10 metre end to end. Earlier this week I popped into Monk Bar Model Shop and picked up a box of Peco Code 100 and a few large radius turnouts which are a great improvement on the 30 year old Hornby track I've had kicking around since I was a kid. I've been very impressed by the construction technique of Ian on his The Kirkfield and Warmthorpe Railway and I will be following him quite closely. Yesterday a friend and I headed off to B&Q (I don't drive) and purchased 18mm waterproof ply, bitumen, roofing felt and adhesive and some Gypframe. The one thing I couldn't get was the Aluminium greenhouse shelf brackets. I'm thinking about going for a bike ride to a garden centre today in the hope they may sell them. All this leaves me at the cusp of construction. Time to stop writing, change into to work clothes and get out into the garden.
  13. Keep the updates and the pictures coming. The are very inspiring. Must get to B&Q soon and purchase a load of kit, and order 50 metres of Peco track, and may be a trip to Maplins...
  14. Things are starting to look good for 2010. That said I bet you could have do without todays weather. Looking at the pics I'm reminded of Hambleton Junc. I know you don't like the idea of points outside, but a simple single line chord down from the viaduct (following the 2009 temporary route) would give you a nice bit of operational variation. Plus I like the idea of your 158 sat on the chord waiting for the route. Just a thought. chris
  15. OK, I've started. Last week I purchased The hornby northern 153 and 156 as well as a NCE Power Cab controller. I spent an hour or so this morning cleaning the rust off the childhood hornby track and once it was good and shiny I put a loop together and took control of a model train for the first time in 25 years. The only annoyance was that I didn't buy a chip for the 156 (I got the 153 fitted) so I haven't tried running it, I don't have a DC controller and didn't fancy running a brand new DC train on the DCC system. So now I have to pick a name and then get out into the garden and start getting on with construction. chris
  16. Hi, Thanks for the feedback, with spring just round the corner and Frugal February over, it may just be time to start work on the railway. By the looks of things I will have to start with a DCC controller and a train. My house backs on to the ECML in Copmanthorpe, 4 miles south of York and I fancy starting with something that goes past on a regular basis. The Bachmann Northern 158 looks like a likely candidate. The Hornby Northern 153 is also tempting. Would you recommend that I buy them with DCC fitted, or should I purchase the decoders separately and fit them myself? I do have a good few meters of Hornby track from 30 years ago which I may set up on the windowsill in the conservatory just so I can get used to DCC control, I'm guessing that digital control has moved on a bit since my Hornby "Zero1" days. Outdoor work will begin with the replacement of the fence panels. They're 10 years old and won't last much longer so it's best to replace them now. I'll have to decide whether the posts are strong enough as complete replacement may be more prudent (yet expensive) if I'm going to be canterleavering a railway off them. The question that is vexing me most is what height I should have my track bed. The fence is 1.2 meter high, and 20cm down from the top seems about right. However the railway will have to cross the garden somewhere near the house and the windows in the conservatory are lower, about 60cm above the ground. If I want to use the wall of the house then the base board will have to be lower than the window ledge and although very convenient it just seems a bit low down. To have the railway 1m above the ground will mean spaning the garden (all 4 meters of it!!) about a meter away form the house with a moveable structure which will then have to be stored somewhere when not in use. My preference would be to make use of the house wall as this would be simpler and would give a longer circuit, but I fear the lower height wouldn't look right. The Selby Garden Railway is raised about 60cm, but it's on an embankment so it looks right. The Kirkfield and Warmthorpe railway is about 120cm above ground and again it looks right because it's on a fence. I guess I'll just have to have to try out different heights and see what I can live with. Anyway, before all of that, I get to spend 400 odd quid on a couple of trains and a controller, which is more money than our total out goings for the whole of last month. Frugal February is very much over! chris
  17. Hello all, I'm putting together plans for a garden railway. I'm starting from nothing, and mean nothing. No locos, no rolling stock, no track, no controllers, nothing. I do have a small garden (8m by 4m) with a big shed (1.8m by 3.6m) across the bottom of it. It also has a 1.2m high fence on both sides. I'm thinking of copying the construction techniques of The Kirkfield and Warmthorpe Railway seen as I was thinking along those lines and the results are very impressive. But beyond that it's all just ideas. So I'm after your top tips. What advice do I need! What must I make sure I do? I've picked up a few things from this forum already: The videos of the Selby Garden Railway have convinced me that I must have a loop, getting trains running is more important than scenery, but a smooth track bed is vital, and OO is the way forward. But I'm still thinking about lots of things and would love some input from those who have gone before me. Many thanks chris
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