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Everything posted by chris

  1. Amblethorpe gained some unintentional notoriety yesterday. Occasionally I write articles for the CityMetric website. My recent one was a series of ideas on how Pacers could live on beyond their 2020 deadline. Needing to illustrate the article I decided to use pictures of my trains on Amblethorpe, some of which I staged specifically for the article. Because the pictures were clearly of models, I failed to mention to the editor that the pictures were of models. A New Pacer Life was published yesterday. And it didn't take long before a reader took to twitter to ask "Where is Colwick station?" I replied "It's a terminus on my Model Railway." my editor, Jonn, then gasped "but... the picture... what... explain" and from there it went viral. Jonn was live-blogging and interrupted his blog to write about it https://www.citymetric.com/transport/new-rail-timetable-thameslink-chaos-britain-live-3926 look for the entry at 1350hrs I ended the evening taking requests on twitter for which train to run next on Amblethorpe and then posting photos of them in service. It was a lot of fun.
  2. A quick update on my tramway. I built a fairground on a return loop baseboard. I also scratch built a helter-skelter I'd built the baseboard and track last winter, so back in December I pushed on to complete the scenery. I spray pained cardboard for the tarmac areas and used metcalfe papers from the cobbles. Grassmats and ballast was next Wet and dray paper for the crushed stone/cinder paths. more grass matting to complete There has been some further "dressing" of the scene. But I still need to put the overhead in on this board. Here are some other pics from the other areas of the Tramway. I have done some more dressing work since t here photos were taken. It's now all packed away in the loft so as not to distract me from my summer homies in the garden.
  3. A new train will run along new track, however badly laid the track is. Two weeks, two, months and two years later, trains will refuse to move. Track needs to be well laid and have a good electrical feed. Both of these are a paint get right, sorry. Painting your baseboards will help, but won't protect them. A covering in roofing felt will give them at least a 10 year lifespan. I alway thought the people on here warning against gradients on garden railways were over the top. You need to ensure that every length of rail has a reliable connection to your power supply. You can't rely on "fish plates" to do this. Each and every rail will need a wire soldered to it! I've written a guide here My more general advice is to get a train up and running as quickly as possible on a short stretch or loop, it's very exciting having trains running around in your garden. Here's my first train in May 2010. Then get on with it and enjoy building a garden railway. The building is less exciting, but more satisfying. One final piece of advice. Learn as you go along. Don't try too hard to get it right first time. Nearly everything I build in my first year of construction (2010) has been ripped out and replaced. That was over 10 metres of baseboards! Nothing I have build since 2011 has needed to be replaced.
  4. An Aldi bird box has been given a Gothic make over. I visited a different branch of Lidl at the weekend. They still had some of the bird feeders, but at the reduced price of £6.99. I purchased another 3.
  5. I noticed that these grass matts are available from Lidl and Aldi this week. The one I've used had held up very after 2 years of constant exposure.
  6. Switched my weekly shop to Aldi this morning. They had bird boxes of a similar design, albeit not quite as good design, but for only a fiver. I bought 3. Plenty of fettling to be done.
  7. I've been repainting stock, building wagons, constructing buildings and falling on my On30 feet this winter. This loco and coaches came in a "novelty" livery. That has been removed and repainted black and olive green, DCC has also gone in. Moving up scale to 1:48 (staying at 16.5mm gauge) I decided to look into wargaming models. There is some really good stuff at what they call 28mm, which is the hight of the figures. Later cut MDF at reasonable prices that make very impressive models. A quick couple of coats with aerosol primer and a little black paint on the windows and this station is straight out of a western movie! In the foreground is a lumber wagon, that started life in 1980 as a Hornby Freightliner flat. So far I've only bought one wagon, the tanker, mainly to give me a model to copy. The 4 wheel wagon is a 30 year old Hornby wagon with the body removed and replaced with a larger scratch built open frame. Kadee couplers were also added. The 8 wheel gondoliers started life as an American HO box car. Again the body was removed and a new one created from Correx, Plasticard strips and coffee stirrers. Being american it came with Kadee couplers so there was very little cost over the £5 I paid for the secondhand wagon. Last week, doing my weekly shop in Lidl I came across some novelty bird feeders. They were in the shape of houses, which looked impressively close to 1:50. Finescale they were not, but they did have an American model village vibe about them. I bought 3 at £7.99 each. When I got them home I removed a few features that weren't required, mainly the hook you would hang it from, and they really looked the part. I went back to lidl and bought another 5, so I have 2 of each design. I want my On30 railway to be a lot less serious than my other modelling projects and these literally cheep and cheerful "models" are certainly less serious. I've made a start on "improving" them by repainting one into light blue, but appearing from adding a chimney or two I won't be doing much to them. They may inspire further constructions in this style.
  8. The long winter has dragged through into early spring reaching all the way to April showers. Not the weather for our hobby. I have wintered mainly on a diet of my model tramway and building On30 stock, the later is for my next garden railway which will at ground level, below the Amblethorpe shelf. Work on Amblethorpe has been focused on two areas, the conversation of a BR Mk2 coach into a Network Rail DBSO driving coach and prior to that, exhibiting Amblethorpe at a show! My wife, Sarah and I own a small coffee shop. For over a year me and my mate John have been taking about putting on a mini model railway show in the shop. This winter the 3 of us actually did it. We had two layouts, my tramway and an indoor version of Amblethorpe. John provided most of the baseboards and track, I supplied the station and most of the scenery. Colwick station lives on it's own board, baseboards were added to this and a station throat was built. Half a dozen of my scenic sections were then placed around the track. It was all cobbled together, but created a good overall effect, if a little cramped when compared to the normal space my trains run through. At the construction stage, on the lounge floor. Working to a deadline was good for removing procrastination. 1 large and 3 small scenic sections needed to be built, just for this one off show. I didn't have time to muck around getting things perfect, yet still came out with very impressive results. This is a lesson I need to learn in railway modelling (and in life). The event was very successful. We allowed children to drive the trams, which was hugely popular. The magic of the model railway still works on children in the 21st century. There was plenty of awe and amazement from the locals. Several of my scenic sections got a good spring clean for the event, which has them looking at there best this weekend as I finally started the 2018 running season.
  9. Yes I did mean the DS52. They are my decoder of choice these days. They are powered off the DCC bus, with built in CDU. They are easy to configure. They are easy to program. They can driver two motors off one output. They work with a long cable run. I can install them outside with only crude protection from the weather. They are cheap. If one fails (and that hasn't happened yet) they are simple to replace.
  10. I'm still at the stock acquisition stage on my narrow gauge railway. Can't get my head round where I will build the garden railway. I've got a couple of locos and a few coaches. In the middle of bashing some OO wagons into 7mm narrow gauge ones. Wakefield show is at the weekend. I'm planning on popping over to make some purchases of donor vehicles.
  11. No. Some Accy decoders are designed to work with two wire solenoids, some are not. It's worth reading their manual before you buy. Manuals for this kind of devices can usually be downloaded from somewhere.
  12. SBR appears to be an ideal adhesive for ballast. Probably best to switch this discussion to the ballast thread.
  13. Sounds like you may need a project to get your teeth into. I can't find any recent photos of your branch station, but how about a rebuild of that into a two platform station and possibly an overall roof.
  14. I've been fettling loco's recently, stripping down motors, adding pickups to wheels and installing DCC chips. Working with my mate John we have turned several locos from the 1970s and 1980s into good runners again. I'd upgraded a couple of Lima Class 66 previously, including a whole motor replacement, but they still improved their running after a fettle. The improvement was big enough that to my surprise, the Freightliner 66 could pull my intermodal train. Knowing that the real thing passes my house around 6 o'clock each evening, I hatched a plan to film them both runnnig at the same time.
  15. With a OO outdoor railway and a OO indoor tramway, I've become rather tempted to build a outdoor tramway, but with a twist. I'll stick with the same track, 16.5mm (OO/HO) but run narrow gauge O on it. In the UK that's O-16.5 where as in the US it's On30. The idea appeals because it allows me to work in a different scale, (UK 1:43.5, US 1:48) yet without the big hike in cost. Bachman USA do a fair amount of On30, including some Street Cars based on no particular prototype. Having built my outdoor railway on a shelf a metre above ground I think that the garden tramway will be at ground level. So far I've resisted the temptation to buy a On30 tram, but I know I'll crack soon. I'll have to spend some time on here going back though all your threads of building at ground level to work our how I want to build the track bed.
  16. Started running Amblethorpe again this week. For reasons that are beyond me, my laptop doesn't want to connect with my DCC system. Will have to come up with a solution so full iPad control can return.
  17. Any chance you can post some pictures of your installation. Some one may be able to spot something amiss.
  18. chris


    I've followed Trevor's lead and used SBR on a couple of sections of Amblethorpe. They have both been down for over 6 months now and I don't think a single chip of ballast has moved. I had given up ballasting areas open to the elements, but having used SBR successfully I will get back to it this year.
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