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mick

Worsley Dale Garden Railway

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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

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...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.

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Here's a Seacow before .....

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....and after. I've only done the sides and interior so far. The ends, chutes and bogies await treatment.

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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.

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I think that's all for now.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Edited by ba14eagle

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2 hours ago, ba14eagle said:

Everything has to be weathered! (especially when it looks as good as this!)....

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.

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I still think the ballast load would look better running across the central divide rather than being in two heaps.

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10 hours ago, ba14eagle said:

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. 

Yes, I like to buy weathered locos and cars, I like it also if someone else has assembled all the small parts...😎

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On 16/08/2019 at 19:18, ThomasI said:

Yes, I like to buy weathered locos and cars, I like it also if someone else has assembled all the small parts...😎

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.

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The two 'Shark' brakevans have been weathered and the whole rake is now fitted with Kadee couplings. This is the 'Dutch' liveried van...

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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?

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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.

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And here's the bogie after removal from the coach.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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