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chris

Tramway

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Tramway baseboard complete. Tomorrow: track, point motors, electrics and electronics.

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32 holes drilled through the baseboard. Time to fire up the soldering iron and get to work on all those droppers.

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All track is in place with droppers.

It's now too dark and cold to work in the conservatory. I've had a tidy up and I'm relocating to the kitchen. The next job is to fit point motors and wire all the droppers up. I've used a lot of insulated rail joiners so I have passive provision for if I ever decide to add block detection for automated running. This will make the wiring up more complicated.

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I completed the wiring on one of the two boards, before I'd had enough for the day. The second board shouldn't take long to wire up, but I do need to think though how I'm going to do the electrical connection between the two boards. The 8 wires in a CAT5 network cable may do me for now.

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There has been a bit of Project Scope Creep today.

I have mentioned before the plan to have up to 5 baseboards for the tramway. Today I built board 5 (boards 3 and 4 can wait).

Board 5 will go between the first two boards and form a right angle bend between them.I'm using the door hinge technique to connect and align the boards and it struck me that it would be a whole deal easier to get that all sorted before I have scenery on the boards which would make laying it upside-down complicated. I also spotted a very handy off cut of plywood that turned out to be just the right size. It didn't take long to saw the two cuts required and add 5 small legs underneath. The next job will be to get the hinges on.

I imagined that I'd need some crazy tight curves to get round this corner, but the board is 60cm by 60cm and 2nd and 3rd radius will fit on. I think I'll go with 1st and 2nd, it is a tramway and tight curves are encouraged.

I've still got some more wiring up to do on board 2 before I can get a tram service running.

I'll get some pictures soon. So far I've been rushing to make the most of the daylight and the idea of stopping to take photos hasn't crossed my mind.

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I've been thinking. Using set track will mean I need a lot of droppers. If I use flexi I can reduce the droppers from 16 to 4. I'm also favouring tighter curves. I may do the outer curve at about 1st radius and align the inner one to it.

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I had a spare half hour this afternoon so attached the split hinges to the corner section. I then took photos.

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This shows board 2, board 1 is very similar.

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Board 5, the corner section while I was making out the line of the track. I have drilled the holes for the droppers and nailed down the first 30cm of the outer track.

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All the electics are now complete. I've used phono leads for inter-board connectors. Point motors are in place and await an Accy Decoder to control them. My two trams can happily run from end to end.

I've dug out a slave controller for my DCC system which I've never really used, computer control superseded it, and it's basic functions look ideal as a tram controller.

It's now time to get scenic.

Unless I get distracted and build board 3, a return loop for one end. Now that will be fun.

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I've stolen an Accy Decoder from Amblethorpe andused it on the Tramway. The point son board 1 are throwing nicely, but I can't get the pair on board 2 working. It could be an issue with the motors, but more probably it's the wiring and the the use of phono leads as inter-connector.

I'll have another crack at it tomorrow.

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I never did get the points on board 2 throwing correctly. I've put that problem aside for now.

in the new year I've been working on building up the baseboard to track level. This has been done with a mixture of hardboard, cardboard and polyfiller. I've completedverything on board 1 apart form the 4 foot. On the second board I have all the hardboard and card board stuck down so the next stage is polyfiller.

I've decide that the two trams I have won't be enough. I considered buying a modern prototype of a Manchester Metrolink or a Flexity from Blackpool but the cost put me off. I'm going to get another 2 of the Bachmann trams both in a plain red livery. I picked one up yesterday and ordered the second. I also bought the smallest DCC decoder I've every seen and it came with a stay alive which I'm hoping I may just able able to squeeze into the tram.

We had a light dusting of snow this morning. It's nice to have an indoor project.

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I have cracked on with my tramway this winter. My first two baseboards are looking good. The third board has most of its ground works complete and I know what I'm doing with the forth board so I may start building that soon.

We visited the Tramway Show at Beamish last weekend and I bought some "bits" to make the overhead line with. That is the next job. I think a prototype board is required so I can try out some construction skills before I work on the real thing.

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Good to see you back with further progress Chris and it's looking really good. The Metcalfe buildings really blend in and those cobbles look superb. I hadn't realised this was going to be such a big venture but you've certainly made a great job so far. Look forward to keeping up to date with it all and seeing more photos when available.

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Wow, that looks fantastic. Have you had to motorise static model/kits or are they RTR.

Just shows what can be done in a small space.

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jimbob said:

Wow, that looks fantastic. Have you had to motorise static model/kits or are they RTR.

Just shows what can be done in a small space.

Most of my trams are ready to run. I have two North American models which came DCC fitted. The 4 UK trams (Hong Kong technically) I've upgraded to DCC with Stay Alive to keep a 4 wheeler running.

I have two static models (EFE Leeds Horsefields) and I've just motorised the first of those. I've found space for the motor, a DCC chip and a Stay Alive unit while keeping all the internal seats. I am in the process of adding a new bow collector, but it won't be used for electrical power pick up. I haven't decided whether to add directional headlights yet.

Although the shift of the seasons means I'm starting to move my attention to the garden, I would like to get the tramway overhead supply installed before I put it away until next winter. I've bought some traction poles and I'm scratch building some more.

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I'm still putting some time in on the Tramway, even though my focus is shifting to the garden.

A sustained effort and I would have it finished in a week. But I don't do sustained efforts. We've made a lot of progress on the corner board recently. We've even used some pan scrubs for hedges and with a bit of scatter stuck on they look great. The overhead Line has been installed on one board and I have all the traction poles, fittings and wires ready for the others. Best finish off the other scenic bits before I install the rest as the fine wires do get in the way once they are installed.

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As per usual, I've included a few more shots in the gallery.

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It was cold this morning so I didn't venture out into the garden. The day was spent cracking on with my tramway. I had decided to place a bandstand on the inside of the tight bend of the corner board. Today was the day to get that sorted.

The first job was to add a small missing section to the baseboard. Then I needed to know the size of the bandstand. I'd bought an etched brass kit at York Show which had remained in its packaging while I improved my soldering skills. Looking at it today I realised that it wasn't a hard kit to build, so got the soldering iron out. My soldering skills are certainly improving. I'm rather impressed with the result. I should take a photo.

With the bandstand built I decided to build a very small hill for it to sit on. I cut layers of 6mm play and 3mm hardboard to create contours. Glued and screwed. To finish I've slapped a lot of pollyfiller over it. If it's set OK in the morning I'll give it a coat of green paint and then had it over to Sarah, my wife, to static grass it.

There was one big issue with the tramway today. I had to remove all the ballast. I tipped the board on its side to gain access to the bottom of the baseboard and a significant amount of ballast simply fell off. I knew some of it was loose, but it turned out most of it was falling away. I'd used Astonish Wood Floor Polish. This had been unsuccessful out side, but I had assumed it would be fine indoors. I was wrong.

I'll use another technique when I relay it. Although I will drill my holes for my traction poles before I do the relaying, other wise I'll create a real mess.

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I'm building a fairground for my tramway. Looking for stalls and rides I came across http://www.johnsmodelrailways.co.uk'>http://www.johnsmodelrailways.co.uk.

For reasons that aren't clear his fairground stuff isn't on his site, I had to order through eBay. I like the look of his models, but the print quality isn't anywhere near to what I can do myself.

I'm going to have a go at making my first stall, I may report back on progress.

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Have a look at Gordon Bulmer of Gordons Trams. He has a carousel working on the end of a pier.

Also Modelrailwayscenery.com for downloads of papers and kits.

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roddy said:

Have a look at Gordon Bulmer of Gordons Trams. He has a carousel working on the end of a pier.

Also Modelrailwayscenery.com for downloads of papers and kits.

I've met Gordon at a few shows this year. Ravenscar Pier is a fine model, especially with the addition of the cliff railway.

I've been considering buying from Model Railway Scenery for a while, but something put me off, so I haven't got round to it. Has anyone any experience of making their models?

The John's Model Railways kits are a great design from a functional/structural point of view. But the graphic design is a bit lacking. They build a good model, but could look better.

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I haven't built any of the kits Chris, but I have bought the papers to print myself. I have been in touch with them for a couple of years now and they have really grown, especially in the accessory department. Different fencings and street and station furniture. They seem to be perfecting the laser cutting process almost to the point of doing bespoke stuff. If you get on the mailing list for a twice weekly newsletter, you soon get to see how their stuff is being used too. It's worth a try with their prices.

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