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jimbob

Jim's Garden Railway

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Hi jimbob, welcome back be looking forward to see more pics of your outdoor layout, was wondering who's the last who pics were on the galley pics on the bottom of front forum page.

Nice feeling to see trains running around the layout after all the work you put into it, I will have that same feeling in a few days too, can't wait.

Happy modelling from down under, Tony.

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Couple of new pictures in my gallery as Samartie phone pictures have tooo many pixies in them to post direct. Not much running this weekend as had to do some civil engineering around Dead Fox Tunnel ( yes there was one in it last year!), had to do somthing to level out the gradient inside it. Seems to have been sucsefull and no furry supprises in side it this time.

When I looked at the pictures I downloaded last time I was ashamed at how untidy that area looked so spent a bit of time and money spurceing that area up a bit. Cleared all the dreaded ivy out from behind the track and put a membane down and covered with gravel, looks very nice if I say so myself. Boarded over the front of the track bed to hide my building bodgery as well, backseen now in place as well. I

I now have the luxuary of only working in the morning (tell my bank balance that) so after catching up on all the things I should have done at the weekend I conected a few more droppers to the bus wire this afternoon.

So this week looks to see me cutting up cleaning pads and buying some ballest for this bit of track. Any advice on what sort and where to buy it welcome.

Last bit, need to buy a wheel cleaner, any recomendations anyone.

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So this week looks to see me cutting up cleaning pads and buying some ballest for this bit of track. Any advice on what sort and where to buy it welcome.

Just make sure that it's real stone. Some ballast, including Woodland Scenics, is made from crushed nut shells and not suitable for outdoors.

I have used Gaugemaster ballast, a 50/50 mix of OO and N gauge. It's available from lots of model shops, both online and high street.

http://www.gaugemaster.com/search_results.asp?searchstring=brand~~620~~brand+%ACballasts%AC&style=&andor=&method=kws&strType=&currentpage=1

As for wheel cleaning a cotton bud and IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol), also know as Isopropanol, is a good method. There is also the Peco PL-42 wheel cleaning brush.

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One of those weekends when nothing goes right. Finish work early on Saturday so cleaning track for running session by lunchtime. Now last year I decided to test the water with DCC operation and bought a cheap Bachman unit split from a set before lashing out on a much more expensive all singing one. Great, well imppressed, had some chips fitted to new stuff and retro fitted into older ones just to compare. Now so far so good, had stuff running ok on test track, even outside, perfect, this weekend total rubbish! By 5pm I gave up on geting the retro fitted stuff going, about 20ft was there limit befor stopping. The new stuff sort of worked but was still not right so I gave up.

Sunday,as my new neighbours are early risers I was out there again by 9am, change of plan today . Unplug theDCC and go back to DC. Clean the tack again and fire up the HM clipper. Bit better, bring out the new wheel cleaner, clean everthing, geting there, so back to DCC. Slowly got things going , so excited was I to get something to do a complete round trip without stopping I tripped o er the contoller wires fell against a length of wood which went through the window quickley followed by a cup of hot tea over the nether regions. A stiff drink,well more than one, and lunch followed.

New resolve found, window fixed, shed came with extra glass thnkfully, and of we went again.Still only half the stuff going but trains were running. Then for no reason other to spite me stock that was running ok before started to fall of everywhere. Of course they dont do it on the open sections, always were you cant get to them easily,tunnel behind a bush etc. and never in the same place twice! God knows what next door thought of the mad English man leaping in and out of bushes and running back and fort to his shed, something to tell the folks back home about anyway

Still lessons learnt, retro fitting older stock for DCC may not be the best use of my money, need to buy a cordless controller so I dont trip over the wires or have to keep running back and forth to the shed to stop/ start things, and tidy up the dam shed as well!

Well thats that of my chest then. Shall we say same time next week then Doctor?

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Jim...all part of the great outdoors.

If you sift through my old pages you'll see that I gave up on DCC and reverted back to DC. Horses for courses, but it works for me.It depends what you want from your system.

PS. I've given up wondering what the neighbours think. One's Ukranian the other Austrian...And they're always asking if the kids can come round.

"NO, It's for adults only!!!!"

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Next door do not appear to be "garden people" it's good because they don't bother me but bad as there grass is now 2ft tall! Mrs Nextdoor is an early riser and loves nothing better than using her juicer at full tilt at 6 in the morning so I don't worry about my own power tools now. Probably very nice people if only we had a language in common?

As for DCC I will stick with it as it seems to be the futre. The next expansion might be a DC only branch line though.

Final thought, why when making a model "DCC ready" do the manufacturers make it so bloody difficult to take the bodys of and fit the chips.

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Well for once the weather gods have been good to me and the early morning rain has passed me by so out in the garden , all garden stuff done its 100% railway time. Within an hour my nose was running like a river and I could not stop snezzing . Pills, potions and sprays haveing no effect so have retreated in doors. One more of the hazzards of garden railways. Would nt swop it for anythiing though.

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It sounds like you've been having a fun time Jim. My apologies as I've just been catching up with your latest posts.

Your recent experiences remind me very much of how it used to be with me when I first started out. I remember being tethered to the shed by the controller lead and running out to attend a derailment or stalled loco before racing back to take the controls again. I still have the cabled controller but it's now used in conjunction with a wireless one so that I can leave the wired handset in the shed and move around the garden with the wireless one following the trains as desired. Much better. Some systems allow you to use your mobile phone as an additional handset - perhaps something worth looking in to.

I also remember being almost incapacitated with 'hay fever' - more so in my younger years when my eyes would close completely. It's not been too bad recently and if I do feel it coming on strong then I just take a 'piriton' (other tablets are available I guess).

Pleased to hear that nothing's put you off. Yes, it can be very trying at times and there are lots of obstacles to overcome but it's all worth it in the end.

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Well I'm back to full(ish) working order after Sundays hayfever attack, not been that bad for a long time. Still it gave me some "thinking time". So the plan is now that the termins station in the shed ,which had become a through station is now back to being a terminus again. Main reason being that the gradient to rejoin the main circut was going to be to steep. As someone who can't visualise things very well in my head and who's scaledrawing is rubbish I need to lay it out before I go any further. In theory there is just about room for 2 8 coach platforms and 3/4 shorter ones.

Now all of this was planned to be the winter project but seems to be a summer one now. The station is on a higher level than the outside line so runs out of the shed accross a lift out bridge section yet to be built ( and with disaster written all over it with my wood working skills) running back through the other side of the shed. This side may be a station, engine shed or goods yard not sure yet shall see how the muse takes me.

All of this takes me away from the task in hand of getting some scenery down on the completed out door line. Halfway round the line theres a passing loop/station just big enough for a 4 coach train. The bush that stopped it being bigger has died off a bit and been cut back so the plan is to extend the loops and realign the track a bit to fit a proper station in.

Finally, best buy of the week a pair of carpet fitters knee pads in the sales, sheer bliss for my poor kness.

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jimbob said:

....Finally, best buy of the week a pair of carpet fitters knee pads in the sales, sheer bliss for my poor knees.

Just what I could do with. Been in agony on my knees in the shed these past few days and you can bet that whatever I placed down on the floor my knees would find it again first.

Do you take photos of your progress Jim? It would be great to see what you're up to but it's also great to be able to look back yourself over what you've done and how everything's progressed.

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Well after all the effort of getting everything up and running what do I do, rip it up and start again !!! OK so maybe I haven't ripped it ALL up but had a big rethink and decided to alter some bits. Firstly the track bed was to low down and given the length to clean the back was taking a bit of a pounding so decided to raise the whole thing up about 10 inches. This may sound drastic but as the line has no large civil engineering on it as yet now was the time to do it. Although it may raise a few eyebrows the track base is just resting on blocks so it was just a mater of lifting the the sections up and putting a few more blocks in ! So it didn't go that easy where it was fixed but two weeks of afternoons in the garden and it's done.

Another reason for raising it up was that the station which is being built in the shed was at a higher level than the outdoor section even though I thought the gradient was shallow enough for locos to cope most struggled with more than a rake of 4 coaches. This also means that at the moment the line has reverted to an "end to end" rather than a " roundy roundy" that may change again IF I extend again. May go back to that if I can avoid a gradient, will see.

The station is progressing although this was going to be a Winter project that sort of just run away with me (the best way I think) but now looking for the best sort of platform canopy, got a Dapol / Airfix one in build and will get a Wills one next time I see one just to compare but may go down the overall route if I can get a cheap Hornby and Peco one to try out.

Pictures are coming, promise.

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There's that dreaded word again - GRADIENT! I fell into the same trap with my first layout. What seemed at the time like an insignificant gradient on the Selby Garden Railway soon had some of my loco's struggling and I tried many ways to subsequently alleviate the problem with varying degrees of success. My advice would be to omit them altogether if at all possible but failing that keep them very, very, gentle.

There's nothing wrong with starting over if it means it's going to make things better for you in the longer term. Just as well that you hadn't fixed things permanently in place. Until you try something then how do you know what's going to suit you? You certainly don't want a layout that gives aches and pains whenever you start using it so you've done the right thing, even if it means it'll take that bit longer to complete. I've been at it for three years now and I'm sure by the time I get mine finished I'm going to have to start redoing parts of the ground level sections.

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Well it looks like I'm going to have a few days (enforced) of work as the car has packed up. What I first thought was a puncture is actually the coil spring snapped and embedded in the side of the tyre ! Must of snapped yesterday though I didn't notice and blew tyre as I was reversing out this morning. Still could have been worse. As I'm supposedly self employed it's a bit of a disaster as I on paper loose my contract as I can't work. No problem as there always short of couriers but no guarantee I will get my old area back. Still every cloud has a silver lining so more time for trains!

The track bed raising is complete and all but about 20 feet of track relayed. this is the loop back at the end of the run and not my favorite bit to do as it involves doing curved flexie track something I have never mastered, yes I know it's simple but it never looks right to me and even with tracksetta gauges I always seem to get a kink at joins. I've also taken out the passing point /station that was outside. The space is still there for the future but have decided that I will simply fie a few thing until I get round to covering up exposed points and electrics. Less time spent sorting out a dodgy point connection more time playing, sorry operating.

More disastrous than the car packing up is that my DCC controller has literally gone up in smoke. Was about to programme up some new stuff I had just fitted with chips and and it just went puff. Only a cheap Bachman one but it now puts me in the market for a better, probably wireless, one.

The railway gods are not shinning on me as it's started raining so I will now retreat to the shed and do something in there, station building or perhaps the the long awaited fiddle yard.

So off to find a car mechanic (lots of sucking through teeth and "it wont be cheap Guv" I expect.

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If you're relying on the point blades to make electrical contact on your outdoor railway they will give endless trouble. You need to attach bonding wires as shown in

 

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Track is connected via power bus my problem is that the springs have gone in the point so they don't always stay in place. Until I motorise them I'm for ever running round holding points to stop derailments ! Anyway when they eventually go back I will grease them up before fitting and hopefully that will solve the problem. They have been out in the open for a couple of years without protection so shouldn't complain.

The railway God's did smile on me yesterday after all and completed re laying the last bit of track so now fully operational, raining again now but better weather forecast for this afternoon so may fire up the trusty Hamlet and Morgan Clipper and dig out the DC stock for a trial run. Failing that I have a very old shunter that I wired up for battery power just to see that everything's as it should be.

Final plea, have an old Lima class 73 which needs new traction tyres, anyone know where I can get them from, same goes for a Dublo EPB which I would love to use again?

Pictures? well still have to many pixies apparently and the computer say's NO. Will keep trying with all this free time.

The car? "It's raining guv, will come round in the next few days and have a look" that if they even bother to ring me back !!!

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jimbob said:

....The track bed raising is complete and all but about 20 feet of track relayed. this is the loop back at the end of the run and not my favorite bit to do as it involves doing curved flexie track something I have never mastered, yes I know it's simple but it never looks right to me and even with tracksetta gauges I always seem to get a kink at joins.....

I found that a good way to avoid kinks in curved flexi, especially if the radius of the curves is relatively small, was to ensure that the rail joins are not level with each other. Leave one rail longer than the other like in the photo below, taken on my old Selby layout.

track.jpg

jimbob said:

Track is connected via power bus my problem is that the springs have gone in the point so they don't always stay in place. Until I motorise them I'm for ever running round holding points to stop derailments ...

That all depends on which motors you are planning on using. I don't think the normal solenoid motors are self latching so whilst they will move the point across they won't hold it firmly in position against the outer rails - that's the job of the little spring in the point itself. There is a self-latching version of the SEEP point motor which would probably do the job if you can't replace the point spring. I've only ever changed one Peco point spring and it was so fiddly that it took me ages but it might be your best option.

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I wish I had seen this before I layed my track. There are a few kinks that grow in corners on my layout and my only solution was to add more track pins.

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pppp said:

....I wish I had seen this before I layed my track. There are a few kinks that grow in corners on my layout and my only solution was to add more track pins.

For greater benefit it would be better if the longer of the two rails was that little bit longer, perhaps by another 2 or 3 sleepers, but yes, it does help avoid those bad kinks.

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