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SKEW BRIDGE - Attic Layout


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There are now just 2 more MGRs that need instanter couplings fitting and although I'm so close to the end I've done about as much as I can manage for now. I've decided this will be the 34 wagon set because that's all the moulded loads I have and although I could probably make a couple for the remaining wagons I think it's just as well to do it this way. There has to be a 34 wagon set somewhere.

Here's one of the wagons I was going to use for spares but which has now been reintroduced to traffic. It's basically sound with just a missing doorstop underneath and a missing handbrake guide on this facing side. It looks like it's seen better days but so did so many of these wagons in their later years and with a bit of weathering I've no doubt it will blend in with the rest.

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I've ordered some small bags of scatter material and static grasses in order to try them out before deciding how I'm going to tackle the embankments. In the meantime I've been painting up some more to

A short 60 second video of 60048 and MGR wagons through the new landscape  

Things are now taking shape on the small scenic end section despite me saying that there was no rush to finish this part of the layout. I began this morning by painting the bridge that has been i

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I've had the airbrush out today and thankfully it worked without a hitch so taking it apart and cleaning it thoroughly has made a big difference. I was able to complete the weathering on all the MGRs making up the second loaded set as well as going along the chassis and roofs of 56095 and 58048 that I began weathering a couple of days ago. Once the spray-painted wagons have dried I will be adding the layer of real coal and then I will be able to couple them all together for the first time.

While I've got rid of the black plastic look of the loco's chassis they need going over again lightly with some brown 'track colour', but here's what they look like at the moment after a dusting of the dirty grey used on the MGR's

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I suppose I'm going to have to dismantle them to do something with the cabs as they really do stand out now, and perhaps also fit drivers.

 

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I made it up into the attic last night and spent some time coupling the MGRs together using the instanter couplings. It's a fiddly and often frustrating job putting the couplings into the short position but I eventually managed it and they run together just fine. I'm not sure if the following photo tells you a great deal about it but here's the 2 sets of loaded MGRs alongside each other. A 36 wagon non-canopied HAA set on the down mainline behind 58048 and a 34 wagon mixed set of HAA/HBA/HFA on the down loop behind 56095.

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My two empty MGRs which still require weathering will be a full canopied set of 36 wagons (seen above in the sidings behind 56040) and another mixed set of 35 currently stabled in the main storage yards.

Oh and I've discovered there are 2 versions of Smiths' instanter couplings. There's item No. LP2 which is the standard version and there's LP2F which is sold as a 'Fine' version. I've used both types but the fine ones, which I assumed were just finer detail, actually have slightly smaller links which, when assembled, are a very tight fit over the coupling hook. I would opt for the standard version should I be crazy enough to do this again as they are much easier to couple.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I thought I'd laid the track in the attic with sufficient gaps to allow for expansion when the heat got going up there but obviously not enough as there's two slight buckles in the storage roads - one of them on a dead end road too! It's nothing serious at the moment but it can get a lot hotter up there than it's been over the past couple of days so perhaps I'd better have a closer look. There doesn't appear to be any problems along the scenic section.

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  • 3 weeks later...

More than two weeks after reporting buckling of the track in the attic, I decided to do something about it today as there was no way I could work outdoors due to the rain. I discovered that there was more than a couple of places where the rails had expanded sufficiently to push the track out of line and one of them was on the scenic section just in front of my road bridge. The ones in the storage roads were easy enough to remedy just by loosening the rail joiners, sliding them along the rail and then cutting a small section off the rail end with the Dremel cutting disc before putting everything back together again. On the scenic section it was a different story.

Just in front of the bridge the rails had expanded closing up the gaps I had left between sections but because the track has been ballasted it was unable to move sideways as it had done in the storage roads and had ended up lifting slightly! A little downward pressure confirmed that it had come unstuck from the baseboard. I could have slid the rail joiners along and cut a slice off the rail ends to allow it to settle back down but I wasn't happy that the track and the cork underlay had come unstuck so I decided to lift the whole metre section and reglue it. Not the best of tasks but digging out the ballast wasn't too bad and because I've used choc-bloc connectors on the power bus below the baseboard there was no desoldering of wires to be done. It's been lifted, a new piece of cork underlay fitted, rail ends cut and the track replaced. I'll test everything tomorrow when it's dried before re-ballasting once I'm happy with it.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm not sure which is the best thread to post this on but seeing as I've been running on the attic layout I guess it's as good a place as any. That's the trouble with having more than one layout!

I mentioned in the Worsley Dale thread that I'd now got two coal sector class 37's fitted with sound with the intention of double-heading them. They were intended for use on the garden railway as in the sector days it was pretty common by the look of it for Scottish traffic to be double headed using class 37's in all their respective liveries but they would be equally at home on the attic layout where there's an abundance of coal traffic available to them. I've put a short video together running the loco's on a set of empty PFA's and a loaded MGR set though in my experiences 37's would very rarely work MGR's and I don't ever recall seeing them on a loaded MGR set. It's probably a regional thing.

So here we have 37692 'Lass O'Ballochmyle' and 37698 'Coedbach' working the loaded MGR's

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I've not had to do anything to them in order for them to run smoothly together. Both have the same decoder and they are pretty much speed matched which is a relief.

The sound isn't quite as clear up in the attic as it is outdoors, at least not on camera, but then the microphone on my camera leaves a lot to be desired. But in double-headed format especially, they are great fun to operate and you can easily ramp up the revs with just a slight adjustment on the throttle.

 

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On 9/24/2020 at 6:19 PM, mick said:

They were intended for use on the garden railway as in the sector days it was pretty common by the look of it for Scottish traffic to be double headed using class 37's in all their respective liveries but they would be equally at home on the attic layout where there's an abundance of coal traffic available to them. I've put a short video together running the loco's on a set of empty PFA's and a loaded MGR set though in my experiences 37's would very rarely work MGR's and I don't ever recall seeing them on a loaded MGR set. It's probably a regional thing.

I think that was down to the gradients around Scotland they would have to cope with, possibly it was also reliability and not blocking the line if one failed. The Fife coal fields seemed to be served more by pairs of 20s or type2s as far as I can make out. 37s or 47s on their own were still seen a lot across the central belt where it is flatter.

The Hunterston to Ravenscraig MGRs would be doubled to Mossend and then one of the Mossend shunter 37s would get to cover the rest in soot stretch its legs for the climb up to Ravenscraig. Pretty sure one 60 replaced the three 37s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJWN9DHsDns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_gu0v33e7A

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1 hour ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

I think that was down to the gradients around Scotland they would have to cope with, possibly it was also reliability and not blocking the line if one failed. The Fife coal fields seemed to be served more by pairs of 20s or type2s as far as I can make out. 37s or 47s on their own were still seen a lot across the central belt where it is flatter.....

Plenty of excuses there to run them in any way I choose - In fact there's almost a valid reason to get another pair double-headed!

I've spent the best part of the day since lunchtime up in the attic and although it wasn't something I had planned to do today I've actually gone and weathered my rake of Cawoods PFA containers as well as all 42 containers on my Gypsum train. I've not done the wagons themselves yet or the interiors of the coal containers but getting the exteriors done makes a huge difference to their appearance on the layout.

I've done the Cawoods in a similar way to how I did the ones for the outdoor layout, simply by brush painting on and wiping off. I can't see any reason to do anything other than that. The Gypsum containers I have airbrushed and they now look much more like they should.

Here's the Cawoods containers behind a very clean 56127 by comparison.

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And here's the Gypsum wagons behind another very clean 60007.

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And while I was at it with the airbrush I gave 47715 a dusting along the roof to match the brush weathered job I'd previously started on its body. Not quite as dirty as the one I remember in the Glasgow station video. Still got to do the chassis.

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And I wasn't finished there. After I'd cleaned the airbrush out I made a few more trees to complete the embankment up to Skew Bridge. You can see the difference between the first and last photos.

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I have some video clips of the weathered PFA's which I'll upload later providing they've turned out okay.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Riddles said:

You seem to make a brilliant job of weathering in a very short time. Have you seen the new HAAs from Cavalex announced today?image.jpeg.8c9c3216d69ff9f111cb699ef771bad9.jpeg Their picture and copyright.

Yes I have Dave but I'm pretty happy with the results you can get from the Hornby model and I don't see what benefit I could possibly get from changing. There's also the fact that the Cavalex models are priced at £89 for sets of three wagons, so that's more or less £30 per wagon, or approx £1,000 per set! Ouch!!

The amount of detail they are able to include these days makes them more display models rather than models for running on your layout. I think I'm better with something I can stick some coal into, spray some paint over, and generally hack about to meet my needs.

I hope these wagons do well for them and I'm sure they're going to be stunning models but even though the HAA and derivatives are by far the most numerous wagons in my collection I really don't have a need for any more and certainly couldn't see a reason to change from the Hornby ones.

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Here's the video of the weathered PFA containers.

I'm quite pleased with how they've turned out and they certainly look more like the actual wagons than they did before. I need to add some Gypsum dust and it would be great to depict some of the overloaded containers where Gypsum was piled up from the bufferbeam to the top of the container - but that's perhaps not practical on a model railway. Maybe just some piles on the container tops with the doors unable to close!

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You wouldn't think so by looking at the embankment but I've added in the region of at least 30 more trees of all shapes and sizes today, trying to fill in any large gaps. I'd really like to see it just a mass of foliage but there's only so much you can do at a time.

Here's just a few of the ones I made up earlier today awaiting fitting on the embankment.

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I managed to fit some in around the bridge end of the layout, including a couple of taller ones

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But in the main they were placed towards the top part of the layout where the embankment is slightly more substantial. Still looks a bit bare in the foreground of the photo below but it's filling up nicely into the distance. I wish I'd painted more onto the backscene now but maybe I can add a bit here and there.

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And it was back on the 19 December 2009 when 47541 'The Queen Mother' made its inaugural visit to my old Selby Garden Railway and so almost 11 years later I'm pleased to welcome it back as it undergoes running in on Skew Bridge. This is just a temporary measure as the loco will shortly be transferring to Worsley Dale for commencement of operational duties.

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I've been rolling back the years again this evening and turfed out another pair of Bachmann class 37s, this time in the striking Loadhaul livery. These were purchased pre-fitted with Loksound v3.5 sound decoders and factory soundfiles and first featured on a SGR video back in March 2011. The sound quality isn't all that good but it will have to suffice for now.

Here 37884 'Gartcosh' heads along the down loop with sister engine 37713. Loadhaul stablemate 60007 is on the down main with the Gypsum train.

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37884 'Gartcosh'

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Once again I've not been doing any work on the attic layout but as I've been up there I'll continue posting here.

I'm still working through my collection of loco's trying to work out which ones could be used where and whether any of them need work doing to them.  Today I've been running two Bachmann class 40's, although both of them are in green livery and don't really fit in with either layout as things stand. Still, it's always useful to have something you can use for excursions and who knows, perhaps I could always backdate things and have a BR green session one day - though I don't relish the task of removing all the current wagons from the attic layout. 

D211 'Mauritania' is a factory sound-fitted example

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D369 was a standard DCC ready loco but now sits on the chassis from another D211 as above.

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Like many other owners of these models I've found that the method of collecting track current via contact with the wheel bearings on two axles isn't perfect and that they would benefit from fitting additional pickups. I'm also not so sure that the wiper contacts used are 100% reliable as the sound on both loco's tends to cut out momentarily now and again. I'll work my way through beginning with the additional pickups and see how things can be improved. Oh, and the soundfiles really need updating.

 

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23 hours ago, mick said:

Like many other owners of these models I've found that the method of collecting track current via contact with the wheel bearings on two axles isn't perfect and that they would benefit from fitting additional pickups. I'm also not so sure that the wiper contacts used are 100% reliable as the sound on both loco's tends to cut out momentarily now and again. I'll work my way through beginning with the additional pickups and see how things can be improved. Oh, and the soundfiles really need updating.

 

Stay alive capacitors!

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2 hours ago, ba14eagle said:

Stay alive capacitors!

I hear you Iain but there's no substitute for proper current collection.  I've personally fitted stay alive capacitors to 2 loco's in my collection but you'd be hard pressed to see which ones they are. Out in the garden I rarely ever get a break in sound and even rarer still do I get a loco stalling at any point on the layout no matter which loco is in operation. Stay alive capacitors offer added benefits but they aren't needed at all if you have good electrical contact in the first place.

The Bachmann class 40, or at least the versions I own, have poor electrical pickup which is disappointing because the idea behind it's design, in my opinion, is really very good. It's so refreshing to see a loco with so little internal wiring. Sadly it just isn't reliable enough and as others have done previously, I will be adding additional pickups and then, if needs be, reverting to wired connections. If all that fails to solve the problem then I would consider a stay-alive of some kind.

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I've had the airbrush out again today and finished weathering the remaining wagons on one of my EWS HTA sets. Part of this set had been previously weathered so there were only about 9 wagons that needed doing today. I have another set where all the wagons are in need of weathering but that's left for another day.

I've also 'dirtied up' a set of empty canopied MGR's, just to take that shiny new look off them. I don't see any point in spending too much time on them because it's the effect of the whole set that's required and not the appearance of any individual wagon. 3 of my MGR sets have now been weathered leaving just one more empty set which I must admit looks completely out of place now.

I do still have quite a few older 16t mineral wagons, 21t hoppers, and a batch of the Accurascale HUO hoppers where I prefer to take my time and weather each one by hand with limited use of the airbrush but I can't see the point in doing that with the more modern day wagons. Creating a variety of rust effects on older type wagons is enjoyable but something that's not really applicable on newer wagons.

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Another two loco's have been back on the layout this afternoon, the first of which was purchased back in March 2011 so it's getting on for a decade old now.

Hornby class 50 50037 'Illustrious' is a factory sound-fitted loco that looks like it's had a bit of a rough ride with some of the front end detailing askew and other bits missing. I'd really like to upgrade the sound on this one as it's one of those loco's I never got to see in operation but was fascinated by the sight of one standing outside Doncaster Plant Works one day after its refurbishment. It's the only class 50 in my collection so it seems worthwhile to do so.

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Considering it's been packed away for a few years it's still a decent runner.

The second loco is Dapol's D1065 'Western Consort' in BR Maroon livery. This one has a Biffo soundfile and I've replaced the speaker with a Rail Exclusive Boom Box which gave an improvement over the Bass Reflex I had initially fitted.

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I've added the etched nameplates and cabside numberplate using a small amount of PVA glue and I can see from the photo that there's some that needs cleaning away

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I'd made the decision yesterday to upgrade the sound in my sole class 50 loco but didn't expect that my order would be delivered within 24 hours and so early this afternoon I had 'Illustrious' on the workbench. It was already fitted with a factory sound decoder but I really wanted something that sounded better and that would allow me to use the space beneath the fan for a larger speaker. I opted for a Zimo decoder with a Digitrains Active Drive class 50 soundfile.

Zimo decoders come supplied with a small 'stay-alive' capacitor. I'm not sure how capable it is but having installed a couple already I'm no longer afraid to yield the soldering iron and add a couple of thin wires. I decided to remove the entire fan assembly from the loco and in its place install a Rail Exclusive 'Chunky Boom Box' speaker directly beneath the fan grill so that the sound had a means of escape. I can live without a rotating fan. Everything went smoothly and in no time at all 'Illustrious' was trundling round again alive with a really pleasing soundfile!

As with all my other Zimo decoders, drivability is excellent. Open the controller a single notch and the revs ramp up - close a notch and they ramp down. You have total control over the sounds and of course it also has that excellent 'braking' function so you can coast along and stop the loco exactly where you want it. It's now become one of those loco's that you don't seem able to put down but really, that's the case with just about every Zimo decoder/soundfile combination I've ever purchased.

With 'Illustrious' sorted, I'd also received my order of phosphor bronze strips so I decided to try my hand at adding additional pickups to D369, one of the class 40's. It went remarkably well, in fact I couldn't believe how easy it had been to solder on the 8 short strips. Now, rather than having pickups on just 2 axles per bogie I have pickups on all 3 driven axles and it should be remembered that the pickups I've added are in addition to the ones Bachmann initially provided so now there's little excuse for a loss of power.

I haven't added wires from the bogie to the PCB just yet as I thought I would see how the loco performs with the additional pickups and so far (touch wood) the sound hasn't cut out once. It may be that I don't need to bother with adding wires as well but we'll see how it goes. The total cost of the additional pickups is around 80p. Just D211 'Mauritania' to do now.

 

 

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D211 'Mauritania' has now had additional pickups fitted in the same way as I did D369 yesterday. Just to illustrate what an improvement it makes, before I began work I placed D211 on track and ran it through an empty road in the storage yard and it coughed and spluttered along the entire length - the sound stopping and starting all the time. I'll be honest, it was the worst I've ever seen it and it was far worse than the symptoms D369 exhibited before it was modified.

It was slightly easier today as I knew exactly what to do and so was able to shape the phosphor bronze pickups in a single batch, tin them all on the reverse with solder and then solder them to the existing pickup strip on the bogies.

I had a slight doubt that it would be as successful as the day before, especially after seeing how the loco was performing earlier, but it now runs perfectly and, as with D369, the sound hasn't cut out once since.

Now I just need to decide which soundfile to replace the factory sounds with as I can't live with the annoyingly repetitive sound currently on the decoder and they're nice loco's so need to be out on the layout running round.

I've made another 20 or so small trees and bushes today and inserted them in vacant spots along the embankment. This could be something I'll still be doing in many months time as a handful doesn't go very far and don't at first glance appear to make much difference - though I'm sure they do. It's something I actually enjoy seeing develop. You can see how it currently looks in the photo below.

The 2 coal sector 37's still have charge of a loaded MGR set while the 2 Loadhaul 37's have been taking a short rake of Cavalex BBA wagons for a spin - sufficient power on that one for sure.

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Elsewhere a start has been made weathering the bridge with the application of some rust colour. I've even put a dark wash over the bricks though it's not that evident in the photo. It still needs some vegetation in front of the sidewalls once I've finished painting and I want to try disguise the void you can see beneath and beyond the bridge. The tracks could do with weathering too.

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