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SKEW BRIDGE - Attic Layout


mick
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Thanks Andrew.

Adding the sky is a simple matter if you use Photoshop. You just choose the 'sky' you want from the ones available (there are more available to download) and it does everything for you automatically. Click a button and you have a sky! It works really well around all the intricate foliage in front of my backscene.

I need to finish the track in the sidings now as it's far too clean. The photos make it stand out even more. There needs to be a lot more coal on the floor between the rails as it was always falling off the MGR wagon chassis' as they were backed into the yard and shunted around.

I really like the black and white photos though I don't know why that should be. I always think of black and white photos as being before my time but my period on the railway ran to 2005 so clearly in full colour but those 56s in black and white look really nice.

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I've uploaded a couple of short videos using some clips that were filmed back in October 2021 but which never made it into any previous videos.

The first features the mineral wagons I began weathering...

...while the second is more from the TEA tankwagons behind 56049

 

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On 03/01/2022 at 18:43, ba14eagle said:

I wonder if the driver of 60005 is attending to a potential hot axle box at the rear of the train?

That's a possibility Iain. Better get the staff in the sidings informed ready to detach the wagon.

It's blooming charming - they're always near the rear of the train and usually at night in the pouring rain when it's blowing a gale and just as you're tucking into your fish and chips and settling down to watch the footie on tv. 'Twas a hard life in the sidings!

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I've just been made aware of a short video recently posted on YouTube featuring an empty log train passing a location by the name of Skew Bridge! I hadn't realised there was an actual Skew Bridge, in fact I did try to ensure there would be little possibility of my attic layout being mistaken for an actual location while I was pondering names for the layout. It seems I wasn't thorough enough but never mind, I don't suppose it matters that much though it did make me sit up and take notice especially as I am awaiting imminent delivery of my own log wagons to recreate that very same train.

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Still no sign of my log wagons being delivered but I've had an enjoyable hour or so up in the attic taking photos and video clips while running a few coal trains round.

These are the sights and sounds I remember and it's amazing how even on a model railway layout it can all be reproduced with a carefully positioned video camera. It can appear very realistic indeed.

The photo below (again with added sky effects) shows 3 of the trains I have been operating today. It's best not to try to do too much when there are points to alter. It would have made my job much easier, and performance much better, if I had been able to go round the layout with the track cleaner beforehand but with all the storage roads occupied it's not an easy task to accomplish. 

_07A3376.thumb.jpg.0a2d63604aa77fa931656c757fa1b58b.jpg

Edited by mick
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I decided to have a decent running session in the attic this afternoon. We'd had a nice long walk in the morning so I'd had my exercise for the day and felt happy to take things a bit easier.

I'd been up in the attic swapping locos around for some time before I noticed one of my LED batten lights wasn't working. It was the very far one opposite the bridge which was strange as they're supposed to be good for 'up to 25000 hours' and I've had them a little over one year so even if I left them on continuously they should be okay until the end of 2023 at least. What a waste...you can't replace a tube as they're sealed units so the whole lot has to go in the bin.

Anyway, I managed to remove the LED batten positioned over the curved end of the layout and placed it opposite the bridge so that at least the running straight is fully illuminated. I will have to see about getting a replacement...or two even so that I have a spare.

I filmed a number of trains running round to try add a bit of variety to my videos, swapping locos from the sets they'd been attached to for what seems ages and putting them onto something different. 66068 was added to some MGR wagons - I don't think I've done that before or at least not for some time. One thing I won't be doing is putting any class 60's on HTA wagons because in my days it was only ever class 66's on the HTA sets. 

I almost forgot to take any photos today and I like to have something appropriate to use as a thumbnail so I quickly took this one of 56127 waiting in the down loop while the 100t tanks were about to pass on the mainline. The video is below.

1687344761_2022-01-1319-04-44(CSmoothing3)_2.thumb.jpg.1079617ab18070ea1162c142e79a70e2.jpg

 

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Do you ever wonder, after spending several hours messing around on your layout, what the heck you've been doing? I must have been up in the attic for almost 7 hours today and I would be struggling to tell you exactly what I've managed to achieve.

I've filmed a few more video clips, trying to capture something a bit different from what's gone before, but I've come across a few problems that need sorting out, mainly with couplings, and yet I haven't got round to doing anything about them.

The problem with swapping locos around is that I'd got everything running nice and reliably and all of a sudden some couplings are coming apart and others riding up on top of each other. Even considering the fact that I use a Kadee height gauge to ensure the couplings are at more or less the same height, some just don't like being next to each other!  To be honest it's not that bad and there's only been a couple of problematic vehicles made worse by the fact that I've been doing some propelling movements and it's primarily the fact that MGR sets are extremely weighty when there's 36 of them. It puts a lot of strain on those little plastic couplings and NEM mountings.

I got there in the end and eventually managed to safely propel 2 full MGR sets into the sidings on the front of the layout while the video camera was running.

Earlier today I decided it was time to change my YouTube banner image. The previous one depicting Stack Gill viaduct has been there long enough and it felt a bit dated but I couldn't really think of anything to put in its place so ended up using one of a class 56 on MGR's. It's a bit awkward trying to choose a photo that's the right format for TV screen, desktop, and mobile devices. It always seems to want to chop off the bits I would most like to use but at least the one below retains the loco and wagons for desktop use. It will do for now until I come up with something else.

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I'm going to have lots of work to do on the log carriers when they eventually arrive but I'm actually considering weathering up the Intermodal wagons and containers. They aren't currently on the layout because there's no room for them until something else is removed but I don't like using them while they are in pristine condition anyway as they just look out of place. I think they might be my next job.

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I was wondering, watching the video, just how many HAAs or derivatives you actually own? 🤣

I was also thinking, which of the 60s had which sound decoder and speakers. Though, to be honest, through the video on my laptop speakers I don't think it'll make much difference.

Edited by Clay Mills Junction
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2 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

I was wondering, watching the video, just how many HAAs or derivatives you actually own? 🤣....

There are 141 MGRs in total on the layout, 1x34, 1x35 and 2x36 wagon sets. 2 sets are loaded and 2 empty. They're all the later Hornby models.

I never intended running all 4 sets together, the idea was to have MGR rakes standing in the down sidings along the scenic length of the layout as other trains passed by, much as they used to be in the 80s and 90s. If I'd had the space I would have had more sidings! A video I've just put together shows 1 set departing the sidings (the only non-weathered set) and 2 being propelled back in because that's all they ever seemed to do in real life. 

2 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

....I was also thinking, which of the 60s had which sound decoder and speakers. Though, to be honest, through the video on my laptop speakers I don't think it'll make much difference.

I have some standard Hornby factory-fitted, some Biffo, and some TTS, though I don't reckon much to TTS to be honest. Exactly which is which I will have to take a look because off hand I can't remember as I've done a bit of swapping round. I know 048 is standard Hornby as that was one of the first sound fitted models I ever purchased.

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I've just been looking through some of the video clips from earlier today and yes, to be honest some of the loco sounds aren't brilliant but I'm beginning to think that it doesn't really matter so much as I used to think it did given the right situation.

From the outset Skew Bridge was designed and built for running scale length trains and I try to film them as I remember them - running at speed and passing by often at close quarters. So the loco approaches and passes and the sound is gone - but the noises from the wagons, the clickety clacks over rail joints, they last for so much longer. I'm barely hearing the loco's now because I'm focusing so much on the wagons behind. I try to position the camera close to rail joins or pointwork that can accentuate the track sounds.

When the loco passes I want the loco sound to soften or stop because it's unnatural to hear it continuously as the loco circles the layout and with long trains the loco can be on the opposite side of the layout while the rearmost wagon is still on the other. I now use a directional microphone so that it picks up sound mainly from the front. 

I agree that some loco sounds are extremely realistic, I have several that I would say are very good indeed, but it's not everything and the best sounds of all in my opinion are the ones from the wagons - which are absolutely free. For it to work however you do need to be running long trains at a realistic speed but if you get it right those little plastic wagons will sound much beefier than they actually are.

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That is an insane number of MGR hoppers. They run well for Hornby hoppers too. I do think of getting new ones but the prices are off putting.

I suppose, if you turn the loco volume down for Skew Bridge then when you take them outdoors it will be too quiet. Sound quality wise, I think worry more about what you want to hear as you have no control over what people viewing your videos use to play it. I guess it is also going to be degraded by the process of putting it to video.

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9 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

That is an insane number of MGR hoppers. They run well for Hornby hoppers too. I do think of getting new ones but the prices are off putting....

I think it's sufficient for Skew Bridge, though if I'd got room for more sidings on the scenic side of the laytout then I'd consider filling those up too for effect!

I think they're decent enough runners, very little wobbling around, and on the whole they stay on the track as they're supposed to. The buffers are wrong as many are keen to point out but who notices when they're in motion?

As I've remarked elsewhere, the majority of my MGR's were purchased 10 or more years ago, mostly secondhand, and I was averaging around £8 per wagon. Later purchases cost me up to £41 for the triple wagon packs which is as much as I'd be willing to pay. Nowadays they're asking over £20-£25 per wagon?

9 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

....I suppose, if you turn the loco volume down for Skew Bridge then when you take them outdoors it will be too quiet.....

Well if I operate it as intended, the loco's used on Skew Bridge shouldn't ever be seen on Worsley Dale as they're supposed to be entirely different layouts. On the odd occasions some loco's have found their way across however but generally it's better for me, and less hassle, to keep them in their proper places.

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2 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

Apparently £85 for a new 3 pack now 😮

The Accurascale versions are a bit cheaper at £74.95 per triple pack, or at least they will be when they are released.

It still seems remarkable that there's going to be 2 manufacturers releasing new MGR wagons at around the same time.  

 

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After spending the afternoon running trains I eventually made a start on adding some weathering to a few of the Intermodal containers. I have 13 twin wagon sets and have so far managed to work my way through 7 of them. I've added just a light wash to the containers, wiping most of it off again with paper kitchen towels. It'l probably take a good 24 hours to dry as it's cold up in the attic but when it does I'll begin adding some rust and general marks. Then the wagon chassis themselves wil need weathering.

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During the earlier running session I swapped the Gypsum train from the outer (clockwise) track to the inner (anti clockwise) track and the Tilcon stone train was swapped in the opposite direction. It just makes a change from seeing them going the same way all the time.

Here 60070 'John Loundon McAdam' is in charge of the Gypsum in its new anti-clockwise running direction as it passes 66068 waiting with HTA's in the down loop. 60070 still needs some pipework adding on the front and the blank deflector/snowplough in place of the one with the slot for a coupler.

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(below) 56127 sits in the sidings at Skew Bridge having just propelled a loaded MGR set into No.1 road.

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Edited by mick
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I'm amazed that something that had taken me several years to begin can be accomplished within a matter of days. I'm talking about the Intermodal wagons of course, the ones I made a start on only on Saturday and which today are, believe it or not, nearing completion. There are still some containers that need attention and there's a couple of problematic wagons which also need looking at as they very occasionally derail (close couplings I believe are at fault) but on the whole I'm very pleased with how it's turned out.

I set out yesterday with the intention of weathering the chassis on the 7 wagon pairs I'd removed containers from but ended up spraying the whole lot so I'm now working my way through the remaining containers. As usual, I'm not loking for perfection as I only want something that looks the part when running in train formation and not individual wagons for display.

This is one of the as purchased 'seaco' containers on a now weathered chassis

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and this is one that I've weathered. Nothing too involved, just a dirty wash of thinned enamel paint, wiped off with paper towel and then some rusty coloured enamel dabbed on and wiped with a piece of sponge. I'm sure there's more I could do but I don't see much point in doing too much more with them. Maybe some repair patching would be an idea.

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66522 has also had some chassis weathering though I have yet to do anything with the upper body.

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Although I find the darker coloured containers are easier to weather the lighter coloured ones also need substantially toning down, and this white 'axis' container looks so much better for some added dirt. It's also great to get rid of those bright green wagon chassis'.

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With the entire rake coupled together there isn't a storage road on Skew Bridge that can accommodate it so if I keep it on the layout I'm going to have to split it to allow me to run something else or reluctantly remove 2 or 3 wagons.

Something I have been doing is removing the weights from the containers. There are fixed to the removable base of the container but are easily removed and weighing in at 12  grams they add a fair amount of weight to the trailing load. The empty flat beds run perfectly well without any additional weight (apart from the 2 that cause me problems) so I don't see why it's needed. There's in the region of 25-30 containers in total so we're talking probably 300g additional load by leaving them in place.

I've taken some video clips of the train in action this afternoon which I'll upload later if it turns out okay. I haven't even downloaded them from the camera yet to take a look at them but watching the train circling the layout it is much, much better than before and it will certainly feature regularly now in future videos.

 

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