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SKEW BRIDGE - Attic Layout


mick
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4 hours ago, mick said:

I think the logs to the left are slightly too large in diameter whereas the ones on the right look much more convincing although the size of logs did vary a great deal but for general stacks the smaller ones look better in my opinion.

Colourwise I think the darker brown they are the better. Some appear a bit too light in colour whereas one or two appear to have a reddish tinge which is enehanced further in the photos by the attic lighting. Looks like I will need to sort them out accoring to both size and colour and take some time arranging them when it comes to the actual loading process.

For me, the slightly larger diameter ones look better. I've no direct memory of log trains as I've never lived near where they have been a common sight. I've passed them when travelling but always too fast to notice the individual logs.
I've probably noticed them more on road trucks, there they tend to be big and have the bark on but marks through to the wood caused by the handling equipment. They aren't handled with particular care I guess.

Bark can be pretty dark, I don't know if you could give some of them a coat of textured paint with chips through to the lighter wood? Or, roll them through a tiny bit of fence paint? Just throwing thoughts/ideas (probably rubbish ones ).

There could have been a skill to loading the real logs too, fatter ones at the bottom/middle with the lighter ones at the edge/top?

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I think as with the real train logs will have to be a mix of thicknesses - it's just about getting those colours right or at least as best I can. It will just be time consuming adding the loads to ensure the darker ones are most visible but I think some abrasive paper might also chip away at them a bit to remove some 'bark' if necessary.

At least seeing progress today has made me feel slightly better about it all. I've got half the train fitted with stanchions and some weathereing done so they're beginning to look a little bit less like plastic models and more like the real thing. Loading's going to be fun.

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For what its worth, I like the lighter colours, not so much the red - I think they would be better buried under the others (inside the pile would look darker obs)

Edited by ba14eagle
think fully before hitting post!!
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This is a sample of some of the conifer prunings I've kept. I have quite a few of them and they would look rather good.

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The only problem with them is the amount of green 'shoots'(?) that need to be cleaned off first. It doesn't take long scraping a craft blade along them and it does then remove bits of bark exposing the lighter colour underneath. Very realistic but a lot of work involved.

Edited by mick
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I think I'm going to have to get my chopper out again.

Chopping up enough conifer prunings to complete the whole rake wouldn't be possible but mixing them in with the other darker choppings on the outer visible areas is certainly feasible and would give me a much more realistic load.

In the photo below the left hand stack of logs are just the darker cuttings while the right hand ones are conifer cuttings which have a far more realistic finish. Don't worry about them looking so bright and washed out because that's mainly the attic lighting and phone camera compensation, they actually look very nice. I wish I'd saved more prunings now although I have to admit they are more difficult to cut and probably weigh that little bit more. They would look great though.

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Edited by mick
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Yes, to say I'm happy with the conifer choppings would be an under-statement as they really do look like they should so this is the way to go from here on. I've simply loaded the remainder of this wagon as I've been cutting the logs to size and although the larger diameter ones look a bit odd at the right hand end I have photographic evidence of my own showing they were often loaded like that.

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Following photo taken at Blea Moor in 2015 as the log train made its way towards the viaduct. Looks like I still need to dirty my wagons up a little bit. 

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Most of the wagons I saw that day were loaded with 6 stacks of logs whereas I've decided that the majority of mine will be in stacks of 5 and although not exactly the same wagon, the one below shows an example of a 5 stacked load.

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So far so good and I've now got a nice quantity of conifer 'logs' cut and ready for use. However, it's still not been plain sailing.

I did this test load earlier this afternoon using some of the logs I'd cut earlier which I glued together in a central pile allowing me to place the conifer logs around them.

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It looks fine but the problem was when I put it on the scales it was just under 200g gross weight which means nearly 80g of added timber, an increase of almost 30g on my previous load test. Removing the 5 glued piles, I weighed them on their own and they were almost 50g so obviously they're too dense and ultimately too heavy.

So this one below is my latest attempt which also looks absolutely fine....

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...the difference being that I've removed the glued central pile and replaced it with a piece of foam which weighs virtually nothing. I think this might work and it will save me the 50g that those glued central piles were adding so the conifer logs should add no more than 30g total load per wagon if my calculations are correct.

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Edited by mick
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Grrrrh! I wish I could get these just the way I want them!!

I've loaded a wagon using the foam packing pieces in the centre to reduce the gross weight but I'm not sure I'm perfectly happy with how they look because you can see the foam and the empty void between the stacks of logs. It's not apparent in the following photo but perhaps made worse by the fact that I know it's there.

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I'll include the next photo which also contains the front of a loco as it makes it easier to judge the size of the logs which appear realistic enough to me.

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Another thing that is highlighted by the photo is that I'm taking too much care and stacking the logs a bit too neatly and uniformly. 

Edited by mick
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When I started cutting the logs for these IWA wagons I thought back to the time when I was doing the same thing with my OTA wagons that I run on the outdoor layout. I wondered why I'd stopped and not done any more when I have several wagons waiting loading. Now I realise why I had taken a break because it's just so monotonous.

Anyway, to try disguise the piece of foam in the stacks of logs I've started dipping the ends in PVA glue and then dabbing them into the debris that's now covering the attic floor from cutting up the conifer prunings. It does make a difference. By the way, that's double sided tape that I've used to prevent the foam from moving around while the wagons are being steadily loaded.

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I now have 5 loaded wagons awaiting some retaining straps fitting which is something that is great once it's done but it's another tedious job to get through.

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Edited by mick
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There are now 6 loaded log wagons!

I think Skew Bridge is sometimes pushing the boundaries of a model railway. I wouldn't think for a moment that manufacturers expected any of us to be running a whole rakes of MGR wagons and I would imagine there will be few complete rakes of IWA log carriers, especially in loaded condition. I was wondering this evening whether the log carriers might be going beyond what my older locomotives are capable of, and by older I mean for example Hornby class 60's that I puchased 12 years ago.

Each time I load another log wagon I couple the rake together and give them a gentle tug to gauge the resistance, concerned that a full loaded rake might be too much. But so far they feel really good. To try to easy my concerns I did a little test this evening by adding some weight to several empty wagons towards the rear of the train. The weights I used are from class 37 locomotives and weigh 90g each.

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So that's a total of approximately 630g in addition to the 6 loaded wagons and you wouldn't have even known they were there. The finger pull test was also good (compared to a rake of loaded MGR's) - these wagons really are very free running.

So the signs are good for now but I won't know for sure until I can start running them properly and make sure that the couplings can also withstand the exertion.

 

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7 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

..I still think Hornby's tug has the best haulage capacity of any OO loco I've come across.

Yes that's one thing in my favour. Hornby were at the top of their game during that period. It will be interesting to see how some of my other loco's get on with the log train once it's completed.

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It seems to take a lot of work to get not very far but I've been working on several things in turn in order to break up the monotony of doing the same thing over and over.

This morning I loaded another 2 wagons so I now have 8 loaded, after which I removed some of the provided stanchions from 3 wagons and replaced them with the later types. That in itself takes some time.

After lunch I made a start on weathering the final 6 wagons which have now been left to dry. Judging by the temperature up in the attic this afternoon it might take some time for that. Next it will be back to the conifer prunings to make some more logs so I can get back into the loading process.

At least they're starting to look like a log train now, even without the retaining straps in place which is one task I've yet to start.

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Another batch of logs have been cut so that should allow me to make headway again tomorrow. Before starting chopping I even managed to load another wagon so the running total is now 9 loaded.

I'm not sure how many more 'conifer' logs I'm going to be able to produce with what I've got left but I am so glad now that I decided to keep them all. There have been several occasions when I've gone into the greenhouse and looked at these bags of prunings sitting on the benches and thought about putting them in the recycling bins to clear them out. A word of warning though for anyone else thinking of using conifer prunings, those needles are sharp even after they've been left for months to dry out.

Will I have to use the hundreds of other logs I cut just before deciding to go down the conifer route? Maybe I can use them on the outstanding OTA wagons.

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I can sense the end geting ever closer as I now have 12 loaded timber wagons. There's still a few cut logs in my tub and I believe there's enough pruning material left to enable me to cut sufficient logs in order to load the remaining wagons. With 12 loaded and 4 empty the class 60 still makes light work of the load so my previous concerns about them being too heavy are thankfully easing.

I've just given the rake a run round Skew Bridge and they make a marvellous site exiting the tunnel, rounding the bend and heading down the straight past the sidings. All this work for a 30 second show - we must be bonkers!

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After a period of log cutting this evening, there was time to load another wagon leaving me with just 3 more wagons to load and then I can make a start of adding those retaining straps.

As has become my norm lately, I've uploaded a black & white photo to my Gallery and post the colour version below showing 60048 hauling the 13 loaded log carriers with 3 empties at the rear. The bright red stanchions on that leading wagon need toning down a bit!

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I'm relieved to say that all 16 log carriers have now been loaded although one of them I will need to revisit because it's the one where one section of logs are from the fuschia prunings and I've completely forgotten about doing it that way until I noticed it in some of today's photos.

I've also made a start on adding retaining straps from electrical insulation tape and thought I was making a decent job of it until I saw the photos and as usual they look a bit too wide but it's something I can live with.

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The wagon in these 2 photos is also one I did before deciding to glue shavings on the ends of the inner foam core and the dark foam is just noticeable between the log stacks. At least the rest are less visible.

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I've managed to do the straps on just 2 wagons so far using a very small drop of superglue applied with the end of a cocktail stick. It's a messy job as not only is there the superglue to contend with but the tape adheres to whatever you use to manoeuvre it into position.

I don't know much (anything?) about these wagons but they must have undergone some modifications, the model being based on one particular period? The stanchions cannot be placed in the same position as I see them on my photos and when placed where they are some of them obscure the ratchet mechanism (what's it called?) for the straps. There's also nowhere for the centre straps to fasten to so I've had to tuck them beneath the edge of the wagon floor. It's not ideal but then I'm not one for single wagon display and as usual it's the overall effect that matters and in motion they look really nice.

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I never expected being able to say this tonight but all 16 wagons now have their securing straps fitted and only require the surplus trimming off one side tomorrow when they've fully dried. It wasn't something I was expecting to complete today but there you go - sometimes once you get started you don't know when to stop. All that remains to do now is perhaps a bit more chassis weathering and to tone down some more of those red stanchions which don't look too bad until you see them on video or in photos.

I'm including this little clip on the forum showing the 16 loaded wagons running together for the first time. I'll do a better video later.

 

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Believe it or not I've actually purchased another 2 wagons to increase the log train to 18 wagons and I think I've just about reached my limit for a fully loaded train.

With 16 wagons I've had very few problems and I've tried class 56, 60 and 66 loco's all of which handle the load without problem. The wagons themselves have behaved themselves apart from one particular wagon which suddenly derailed at one specific point on the layout but appears to be okay since I adjusted the bogie retaining screws a bit more.

With the 2 additional wagons I had two derailments quickly followed by an uncoupling. The loco's still have no trouble but it's just the strain on the coupling mechanisms that creates problems. However, I have begun replacing the tension lock couplings with some Marklin knuckle couplers that lock together and help keep the drawbars central. They've been fine up to now so I will change the whole rake if they continue to behave. I actually purchased the Marklin couplings with the intention of using them between loco's and leading wagons but they are a bit too short for some situations.

I'm still a bit wary of running the full rake at high speed because I don't want a derailment taking out the signals but I keep upping the pace bit by bit and gaining more confidence. The wagons have actually stayed upright and in-line when they have derailed so it's not as if they're spilling logs all over the pace but it's best to be cautious until I'm certain everything is okay. I should add that I have not had any further derailments since adjusting the bogie screws and changing some of the couplings and I have every confidence that I'l be able to have the full 18 loaded wagons running on the layout. I just need to work out where I can add an additional siding for them!

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All 18 IWA wagons are now fitted with the Marklin type knuckle couplers. Quite a feat considering the temperature up in the attic again this morning and the numbness of my fingers. I have however found a possible cause of the derailments yesterday!

When I first took the wagons out of their boxes and placed them on track some of the bogies were really tight and I had to slightly loosen the securing screws to enable them to pivot. As I was fitting the replacement couplings this morning I discovered that the bogie retaining screws have been working loose on their own and some were in danger of falling out completely, the bogies hanging down from the chassis and held by a thread. Obviously the pivoting as they go round the track has been loosening the screws so I need to think of a way to secure them without it being permanent in case I need to remove them later. There have been no derailments today.

I was going to attempt some video this afternoon but got sidetracked taking photos which I'm beginning to enjoy just as much as the actual running of trains.

I've always liked black and white images and that's how I prefer my model railway photos so just one image here today and in black and white depicting 66068 hauling all 18 IWA wagons on the log train.

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