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mick

SKEW BRIDGE - Attic Layout

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More static grass again today - it's going to be a long process especially as I'm now running low on the essential grass and it's almost the Xmas holiday shut down. I might just have to find something else to do over the festive season.

I've made a start on the main scenic section starting with the corner alongside the tunnel. Again it's a mix of different colours and trying to retain the existing ground cover and the plain vertical rock areas. When this photo was taken earlier today there was still some gaps around the tunnel portal but these have now been filled with plaster coloured with acrylic paints.

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The following two photos offer similar views but I wasn't sure which to include so they're both here. None of the shrubs/bushes have been glued in yet, they're just placed there out of the way.

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Aside from the static grass I've painted the rail sides of the up main line in my rusty brown colour now that it's been glued in place. The time for ballasting is drawing ever closer.

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

 

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Skew Bridge has been relatively quiet over the Xmas holidays. We actually spent a lovely Xmas day on the coast at Scarborough and it was amusing to see people having BBQ's on the front at South Bay as well as a couple of elderly ladies sitting on a bench overlooking the sea with a small Xmas tree between them and sharing a bottle of wine together. Xmas day doesn't have to be the same old thing does it!

A few days ago I took some more wagons out of storage - the JGA Tilcon stone hoppers which haven't been seen since 2011, and a rake of Bachmann BZA steel coil carriers which have never been used before and whose boxes were still wrapped in tissue paper. I also took out my Hornby class 60007 with the intention of using it to haul one of the aforementioned wagon rakes only to discover the same old problem with the couplings on these loco's (as well as the class 56's). 60007 will have to wait until I get round to remedying, or completely removing, the problematic cam coupling. Why on earth do Hornby persist using them when they cause no end of problems? I did manage to take some video but I haven't decided whether it's worth uploading or not just yet.

Today I've installed another siding on the main storage area bringing the total to 6 with room for possibly another 6 more to be installed. I'm already having second thoughts regarding my decision to install some of the live frog points without any modification as the point blades on one of them just doesn't always switch the track feed. Today I reverted to modifying the point and installing as a true Live Frog. It was my intention to then bring another rake of wagons out of long-term storage, either the TTA tanks or the Auto-Ballasters, but I didn't get that far so it's for another day.

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I took a break from constructing today and instead spent the afternoon running trains. It wasn't all plain sailing as there's that problem with coupling compatibility which never seems to be far away. It's curable but it needs time in order to sort everything out. I've managed to do it with the outdoor layout so I'm confident that the attic layout will eventually be sorted too.

The autoballasters were placed on track today and if I'm not mistaken I believe it's the first time I've been able to couple all 15 together at once. They featured on a few videos from my old Selby Garden Railway roughly nine years ago but only as a set of 10.

Anyway, here's a brief running session from today featuring just 4 loco's and 7 different wagon sets. If my maths are correct that's a total of 181 individual wagons on view and just about all of them in need of weathering.

 

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Well, I'm not much further on than I was at the time of my last update. The scenic work appears to have ground to a halt and I have yet to tackle the problem with the couplings. I have however, made a start installing a further 2 storage roads having fitted the points (wired for live frogs again) and all the flexi track down to the spot where they will connect with the opposite end of the storage yard loops. I just have the two additional points to fit tomorrow and then that will be 8 fully operational storage loops with a 9th made temporarily available should it be needed until I get yet more track and points in order to complete the job.

Not sure why it is but when it gets to around teatime I'm ready to call it a day but then come 9pm I'm wanting to be back up there!

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A great video, thanks, Mick.  What a lot of wagons!  And, as you say, there's quite a bit of weathering in store if you plan to get them all done - but quite a good proportion seem to have been done already.  As a consolation, the scenery is looking pretty good now and presumably is largely good to go/stay.

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12 hours ago, Andrew said:

A great video, thanks, Mick.  What a lot of wagons! ......

Thanks Andrew. You can see now why I really needed to do the attic layout. I wouldn't ever want it to replace the garden layout but having collected all those wagons over the years I just had to have somewhere I could run them and not have the chore of packing them all away afterwards. With regards to the task of weathering, there are a lot more wagons which have yet to make it onto the layout so it could be an ongoing project.

12 hours ago, Andrew said:

....As a consolation, the scenery is looking pretty good now and presumably is largely good to go/stay.

I've made a start, let's say that. There's still a fair bit of work to be done, shrubs and trees to make etc. I'd like to be able to get the ground layer finished with the static grasses in the very near future as I can add trees and shrubs as and when without damaging anything. And the ballasting of course, that can come once the base layer is complete. At least in its current state there's nothing stopping me running trains now.

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You can't expect everything to run smoothly when they've not been used for at least 8 years but when you take four class 56 loco's out of their boxes and discover not one of them would move then it takes you by surprise somewhat.

Below are 3 of the loco's I took out today (56013, 56049 & 56059) along with 56040 and its Kadee coupling which runs albeit with a squeal. I notice EWS 56059 is also minus a buffer.

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I'd decided that today would be the day where I began sorting out the loco's and as my class 56's haven't really featured on Skew Bridge up to now I thought it best to start there as they will be the mainstay of my MGR workings. I was going to add Kadee couplings to the rear as they seem to work fine with the MGR's and add full pipework and other details to the leading ends. I have a total of 7 class 56's in a variety of liveries and the only one I've really been able to use was 56040 but it had developed an annoying squeal. I originally attempted to use sound-fitted 56127 only to discover the sound chip working fine but there was no actual movement from the loco in either direction. So, remove some more from their boxes, attend to the squeal on 56040 and add those detail parts all at the same time. That's when the problems began.

Four of the loco's I took from their boxes were DCC fitted so I chose first of all to try them out on the layout but as just mentioned not one of them would move when power was applied. So I removed the body from 56040 to take a look and it was obvious that as power was applied the motor was attempting to turn but it seemed there was resistance in the bogies. To cut a long story short I googled the problem and discovered it to be an apparently widespread occurrence. It requires the bogie towers to be dismantled in order to access the worm and lubricate the bearings at either side of it. Not something I'm overjoyed about especially when I have at least 5 loco's to see to but pleased that it's not something more serious.

I'm now wondering whether the fault I believed I had with the sound-fitted 56127 is also that of a seized bearing atop the bogie tower and not a fault with the decoder itself as I first thought, It will be interesting to find out.

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Although highly frustrating to have a failed loco I do find it rather satisfying when I sort out a mechanical problem and get it running again. Having several to fix could be an advantage, by the third one you may start to enjoy the process.

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I suppose it's just an extension of the maintenance required to keep them running properly anyway Chris, although sorting out the worm gear and bearings at the top of the bogie towers is not a requirement mentioned on the Hornby class 56 service sheet.

I watched a YouTube video for dismantling the class 56 in order to access the worm gears but I found it unnecessary to go to such lengths. I was able to do the first loco simply by removing the retaining clips at the top of each bogie, removing the offending worm and bearings, cleaning in IPA and then adding a spot of silicone grease before reassembling. You need to remove the fan unit in order to access one bogie and with some perseverance (along with a wee bit of swearing) it's possible to replace the drive shaft on the opposite bogie without the need to remove the circuit board. If the others go as well as the one I did last night then I'll be a happy bunny.

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Yesterday I took a look at factory sound-fitted 56127. This is the loco that I initially thought had a faulty sound chip as although the sounds played as expected there was no actual movement from the loco when power was applied. I have a class 37 with that same problem, as previously mentioned, so assumed this to be likewise. With the loco body removed it was immediately apparent that the worm gears atop both of the bogies were seized as with the previous class 56 loco's but I wasn't yet convinced that this was the root cause of the problem.

Being a sound-fitted version with a 21 pin decoder fitting this loco differs from the previous 8 pin fitted locos. The PCB has soldered connections whereas previous models had the little plastic clips connecting wires to the circuit board meaning I was very wary of breaking any soldered joints. The circuit board is also located further over the bogie opposite the 2 fans meaning access to the bogie tower is very restricted and it had to be gently eased to one side being very careful not to pull on the wires. The worm gears and bearings were removed and cleaned before being lightly greased with silicone. I also passed a small file gently across the face of the bearings hoping that would further reduce any friction once they were replaced.

Eventually the whole was back together and when power was applied she trundled away down the track. Great news.

It's really astonishing that this is a fault that has affected almost my entire fleet of Hornby class 56 loco's - only 1 of which actually managed to move and then only very reluctantly with a high pitched squeal. I accept that the problem may be because they've been stored for several years but only 2 or 3 of them had ever been used so there must be hundreds of class 56's out there sitting in boxes or in display cabinets whose owners are eventually going to discover this same problem. It may be when they attempt to run them or when they attempt to sell them on. If you've got any later-style Hornby class 56's sitting about then you'd best have a close look at them.

The downside to yesterday's work is that I've lost another class 56 buffer somewhere. I've noted an area a couple of metres square where I know it must be but simply cannot locate it. I'm now 2 short and it doesn't appear that spares are available anywhere.

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6 hours ago, ba14eagle said:

Peters Spares not got any Mick?

Seem to be out of stock everywhere - little wonder when they keep falling out.

Another 'seized' class 56 sorted today though like most of the others there's still an annoying squeal at times. I've left them running round in the attic hoping that might cure things. At least they're better than they were before. Only thing I'm missing today is a front footstep which makes a change from losing buffers.

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I've been busy again today adding more Gaugemaster Autofrog modules and track feeds along the storage side of the layout. I've also got some of the class 56s running round the layout and I do believe the problematic ones are getting smoother so perhaps a good running in is what they need now.

I've posted some photos of my new Accurascale 'Cawoods' PFA container wagons which arrived today in another thread but I'll include some here too. I've waited a long time for someone to manufacture these wagons, and a long time for delivery of these actual models, but it has to be said that the wait has been worthwhile.

I've got some fond memories of these wagons being loaded at Gascoigne Wood. I remember it being extremely noisy as the coal fell from the conveyor into the empty container and as it slowly filled, the dust created was choking.

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I've not checked but wouldn't assume that the factory-fitted red air pipe 'cock' could be placed in the open position. It does look a bit odd when in train formation though ideal for the wagon at the rear of the train.

The wagons are produced in sets of 3 and are all individually numbered. There are 4 different sets currently available from Accurascale with 'Cawoods' branded containers and a further 4 sets available with the later 'British Fuels' orange containers. I mostly remember the Cawoods livery but do recall seeing British Fuels containers too.

Here are my 12 wagons behind coal sector 56127. A further 12 wagons are on the way so I'll just have to put up with having duplicate wagon numbers for now in order to have a decent length train.

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Good to read  that you got your 56s working. It's a sickening moment when a loco doesn't move. One thing I've learnt over the last decade of railway modelling it that almost everything is fixable.

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I've still got 56059 to sort out Chris but I've got sidetracked with the arrival of the PFA's and the need to connect more sidings to the power bus in order to have somewhere to put the wagons. I've spent today adding terminal strips beneath the baseboards at intervals along the storage sidings so that I can simply connect track droppers to them rather than having to solder every single one to the bus.

My biggest headache by far are the couplings between loco and wagons and I really do need to sit back and decide what's the best thing to do. Tension locks are out as they simply won't work for me. They may be ok when you've got a short rake of wagons behind the loco but as soon as you start increasing the trailing load you end up with the wagon immediately behind the loco derailing. I've had some success using Kadee's but what I've found is that there's simply too much play in the NEM coupling pockets allowing the couplings to move not just side to side, as they are designed to do,  but also up and down. Even with two Kadee couplings set at the correct height (measured using the Kadee height gauge) as soon as you start to haul a heavy load the couplings move out of vertical alignment and it's usually the wagon coupling that drops down. The vehicles stay connected but the uncoupling pin on the Kadee then starts catching on pointwork, leading to a derailment, and so the pin has to be removed. It's pointless manufacturers ensuring that couplings are set at the correct height if there's so much vertical play in them when they come under strain.

What I'm looking for is a remedy that doesn't involve the need for modification to the wagon itself. It could be as simple as gluing the Kadee permanently into the NEM pocket.

 

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I dont seem to have posted it here, but I did a YouTube video on getting over problems with the couplings on my Hornby class 56. So here it is - if it helps at all.

 

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I've made some progress with the couplings between loco and leading wagon and now feel confident running some of my loco's coupled to some of my wagons. Restricting the couplings movement certainly seems to help prevent that old problem of derailment of the first wagon.

Even the new Accurascale PFA wagon coupling has a lot of free play in the vertical axis but I've been able to eliminate that simply by glueing a small packing piece on top of the NEM pocket between that and a chassis cross member. It doesn't restrict sideways movement and the coupling now operates perfectly, remaining at the same level throughout.

One of my class 56 loco's had previously been altered to restrict sideways movement of the cam coupling which I had forgotten about doing. I had glued small offcuts of sleepers at the side of the cam coupling which allows it some horizontal movement but not to the full extent as before. Again, it operates perfectly well like that but no longer does the coupling end up wedged to one side as it used to.

As my Gypsum PFA wagons arrived today I couldn't resist putting them on track and giving them a run. I remember thinking a couple of years ago that there was little chance of anyone producing these wagons and containers. There was a 3D printed version of the containers available but they were expensive and not to the standards I had hoped for but here we now are with a first class RTR version of the wagons and containers. These PFA wagons normally operated as a set of up to 42 wagons if I remember correctly but it wasn't uncommon to see them running in much shorter sets for a variety of reasons. They were invariably coupled to a class 60 loco in my days but sometimes a class 56 might be used for the loading process at the power station if a class 60 wasn't immediately available and the 56 would be changed for the 60 on departure from the loading plant. 

Here's 60007 hauling the Gypsums earlier

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4 minutes ago, ba14eagle said:

I dont seem to have posted it here, but I did a YouTube video on getting over problems with the couplings on my Hornby class 56. So here it is - if it helps at all...

Yes I've seen your video Iain and the way you managed to overcome the problems. I've chosen to use Kadee's and restrict the couplings movement and it seems to work fine hauling 36 MGR's. I think if it works with the MGR's then it's going to be okay with the other wagons too as they seem to be the most problematic of all.  So far so good but it does mean having to treat each loco and leading wagon.

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