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Birkenhead Woodside - Members Personal Layouts. - Model Railway Layouts. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Mon Apr 23rd, 2018 01:16 am
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Longchap
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Hi Keith,

I'm a sucker for auto-trains, so well done and the thought of the auto set with a horse box or milk van in tow sounds wonderfully nostalgic.

Sorry to hear of your continuing wrist issues. I broke my left one just over a year ago, having it pinned and only today managed to play guitar as bad as I ever could. Progress at last! Hopefully you'll be given good help and exercises, so good luck and you'll be playing like Clapton in no time.

Best,

Bill 



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2018 06:16 pm
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Woodside
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S’mae Bill

Yes, I’m with you and auto-trains, and I like the idea of the horse box/milk van, I’ve got them in a box somewhere. One of my fondest memories of my trainspotting days is a regular trip I did.… electric from Central (Low Level) to Rock Ferry, pick up a Chester train, occasionally a through to Shrewsbury… then on to Gobowen, and then the Collet 0-4-2T and autocoach for the two and a half mile run to Oswestry, totally fascinated when the engine was at the rear. In those days Oswestry was still a railway hub, with through services to Aberystwyth, Whitchurch and beyond. It was one of my possible choices for the layout, but in the end I went for Birkenhead as I reckoned I knew more about the operations there. 



On a visit to Oswestry works in summer ’61, it was in effect already closed, I found one of the W&L tanks stripped down (prior to returning to the reborn W&L) and the last Dukedog (9017) stored, which is also still active today – at the time I never thought it was a glimpse of what was to come!

Off to the GP tomorrow to discuss the X-ray, and hopefully get that help and exercises you mentioned… I thought the wrist was on the mend, so yesterday I decided to repair the worktop lighting in the kitchen (a vain effort to glean some much needed brownie points). By the time I’d finished, yes, the lights were working, but quite quickly I noticed that the wrist was most definitely not on the mend…. still the brownie points will come in handy.

As to me playing a guitar….. er…. no….I don’t think so, I still haven’t quite mastered the comb and paper…. I’ll settle for getting back in the loft, want to finish that fencing between the houses and the marshalling yard, and then the houses at Hooton… lots to do…

Cofion

Keith
 



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 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2018 07:18 pm
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Longchap
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Hi Keith,
 
My earliest memories are from Liverpool, my everlasting spiritual home and any one of many vivid glimpses cannot fail to bring smiles to my face: meeting a favourite auntie on the bus, joyously discovering she’s a clippie; feeding centipedes to the frogs in grandad’s allotment greenhouse with the sounds of Walton Hill goods yard opposite; weekend ferry trips to New Brighton from Birkenhead with my postman grandad; taking the green electric train with the yellow whiskers back home after a day at Southport beach; walking past the breathing, hissing black monsters at Lime Street and being in awe of their simmering power .  .  .  .  and oh so many more 😊
 
You have similar and more detailed rail memories, which have shaped the way your railway has become and so it is with us all. Happy days, which fortunately live on forever. Thank you for sharing and encouraging this glimpse through time.
 
My move to Devon in 1959 and exploring the stations at Princetown and Tavistock inspired my current model railway preferences. I still have a hankering to model the tiny Dartmoor branch terminus with its diminutive turntable and my pal’s house, still there, behind the long gone station building.
 
I hope your GP visit goes well and the re-education, as it’s called here, goes even better, although it can take a while.
 
Stay safe, be well and above all, happy.
 
Best,



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2018 03:39 pm
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Woodside
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S’mae Bill

Yes, I think a lot of modellers base their layouts on lines which had some significance in their earlier years.

Happy days indeed! Your mention of a trip to Southport… I rarely made it to Southport, we (some friends) always left the train earlier and headed for Ainsdale beach… and the sandhills…. to collect frogs and toads for our frog boxes in the back yards back home. I’ll never forget the time when one of the collecting boxes lost the lid on the train home… and there we were under all the seats rescuing our new friends…. much to the amusement of the majority of passengers. All were accounted for and lived happily ever after in their new surroundings. I reckon life was more ‘fun’ back then, in comparison to the lives of children nowadays, seemingly permanently attached to their phones, tablets and anything else with a screen and buttons they can press.

GP tells me the wrist will recover, but rather than measuring the time in the usual weeks, because of the bad arthritis (news to me) in the hand, it will be months – but at least I can use it… with care.....

Cofion

Keith



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 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2018 04:09 pm
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Woodside
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Right, being on light duties, I’ve been trying some photos away from Hooton on the other sections which are at least or almost ballasted, I’m sure everybody must be getting a bit tired of Hooton Station.



This is the 8.00 relief Hooton to Rock Ferry, in the goods loop awaiting a space in the carriage sidings. I’ve mentioned before that this is the only way I can accommodate trains which terminate at Rock Ferry rather than Woodside. Only two carriages (one of the eight under Woodside recently) – the Standard 4 tank worked the relief to Hooton earlier. Next trip for this engine will be the 9.10 TC London Euston from Woodside – again two coaches, corridor this time, as far as Chester – where they’ll be tacked onto the Emerald Isle Express for the run to Euston. The tank will return to Birkenhead on a more mundane service. At 10.50 a second TC to Euston leaves Woodside – occasionally behind the engine which arrived earlier on the Ditton Junction – Woodside service. I’m assuming this used an Edge Hill engine, as originally it was a Lime Street – Woodside service…  and as this second Woodside – Euston service joins a Blackpool – Euston train in Crewe…  from Crewe there’d be plenty of ways of it getting back to Edge Hill. There was originally a Birkenhead – Lime Street service twice a day, which would have made things much simpler. When the Edge Hill engine isn’t used it heads back via Crewe on a freight or on an earlier Paddington service as far as Chester, then home via Frodsham. No idea if this is what actually happened… but at least it is plausible.

I’m rambling on now, my apologies, but this is really why I built the layout…. I suppose I could have just carried on reading/creating timetables all day…. but actually running a timetable is much more fun! Incidentally the gaps in the ballast on all three tracks marks the edge of the removable main line section to give better access to the loft – the opening is below the first three foot of this section.

Just a couple more


 
The 4F stands patiently in the marshalling yard with the pick-up freight, waiting for the rush hour to end – so that the freight services can start running again. Same goes for the oil empties bound for Ellesmere Port on the left which will be taken out by a G2 and the fish vans heading back to the east coast on the right with the O4. All freight is purely my imagination at work.

Finally the 2P, with the ex- GWR stock, is about to depart on a second run to Chester.



... sooner or later I'll get this focus sorted...  a few more in the gallery.

Now, time to think about doing some fencing and wall building, in the loft, thankfully, not the garden…. not just yet.

Keith
 
 



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 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2018 07:56 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Hi Keith

The layout is looking great!  :thumbs

Regarding your focus issues; here's some software that I use . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DYMsuHUTdM

Cheers



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 Posted: Mon May 7th, 2018 02:55 pm
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Woodside
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S’mae Max
 
Thanks for that, pleased you think so! I still reckon the photos make the layout look better than it is, possibly because I’m avoiding all the unfinished (or hardly started in some cases) sections.
 
This focus business, thanks for the link, but I fear you’re expecting rather a lot of me and my Luddite leaning grey cell…. I’m assuming that all the photos have to be just about the same, save for the focus…. which means that the camera has to be in the same position…. and for me, that would be a problem. The photo of the Standard 4 tank in the goods loop was one of about eight attempts to actually get the engine and coaches in the shot…. I had to balance the camera on the ‘hill’ and just point and click in roughly the right direction, couldn’t actually see the screen, I was standing behind the backscene – the blue cardigan is a bit of a giveaway. I have now got the manual for my point-and-click camera downloaded, so one day (it is on a list) I’ll know how to change the focus, which will no doubt involve pressing a few buttons, but there’s still the problem of the camera remaining in the same position… and I won’t know if I’ve succeeded until I’ve checked the pictures. It may well work with just two photos (as in the video) one in Auto setting and one in Landscape, but just changing the mode while balanced on the hill…. and we’re back with the same problem . I don’t possess a tripod, be too big anyway on the ‘hill’, so I’m not really equipped for this am I?! Photos around Hooton station have a better chance of success - I could also give it a try for the Woodside Station shots, for now it'll have to go on a list, otherwise I'll never get this fencing started, never mind finished.

I must admit some of this software is a bit clever, perhaps too clever for me…
 
Of course I may have this all wrong… which is usually the case... if so please let me know.
 
Cofion
 
Keith



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 Posted: Wed May 9th, 2018 12:43 am
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gdaysydney
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Hi Keith,
Have just spent some time reading through the posts from page 1. What a great layout you have.
I love the way you have lit up the layout - the night photos are really impressive even though you claim to have issues with the focus :)
I have never thought of including natural wood in with the plaster - its really effective - I must give it try when I finally get around to the scenery on my layout.
best wishes



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 Posted: Sun May 20th, 2018 02:00 pm
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Woodside
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S’mae Dave


Apologies for the usual delay – problems with our water supply following some work on the main locally, deliberations on changing car and the annoying link between good weather and the garden amongst other things have kept me busy. Many thanks, but I think ‘great’ is pushing it a bit, I must admit I look at the layouts on the forum and can’t help thinking I still have a long way to go just to catch up.

We’re fortunate here in having a handy forest close by, so I’m always on the lookout for odd bits of bark which have the look of potential ‘rocks’. The bits in the pics were actually collected from some logs we’d had delivered during my recovery period, long before I actually started the layout. Since then I’ve collected a few more ‘rocks’ from the forest, which will eventually find a place in the green parts of the layout. I just dry brush a little black and/or light grey and green over the bark depending on how dark it is, seems to work. Eventually some greenery growing on the rocks will further improve things. The rock face on the cutting down to the fiddle yard works quite well and gives a plausible reason for the sharp change of height needed for access to the main water tank below …..and just lately I’ve needed it!

Marty assures me that this static grass is dead easy, so I’ll be giving it a try soon – been on one of my lists for a couple of years at least, and in a box for even longer, so it’s about time I made the effort – and will be something new to add to the early 60s database I’ve been working with thus far. Before that though there are trains to run, I’ve still to do something with these coach lights, and there’s this fencing for the marshalling yard (and so yet another list starts) which I have been meaning to do ever since I finished the l/r terraces ….at least this is something I have actually started ….well I have attacked a Wills sheet ….and I am working to one of my super-detailed drawings of what I am hoping to produce.



I always keep any offcuts of Wills sheets, as I’m sure most folk do, the four bits from the collection are just the right height, and will be used for the piers I put at each join and ends of a wall ….but before any building starts in earnest I really will have to clear some space on my super tidy workbench…

…and as for issues …..I have issues with just about everything!

News of progress, when there is some….

Keith




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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2018 08:19 pm
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Woodside
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Right, some painfully slow progress with this wall and fencing to report, pain from a bad knee and slow being my usual speed.  A lot of time spent (best part of two days, I really should get these boxes labelled properly) searching through boxes for a Bachmann cycle shed I knew I’d bought some time ago.

Back to the wall and fence. I decided for the door into the yard I’d make it a single large door, big enough for a car/small van, with a smaller personnel door (don’t know if that’s the correct name) within the main door – used to see that a lot for smallish industrial sites. So using the same method as for the factory gates earlier I cut out the necessary bits.



Given where the wall is on the layout, this wall is just a single panel, so no detail on the back, the walls at the far end of this section, for the small factory, will be two panels thick as usual. The coping stones are just cut from remnants of Plasticard as are the door frames. All very straightforward.



I’ve used the Ratio Yard Office kit, and given it the usual weathering treatment. Must say building this with a splint on my right wrist was something of a challenge, particularly the gutters and drainpipes, but at least it doesn’t look too bad now.



Because the original card wall around the marshalling yard was done before the baseboard was actually fitted in position, it hasn’t had the weathering treatment, so the weathering on the new wall section where it meets the card wall isn’t as dark. Also the yard office will be positioned to hide the actual join.

This bike shed mentioned earlier, originally earmarked for 6C, is a bit average, but with the standard weathering, and now inside the goods yard, it’ll do. So the first wall section is now finished.



For the fencing I’ve used the Bachmann security fencing, originally for the oil depot – but as that is more in view than the back of the goods yard I’ll possibly get something more detailed for that. I did try painting the fence with silver, then weathering it – the idea was to give it that dirty galvanised look. Not sure it has actually worked, but I’ll have to carry on with the remainder as far as the small factory boundary wall.



One good point with the Bachmann fencing, you can cope with 90 degree turns by just drilling a couple of 0.4mm holes in the correct side of a post, and so maintain the layout of the fence



Given that the fence is right at the back of the layout I have to glue several sections of fence together first – it would be nigh on impossible to locate the tiny pins and holes in adjacent panels from a distance. However there is a tipping point when the number of fixed panels becomes a tad ‘unstable’ when trying to handle them at distance. I’ve got around this by drilling out the holes on the last panel with a 0.6mm drill, so it is easier to locate the pins of the next section – seems to work, but not a problem if you have easy access.

I think it does improve the look of the back of the layout, and will be better once there are a few bodies populating the area, and a few bikes in the shed. So more when the fence/wall is done – and then I’ll hopefully be running trains for a while.

Paul was up last week, so we did start the timetable. Spent most of the time trying to understand why all the down trains under Woodside appeared to be out of position… until the penny finally dropped when the fat controller realised that after a short session a couple of weeks ago, he’d forgotten to update the layout clock. In the end the timetable progressed by just one minute…..  that’s progress, Woodside style!

Keith



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 Posted: Tue Jun 5th, 2018 08:50 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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That all looks very convincing, Keith.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Fri Jun 15th, 2018 03:22 pm
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Woodside
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Many thanks Max, if you think it looks very convincing – that’s good enough for me.



I put it down to my point and click camera, focussing problems and all. Something which looks fairly average on the workbench, put it on the layout, take a picture – and suddenly it seems better than average….  the wonders of modern technology – even I have to admit that it’s a big improvement on my old Brownie 127!!!!



At the moment things have slowed to a crawl, hence the even longer delay in responding, due to this spell of prolonged hot weather – at least the insulation and fans keep the loft at a reasonable temperature – but when it is this hot my grey cell tends to just switch off until normal weather resumes, thankfully that process appears to have started.


Fencing is now finished, just the small factory wall and gate to do now, and then I can get the trains running again for a while, and at least finish the morning rush hour, before I try this static grass…. unless I can come up with something else to do…. like finishing the ballasting of at least the track next to this new fence…. perhaps not…. or those coach lights…. I’ll think of something…. I’ve got plenty of lists….


Keith



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 Posted: Fri Jun 15th, 2018 04:13 pm
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Passed Driver
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Hi Keith    I haven’t got a plan either, and I am getting nowhere fast, but your fence painting is far better than sitting on the fence. Keep up the good work. Best wishes. Kevin



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 Posted: Tue Jun 19th, 2018 08:25 pm
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Woodside
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Thanks Kevin – I’ve always thought plans are very over-rated!

Last section to do was just the short wall at the end of the small factory, which needs to be double sided as it is visible (just) from both sides. The corner post which supports the door being at the back is again only single sided. Originally I was going to have the standard double gate arrangement, until I noticed the hoist/loading doors are at the far corner and an open gate would block access, so I settled for a double folding door. I suppose if I’d been thinking ahead when building the small factory I could have rearranged that wall to get the loading doors away from the corner…. but I don’t do thinking ahead when I’m busy doing stuff, the grey cell doesn’t do multi-tasking these days. Anyway wall and doors created. I’ve set the doors half open, eventually there will be a van arriving at the entrance, with a worker opening the gate.

4

And then with coping stones fitted and all weathered, perhaps a tad heavy



…and in position, with the fence attached to the other side.



And a view showing the fence and wall.



More in the gallery. So I’ve completed the boundary between Joe Public and the factory/marshalling yard, which is what I wanted to do, and also created a back entry for the terrace backs, or ‘back jigger’ as we Scousers used to call it back in the day. Our back jigger between two rows of terraced houses on adjacent roads was wide enough for the horse drawn bin cart to travel down collecting rubbish – I’ve not left that much space as at the back of the layout things get a bit compressed in front of the l/r buildings, but there again by the late fifties the horses had been replaced by more mechanical things – and they didn’t fit anyway.

I’ve yet to populate this area, which should improve the general look of things, and finish that ballasting, but for now it is time to run the trains. Unfortunately that bracket on the up home signal at Hooton is causing problems again, I think for now I’ll make do with a green flag, or just a wave from the signalman in the handily placed signal box, for the few trains which use platform 3…. and rather than faff about with the signal again I’ll just make a replacement. I’ve also been thinking again about signalling Woodside station (it happens about every six months), I really would like to see some signals at Woodside, and while it would be nice to match the original bracket signals mounted centrally at the end of each platform, covering both tracks, I’ve decided to just use single posts with home and shunt arms for each platform – much easier to make and make fully operational, w-i-t to a bank of Gem levers is the thinking at present, although that could, and probably will, change.

Keith



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 Posted: Tue Jun 19th, 2018 09:57 pm
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Hi Keith. Thank you. That is exactly what I want/ need to do with signals. And I even began a thread on “ No nonsense “ signals after a visit to “ Railex 2018 “ where one layout had wire in tube controlled upper quadrant signals .But I came away from the show without asking the Modeller about the origins of his signals.
Are you building your own signals??? In the past I Built OO colour light signals, but, the semaphores were restricted to O gauge. Keep up the good work. Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Jun 25th, 2018 03:35 pm
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Woodside
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S’mae Kevin 

Apologies for the delay, this weather is not to my liking… at least the fans in the loft are keeping things normal at Woodside.

As to signals, I am very envious of folk on the forum that order the bits from MSE and the like in order to build accurate examples for their layouts – I have neither the expertise nor the knowledge to do that, so I rely on Ratio signal kits. For me signals have to be on a layout, they have to look reasonably accurate and, most importantly, they have to work, so the Ratio kits fit the bill. I started with the down home and starter at Hooton with the simple Ratio 470 LMS Home signal, this comes with a lever and the bits to operate it by chord. I didn’t fancy that so I went for wit with a Peco point motor controlled by a toggle switch, and I’ve used that throughout. The other signals at Hooton needed more than the simple home signal, so I moved on to Ratio 476 LMS signals, and used that kit(s) for the up/down advanced starter, and the bracket up starter and bracket up home, finally the down starter for platform 2 (which is also used for platform 3). Must admit that even these Ratio signals are getting to be a bit fiddly now – and with a splint on my wrist impossible, hence the delay in tackling the up home at Hooton. I’ve used colour light signals for the main line up to Birkenhead, these are either Eckon, Traintech or Absolute Aspects, still a few of them in a box somewhere yet to be added to complete that section. I’ve also used a couple of the Dapol LMS signals on the fiddle yard approach – I do like the light! – and have a couple more in yet another box somewhere for the goods yard and advanced starter at Woodside. For me the red of the signal arm is too dark, and the white band a little narrow, easily sorted with a repaint. Wish they’d produce a double arm model. I have used Peco levers for the Dapol signals – mainly because I was thinking of using the Dapol signals at Woodside, so then I could have had the Peco levers in a frame with the Gem point levers, however clearances under Woodside and the lack of a shunt signal scuppered that idea. I could rabbit on about signals all day …

Prior to getting the trains running again I’ve had my trusty Dapol Track Cleaner out doing the rounds – amazing the amount of stuff it picks up – so once this current heatwave is over I’ll be able to start running trains for a while…. That Hooton relief has been in the goods loop nigh on eight weeks!

Keith



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 Posted: Mon Jun 25th, 2018 09:05 pm
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Hi Keith.   Thank you for your reply. I must have missed that about your wrist being in a splint. That is a Right PITA with all the work that has gone into your Railway . Back in 2010 I had a tumble on my former allotment ,and fractured my left ulna, and was wearing a plaster cast.   Get well soon. Kevin



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 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2018 07:56 pm
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I note on my last post, 25th June, I reported “so once this current heatwave is over I’ll be able to start running trains for a while”….mmmm…. didn’t think it was going to last quite this long! In the loft the big problem for me is the thick stone walls, once they have been really heated through they remain warm for long time, what I refer to as the storage heater effect. It has been a real test for the fans in the loft, and while they have managed to keep the temperature reasonable-ish even during a 13 day spell of temperatures over 30 degrees, topping out at 36.4, I don’t think they could cope with the additional heat/hot air generated by the fat controller and his bank of transformers. So, the trains haven’t been running, and with the fans running for the majority of the day – no doubt churning up any dust in the loft – I’ll need to get the trusty Dapol track cleaner back in service, yet again, before they can. I suspect I am not alone in this with other loft, and shed based layouts, suffering a similar fate in all this heat. Our garden workshop, in wood and complete with a slate roof, is insulated with 2” polystyrene – and that has remained cool throughout…. a bit late now to think about using it in the loft!

Spotted a bargain on the Rails site a fortnight ago, and I now have another Fairburn tank on the fleet - £60.45 off list price. The price demonstrates just how much things have increased – 10 years back when I first started buying stock for the new project, my first Fairburn cost just £54 from Hattons. I’ve been looking to add another tank for a while, but current prices have been the problem. During the last full run through the timetable all but one tank engine was called into service at some time during the day, at least now there will be two spending the day on shed, a bit more realistic.

Anyway, the new arrival is seen in the goods yard, just waiting for the weather to relent so running-in can start.



One day when I went up to check on the fans the sunlight (curtains just open to improve air flow) was just catching the main line, looked quite different, and really bought the layout to life… so I tried a photo, my p&c camera didn’t really capture the effect –  as you can see from my attempts, in the Gallery.

After some rain (remember that stuff?) and reasonable temperatures for a change last Friday, and again yesterday, the forecast for next week is promising more of the same excessive heat…. this weather has got to end soon, hasn’t it?..... I’ve got a railway to run!!

Kevin, splint is mostly off the wrist now thanks, been testing the wrist by making a new side gate for the garden, which I am told I was due to do a couple of years ago....

Keith



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 Posted: Wed Jul 25th, 2018 07:04 am
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Hi Keith.    Nice to hear from you, with all that heat how are you getting on with “ Rail Expansion”? or have you got plenty of Expansion Gaps Built in? Good to know the Dapol have a product , track cleaner, that works. With so much said by Rivet Counters about their failings on “ Horse Boxes “. Best wishes. Kevin



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