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Going large - building large layouts - Layout Design, Trackwork & Operation. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Tue Jul 16th, 2019 10:59 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Hi Peter

I have always used white spirit without any issues - I use a cotton bud to clean and the other end to "dry".  I do have some IPA and know that its good but white spirit is a fraction of the price!!

Barry

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 Posted: Thu Jul 25th, 2019 04:33 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Just back from a sunny Liverpool (where we watched the best netball World Cup final ever) and back to the melting tarmac of West London.  Lots of great houses and projects in ScouseLand so we are very hopeful of finding a nice railway room with a house attached very quickly. :lol: :lol:

The Estate Agents in Lillypool all tried to maintain a professional face when told that we wanted either a room or space to build 26ft x 16ft, especially when we told them what it was for.  However, they all knuckled down and soon most were talking about the "railway" without fits of laughter.

I expect that they will be swapping stories at the Estate Agents Convention and having a good giggle at my expense!!

Barry

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 Posted: Thu Jul 25th, 2019 07:55 pm
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Petermac
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You just need to remind them it's the second most popular hobby in UK Barry - after fishing .....................

When the likes of Pete Waterman, Rod Stewart and Jools Holland are right out there in front, it's no laughing matter. :thumbs :thumbs



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 Posted: Sun Aug 11th, 2019 10:31 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Its been a mad couple of weeks what with dismantling Yarslow and the continual house-hunting from 200+ miles away!!

I have packed away all of the locos and rolling stock and removed trees and buildings and telegraph poles and such like.  I use plastic crates to store stuff because I know it will travel safely.  Breaking down the storage cartridges has yielded about 60 yards of track (there were 48 of them!) and I am going to start on the loco cartridges this week - there are 52 of them all about 12 inches long so I will end with loads of short bits of track.

The woodwork from the cartridges and layout might be re-cycled but there is a lot of 4mm MDF which is cut into 3 inch strips and contains pins/glue damage so I'll probably junk it.  The cartridge bases were 12mm MDF, again cut into 3 inch strips so not sure what use they might be.  Given the quantity of them, I might hang on to them for now.

I have already made contact with the model railway club in Southport - they meet in an old crossing keepings building next to the current Southport-Liverpool line so there is modern image right outside the door.

This week should see the start of the lifting of the actual Yarslow track - a long process as I am intending to recycle the pointwork and re-use as much track as possible.  I know that PVA can be re-activated if you get it wet and so I will try to spray it to see if that loosens the ballast at all.

Does anyone have any advice for removing ballast that has been PVA'd down?  I could simply dig out the stones from between each sleeper but that sounds a long and painful job.

The Peco point motors will be surplus unless I use them in the storage yard - I have moved over to SEEPs on recent projects.

In other news, we have found a number of railway rooms with decent houses attached :lol: :lol: and so it should not be too hard to get the new layout sited, albeit that is probably going to be 12 months away.  At Mrs M's suggestion, the plan I have posted is being reworked to see if it fits into slightly different shapes - say 20ft square. 

It feels weird not having a layout to run things on, no books to read, no magazines to pour over, no tools to do anything with.  Its gonna be long cold winter............

Barry

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 Posted: Sun Aug 11th, 2019 10:46 pm
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BCDR
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Rather than spraying, use shop towels or heavy duty shop paper wipes wet, cover with cling or foil overnight.  Old towels are ideal. Track should come up using a broad blade underneath. 

Using a tall bucket or deep tray soak the rails and points for 24 hours using hot water  to start with a squirt of cheap washing up liquid. Use a large nylon bristle brush scrub off ballast from the rails/sleepers, use a smaller one for the points.  Nigel


Works for me.


Nigel





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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2019 12:37 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Thanks Nigel I will give that a try. Its odd that in the dozens of books I have from the 1940's to present day telling me how to lay track, there is little information on lifting it again!!
I will find a plastic tray to soak the track in as suggested for the final clean up

Barry

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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2019 03:07 pm
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BCDR
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Barry Miltenburg wrote: Thanks Nigel I will give that a try. Its odd that in the dozens of books I have from the 1940's to present day telling me how to lay track, there is little information on lifting it again!!
I will find a plastic tray to soak the track in as suggested for the final clean up

Barry

:lol: :lol: :lol:They all assume that a layout is for life and the track plan is perrrfect (well, if you followed their advice). Just watch that the small springs on Peco points don't go walkabout. If they do then Peco will supply replacement ones - just ask. From past experience about 85-90% of the track will be recoverable. If you have 3-foot sections soldered together via joiners just cut out the soldered sections using Xurons or similar before starting to soften the glue with the wet towels.

Nigel



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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2019 03:31 pm
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TeaselBay
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Hey Barry, I dread the day I'd have to move Teasel, it sounds terrible! Sounds like you are doing a good job it though.
I am originally from Ainsdale in Southport and where all my family resides, will be there at the weekend. Hope you find somewhere good and big enough to setup your large layout!



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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2019 05:33 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Chris

Thanks for the encouragement.  The Southport area is certainly very nice and I cn see why you go back!!

The house/railway room hunt is looking very positive.

Barry

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 Posted: Tue Aug 13th, 2019 10:42 pm
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Colin W
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Hi Barry,

It's taken me a while to go thru some of your project after your kind words about my project. I now have a better understanding of your amusing comments.

You have great plans and I hope you can find the right solution. Elsewhere I've read of major issues of warping baseboards when humidity moves around, something likely to be an issue in a stand-alone dedicated unit unless you are prepared to keep it at a relatively steady temperature to help stabilise humidity. Someone early on in your topic commented on just this issue.

Assuming limited air flow in / out then as temperature rises and falls relative humidity as a % falls / rises quite markedly. Correct choice of baseboard materials and complete sealing of the timbers may help here.

We are lucky in Melbourne. Summer is bone dry and in winter the wetter weather coincides with the time we heat the house. All the same the timber load bearing frame construction (under an external brick "veneer") of the house creaks and moves around thru the seasons.

Good luck with your project,

Colin



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 Posted: Wed Aug 14th, 2019 10:27 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Thanks Colin

The "Railway room" would, in perfect circumstances, be a brick built affair attached to the house with a proper double-skin wall (blockwork and brick), rendered on the inside to create, in effect, a living room.  This can be heated by an extension of the central heating system or separate panel heaters.  At the other end of the scale, it might be a wooden building in the garden!!

I am keen (as is Mrs M fortunately) on the former rather than the latter.

Either way, insulation and temperature control are key as you say.  My present shed, although smaller than the one planned, is fully insulated and heated by oil filled panel heaters - cheap to run and easy to control using timers.  I use 12mm MDF baseboards supported by a 2" x 1" frame with bearers spaced no more than 15 inchaes apart.  In the 8 years or so that I have used this approach, I have not suffered any warping.  However, aware of the limitations of MDF I will probably go for 9mm ply on the same framework style for the new layout.  I have built a few test boards with this surface with success.

Barry

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 Posted: Wed Aug 14th, 2019 10:44 pm
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Colin W
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Barry,

You've already some excellent solutions for large scale ballast removal. Just to add my bit, where I needed to remove ballast from a tricky or small location I added some kiddies bubble blowing liquid to water and pipetted this into place.

The bubble mix has glycerol and detergent so the final solution is much thicker than just water + detergent and helps keep the moisture where its needed. Glycerol doesn't evaporate but retains the water and the ballast is fully softened (without covering) overnight. Track can be rinsed off afterwards if required. This is what I used to remove ballast for inserting my decoupling magnets between sleepers. The bubble mix is dirt cheap so can be used ad libitum.

Colin



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 Posted: Thu Aug 15th, 2019 11:33 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Hi Colin

I like the sound of that - removing ballast and blowing bubbles - what fun!!

Barry

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 Posted: Sun Aug 25th, 2019 06:53 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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The sight of the shed with only bare baseboards and part-lifted track is a sorry one. :cry:

However, with draincocks wide open and the machine in full forward gear, the Lillypool-bound train is leaving the station - we have found a suitable flat to move into up there while we sell the London terminus.  Once suitably shunted into the little lay-bye, we will wait for the road to move into the railway-room-with-house-attached.  Its a smallish step but the wheels are turning!!

Barry

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 Posted: Sun Aug 25th, 2019 11:10 pm
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Petermac
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Delighted to hear this news Barry - I know what it's like dismantling a layout when there isn't a new home for it on the horizon ......................



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 Posted: Wed Aug 28th, 2019 08:16 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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So, after years of trying to be as realistic as possible I have finally got very close.  Not a train in sight and lifted track everywhere - very 1965.  :lol: :lol: :lol:

I thought I should comment on the helpful ideas given recently reagrding lifting track that has been ballasted.

To start, let me outline my methods of track-laying.  Cork sheeting is laid first, sometimes glued with PVA on curves but often unglued.  The track is pinned on top and then ballasted with Jarvis or Woodland or similar finescale granite chips.  The chips are sprayed with a water/washing up liquid solution and then watered down PVA (again with a drop of washing up liquid) is applied through an eye dropper.  The whole thing is often given 2 glue treatments to ensure its stuck.

I found out recently, although I think it was something I knew but had forgotten, that PVA is reactivated if you wet it.  Based on this knowledge and the advice given above, I sprayed the track with a water/washing up liquid solution until it was very wet.  Having removed ALL of the track pins, the track can be GENTLY teased upwards with a large flat blade.  Pointwork can be gently wiggled from side to side if required.

This is not a job to rush.  If you get disheartened and think you should be doing it faster, have a quick look at track and pointwork prices - it focusses the mind!

Once lifted, I clean the track with an old toothbrush.

It helps to clean up as you go.  The baseboard will be covered with wet (and now sticky) ballast, track pins and mess.  I hoovered up after each piece was lifted.

I had about an hour spare tonight and have lifted 2 large radius points, the 3-way and a curved unit along with several pieces of track.  Short bridging pieces of track were sacrificed to get at the pointwork and I will not be lifting the track buried under filler.

So far so good.  Thanks for the advice chaps

Barry

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 Posted: Wed Aug 28th, 2019 11:11 pm
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Petermac
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Tedius Barry but as you say, if the alternative is buying new, it's certainly worth the effort.



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 Posted: Thu Aug 29th, 2019 10:08 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Indeed.  AnyRail kindly (cruelly) provides a list of required materials when you produce a design.  The Great Northern Railway (as it is slowly becoming known) will use 125 turnouts of various flavours from catch/trap points through to double slips and 3-ways.  That makes what I am doing now so vital - any unit I can save is one less to buy.

It also gived the total trackage length so you can plan how many 'yard lengths' you need.

I read that, add on rail joiners & track pins and then need a lie down!!

Barry

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 Posted: Thu Aug 29th, 2019 11:11 pm
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Barry Miltenburg wrote: I then need a lie down!!

Barry

with a Bex & a cuppa ?



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 Posted: Fri Aug 30th, 2019 09:25 am
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Petermac
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Wow - 125 turnouts - that's a mortgage in it's own right Barry !!!

I'd buy shares in Peco now if I were you.................



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