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Westown - Heathfield - Members Personal Layouts. - Model Railway Layouts. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed May 29th, 2019 06:49 am
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Colin W
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Westown - Heathfield

I could start with step by step details of how an initial, poorly planned idea grew without much rhyme or reason but five years on it seems better to start with where I’m up to and backfill later as appropriate.
As to my approach, it has been shaped with the help of a modeler who posted on here until he passed away (John Flann). I had been working to build a layout to just “run trains”, explore doing bits of this and that without it having much purpose but then John provided much wise council, was most generous with his time and one day the light went on for me.


To summarise my approach as it has now evolved:

  • I don’t aim for perfection; I want the layout and individual settings to look plausible at a macro level. To paraphrase HeadmasterI do enjoy making a miniature world where trains go to and fro

  • I wanted to capture the sense of place and settings of my home county Somerset; set in the context of the railways I knew and loved as a child.

  • I wanted to engage my 6 grandchildren in the building and operations as much as possible. I’d done this with my 3 children 30 years ago and it was a most rewarding shared experience that I wanted to repeat.

As to prototypicality, I’m not a slave. For example, my desired operations in my confined modeling area demanded track configurations that you’d never see, but I don’t let it worry me. Nor do some of my locations bear more than passing resemblance to real places.

The Setting

I was always going to be confined in space due to the location in our rumpus room, which has lots of positives (tiled, low dust, cool in summer, heated in winter) but it does have other uses as well as being a route to the laundry. This meant that 2.4m x 1.2m (8’ x 4’) was all management would allocate! It seemed impossible to incorporate all the elements I wanted:

Westown – A Somerset town located on a spur off the GWR mainline, bearing some loose resemblance to my hometown of W-s-M. A station setting including goods yards and shed.

Heathfield –very loosely based on the villages in the Quantocks, where we took rail day trips in the 1950s. I wanted to capture three elements, the hills, a village with its tiny branch-line station and finally a small nearby farm. Heathfield was to be the destination for the branch-line trains that I knew well from trips on the Cheddar line as well as to Minehead

My “mission Impossible”, to fit this into the available space without it looking like an implausible mess.



   

The State of progress

Heathfield and the Quantock Hills backdrop are nearing completion. This photo was included in my New Member’s posts



The other areas are partially complete, but progress has been slow while other matters, track, locomotive power etc. were advanced.

Westown station was an early build followed by a double engine shed (both Metcalfe). A removable extension for a goods yard has been built and track laid. This area is also on hold.

The Hardware
After completing a steep learning curve in DCC technology, I’ve settled on using an NCE PowerPro controller, standard DCC chips by DCC Concepts (who have local support here) and Sound DCC by YouChoos based on recommendations from various experienced folk.

As I’d never planned a complex layout, (in Plan A it was to be assembled each time for use) there would be no electrical point control and hence I installed insulfrogs all round. I’m wiser now and might do otherwise next time but I’ll later go into how I’ve managed to achieve perfectly good operations even with the most troublesome of locos, the Hornby 0-4-2 with traction tyres.

The Era
I had started out by buying a boxed set of “The Merchant Venturer”, period circa mid-1950s;, it struck a chord with the time when I first discovered trains. It must have been after discovering the delights of Hintock and the GWR of the mid 1930s that my attention shifted to basing my modelling in that period.
I still retain my 1950s stock; add in a footbridge, swap in my much smaller set of Era 5 locos and rolling stock, some more modern road vehicles and we're propelled forwards 20 years as not much changed in these sleepy places.



Colin





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 Posted: Wed May 29th, 2019 09:57 am
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Headmaster
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An excellent opening Colin and I look forward to seeing more photos and hearing about its history

Michael



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 Posted: Thu May 30th, 2019 04:12 pm
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John Dew
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Hi Colin

As Michael said, an excellent introduction. You have certainly whetted my appetite!

I hadnt realised that you were one of John Flann's "students/disciples". He was a remarkable man, so generous with his time in encouraging and advising those of us lucky to know him. I never go down to the train room without being reminded of him......some rolling stock here, a building there.....and of course his guiding principle which I am afraid I sometimes neglect........."less is more"

Regards

John




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 Posted: Sat Jun 1st, 2019 09:29 am
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Ken
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I lived in Somerset for a while and that photo really brings it back.   Excellent modelling and it's amazing how much you can get into small spaces with the right planning (I managed several elements in my 8' x 1'8" N scale Coombe Hinton branch line layout) and I look forward to more updates.


John Flann's layout was also an inspiration for me and of course everything that John Ahern did!


Ken.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 1st, 2019 07:23 pm
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TeaselBay
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Looks great and home page photo with your first post! 
Can’t wait to see some more



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 Posted: Sun Jun 2nd, 2019 01:18 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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GRRR!

Just when I convince myself and all other interested parties (Mrs M in particular) that I need a shed half the size of the county in which to build a proper model railway, someone comes along and builds a beautiful looking specimen in 8ft x 4ft !!!!

"How big is that?" I get asked by a certain Mrs M.

"Its N gauge - you get lots more in the space" I reply, lying badly.

"Mmmm" is the response.

Nice stuff Colin - I won't hold it against you - honest!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Barry

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 Posted: Sun Jun 9th, 2019 11:11 am
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Colin W
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Thanks everyone for your kind comments and feedback.


Soon after posting, I had one of those terrible “shock – horror” moments when you discover something woefully WRONG. Looking at a fine 1930s GWR layout elsewhere, I noticed for the first time that platforms of that Era did not have a white line at the edge. A quick check at a photo from that time confirmed the bad news, I’ve about 1.8 metres of platform built in Metcalfe default style with white edges. Nothing to do but fix them and given this I’ve shifted plans for my upcoming posts to stick with the village and its development.


In this view we can see two Metcalfe cottages, now extensively reworked from the original kits. The walls and roof tiling have been replaced by overlaying with Scalescenes prints. The garden fittings and plants are all scratch built. This time in late spring Forsythia, lilacs and bulbs brighten the setting while Mr C “Parka” Parker in # 17 has a fine vegetable garden that is the envy of everyone in the area.




 



To compare with the kit build, the next photo shows new alongside original kit from April 2018. Virtually everything in the village has been reworked since this shot,






PS the observant might have spotted that the lychgate of the church has been placed back to front in photo 1. At same time as I found this, I also spotted that the Church tower buttresses had not been attached. They sat patiently waiting in the model pack, built but uninstalled!

Colin



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 Posted: Sun Jun 9th, 2019 12:56 pm
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Headmaster
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Hi Colin

I asked a question about when white lines were used.  The knowledgeable here gave loads of examples of white lines used as early as your era.... I think it was agreed that it was standardised in the 40s, but it was definitely in use beforehand. John Dew told me on the GWR it was a local decision and others had examples from early 1900s onwards, so I shouldn't worry....

Regards

Michael



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 Posted: Thu Jun 20th, 2019 09:57 am
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Colin W
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Hi,


Not much progress on Heathfield recently while I got my mind around converting over to using Kadees for some shunting action over in Westown Goods yard.


So, some photos of work done late last year on the village. Using the technique of individual “island” set pieces, I’ve built up the scenic elements a piece at a time and fit them together like a large jigsaw puzzle. It makes detailed on a desktop much easier as shown here for the first of the semi-detached cottages.






Here the rear stone wall is removed for access and visibility, everything is scratch built except for the bean stands (Noch laser cuts) and these have had more foliage added.





Colin



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 Posted: Fri Jun 28th, 2019 01:28 pm
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Colin W
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A quick update. I know that one or two who are following this Topic probably will not see my Westown material over in Hints, tips and Minor projects so I'm repeating the link to the video here. Since all I've posted here so far is background and scenic, this does show that trains do operate from time to time.






Colin



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 Posted: Fri Jun 28th, 2019 02:28 pm
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Phil.c
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Sounds like a Loksound decoder there Colin?



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 Posted: Sat Jun 29th, 2019 01:07 am
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Colin W
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Phil,


the entire package is from YouChoos, they use Zimo DCC and for smaller locos the MX648R model. As this has no on board keep alive circuitry I added their external SACC with 5* 220uF Tantalums. The Processor, Speaker and SACC package all can be fitted in front of the motor which is good because the coal bunker is a solid weight.





This installation works very well even over my larger insulfrogs as shown in video.

As well, I added in my own firebox glow as the feature is available with the YouChoos packages, all is needed is an orange LED and a 750Ohm resistor and some careful wiring around the cab area.

I've no affiliation with the supplier, just got what turned out to be an excellent recommendation. I find their entire product offering fully meets my needs and you can't ask for more than that. One VG feature is the step by step installation guide for each loco on their website



Colin






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 Posted: Sat Jun 29th, 2019 07:02 pm
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John Dew
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Hi Colin

Nice video. That was a very smooth uncoupling operation.....very impressive. I noticed the lack of hesitation over the insulfrogs.......I suspect you wouldnt attempt that speed without a stay alive?

Ultra neat wiring for the decoder.....something I always have an issue with

Best wishes

John



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 Posted: Thu Jul 4th, 2019 11:01 am
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Hi Colin.  Excellent video, I do wish that I could have seen your workmanship before I returned to Railway Modelling, especially with my “ Crash Bang Wallop “ approach. Dependent as I was/ am on YouTube videos and the misleading information that is contained in some of them , especially as auto Couplings are concerned, along with the stop action and off camera uncoupling that occurs within the videos, I went for Kadee Couplings, as good as they are they don’t really suit British outline stock. And after all the faffing around with live frog points, your stay alive seems to cover all the stalling that can be seen at Model Railway Exhibitions.  Best wishes Kevin 



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Staying on the thread Kevin.
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 Posted: Tue Jul 16th, 2019 08:40 am
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Colin W
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As mentioned in my intro, I wanted to engage my 6 grandchildren in the building and operations of W-H as much as possible.

Step back in time two and a half years at Heathfield and then 5-year-old grandchild, who loves the railway setting, noted that there was vacant land behind the Church. She said, “the children of the village don’t have a playground” and from that a project was born. It has been an enduring focus of interest for them that I’ll return to later but first to the build.

I asked her to design a playground for me which she promptly did, producing a lovely drawing of her ideas and I decided to create a story around the project as we built it. Stage 1 is shown; the vacant land is low lying near the stream, so it turned out some drainage works were required in preparation. Workers arrived; in those days it was a 1950s setting.





Next the drainage pipes were being delivered by rail while some local children look on.






All this was enjoyed by the grandchildren and the project advanced rapidly. Now and then I’d get “to do” lists neatly written out on notepaper to keep me on my toes. More on the build later.


Colin
 




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 Posted: Wed Jul 24th, 2019 08:30 am
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Colin W
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Work on the Playground preparation continued with laying of drainage and work on the fence...





while one "hard hat" sneaked way to the village pond where the local wildfowl were putting on a show.





The swans found that "runway" too short for their liking and have since migrated to the Heathfield river!



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 Posted: Wed Jul 31st, 2019 12:20 pm
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Colin W
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It's time to wrap up the Playground story. With everything installed, young C suggested we have a Grand Opening and then promptly produced her design, Banner, bunting, balloons and of course an ice cream stand, all of which I was expected to deliver to her specifications! Five balloons in the hand of a OO figure were a challenge.

The photo shows the opening party in full swing, the local children trying out the equipment. Playground celebrations have since become something of a "thing" at Heathfield, young S was very disappointed this year that she would be away on holiday for her birthday and would miss having her party there!  It's been a great pleasure to get so much engagement from the grandchildren on this aspect of the layout, something they have ownership in. All this happened some 18 months ago, when other work on the village was at a much earlier stage.


Next I'll move on to some things going on with the various locomotives of the region.



Colin





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 Posted: Wed Jul 31st, 2019 02:37 pm
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Barry Miltenburg
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Its brilliant to hear that the youngsters are involved - they are the future of the hobby, not us.

Barry

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 Posted: Thu Aug 1st, 2019 11:50 am
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Colin W
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“And now for something completely different


Time to turn to some suitable motive power for my Westown-Heathfield setting.


Initially all I had to work with were my 50+ years ago recollections from train spotting at Weston-super-Mare (W-s-M) and our day trips to Yatton /Cheddar and Minehead. Recently, John Dew kindly provided me info for the locomotives allocated to sheds at those locations. Only the Collett Goods and Saint were new to me.


Class 48xx
Class 57xx
Class 2251 (Collett Goods)
Class 45xx (Small Prairie)
Castle Class
Saint Class
 
It turned out that my memory was good, for the 45xx, 48xx and 57xx Classes had all been high on my early shopping list. My mythical Westown bears more than a passing resemblance to the W-s-M of my youth where engines based in sheds in Bristol and London brought express passenger trains filled with holiday makers. Hence Kings, Castles and Halls were all regular visitors and can be expected to be seen here on occasions.
 
I will be running a diverse range of trains
  • Autocar service and light freight to Heathfield will require 48xx and 64xx Classes
  • General shunting around the Westown goods yard provided by Classes 57xx, 64xx and 2721
  • Regional mixed freight serviced by a 45xx or Collett Goods
  • Regional passenger traffic serviced by a 45xx or Hall (in place of the actual W-s-M Saint)
  • Mainline Passenger traffic serviced by a King
All in all, some excellent excuses to have a wide range of classic GWR locomotives in action with a liberal application of Rule 1 as required!
 
Class 57xx - #5775
Back in Posts #10 and #12 we had a look at my 5775 so it is as good a place to start as any.
 
The model is the trusty Bachmann 0-6-0, a 2010 release that I bought pre-owned, a most reliable runner even over my insulfrog points and their long un-powered sections. The model has a sprung central axle that always ensures good track contact and no stay alive was necessary. I only added one when switching over to sound as the briefest interruption can reset the sound project.
 
A classic OO model that leaves me wondering why other producers can’t deliver comparable operating performance on their small wheel base locos.  We’ll see more of 5775 in action when I get into developing a Goods Yard.


Colin



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 Posted: Wed Aug 21st, 2019 10:57 am
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Colin W
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Something for a wintry Melbourne Day.


Activities in the loco department have been placed on hold while some bits and pieces are ordered ex UK. So, in the meantime, I turned my mind to a project that struck a chord with me, plastic kit building, something I’d last done nearly 60 years ago - Airfix Model aircraft and PS cement. Having spotted some Parkside Wagon kits at my favourite supplier they seemed like a great idea and one was acquired for the proverbial rainy day. Something that’s in overabundance here right now here.

I bought the GWR ‘Beetle’ Prize Cattle wagon 1927 (PC64) and set forth. It is an impressive collection of components, here seen partly cut out before assembly.




 
There is an excellent blog on completing this project at Phil’s Blog so no need to repeat details of the build.

http://workbench157.rssing.com/browser.php?indx=6700792&item=448

Hopefully a completed wagon will pop up here reasonably soon.



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