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Colin W
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Hi everyone,

Westown-Heathfield will keep me occupied for some time yet but as the grandchildren advance all too rapidly to teenaged-ness I'm also turning my mind to what I might do next.

Knowing a lot more than seven years ago when I started out raises more issues than it resolves and I'd like to use this space to raise the various questions in my mind and benefit from hearing others views.

The list is likely to grow but I do know that space constraints will limit me to no more than 4 metres by a max of 1.2 metres along one wall. So I envisage some sort of linear end to end affair but with the remote possibility of it becoming an "L" with a removable section at one end.

As with W-H I'd like a rural focus so a branch line station with just the hint of through operations and lots of scope for local comings, goings and Ops. For this part I think I'll be fine, tips of the hat to the likes of "Little Muddle", "Much Murkle" etc. and likewise I have more than enough stock of correct era by the time all my kits are built.

DCC is a given but only for Locos, no peripherals. Where I'd appreciate input is on:

Baseboard design - It'll be against a brick wall and on tiled floor.

Track and Points and point contol.

Anything else I've not thought of here.

It's the second heading which kicked off this line of thought and more input on following post.......

Colin

Last edited on Sun Apr 18th, 2021 09:54 pm by Colin W

Colin W
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Track and Points

Firstly, I'll be moving on from the old Insulfrogs of W-H. Lesson learnt as my interest has gravitated to smaller wheelbase locos.

Based on limited experience, my options appeared clear-cut.
  1. Move to Code 100 PECO Electrofrogs / Track, retaining some old Points purely in a fiddle yard for simplicity / cost
  2. DYI track building for something more prototypical in appearance.
#2 was easy to dismiss, having seen the degree of difficulty etc. etc. and the rate of progress of those skilled in the art. Now after some research I find there are several commercial options to confuse my decisions!

PECO offer Finescale Code 75 track and Electrofrog Points in a limited range of radii (but perhaps enough for my needs?)

Plus now Code 75 Bullhead track and new-fangled Unifrog points to match with a wider range of radii and the more prototypical track/ sleeper appearance (aside from the frog). These have the benefit of a single rather than hinged point blades.

Finally there is a new entrant offering a wide range of Electrofrog Code 75 Bullhead single blade point kits which are reported to be easy to assemble. They do look very good from the prototype photos and also have single blades.

Information on PECO's move to Unifrog technology is limited but I've read that they will progressively migrate their entire range. If so and I stick with Option #1 above, I'd better secure suitable some Code 100 Electrofrog stock sooner rather than later or decide to wait for the Code 100 Unifrog range to be completed - timeline unknown.

Accepting that this opens the proverbial can of worms if I deviate from Option #1, I'm interested in all thoughts regarding benefits, problems, etc. with the possible choices or others?


Last edited on Sat Jul 24th, 2021 12:25 am by Colin W

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Well, as far as track is concerned, I'd probably stick to Peco code 75 with electrofrog points/crossings with as large a radius as you can fit. The bullhead points with one piece blades sound interesting, but how long before there's a full complement I wonder.

Operation of points is (and this is only my preference) good with a DC supply to, in my case, Tortoise motors, but you prefer servos, so no problem there. The advantage of Tortoise is that you don't need to buy anything else: two change over switches on each one with adjustable operating wires make them dead easy. I hope I'm not trying to teach you how to suck eggs. Advantage of a mimic panel is that with lights you can see at a glance how all points are set. Disadvantage is that if you change anything, you have to either change the panel as best you can or worst case build a new one.

Ps: Peco FS Code 75 points/crossings are full range afaik.

Sol
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Colin, quite a variety of Peco Code 75 bullhead
https://www.modelrailwaysdirect.co.uk/track-and-track-accessories/peco-oo-code-75-insulfrog/

a review
http://www.hall-royd-junction.co.uk/Hall_Royd_Model/layout_49.html


buying from Aust dealers ??? cost !!!!
https://woodpeckermodelrailways.com.au/product-category/track/peco-ooho-track/

Colin W
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Sol wrote: Colin, quite a variety of Peco Code 75 bullhead
https://www.modelrailwaysdirect.co.uk/track-and-track-accessories/peco-oo-code-75-insulfrog/

a review
http://www.hall-royd-junction.co.uk/Hall_Royd_Model/layout_49.html


buying from Aust dealers ??? cost !!!!
https://woodpeckermodelrailways.com.au/product-category/track/peco-ooho-track/Hi Sol,

a lot to digest here, a quick look at the review suggests I'll a get lot of answers to my questions,

thanks,

Colin

Colin W
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A day's concentrated research here has been generally productive but I'm not sure I'm any clearer on a path forward. However, I now have better ideas about the potential options for selecting track.

Yesterday I was at ground zero regarding knowledge of any track other than Streamline Code 100 and the Hall Royd Junction website review was a real eyeopener in that regard.

Hall Royd Jctn Review of Unifrog Bullhead Points

What has become clear (IMO) is that PECO Streamline Code 75 now sits in a rather uncomfortable position between robust Code 100 and more prototypical fine-scale track options which have a wider spacing between sleepers. Addressing this deficiency, PECO have released Bullhead Code 75 track with wider spacing and now some points to match that incorporate the new Unifrog and unhinged blades.

I've looked at some small (2-4m long) end to end layouts constructed with both types of track. Conclusion: better spacing does add to the visual effect but then three of my favourite layouts in this category look great even in their Code 100. When I see the bigger picture that specific aspect of track detail is lost.

Next step is a visit to my local model shop to see the various track types in the flesh which should give me a better feel but meanwhile I couldn't resist a little experiment, cutting the webbing out of some spare Code 100 flex for a direct comparison:




The difference is quite striking when seen like this! 

I feel a little like I did after acquiring a bargain (50% discounted) Hornby Train kit which included the excellent "Ketley Hall" with TTS Sound. My first impression was "wow, isn't sound great!" until I explored further finding the limitations of this budget sound solution compared to the real thing. Now having seen the difference between track spacings, I'm not sure there is any turning back, however adequate the alternative would be.



Last edited on Tue Apr 20th, 2021 04:46 am by Colin W

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Hi Colin and yes, respacing Code 100 sleepers makes a huge difference, as I found to my delight on my Burbage Wharf practice plank. However, I’m now using Code 75 bullhead on my current layout and am delighted with the look, although it will not receive paint, ballast and weathering until thoroughly tested and I'm happy with the operational characteristics of the track plan.
 
The wiring of the unifrog points is much simpler than electrofrog and I’m route setting with a touch toggle mimic panel system with electronics from Berrett Hill Shop in the USA, courtesy of a tip from Nigel.
 
If you want to use some of your older stock on the new layout, perhaps consider spaced sleeper Code 100, as unlike Code75, it’s more tolerant with often coarser wheelsets of older stock, particularly through turnouts. Nick’s Much Murkle uses painted and weathered Code 100 and it looked simply superb on the occasions I’ve seen it at exhibitions, although Nick is now looking to 75 bullhead for his next project.
 
I’m sure you’ll be happy with your final choice, so enjoy the prosect and the research of your new project and I’ll be watching with interest. Which railway company will be represented?
 
Best,
 
Bill

Last edited on Tue Apr 20th, 2021 06:42 am by Longchap

Colin W
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Bill,

That's very helpful input, thanks.

I don't have that much old stock. Problems might come from two old Hornby Clerestory coaches (new wheel sets perhaps?) and just one older (2008) Hornby loco - Class 48xx. All the rest should be ok. Nearly all wagons are newer purchases or modern kits. Just two older Airfix conflats which might need new wheels.

What I will have is considerable stock that will be out of place in the setting I'm imagining. I might need a very long plank so I can give the King and Colletts an odd airing and workout. Then again if I allow for through traffic there might be a rule 1 exception if I assume some Sunday Diversionary routing, not at any speed though.

Last edited on Tue Apr 20th, 2021 06:34 am by Colin W

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Hello Colin.  In my view using Code 100 rail is akin to running your trains on girders.  It never looks right and the HO sleeper spacing only accentuates the toy train look. Look in any model railway magazine for photographic proof.  You mention the robustness of Code 100 as opposed to code 75.  What are you doing, jumping on your track?
I have made my own track in the past and it is quite enjoyable but very time consuming, although the final result is not necessarily always better than commercially available products.  Hand made track is fine when you are in your twenties, thirties or forties with decades of life expectancy ahead of you.  Personally, at my age I now view it as a waste of time when excellent commercial products are available.  I'm not so sure that handmade track is now any cheaper than buying off the shelf.  Getting to the end of the project is now my overriding object, not getting bogged down along the way with unnecessary tasks.  On the other hand, if you enjoy making track and are in no hurry, then do what gives you the most satisfaction.

Just my fourpenny worth.

Terry

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col.stephens wrote: Hello Colin.  In my view using Code 100 rail is akin to running your trains on girders.  It never looks right and the HO sleeper spacing only accentuates the toy train look. Look in any model railway magazine for photographic proof.  You mention the robustness of Code 100 as opposed to code 75.  What are you doing, jumping on your track?
........
Terry

Thanks Terry,

That wasn't my personal view about Code 100. I was echoing a comment in the Hall Royd review which Sol alerted us to viz,

"Despite the finer looks and ease of creating curves in the Code 75 range, a surprising number of modellers still prefer the Code 100 track, primarily for its robustness......."

After some research I'm very much on the same page as you, and commercial availability is improving.

A quick "Straw Poll" in the shape of current product listings by the big "H" gives me 87 items of Code 100 vs 51 of Code 75


Colin

Last edited on Wed Apr 21st, 2021 07:19 am by Colin W

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When a greater understanding of point sizes was gained.

I might be trained as a scientist and I'm quite competent at Maths but at heart I'm an experimentalist more than a theorist. I also abhor vacuums (of the knowledge type) so when point and track gurus start talking in code, viz Streamline "large" or "OO Gauge" type B7 Points, Substitution radius etc. that's a strong incentive for me to understand before going further.

I read some more of the technical discussion on these point geometries # and my head was spinning but fortunately I didn't need to descend into the deep and complex workings of Templot to get answers at a level which works for me.

One key point I'd never understood before was the fundamental difference between Set-track and Streamline. In the latter the toe of the point is not usually at the tangency point whereas it is with set track (designed to fit with other pieces of the same fixed track). That makes thinking about streamline points rather more tricky however all I really needed was to grasp the effective radius (my term) of a certain point to give me a context for what I'm planning to use.

Thanks to Anyrail I quickly knocked up an arc comprising multiple SL-E189, H0 Peco Streamline Code 75, Large Left turnout 25.9cm placed head to toe. This has an effective radius of 1220mm.

the Medium turnout SL-E196 - effective radius 1030mm
the Small turnout SL-E192 - effective radius 857mm

Any variations of these track arcs from precise circles are beyond my resolution!




# More background on this topic for anyone interested, but have a suitable strong sedative near to hand!

More on PECO Point geometry

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Taking Stock of Progress

Following on the theme of this Topic I was keen to assess if the current range of PECO Streamline track and points would meet my needs. From my further reading and your feedback I'm leaning strongly towards using the Bullhead Code 75 so that's one decision made.

Regarding points and the sort of new layout I might consider, I decided to use Anyrail to evaluate some of my favourite end-to-end layouts to discover how I'd go putting them together and what hardware would be required. In a word, "easy"; the workhorse is the Long HO Peco Streamline Point which I find in constant use. Its effective radius of 1.2m is the largest you need on smaller layouts. (I guess everyone knew this already but at least now I'm up to speed)

The end results which I can see from the layouts themselves from the many photos posted here and fully meet my needs. Clearly even larger radii points are the domain of very large layouts and not of interest to me.


Last edited on Thu Apr 22nd, 2021 10:08 pm by Colin W

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I'm coming in late again here Colin but at least I'm here. :cool wink

Most of my track is Peco Code 100 although there are a few sections of Code 75.  To my mind, there's no doubt the Code 75 looks better - but not that much better unless it's viewed side by side with Code 100.  What does spoil the effect with both is, as you pointed out earlier in this thread,  the sleeper spacing.  If I had my time again, I'd cut the webs on as much track as geometry would allow and open up the spacing.

I know nothing at all about the new Unifrog points nor the bullhead rail but without question, I'd use electrofrog points.  Insulfrogs are great for ease of wiring and fine if you can negotiate them with some speed but creeping over them is at best,  difficult with short wheelbase locos. One can fit Stay Alive which certainly helps but is not a total solution.

Am I led to believe you've decided to control your points with servos ?  If so, how will you control the servos ?

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Petermac wrote: I'm coming in late again here Colin but at least I'm here. :cool wink

Most of my track is Peco Code 100 although there are a few sections of Code 75.  To my mind, there's no doubt the Code 75 looks better - but not that much better unless it's viewed side by side with Code 100.  What does spoil the effect with both is, as you pointed out earlier in this thread,  the sleeper spacing.  If I had my time again, I'd cut the webs on as much track as geometry would allow and open up the spacing.

I know nothing at all about the new Unifrog points nor the bullhead rail but without question, I'd use electrofrog points.  Insulfrogs are great for ease of wiring and fine if you can negotiate them with some speed but creeping over them is at best,  difficult with short wheelbase locos. One can fit Stay Alive which certainly helps but is not a total solution.

Am I led to believe you've decided to control your points with servos ?  If so, how will you control the servos ?

Hi Peter,

1) no track style is an option right now given the restricted supply (especially overseas), something I can imagine will take some time to resolve given the length of the delay + the demand. That's good in a way because it forces me to not rush headlong into any change

My research pointed me to using Code 75 Bullhead and so far there are only 7 advised items in this range, but in many ways the most useful bits.

PECO have committed to migrating to the unifrog design over time (but not defined) and I can imagine they'd prefer to move forward in Code 75 rather than retrofit in the current non-prototypical existing Code 75. It will simplify their range in terms of the frog. Wonderful thing, competition, much change depends on it!

2) I'm old fashioned in that my Peco Solenoid point motors have given me excellent service and have a strong / long history of reliability. They will be coupled with the Gaugemaster polarity switching device which I've seen discussed here.

When I found out from the designer of the "Grantham - The Streamliner Years" and "Shap" layouts that he uses PECO Solenoids and they've been in regular use on the show circuit without trouble in some cases for 30+ years, that was good enough for me!

Colin


Last edited on Sat Apr 24th, 2021 07:12 pm by Colin W

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The Layout Space.

The room I use is 5.5m * 3.75m but the space available to me is 4.38m * 1.45m shown here in English measurements:
(Edit: initially posted with wrong metrics, oh these imperial units!)






It is restricted both by the bottom leg of the stairwell in the top right corner as shown and the laundry door midway in the opposite side wall. An "L" extracts the longest run / good access combination but still imposes several restrictions.

On the positive side, the available space is more than enough to accommodate any of the three superb model layouts which I've used as inspiration and input, viz, Much Murkle, Hintock (main left arm only) and Sherton Abbas (scaled down from its current "O" gauge). BTW this explains my use of non-metric measurements for the time being.

Additionally I have a further space in the "L" at my disposal when compared to my reference layouts  :thumbs.

I also show my "Staging Yard" (a term I prefer since it discourages SWMBO from thinking I could possibly be fiddling around in these serious activities!). Unfortunately the bottom of the"L" is too short to locate the yard.

Your thoughts and wise council are welcomed.

Last edited on Sat Apr 24th, 2021 09:16 pm by Colin W

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Onward to baseboard design and construction

This is a general request for all your thoughts and input about Baseboard construction which is the next logical step for me to consider. Please provide all the help you can here as my W-H baseboard was cobbled together and is a classic Heath Robinson affair; it is a miracle that it's performed as well as it has over nearly 7 years.

On learning about OSB over on Teasel Bay, my interest was captured but it highlights my non-existent knowledge about various baseboard designs and suitable materials.

My initial thoughts for the board plan I've posted are that the following units seems logical: (sizes approximate).
A modular approach appeals because that would allow me to do construction of manageable sections in my workshop space rather than in the train room.

5' * 2' for along the Plasterboard wall side.
leaving 12' 4' length *2' on the brick wall side.

Approx 4.5' by the stairwell will be the Sector Plate module which I feel might best be built as stand alone
leaving a section of around 8' *2 ft in the middle.

Built in 3 sections the plan would be to bolt them all together when in situ.

Last edited on Sun Apr 25th, 2021 07:44 pm by Colin W

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Hi Colin, My threepence worth.
Yes Modular if you can. I think a fair number of us WISH we had done this first time round, nothing worse than having to destroy years of work when a move comes around. 

 Before you start building try and plan your board sizes so joins are in a naturally quiet area of the layout NOT in the busiest section with the most track and points ( been there, done that, shed the tears) Board joints don't HAVE to be square on, you can have them on a diagonal or even curved or wavy so you can make use of a curving road, hedge line, river, embankment, hillside- Anything that you can use as a natural boundry between two boards which makes it easier to split if a move comes round.

I would definitely look at making your board tops free standing if fully covered ( more on this later), with each board framed and just resting on the benchwork. At the very least this allows you to up end each board top to aid track and point fixing and wiring, rather than having to crawl underneath. Once the majority of track is in place and tested you can start adding scenery.

Fully covered board ? Or L  Girder open construction as per Marty's Newcastle Emlyn  or even both. Solid boards for busy sections and L Girder on more scenic areas which allow a much more natural, rolling (uppydowny) landscape and mean much easier access for contruction, track fixing in the initial stages.


Scenic areas, again can be modular. You dont have to have one big solid board, you can have sections that are fixed where lines run and then drop in sections of board for scenic features. These can then be worked on away from the layout ( a blanking board left in place if you wish) and once complete 'dropped in' to the layout. Dont forget you can have more than one scenic board for an area, and any size and shape you want, so you can change boards to change the theme/ feel of the layout, even having a quick and simple 'place holder' scenic board in situe while you work on something more complex to drop in later.


Bearing in mind Grandmother's Eggs, just some thoughts I WISH someone had passed on to me over the years  :roll:




Cheers


Matt

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Matt,

Lots of good ideas and tips there, I've started a log so I can capture them all by topic for future reference. Bearing you can "Never say Never" it's a great point to build in maximum flexibility even if the prospect of a move for us is on a par with the odds in the "infinite improbability drive".

Regards Baseboard type I've been very impressed by the baseboard modules made by Tim Horn, they get a lot of prominence by being used on Layouts where "robust portability" is a requirement, right up to 140 ft long Heaton Lodge in "O" Gauge with its approx. 100 frames. I've been communicating with a few folk on here about a rather fine Sector Plate, custom built by Mr Horn, the likes of which would nicely suit my needs. See Wenlock's Sector Plate

Considering this is used as an "O" gauge fiddle yard, it does not come over as being unduly heavy. Like Heaton Lodge the layout is intended for transport to shows.

Thanks again for your input,


Colin 


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I'll partially second what Matt has said Colin but with the odd word of caution.

Modular is by far your best option but it's easy to forget that's the idea - don't ask how I know !   I'm not strong on planning but with modular construction, careful planning is an absolute must otherwise your tracks won't meet at the joins........  Disguising those joins can create problems but Matt has made some good suggestions. I'm often impressed by how these exhibition circuit guys manage to assemble their sections so accurately and seamlessly.  :thumbs

For scenic areas, or indeed, less "cluttered" urban areas, open top is the way to go.  Except in very busy station or yard  areas, you really do need to be able to take the landscape below track level to create much more interest.  Even in yards, sidings were often slightly lower than running lines for safety reasons.

The idea of having lift out scenic "blocks" is excellent.  Doing scenery can create loads of mess and you don't want that mess ending up on the track if possible.  You can also use spray paints outdoors if you can take bits out.  Also, much easier to get low level detailed views of your efforts than having to lean over to see what's going on  - you wouln't want your tie whipping off some trees or telegraph poles ...... :roll: :lol:  Lifting points can easily be build into the main frame and disguised by a shed or other scenic cover.

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Hi Peter, Matt

Your points relating to scenic height are well taken, whenever SWMBO sees W-H she tells me it's too flat despite my modest chunk of the Quantocks at one end and a side embankment that really gives the small layout some depth.

I'm putting up a Straw Man here because I don't want either to stifle debate or jump to a poor early decision even if some ideas are firming up already.

1) Flat or Open

Where I'm up to is I've chosen a setting mostly 2 ft wide, essentially the same as in my three reference layouts (Much Murkle, Hintock and Sherton Abbas (4ft in "O" gauge). This decision is set in stone because of space constrains in the room and because SWMBO has been telling me its what I should have had for 6 and a half years!. Hence I'm not joining the local branch of the Meglomaniacs society for model railways any time soon.

Looking at my three reference designs its clear that their underlying baseboards are all totally flat and that modest scenic sections are built up from this base level, with care, the effect they've achieved is all I could hope for myself.

As an aside Sol has pointed out to me that using cork on the running lines but not sidings achieves the "safety" aspect of no runaways from sidings.

2) Modular or built in
Here I may have muddied the waters. Mark II will eventually be fixed in, going nowhere in a hurry and so any Modular aspect is more about during the construction phase than after completion. There may well be a long overlap where W-H remains in place and the attractions of modules built for me is they can be flat packed and worked on progressively. 

Having freestanding board tops is definitely an option, given I know all about sliding around under W-H to fix up wiring and points


3) Sector Plate or Traverser?
I've had one comment that a 4ft sector plate appeared unduly large. The location can only be accessed from the front and I wanted as few degrees of freedom in it as possible. I can see myself come up with a bearing for the pivot but two accurate aligned roller arrays feels a lot harder to get right / operate. Thoughts please.

(the "O" gauge sector plate in my earlier link is 4ft)

Colin


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Colin W wrote
3) Sector Plate or Traverser?
I've had one comment that a 4ft sector plate appeared unduly large. The location can only be accessed from the front and I wanted as few degrees of freedom in it as possible. I can see myself come up with a bearing for the pivot but two accurate aligned roller arrays feels a lot harder to get right / operate. Thoughts please.

I used ball race drawer slides successfully in my new layout for the traverser, alignment is not a problem with care. I fitted the slides to the top deck first making sure they were both 90 degrees to the long side that was machine cut at the woodyard, then I attached them to the subframe members 1st one end then the other to pre-drawn pencil lines, worked a treat or was I just lucky :)

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fourtytwo wrote: Colin W wrote
3) Sector Plate or Traverser?
I've had one comment that a 4ft sector plate appeared unduly large. The location can only be accessed from the front and I wanted as few degrees of freedom in it as possible. I can see myself come up with a bearing for the pivot but two accurate aligned roller arrays feels a lot harder to get right / operate. Thoughts please.

I used ball race drawer slides successfully in my new layout for the traverser, alignment is not a problem with care. I fitted the slides to the top deck first making sure they were both 90 degrees to the long side that was machine cut at the woodyard, then I attached them to the subframe members 1st one end then the other to pre-drawn pencil lines, worked a treat or was I just lucky :)


Thanks,


any chance you could post or share photo or two of the setup?


Colin

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Hi Colin, I hope these might help



The last one is a view from underneath showing the slide sandwiched between the top surface and subframe
Regards
Roger

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Thanks Roger,

that looks great, most appreciated. I should be able to do something suitable, I don't need a long travel in my design as I want to use the space in front of the storage yard

Colin

Last edited on Tue Apr 27th, 2021 05:44 pm by Colin W

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A measure of progress after a couple of weeks is that the topic titles have changed to:

A Fresh Start – We have the Green Light!
"Now Moving on to the next steps in the Planning Process"

Freshly armed with suitable approvals from the Planning Authorities, I'm turning my mind to the particulars of the setting with special attention to the sorts of operations which will then fit. With the wealth of information available to me both written and video it's just a matter of head down / get on with it.

From a timeline point of view, one limiting factor is the supply of suitable track, given the production backlog / back-order book of our favourite track company. Peversely, this is a huge blessing in disguise on various fronts, allowing me to do more on W-H / WC&PR, finish off my "soon to be needed" K's 48xx Kit build, complete a thorough planing process on Mark II and make a measured start on parts it will be good to have done when the time comes (e.g. Baseboard Modules).  As we roll into May I can't see something with trains running on here much before the end of next year. Maybe by then we'll have all the family with us and a great unveiling will be possible?

A survey of my locos and other stock tells me what I knew already, I have too much.  The match with likely requirements for Locos and Goods vehicles is high once some kits are built. The gaps are in coaching stock which currently is too biased towards mainline. However Hattons new Genesis offerings are suddenly looking much more interesting  :doublethumb


Enthusiasm and energy levels have been raised,


Colin


Last edited on Fri Apr 30th, 2021 05:06 am by Colin W

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Hi Colin

My apologies for being very late onto this thread.  I noted your request for ideas for the layout and your comment that the "L" was too short for a storage area - perhaps not.

We all tend to think of stations and storage in straight lines but what if you built a traverser that went North-South at the left hand end of your space.  The ends of the storage tracks would turn 90 degrees to the right at the top (giving the shape of an inverted hockey stick) so that moving the table north and south changed the alignment between the sidings and the exit track.  The picture below shows the idea sketched in AnyRail using SetTrack to give you a better idea of what I am proposing.


Just a thought

Barry

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Thanks Barry.

The whole idea of the thread was to get various input and prevent me falling into tunnel vision with my early ideas. This is indeed an interesting variation and well worth considering, truly worthy of being described as "Lateral thinking"!

My current timeline is approaching that which you've had to endure. Hopefully now it's May 1st (here) and just 3 days to go, may the forth be with you.

Regards,

Colin





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Update on my Planning Process

So far this the process has been dominated by my getting a feel for the possible. Understanding the available space, the materials, suitable approvals etc. and what sort of structure could work within those constraints. Included was a lot of "play time" in Anyrail testing out very preliminary ideas etc. for fit.

The above was of course bounded by my interests and the considerable suitable stock which I hold but that still leaves me plenty of degrees of freedom, something I don't want to shut down too quickly.

We are fortunate to have resources to hand that even 10 years ago would have been near impossible to access and in that regard I've been doing a lot of reading, watching and thinking about what goes into a fully effective end-to-end model of rural railway activities.

Three very useful videos were two of Nick's ("Much Murkle at Pendon" and "Show -Doncaster Racecourse", thanks Nick!) where 1) he talks about design aspects and 2) we see MM in action then finally the Pendon video of "A day at Lowleigh Station" which takes us thru a day's stock movements there. All proved most enjoyable and instructive ways to learn more about suitable operations.

What appealed to me for my setting was to have more specific station goods yard to customer traffic captured within the modelling space rather than assumed. As demonstrated on Hintock, this structure opens the door to all manner of operational challenges once the goods arrive at in the station area. It sounds like fun but builds in all sorts of logistics issues which in my reference setting appear to have been managed magically and without clutter.

It has been a most enjoyable few days spent working out all the key aspects of this design and I feel strongly enthused to push ahead with something more modest of my own





Last edited on Sat Jul 24th, 2021 12:21 am by Colin W

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Update on my Planning Process - 2

Despite almost 7 weeks of "radio silence" on the Project, plenty has been achieved on various fronts and some updates are due.

For my design I have drawn heavily on the experience and ideas from several exhibition standard layouts, most notably “Much Murkle”, “Sherton Abbas” and "Hintock".

So, with all this available quality input, layout design creativity is second order for me; my main focus will be on making the best of my available space and I hope to put my own mark on the setting in a broader sense.

My location will be somewhere in the three counties Somerset/Devon/Dorset, a modest town with mixed agriculture and local light industry of the types found there. The intention is that some merchants started up in the town at the time of the arrival of the railway, indeed they may well have supported it for their own commercial benefit.  Hence, they are found located near the station precinct, taking advantage of ready rail access to further their own prosperity. This will give me the ability to develop some interesting opportunities for Goods operations.

The plan so far:

The layout space 14’ 4” * 5’ is in an “L” shape typically no more than 2’ wide with a 4’ stock traverser at the end of the long arm of the “L” and the track extending in front of this.
Note: In the Schematic Plan below, the final 1 ft at right is omitted, it has just 1ft lengths of track beyond the Traverser plate to enable loco run-arounds.


 
 
A terminus station with Goods run-around loop. Tracks are gentle curves (1150mm radius) similar at scale to Sherton Abbas (SA).

Minor Branchline (Autotrain service) with a spur to a local light industrial setting in front of the Traverser (HT here to Nick’s Much Murkle (MM))

Five goods sidings off the Goods loop, with provision to back up into reverse facing sidings.
I’m undecided about the Goods Shed location. Here it is shown coming off the Goods Loop in red (as per on MM). Equally it could sit on the shorter station line integrated with the Platform (as per SA) and Autotrain services would leave from the main platform OR it could be located on one of the five Goods siding lines.
Thoughts appreciated as each of these settings have operational implications as well.

Operations
These would be much as found on the average BLT, Local / regional Passenger, mixed Goods/passenger, and the various Goods traffic relevant to the region.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and offer suggestions.


Last edited on Sat Jul 3rd, 2021 05:27 am by Colin W

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Hello Colin.  Basing your plan on other model railways is, in my opinion, not a good idea. Many modellers have little regard for the realities of prototype track design, not that I have much knowledge of the layouts mentioned so I am not casting aspersions on their creators and those particular layouts may, of course, be perfectly correct in their designs.  Why not base your track layout on prototype designs where the safety and operational issues have already been sorted out by the experts?  I would be wary of making a model of a model, instead of a model of the real thing.
Looking at your plan it looks very complicated and gives the impression to me that you have tried to squeeze in as many goods sidings as possible, most appearing to be a long way from the goods shed.  I doubt that a small station of this size would require so many sidings.  Don't forget that sidings equals cash outlay in their creation and maintenance.  Prototype railways did not like splashing out money if it was avoidable.

Is the platform on a curve?  Operationally a nightmare with your model passengers having to jump over the three foot gap at the end of bogie coaches, to reach the platform!

Just my thoughts.  Feel free to ignore them.

Regards,

Terry 





Last edited on Sat Jul 3rd, 2021 08:43 am by col.stephens

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Hi Terry,
 
Your comments are useful feedback as a reality test for me.
 
I feel the pedigree of my sources covers the issues you raise in two respects. I've read their background in depth and am convinced each has done their research WRT prototypes far more thoroughly than I ever could, each of them then chose a non-prototype design for very good reasons and I'm just following in their footsteps.
 
For instance, see Nick Wood's video when he was invited to present on the background to his Much Murkle layout design at Pendon; Pendon Visit, accolades don't come much higher than that. Nick's explanation of what he was looking for was most instructive as well as his reasons for choosing a non-prototypical setting.

Much Murkle comes with a very high following on the show circuit among folk those more knowledgeable than me and hence I've incorporated many of Nick's concepts into the design.
 
Secondly, I've done a lot of my own research to underpin this design and have found several prototypes which have the curved platform settings similar to my proposal. I do not believe a near 4ft radius poses a major problem, it certainly doesn't on Sherton Abbas (8ft at O gauge). See here: Sherton Abbas. Unfortunately it may look more extreme in my schematic plan than in reality. (Edit: see note below)

Regarding sidings, many small towns had considerable goods sidings and infrastructure when most commercial goods were transported my rail. To take just one example, Wivelscombe, a town of under 3000 on the GWR, its station surrounds encompassed 5 sidings in its heyday. My additional ones are those owned by a medium size enterprise located some distance from the station (as for the Brewery in Much Murkle).

This is just a first try so I do appreciate your feedback, I'm sure it'll look different by time I'm finished.

Colin

edited with additions
 
Note: this article Link to Madder Valley planning makes fascinating reading for those planning a new layout. On checking back to p6 of the PDF, John Ahern was perfectly comfortable with having gently curved platforms in his Madder Valley layout, which went on to form the core of the Pendon collection. Gammon Magna Terminus had a fine goods yard as well.





 

 

Last edited on Sat Jul 3rd, 2021 11:58 pm by Colin W

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Hello Colin. I have a copy of 'Requirements For Passengers Lines And Recommendations For Goods Lines' published by HMSO 1950 (Reprinted 1957) which I find very useful as a reference point.  Interestingly, the subject of curved platforms is dealt with in one sentence:  "Curvature of platform lines, and of station yards generally, to be avoided so far as is possible."  My presumption is that, as long as the railway company persuaded the inspecting officer of the Board of Trade that there was no alternative to curving the platforms, then all was well.
The foregoing has raised the question in my mind as to why the station platform is not placed at the top left of your layout with the goods yard sidings fanning out where your current platform is shown.  The goods shed would also be situated here.  Have you considered that option?

Terry

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Sorry to wander off your thread Colin, but Terry's comments about curved platforms is very interesting.  Mainly because we have quite a few of them down here!  The old Folkestone harbour station even had two of them.  The first set of platforms  (1 and 2) followed further along by another set of curved platforms.  Terry is right though, as a small boy it was a bit of a jump to the platform.  And while Faversham looks straight, it is clearly curved when you look along the length of the platform, albeit a shallow curve.  Just goes to show how the prototype "rules" and reality did not always go hand in hand.  
As I love a bit of shunting, I am quite taken by your sidings..... mind you, I  know very little about prototype operations, so I may not be the best person to give a "thumbs up"!

Michael

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Thanks Terry, Michael,

Your points are well taken.

Back when stations of the type I'm interested in were being designed and laid down, the Requirements.... HMSO(1950) and coach bogies were as much a dream as iPhones or effective mRNA vaccines were in the 1950s. So you do find many stations with fine sweeping curves even on main line services e.g. 
W-s-M Station , Temple Meads and of course there's London Underground's "Please mind the Gap!"

I imagine design and layout for non-mainline stations were often determined by the lie of the land or existing infrastructure e.g. a canal but allowing this might be the case, my main reason for favouring a curved setting was to try to use as much of my limited available space while developing a credible layout.

My Passenger stock will comprise 4-wheelers plus Autocoaches and the odd GWR Clerestory so a few tests on a mock up curve will be run today.

Last edited on Sun Jul 4th, 2021 10:55 pm by Colin W

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Some background on design issues for my branch line single track terminus with Goods yards
 
I’ve found than the normal design at two-line stations is for the Goods line access point to be trailing into the primary running line, essentially a safety issue. This practice was also followed on single line branches where possible. These are often known as Kick-back sidings #.

The situation is different at a terminus where there is a runaround loop which can also serve as a safe arrival point for inbound Goods trains. This structure is shown here.


 
The runaround line allows locos to reverse up past the uncoupled coaches at the station, recoupling once it has rejoined the platform line (beyond “A”), ready for the return journey.
This will be one main operating sequence which I’ll be using, passenger trains from the regional Junction at the mid point of a round trip schedule.

Goods services will arrive mostly into the Goods Loop pulling up short of Point B and normally not extending back beyond C. Most shunting will occur from the rear of the train, either by the leading loco after a run around or with the services of a local shunter. These movements will supply wagons, vans etc to the set of Facing Sidings which are the major handling points for local goods. Some shunting and train assembly may occur by using the Passenger Platform when vacant.

To service businesses based on the smaller kick-back sidings beyond “D”, the loco needs to push stock from the rear so as not to end up trapped in the siding. The normal manoeuvre is for these wagons to arrive into the passenger line at the front of a mixed train. The engine /wagons are uncoupled and pulled forward beyond B then reversed along the Goods Loop and on to their destination. The only material traffic in these sidings each day is the daily departure of a full milk tanker from the small local Creamery and the arrival of a replacement empty tank. 

Not shown in this plan are further Industrial sidings off to right beyond point "A" but still within the broader purview of the local traffic management. Depending on the various incoming stock, there may be initial shunting activity in the Facing Sidings / loop area to assemble the required train. Facilities do exist at the works for their local engine to handle incoming /outgoing traffic.


# There are some interesting and helpful insights in this link
Kick-back Sidings


Last edited on Mon Jul 5th, 2021 09:09 am by Colin W

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Double Sector Plate

Late to the party as usual, have you considered this? 12 ft of fiddle in 4ft.

Doug

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Hi Doug,

fascinating! I had to read it twice, thinking I'd made a typo in my posts somewhere.

Unfortunately it doesn't work for me as in my 14ft operating length and modest station setting I'll be restricting my fiddle yard to more normal dimensions. I'm not a member of the layout megalomaniacs who frequent these parts, modest and understated is my style and I'll have 8 or 9 wagon local trains, and likewise short local rural passenger services

Colin.

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Progress Report

Following various helpful feedback, some operations planning has been done and I'm now confident the structure I have is both a reasonable setting for my BLT and functional. A recent post about Charde sent me back to that topic and it was interesting to see that Sol's schematic for a similar GWR situation has many similarities to mine.

I had already revamped the layout to address shunting issues which includes a head shunt on the Goods Loop and re-positioned sidings.




With some confidence under my belt, an adequate supply of Bullhead track has been ordered. My Framework builder has returned from points North of here and I'm hoping we can soon catch up to progess the design (SSDs permitting)

#Short Sharp Shut-Downs; (we're in one of the two week variety at present in Vic.)

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I hope you'll not be waiting too long for bullhead trackwork to arrive Colin, as besides plain track and joiners, little to nothing else seems to be available. 

The good news however, is that the unifrog points are a doddle to install and wire for DCC operation, with no alterations to pre-installed wires required.

Best,

Bill


Last edited on Tue Jul 20th, 2021 02:58 pm by Longchap

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1) Bullhead Trackwork, I have a cunning plan of which more later!

2) Bill, thx for the Stables info /links over on your topic.

With the input from Mikkel's Blog, now I can imagine a small stables, as per Minehead/ Chipping Norton which might once have been under GWR ownership but now (1930s) has passed to a local Stock merchant who took advantage of its prime location with rail access to further his own business interests. Good start for my businesses!

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col.stephens wrote: Hello Colin.  In my view using Code 100 rail is akin to running your trains on girders.  It never looks right and the HO sleeper spacing only accentuates the toy train look. Look in any model railway magazine for photographic proof. ..................

Terry
Hi Terry,
 
a while since you commented about Code 100 and since then decisions / progress have been made. With today's arrival by courier I can now fully understand what you meant so thanks are due as well as to others who've helped me to this point ;-)

Once seen in the flesh it's like chalk and cheese



Code 100 at rear (+L inset), Bullhead Code 75 front (+R inset)

Seeing is believing and now the good news is "we're off and running". Other arrivals include ball bearing drawer slides for the traverser plate.

Last edited on Mon Jul 26th, 2021 10:22 am by Colin W

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There's certainly a big difference there. Last week while I added a couple of sidings, I decided to do a short piece of track to more prototypical sleeper spacing by cutting the links underneath my code 75 track. I couldn't remember if the sleeper spacing was *2' 3" or 2' 6" centres, but that one short piece of track makes me wish I'd done it to all of it.

*What I remember is that the spacing made it awkward to walk on by being just wrong for my stride.

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There's a massive difference there Roger but what is the front track - the new bullhead rail ?

I recall seeing some Code 75 track up at Doug's (Chubber) when he lived here in France where he too had cut the webs and spaced the sleepers (ties) more prototypically.  The difference was amazing although I'd gues it would detract form the track being "flexi" .............. :hmm

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Petermac wrote: There's a massive difference there Roger (?) but what is the front track - the new bullhead rail ?

I recall seeing some Code 75 track up at Doug's (Chubber) when he lived here in France where he too had cut the webs and spaced the sleepers (ties) more prototypically.  The difference was amazing although I'd gues it would detract form the track being "flexi" .............. :hmm

Hi Peter,

Front is PECO Bullhead Code 75 flex (SL-108F), back is Std PECO Code 100 flex. I've edited my post to clarify, thx for pointing this out.

The Bullhead Code 75 has correct spacing of sleepers (~10mm) whereas Std PECO Code 75 has the same 7mm spacing as their Code 100. The Bullhead sleepers are noticeably wider as well which further adds to the appearance.

Colin



Last edited on Mon Jul 26th, 2021 10:25 am by Colin W

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It's a bit of an optical illusion but with the two tracks side by side I would swear the code 75 was wider. It does look much better but I guess for most of us the code 100 will have to stay.

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Hello Colin.  Thanks for your earlier comments.  Your photos clearly show the difference between code 75 and code 100.  I don't think that you will be disappointed with the change.
Onwards and upwards!

Terry

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DaveH_Murcia wrote: It's a bit of an optical illusion but with the two tracks side by side I would swear the code 75 was wider. It does look much better but I guess for most of us the code 100 will have to stay.

No illusion, this close up shows the difference.



PECO Code 100 on Left, Code 75 Bullhead on Right.

A PECO Code 100 sleeper is 2.97cm long which is the correct length for a 1:87 scaling of a Standard 8' 6" UK sleeper but undersized at OO gauge. Effectively it's HO track throughout but with sleepers spaced too close together for UK practice, I guess that's always been the case! Have I been asleep?

Code 75 Bullhead has Sleeper length at 3.16cm, an extra 1mm each side but this is further accentuated by the finer track and smaller chairs so partial illusion.

In OO Code 75 , the sleeper length has been expanded part way towards true OO scaling (should be 3.41cm) but with its 16.5mm track gauge it must remain a compromise or look oversized. Can't change the track gauge but make sleeper length nearer true scale for greater realism relative to the models? That seems plausible.

Once you get this far, why folk take the next step to EM now seems logical :roll:. No, that's a bridge too far for me.

Perhaps you're right David, it's in the mind of the viewer!


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Don't forget guys that it's not all about sleepers! If you're after a close scale model then it's also the rail height, code 75 is much closer than 100, ie. and this shows up on photographs!!!

I have seen a lot of excellently modelled layouts only to be let down by way overscaled rail. Just put a scale model figure next to the track, the code 100 comes up to it's knee :roll:

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Hi Colin

I've used Code 75 for years and, personally, cannot support the reservation held by some that it is too fragile.  I find the straight track to be more flexible whilst it holds its gauge well on curves down to 21 inch radius (I've not tried any tighter).  The range of turnouts look good too - the long radius (60 inch) ones are really nice as are the curved turnouts and the asymetric 3-way.

You have to commit to live frogs of course although the new unifrog makes life easier I understand.

I look forward to seeing progress on your project

Barry

Last edited on Thu Jul 29th, 2021 12:53 pm by Barry Miltenburg

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Planning – Taking stock and getting to some firm ideas on my Setting
 
Constrained by space, a Branch Line Terminus (BLT) of some sort is the most interesting and viable option for me and yet has its limitations.

In my planned setting, subtle differences of terrain, infrastructure and history mean that my BLT, located deep in GWR heartland will capture many elements of the original while offering the keen modeller many opportunities to be creative. I’m far from the first to tread this route.

There is an upside for me in this approach, as many interesting authentic BLTs have been exhaustively and accurately modelled. Also, modelling a prototype has its downsides, when the inevitable issue of scale compression comes into the equation.

A further problem is that many interesting BLTs had very modest traffic, rather restricting the fun to be had with operating trains when compared to a thru traffic location. No matter, I have a cunning plan, of which more later!

My research has led me, thanks to Maps Scotland access to old OS 25’’ scale maps of the era, to some interesting discoveries about several West Country BLTs. For example, tiny Hemyock on the Eastern edge of The Blackdown Hills , Devon (pop ~1500) had an engine shed, goods shed and a private spur to a Corn Mill, then track-work was later upgraded when a new Creamery was built beyond the Station.

http://disused-stations.org.uk/h/hemyock/index.shtml

https://maps.nls.uk/view/106000733


I feel it's plausible for me to propose a hypothetical small East Devon market town (pop 3000- 5000), not on a through line service, which could support substantial local rural industries, dependent on the railways for their commerce and with a growing interest for tourism in the district of outstanding beauty.

Last edited on Sat Jul 31st, 2021 03:37 am by Colin W

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I'm not sure how much interest a BLT will provided to your layout either, other than something nice to eat while you watch the trains.  :mutley

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:hmm :hmm :hmm

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What is a BLT in this context?

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I've edited the original to clarify - viz. Branch Line Terminus.

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TeaselBay wrote: I'm not sure how much interest a BLT will provided to your layout either, other than something nice to eat while you watch the trains.  :mutley



:mutley :mutley :thumbs :mutley


Somewhere like Hemyock would be an ideal location Colin.  I've driven through there several times (I had relatives in both Devon and Somerset) - it's tiny and tucked away in the middle of nowhere.  I'm surprised the railways went there at all .....

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A spur to a pig abbatoir and an agricultural loading platform would be appropriate  :lol: :lol:

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Didn't RM do an article on a layout based on Hemyock way way back when? I seem to recall that to create additional traffic they created a quarry just down the line with access in one direction only, meaning either empties or loaded wagons had to be worked to the terminus to run run and work back - a reason for traffic without the need for sidings. Devon Granite?

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Alan

July 2018 - a layout and a separate article on the station.  Do you want me to find it if I can?

Barry

Last edited on Fri Jul 30th, 2021 08:30 pm by Barry Miltenburg

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Alan W wrote: Didn't RM do an article on a layout based on Hemyock way way back when? I seem to recall that to create additional traffic they created a quarry just down the line with access in one direction only, meaning either empties or loaded wagons had to be worked to the terminus to run run and work back - a reason for traffic without the need for sidings. Devon Granite?

Hi Alan,

perhaps you're mixing either the station location or business activity with something else. From my research yesterday here:

About Hemyock

Disused Stations - Hemyock

a similar situation is described but when the large Wilts United Dairies plant was built (post 1903). This was a fair sized creamery as it required 4 milk wagons and that's a lot of local production if my sums are correct.

From my reading of the above links and the 1903 25' OS, the creamery used a existing single southern private spur beyond the station which had previously serviced the Corn Mill, but then added a second access line behind (north of) the station. Initial single track access to the creamery would have created the same dead end access scenario you mention.

Perhaps this is what was described in the RM article? Whatever, it would be of interest to read if Barry can find the article.


Regards,


Colin



Last edited on Sat Jul 31st, 2021 01:42 am by Colin W

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Petermac wrote:
Somewhere like Hemyock would be an ideal location Colin.  I've driven through there several times (I had relatives in both Devon and Somerset) - it's tiny and tucked away in the middle of nowhere.  I'm surprised the railways went there at all .....

Thanks Peter,

Hemyock is fascinating because it is so small yet still had a significant industry and railway infrastructure including Goods and engine sheds! Sadly it's too small to meet my needs, there were only 4 passenger trains each day and from the photos I've seen one of these was mixed, bringing in the empty milk wagons and the return leg. It is nicely suited to a prototypical model but as explained I'm looking for something different with more diverse commercial activity.

In fact I'm envisioning a setting with more activity on all fronts, human and commercial yet based in this area.
Of course such a town does not exist, but in my reality the settings will draw heavily on the historical and geographical aspects of the region with a twist given to both. Hence my choice of a small town no more than 3-5000 population near but not on a mainline.


Last edited on Sat Jul 31st, 2021 01:53 am by Colin W

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The Branch Lines of the Western Blackdown Hills, Devon

In which my "Cunning Plan" is revealed – Part 1 The Setting

In my parallel West Country setting of the late 1800s to 1930s, there existed not one but two Branch-lines serving the rich agricultural country to the South-East of the Taunton to Exeter GWR line and North of the LSWR London- Exeter Line.

First, the well known (and real) Culm Valley Railway (CVR) had been developed by private Investors then taken over by the GWR (Jan 1876). This map shows the railways in place at that time. Note Hemyock Station is at the end of the CVR line, shown here in the tiny hamlet of Millhayes.



To put the locations in context I've used the excellent maps from Rail Map Online who make their maps available and this permission is acknowledged. The base maps used are from Google Maps who also permit not for profit single use and annotations with suitable acknowledgement.

The rich farmlands located in the triangle between the two main Lines and the Western edge of the Blackdown Hills provided much Beef, Dairy, Wheat, etc., hence numerous related businesses could be found even in the smallest villages.

The second imagined branch, owes its minor place in history due to a quirk of geography regarding the River Tale which rises in the southern Blackdown Hills. A horseshoe of hills from Hembury Fort in the south to North Hill provide the Tale catchment and ultimately it feeds to the River Otter at Otter St Mary.

My River Tale lives up to its name which I'm told (Wikipedia) is derived from getæl, Old English meaning "quick, active or swift". This is thanks to a subtly different alignment and elevation of the hills which result in plentiful and reliable rains, the best in the entire district. As a result the entire Tale Valley was particularly rich and fertile so prospered and small towns sprung up along its banks.

The focus of this imagined population was the small town of Upper Hembury, barely 5 miles from Honiton. For those interested it sits on the river somewhere in the area of Colliton and Broadhembury but of course can't be found on Google Maps...


To be Continued. 


A larger image file is attached to aid viewing the detail
 


Attachment: Western Blackdown Hills 1876.gif (Downloaded 1 time)

Last edited on Mon Aug 2nd, 2021 10:00 pm by Colin W

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Hi Colin,

Sorry, I meant that RM created a fictional source for additional traffic in a quarry. I have the Paul Karau book on Great Western Branch Line Termini which includes Hemyock and its development.

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Alan W wrote: Hi Colin,

Sorry, I meant that RM created a fictional source for additional traffic in a quarry. I have the Paul Karau book on Great Western Branch Line Termini which includes Hemyock and its development.

No worries, Alan,

We're deep into the fictional as I progress this scenario for Upper Hembury.

Colin

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The Branch Lines of the Western Blackdown Hills, Devon

Part 2 How the Railway came to Upper Hembury

In my parallel West Country setting of the late 1800s to 1930s, Upper Hembury was a thriving centre of agricultural business in the River Tale Valley but although just 5 miles from Honiton and the LSWR, might as well have been on the Moon.

The geographical quirk which influenced the desirable micro-climate of the Tale valley also left it with two significant obstacles to a rail route to Honiton. The first an elevated ridge extending further SW from the high point of Hembury Fort, an Iron Age and later Roman Encampment and secondly, permanently low-lying wet and marshy areas south of the River Tale around present day Colliton.



Legend: as per earlier Post - Green = GWR Lines; Sky Blue = LSWR Mainline
Maps by Rail Map Online and Google Maps

These factors and the high capital cost dissuaded the LWSR from moving forward despite the local demand from traders.

Further north the GWR had its hands full with the recent acquisition of the Culm Valley line and high costs associated with completing the conversion of its Broad-Gauge lines. Its routes to the Tale Valley were less encumbered but longer.

Business Conditions
A further issue, rarely discussed in a modelling context was the economic environment of the times. The 1870s had been tough, business conditions peaked in Sept 1872 followed by nearly 7 years of extreme weakness before a modest recovery. In fact, the period from 1873 is known as "The Long Depression "  hardly the time to go building branch-lines.

Conditions in the UK picked up somewhat by 1879 and the GWR turned its mind to creating a route into the Tale Valley.  Cullumpton on the mainline already had considerable infrastructure, sidings, cattle yards etc and being further south, was chosen as the starting point. The route roughly followed the line of the present day A373 and by coming from the NW avoided the worst of the boggy river flats and had no major hills to cross.  

Needless to say, the LSWR was left fuming!


To be continued........

Last edited on Sat Jul 31st, 2021 09:37 am by Colin W

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The Branch Lines of the Western Blackdown Hills, Devon

Part 3 The GWR line to Upper Hembury

Only 8 miles long, this branch-line had just three stops. The GWR terminus at Upper Hembury is the focus of our model but this story is not quite finished.
 

Base Map by Rail Map Online and Google Maps (updated and revised map now shown; 13 Nov 21)

As soon as had the line been completed and quickly proven to be a huge commercial success as well as bringing travellers and workers daily to the valley, the LSWR opened negotiations for access from the south, keen for some share of the lucrative freight traffic.

The existing LSWR station known as Sidmouth Junction (modern Feniton) appeared to be a better starting point than Honiton. This spur to Upper Hembury would in time come to fruition but the costs and conditions imposed by the GWR proved onerous and the LSWR struggled ever to make a return running just a few trains that fitted with the busy GWR timetable. 

Last edited on Sat Nov 13th, 2021 06:01 am by Colin W

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A Question about Engine Sheds

In researching my new GWR setting, I was surprised to find that modest Hemyock (1876) terminus of the Culm Valley Line had its own Engine Shed. This seemed odd for such a small place and all the more so on looking around at OS maps of the era. Both Tiverton and Cullompton were busy stations, the former was the other terminus of the Culm Valley line but neither sported an Engine Shed.

So, I'm wondering what would warrant a Shed in such a small spot as Hemyock, unless it was engines spending overnight there and needing attention, whereas the larger stations with direct access to the large Exeter Shed had no such need.

Thoughts please. It seems plausible that a remote location where an engine might need to overnight for whatever reason would have a reasonable case for having its own dedicated loco shed.

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In my book - Great Western Branch Line Termini by Paul Karau - every terminus had its own engine shed so it seems a regular operational strategy. The shed at Hemyock closed in 1929 and the engine was transferred to Tiverton Junction, also the junction for the branch to Tiverton (the Tivvy Bumper)
Could it be because most branch lines were independently constructed (at least notionally) and rationalisation only occurred at the time of the Great Depression?

The book gives two Drivers and two Firemen at Hemyock, with a service of four trains each way in 1923, three of which were mixed. The first at 7.45am from Hemyock to the Junction, the last back to the terminus at 7.5pm from the Junction - scheduled to allow the villagers to travel to the town and back?

It's not just a GWR thing either - I can come up with lots of branch line termini in East Anglia with engine sheds, all sub to a main shed.

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Thanks Alan,

most helpful.

Colin



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The West Wales branch lines (Cardigan, Newcastle Emlyn and Aberaeron) had engine sheds at the termini. The branch engine stored and serviced overnight and only going into the larger sheds periodically for the more involved servicing.
One advantage is that the early turn passenger to the nearest junction, where it would meet up with a mainline train, can start fresh, with a fresh crew.

Thoroughly enjoying the back story and looking forward to watching it come to life.

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Alan W wrote: In my book - Great Western Branch Line Termini by Paul Karau - every terminus had its own engine shed so it seems a regular operational strategy. ........

Alan,

I've sought help elsewhere and it seems that as a general rule Engine Sheds remained at BLTs until after WWII. Hemyock may be an outlier in this regard.

I also posed the question as to the benefit of having a local shed and the general consensus was that it was nothing to do with local shunting, just the benefit of having a fresh loco / crew first thing in the morning vs running a loco out and back each day from a larger shed. As I value the sources providing this guidance, that's good enough for me.

As the most time dependent activity would have been getting full milk wagons to the mainline, this suggests to me that the last train at night brought out empties and the first train of the day was from the BLT taking the full wagons back to join the Milk Train.

This is borne out by the Hemyock Timetable, 1st departure of the line for the day was Hemyock to Tiverton Jct at 07:45 returning at 08:45

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Colin,

Wouldn't the milk traffic be the reverse? Milk has to be collected from the farms and processed at the Dairy. It then has to get to the market in time for the morning milk round. A train arriving at Tiverton Junction at 8.30am would not get to any town in time for this.

Are you a member of, or do you know of the BR Coaching Stock group on groups.io? They have a massive collection of carriage working books available online. I have checked up for 1954 WR, and there is a train leaving Kensington for Penzance at 7.45pm with Milk Tanks for Hemyock (to be detached at Taunton). These presumably would be worked up to the BLT in the morning, filled and despatched early afternoon to arrive in London in the early evening for bottling and going out on the rounds the next morning. I cannot find a corresponding UP train, but this comment from a member - "Although I have no recollection of how many milk tanks we used to have on the 16:40 St Erth – Morden milk train back in the period 1974-6 when I worked these trains as footplate crew based at Old Oak Common......"

On the Eastern I have the CWB for 1957 showing the milk train from Norwich to Ilford (London) leaving at 5.48pm picking up Miltas at Ipswich from the dairy at Halesworth, getting into Ilford at 11.55pm from the Working Timetable for the same year. The corresponding down train leaves Liverpool Street at 5.30am picking up the Miltas at Ilford, not getting to Ipswich (junction for the Halesworth Miltas vehicles) until 9.56am. I know it's the wrong side of the country!

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Alan W wrote: Colin,

Wouldn't the milk traffic be the reverse? Milk has to be collected from the farms and processed at the Dairy. It then has to get to the market in time for the morning milk round. A train arriving at Tiverton Junction at 8.30am would not get to any town in time for this.....


Alan,

I've been using this source: http://www.igg.org.uk/rail/7-fops/fo-milk.htm

The main site is devoted to wide-ranging info in "An overview of railway freight operations for modellers (from around 1830 to about 2010)"...

which confirms that exact Hemyock train movement as part of the input for the morning London 'Milk Run' Express. Creameries like Hemyock and (Upper Hembury) were the assembly and initial processing points for farmers' raw milk, forwarding bulk milk to processing plants

To cite a tiny section from this source

"the early morning `Milk Train' was a feature of British life until the late 1960's. These often formed the first passenger service of the day on a branch line......."

These branch-line trains ran to deliver milk wagons to their mainline junction. The wagons with attendant brake vans were progressively assembled at mainline stops into an ever growing train which eventually became a morning Express train to London pulled by no less than a King or Castle Class! 

Hemyock was unusual in that it was at the end of a long chain starting in Cornwall.

Again via my link about this particular 'Milk Run'...

Wagons were collected starting at Long Rock near Penzance, then St. Erith, then Lost Withiel, Totness (creamery and tanks ex Ashburton), via Exeter finally adding wagons from the Hemyock and Torrington branches. This fully assembled train then ran Express to London. I'm assuming that this provided bulk milk to a processing plant in time to be bottled overnight for distribution very early next morning.

This has been my source for my planning schedule where Upper Hembury's Creamery would be needing a morning branch Milk train to provide a Wagon or two to the same Milk Run Express on the mainline.

Further confirmation comes via Wikipedia where there are photos of Empty Milk trains returning their wagons in the afternoon.
Milk Trains - Wikipedia


Last edited on Sun Aug 8th, 2021 11:11 pm by Colin W

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Colin,

The site you quote seems to differ to the official working timetables and carriage working books of the railways.

The 1958 Bristol District Passenger Working Timetable shows the following milk trains (mostly from Wales to London)

UP

5.25pm Whitland to Kensington Milk (Suns)
6.45pm Carmarthen to Kensington Milk
6.25pm Whitland to Kensington Milk (suns)
8.30pm Whitland to Kensington Milk
9.10pm Carmarthen to Kensington Milk (Suns)
2.50pm Wootton Bassett to West Ealing Milk
5.55pm Wellington to West Ealing Milk
3.50pm Whitland to Kensington Milk
6.20pm Weymouth to Paddington Milk
5.15pm Whitland to Kensington Milk

DOWN

9.15pm Kensington Milk Empties to Swindon
8.20pm Kensington Milk Empties (Fridays)
1.25am West London Milk Empties to Swindon
5.25am Bristol to Highbridge passenger and Milk Empties
10.35am Kensington to Neyland Milk Empties
6.5pm Swindon to Westbury Passenger and Milk Empties
7.20pm Wood Lane to Whitland Milk Empties
8.20pm Kensington to Bristol Milk Empties

Here is a screen shot of the Carriage Working Book showing the evening train from Kensington to the South West with Hemyock Tanks:



Not sure if that is legible so:




Probably routed via the Berks and Hants line so avoiding Bristol.

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Thanks Alan,

There are two issues for me, (edited with new inputs)

1) I'm looking at 1930s rather than late BR. Milk production volume increase and industrial concentration might have meant more Milk trains by that later Era.

2) Even if unchanged, the tables don't tell anything about the timing and duration of the corresponding up trains from the West Country and if they needed to tie in with the return run. I'm looking elsewhere for guidance.

Regarding the down train Paddington to Penzance, that schedule rules out an afternoon drop off of empties same day at Hemyock but would still fit with a morning pickup of the full wagons and later drop off of empties at the Dairy.





Last edited on Tue Aug 10th, 2021 01:13 am by Colin W

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Alan W wrote: Colin,

The site you quote seems to differ to the official working timetables and carriage working books of the railways.

The 1958 Bristol District Passenger Working Timetable shows the following milk trains (mostly from Wales to London).......................................................................


Alan,

I've now found two independent comments that by the late 1950s there were two Penzance to Kensington Milk trains scheduled each day. One source was referring to the WTT.

I've contacted him to see if he has timetable info from the 1930s.

Last edited on Tue Aug 10th, 2021 02:42 am by Colin W

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Colin,

Could there be two types of milk train?

One in the morning to get the milk from intermediate stations to the dairy (it's got to get there somehow, in the '50's probably by road tanker, maybe by churns in the '30's?) and the later train to get the processed milk to market?


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Yes. There were two distinct steps as you note but that's not the issue. It is explained in the link I supplied earlier if you want to get the full story.

Milk had to get from farm gate to its first processing and that might be by horse and cart including possibly local trains picking up churns

Typically by the 1930s most raw milk processing had moved away from being done by small local businesses into substantial Creameries (where milk was processed, Dairies being where it's sold). The numbers had become quite impressive by that time with these Creameries producing butter and cheese (+ by-product Whey) then shipping milk in bulk to bottling plants in cities.

The Milk Train in my question took milk by 3000 Gall wagons - up to 12-15 of them to Kensington (Olympia) from the various large Creameries from St Erth near Penzance to Hemyock, E Devon. They were heavy trains and took a King, Castle or Star to haul them

I'm getting a fairly clear picture of the time-frame involved now, however the critical missing bit is the timing of the Penzance Departure in the mid 1930s.
  • Starting out as a Passenger Train, wagons were picked up at St Erth and then several points as far as Newton Abbot. The travel time for this leg was 5hr so at some point the Milk wagons were separated into their own train. (passengers to London took 7hr #)
  • Then the milk train would take a further 1h to Tiverton Jct via Exeter where the final wagons (ex Hemyock) were picked up.
  • Then Express to Kensington - estimated best time ~3h:15m making total travel time around 9h:15m.
First Train out of Penzance in 1939 was 08:45a which would make for an early afternoon pickup at Tiverton Jct and 6pm arrival at Kensington for bottling.

All I can be guided by is my IGG reference to this being a morning Milk Run hence favouring as early possible starting departure. It's just an estimate.



# typical travel time today is 5Hr 25min, 80+ years on, which says much for the quality and performance of the GWR KIngs pulling those earlier express trains!  :cool:



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A Rambling Topic to which I'd like to give a bit more Structure

Over the last week I've had very interesting discussions by video link with the eldest of our Grandchildren after I sent them a condensed version of my Back Story for Upper Hembury (posts #61,64 and 65). They are at an age where they are becoming more interested in matters beyond just running trains, asking all manner of things and hopefully leading to constructive input. This brought home to me that it's hard for them to follow the broad progress of my new project when it rambles far and wide on diverse matters from track codes to milk schedules.

So, I'm giving serious thought to making a split. Continuing this Topic covering all the nuts and bolts of exploring background, planning, designing and detailed construction etc.and opening up something new which provides a more concise overview of my activities as they develop.

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An Answer to the Cornish Milk Train Problem

Somehow all the various info I'd been getting didn't add up and finally I know why. Asking around in The Other Place a knowledgeable fellow (Karhedron) has told me that milk trains running from Penzance / St Erth started after 1937 for a simple reason, the large Creamery there opened after that date.

The first bulk Creamery using Tanker Wagons was at Lostwithiel (1932) and the next not until 1937 (Cambourne) so my mid 1930s Milk Train was likely a mix of siphons and Tankers and could have started out much nearer to Devon because many creameries in Cornwall were operating as smaller businesses at that time.

Hence the timing for a Culm Valley morning milk train becomes entirely credible, being added onto a mix of siphons and Tankers, destination London.


Last edited on Thu Aug 12th, 2021 11:03 pm by Colin W

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… that gives you the opportunity to run both the more interesting, to my mind, mixed stock milk train and the King or Castle hauled milk tank express does it not?

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Hi Marty,

Bulk milk was never carried / mixed with other freight, the Siphon Wagons used from the earliest type were always Non-passenger Brown stock. The exception to this (I'm guessing) was when Farm gate to Creamery milk was sent by local rail and perhaps loaded into the first available wagon or the Guards Van.

My thinking has moved on to picturing a smaller Creamery in my setting, still using Churns shipped out in Siphon Wagons because the shift to bulk haulage in Tanker Wagons was only just starting up. 

Transportation will be outgoing only with empty Siphons coming back. There are not enough stations on my branch which would provide significant incoming churns to the Creamery for it to be part of my Ops.

The incoming would be coming by road from individual Farms, I've dug out some interesting historical data on milk production by cow, by acre which helps give some scale to local milk processing.

Typical Milk production per day per cow = 11L (2.5 Gall) (1930s)

Stocking rates ~120 / 100 acres
Milk production = 1300L / 100 acres

From current data this would be a good proxy for your "average" dairy Farm in the region.

Processed production from ~10 typical Dairy Farms might yield about 10,000L milk for shipment, allowing for percentage of the raw milk going into local Butter /Cheese production, the Creamery's specialty lines.
= ~135 Churns of the conical style (17 Gall, 74L)

From the wagon internal dimensions, this number will fit in the Siphon C GWR Milk XP Wagon when double stacked.

Milk Churn transportation

Some info here on this and various matters related to loading Siphons. Also, there are some great photos of platforms loaded with Churns, Highbridge is impressive!

Larger Creameries would have been processing far more milk, each Tanker Wagon taking 3000Gall (13.600L) of processed milk for bottling.

Last edited on Sun Aug 15th, 2021 05:11 am by Colin W

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Decisions, Decisions.....

A couple of things worth updating in the decisions department.

Firstly the observant might have spotted the title change since my last post. I've decided to separate all the ramblings that are part of layout planning, keeping them in this topic and (eventually) starting anew on the story, the build and operations of the Upper Hembury line. Something I'm now keen to progress given the various purchases competed or en route but which is still on hold for a couple of months more while we get more jabs into arms here in Oz.


The second and strangely neglected by me is the selection of suitable coaching stock for a 1930s GWR Branch-line. Somehow having looked at so many settings it just seemed it would be a straightforward issue but of course this is GWR modelling and nothing was ever that simple.

The standard Autocoach service is of course a cliché but a necessary one on any respectable layout. But what about compartment stock? I didn't have any understanding of suitable candidates as most of my earlier coach purchases were for mainline use. I just assumed that suitable non-corridor coaches existed.

Which brings me to 2 coach B-Sets, I'd always thought these were the stock in trade of suburban city lines, from where they got their name but on researching it seems many worked the rural lines and would suit my purpose.

The bizarre thing is that for what should be "bread and butter" purchases for many pre WWII GWR modellers, both B-Sets and early Autocoaches reside in the severely "neglected" bucket over at Hornby who continue with occasional tweaks and re-releases of 40+yr old Airfix toolings. Tellingly, Hornby "pulled" a 2020 reissue of the old B-Set after announcing it and so availability is close to non-existant and likely to stay so.

What I have settled on as a reasonable fit are the Collett 57' Bow ended non-corridor coaches, viz. a matched pair of Brake Thirds. These can be close coupled (✓), are similar in length, end shape / compartment config to earlier B-Set builds (✓) and I've seen reports of their use in this setting(✓). The main difference is the lack of a FIRST compartment, something I needed to fit in my back story. A finesse is required!

What is a plus is that the quality of the modern Hornbys is IMO first class for RTR stock and they are available. I picked up my two for a bargain 27.50GBP each (ex VAT) just last evening

Last edited on Sat Sep 18th, 2021 04:01 am by Colin W

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Hi Colin

We are reading of terryifying goings-on in Melbourne with much damage to property.

Are you guys OK?

Barry

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Hi Barry,

Thanks for asking.

Rather unusual to have a real earthquake here, we get tremors from time to time. The media have blown it out of proportion, a bit of one facade on an old building fell down, lots of insurance claims were made but for minor damage only AFAIK.

The house did get a good shaking but nothing broken, quite an interesting experience! We some serious damage a few years ago from a massive hail storm which left my car looking like the lunar surface.

Colin

Last edited on Thu Sep 23rd, 2021 10:52 pm by Colin W

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Oh no, I can't believe the media have blown it out all proportion, that's not like them is it! I'm surprised they (the media) didn't have someone bumped off so they could say there's been a death.

Anyway it really is good news that there were no serious, if any, injuries. As you say , Colin: more damage from hail in the storm season.

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Back to Planning Matters

- on avoiding too many pitfalls when modelling a GWR BLT

Delving into some research on suitable coaching stock has taken me off on some interesting other aspects of modelling GWR BLTs and these have given me much to think about before pushing further ahead.

The "other place" has some great sources of knowledge and experience and I know one of two of you guys have seen the recent posts there after I kick-started an old Topic in search of answers to my question on coaches. One particularly instructive post dismantled many of the clichés associated with GWR BLTs and I now have myself a fine list of potential inclusions /errors to avoid.

Among the items I'd not considered
- a Weighbridge / office at the entrance to the Goods Yard and the correct location for a loading gauge.

Items to avoid
- platforms bustling with passengers! (the locals knew the times of the infrequent passenger services and arrived JIT) ()
- Bay platform for an Autotrain service (avoided)
- Autotrain works an additional Sub-branch (avoided)
- Milk Tank wagons; most milk was moved in Churns by siphons from all but the newest large Creameries (had that covered)
- Too many locos, often a 48xx did almost everything (not sure how that's going to fly for me!)(X)
- Wagons and other stock deployed out of context (? need to check)

The list goes on to more fanciful items but you get the idea.

Every model layout has it's compromises and this diversion has helped me decide where and how I want to stray from reality in building my version of a 1930s pre-WWII GWR rural Idyll.
 

Last edited on Sat Sep 25th, 2021 12:59 am by Colin W

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Points, Schmoints! -1

I suspect most of you know the problem, whichever style of points / track you're using, the limited standard sizes available restrict your plans because dead straight is not exactly what's needed. We end up shoehorning the track layout to fit best to the point rather than vice versa.

Also, in the tracklayer's manual, "straight" was not a default setting yet it's imposed by the market on our layouts unless you want to go the route to hand built turnouts and all that entails #  :cry:

This figure in Anyrail shows the offerings of straight points by PECO from their Streamline range and for comparison some kit built from C&L Finescale.



My other problem was that I'd decided to switch to Code 75 Bullhead track given regular PECO Code 75 Streamline has non-prototypical close spaced sleepers. Unfortunately this left me wondering when, if ever, suitable matching points in Bullhead might make it into production.

Then I came across what appeared to be the solution to both my problems in some new kits from British Finescale. Their Left B7 is shown at top above and a crossover below; my latest Anyrail update just added their OO and EM points to their database.


# Aside the one pair of default double curve points.

Last edited on Mon Oct 18th, 2021 08:54 pm by Colin W

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Points, Schmoints! -2

The new point Kits from British Finescale were reported on RMWeb and experienced members were involved in the development and trialing stages up to early production. Their reports made for very positive reading and the planned schedule of release fitted well with my needs.

The second positive came with reports of the ease with which the kits can be opened out from straight to gently curved, so much so that the B7 shown in the previous post converts to a "Y". 

This was enough for me dip my toes in the water of using Templot to explore how the points might be useful on my layout. The platform sits to the right so we see the start of the Goods Run around loop. The crossover is built from two Left Points with the thorough lines gently curved to match the required exit radii.



I've received a first purchase of some Left B7s and will do a trial assembly before advancing further. Assembly time is reported to be about 30min.
 

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Hi Colin,

Enjoyable thread (just catching up). Your comment/question about what passenger stock would have run on a typical branchline (was there ever such a beast?) in the 1930's caught my interest.

From what I've seen published (and experienced at a very tender age in the pram) it would have been the usual Autotrailer. To which the modern versions bear but a passing resemblance. The GWR built quite a few of these (in 2 varieties - suburban and branchline), in several designs, as well as wood matchstick or steel panel fronts and sides. Add to this plain trailers and conversions of SRMs or regular passenger stock. Over 200 were built or converted, so the chance of a branchline having one was almost 100%.

Old 8-wheel clerestory coaches (and some of these could be found in mainline duties up until the 1950s). A branchline could have one of these ready to be used on market or race days to supplement the autocoach, or they could be supplied by the local main shed as required..

Excursion stock on branchlines with scenic interest during the spring and summer. "BlueBell Specials". Not popular with passengers, who liked the comforts of a compartment.

B-sets? Only the older versions, the later RTR offerings are too modern. Diagram E129 from I think 1925. No buffers on the inner ends, just a rubbing plate and link coupler.Painted panels, and bow-ended. The Hornby offering is not even close.

And of course an AEC diesel railcar, 1-18, either on regular or excursion traffic.

The chances of having a Toplight (built from the mid-1900s on) or Bow end coach (built from 1925 on) on a regular branchline roster in the 1930s would be rather doubtful. Bound to be an exception of course.

RTR Autotrailers and 8-wheel clerestory coaches running in the 1930's are a bit scarce in the RTR catalogs. Hens teeth in fact. Try Worsley Works for brass etches (C3 or C4 clerestory - sides, ends, roof) and convert a cheap 8-wheel coach or one of those Traingy things.
As usual it's YMR, whatever you run is fine. On my sleepy branchline the plans are for an autocoach, and a couple of 8-wheel clerestory coaches for market day. Plus a 1940's diesel railcar.

Marty's right - engines were usually stored overnight at the terminus of the branch, first train took the milk and passengers to the main station or junction. For a single engine the main shed would send a locomotive out to the terminus shed when the usual engine was being cleaned, serviced or repaired. Watlington for example was a sub-shed of Ealing. Didn't actually have a shed, as it burned down. Some branchlines did have turntables, engines being turned even when on autocoach duty.

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BCDR wrote: Hi Colin,

Enjoyable thread (just catching up). .........................

Thanks Nigel,

I've been looking forward to some feedback now you're back on deck.

The challenge I felt I faced was to have enough interest, traffic and diversity to make the whole activity worthwhile for me, while not straying too far into the realms of pure GWR BLT fantasy. In many ways stock is the least of my issues as I have locos and rolling stock of the era to excess, maybe not the exact items when compared to your listing but close enough with a modest application of rule 1.

Ever since getting back into modelling I've been drawn by the operational aspects of a small but prosperous rural terminus which implies having enough business activity at the locale to support more than one train each way per day. This has influenced what I've finally settled on, drawing inspiration from much admired layouts of this type.

Primarily, I'm trying to capture the sense of place and time of my setting rather than precision so long after the events, a little less the harsh rigorous precision of a Canaletto, a little more Impressionist, if you'll pardon a bold analogy. That appeals to my interests and style and I'm glad that circumstances have constrained me to take a measured approach to the planning stages, many potential errors have been dodged en route!

Last edited on Fri Oct 29th, 2021 10:35 pm by Colin W

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Hi Colin,

Funny you should mention the impressionist school. They really loved trains, one of their favorite locations was St. Lazare station in Paris. if you didn't produce at least one painting with a train in it you weren't in the club. One of my minors when a student was the impressionist school. Great fun to visit the actual locations when I lived in Paris.

You may have to exercise even more impressionism with GWR freight stock. One example is the Iron Mink. Over 4,000 were made, they were very common in the 1930's. I see ROS have produced one, the Ratio kit is a good representation.

"A History of GWR Goods Wagons New Edition Combining Parts 1&2" by A.G. Atkins et al. is a good reference source. Made me realize how many much was not being being modeled by the RTR suppliers.

Branch lines usually had a morning and afternoon goods sandwiched between the passenger trains. If you are modeling a prosperous branch line In the 1930's there would probably have been a gas works or two along the line. Street lighting was a sign of modernity for many small towns and large villages in the 1930s not connected to a electricity supply.

The 1930s were depression years, many branch line timetables were severely cut compared to the 1920s. The milk service was not cut on many branch lines, but it was mainly handled by 4- or 6-wheel Siphons (rebuilt old passenger coaches), not the 8-wheeled bogies ones. 

Nigel




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Thanks Nigel,

I've done some research on the likely volumes of milk production in the district and already come to the conclusion that churns / earlier Siphons will be far more appropriate transport for me (Post #81). I plan to scratch build at least two.

The Milk Tanker Wagon is one popular item to be seen in modeled 1930 GWR rural BLTs#. Having some impressive Milk Tanker Wagons lined up and rotated daily when your average Creamery was neither big enough to process nor had access to enough milk to fill even one 3000 Gall Tanker from its daily production. This of course needed to be sent to London daily.

In the 1930s only a few newer "industrial scale" Creameries could justify use of the Tank Wagon transport, one of these was Hemyock, in the same area of East Devon but to the North of my imagined branch.


# from asking around about this and other GWR BLT topics over in "the other place", I was given a most useful list of the BLT cliches to watch out for and avoid.  

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Hi Colin

I have always liked the idea of a milk tanker trailer lashed onto a flat wagon - totally wrong for my layout so I don't have one.

Would they appear on your layout?  Not sure what sort of era they were common or whether they were common at all!

The attached is a HMRS photo from the interweb, borrowed for illustration and education purposes only.



Barry

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Hi Barry,

It is plausible and an interesting variant. There are references to these tanks introduced in the 1930s, designed for Road-Rail transport. Typically 2000 Gall capacity, you could argue they'd be suited to smaller creameries,.

However I still favour having the early Siphons for transport, these were very common so fit the bill for being "in type" in my setting.

Colin

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Hi Colin

I must confess that, perhaps unprototypically, I have a bogie Siphon on one of my (H Class) through freights.  The "browns" were a pretty groups of vehicles and I can see why you are attracted to them.

Barry

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Barry Miltenburg wrote: Hi Colin

I must confess that, perhaps unprototypically, I have a bogie Siphon on one of my (H Class) through freights.  The "browns" were a pretty groups of vehicles and I can see why you are attracted to them.

Barry

Hi Barry,

This link Milk Churn Transport on the GWR

has some fine photos from the era, a shade before my timeline but perfectly relevant all the same. There are several photos, the 5th down shows two early Siphons, Diags O3 and O4 (according to my notes - edit: revised) sitting in the Goods loop at Malmesbury. Very much the atmosphere I'm aiming to capture.

Both these Wagons preceded the 4 wheeler Siphon "C" which can be bashed from a Ratio Kit using Shirescenes sides, something I need to look into. Then again, I rather fancied a full build, say one each of the earlier O3 and O4. A later large bogied milk van will be over sized for my modest creamery.

Last edited on Sun Nov 7th, 2021 02:31 am by Colin W

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......T'was on the Tuesday morning, the carpenter came round: #

And so it just happened to be!

Last Tuesday our longtime friend and cabinet builder came round mainly because a new fridge-freezer was arriving to replace the one which passed away peacefully 5 months shy of 30YO. It turns out that much has changed in that time and the overhead cupboard needed raising. Kev who'd custom built all the originals offered to do the job.

He's long been interested in and admired my Railway so, back in February, I raised the issue of getting some help with the new layout infrastructure build. My 'O' Level Woodwork means I'm fine working with saws and chisels but I lack the resources to produce the long and square timbers required for this job.

Then along came that nasty virus and it's only now we can move forward with some confidence. Progress indeed.


# from The Gas-Man Cometh, Flanders and Swann






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:doublethumb
Excellent news……you should be running trains by Christmas.

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Interesting read about the milk churns Colin.

Pre- agricultural college, I worked as a farm student on a dairy farm towards the end of the "churn era".  Ours were cylindrical 10 gallon churns, made from aluminium and collected by the dairy roundsman from the farm gate as in the last photo of your linked history.

Having handled those 10 galloners on cold, snowy mornings, I have lots of sympathy for those handling the 17 gallon version - they'd be bl##dy heavy !

Having handled those 10 galloners on hot summer days, it was a good job there wasn't much traffic on the roads - whilst cooled at the farm, I shudder to think what temperature the milk would be by the time it reached the dairy.

Farm bulk tanks and refridgerated tankers were just making an appearance at that time but not a moment too soon for your daily pinta.  ;-)

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Now to Advance Beyond Planning.

First of all thank you to everyone who has contributed to the topic over the last 7 months, doesn't time fly! Your input has been most valuable both from its content and in causing me to go far beyond the initial germ of an idea I had to the point where I'm comfortable with where I'm heading.

For anyone reading this in future who might be starting out, whether first-timer or returning with more experience, IMO its hard to overstate how valuable it is to take plenty of time on the planning process. I knew this before starting over this time yet still was surprised how little of my end result was there in my concept from the start.

This week marked a few significant milestones which in combination indicate that the core of the planning process is now behind and mostly "doing" lies ahead!

A most helpful contact from over on RMWeb who lives quite close has loaned me a copy of his Wescott on Framework building, invaluable, as it has opened all all sorts of options for me I'd never imagined!

With another visit from the carpenter scheduled for next week, my saw has cut wood for the first time. I won't bother with a photo as it was simply some suitable scrap cut and knocked together to create a small test bed pair of L-Girders. I was keen for him to see how the traverser structure will fit in between joists. He's never tackled anything like my open structure framework and so I figured a demo would help him to visualise. It also allowed me to assess how I'll construct the supports for the traverser on its runners.

Finally, the last major rolling stock decision has been made, following on from all the various discussion here on milk production, processing and transport. I've ordered some Siphon Kits and will have more on this once they arrive. Now all I need is the various Postal Services to get my various goodies over to me.

I'm intending to open a new Topic, now that the "doing" phase is near. So this planning file will drift gently into the archive of all Topics past.

Last edited on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 09:32 pm by Colin W

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Have you decided on the final track layout Colin? I've been reading through the thread and Tetbury came to mind as a possible basis, it was quite a large terminus and was also curved so many fit your space quite well.

Andy

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Andy,

The setting will be my mythical Upper Hembury, set in the head of the valley. I've not looked at Tetbury AFAIR, will take a look in case there's something of interest.

Thanks,

Colin

Last edited on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 11:34 am by Colin W

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Looking forward to the "doing" phase Colin.

If it's as interesting as your planning thread, it's one not to be missed.   :thumbs

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Some more thoughts on BLT designs by the GWR.

Andy's comments on Tetbury set me off for one more look and think about the factors behind the many track designs to be found at GWR Termini.

Some of this goes over old ground, e.g. Engine Sheds, it seems they were a GWR default until at least the 1920s but then there is no rhyme or reason as to their placement. General opinion is that having a shed in the late 1800s offered a simple solution to having a first engine ready in the morning, coaled up and ready to go on the first return journey. Shunting requirements would be handled by the incoming loco rather than a shed resident allocated for that purpose.

From the many track plans I've seen the location of the engine shed tends to favour this view. The shed could be either end of the runaround loop conveniently placed to come into position for the return journey. I can't recall one case where it was placed to better serve shunting needs in the Goods yards, which were often of the other side of the station from the runaround loop. In fact at the time these BLTs were being built, there was often a Horse Stable to keep the horses which powered the shunting (one is definitely on my list!)

What is clear to me is that the actual Engine Shed position was less a question of policy, more of "best fit". Tetbury shows this as the shed sits on a reverse leg from an end shunt. Perhaps that's all the available space would permit as the land rises sharply to the East from the narrow strip of railway land thus preventing a facing orientation.

The 25" OS maps of 1881 and 1898 Tetbury are interesting because they span the time period when Upper Hembury also was built. Tetbury must have been at much the same time as the early map has nothing, 18 years later a full BLT. Here the focus was mostly on handling cattle because a brand new Cattle yard alongside the rail lines appeared as well as other commercial activities. The coming of the railway was clearly a big success!

Again positioning of all the main features was clearly driven by 1) access 2) suitability and availability of land. Tetbury was carefully engineered into the best fit even if this mean a long curving approach to make the required "line". All useful rationale for how my own setting came to be.

Colin

Last edited on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 11:29 pm by Colin W


                 

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