Friday, 18 May 2012

On the fiddle!

Yes! it's wood butchering time again!

I've made a start on the first of two fiddle yards for my new Cambrian modular layout, currently one module is built and finished (?) Morfa Bach.
The second module (Penmaenpool MPD) is under way and the track is down. Next job there is the turnout operating motor installation. How ever this has been put on the back burner for a day or two whilst I took advantage of dry weather to work outside and butcher some more wood!

The fiddle yard shown here is for the Morfa Bach end of the layout.  I looked at several designs for fiddle yards and finally settled on a turntable type.
The main reason for choosing this design is the fact that I can turn round complete trains without fear of damaging any stock. The turn table will have three tracks, and each road will hold a loco and a couple of coaches which is enough for what I need to operate the layout.

The fiddle yard progress up to date is shown  in pictures below.

Left, The turntable in the centre road running position.                Right. The turntable swung out.

Construction is from 44x18 softwood, 6mm and 9mm plywood. The turntable just turns on a simple 6mm bolt through a horizontal cross member. The table being shimmed up tp level with the fixed section with steel washers

A "Nyloc" nut is used tightened up so as to make turning the table by hand easy but at the same time take up any sloppiness in the fixing.

The final job for today was to drill holes in the side members at the layout end to accommodate the 5 pin DIN socket for one of the "cabs" and a 9 way D plug for the interconnections to the main layout board.

There is still work to do but that will have to wait for more dry weather!

Cheers for now

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Hitching a lift!

I'm always on the lookout for the unusual to include on my model railways. Either as scenic cameos or wagon loads.
Like 100's of others I have a Bachmann "Weltrol" wagon, usually these come with either a boiler  or transformer type of load and like all mass produced rolling stock looks the same as everyone else's.

So when the opportunity of purchasing a non working 009 model of this Alco locomotive came my way I jumped at he chance of getting it before it's owner put it on Ebay.

The Alco may be more well known to narrow gauge modellers as "Mountaineer" of Ffestiniog railway fame.
I wasn't bothered that the chassis didn't run or that the rear pony truck and wheels were missing as all I wanted it for was a suitable load for my Welltrol.

An afternoons' work on the bench and a spot of paint produced this.(Click picture for larger image)

After removing the boiler load I stuck the Alco down to the bed of the wagon with some 5 min epoxy, I don't want it to drop off!
I used some fine chain to secure the load to the wagon and that's it, Job done.

Look out for it in use on either Pen Y Bont or Morfa Bach/Penmaenpool at an exhibition soon!


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunday morning along the Severn Valley

Although the Severn Valley Railway is virtually on my door step I never seem to get down there as often as I should.
It's been over 8 months since my last visit so, with the sun shining SWMBO and myself set off for a quick visit.

We wanted to visit the "Engine House" at Highley, as, believe it or not I have never been there since it opened a few years ago.
So off we went and made our way to Highley via Bridgnorth.
What a morning! Half way along Highley High Street the road was completely blocked off by road works! and to get to Highley station meant a detour all the way back to Bridgnorth , then over the river Severn, follow the A442 to Kidderminster, then on to Bewdley, then up the west bank of the Severn back to Highley! A round trip of 40 miles just to get to the other end of Highley High Street!
Sod that for a game of soldiers! The engine house visit will have to wait until June when I shall go by train instead of car.
Anyway, to make something of the morning we stopped off at Hampton Loade and took refreshment at the station tea room(?). It's not actually a tea room though, more of a kiosk really but, it says "Tea Room" on the sign!

Hampton Loade  is a passing place on the SVR where both up & down trains are in the station at the same time. Makes things interesting to watch but not that good for photography as once both trains have departed it's an hour and a half wait for the next pair to cross,  one of them being a train you have just seen depart towards Bridgnorth. This time it would be running bunker/tender first though, again not ideal for photographs.

Moan over!

I did manage about 6 pictures some of which were total crap and deleted straight away, Of the ones worth keeping, although not fantastic I've posted below.

(Click picture for larger image)

5164 arriving at Hampton Loade from Kidderminster, Bewdley  , Arley & Highley.
The fireman giving up and receiving the single line token from the Hampton Loade signalman.

 (Click picture for larger image)

5164 about to depart for Bridgnorth.
(The southbound train behind the Stanier Mogul has already departed.)

Finally back to Meldrew moaning mode!

I had to take this shot to show the amount of weeds  both in the four foot and in the ballast each side.

It may be an acceptable standard for Network Rail but the GWR would never have countenanced weed infested track!

(Click picture for larger image)

One other good thing came out of our trip. I picked up a bit of railwayania  from the sales van at the station.
More of that in another entry.

More from my jottings soon!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Penmaenpool MPD progress, odds& ends

All the track is now laid, and power feed droppers connected.

I haven't taken any pictures yet because no doubt you have seen 00 gauge track and turnouts before.

The points are home made copper clad sleepers and bullhead rail, so need some thing a bit less stressful than solenoid point motors to operate them.

I have chosen to use Fulgarex slow action motorised switch machines, unlike the Tortoise type motor the action is a linear movement rather than a fulcrum wire used on the Tortoise motors.

To operate the switch blades via the tie bar I came up with this home made device. Knocked up in about an hour on the workbench.
The lever needs to be drilled out at the correct position to reduce the throw of the Fulgarex.
The switch blades only move a few mm whereas the Fulgarex has a stroke of 8.5mm
The electrical connector block inserts on the slide bar act as mechanical limits to prevent damage to the point tie bar and blades.

The materials used are brass strip,  tube, wire, 8BA pin and nuts and a piece of copper clad PCB material.
Also in the picture can be seen a simple "bell crank" also made from PCB material and a 10BA pin and nuts.
The idea is to turn the drive to the TOU through 90deg to allow the Fulgarex unit enough space under the baseboard. Any "over drive" from the Fulgarex will be absorbed by a Z loop (as opposed to an omega loop)

Reading up on the internet about using Fulgarex motors I found that although designed for 12v DC operation they are a bit too fast at that supply voltage.Most users recomending 9V operation. Added to this that my transformer gives me over 22V DC after rectification and smoothing then they would certainly whizz across! Not what I wanted really.

I plan to overcome this by using a simple electronic circuit to control the motor voltage and thus the change over speed of the switch blades.
Using a commonly used circuit and a few components from my electronics odds & ends box I knocked this small circuit board.
I can now set the speed of the point motors to a reasonably gentle change over speed.

A far cry from the Peco points on my existing layout Pen Y Bont, where old H&M point motors slam the switch blades over at Mach 1!

I'm still waiting for the Fulgarex units to arrive from DCC suppliets. Once I get them fitted and working I'll update this entry.

Cheers for now

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Pemaenpool MPD (Building starts at last!)

Finally made a start on building Penmaenpool MPD

Butchered some wood and started track laying.

The first turnout and main running line are laid.
Hand built points and C&L track is being used.
The drawing pins are just to stop anything moving while the PVA sets. I don't use track pins, just glue.
Once ballasted it's not going anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This picture shows the view from the Morfa Bach end looking towards the next board/fiddle yard.


This view is looking away from the fiddle yard towards the Morfa Bach end. The "hole in the wall" can be seen and aligns with the tunnel exit on Morfa Bach.

Another update as and when.