Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Happy new workshop!

Back at the end of February I took delivery of my new workshop (Shed!) The last month has seen progress in installing electrical services, work benches and storage units.

The workshop is 12ft x 8ft and stands at the bottom of the garden.
I chose not to have any windows fitted for security reasons and it also allows for plenty of wall space for tool racks, storage bins and other paraphernalia.
I have insulated the walls with thick polystyrene sheets covered with tongue and grove cladding.
there are 4 fluorescent light fittings 2 above the workbenches and 2 more above the area to be occupied by my new layout "Smestow Sidings"

 My (untidy) modelling bench.
This is where I sit and do my modelling and electronics bits.

The storage drawers are from IKEA but I turned them round and fitted some nice wood knobs that I just happened to have lying around.

The main workbench is a bit higher than the modelling section and is intended for the bigger jobs like metal bashing and wood butchering.

Having no windows gives me plenty of wall space to hang up the most used hand tools.
A small 4inch engineers vice from Ebay is a worthwhile investment.

You can also see the internal tongue and groove timber cladding.
This was all installed in one day by my step daughter and grand daughter, both of whom are very handy at wood butchering with saws, hammers and screws!
There are still a few things that need to be made or purchased to complete the workshop. I want to build a spray booth for airbrushing and a small pillar drill would be a nice luxury to have but, it's early days yet and they will come eventually.
On the other side of the workshop is the start of my new "Layout that never leaves home"
This is the fiddle yard end and will consist of a 5 road 360 deg turntable 3ft long.
As can be seen I have already laid the first track on the turntable using good old Peco streamline code 75 track.
I am proposing to use the new Peco code 75 Bullhead rail track for the main scenic sections.
I am still using 3 link couplings so the minimum radius of the points and track will be 3ft.

I'm not sure when Peco will start to produce crossings and turnouts in the new bullhead format but, if I get impatient waiting it looks like using their currently available code 75 "H0" components.
Why am I not building my own points as I have done previously?
Well, Time is one factor and copper clad points without cosmetic chairs etc just doesn't look right.
I could build C&L point kits but at 40 odd quid a time the cost is too much for a layout that will never see an exhibition.
Anyway, Rule 1 applies!  (It's my train set and I'll do what I want!)

I will try and update this page a little more often now I have this new project on the go.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Design considerations

Just mulling over a few new layout plans.
Now I have more room for a permanently  erected layout I'm considering what to build.
I have always based my layouts on the Cambrian section of BR western region, but, I think the time has come for a bit of a change.
I'm now thinking of modelling a location near to where I live, which is on the West Midlands / Staffordshire border, Looking through my library of books and encouraged by my grand daughter it now looks like a semi rural/industrial layout is going to be the most likely outcome.

I knocked up a quick track plan using free software available for download from the interweb namely "Any Rail"  I could have used more sophisticated software of course but for a quick and easy option Any Rail does the job,
Anyway, this is what I come up with.....

 This is subject to change of course and open to suggestions from readers of this post.

The inspiration came from the book "The Railway to Wombourn" by Black country historian Ned Williams.
The railway to Wombourne was reached by the Kingswinford branch which left the old OWWR line from Stourbridge to Wolverhampton at Kingswinford junction. The line crossed part of the Black country before entering the rural area of South Staffordshire.
There were stations at Brockmoor, Bromley, Pensnett, Gornal, Himley, Wombourne, Penn, Compton and Tettenhall.
In 1913 a branch was proposed to be built, leaving this line at Wombourne and go across country to join up with the Severn Valley line just south of Bridgnorth.
Cradley Heath Model Railway Club have in fact built a layout of "Halfpenny Green" which was to be one of the  intermediate stops on the proposed route.
There was also proposed to build yet another branch off this line near Wombourne to Swindon (Staffordshire) presumably to serve the rolling mills of Messrs Richard Thomas and Baldwin Ltd who had built their steel mill in the tiny village of Swindon.
It is on this basis that I have based my thoughts, a "What might have been" had this branch ever been built.
The station would have been built in the village of Swindon (Staffordshire) but what name would it take?  I can't imagine it being called Swindon as that would have caused confusion with the Swindon in Wiltshire, So I'm still thinking of a name. Smestow is one I have come up with as Smestow is the name of the village about 1/4 of a mile back towards Wombourne.  Another name that is a possibility is Ashwood End although Ashwood is a few miles away from this location.
Well, I've waffled on a bit this time, I will post an update as soon as anything develops.