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Author Topic: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven  (Read 1837 times)

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Offline Waz

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Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« on: June 19, 2016, 11:57:30 am »
This is a thread which I will try to keep as up to date as possible ( I live a 200 mile round trip form the club) on the construction of the layout known as Seahaven.

The layout is being constructed by the members of the Southampton Model Railway Society's N gauge section. There are 4 main members of the section with many others helping with different bits along the way.

The layout was constructed so we could experiment with different things before construction of the clubs new N gauge layout, which is still a while off as planning hasn't started properly on that yet.

First of all a bit about Seahaven:

Seahaven is a little known resort on the South coast of England. Originally a sleepy fishing village where the fishing boats were, and still are, dragged up on to the beach after each fishing trip. In the late nineteenth century the railways came to Seahaven allowing the tourist trade to flourish.
With the gradual rundown of the railways after the 2nd world war Seahaven became a commuter town with regular services along the South coast and up to London. The small goods yard is used for local freight from the fishing industry.

The layout has been an experiment by club members to build a layout using the Finescale ĎNí track kits, that have been become available, and also to see to what extent we could control a layout digitally.

We found the track construction a bit daunting at first but it gets easier as you go along. Plain track work is straight forward and the points are easy with the correct jigs. The first point took several club nights to make, but they get easier with practice and now a point can be made in an evening.
The digital control is by ĎDigitraxí which we have found best suited for what we want. This is our first layout without a control panel; all points are DCC controlled by the operators using their hand throttles. We can run with tethered throttles or radio control.

Another feature of this layout is the use of Dapol's Easi-shunt coupling system. It has long been the holy grail too have some sort of automatic coupling/uncoupling system in "N"gauge. This is our first layout to have it fitted from the start. The rolling stock has been with Easi-shunt couplings, where needed, and magnets have been pre-positioned on the track. If all goes according to plan we will be able to carry out shunting manoeuvres without intervention from the operators!

It is planned that fiddle yard sector plate sector plate will be motorised to allow completely hands free operation

« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 10:13:59 am by Waz »

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2016, 12:02:44 pm »
The layout construction started last year with the construction of the track kits, the points took some getting used to although the construction of 2mm fs points made this task easier, and mistakes learned on the first point were avoided on the subsequent ones built.

The layout was entered into the Club show in January of this year (2016)



and the original track plan can be seen here:


« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 09:59:00 am by Waz »

Offline Dorsetmike

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 12:49:59 pm »
What's the longest train you can get on the sector plate, it doesn't look long enough for the number of coaches at the platform.

Apart from that it's good to see another Southern layout. Might it be ready for next February's Bournemouth show?
Cheers MIKE


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Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2016, 12:54:53 pm »
The sector plate could and I say could because it has now been replaced hold a 4 CEP, however you platforms are designed to take 3 and a loco, apart form the rear platform which may just squeeze a Brighton Belle into it with careful driving.

As for if the layout will be ready I very much hope so as the aim is to finish it in the next few months we are waiting on some parts to be manufactured but they will not hold up progress.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 09:59:48 am by Waz »

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2016, 01:41:01 pm »
As already mentioned the layout has been designed to work with Dapol easishunt couplers,  and it is fair to say that theses have proved to be very successful, however it is worth remembering that if you hide them in the track bed then you do need to mark where they are somehow as you easily forget.

The layout from start to finish was intended to be built in code 40 fine track, and this has been the case. There were a number of learning curves with this, the first of them was not to try building it and using it as you would with conventional track systems, it is much better to adopt the practice of making points then removing the outer rails and also the rails from the frog, and replacing these with full lengths of rail as it gives much better running.



Initial thoughts were to use wire in tube method for point actuation, however this was dropped in favour of Hoffman point motors. These are controlled using a Digitrax point decoder, however due to the point motors requiring an AC voltage, the points are controlled via relays. The switch built into the pint motor was used to switch the frog polarity.




 
It is worth noting that the layout is wired for DCC operation only as the N gauge section is DCC and we all use digitrax so this was the reason for the choice of control system.

To get the layout ready for its first appearance as a work in progress layout, the layout was ballasted, and also the track weathered.



A mimic panel was also constructed and connected to show point position, as from the rear of the layout the points could not be seen.



A third rail was added using code 40 rail soldered too track pins which had the heads cleaned of any paint so they could be soldered to. While not a difficult job it defiantly adds to the feel and look of the layout.


« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 10:06:16 am by Waz »

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2016, 02:05:51 pm »
I do like the look of the half relief buildings. Are they ready to plonk or kits please?

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2016, 02:12:34 pm »
The half relief building are metcalf kits built and borrowed from a members layout, the retaining wall is built by the same person although it was always intended for the layout rather than borrowed.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 10:06:34 am by Waz »

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2016, 02:17:24 pm »
With the first exhibition drawing close which was to be the clubs two day show at the end of January the layout got a lot of attention and took shape very quickly, the retaining walls were fitted having been built by another member of the club.

The retaining walls were glued on to a length of timber batten which is fixed from the bottom of the layout allowing easy removal for track maintenance and more scenic work.

All stock which was going to be used at the show was tested on the layout and the points given a final fine tuning, some of the stock needed the back to backs adjusting to allow them to pass though the points happily.

Then it dawned upon us that we didnít have anything to display the layout on at the show as the table we had been building the layout on was not suitable for use at a show due to it being too low. So hurriedly a higher table was constructed for the layout as well as a lighting sorted.

The weekend of the show the layout performed well with a few teething problems which is to be expected, with a layout that is still under construction but trains were running for the whole of the show and the public enjoyed the layout and seeing different construction techniques in progress.


 
A view of the goods yard with some borrowed buildings

Also the forum coach came to visit during the show





« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 10:12:40 am by Waz »

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2016, 03:40:52 pm »
So the layout ran well at the exhibition, however there are a few areas that we decided needed some improvement and the first was the fiddle yard, unfortunately I donít think I have any photos of this and if I find some.

However it was very difficult to get hands into swap stock around and also with a sector plate and only three roads there was a lot more handling of stock than we would have hoped for.

This highlighted two things, firstly two operators were needed even if the sector plate was eventually motorised as planned, while on the subject of the sector plate it had to go in favour of the revised track plan you see below. It should be noted that only the off stage track had been changed therefore progress on the front of the layout could progress.



Another problem identified was the temporary stand for the layout we had constructed while very good needed some better legs, and also lowering (this is what happens when a tall person and a shorter but still tall person decide the height of the layout) as one of the main operators couldnít happily operate without a box to stand on this is not ideal or practical so is an issue that will be addressed (if it hasnít already). The observant will also notice the front of the layout has been given a nice coat of southern green.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 10:26:33 am by Waz »

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2016, 06:34:10 pm »
Construction on the new fiddle yard has started in earnest, bearings for the 5 road turn table was sourced and then the turn table board itself was constructed.

The turn table was constructed using some very think ply wood so it would not twist or warp. The radiuses at the end of the turn table was marked out with a pencil and bit of string, then taken across the road to the local joinery firm who kindly ran it through their band saw for us in a matter of seconds.



The old sector plate and storage lines are now redundant and although the storage lines have been left in place they have been disconnected from any source of power. The sector plate has been removed. The area plated over to give a smooth surface to lay track.



The new fiddle yard has been laid using Peco track with the join between code 40 rail and Peco track being done by filing an angle on the top of the peco rail until the rail heights matched. The ends of both rails were soldered to copper clad to prevent them from moving.





Progress on the new fiddle yard can be seen below.



Although all the rails have now been fitted since this photo was taken. A method of stopping trains running or falling off the ends is under development.

One advantage of creating a separate fiddle yard is that it has allowed the back scene to be moved back giving more space for the building and road.



New buildings have been installed, although a new back scene needs to be made and fitted to the layout. What was originally a bridge will now be swapped for a tunnel.



There is still a lot more that needs to be done to the layout including new platforms need making as the original ones warped in sun light, a new station building needs to be made and installed, a new goods shed built, and small details like barrow crossings, third rail feeder wires and general clutter all need to be added to the layout. But this will all slowly appear over time and I fear it will never be fully finished as a with all club layouts someone always wants to add or change something on it.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 10:27:41 am by Waz »

Offline belstone

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2016, 06:44:14 pm »
Very nice indeed, and encouraging that the Finetrax turnouts stand up well to exhibition conditions.  If anything is going to break, it will do so when the public are watching. I look forward to more updates.

Richard

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2016, 07:05:10 pm »
Yes the Finetrax turnouts stand up well to use, however I feel this has also got something to do with the choice of point motor as the chosen type are stall motors so don't put too much pressure on the turn out. We are looking at using milled frogs rather than the cast ones as we feel they are cleaner however these have to be sourced from the 2mm society.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 10:28:42 am by Waz »

Offline belstone

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2016, 07:14:18 pm »
I replaced the cast frogs with soldered rail ones, with a couple of "milled" (i.e. Dremel-hacked) PCB sleepers to strengthen everything up and keep it level.  I think they look better, but I can't see this being a possibility for turnouts that have already been laid and ballasted :(  http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=33038.msg386695#msg386695

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2016, 07:17:22 pm »
We did that with one of them when the casting warped, and I now wish I had built the rest like that, however as a compromise I think swapping the cast ones over to milled ones will make a big difference, although we also found that stock would happily run through the points without any frogs in them at all.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 10:31:23 am by Waz »

Offline Waz

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Re: Southampton Model Railway Society's Seahaven
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2016, 08:37:17 am »
Here is a picture i have found showing how the point was modified rather than using the cast frog. The use of the 2mm society jigs makes this a simple task.


 

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