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Author Topic: Bridgtown  (Read 647 times)

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Offline Pelhama

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Bridgtown
« on: May 12, 2018, 01:02:57 am »


So who, why, what, when & how?

Well I definitely know the answer to the first bit; my name is Mark Pelham living near Faygate in West Sussex and working for Virgin Atlantic Airways as an Maintenance Control Engineer near sunny Gatwick.

Why? Well I guess largely because I have had an interest in railways for as long as I can remember, and then a bit more. Been through the usual history of Hornby OO on a 6' x 4' baseboard with changing track plans every fortnight - early signs of my biggest hurdle with layout planning, more to be said on that later.
My father, who started me off in the world of model railways, decided to change to N gauge from OO gauge, largely due to the benefits of space so I inherited his OO equipment. However the appeal of running scale length trains soon bit and the OO equipment was soon part exchanged for more N.

Around half way through my railway modelling life I took an interest in the West Coast Main Line, particularly in the West Midlands. I don't really know why but the hand-me-down appearance of the older infrastructure with modern stock appealed to me, and with the striking colours of Mr Bransons rail company livery being applied to some then-becoming aged stock I was sold.

That leads neatly in to what, and also my biggest hurdle. I know what I like, the problem is deciding out of the many things I like which ones I can fit into a layout and retain a realistic and justifiable appearance. Similarly, as with my old Hornby "Train Set", I kept changing my mind. I have started several layouts in the past, none of which have been fully completed, some not even seeing the track fully laid.

The plans for this layout have gone full-circle, initially loosely based on Wolverhampton with the main running lines on an embankment and a lower level steel transfer depot. I was rather disappointed to then see Horseley Fields appear in the limelight, being exactly what I had in mind scenically it blew the wind out of my sail a bit. Not wanting to repeat what the Northants & Cambs group had created I decided to reconsider my plans.

I have always had a hankering for large stations and the approaches to a large station could be modelled in a smaller space. With my interest in the WCML I have always found Birmingham New Street fascinating but that would again require a lot of structures which obscure a lot of the railway, plus Jim Smith-Wright is already doing it in P4 and making a superb job. I also like the grandeur of Carlisle and Preston, so what if a station existed west of Birmingham, perhaps on a more southerly route of the Trent Valley or possibly a similar location to Wolverhampton, or better still it's my train set and I'll do what I like!

When working on my last plan I had been considering names and whilst consulting the great Internet oracle Google, I spotted the name Bridgtown which I believe is part of Cannock. This is similar to a name I had thought of using but didn't quite suit a British town in its spelling; given the nature of my work I have had the opportunity to travel a bit and quite enjoy lying on the beach in the Caribbean. Having been to Barbados a few times I had pondered on the idea of using the name of the capital Bridgetown.

After moving house I realised that I could still have more space, and after further consideration on how the redesigned layout would operate at exhibition, plus the cost of motorising the number or turnouts I would need I decided to return to the simpler track plan.

So I now have a name and a track plan as below:




I had started a fair bit of work off-baseboard, but after moving house and finding there was an awful lot of work to do (considering it's a new-build!) had not had the chance to free up space for the build Bridgtown to commence in anger. I have also developed a soft spot for Southern steam, and with arrival of some of the more recent models had started doodling plans for a small layout to whet the appetite. This 'small' project fairly quickly developed into something much larger, in the form of "Robertsfield" - see build thread here.

On the plus side an opportunity arose that would benefit both layouts - I realised I could use a common subframe and fiddle yard, but in an extended form for Bridgtown. Another benefit would be the use of common control panels for the fiddle yard, where all controls would work for Bridgtown, but some would be redundant for Robertsfield.

At this time, Bridgtown progress remains as off-baseboard items only, plus the ubiquitous acquisition of stock.

Most of the intended constructional techniques, electrical installation etc will be as per Robertsfield, so no real point in repeating it all here.
I am hoping that Wayne Kinney from British Finescale manages to produce the concrete sleepers and flat bottom rail turnout kits and plain line as part of the FiNetrax range, which I would very much like to make use of; the bullhead kits and plain line were a pleasure to work with on Robertsfield and Kimberley Road.


Below are some images of work that was completed for the earlier design, plus some items that will remain in use for the later design.


Original scenic plan - I intend to keep as many of the features as possible in the new version (disregard the fiddle yard):



Hand built track for the original design:






Stock conversions/kit builds:





Conversion of two 150/1 cars into a 150/2 for use in the centre of a 150/1 150/2 three car hybrid:






Card mock-ups of buildings:




Electrics:







Scenic trial layout "Kimberley Road" - probably should start a thread for that as well!:


Online Innovationgame

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2018, 06:38:29 am »
Wow!  There's an awful lot of meat in that project!  Do keep us informed and best of luck.  :beers:
With kind regards
Laurence
My personal website is a bit of a mish mash
www.innovationgame.com

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2018, 12:47:23 pm »
Strewth! Having just read the 'Robertsfield' thread are you creating a layout in every room? ;D
Having been born in the 50s and raised next to the WCML I do have a liking for the AL electrics and AM EMUs. The layout 'Burshaw North Western' depicts the WCML extremely well..........


Offline Pelhama

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2018, 02:54:37 pm »
Strewth! Having just read the 'Robertsfield' thread are you creating a layout in every room? ;D
Having been born in the 50s and raised next to the WCML I do have a liking for the AL electrics and AM EMUs. The layout 'Burshaw North Western' depicts the WCML extremely well..........


Yes Burshaw looks very nice, although I have only seen it online.

Cutting a long story short - I had a large garage at my old house which was going to house Bridgtown (my main interest) - new house has a narrower width garage, but similar length. Had a hankering for a Southern steam layout, which was only to be one or two baseboards and manageable in the house, but me having no self-control ended up expanding into a somewhat larger project! Current garage may get some improvements done to make it suitable for a man-cave with a model railway - otherwise baseboards will be stored at the back of our office when not in use.

I'm glad though that I have got to a stage where the two layouts should complement each other developmentally, rather than being a 'which-will-cross-the-line-first' challenge. I'll be able to run my stock on either at home to keep the stock in-check, but will obviously keep to appropriate stock for exhibitions.

That's the plan - at least this week anyway!

Offline Papyrus

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2018, 03:47:52 pm »

So who, why, what, when & how?

Well I definitely know the answer to the first bit; my name is Mark Pelham living near Faygate in West Sussex and working for Virgin Atlantic Airways as an Maintenance Control Engineer near sunny Gatwick.


Greetings and welcome from just down the road in Haywards Heath!

Aside from that connection, you are obviously way out of my league regarding layout construction, electronics, model building...  :goggleeyes:

Keep posting, and I shall follow your threads with interest and amazement!

Cheers,

Chris
"As I always say, it's a funny old world. Do you always say that? Oh good." (Jill Tweedie)

Offline Pelhama

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2018, 04:47:22 pm »

Aside from that connection, you are obviously way out of my league regarding layout construction, electronics, model building...


Hi Chris,

I firmly consider my self under the category 'Jack of all trades, master of none' - we all start somewhere and build up our experiences and abilities by learning from others and having a go. I have never completed a layout of my own before, only club layouts when I was a member of Crawley MRS (I was a group leader on West Tilgate).

I seem to have a natural leaning towards electrical things, hence starting my working life as an Avionics Apprentice. I don't understand the inner workings of the electronic modules I am using on the layouts, there's no need to, but I know which end of the soldering iron gets hot and can cobble the modules together - sometimes I even get the solder on without bridging across joints! I am yet to fully get my head around how the things get programmed and work together; I find with the MERG modules that I'll read up on what I need, get something working, then return to it sometime later having completely forgotten how I got it working in the first place!

The most useful 'tool' I have found so far, despite what my two threads appear to show, seems to be patience and avoiding shortcuts. Try something at a pace that suits; prepare everything you need beforehand, then give it a go. If it doesn't work out, walk away for a bit and try to identify what went wrong. If in doubt, try it away from what will be the finished article.

I'm quite daunted by the thought of all the weathering I need to do to all my stock. I've done a bit on some On30 stock a few years ago, which being that much larger lends itself to adding detail easily with a brush. My attempts in N have been less positive, although that was a fair few years ago, and without access to an airbrush.

I hope this doesn't come across as 'teaching to suck eggs'; I find it works for me (having learned the hard way on several occasions!) there's rarely ever 'the one right way' to do things, but there can be many wrong ways; hopefully sharing experiences can help others avoid the wrong ways.

Cheers,

Mark

Offline Caz

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2018, 06:04:46 pm »
Impressive stuff Mark, love the hand built track, brings back great memories when I hand built Barnstaple Junction for my ex's layou and following a recent visit by my son I just learnt is still in existence, albeit stored away.

Offline Pelhama

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2018, 09:25:32 am »
Morning All,

I have had a bit of time with the house empty, so have taken the opportunity to do some work on Bridgtown and Robertsfield, in between sessions reorganising the office.
I was not entirely happy with the shape of the track into the station area on my Bridgetown plan, the platforms curves looked too long and seemed to 'drift' rather than a more purposeful 'meander', not like the prototype that it is based on. I'm still not entirely pleased with the straight track on the approaches at the right end, however this is a necessary compromise to fit the available space whilst maintaining the alignment onto the common fiddle yard. Any additional curvature would result in another 's' curve, which would be difficult to justify scenically and avoid looking contrived.




The track alignment through the station is now more in-keeping with Wolverhampton, with a shorter, sharper curve leading into the straight section where the building and over-bridge complex will be, fortunately just the right place for a scenic break.
 
This of course meant another full-size print was required to plonk some stock on and get a better idea of how things might look:









I'm pleased to hear that progress is being made on the flat-bottom FiNetrax range from British Finescale - I hope to use these products once available.
 
The next steps for Bridgtown will be to import the Templot design into Xara and start some more detailed plans for the scenic aspect, which will not be too dissimilar to earlier plans, but will require some tweaking of the canal alignment to avoid baseboard joins.
 
Cheers,
 
Mark

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2018, 09:44:19 am »
Having used Wolverhampton station on several business trips I look forward to seeing this come to life. Please don't take too long, though! :worried:

Offline sp1

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2018, 01:14:56 pm »
Strewth! Having just read the 'Robertsfield' thread are you creating a layout in every room? ;D
Having been born in the 50s and raised next to the WCML I do have a liking for the AL electrics and AM EMUs. The layout 'Burshaw North Western' depicts the WCML extremely well..........


That’s a great looking layout- any idea what size it is, and any other links?

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2018, 09:38:55 pm »
@sp1
It's 12ft x 4ft and more links can be found on YouTube.......
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=burshaw+north+western

Offline Pelhama

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2018, 04:08:12 pm »
Afternoon All,

A quick update before heading in to work tonight...

I have been working on the scenic plans for Bridgtown, adding detail to various aspects. The below images show the progress to date:








I have also started adding plans for the catenary installation, not something that I have given a great deal of thought to yet, but equally I have not been completely disregarding it. My intention is to give the appearance of an installation that has been added around the track, rather than what I expect would happen for modern realignments where I suspect the catenary installation and track alignment/geometry is planned as a whole.



One feature that is nice in Xara, and probably applies to other design packages, is the ability to switch layers' visibility on and off - in the above case hiding the 'ballast' layer shows the catenary a bit more clearly.  I have roughly positioned the masts/portals to ensure the contact wire remains within an appropriate tolerance of the track centre line. I need to do a little more research into the positioning of the anchor points/tension weights for the 'out of running' wires, but I think the basic principle is there now. I also need to finalise the positions of the portals at the left hand end of the layout, but this will be completed once I have the station structures designed and positioned.

Lots more still to add, and it's very time consuming, but I think worthwhile to ensure I get the right feel for the design - so far I think it's heading in the right direction. Once the plans have developed enough, I'll start constructing a scale mock up to get a 3D impression of the design. Since I'm not in a position to actively start building the layout, this does all keep the enthusiasm going!

Cheers,

Mark

Offline Pelhama

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2018, 10:50:14 am »
Morning All,

I have now revised the platform road alignments and updated the Xara scenic plan to incorporate the changes. The scenic plan has now developed, with the inclusion of more building outlines and scenic details:

The left-hand end of the layout has seen little change, apart from correcting the track and platform alignments, although a few detail items have been added:




Plans for the station building and overbridge have been started in a separate file, which will be incorporated in the overall layout plan once developed further. All the buildings are being planned in a similar way – created in separate files, then copied into the overall design:




The centre-left section has seen some realignment of the roads, the addition of a part-derelict office building in the network Rail yard, and a lot more detail added:





The centre-right section has had more detail added to the derelict factory site to resemble the concrete sectional ground cover, old foundations and overgrown appearance:




The right-hand end has seen the development of the industrial area around the railway with the addition of Scalescenes Industrial units for retail outlets behind the viaduct. I also plan to model a building that will be based on a tired-looking structure I spotted between Terminals 3 and 5 when working at Heathrow, that is packed with detail and character.

In front of the viaduct/embankment will be a structure based on the demolished “Bradburn & Wedge” building that used to be on Darlington Street in Wolverhampton. It will be modelled as offices rather than a car retailer, so smaller windows on the ground floor.

Filling in the gap between the main and service roads will be a small car repair/MOT test facility, with all the clutter and paraphernalia that accompanies:




I now have some A3 foam board, so plan to start assembling a scale mock-up fairly soon.

Cheers,

Mark

Offline Pelhama

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Re: Bridgtown
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 11:41:35 pm »
Evening All,

 
I have made some revisions to the RH Rear scenic plan, having considered how the buildings would sit against the backscene, and more importantly how the gaps between the buildings would give a clear view of the backscene.

 
I think that an undisturbed row of buildings as "modern" medium-sized retail outlets (Halfords, Screwfix etc.) should look okay, and will better disguise the backscene/join. Anyway, this is what the plan looks like now:





Still not had a chance to start on the scale model yet, but hope to do so soon.

 
Cheers,

 
Mark

 

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