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Author Topic: Hasford Blacklock - It's just rained!  (Read 33661 times)

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Offline Sprintex

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Hasford Blacklock - It's just rained!
« on: August 19, 2012, 10:09:16 pm »
Welcome to my layout thread  :wave:

Firstly the apologies: Some of you may have followed previous threads on 'other forums' so this is all going to seem a bit deja-vu to start, but at least this intro may serve to refresh your memory. A few of you may have browsed my website and therefore be up-to-date, the same applies. However, for those who have done neither I feel I should start from the beginning and give a quick potted history over a couple of posts, so that I can have a definitive record from the start continuing into the major scenic work starting now that my wiring marathon is coming to an end. Please bear with me  :)


The Layout

I already had a basic design drawn out on MDF sheets when the N Gauge Society Modern Area Group (now inactive) announced a Layout Competition to encourage more diesel/electric era layouts onto the exhibition circuit, with a deadline of the 2009 AGM. I (stupidly!) entered with no hope of having it anywhere near finished, but if I had all the track down and something running that would be something!  ::)

Overall size is 12' x 3' split into two boards, and I wanted a station with bay platforms, rail-served industry, and enough scenery for trains to travel through as this is what N gauge is all about to me. The Anyrail plan I came up with looked like this ...



 ... the area at the top being the fiddle yard area. With some colour in MS Paint it makes more sense ...



So, twin track mainline splitting into four (slow-fast-fast-slow) at the station, branch line with trains running to/from the mainline or terminating in bay platforms, rail-served industry on the right. The blank area to the left will be the edge of town, the exact plans for which hadn't been decided but I have a better mental idea now ;) Sadly I couldn't have a station long enough for my beloved HST to stop at without compromising elsewhere, so only DMU services stop here with Intercity connections being available at a station "further south".

Baseboards are slightly over-engineered being constructed of 3"x2" softwood glued and screwed, with braces made of 2"x1" in a T-shape again glued and screwed together. Very heavy, but believe me it will NOT flex ;)



The top is 6mm MDF (I can hear plywood fans cringing) and the whole lot has been sealed with clear varnish. Here's both boards in the garden being marked out - the strange rectangle on the right is where I had a seperate cardboard template for the station area



I wanted to avoid too much flat baseboard plus I had a very limited space to fit my gradients in, so the main station trackwork was raised by an inch so that the mainline could fall whilst the branchline would rise - giving just enough room for an overbridge. This was done by cookie-cutting the baseboard and raising it on battens



You will see I attempted to use 2mm Warmaline polystyrene sheet as a trackbed - it didn't work as the PVA used to glue it set rock hard so it was a complete waste of time . . . oh well, one lesson learned  :doh:

That's enough for tonight, next time tracklaying begins.


Paul
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 04:33:34 pm by Sprintex »

Offline longbridge

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 04:30:33 am »
Great start Paul, looking forward to seeing update pictures  :thumbsup:
Keep on Smiling
Dave.

swisstony

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 07:48:17 am »
Have I entered a time warp here?
Or did you buy it built and are now disassembling  :confusedsign:

Overthorpe and Out :)

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 08:10:08 am »
Cracking start, Paul. Some good planning and thought gone into the layout :thumbsup:

Offline Sprintex

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 08:49:35 am »
Have I entered a time warp here?
Or did you buy it built and are now disassembling  :confusedsign:

I refer sir to my opening "apologies" paragraph - before launching into what's happening now I'm making sure everyone can see how I got there. Not everyone reads people's websites, I know I don't! :D

Now behave or I'll tell David to put Senokot in your tea at next club night :P


Paul

Offline Greybeema

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 01:30:58 pm »
Paul,

Looks good and a really nice plan - busy but with the context of the scenery.

I am interested in how you do here as I was thinking of a similar sized layout.  I am also interested in the operation of the layout and how that has effected the design of the trackplan for your Fiddle Yard.

From looking at the plan is the limit of your train length c.4-5 feet or slightly longer?  Are trains just going around or is there an out to the Fiddle Yard and back service (hence the scissor crossover)?

As a suggestion for your HST serive - did you consider building a partial station which is half covered by the town.  Therefore you can stop the HST with either the Front or Tail under the town and out of sight?

Anyway good luck with ti and keep the updates rolling in...

:Class414:
Worlds Greatest Suburban Electric - Southern
(Sparky Arcy 3rd Rail Electrickery Traction)

My Layout on NGauge Forum:- http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=12592.msg154278#msg154278

Offline Sprintex

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 10:54:30 pm »
I should explain the operation really, might make more sense.

It's basically a roundy-roundy and most mainline trains will make one circuit at a time from the middle six tracks of the fiddle yard. The scissors crossings at either end enable any train to access either running direction without the need to reverse, although loco-hauled trains will obviously need moving around manually to travel the other way. The outer two tracks are for 2 or 4 car DMUs to/from the platform lines of the station, and these DMUs will sometimes head off up the branchline which has its own raised fiddle tracks (top right). My two "old" blue/grey 108s will run a branch service into the bay platforms.

The central roads of the fiddle yard will comfortably hold a 6' train, the outer of the six not much less so a 2+8 HST or IC225 set fit easily at five foot. ;) I did consider the "half-hidden" station idea but then to do it properly would involve proper lighting (even B.R didn't expect passengers to stand in pitch blackness on an underground platform!) which would show up the fact there's a 90 degree curve under there. :D I have seen other layouts with the idea but preferred to make mine unserved by Intercity services.


Paul

Offline Greybeema

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2012, 09:10:56 am »
Sounds to be similar to what I am planning (I have to get the Man Cave built first though).  My location however is going to be based around Northfleet Cement Works in Kent.

Thanks for explaining Paul.  Fiddle Yard design is so key to the operation but so often forgotten about..  So I watch with avid interest..


:Class414:
Worlds Greatest Suburban Electric - Southern
(Sparky Arcy 3rd Rail Electrickery Traction)

My Layout on NGauge Forum:- http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=12592.msg154278#msg154278

Offline bluedepot

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2012, 08:09:47 pm »
nice plan!

i wish i had put a scissor crossing in the fiddle yard.... what make is it? is it easy to wire for dcc operation????

cheers

tim


Offline Sprintex

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 09:50:58 pm »
Thanks  ;)

The scissor crossings are Peco code 55 as is all the trackwork. I know there are lots of different ways to wire these things using Hex frog-juicers (sounds like something to make amphibian smoothies to me) and the like but I stuck to the recommended method in the comprehensive instructions using a 4PDT switch. The switch is only needed when traversing the crossing diagonally anyway, straight-through routes are unaffected, and the switches fit in nicely with my mimic panel  ;)

As with points the wiring for DCC is no different to DC, the only things I did was to fit insulated rail-joiners to ALL tracks and solder my own feeds, plus droppers to the four point-frogs rather than rely on point-blade contact.


Paul
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 09:53:34 pm by Sprintex »

Offline Dock Shunter

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2012, 10:05:39 pm »
Thanks  ;)

 I know there are lots of different ways to wire these things using Hex frog-juicers (sounds like something to make amphibian smoothies to me)

          :laughabovepost: :D :thumbsup:

Offline Sprintex

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2012, 04:11:47 pm »
Update No. 2 - Trackwork  :)

There are many methods to track-laying as we know, but I chose to avoid fiddly pins and glue my track down instead. Each piece of track was temporarily screwed to the board with self-tappers between the sleepers, and holes marked for droppers and point-motor pins making sure they avoided the bracing below. Once the dropper wires had been soldered to the underside of the rails the area of board was pasted with PVA glue, avoiding areas of tiebar movement on points, and the track piece fitted using the screws again for alignment but being careful not to squash the track into the trackbed. In the case of long flexi sections the track was also weighted down with household food tins (cat food to be precise nice and heavy!) to ensure good adhesion.



This was especially important on the S-curves on the north board as these have also been super-elevated to provide a realistic 'cant' to the track as seen on most high speed lines. This was done by putting strips of old credit card under the outside sleeper edges, the thickness of which was calculated to be perfect to give a prototypical 4 degree angle in N gauge  ;)



Here's the North end done, apart from a couple of sidings in the dairy yard, and the branch line which couldn't be laid until the mainline under the bridge was ballasted and weathered. I have used concrete-sleeper track for the two centre lines in the fiddle yard to make them easier to set apart from the other tracks at a glance.



 . . . and a long shot which hopefully shows the various gradients and overall track layout



Once the trackwork had been inspected by the Health & Safety Executive (Feline Branch), probably wondering where all his food had gone . . .



 . . . it was time for some playing serious track-testing, again overseen by the H&SE (FB) as you will see and hear  ::)

Hasford Blacklock - track testing

and a chance to run-in Mrs Sprintex' christmas present before she got it - Graham Farish 'Flying Scotsman' No.4472 to be used as a Railtour Special

Flying Scotsman - N Gauge

She's Scottish, it had to be done!  :D

PS: Sorry about the bad-quality vids, this was before I discovered the delights of Windows Movie Maker.


Paul
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 04:13:47 pm by Sprintex »

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2012, 06:58:57 pm »
Nice work, Paul. Especially like the super-elevation :thumbsup:

Now stop playing trains and get back to it :D

Offline bluedepot

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2012, 10:19:05 pm »
that looks great!

i wish i had superelevation... too late now though as i ballasted...


tim

Offline Sprintex

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Re: Hasford Blacklock - ECML Sectorisation
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2012, 06:16:00 pm »
Update No. 3 - Ballasting, track details & an AGM!

Once the track had been tested for running quality I was faced with everyone's favourite jobs - rail-painting and ballasting :D This was also the time to add in what I consider essential track details like concrete cable trunking and orange under-track ducting.

Concrete trunking is available commercially, but isn't cheap and to me looks a little too toy-like. If you look at the real railway the concrete trunking in the 'cess' is usually very weathered and almost blends in with the aged ballast. My 'cheapo' version is simply made from matches: cut off the flammable head, make a shallow incision with a craft knife across the middle, then two more incisions in the middle of each half so it now looks like four blocks. Lay lots of these end-to-end then give a liberal coat of concrete paint.

Orange ducting that is used to protect cables laid under the tracks had me stumped for a while trying to find something thin enough as orange 7/0.2 wire was too thick. Orange thread was one idea, but was too fragile. I settled on the orange strand from telephone cable, simply scrape off the white banding with a fingernail (or if like me you have none because you bite them, a craft knife ;) ), and use a heated sewing needle to melt suitable holes in the track webbing between sleepers. Curve the length of wire slightly so that the ends will protrude from the ballast and insert under the rails between the sleepers. The end result can be seen below.



Rail sides were painted with Humbrol enamels, mixing red rust and brown shades together until it roughly resembled what I saw whilst waiting at the station every morning. I also noticed that far from ballast being neat and even (as is depicted on a lot of 'mainline' layouts) it was quite rough with bits along the centre of the track, and pronounced shoulders of ballast abutting, and sometimes covering, the sleeper ends. A bit of research confirmed this to be the same back in the 80s/90s so I set out to recreate this. As it turned out it was easier than I thought! Lay ballast roughly, then drag one finger along the centre of the track to push any surplus over the rails, then drag said finger along the rail tops with reasonable pressure and hey presto one ballast shoulder ;) Extra roughness was created in areas away from the track using a fingertip and a paint brush handle, then the whole lot glued by the time-honoured method of misting with water followed by lots of PVA/water/WUL mixture applied with a large dropper. Extra care was taken around points, and every point was operated back and forth every 15 minutes for six hours to make sure they didn't stick . . . none did  :laugh2:



A couple of coats of Railmatch Sleeper Grime was sprayed over all the scenic track areas and you will notice below I remembered to assemble and fit my Metcalfe platforms BEFORE ballasting.



By now the NGS AGM was only two weeks away so in an effort not to present a flat board in the competition the branchline was laid and ballasted including the bridge over the mainline, lots of plywood was added in the shape of end boards and back boards to frame the layout, and some profiled fascias for the front, plus a flat area for the town and the sloping "rock face" that covers the fiddle yard. The few buildings I had assembled were added (Metcalfe station building, loco shed for dairy shunter, and a basic scratchbuilt production facility constructed over one sleepless night) plus any details I could quickly throw at it! In that mad fortnight Mrs Sprintex and I also managed to get the north end hills built from polystyrene and painted brown complete with concrete tunnel mouth, a car-park and station approach road built, and a rudimentary bit of wiring so we could operate some of the points on the scenic side. Finally we ran out of time, the evening before the AGM being spent trying to DCC-convert my Farish HST set.

This was the 'point control' on the day - touch the bare brown wire to the appropriate yellow wire!


The rest is more easily illustrated by the video made on the day of the AGM. Sorry for the lack of variation of trains but this was all I had DCC'd at the time!

NGS AGM 2009 - Hasford Blacklock

The idea was to give the best impression of what it will be like when it's finished. It must have worked as we got 2nd place out of over a dozen entries  :claphappy:


Paul

 

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