N Gauge Forum

General Category => N Gauge Discussion => Trams => Topic started by: Balloon_726 on June 24, 2012, 11:11:38 PM

Title: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 24, 2012, 11:11:38 PM
Hello all, thought id share my new exhibition project with you, Thornton Gate.

Before you read on, please bear in mind that this project is only about 50% finished and the photos uploaded are of the early work and not the end product!

Right.... I've been modelling BR modern image in 00 for about 10 years now, and few years back I showed my former 00 exhibition layout Headington Junction. Well a lot has changed since then, graduating from Uni being one of them!

I have for a while now wanted to get back onto the exhibition scene, but was getting tired of 00, and really felt i wanted to do something new and very different.... the answer, DCC fitted Blackpool Trams in N gauge! What a challenge!

Ive never been a tram or bus fan so this was something very new, I did however in 2007 have an opportunity to visit Cleveleys, and whilst there I visited the P'way sidings at Thornton Gate. Enginnering sidings have always interested me and so I took a few photos, not really thinking i would one day build a layout based on them.... In many ways im glad i did take these shots, as the next time I visited the area, April of this year (2012) it had all but gone as Thornton Gate had been upgraded along with the rest of the Blackpool tramway.

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Above: Views of the p'way yard at Thornton Gate as it was in 2007

With these images and a large amount of research, I started late last year my new exhibition layout Thornton Gate in N gauge... and hit problems!
I was amazed that apart from the rather small Oxford Die-cast tram and infamous matchbox typhoo tea tram there was nothing available... So I decided to make my own, as you do.

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Starting with the Bachmann brill trolly as a base, I first had to figure out a way to fit a 6-pin DCC chip, the brills having a live split chassis this was less then easy and some rather expensive lessons were learnt the hard way, but after a while I found a way that worked as was able to convert a small number of brill chassises over to DCC.

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Above: A standard and a DCC converted chassis.

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Above: 3 more converted DCC brill chassis!

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Above: The underside of the DCC converted Brill chassis, showing the self adhesive copper tape used for the bogie pickups.

Next where the body shells, for now I've picked two prototypes, the Jubilee class and my favourite the English Electric Balloon class. Using some drawings and a bit of guess work, I drew up the two classes on computer before printing onto card then using these as templates to cut sheet plastic card then after a few weeks of work created the first master prototypes in N gauge.

The next step was to create moulds from these masters to create clear cast resin duplicates. As this was something Id never done before my girlfriend offered to help, and got me some time at her uni workshops in stoke-on-trent, where the toolings where made for each tram.

I then used clear cast resin to cast a number of tram shells, so far ive only painted 2 and these still require pantograths and transfers, both of which im still to make from scratch.

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Above: Freshly casted balloon trams sitting on converted brill chassises.

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Above: Painted Jubilee and Balloon trams (still not finished) stand next to a matchbox typhoo N gauge(ish) tram, showing the size in comparison.

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Above: The advantage of DCC! what will become Balloon 726 is seen with its directional lighting in operation with fellow class mates yet to be painted, but all fully operational, all stabled on Thornton Gate's centre road .

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Above: A close up of 726, which will look so much better once its been finished and has its front bumpers and pantograth fitted!

As for buildings, Im slowly working my way though these, and due to the nature of the buildings around this area have been designing my own card kits from scratch, the first of which is for Thornton Gate's distinctive pink station house seen here in a more recent photo taken in April 2012.

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And my card version of the building in place on the layout, again like everything else not finished yet..

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Right well I think that's about it for now... here's one more shot of the whole layout, which I admit is somewhat chaotic at the moment, havent even began to build the scenics, currently the colours have been mostly blocked in waiting for scatters to be applied and lot of weathering!

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Due to the cost involved in creating tooling and developing kits I am looking at making available some of the card kits and resin tram shells if there is enough interest, which already I believe there is.

Thornton Gate will be making its exhibition début next month (July 2012) more details shortly, and i'll keep this post updated as the work continues.

Hope you like what you've seen , and thanks for reading! (PS as this is an old post the update will be coming in a mater of days if not hours!)
Title: Ok time to bring things up to date!
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 24, 2012, 11:30:26 PM
Have been really busy, have had a lot of help from my team.... (my brother and girlfriend) so here are some recent photos showing our progress.

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Above: No change for 726 at the moment, finishing it, a job for next week, the world around it has changed quite a bit !!!!!

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Above: Looking down from the station area, there will be some buildings going in the space on the right hand side.

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Above: The end of the yard is where the P'way department kept rail and track supplies, they also had and still do an old bus for staff transport.

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Above: During my 2007 visit to Thornton Gate I photographed some of the more distinctive features of the yard such as the crane, now I didn't make this model, it was my brother who build it from scratch for me mainly due to time, and be be fair he's done a really good job!

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Above: Bending the rules again... I thought it would be nice to link back to Thornton Gate's past when mainline wagons would have visited the yard ...So the idea of the one that got left behind!

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Above: Talking of wagons, im adding a few runners to the layout, the excuse being there ex-BR being used by the onsite contractor who has also bought there own shunter locomotive on site... this kind of thing has happened on other tramways, so im saying its happening here

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Above: Soon to gain its owners logos on its cab sides, a private industrial class 04 shunter sits by the platform in the yard ( it still needs to be chipped which is going to be fun!).

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Ok last one for now, the train spotters garden complete with wife on bench and class 47 cab! again not a copy in real life but the hedge and garden is prototypical to the location, I just like adding little details that would be posable and help make the layout more interesting, if for what ever reason a trams not on the move.

Right i'll up date again in a few days with some work bench content, thats all for now!

Feed back and questions welcome :-)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: K-N-Gauge on June 25, 2012, 01:03:16 AM
Looking great that layout :)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Mustermark on June 25, 2012, 01:30:26 AM
Excellent work. Love the vegetation. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: point blank on June 25, 2012, 07:07:43 AM
Your layout prototype might get even more interesting if the Lancastrian Transport Trust get their wishes. see http://www.ltt.org.uk/thornton-gate-project/ (http://www.ltt.org.uk/thornton-gate-project/) for more details.

There have been a lot of changes to the Blackpool Tramway lately with the majority of the classic trams sold off to make way for the Flexity trams. Sadly (in my opinion) it has lost a lot of it's appeal and is now just another modern tramway like we see in the cities around the country.
Your layout helps to retain that charm that the tramway had until a couple of years ago. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: longbridge on June 25, 2012, 08:32:27 AM
Great looking layout and rolling stock, always wondered what the mechanism was like under the Bachmann Brill Trolleys.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Tank on June 25, 2012, 09:58:39 AM
This is looking really good, and I look the photo's you've taken for comparison.  Have you got any more?!  :)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on June 25, 2012, 12:45:33 PM
Unusual subject being modelled very well :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Pete Mc on June 25, 2012, 06:17:07 PM
It is a unique layout,thats for sure.Although there are a few tram layouts on the exhibition circuit,I can't recall seeing any that depict the tramway at Blackpool.There was one featured on Model Town,but that was in oo gauge and was not an exhibition layout.This one featured the layout in a nighttime setting during the Blackpool Illuminations season,with fully illuminated trams and building as well.
A couple of members of our club are doing a Blackpool tram layout,in oo gauge,unfortunately.This will be of the area around the Tower and between the Metropole Hotel(Butlins last time I went) and Central Pier,somewhat compressed,I haster to add.We calculated that to model the tower,we'd need to construct something about seven foot tall,so that won't be happening I guess.
Which exhibition is it making its debut at?

Pete
 :Class37: :NGaugersRule:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 25, 2012, 09:49:40 PM
Your layout prototype might get even more interesting if the Lancastrian Transport Trust get their wishes. see [url]http://www.ltt.org.uk/thornton-gate-project/[/url] ([url]http://www.ltt.org.uk/thornton-gate-project/[/url]) for more details.

There have been a lot of changes to the Blackpool Tramway lately with the majority of the classic trams sold off to make way for the Flexity trams. Sadly (in my opinion) it has lost a lot of it's appeal and is now just another modern tramway like we see in the cities around the country.
Your layout helps to retain that charm that the tramway had until a couple of years ago. :thumbsup:


Hi yeah I've been aware of this proposal for some time, however im not sure how it fits in the with other plan to re-use the old depot at Fleetwood as a museum, but any how it will be interesting to find out!

Also thank you for your kind comments, just wanting to do something different :-)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 25, 2012, 09:57:53 PM
This is looking really good, and I look the photo's you've taken for comparison.  Have you got any more?!  :)

Not as many as id like tbh  :-\ I wish i'd taken more in 2007 but at the time it really wasn't thinking about building the place as a layout. In April this year (2012) for the start of the new tramway i went back for the first time since 2007 to find Thornton Gate a very different place, luckily the buildings where still there but the yard and original track plan had all but gone :-(

This time I did take a lot of photographs, which have helped I could upload them if thats of any interest?
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 25, 2012, 10:08:25 PM
Great looking layout and rolling stock, always wondered what the mechanism was like under the Bachmann Brill Trolleys.

Thanks very much.... in answer to your question not bad :-) the chassises run nosily but are of a very simple centre motor split live chassis design, this dose lead to DCC conversion being an issue but I have managed it plus with working lighting as well.

The only other issues are they are cheap.... the motor runs for about 100 hours before burn out and thats if the gears dont split before then.... To combat this i've been buying up 'scrappers' off ebay and stripping them for spares to keep my fleet running in the future, also being American the chassis are some what wide, meaning my casts have had to be a little wide as well :-/

Other then this its a good unit and I can recommend it  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 25, 2012, 10:19:48 PM
It is a unique layout,thats for sure.Although there are a few tram layouts on the exhibition circuit,I can't recall seeing any that depict the tramway at Blackpool.There was one featured on Model Town,but that was in oo gauge and was not an exhibition layout.This one featured the layout in a nighttime setting during the Blackpool Illuminations season,with fully illuminated trams and building as well.
A couple of members of our club are doing a Blackpool tram layout,in oo gauge,unfortunately.This will be of the area around the Tower and between the Metropole Hotel(Butlins last time I went) and Central Pier,somewhat compressed,I haster to add.We calculated that to model the tower,we'd need to construct something about seven foot tall,so that won't be happening I guess.
Which exhibition is it making its debut at?

Pete
 :Class37: :NGaugersRule:

Hi Pete, yeah there been a few, but nothing of Blackpool in N! I really wanted to do something new and different, a new challenge! Also a lot of the tramway models ive seen , seem to do the whole 'little cobble town' scene which i wanted to get away from, Thornton Gate is very diffrent being more like a light railway , with passing loops and of course the yard which is the main reason i decided to model the location.

When i was last in Blackpool my self and my very supportive girlfriend stayed at the Metropole in a room over looking the pair and tower area, so I know what your talking about, and wish your club well in the development.

If you do want to do N gauge I am now casting up some more shells for members of this forum, so some will be available to buy soon

As for the first exhibition, its going to be at Llandrinio village Hall, Powys, Wales, SY22 6SB on the A4393 road. This is a new and very small show but its a perfect starting ground for a new layout, other shows will follow!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: PLD on June 26, 2012, 09:28:58 AM
It is a unique layout,thats for sure.Although there are a few tram layouts on the exhibition circuit,I can't recall seeing any that depict the tramway at Blackpool.There was one featured on Model Town,but that was in oo gauge and was not an exhibition layout.This one featured the layout in a nighttime setting during the Blackpool Illuminations season,with fully illuminated trams and building as well.
Blackpool is by far the most modelled Tramway with many versions over the years, however as you say 99% are 00 and most are set either on the prom or the Fleetwood street-running section, so the urban wasteland that is TG, in N gauge is rather different...  :thumbsup:

There are more model tramways around than you might think, it's just that you don't tend to see many at 'mainstream' model railway shows. There are a few Exhibition Managers who wouldn't included them regardless, but a more significant factor is an attitude from some tramway modellers that they "don't do railway shows, they only do tramway events" which I think is a shame and stops some rather nice modelling reaching a wider audience...

Paul
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: PLD on June 26, 2012, 09:44:36 AM
I've been aware of this proposal for some time, however im not sure how it fits in the with other plan to re-use the old depot at Fleetwood as a museum
Short answer to that one is "it doesn't!"

The Thornton Gate and Copse Road projects are being progressed by rival groups (LTT and Friends of Fleetwood respectively), each with their own agendas. Just about anyone with knowledge of or interest in the Blackpool Tramway would say the best thing for the trams would be a single joint venture rather than splitting resourses and the potential audience, but politics and a few over-inflated egos would seem to prevent that in the foreseeable future...

Paul
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 10, 2012, 02:10:08 AM
Hi All, Sorry a few days has turned into a few weeks and still no post or update :-(

Im working round the clock to get Thornton Gate ready for this weekends Exhibition (14th July 2012) EEAK!

Things have moved on a lot since i took the photos on here , the tram fleet is almost ready, so i'll post before this Saturday and give the info on the Exhibition again ... if any of you are in mid Wales or the West Midlands it looks like its going to be a good show !

Stand by , more following shortly! :-) 
Title: Its SHOW TIME!! (well almost!)
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 11, 2012, 10:04:22 PM
Its SHOW TIME!! (well almost!)

Hi all, as promised here is the final pre show update from Thornton Gate...

First off, these arrived in the post and for a new exhibition its looking really good!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-44026900-1342037313.jpg)

Above: The 2012 Lllandrinio exhibition poster thats been appering in shropshire and welsh border areas for the past few months, whats scary is the they advertised Blackpool Trams on the poster! so I have had to be ready for show day....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-28614600-1342037490_thumb.jpg)

Above: Highlighted, my entry in the show booklet, as you can see quite a number of layouts will be present as well as trade support.

In all im really looking forward to the day as its going to be the first show ive done since 2008 when i had my modern image '00'... oh how things have changed!

Right enough about that now to look at progress on the layout... the lighting is a bit different from the other photos, this is because the layout is now in my living room as we've getting ready to go on Saturday


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-34178800-1342037716.jpg)

Above: Green and creme Balloon and Jubilee on the up line at Thronton Gate Station.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-73110400-1342037811.jpg)

Above: Another view of my green and creme Jubilee (762) returning though Thronton Gate from Fleetwood

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-97035000-1342038006.jpg)

Above: over view shot of Balloons  710 and 708 side by side in the station area, in this shot 710 (in Metro pink livery is about to move into the sidings at Thornton gate.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-36898900-1342038220.jpg)

Above: Due to a busy centre road, Balloon 710 unusually has to take refuge in Thronton Gate P'way yard for its crew change and run back to Starr Gate

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-40123600-1342038491.jpg)

Above: At the top of the yard is the track panel storage area, where a crew is working with a JCB to break up a redundant track panel

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-89492800-1342038611.jpg)

Above: An additional p'way crew are working across from the station area, replacing track side fence panels

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-34206300-1342038441.jpg)

Above: A busy centre road with Balloon 726 and Jubilee 761 occupying

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-67987600-1342039017.jpg)

Above: Another view of 726

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-03076600-1342039080.jpg)

Above: Now in full ad livery, orange 761 makes its escape after shunting back into the station area it now takes to the avoiding up loop as it makes its way forward to Fleetwood.

Right well that is it for now! Doors open at Llandrinio at 10AM this Saturday (14th July 2012) for Thornton Gate's first public show, hopefully it will work and we'll get there in one piece!

Post show update will follow with pictures of the day! Maybe see you there?

Thanks for reading :-)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on July 11, 2012, 10:11:45 PM
Great pics, and good luck for the show :thumbsup:
I hope Wynsor Shoes are sponsoring you given your advertising for them. Wouldn't hurt them to cough up some petrol money (or comfy shoes :evil:)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: SD35 on July 11, 2012, 10:15:38 PM
This is a great concept.  Nice to see that distinctive concrete fencing too.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 11, 2012, 10:33:13 PM
Great pics, and good luck for the show :thumbsup:
I hope Wynsor Shoes are sponsoring you given your advertising for them. Wouldn't hurt them to cough up some petrol money (or comfy shoes :evil:)

Cheers.... sadly not.. it dose leave a dilemma as what to do when modelling a prototype which has a rolling billboard as its livery... but oh well, thanks all the same :thumbsup: 
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: EtchedPixels on July 11, 2012, 10:35:44 PM
For Pantographs btw you might want to look at some of the Japanese ones. The ranges cover a large number of styles including a lot of traditional "tram" style ones.

Alan
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Mustermark on July 11, 2012, 11:27:59 PM
Love that Balloon in Green and Cream. Great photo too. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Donkey on July 12, 2012, 09:35:22 PM
Terrific modelling, I hope the show goes well  :thumbsup:

Marty
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: longbridge on July 12, 2012, 09:58:37 PM
Very nice series of photos, always nice to see something different  :thumbsup:
Title: Thornton Gate FIRST SHOW OVER!!!!!
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 16, 2012, 11:47:00 PM
Ok... Show over!!!

The Show was very successful so big thank you to my team.... in a few days i'll up date with some more info and photos, but for now please enjoy this short video taken on the day.


http://www.youtube.com/embed/YN0Mcokmz9k (http://www.youtube.com/embed/YN0Mcokmz9k)

PS at the end of the video there is a web url to another forum site, I run the Thornton Gate blog parallel witht he same content but have had a much better response here tbh   :thumbsup:

Anyway enjoy  ;D
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Pengi on July 17, 2012, 05:59:20 AM
Love the video - thanks for posting this
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Mustermark on July 17, 2012, 12:28:17 PM
Very nice video. Great to see it running.  Glad the show went well. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on July 17, 2012, 06:29:51 PM
I can only agree with Pendy and Mustermark. Well done!
Title: 2012 Llandrinio Exhibition Official Update
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 22, 2012, 10:43:39 PM
​Had a fantasic day in Manchester on Saturday... will update with some bits from that shortly, but now as promised some photos from Thornton Gates first outing on the 14th of July at Llandrinio.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=192719)
Above: Set up and ready to go

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-64033300-1342991546.jpg)
Above: Thornton Gate presentation signs and lableing

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-24878100-1342991542.jpg)
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-75305800-1342991544.jpg)
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-19563300-1342991515.jpg)
Above: Views from the station area

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-00861900-1342991513.jpg)
Above: Some of the impressive p'way road kit my brother got ready for the show. Also note the LMS brake on the back line

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-04914400-1342991511.jpg)
Above: The surviving Brill trolly masquerading as an engineering tram, which failed :-( so stood at the back of the yard all day, It will be replaced soon with a proper prototype so its days are numbered.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-72995000-1342991499.jpg)
Above: Balloon 708 did venture onto the yard during the day.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-15728400-1342991502.jpg)
Above: I did get the chance to operate my own layout during the show!

Below: Only to have a little incident, which i was going to cover up, but Sam insisted was photographed and shared with you....
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-34935800-1342991495.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-04408200-1342991509.jpg)
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-62070200-1342991506.jpg)
Above: General shots of the layout and stock during the day

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-67130800-1342991535.jpg)
Above: hmm our plot for the day... erm an 'N" missing in Thornton? :-P

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-26754200-1342991497.jpg)
Above: And finally... Our escape , after a very successful first show. My thanks to James Postans and Sam Williamson for there help during the day.

Thornton Gate is back out with its second team on September 1st at Ludlow model railway exhibition more details to follow.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on July 23, 2012, 07:58:08 AM
Glad you had a good show (apart from the one incident) and I hope you had a lot of interest
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: housey_d444 on July 23, 2012, 06:00:53 PM
Love it!

Being a large shareholder in a blackpool tram i would defo have a couple for my n gauge tramway which i'm building.

Scott
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 23, 2012, 08:09:32 PM
Love it!

Being a large shareholder in a blackpool tram i would defo have a couple for my n gauge tramway which i'm building.

Scott

Thanks, sounds really interesting, will it be as a real location or factious?
Also out of interest which tram are you a shareholder in?

If you would like some of my kits then PM me, Im making orders now for other forum members, with my production run extended into October 
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: longbridge on July 23, 2012, 10:08:07 PM
Good for you I am pleased things went well for you and hope you make the layout available for others to enjoy  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: K-N-Gauge on July 23, 2012, 11:08:11 PM
glad it went well :)
Title: Trams Almost ready for shipping!!!!!!
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 25, 2012, 03:51:22 PM
Thanks for all the interest and comments... the good news is from this weekend the first N gauge trams will be shipped out over the next 4 weeks... so if your on my books i'll be PMing you soon for contact and payment details...

After Manchester and the response ive invested in ramping up production, so im more then happy to take new orders with expected delivery time mid September

Also first look at a complete balloon kit as will be shipped out... I really like the box :-) Its all come together really well,

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-03144500-1343226306_thumb.jpg)

Watch your in boxes, I'll be in touch soon!

Tom
Title: Re: Trams Almost ready for shipping!!!!!!
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 01, 2012, 11:18:36 AM
Thanks for all the interest and comments... the good news is from this weekend the first N gauge trams will be shipped out over the next 4 weeks... so if your on my books i'll be PMing you soon for contact and payment details...

After Manchester and the response ive invested in ramping up production, so im more then happy to take new orders with expected delivery time mid September

Also first look at a complete balloon kit as will be shipped out... I really like the box :-) Its all come together really well,

([url]http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-03144500-1343226306_thumb.jpg[/url])

Watch your in boxes, I'll be in touch soon!

Tom


Now a site sponsor ;D so as above ... first orders have now been dispatched!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Mustermark on August 01, 2012, 11:39:06 AM
Very much looking forward to receiving mine. Many thanks. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on August 05, 2012, 01:36:50 AM
Just clicked on the advert out of curiosity... wow, that's quite a journey! Most unusual and totally impressive. Love the layout, and best of luck with your business venture!!! :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Pengi on August 05, 2012, 08:04:06 AM
Just clicked on the advert out of curiosity... wow, that's quite a journey! Most unusual and totally impressive. Love the layout, and best of luck with your business venture!!! :thumbsup:

Same goes for me too :thumbsup:
Title: When Team Thornton Gate visited the Manchester model tram exhibition 2012
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 11, 2012, 10:20:49 PM
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2012/post-15873-0-49720600-1344718544.jpg)
Update Time..... When Team Thornton Gate visited the Manchester model tram exhibition 2012.

Hi all sorry its been a few weeks, but have been really busy, with work and getting Thornton Gate ready for its next public outing on September 1st....

Anyway thought id share a few photos from our trip to Manchester.

Had a really good day.. made a lot of new contacts and met some forum members, Didn't taken anything of the exhibition but did of the Brush Car at heaton park tramway, were we spent a bit of time during the day.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2012/post-15873-0-83887800-1344718945.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2012/post-15873-0-03098800-1344718948.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2012/post-15873-0-44845900-1344718950.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2012/post-15873-0-31703100-1344732985.jpg)

Big thanks to Paul and the staff at heaton park, for there help and for taking us for a ride on the brush car :-) .

Right now for developments....

As already mentioned Thornton Gate is next going out to the Ludlow exhibition on September 1st, I'll post more details soon...

Myself and Sam (my brother) are now experimenting with Kato chassises as a replacement for Bachmann bills, its early days but so far very impressed!

On the modelling front , Im working on a brush car, and conversion for my balloon to a flush front 'Millennium' class and/or as a modern updated balloon, looking at doing a version of 700 in flexy pink ... which hopfully will be ready for Ludlow.

My Farish 04 will also hopefully be chipped and ready allowing some shunting movements and operation in Thornton Gate yard during the show.

Im also going to get the missing buildings in such as the houses, sheds and sub station which are missing, and maybe even the wires up..... photos will follow...

Thanks for reading - more to follow
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on August 12, 2012, 01:26:57 AM
I love this story! You have an avid reader here in Oz..... keep it coming! :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 12, 2012, 02:08:26 AM
I love this story! You have an avid reader here in Oz..... keep it coming! :thumbsup:


cheers thanks very much, its been nice to have such comments and appreciation from all over the world!

Dont know if you've seen this, but there is a video online of Thornton Gate

Thornton Gate Tramway at Llandrinio model rail exhibition 2012 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN0Mcokmz9k#ws)
Title: Ludlow Exhibition on Saturday 1st of September
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 24, 2012, 10:07:44 PM
Right... Finally got back to working on a few improvements for Thornton Gate ahead of its next public outing to Ludlow in less then 2 weeks time!

Rolling stock wise, Ive started creating new ends to convert my balloon cast into a millennium car...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2012/post-15873-0-22327900-1345841125.jpg)

Above: Taking a hacksaw to a balloon, and replacing with new flush ends, seen here the master for the new ends which have now been made into a mould and casted.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2012/post-15873-0-32350500-1345841337.jpg)

Also in the works (be it in paper prototyping stage only) the Brush Car, im still trying to get the shape right before committing to plastic.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2012/post-15873-0-44747900-1345841430.jpg)

And finally on this small update , I have began experimenting with superb Kato chassises, the size is just amazing, there really easy to cut and lengthen, as well as custom chip, Currently im still trilling a small fleet of these chassises, but looking at it all ready, the days of Bachmann Brill  trolly split chassises may be numbered, as when funds allow i might move the whole fleet over to Kato units...

Anyway Thornton Gate is out at the Ludlow (Shropshire) Exhibition on Saturday September the 1st, at the St johns ambulance building in the town, doors open at 10am....

Failing that, Thornton Gate will make its 3rd and last planned appearance of 2012, at the 'puffin rail day' exhibition at Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury (Shropshire) on Saturday 24th of November.. more details will following on this one nearer the time...

The layout is currently in my office at work being prepped for Ludlow :-) which is quite cool .... however ive not got a lot done on it so far, as everyone else in the building has had to come down and have a look... with comments like "ohhh have you got a model railway in there?" and "dose it work and can i have a look?" still could be worse!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: moogle on August 25, 2012, 01:32:51 PM
This is one C 8) 8) L tramway layout!  :thumbsup:
I lived in Layton for a year and was in Blackpool most days so got very used to the trams.
You've captured the area well as I often caught the tram into Fleetwood to visit the market.
I'll be following this thread from now for sure!  :)

On the subject of chassis, Kato is lightyears away from the Bachmann Brill chassis.
I had a tramway on a layout years ago and used a Bachmann PCC streetcar on it with 2 bodies 'cut & shut' into one.
The chassis eventually just gave me so many problems I had to replace it. Sold it on with the layout thankfully.
So yes, replace the ones you have with Kato and you'll get a lifetime of trouble free tramway fun!  :bounce:


Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: bluedepot on August 25, 2012, 10:03:17 PM
how about adding a modemo hiroshima 5000 tram and painting it in flexity blackpool livery????

くねくね走るGREENMOVER MODEMO製広島電鉄5000形 2011年鉄道模型ショウ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyJZsKOEY6g#)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 25, 2012, 11:10:31 PM
This is one C 8) 8) L tramway layout!  :thumbsup:
I lived in Layton for a year and was in Blackpool most days so got very used to the trams.
You've captured the area well as I often caught the tram into Fleetwood to visit the market.
I'll be following this thread from now for sure!  :)

On the subject of chassis, Kato is lightyears away from the Bachmann Brill chassis.
I had a tramway on a layout years ago and used a Bachmann PCC streetcar on it with 2 bodies 'cut & shut' into one.
The chassis eventually just gave me so many problems I had to replace it. Sold it on with the layout thankfully.
So yes, replace the ones you have with Kato and you'll get a lifetime of trouble free tramway fun!  :bounce:

Cheers thanks for your comment, thats good to know  :D

Yeah have been really impressed with the Kato chassis, Im going to continue with Brill trolly chassises, as im still going to be running the existing working fleet for now, plus i will continue to develop and support the unit with my kits.... however for a dcc exhibition fleet, its got to be kato for now on me thinks  :hmmm:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 25, 2012, 11:13:50 PM
how about adding a modemo hiroshima 5000 tram and painting it in flexity blackpool livery????

くねくね走るGREENMOVER MODEMO製広島電鉄5000形 2011年鉄道模型ショウ ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyJZsKOEY6g#[/url])


Hi, its an interesting thought, i have been looking at similar rtr products, not sure.... if or when my tramway modelling takes the plunge into post 2011/2012 might look at it again... however im more likely to develop my own from scratch if im honest  ::)
Title: Kato chassis first run!
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 25, 2012, 11:57:14 PM
Following on from my update the other day, my first modified and chipped Kato chassis, was tested for the first time today, and it worked very well...

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/thumb_1874.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1874)
Above: the first heavily modified and lengthened kato chassis, complete with manually wired 8 pin Hornby DCC decoder, and a lot of lead to help weight it down.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-15873-0-04914400-1342991511.jpg)
Above: for those of you that may remember, stand in Brill p'way trolly 753 failed the night before the layouts first outing, and so spent the whole show dumped at the back of the yard....

Now fitted with the new kato chassis and being used as a 'test bed' for future conversions, 753 retunred to use and has been on test today, complete with trailer wagon.

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/thumb_1880.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1880)

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/thumb_1882.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1882)
Above: 753 taking 5 minutes in Thornton Gate sidings

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/thumb_1873.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1873)
Above: Elsewhere the balloons have been back out on test as well, having been cleaned and repaired, 708 and 726 having gone in a box to the Manchester tramway exhibition last month, where in need of some minor repair work after a day of being knocked around. Metro Pink 710 is not in the best of health, being put on a second hand Brill chassis and already blowing up one 6 pin DCC chip! now fitted with a Hornby 8 pin It still makes one hell of a noise, and is not the most reliable, It may require a chassis swap with a more healthier Brill or be the first balloon to be fitted with a Kato.... currently still planning on running 710 at Ludlow as it is, so hope it holds out, if it ends up dumped in the yard at the show, you know why :'(.   


(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/thumb_1876.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1876)

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/thumb_1877.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1877)
Above: In other news, my Millennium project is coming on nicely with two new ends casted and attached to a hacked balloon shell, now just need cleaning up filling and painting, going to be put under a Kato unit as the brills don't fit the shell once converted. Should be ready for Ludlow, but its going to be a push!

Right thats all the updates for now... will try to do one more before the 1st and the Ludlow show...
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: MJdJ on August 26, 2012, 07:43:45 AM
Hello,
Am very impressed with your stock. Well done!

May I ask about the backscene - I like the curve in it which gives your lay-out much depth. What material did you use for it?

Kind regards,
MJ
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 26, 2012, 11:27:04 AM
Hello,
Am very impressed with your stock. Well done!

May I ask about the backscene - I like the curve in it which gives your lay-out much depth. What material did you use for it?

Kind regards,
MJ


Hi thanks for your comments

The back scene is just a sheet of hard board bent round at the ends of the layout with holes cut out to allow trams to pass though, its glued in place with small metal brackets holding it together.

Painted using normal house hold emulsion paint. The back scene used was first used on my previous '00' exhibition layout 'Heading Junction' its been simply cut down and repainted to save time and money.

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/thumb_1884.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1884)
Above: a shot from 2009 of 'Heading Junction' my former '00' gauge layout with back scene now re-used on Thornton Gate
Title: P'way Brill Trolly
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 26, 2012, 11:35:18 AM
Just found this searching google

Looks like my factious engineering yellow brill isent a million miles away from real prototypes

(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5094/5505095529_bc56e15679.jpg)

Its not Blackpool but it is in Europe  :hmmm:

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/63/thumb_1879.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1879)
Above: converted p'way brill 753 on test sitting in Thornton Gate sidings
Title: Ludlow Exhibition 2012
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 05, 2012, 03:03:28 PM
Hi all, time for an update

September the 1st Thornton Gate made its 2nd outing to the Ludlow Model Railway Exhibition.

Now I dont want to get into any arguments here, nor do I wish to continue this discussion, but.....
I did not enjoy this show at all, and found it appallingly organised, for legal reasons this is purely a personal opinion, and I will not name any one persons or the club that ran the exhibition.

However if you are from said exhibition comity, and your reading this, I will say in 10 years of public exhibiting, I have never been so utterly disappointed and disgusted as I was on September 1st.

Right now for some more positive news of the day...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2012/post-15873-0-77995100-1346851378.jpg)
Above: A few changes since the last show, Thornton Gate now has a 'corporate blue' frontage (which was a bit wet still), and for this show had 2 new operators joining me.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2012/post-15873-0-70484000-1346851373.jpg)
Above: Her first time on the exhibition scene, Ms Anna Fellows, one of the builders of Thornton Gate, it was so nice to have her join me out at exhibition.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2012/post-15873-0-31617000-1346851376.jpg)
Above: New this time is the house which is the second building to be placed on the layout, it still requires work, gardens and surrounding sheds. Also the mainlines have now been electrified ( be it cosmetic only) with the fitting of over head wires. These however are a little high at present but even so still coursed some gauging problems with rolling stock, something i'll have to address before the next outing.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2012/post-15873-0-96340800-1346851385.jpg)
Above: stock line up in the station during the exhibition.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2012/post-15873-0-22089600-1346851369.jpg)
Above: Now I had made a prediction that balloon 710 (metro pink) would fail during the show as it is not well mechanically, however despite the noise it continued to run all day, what was unforeseen was the failure of 708 with pickup electrical issues due to the custom DCC wiring, so after only a few hours in operation 708 was dumped on public display at the back of Thornton Gate sidings... However it will be working again come the layouts next outing in November.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2012/post-15873-0-28876800-1346851382.jpg)
Above: The only other major issue to develop after the show was a points failure, where the crossbar has split away from the brass control rodding, meaning the point is suck in position, a common issue it seems with older peco points, so it will have to be dug up and replaced, this might not get done in time for November, in which case the centre road will have to be used for up services with any terminating services having to use the yard sidings, not ideal but oh well :-/

I think the best comment of the day was from this littel kid that kept coming back with mum and dad to look at the layout over and over again, he watched the trams, then looked up at Anna who was driving at the time and said 'look a lady driver!' in astonishment of seeing a young female behind the layout! just makes me smile :-)

Right well Thornton Gate is next out at the 'Puffin rail day', Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury exhibition on November 24th, this will be our last outing of 2012, it is a really good non commercial friendly show and one ive supported for years, so if you can come along, its well worth it :-)

Thanks for reading, and sorry for the little rant at the start :-)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: scotsoft on September 05, 2012, 03:14:18 PM
I see no problem with having a rant, especially as you don't mention anyone, it is better getting things off of your chest  :thumbsup:

I can just imagine that little lads face, a memory to remember  ;)

Thank you for posting your report and pictures  :camera:

cheers John.
Title: Re: Ludlow Exhibition 2012
Post by: MikeDunn on September 05, 2012, 05:06:22 PM
I did not enjoy this show at all, and found it appallingly organised, for legal reasons this is purely a personal opinion, and I will not name any one persons or the club that ran the exhibition.

However if you are from said exhibition comity, and your reading this, I will say in 10 years of public exhibiting, I have never been so utterly disappointed and disgusted as I was on September 1st.
Ah, not just SWMBO & me then ...

They're a funny lot, this group ... they claim they want new members, but don't advertise the show properly - let alone the group !  Most of their own work on display seems to be low quality.  Talk to them & it becomes evident they can't really be bothered (or did I pick a bad one ?) - example, "Oh there's sometimes someone there after 7:30, but I normally don't go, and they leave by 9:30 if they turn up", and "well, you can't really park there as it's on a farm".  So I have to leave my car god knows where, walk into a working farm to try and figure out what building they have as the club room, and after all that there's no guarantee any of them will actually turn up to open it ???  And the quotes were from a committee member ...

I had been interested in joining them - but my own experience at the show has dissuaded SWMBO & I !!!  We had hoped that this was a proper Ludlow group, and not the group it turned out to be - we went to another one of their shows some years back, which was worse than this one !  We'll stay as independants  :laugh3:

However - was nice meeting you guys'n'gals  :D  We enjoyed the two SVR-related layouts too.

Quote
just makes me slime :-)
Slime ???  :laughabovepost:
Title: Re: Ludlow Exhibition 2012
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 05, 2012, 05:24:16 PM
I did not enjoy this show at all, and found it appallingly organised, for legal reasons this is purely a personal opinion, and I will not name any one persons or the club that ran the exhibition.

However if you are from said exhibition comity, and your reading this, I will say in 10 years of public exhibiting, I have never been so utterly disappointed and disgusted as I was on September 1st.
Ah, not just SWMBO & me then ...

They're a funny lot, this group ... they claim they want new members, but don't advertise the show properly - let alone the group !  Most of their own work on display seems to be low quality.  Talk to them & it becomes evident they can't really be bothered (or did I pick a bad one ?) - example, "Oh there's sometimes someone there after 7:30, but I normally don't go, and they leave by 9:30 if they turn up", and "well, you can't really park there as it's on a farm".  So I have to leave my car god knows where, walk into a working farm to try and figure out what building they have as the club room, and after all that there's no guarantee any of them will actually turn up to open it ???  And the quotes were from a committee member ...

I had been interested in joining them - but my own experience at the show has dissuaded SWMBO & I !!!  We had hoped that this was a proper Ludlow group, and not the group it turned out to be - we went to another one of their shows some years back, which was worse than this one !  We'll stay as independants  :laugh3:

However - was nice meeting you guys'n'gals  :D  We enjoyed the two SVR-related layouts too.

Quote
just makes me slime :-)
Slime ???  :laughabovepost:

hmm my thoughts entirely, being put in a garage on my own where no one was going to see the layout and not even being in one of the two halls was a disgrace... so i had to find a space for Thornton Gate myself in the main hall and move with less then 10 minutes to go.... it was just an utter joke, comity members blaming each other for it, no one taking responsibility, leaving me to make the decision.... :veryangry:

Oh and thanks for pointing out the typo... LOL  :thankyousign: 
Title: Re: Ludlow Exhibition 2012
Post by: MikeDunn on September 05, 2012, 07:42:40 PM
hmm my thoughts entirely, being put in a garage on my own where no one was going to see the layout and not even being in one of the two halls was a disgrace... so i had to find a space for Thornton Gate myself in the main hall and move with less then 10 minutes to go.... it was just an utter joke, comity members blaming each other for it, no one taking responsibility, leaving me to make the decision.... :veryangry:
Good god ... that's appalling ...

I'd be very tempted to state that publicly, or if there's a forum / mailing list that exhibitors use on there ...

Mike
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Tim E on September 05, 2012, 09:01:00 PM
What an interesting layout!  It's nice to see so much diversity on these forums.

Also nice to see mention of the uni in Stoke-on-Trent.  I assume this was Staffs Uni...  studied there myself a few years ago  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Ludlow Exhibition 2012
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 05, 2012, 10:34:38 PM
hmm my thoughts entirely, being put in a garage on my own where no one was going to see the layout and not even being in one of the two halls was a disgrace... so i had to find a space for Thornton Gate myself in the main hall and move with less then 10 minutes to go.... it was just an utter joke, comity members blaming each other for it, no one taking responsibility, leaving me to make the decision.... :veryangry:
Good god ... that's appalling ...

I'd be very tempted to state that publicly, or if there's a forum / mailing list that exhibitors use on there ...

Mike

It is really tempting to say more... but again as I said better to not name names and just carry on
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 05, 2012, 10:36:14 PM
What an interesting layout!  It's nice to see so much diversity on these forums.

Also nice to see mention of the uni in Stoke-on-Trent.  I assume this was Staffs Uni...  studied there myself a few years ago  :thumbsup:

Thank you very much... yes thats right it was in the resin and plastics work shop at stoke, part of Staffs uni, a lot of help they were to  :thumbsup:
Title: Its time for an update! (END OF 2012 PLANS)
Post by: Balloon_726 on October 06, 2012, 05:07:25 PM
 Hello All sorry its been over a month been very busy with other none tram things  :(

Still some news to share with you all....

Wednesday just gone (3rd Oct 2012) I did my first public talk about the Thornton Gate Project. I was invited by the Association Of Shrewsbury Railway Modellers to do a talk and presentation to its members on their meeting nights which is in a class room at the Priory School in Shrewsbury...

Sam came along to and filmed the event as well as taking a few photos... so give me a month and so and i'll post the talk on here for all that are interested...

For now here are some photos, and to be honest i wasn't that nervous about it... which even i was surprised about!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-74906900-1349537946_thumb.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-55111200-1349538045_thumb.jpg)
Above: View from the front of the audience which makes it look like a big empty room! .... trust me it was not!


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-53494200-1349538065.jpg)
Above: Thornton gates rolling stock out on show, after the talk people were free to have a look at the models and ask questions.. I also bought down some cast model blocks which are now too warn to be used again.. just to show the casting process, if you have one of my tram kits its most likely that the shells would have come form these molds.

Oh and I did mention N gauge forum a lot!  :NGaugersRule:

In Other News.....

I had a very random phone call from a very nice chap from Freightlinner at Crewe of all places, inviting Thornton Gate to exhibit at the Crewe Heritage Centre show on October the 27th and 28th, this is very exciting and means were adding one more exhibition to this years calendar. I'll have some kits to sell and hopefully a few surprises two, including a new tram class coming to the range...

Thornton Gate will then make its last planned 2012 appearance at my local show, that being at the Bayston Hill 'Puffin rail show'  just out side Shrewsbury, Shropshire on November 24th...

The team are now getting ready for these shows including all the new stock and repair work required, I hope to update again with works photos before we go Crewe, If you can make it, do say hi, it was nice to meet so many people from here at Manchester earlier in the year...

Anyway thanks for reading as always , Tom
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Ollie3440 on October 06, 2012, 05:23:10 PM
Well that's brought me back a few memories (well 4 years ago) as I used to go to Priory. Congrats on getting another show date, i might try and get down to Crewe as it'd be nice to see the layout in the  'flesh'

Ollie
Title: Thornton Gate at Crewe this weekend!
Post by: Balloon_726 on October 26, 2012, 09:05:43 PM
Hi all, just time for the final update ahead of tomorrows 'Model Railway Show and Miniature Railway Gala' at Crewe heritage centre, this is 'the gates' first major outing so if you happen to be in Cheshire this weekend do say hi  :-)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-73228900-1351280870.jpeg)

Also I will have stock to sell... including the tram kits (Balloon, Jubilee & new Centenary) , some new card building kits as used on Thornton Gate, a few other items including prints of commissioned tram drawings and my 'B Grade' box of tram shells which I only sell at shows on a 'Sold as Seen' basis.

Right sales pitch over.... time for that update! and a few things have changed and are getting there, including the first test run of our new tram class making it debut this weekend!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-18056600-1351280189.jpg)
Above: finally new station signs!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-46378400-1351280235.jpg)
Above: Paint still wet! 624 (it should be 642!) makes its final test run today crossing over the road into Old Thornton Gate station

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-21965100-1351280327.jpg)
Above: The new tram class is the first to use the Bachmann USA PCC trolly chassis and has been wired for digital in the same way as the brills

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-14435400-1351280411.jpg)
Above: With the best part of a year of shows, talks and generally being carted around the existing fleet where starting to look a bit tired, after cleaning and servicing ahead of Crewe all trams where given a quick weathering which helps hide any defects in the shells or paint work, seen here still drying!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-78818700-1351280652.jpg)
Above: 624 sits on the up line in the station area, as you can see a lot of work has been done to this area, were hoping to have the rest of the buildings in come the end of the exhibition year for us in November.

Right well thats it for now, im off to bed! Crewe Heritage Centre opens its doors at 10 tomorrow (SAT 27th) and (Sun 28th)!
All the best.....
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Tank on October 26, 2012, 09:45:25 PM
Lovely work.  Have fun! :)
Title: Thornton Gate At: Crewe Model Railway Show and Miniature Railway Gala 2012
Post by: Balloon_726 on October 29, 2012, 07:19:57 PM
A Show Repot.

​Its been a very long weekend (oct 27th / 28th) but im pleased to say Crewe has been a very enjoyable show and one of the highlights of this years exhibition bookings. so here are a few photos of the day.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-70444800-1351532408.jpg)Above: Setting up, glad to say being in the large exhibition hall at Crewe heritage centre makes a welcome change from the small spaces ive been crammed into in the past at shows, one could tell this was looking promising from the out set!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-79489000-1351532553.jpg)
Above: Really coming into its own, Balloon 710 waits on the up road at Thornton Gate station

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-74098100-1351532854.jpg)
Above: An over view of the much improved station area, On its first public showing, yellow Centenary 642 is seen stabled on the centre road.

(http://[url=http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-23027200-1351533054.jpg]http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-23027200-1351533054.jpg[/url])
Above: Its amazing how many people keep asking about 'behind the back; of the layout.... so here it is Centenary 642 and Jubilee 761 fighting there way though mars bar wrappers and styrene cups to get back round onto the front of the layout, Action everywhere you look!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-56303200-1351533323.jpg)
Above: A view from the fleetwood end of the layout as Centenary 642 makes its way north passing a rather busy Thornton Gate yard.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-99229700-1351533420.jpg)
Above: an over shot of the new p'way compound in Thornton Gate yard, Balloon 726 had come into the yard at this point to assist the contractors with gauging trails and electrical testing.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-31873900-1351533568.jpg)
Above: Another view of Balloon 726 parked on the road crossing area with in Thronton gate yard awaiting permission to return to the mainline.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-15873-0-24892500-1351532735.jpg)
Above: Leaving the sidings Balloon 726 makes an empty end of the day flying trip back to Rigby road depot.

A really good weekend thanks to all that said hi, Thornton Gate makes its last appearance of 2012 on November 24th At the Puffin Rail Show, Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

And Finally a video of our time at Crewe... enjoy!

Thornton Gate tramway at crewe 2012 show (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUKNQhrrRvw#ws)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on October 29, 2012, 07:36:42 PM
Excellent work, and a great vid to end with :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on October 29, 2012, 09:15:47 PM
Very excellent. Most professional! Looks like it was a bit cold, though!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 01, 2012, 01:08:53 AM
Very excellent. Most professional! Looks like it was a bit cold, though!  :thumbsup:

Thank you for your kind words... its taken a long time to get to a stage were im modelling N gauge I fell happy about ... should have seen my layouts 10 years ago..... awful ....  :'(

Anyway yes it was cold which give to some interesting problems such as condensation build up on the tops of the rails leading to very poor running for the first hour or so... in the end i had to just run 726 on its own just to warm the rails up and clear the moisture off, leaving it with a horrible oily gunk on all the wheel treads, so had to be cleaned... all the trams had to be run just to get the motors up to temperature.

The staff at Crewe where fantastic and provided us with an fan heater, which i put under the layout blowing hot air into the space so that it kept the layout warm and the air around us warmer... by the middle of day one, all was well and tbh i've never seen Thornton Gate operate so smoothly after only a few hours... although the track did need yet another good clean come the start of day two.
Title: The final show of the year! and the point that gave up!
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 12, 2012, 08:55:28 PM
With no time at all to even catch my breath were gearing up for our final show of this year....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-23064100-1352740154_thumb.jpg)

And what better why to end the year then exhibiting at my local show, called a number of things over the years, its known locally as 'The Puffin Show' and is always very enjoyable, Its were i first started out on the exhibition scene and used to be my only public show outing... but that was a long time ago.....

Now before Thornton Gate can exhibit once again a few issues have to be sorted, the main one being the broken point at the end of the loop.

During our outing at the Ludlow show the tie bar snapped leaving the brass control wire to come lose, as posted at the time....
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-60882200-1352740637.jpg)

Well not having a spare available at the time, the point was forced across and locked into one set position, luckily it was rarely used and trams only really ran one way on it so, although it ment the loss of the run round loop , it was decided to struggle on.

However come the end of the 2 day Crewe show the point had all but collapsed leading to shorting and derailing of rolling stock, so it had to be replaced before our next outing.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-13929600-1352740176.jpg)
Above: Old (very old) used Peco point which has to come out, next to a brand new one ready to take its place.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-91913900-1352740191.jpg)
Above: Now as the point was all but shot.. having snapped and buckled it seemed easier to simply cut it up and preserve the track around it, rather then try and dig it out as a whole unit.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-99834300-1352740185.jpg)
So with a razor saw and a pair of track cutters and pliers, it was cut up, being careful not to take down the overhead lines!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-54647600-1352740172.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-81041600-1352740167.jpg)
Above: The track bed was then cleared back to the cork underlay the Ballast was then scraped up from around the point area with a flat head screwdriver and dumped.... Believe it or not, a few spare open wagons can be very useful on a work site as holding containers for track pins or, in this case spoil and other rubbish.... even in N gauge!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-15433500-1352740179.jpg)
Above: The new point in place, wired up, connected back into the brass control rods and freshly ballasted, because all the track was carefully weathered on Thornton Gate any new track is always going to look out of place... however this area will hopefully get re-weathered before our last show.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-77929700-1352740157.jpg)
Above: Right the only other bit of news is im working on an un-powred boat car using one of the many miscast balloon car shells I have.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-06319100-1352740162.jpg)
Above: Its very early days but the shell has been extensively cut down and is mounted on a cut down Roco crane chassis refitted with TPM BR Y25 bogies which are the nearest things I had to the brill trolly trucks, Still needs a lot of work but when done I hope to use this tram as a trailer for one of the powered members of my fleet.

Well thats all for now... Will try and do one more update before the show on the 24th... And yes i know thats Warly weekend :-/ ... will make that show as a visitor on the Sunday... as Bayston Hill is luckily a one day event only... give it a few years and i'd love to do the NEC as an exhibitor!

Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on November 12, 2012, 09:08:22 PM
Good luck at the Shrewsbury Show :thumbsup:
Neat removal of the point, especially with the spoil trucks to hand ;)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on November 12, 2012, 10:12:50 PM
A really neat layout - looking forward to seeing it at some stage. Keep up the good work.
Title: Last tram! Thornton Gate calls it a day for the 2012 exhibition season.
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 27, 2012, 09:36:58 PM
Well after 4 shows starting with our debut in July we did our last public showing of 2012 and what will most likely be my last blog update until the new year, so big thanks to everyone that has support us and helped the team and myself in getting this project off the ground.

Ok so whats been happening well......

Thornton Gate got into a magazine! well ok a small local rail society news letter but hay its a start!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-83895300-1354049037_thumb.jpg)
Above: A very small article appeared in 'Abbey Lines' SRHT's local members newsletter (It might have something to be with being based in the same building as them! )

The other big news was our outing on Saturday 24th of November to the Shrewsbury Puffin Rail Day at Bayston Hill.
Despite it clashing with the opening Saturday of the Warley Show at the NEC which is only about an hour or so away from where we were, the show as packed, at times the crowds were 3 deep around the layout! 

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-96677300-1354049160.jpg)
Above: Set up in the main church, we had a prime spot and with just me and Sam operating, we were kept busy all day.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-48910200-1354049155.jpg)
Above: Still much work to do, new centenary class 641 waits on the down line at the station area.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-39929400-1354049163.jpg)
Above: Yes a new tram! Built by myself but now owned and funded by Sam, the gates second centenary class member 641 in Kit Kat red livery, this its first outing, the varnish was still drying, having only had its custom transfers fitted the night before! 

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-77573900-1354049158.jpg)
Above: Despite sounding 'sick' for most of the year balloon 710 performed well and has kept going being surprising reliable. 710 is seen here using the centre road to reverse and head back towards Starr Gate.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-65111500-1354049165.jpg)
Above: Far less reliable were 642 which had suffered a split gear (mechanical failure) and for this show a recently re-introduced 762 which had been out of service having given its trucks and DCC chip to 642, now on a new set of trucks and fitted with a 8 pin chip it failed with some sort of electrical problem.... in fact both trams had failed with in the first half hour of opening. And because the yard was somewhat full, both trams were left on show on the centre line for the whole day, This left just 6 working trams to run at the show :-/

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2012/post-15873-0-33529100-1354050530_thumb.jpg)
Above: The final staged lineup of 2012, taken in the last half hour of the show... just before the final tram of the season!

A lot more to be getting on with, upgrades, buildings and repairs, im now going to get on with the much delayed Brush Car project so hopefully a few more classes of Blackpool tram for the start of the 2013 season.

Once again thank very much for reading, hope you enjoy my updates, Will try and do a Xmas update and we'll do this all again come 2013!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on November 27, 2012, 09:47:28 PM
Congrats on getting 'into the press' and I look forward to seeing what comes up in 2013.
Love the Kit Kat livery as I used to sell the aluminium foil to York many moons ago (and I don't mean :moony:)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: moogle on November 27, 2012, 11:45:09 PM
642 or as I called it and its sisters when I lived in Blackpool: Tram-Buses!
(Because they look like a bus... :doh:)
They do break down prototypically.
I was on a white one in 2009 going to Fleetwood when it just suddenly stopped and wouldn't start.
The driver eventually, after a good 40 minutes, fixed whatever the problem was with zip ties and duck tape!  :smiley-laughing:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: PLD on November 28, 2012, 08:52:02 AM
642 or as I called it and its sisters when I lived in Blackpool: Tram-Buses!
(Because they look like a bus... :doh:)
They do break down prototypically.
I was on a white one in 2009 going to Fleetwood when it just suddenly stopped and wouldn't start.
The driver eventually, after a good 40 minutes, fixed whatever the problem was with zip ties and duck tape!  :smiley-laughing:
The Centenaries reputation was a a bit unfair... It's true that those 8 cars were responsible for around 40% of failures in service, but they did account for around 60% of the total annual mileage! Over the last few years pre-upgrade the most unreliable class (in miles per breakdown) was infact the Twin-Cars...

Re: 641 I always thought the KitKat ad was so simple but one of the most effective all-over adverts - It looked just like a Chunky KitKat!  :)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on November 28, 2012, 11:24:27 AM
OK...

It's a bit late here in Oz and I always check on the Forum just before turning in... especially after a couple and starting my 2 day week tomorrow.....

This Blackpool Tram business is a absolutely fascinating. So, in N scale, it must be feasible- will we see a full seafront promenade with a tower? And a Pleasure Beach at the end? It would make a great project!!

As I say... it's late here in Oz and I've had a few refreshing outback refreshments. Now... where's me transport. Rolf, where are ya? Tie me kangaroo down sport....

I'm serious, though.... Blackpool Tower in N! Could be done....?!

Cheers, George  :beers:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 04, 2012, 11:41:44 AM
OK...

It's a bit late here in Oz and I always check on the Forum just before turning in... especially after a couple and starting my 2 day week tomorrow.....

This Blackpool Tram business is a absolutely fascinating. So, in N scale, it must be feasible- will we see a full seafront promenade with a tower? And a Pleasure Beach at the end? It would make a great project!!

As I say... it's late here in Oz and I've had a few refreshing outback refreshments. Now... where's me transport. Rolf, where are ya? Tie me kangaroo down sport....

I'm serious, though.... Blackpool Tower in N! Could be done....?!

Cheers, George  :beers:

You know its very interesting what your suggesting..and we have had discussions about the possibility of doing the sea front at north pier and tower... but if we did it wont be for a few years... maybe 2014-2015, Thornton Gates got much life left in it and a few years to run yet... plus only being 8ft long, the two 4 ft sections it fit into my car! 

But no... very interesting idea  :thankyousign:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: PLD on December 04, 2012, 12:49:39 PM
But every other model of the Blackpool tramway is based on either the Prom or the Fleetwood Street section - thats what makes TG different!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 04, 2012, 04:06:08 PM
But every other model of the Blackpool tramway is based on either the Prom or the Fleetwood Street section - thats what makes TG different!

Yes that is true.. I guess its just the idea of doing such an iconic location, to scale and well.... A lot of people 'none tram' ask me is it a real place? why are you running hong kong trams :confused2: and weres the tower ???

Obviously a layout of any sort cant please everyone. but it dose leave some interesting questions   :hmmm:

Thornton Gate is unique at the moment because of its 2mm scale and of course being a reproduction of a real place.  and right now our commitment is to Thornton Gate and the development of rolling stock and future exhibitions for the next 24 months if not longer :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on December 05, 2012, 08:29:57 PM
That's OK with me - it's a great layout, and certainly something different!!

George
Title: Snow on Thornton Gate! Merry Christmas!
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 19, 2012, 12:21:36 AM
Just wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas from all of us at Thornton Gate N gauge tramway!
(http://sphotos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/537521_10200355087824291_1682768958_n.jpg)

Above: Balloons 708 & 726 working together, battling though heavy snow at Thornton Gate on clearance duties heading up to Fleetwood.

708 is fitted with a custom scratch built snow plough which can just be seen in the snow ! It was as fun as it looks to shoot this scene :-P

Merry Christmas!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: scotsoft on December 19, 2012, 12:36:47 AM
Very festive looking, also very cold  :cold:

I take it the Christmas tree went up after the snow storm  :D ;)

cheers John.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: longbridge on December 19, 2012, 06:25:17 AM
That looks smashing Balloon, I love to see all things working in snow particularly when it is so hot here in sub tropical Oz,

Merry Christmas to you and your family  (http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/artists/viannen/viannen_15.gif)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: daveg on December 19, 2012, 10:28:19 AM
Way back - I truly don't remember but may be late 50s  - I would visit my gran who lived in Thornton Cleveleys.

I loved riding on the trams and seeing the 'double decker' brought back some fond memories.  :thankyousign:

Dave G
Title: Re: Snow on Thornton Gate! Merry Christmas!
Post by: PLD on December 19, 2012, 07:51:04 PM
708 is fitted with a custom scratch built snow plough which can just be seen in the snow ! It was as fun as it looks to shoot this scene
Most appropriate choice Tom, 708's last use in Blackpool was as a snowplough car in February 2006!

 :thumbsup:

Paul
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on December 20, 2012, 09:27:20 AM
Man that is a TOTALLY awesome picture. Well done! I have sometimes thought about coating a bit of my layout with snow for a few piccys, but have not to date. What is the snow made of? I guess you will be doing a bit of vacuuming?

Anyway, as oldrailbug says, it's a nice shot which reminds us of our homeland. By the way, I will be in Blackpool for a night next Aug. Not sure exactly when at this time, though.

Cheers! Merry Christmas to you and yours! WONDERFUL photo.

George  :beers:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 21, 2012, 01:14:22 AM
Man that is a TOTALLY awesome picture. Well done! I have sometimes thought about coating a bit of my layout with snow for a few piccys, but have not to date. What is the snow made of? I guess you will be doing a bit of vacuuming?

Anyway, as oldrailbug says, it's a nice shot which reminds us of our homeland. By the way, I will be in Blackpool for a night next Aug. Not sure exactly when at this time, though.

Cheers! Merry Christmas to you and yours! WONDERFUL photo.

George  :beers:


Cheers George... your the first to ask so here's the answer!

The photo was staged to be a one off photo so technical issues such as operating or running power did not have to be thought about.

The objectives where to make it look real and not to harm the stock or the layout.

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/61/thumb_2872.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=2872)

This is why only a very small area was used... mainly in the station where there is no ballast, it was really important not to get snow on any senics as it could leave residues. so areas of grass where covered up with white paper and the snow was not put everywhere

The snow used is believe it or not a mixture of icing and caster sugar, this gives the sticky coating of snow and is fine enough for N gauge. however I had to work quick as any heat or moisture would make the sugar malt and become icing, somthing i really did not want on the stock or the layout.

Lighting was also really important , spot lights were set up facing upwards to the ceiling and so creating a dull matt look, common with real grey snowy days, a while canvas was put up on the viewing side of the layout to act as the dull sky, when shot from other angels the scene dont quite work, as it was designed to work from one  angle only

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/61/thumb_2873.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=2873)

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/61/thumb_2874.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=2874)

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/61/thumb_2875.jpg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=2875)

Photoshop was used to colour the image creating a blue cast, a photo of our xmas tree in the living room was superimposed onto the n gauge tree in the photo and headlights where added digitally.

At no point was any power on, the whole scene was shot dead, as soon as it was over the trams where dusted off before coming sticky , then the layout vacuumed, I did not want to leave such fine sugar on the layout for any length of time because of the risk to exposure to moisture.

Im really happy with the end result, and as you know by now i like to do new and different things, it is after all the point of Thornton Gate.

Thanks once again , Merry Christmas  :D
Title: Re: Snow on Thornton Gate! Merry Christmas!
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 21, 2012, 01:27:18 AM
708 is fitted with a custom scratch built snow plough which can just be seen in the snow ! It was as fun as it looks to shoot this scene

Most appropriate choice Tom, 708's last use in Blackpool was as a snowplough car in February 2006!

 :thumbsup:

Paul


Cheers Pual... yeah you got in in one!  :D I was inspired by this picture on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/14545924@N03/5307396438/# (http://www.flickr.com/photos/14545924@N03/5307396438/#)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: H on December 21, 2012, 08:59:57 AM
A great thread, what looks to be a fun layout and something a little different.

H.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Pengi on December 21, 2012, 10:38:00 AM
Beautiful - I love winter layouts
Title: Re: Snow on Thornton Gate! Merry Christmas!
Post by: PLD on December 21, 2012, 07:34:27 PM
708 is fitted with a custom scratch built snow plough which can just be seen in the snow ! It was as fun as it looks to shoot this scene

Most appropriate choice Tom, 708's last use in Blackpool was as a snowplough car in February 2006!

 :thumbsup:

Paul


Cheers Pual... yeah you got in in one!  :D I was inspired by this picture on flickr [url]http://www.flickr.com/photos/14545924@N03/5307396438/#[/url] ([url]http://www.flickr.com/photos/14545924@N03/5307396438/#[/url])

Ah 702... our other Heaton Park Balloon! I'd forgotten they worked together as plough-cars for a while. 702 lasted a little longer to become the last Double Decker in the streets of Fleetwood pre-upgrade in November 2009.
Title: The Making Of Thornton Gate Video Programme
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 30, 2012, 11:22:07 PM
Right its taken quite a while...
 
But Ive just uploaded my presentation I did in early October about my Thornton Gate project to the Association of Shrewsbury Railway Modellers.
 
So If you got a spare 40 minutes then please enjoy 'The Making Of Thornton Gate'

http://youtu.be/Qk1rC7ucgC0 (http://youtu.be/Qk1rC7ucgC0)
 
Happy New Year! see you in 2013?
Title: Its 2013, first time back working on the gate.
Post by: Balloon_726 on January 16, 2013, 08:36:24 PM
After new year and xmas is over I finally got back to Thornton Gate and assessing what needs doing to ready the layout for the 2013 season, and well... the list of things some minor some very major is growing by the day!

priorities have to be of course the upkeep of rolling stock, infrastructure  and the general cosmetic appearance of the layout. At the end of 2012, some ware and tear was beginning to show, Mainly from the tram stock with some members having failed during our November outing and others just showing signs of being carted about over the past year, myself having taken items of rolling stock out to show people, separate to the layout.

Another priority was to finish the layout as soon as possible, prior to our first outings of 2013, mainly this ment looking at the buildings and sheds many of which were still not built leaving large empty areas, mainly around the station end of the layout.

Well after getting back to it today, one of these empty spaces has been filled, with the completion of the missing station 'sub station' hut building.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2013/post-15873-0-60169300-1358366188.jpg)
Above: This is the prototype taken in April last year, the building is of a very similar pre-war prefab construction as the main station house building, even being painted the same awful pink colour!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2013/post-15873-0-40776500-1358366173.jpg)
Above: And my version, now finished and glued in place, it has been built using the same digital card print method as used on all the other buildings. A still to be repaired and incorrectly numbered 624, poses for the photo. The tram requires a new truck after splitting a gear and jamming at the 'Puffin' exhibition in November.

Else where ive been looking at sorting out the numerous vans and p'way items the layout requires so hopefully some kind of order will be established this year!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2013/post-15873-0-98814700-1358366170.jpg)
Above: Busy scene at Thornton Gate Pway yard as a road convoy enters the site, Blackpool route master engineering bus bringing up the rear.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2013/post-15873-0-45924300-1358366169.jpg)
Above: And finally with all this talk of snow and cold weather ... and partly inspired by developments at Blackpool, with there snow plough fleet, here is a rather tatty looking 708 with its new plough stabled in Thornton Gate yard, The photo was extremely difficult to capture... this is N gauge remember! 708 will probably have some work done to it to freshen it up a bit before going back out on exhibition this year, if or for how long it will keep its snow plough is another matter!

So work has began once more! Exhibition dates will follow when confirmed but its looking good with some big shows on the cards for 2013 and even bookings for 2014! 
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on January 16, 2013, 08:45:28 PM
 :greatpicturessign:
Great news on the bookings front too - quality wins out :claphappy:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on January 16, 2013, 08:59:55 PM
:greatpicturessign:
Great news on the bookings front too - quality wins out :claphappy:

Thanks  :bounce:

I really want to say were we're going to be but i cant just yet as Im awaiting conformation from exhibition managers.. all I can say is these are really big shows and im a bit like ...  :laugh3: :claphappy: :bounce: ...... 
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Plainline. on January 16, 2013, 09:03:23 PM
Blackpool now have a snowplough fitted balloon at each depot. 701 at Starr Gate and 723 at Rigby Road. Snow is'nt pleasant but it would be good to see them used!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: longbridge on January 16, 2013, 09:03:52 PM
Your layout just keeps looking better and better all the time, your modelling techniques are A1  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on January 17, 2013, 01:41:59 AM
Blackpool now have a snowplough fitted balloon at each depot. 701 at Starr Gate and 723 at Rigby Road. Snow is'nt pleasant but it would be good to see them used!

Yeah seen the photos of 701 arriving at Starr Gate... we'll have to see , looking at the forecast Friday could be really interesting as is the best chance of a balloon snow patrol...

so maybe... I sadly wont be able to get back to Blackpool again until april, were im hoping for some balloon action over Easter... we'll see.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on January 17, 2013, 01:49:29 AM
Your layout just keeps looking better and better all the time, your modelling techniques are A1  :thumbsup:


Well thank you sir , very kind of you to say so  :thankyousign:

I must admit I'm my own worst critic some days... all I see are problems and bits that are not right... but thats just me :worried:

Oddly other people photos of my layout look better then mine  ???

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7128/8160935673_d2cf90b5c6_o.jpg)

No idea why? oh well thank you all the same  :)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Pengi on January 17, 2013, 06:27:45 AM
This picture is so reminiscent of when I went on the Blackpool trams
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on January 18, 2013, 04:29:33 PM
Blackpool now have a snowplough fitted balloon at each depot. 701 at Starr Gate and 723 at Rigby Road. Snow is'nt pleasant but it would be good to see them used!

Yeah seen the photos of 701 arriving at Starr Gate... we'll have to see , looking at the forecast Friday could be really interesting as is the best chance of a balloon snow patrol...

so maybe... I sadly wont be able to get back to Blackpool again until april, were im hoping for some balloon action over Easter... we'll see.

Guess what???/ it happend.!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/735231_320712331362002_2048402699_n.jpg (https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/735231_320712331362002_2048402699_n.jpg)

(Please note this is not my photo it is linked here from trams today facebook feed, Copyright and ownership remains with Trams-today and its authors.  Content will be removed if requested by owning party(s) in accordance with the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. Content is presented here as none commercial factorial use only
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Mr chapman on January 18, 2013, 05:10:07 PM
I have to say that this is great. Ive not seen many n gauge trams, those I have were all typhoo types.  This is some very good modelling and rather unique. Love it  ;)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Plainline. on January 18, 2013, 06:41:26 PM
Good to see 701 out today, would be really good to see 701 and 723 out together!
Title: The P'way fleet
Post by: Balloon_726 on January 19, 2013, 10:52:28 PM
The bad weather of the past day or so has given me the opportunity to start looking at Thornton Gate yard and p'way stock.

Originally Thronton Gate was chosen because of its p'way depot, however over the past year, the mainline areas and tram stock have taken priority, leaving the yard underused.

It was originally planned to have a number of tram, plat and ex BR rolling stock operating as 'hire ins' for the fictional contractor 'Brill Engineering' based loosely on Blackpool's 2011 upgrade where Bam Nuttal took over Thornton Gate  as there base... It was my plan to bend the rules a little and introduce rolling stock types that ive seen photos of being used on other tramway and metro lines upgrades over the past 20 years or so....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2013/post-15873-0-36376700-1358633880.jpg)
Above: A busy 2013 in Thornton Gate yard, Balloon 726 visits , Industrial class 04 shunter can be seen with works wagons on the back of the far line.


Its also important to give more action on the layout and more weird and wonderful things for the paying public to view and watch, opening up the yard and adding rolling stock such as shuntable wagons and locomotives adds more interest for the operating team as well... during 2012 we found on slow exhibition days we got very very board of just driving trams round and round. So adding a 'play factor' for operators helps relieve boredom!.

So Ive got the farish 04 shunter working and now branded along with some peco wagons with 'brill' logos,  also adding other items such as vans and trailers... with more to follow in 2014.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2013/post-15873-0-17742900-1358633870.jpg)
Above: Brill industrial shunter with ex-BR vac piped opens ready to leave the yard for the weekend works site.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2013/post-15873-0-61872200-1358633875.jpg)
Above: Some of the wagons forming part of the 'Brill Engineering' private owner fleet. The LMS brake van is used as a observation car when the train has to propel for long distances, it can also be used as a mobile mess, crew transporter and tools store. This model was converted from a farish SR van, when I was about 14... it now has a use once more after sitting in a stock box for the last 10 years or so.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2013/post-15873-0-76134800-1358633877.jpg)
Above: One of the temporary tram wagon flats, standing in until i get around to custom building the trolly wagons Blackpool use. This wagon currently is towed by the engineering dept US Brill trolly car, which like the wagon is only temporary untill i get around to replacing it with a Blackpool prototype.

At present the plan is to run Thornton Gate with an active yard and p'way stock during 2013, hopefully it will be well reserved, but I am aware they will be a few that due to its 'modellers license' basis will not like it...

However its the wider paying public that I feel Thornton Gate must cater for, whilst still being professional and plausible in relation to operations and the stock we run.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: point blank on January 21, 2013, 08:01:10 PM

Guess what???/ it happend.!
The yellow snow plough balloon tram was out playing in the snow again this morning heading towards Little Bispham as I passed it on my way to work.
Title: Thornton Gates first outing for 2013 is confirmed....
Post by: Balloon_726 on February 02, 2013, 10:51:27 PM
Thornton Gates first outing for 2013 is confirmed.... it will be Craven Arms (SALOP) show on 4th May...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15873-0-20417300-1359845138.jpg)
Getting ready for a hectic exhibition season, been working on the missing buildings, now almost finished the 'Entertainer' warehouse building adjacent to the station area. The chain link fencing is also half done... just need the other side painting and gluing in place. Work continues ....

Our 2013 exhibition calendar will be announced shortly, once I've got a few more shows confirmed!
Title: A scary looking box arrived today....
Post by: Balloon_726 on February 13, 2013, 09:36:00 PM
A scary looking box arrived today.... but inside that box it was utterly awesome!
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15873-0-10571000-1360789926.jpg)

Imported from japan a new tomix chassis which im looking at being a more relabel replacement for bachmann brill trolly units, and one of the few that are of similar wheel base and dont require major modification.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15873-0-62746900-1360789923.jpg)
Above: Tomix (top) vs Brill (bottom)

Wiring for DCC was done in all of 4 minutes, with in 20 minutes of arriving the chassis was wired, fitted under a spare Balloon shell and now on test on Thronton Gate, all being well and moneys pending i'll be ordering more and start phasing out brill trolly chassises in the exhibition fleet.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15873-0-66362800-1360789920.jpg)

As for the new balloon, once complete it will be the 4th in my fleet, numbered as 701 and used for exhibition P'way duties and as a test bed for other developments and modifications.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: moogle on February 13, 2013, 09:56:40 PM
That should be much more reliable than the Brill chassis, which were bad 20 years ago so haven't improved!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on February 13, 2013, 10:15:18 PM
That should be much more reliable than the Brill chassis, which were bad 20 years ago so haven't improved!

Oh i know..... try running an exhibition layout that requires them! so im hoping for better things from tomix!

Brills are fine for day to day home use, but after a year of exhibitions running for 5 hours continues some of mine are just shot
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: BernardTPM on February 13, 2013, 10:46:55 PM
From the illustration on the box, I assume they come with those three sets of sideframes, the top one looking practically identical to the Brill (so a way of repowering one of them too!)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on February 13, 2013, 11:06:37 PM
From the illustration on the box, I assume they come with those three sets of sideframes, the top one looking practically identical to the Brill (so a way of repowering one of them too!)

Yes it comes with 3 sets of frames and yes the top one is the set which ive fitted to mine.... the chassises would fit a bill body shell with ease and with space to spare if so was desired.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: moogle on February 13, 2013, 11:09:51 PM
That should be much more reliable than the Brill chassis, which were bad 20 years ago so haven't improved!

Oh i know..... try running an exhibition layout that requires them! so im hoping for better things from tomix!

Brills are fine for day to day home use, but after a year of exhibitions running for 5 hours continues some of mine are just shot

Been there and know exactly how you feel!
Never had Tomix chassis, only Kato but if the quality of their track is anything to go by I don't think you'll have any more problems.

From the illustration on the box, I assume they come with those three sets of sideframes, the top one looking practically identical to the Brill (so a way of repowering one of them too!)

I think thats the one, or one of a range, that's designed to fit under several different tram car kits.
Greenmax is one that rings a bell...
Title: A trip to Blackpool, Gearing up for the 2013 exhibition season & A right of pass
Post by: Balloon_726 on April 05, 2013, 09:57:44 PM
Right its been awhile (mainly due to have limited internet access!) but with that issue now solved its time for an update ahead of Thornton Gates first outing of 2013 next month (May 4th).

So end of last month (March 2013) my self and Ms Fellows embarked on another trip to Blackpool, It was bloody cold! and other then flexies no vintage tram action

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-03574900-1365193613.jpg)
However the opportunity was taken to return to the real Thornton Gate, to see what was happening and how the site had changed in the past 12 months

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-04594600-1365193953.jpg)
The former station area now with revised closed trackplan remained mostly as before, however fencing has now gone up along the yard side including the blocking off of the point that would run into the yard.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-16852800-1365194045.jpg)
The yard its self was still being used for tramway supplies store but with no tracks in the yard , the contractors had also vacated by this time.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-02603400-1365194141.jpg)
This the view looking back though the old station area towards the new Thornton Gate station platforms in the centre distance.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-90508900-1365194261.jpg)
And finally a view of Rigby Road depot all locked up, A number of Balloons on shed during the week we visited, sadly none came out to play!

Now as for Thornton Gate the layout... well......

We're gearing up for May 4th and the Craven Arms exhibition this the for runner before we take 'The Gate' to Totally Transport Blackpool on June 23rd (TBC)

Now something I have been working on for the new season is a working model of Blackpool Standard 147, based on the old Match Box diecast toy, Now considering im doing N gauge trams and most use this toy as a base for there fleets it came apparent as a 'Right of Passage' I must have a go to!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-26137600-1365194562.jpg)
So not be be left out here is my very unfinished attempt at converting a Match Box diecast toy into a new Standard class member of my fleet, once primed and painted I hope it will look the part, Here it is stabled on the centre road with balloon 708 for scale and reference.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-83014300-1365194864.jpg)
power will be provided by a heavily striped Kato chassis, which like the rest of my fleet will be wired for DCC. at the moment it still requires a lot of tweaking and test running before it can be added to the Exhibition fleet.

Hopefully with some warmer weather on the way I can get around to painting and finishing some of the new stock ahead of May 4th!
Title: Exhibition Season Arrives! Battle of the Pantograths and TG's new sister!
Post by: Balloon_726 on April 22, 2013, 07:29:34 PM
Hello all once more, I can finally confirm our Exhibition calendar for 2013.
The first show will be Craven Arms, Shropshire which is on the 4th May. (I wrongly suggested it was the 4th of April on my last post)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-42296700-1366653141_thumb.jpg)

So with only 2 weeks (ish) to go its full steam ahead to get everything ready for the start of our season! Hence the work bench area has become rather full of late.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-98634000-1366653268.jpg)
Above: For those who are interested I'll run though whats going on with what.... From Right to Left

708 (Green & Cream) After looking rather tired at the end of last year, 708 is the first of the original exhibition fleet to receive an overhaul. (see below for more details)

719 (flexi Purple) Not my tram, but a new project from my brother Sam and his Princess Street, layout which will form the sister layout to Thornton Gate. 719 has widened door pods, rebuilt front end as the prototype and will again be fitted with a Tomix Chassis. It will be used this year on Thornton Gate.

701 (yellow) My new P'way tram replacing the odd ball Brill trolly we used with littel success last year, fitted on a Tomix unit the tram will have standard N gauge couplings allowing it to link up to wagons and trollies.

147 (Green & Cream) Still only in its cream base coat, 147 will be my first Blackpool standard car built from one of the 1950's Matchbox typhoon tram diecast toys. Having been extensively modified and rebuilt 147 will be powered by a heavily striped down Kato short chassis.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-74518000-1366654098.jpg)
Above: Above a more close up view of 708's re-fit,  It will be fitted with a new Tomix Chassis replacing its Bachmann Brill one, as well as major cosmetic attention, including a part repaint and the application of fresh transfers and replacement bumpers. As seen in this shot pantograths are also going to be replaced. Here 708 test demonstrating a Kato unit which ive adopted as the new standard replacement  for the scratch built wire ones we had been using to date.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2013/post-15873-0-60605800-1366654312.jpg)
Above: So which is best? For his stock Sam has gone for sommerfeldt pantograph units, where Ive opted for the Kato ones... which is best? its hard to decide so we'll have to see once the new trams come online and the re-ferb of the older fleet is complete.
Title: Craven Arms Model railway exhibition 4th of May 2013
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 03, 2013, 12:06:15 AM
This Saturday (4th of May 2013) Thornton Gate is attending the Craven Arms Model railway exhibition, the first of 3 shows we're attending this year in our home county of Shropshire.

For the first show of our exhibition season this year we have bought a number of key upgrades to 'the gate', to help improve cosmetic appearance, interest and reliability.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2013/post-15873-0-73500700-1367534218.jpg)
Above: New for 2013 and ready for service, Standard Car 147, (my attempt of converting the old Typhoo Matchbox toy) and dedicated P'way balloon 701, which has had some modifications to give it it's 1993 rebuilt look, The tram is the first to have standard type couplings fitting under the cabs allowing it to be used with wagons whist not affecting its over all appearance. Tram 708 which has also gone thought a rebuilt and is the only other tram to be fitted with the same configuration, and hence can be used in the same way as 701.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2013/post-15873-0-65097100-1367534538.jpg)Above: Talking of wagons... here is the new wheel wagon as used in Blackpool, scratch built and based around a single US 'model power' bogie, the cable drum its self is from Peco with the side fences and end steps from old 00 gauge diesel after market etchings such as Class 37 side frost grills!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2013/post-15873-0-04631600-1367534718.jpg)
Above: And finely, also ready and making its debut is flexiy widened balloon 719, built by my brother Sam, and as with 701 and 708 it is fitted with a Tomix chassis, but dose not have the coupling configuration set up like the other two.

So we're almost packed and ready to go! everything works (Hopefully) and myself and the team are looking forward to the weekend!
Well that's it for now... do come and see us if you can, Doors open at the Craven Arms Community Centre, Shropshire at 10:00 AM.
Title: Re: Exhibition Season Arrives! Battle of the Pantograths and TG's new sister!
Post by: MikeDunn on May 03, 2013, 09:12:42 AM
The first show will be Craven Arms, Shropshire which is on the 4th May.
Given what happened to you with these people @ Ludlow - brave !!!

We're uncertain if we'll be attending tomorrow ... depends on the weather & what SWMBO wants to get on with !

Mike
Title: Re: Exhibition Season Arrives! Battle of the Pantograths and TG's new sister!
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 03, 2013, 11:51:15 AM
The first show will be Craven Arms, Shropshire which is on the 4th May.
Given what happened to you with these people @ Ludlow - brave !!!

We're uncertain if we'll be attending tomorrow ... depends on the weather & what SWMBO wants to get on with !

Mike

Well I was not going to attend, but I was assured it was a bigger and better venue... I would get my space, and its a nice opening to our season ahead of our larger exhibitions this year

Plus im now prepared for the worst, and to sort thing out my self if needs be  :hmmm:

Also likley to be the last year we support so many local shows, as they really dont pay for our attendance and costs are going up all the time, plus these are full commercial shows so something has to give.

But anyway, nice to see you if you do make it, but you'll have to introduce your self's again as i cant remeber what you look like :D
Title: Re: Exhibition Season Arrives! Battle of the Pantograths and TG's new sister!
Post by: MikeDunn on May 03, 2013, 12:33:17 PM
Well I was not going to attend, but I was assured it was a bigger and better venue... I would get my space, and its a nice opening to our season ahead of our larger exhibitions this year
Yes, it's a better space - the Hall is quite modern (I think under 10 years), and is far better than either Ludlow's space or the old CA space (the Methodist Hall).  Decent parking too - well, half-way decent !!!  I think this same group does the Church Stretton display too ?

Quote
But anyway, nice to see you if you do make it, but you'll have to introduce your self's again as i cant remeber what you look like :D
If we do, will do :)  We may view this as a final chance for them to impress SWMBO & I, both for the Group and for being a local exhibitor (as & when our 4x2 gets completed).
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 03, 2013, 03:56:27 PM
Quote
Yes, it's a better space - the Hall is quite modern (I think under 10 years), and is far better than either Ludlow's space or the old CA space (the Methodist Hall).  Decent parking too - well, half-way decent !!!  I think this same group does the Church Stretton display too ?

Im not sure tbh... I think its a different group with links to them, all I know is Ive never been invited to show at Church Stretton  :confused2:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: MikeDunn on May 04, 2013, 07:16:24 PM
Hi,

Nice meeting up with you three again :)  Not to mention seeing the changes in person :)

Also - nice to see so many N gauge layouts in a small show !  I reckon at least 5, maybe more !

Mike
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 05, 2013, 05:42:46 PM
Hi,

Nice meeting up with you three again :)  Not to mention seeing the changes in person :)

Also - nice to see so many N gauge layouts in a small show !  I reckon at least 5, maybe more !

Mike

Thanks, very nice to meet you again Mike.. Hope you enjoyed the show!
Title: Craven Arms 2013 Exhibition Report
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 05, 2013, 05:45:36 PM
Saturday 4th of May 2013 was Thornton Gate's first outing of 2013, and im pleased to say it all went very well, for the first time no major technical failures or tram breakdowns.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2013/post-15873-0-57740200-1367770155.jpg)
Above: Plenty of space! Sam & Anna man the layout.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2013/post-15873-0-05057400-1367770229.jpg)
Above: Jubilee Class 761 arrives at Thornton Gate station. Now sporting its new Kato pantograth unit 761 is 1 of 5 trams to retain Bachmann US chassises, as we have found with the exception of our two Centenary Cars which use PPC units, the remainder of the Brill units have now stabilised and for this show were running very well, so It's been decided to put back replacing the chassises for now. As for the Centenary Cars... well both were running but began to have issues come the end of the day with 624 sounding very sick and looking like its in the verge of splitting a gear once more!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2013/post-15873-0-20114200-1367771060.jpg)
Above: Sam on the master DCC control unit, showing the fiddle yard loop lines around the back of the layout, and a number of trams waiting to go on front or being withdrawn early such as the two Centenary cars, although technically not failed.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2013/post-15873-0-53132900-1367771214.jpg)
Above: And finally, New balloon 701 with its P'way trollies in tow. Refurbished 708 in green and cream is seen running on the opposite line.  Both these cars, along with Sam's 719 were fitted with our new Tomix chassises, which were being tested under exhibition conditions for the first time, and all performed well, apart from a slight issue with 701 which picked up a bit of dust in its driving bogie which jammed it. Luckily it could be removed and looking to have done no damage to the drive wheels (such as splitting a gear) so 701 was able to carry on for the remainder of the day, but will be fully cleaned and inspected before our next show.

So with a successful opening show, Thornton Gate is next due at Totally Transport festival, Blackpool on June 23rd 2013.
Title: Totally Transport 2013
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 17, 2013, 01:16:32 AM
Probably one of the busiest shows this years for us is almost here! And with any show the weeks leading up to it are normally spent trying to stick your layout back together! Thornton Gate is no exception!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2013/post-15873-0-97985900-1371424729_thumb.jpg)
Above: A busy scene at Thronton Gate

Due to other commitments I've not really had the time to bring rolling stock and other updates together, however I few improvements are almost ready.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2013/post-15873-0-28340400-1371425033_thumb.jpg)
Above: First off, welcome back 762, the incorrect styled second Jubilee tram. In its short time since being built early last year, 726 has been in and out of store and has been robbed for spares giving up 2 chassises and DCC decoders amongst other parts, Since failing at the end of last year it had been reduced to a shell, however in time for Totally Transport 762 has been repaired, given a new '3rd' chassis and fitted with a Kato pantograph. 726 has also received some cosmetic attention hence the odd coloured replacement headlight!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2013/post-15873-0-84698800-1371425610_thumb.jpg)
Another area that im now addressing was the reliability of the yard lines and point work, which for the past year has been somewhat overlooked as the mainlines have taken priority, so I have now started to dig out the groves and test trams running over the little used lines, hopefully allowing stock to use the whole of the rear most line if needs be. In the next few days a fresh coat of paint will hide the white of the plaster were the rails have once again been dug out.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2013/post-15873-0-33185900-1371426158_thumb.jpg)Above: Tram trains concept: So for this show we'll be trailing a full tram train with 701 and 708 working in top and tail formation with the p'way trolly wagons, seen here stabled in the yard, 701 has also gained a snowplough for that common occurrence of a June snowstorm ! Hopefully this will add some interest to the layout and keep the operators happy! The train has been trailed and pending any failures 701 and 708 will work together in this formation for the duration.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2013/post-15873-0-12421800-1371426749_thumb.jpg)
Above: Another view from the yard road way entrance with of the p'way tram train stabled in the yard surrounded by contractors clutter.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2013/post-15873-0-06721800-1371426856_thumb.jpg)
Pantograph down... 708 waits for a tow home.....

So Thornton Gate will be at Blackpool for the Totally Transport festival from 10:30 this Sunday (June 23rd 2013) at the GLOBAL ROOM SOLARIS CENTRE, NEW SOUTH PROMENADE

Hope the locals like us.... Wish us luck!!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on June 17, 2013, 10:29:32 AM
More great pics of an unusual layout. All the best for the show - may your running be perfect :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Belated on June 17, 2013, 04:54:12 PM
Haven't read all your thread (having come to it late) and it's maybe the 'old cobbled town' image you were talking about but have you been to Crick Tramway Museum, near Derby?

Have some photos I took of a visit in 2005 if you are interested and I can find how to load them.  Might give you some ideas for 'visitors'.

John


Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 29, 2013, 10:20:11 PM
Haven't read all your thread (having come to it late) and it's maybe the 'old cobbled town' image you were talking about but have you been to Crick Tramway Museum, near Derby?

Have some photos I took of a visit in 2005 if you are interested and I can find how to load them.  Might give you some ideas for 'visitors'.

John

Hi John, I've not been to Crick as yet however I am fully aware off it, it is my plan to attend some day! Thank you for your kind offer If you dont mind i'll decline for the moment, but I may get back to you at a later date if the offer still stands. :thankyousign:
Title: Thornton Gate at Totally Transport 2013
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 29, 2013, 10:27:02 PM
Thornton Gate at Totally Transport 2013

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June 23rd saw Team Thornton Gate head its way to Blackpool on invite of the Totally Transport Festival, which is held each year at the Solaris Centre, New south promenade. We were to form part of a small model tramway exhibition which formed one of the attractions of the day, the remaider of the fetisval including vintage bus and car rally was to happened along the prom.

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However..... The weather was utterly appalling with driving rain and gale force winds battering blackpool, when i did get a change to look out side all i could see were a few busses lined up getting covered in salt and grit being blasted off the beach!

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So this ment indoor exhibitions such as us were unusually busy , and hence here we are all set up and read to go for 10AM after battling the conditions to get Thornton Gate out the car and indoors!

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Above: New for this show where custom printed T-shirts in our adopted corporate blue style complete with TG insignia as seen here modelled by myself and Anna. I admit I was very tired by this point and was running on energy drinks, we had been up since 4 AM!

Anyway down to the business of the day ... Running trams!

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As always we give our fleet a full service before going out on show, for some of the fleet, mainly balloon cars, this is already there 6th public outing since first appearing last year, so as you can imagine the 1:1 scale miles are starting to clock up!

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Above: Running well, reactivated Jubilee 762 returned to action for Totally Transport and is seen here on a up working being passed by vintage standard car 147, both cars representing the corporate green liveries of Blackpool Transport.

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Above: 719 the widened balloon car was again borrowed for the show (its not part of the TG fleet), It however surprising was the first failure of the day despite being fitted with a better Tomix chassis. The tram body slipped down jamming the bogies and due to its width with the widened doors become out of gauge for the layout and was oddly hitting every pole and fence on the layout! So regrettably 719 stabled very early on the centre road for the rest of the day as failure no.1 :-(

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Above: As the day wore on discipline began to get shaky to say the least! not mentioning any names... ANNA cough cough... 

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Above: With 719 and now Yellow centenary 624 the later failing with gear issues (Again) my team ... not helpfully suggested quick fix tram replacements  ... Ha Ha NOT FUNNY!

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Above: As planned Balloons 701 and 708 had worked together on the p'way train for most of the day, however as seen here passing the now increasing line of failures, the pair were split up and leaving there wagons in the yard sidings and spent the final part of the day running independently in active service as cover for the 4 expired trams. Seen here Kit Kat Centenary 641 had joined the cue along with sister balloon 710 both were having electrical issues with 710 being completely dead! 710 is now likly to be the next tram to be fitting with a Tomix chassis to replace its Brill trolly which as done well over a year of service and has failed before.

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Above: with the centre line getting a little jammed to say the least, Standard 147 took its crew break in Thornton gate yard, the re-patching of the concrete rail sections had worked very well with 147 not stalling once whilst working this section.

The show finished a little early so we could battle the elements and the increasing winds! and get home. As we had made good time we took the opportunity to do a bit of sight seeing.

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Above: Bolton Car no. 66 seen as we drove past stabled in the gale force winds at North Pier station.

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Above: a quick evening visit to Rigby Road depot, were two boat cars which were ment to be used during the day had been shoutering from the storm.

Now something a little bit special to end our day... James hadnt been to Thornton Gate so on our way out we stopped off, bearing in mind we had the layout in the car.. so Thronton Gate actually went to Thornton Gate! ... odd I know but had to be done :-)

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Above: Parked in Thornton Gate yard entrance, with Thronton Gate (the layout) seen in the back of the car!

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Above: So i'll end this long post with a view of old Thronton Gate station as it is today .. or was when taken on the 23rd June 2013. All in all a very good show our first Tram only event, It was very nice to meet so many forum web users at the show :-)

We're out again in under a month when we do the Oswestry Cambrian Railex event on Sunday July 21st at Oswsetry Railway Station.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Belated on June 29, 2013, 11:44:56 PM
No problem, I may put them on an album anyway.  As usual, my camera battery was low - think there's something wrong with it or I just don't use it enough to charge the battery - so I didn't take a lot of photos anyway.  :camera:   :uneasy:

Gonna have to go back there again myself.  In the meantime, I can just drool over your pictures of Thornton Gate, I think it's fabulous.  :envy:  :bounce:  :NGF:

John
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: scotsoft on June 30, 2013, 12:10:31 AM
It is a shame the weather was not good for the bus and car rally but good for you to be kept so busy  :thumbsup:

Good selection of photos you have posted, thank you  ;)

cheers John.
Title: Its Show Time! (Again)
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 16, 2013, 04:34:02 PM
**Warning Post Contains Workbench Content That Some Views My Find Distressing!)

Hi all, its the middle of July ... the hottest July for some time and quite a contrast from the appalling weather at our last outing in Blackpool. However It time for Team Thornton Gate to hit the road once more with show number 3 of our 2013 exhibition season, that being the Cambrian Railex event in Oswestry, North Shropshire.

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Now as this is relatively local to me, I was up at the station site the other day, taking a few photos, so can show what to expect on the day.

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Above: The Brake Van (LMS 20T) and industry shunter loco as mentioned in the poster, this will be operating off the platform for the duration of the event.

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Above: End of the line, a place that I doubt will be available to the public come running day, but this is were I think the train will run to before pushing brake van first back into the main station, so I reckon a 10-15 minute round trip, as with Crewe last year it will be nice to have a ride on a 4 wheeler!

So if the weather holds should be a good day! doors open at 10 AM Oswesty Railway Station, Shropshire.

Right, no TG photos in this post as I have been hard at work getting the stock ready, after the long list of failures during the last show.

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Above (from left to right) Widened door  719, Re chassised 708, Brill based 726, P'way Car 701, and failed Brill based 710.

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Above: One of the first major jobs was to deal with Centenary 624 this split gears again.... It was going to be pulled from service due to the poor state of the PCC chassis, however luckily I was able to pick up a brand new Bachmann PCC (right) for just £5 as a token gift for doing Totally Transport. This tram forms the donor chassis unit to replace the one under 624. This ment the awkward process of wiring the unit and switching the DCC decoder over. After testing this should allow a more reliable 624 to re-enter service for the remainder of the season. Also of note is the difference in scale between 624 built to 1:148 scale and the PCC built to 1:160 scale hence it look a little small against 624. The problem also occurs with the busses in the top right of the photo, they should be the same height!

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Above: Balloon 710, which also failed has had its Brill trolly replaced with a Tomix unit in line with 719, 708 and 701, 710's original chassis is seen (Left) ready to have its 8pin DCC decoder removed and re-wired to the tomix unit (Right). In the mid shot the now scrap PPC unit out of 624.

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Above: 710 fitted with its new Tomix chassis, awaiting testing and the refitting of its under cages, hopefully the tram will be a lot more reliable in the future.

Brill trolly wise this just leaves 726 and 761 running on theses units, however I think come the end of the season I will switch these over as well ready for 2014.

Right well thats it for now, I will try and do a TG layout update before the weekend.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on July 16, 2013, 09:25:32 PM
Lovely set of trams and some really neat paint jobs :thumbsup:
Title: Show report : Cambrian Railex event in Oswestry
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 24, 2013, 08:04:40 PM
A busy summer season for us, having just got back from doing the Cambrain Railex show in Oswestry, Shropshire, A really enjoyable and busy show heres some of the highlights.

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Above: This event had been very well planned out and advertised including at the preserved station site were the show was being held.

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Above: The Cambrian Station in the town played host to this show, the organisers making the most of the heat wave of recent weeks by placing most of the trade support outside! A brave move!

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Above: Our corner in the ticket office! Yes we got a whole corner to ourselves, which I was most happy about, Anna seen here at the start of the day with the layout set up and ready for the days running.

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Above: Before we turn our attention to the layout, just wanted to show the pic of the platform outside with the LMS 20 Ton brake and shunter in operation giving rides though out the day. Sadly I did not get a chance to ride this one due to the fact we were so busy.

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Above: So on with the show! This was to be a long one with doors opening at 10AM and not closing until 5PM which is a late closing time for most exhibitions, anyhow here is 147 and 762 on the down line at Thornton Gate Station.

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Above: Reliability of the stock has now improved, we had no failures at all during the show, this allowed Balloons 701 and 708 to stay together on the works train all day, seen here shunting off the centre road and back across to the yard sidings.

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Above: Balloon 710 is seen on the up road station area now sporting a new Tomix chassis, the car did a valiant service all day.

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Above: Also working very well, Centenary 624 retuned to service with it new Bachmann PCC chassis, seen here approaching Thornton Gate from Fleetwood.

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Above: The final runners of the day as 5PM loomed, Balloons 710 and still fitted with its original brill trolly chassis Balloon 726, the two worked a skeleton service, whilst everything else was quietly packed up in readiness for the mad rush to get home.


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During the day the local paper (The Shropshire Star) took a photo of myself with 726 for an item in the following days edition, not the first press coverage we've had and I some how doubt the last! It can be viewed online here: http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2013/07/22/full-steam-ahead-for-fun-in-shropshire-sun/border-21rail-4/ (http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2013/07/22/full-steam-ahead-for-fun-in-shropshire-sun/border-21rail-4/)

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Above: And finally a little gift the layout was presented with by the exhibition manager, a solid cast replica railway works plate, a very nice item indeed but a bit to large and heavy to put anywhere on the layout its self!

All in all a very good day, a few things to sort out and repair before we head off to our next show, that of the Stockport station rail festival on Sunday 4th August.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: EtchedPixels on July 24, 2013, 08:31:23 PM
And tomorrow is of course the 149th anniversary of the creation of the Cambrian Railways from the merger of a bunch of little railway companies.

Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 29, 2013, 10:55:19 PM
Our next show back up north! Stockport Station 4th August 2013

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Title: Stockport Railshow 2013 : Report
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 07, 2013, 10:07:23 PM
Stockport Railshow 2013 : Report

The end of our busy summer season has come with TG's outing to Stockport. For me this has to be one of the best but oddest shows we've done to date, but never the less a really positive experience. It was a bit odd carrying the layout though the subway at Stockport station but oh well!

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Above: So lots happening during the day Including the naming of a Virgin Pendolino by Mr Pete Waterman! This of cource ment the crowed has really gathered for the show so we knew we were going to be busy!


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Above: DB also entered an exhibit in the form of Class 60 no. 60020 which stabled in the station for the duration of the day.

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Above: And if all this excitement wasn't enough 45231 made a pass though the station on a live rail tour! WOW....

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Above: So despite all this going on Thornton Gate was still billed as the 'Main attraction' as seen here on the notice board half was down the public subway that connects the stations platforms... no pressure then!

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Above: As before! Anna sits with the layout as the doors open at 10 AM, for this show id linked up a Netbook computer to show looped video of Blackpool and other related contact throughout the day.

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Above: Due to the level of excitement at Virgin and the work they'd done in promoting us, it was only right that we returned the favour, so the night before the show and sadly a little pushed for time Balloons 701 and 708, which have been working in multiple for most of this season were giving 'one off' Virgin Trains Stockport branding, with this photo being rushed over to Virgin the night before.

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Above: Jubilee 762 was also given temporary Virgin banners for the event, in addition to the balloon cars the stunt went down very well indeed! 

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Above: Scenes of other stock during the day in operation, we only had two failures these being 719 (gauging issue again) and 624 (Electrical failure). Although these failures were annoying, they were not that surprising considering the back to back nature of the last 3 exhibitions we've done, having been somewhat pushed for time.

So deep breath and a rest is now the order of the day, Stockport marking the end of 2013 summer shows for us, however we can announce an addition to our schedule, this being the Wolverhampton Model Railway Exhibition on November 3rd and 4th (TBC) this in addition to out final show of 2013 at Bayston Hill Shrewsbury at the end of November.

We have lots to be getting on with repairs and upgrades so keep posted!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 07, 2013, 10:43:44 PM
Addition:
Just thought id add some detailed side shots of 701 and 708 in there very distinctive Virgin Trains branding (Shortly to be removed)

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Title: Pantograph Cars, & Our summer break.
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 29, 2013, 08:52:32 PM
Hello all, realised its been a while so thought i'd do an update.

Its been a busy summer, I have been grateful for the break in our exhibition schedule, this has given me some time to work on the much needed updates, ahead of our return to finish off the 2013 season, starting with the Wolverhampton MRC show the beginning of November.

I will post again soon, about the layout work, but for now I wanted to share a little ongoing project... A 1923 Blackpool Pantograph Car.

With some of my other projected delayed or on hold for now, Thornton Gate is in need of more single deck vehicles, currently only having the two Centenary Class cars (when they work!).
So I was looking at the large amount of scrap this project has produced, such the numerous Brill trolly body shells, and wondered if they could be used for any Blackpool prototype. The solution ... A preserved Pantograph Class car.

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Brill trollies have been used before, in the form of our previous engineering car No.753, which despite being re-chassised a number of times was a complete liability and so was withdrawn at the end of our 2012 session being replaced with Balloon 701 which is more prototypical and due to its brilliant TM-03 chassis, much more reliable. 753 was then broken up for spares and has existed as a half broken up shell in my scrap box ever since.

Second time lucky?

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The Brill trollies do look a little like Pantograth cars, and with a bit of work the main body shell can be 'de-Americanised' to give it a more 1920's European look. 753 is also going to give up its tower for the new project.

One of the key things to do was to capture the shape with in the confines of the existing body shell. One of the ways to do this is to remove the front window frame to give a move wider modern look.

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Above: Left the original 1800's looking American Brill trolly cab, Right: The windows widened out with the curved framing removed.

So very much a work in progress. I have tried were possible to keep the car intact. Brill trollies were not manufactured with the best plastic, so tend to be thin and either brittle or very soft.

Originally I was hoping to keep as many of the window supports as possible, but as none of them line up with the new required window layout of 6 large windows per side, almost all the original frames had to be cut out with new plastic strip and panelling sections built into the shell to create new window frames and to add strength to the car.

In addition attention has gone into the roof, which on a Pantograph car has the raised vent section sloped at each end. To replicate this I have cut away the end sections of the vent area, filed down the undersides then reattached them pointing down, once filled and sanded this should give the smooth curves required for roof profile of the prototype.

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Above: A lot of work required, the soon be be Pantograph class tram seen here with its new TM-03 chassis unit being test fitted, even if it was to remain as a Brill trolly I would have still replaced the chassis. The side frames (which will be pained green) have been selected due to there closeness to the prototype, however they work and look best if fitted upside down! So are due a little bit of modification.

I dont know when I'll get this ready, im hoping soon, maybe ready for November, just have to see how it looks once sprayed in primer.

As for the rest of the layout... watch this space! Another update due very soon!
Title: Final Upgrades and the Wolverhampton Exhibition
Post by: Balloon_726 on October 25, 2013, 10:31:29 PM

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Hello all, just a reminder were appearing at this years Wolverhampton MRC Exhibition on November 2nd and 3rd.

This will be the first show since Stockport back in August, this has given us time to get the remainder of the major upgrade work done early, allowing us to show case the new developments within what's left of the 2013 season and ahead of our very packed 2014 season.

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Above: So first up we have a new 'Sound App' which i've custom developed for Thornton Gate using extracts of audio recorded at the real location and of rolling stock movements in the area. Now im finding along with DCC, Sound is becoming an increasing demand from the public and when done well can really add another dimension. Unlike most systems which use expensive on board chip sets, Our system uses to discreetly placed stereo speakers, which are plugged into a PDA computer running the software, sounds such as traffic and trams are then stereo balanced and played over any stock movement.

How well this system is going to work is anyone's guess, but having fallen in love with the idea when I saw a smilier 'atmos sound' system in used on the layout 'Grange Over Sands' http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/image/3467-grange-over-sands-1jpg/ (http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/image/3467-grange-over-sands-1jpg/)

I knew this is what I wanted for Thornton Gate, but in a more random and interactive form.

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Above: The new look! A lot of work has gone into improving the exterior of Thornton Gate, making it more contained and framed better. Thanks to a new top board we now have new strip tube lighting replacing the old spot lamps and tubes. The side panels help to hide the fiddle yard and make us operators feel less overlooked, in addition we now have a large blue fabric area to help raise the back scene making the fiddle area less exposed.

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Above & Below: Cosmetically the main layout has also received some attention in the form of new custom printed back scene elements, which have been printed onto self adhesive paper and attached onto the boards. The buildings are taken from photographs of the real location and so are 90%ish correct. After being blended into the foreground scenic with the application of scatters and paint, the end result is really quite good and really helps to lift the layout and give it a real sense of depth and grounding. 


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So all being well and tram fleet back together, Thornton Gate can be seen next weekend at Wolverhampton.
 
Title: Wolverhampton MRC Exhibition 2013 - Show Report
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 04, 2013, 10:58:36 PM
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Hello all, just recovering after Thornton Gate's appearance at this years Wolverhampton exhibition.

Im very pleased to announce it was a fantastic success, and I can not praise the Wolverhampton Model Railway Club enough for there professional and organised approach to running this show. The new venue was fantastic, we could park and unload really easily, floor space was more then ample, we were fed and really well looked after by the club staff, and I even got 2... yes 2! plug sockets ready and live right next to our allotted space!

So if your reading this Wolverhampton MRC, your should be very proud and what you achieved, and I wish you as a club all the very best going forward :-) 

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Down to the business at hand. All in all we had a very good show, no real failures of any tram cars, very positive feedback from the public and I even got to do some operating for a change!

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Above: A busy yard! The new upgrades to the layout for this show have really come into there own, here an additional 'hired in' EWS class 08 shunter joins the resident '04' on the rear line, P'way car no 701 working solo again for this show is seen also stabled in the yard, whist the ever popular 'Kit Kat' centenary class tram no 641 passes on a north bound Fleetwood service. It should be pointed out that this time both Centenary cars ran perfectly during the two day show, a far cry from the normal predictable failure of at least one of them, sister car 624 doing the honours last time at Stockport!

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Above: Speaking of 701, during the exhibition Thornton Gate had a visitor in the form of John Marfleet's version of Balloon 701 which normally would traverse the rails of Huncote Tramways Johns own N gauge UK tramway exhibition layout. His version of 701 originating from the same mould as my version. Seen here lined up in front of mine for a photo.

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Above: As John's 701 was also fitted with a DCC decoder, it seemed only right that it go for a spin on Thornton Gate's rails, with Mr Marfleet driving of course!

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Above: Also, on day two widened Balloon car 719 was bought over to the exhibition for a test run after being out of use for some time. After some testing before we opened to the public, it was pushed back into life and used some of the day, seen here waiting on the down line in the station area.

So overall a very good weekend, everything worked very well, the layout looked fantastic and we even had our first visiting tram!

Next stop for us if our final outing for 2013, that being the Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury Exhibition on Saturday 23rd of November 2013.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Chetcombe on November 05, 2013, 04:07:02 AM
Congratulations :thumbsup:

Many thanks for posting the pictures. The layout canopy and the whole presentation looks fantastic. I also think the "TG" logo and branding looks great - this is something you don't see very often and really makes Thornton Gate stand out.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: newmodeller on November 05, 2013, 03:31:33 PM
Wow...I joined the forum after lurking for a while just so that I can comment on Thornton Gate.
I was born and grew up on Thornton Gate and traveled by tram from Thornton Gate to Starr Gate every day to and from school....this has brought back many happy memories....can almost see my parents house and shop in your layout..Thank you so much!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Caz on November 05, 2013, 03:36:14 PM
Welcome "newmodeller" to the forum, how about creating a post in the welcome and introduction board to let us all know a little bit more about you and your interests.   :)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 05, 2013, 10:16:31 PM
Congratulations :thumbsup:

Many thanks for posting the pictures. The layout canopy and the whole presentation looks fantastic. I also think the "TG" logo and branding looks great - this is something you don't see very often and really makes Thornton Gate stand out.

Thanks very much, I must admin im very happy with the presentation, have finally got things to look the way I want them  :beers:

The 'TG' brand has been a big part of the project and marketing the layout, I guess you can tell I work in Media and production presentation for a living, so public relations and brand building is what I do, and I felt it was imported to develop the project in this way.

Thanks for your feedback, im glad you like the project  :D Theres always something else to do ... or fix !
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 05, 2013, 10:22:01 PM
Wow...I joined the forum after lurking for a while just so that I can comment on Thornton Gate.
I was born and grew up on Thornton Gate and traveled by tram from Thornton Gate to Starr Gate every day to and from school....this has brought back many happy memories....can almost see my parents house and shop in your layout..Thank you so much!

Well a very warm welcome  :welcomesign:

Im touched you chose your first post to comment on my work  :claphappy:

Im not local at all to the area as the layout lives at home in Shropshire of all places, still it is amazing the people I meet that tell me of how memories of there time living or working in the area come flooding back after reading or seeing the layout.

As the admins have said, welcome to N Gauge Forum, In the 2 years or so Ive been here, This has been a really special and supportive online community, so please introduce your self on the welcome page, if or when your ready, and look forward to reading commenting on posts in the future.

So welcome and thank you  :NGaugersRule:
Title: Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury 2013 Exhibition
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 22, 2013, 12:29:03 AM


Another year almost over... we limp over the finishing line! ... a quick pre show update.

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Thornton Gate will make its last show of our 2013 season this Saturday at Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury. This is my local show, and its were I cut my teeth doing my first public exhibition about 11 or 12 years ago so I do like to support it, even when i dose suddenly clash with the NEC..... It is a really good friendly and quite large local show, well worth a visit.

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For this one I'm mostly patching the layout back together, after Wolverhampton, however I have been playing with some Japanese lorries which I've added to the layout today... amazingly I bought these two for just £3.00 each!

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Above: The lorries really look the part, especially exiting Cleveleys industrial estate.

So a full show and end of season report will follow...after I've got back from the NEC myself, visiting on Sunday... a busy weekend ahead!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: daveg on November 22, 2013, 08:44:35 AM
Hope everything goes well.  :thumbsup:

Dave G
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: moogle on November 22, 2013, 02:03:05 PM
There's some nice additions to this layout. Hope the last show goes ok.
Title: Bayston Hill Exhibition.... The night before the show, a quick update.
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 23, 2013, 12:37:41 AM
Evening All.... Have spent Firday evening over at the church setting up... well I say setting up it was more like chatting to other people for half an hour and drinking tea.... however once again were ready for the one day event.

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Above: Ready to go.. and thank god (appropriate as were in a church) for the new lighting as the 'house' lights used in the building are just awful, a horrible dim yellow... our lights give a nice clean white glow in amongst the gloom! I worry for layouts that dont have there own lighting rigs!

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Above: The few show plaques we have been given (so few shows give you any these days!) have been added and weigh a ton! Before you ask the dedication plaques is for my friend the late Pete Walford who was part of the team but sadly died aged 23 a few months before our first outing back in 2012. Thornton Gate is dedicated to his memory.

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Above: An overview of most the layout.... who needs a trackplan!

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Above: And finally on test once again our new sound app software, generating the atmos sound affects for the layout..

So were all ready, bring on the final show of the year!
Title: Thornton Gate – Review of the year 2013
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 01, 2013, 06:12:32 PM

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Its that time again! The Shrewsbury, Bayston Hill exhibition yet again marks the end of our second season operating Thornton Gate.

It has been another extraordinary year, with many highs and lows, but most importantly the interest and popularly of the project continues to grow, and were very much looking forward to a busy and high profile 2014 season.

Many new trams have come online and others have had up’s and downs during the year, infact reading news about the prototypes at Blackpool, you realise our 1:148 scale replicas are having just as much of an adventurous career themselves!

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We start way back in the early part of the year when balloon 701 and standard 167 came online for the first time. Both were equally imported developments.

Our 2012 season had relied heavily on Bachmann US Brill trolley chasses, these however had not fared well with the gruelling demands of an exhibition weekend, with most breaking down at some point.

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A replacement was needed and 701 formed that basis. The car, built ironically from a rejected body shell was test fitted with a new Japanese Tomix chasses, type TM-03. I was lucky as this unit almost matched the wheel base of the donor Brills we were replacing.

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Standard 167 was built as my attempt at doing the classic Matchbox Typhoo Tea tram conversion, and utilised a short wheel base KATO chassis also from Japan.

The two new cars gave a marked improvement over the Brill chasses and entered service for our first 2013 show at Craven Arms, Shropshire.

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For this first event Balloon 708 was also given a new Tomix chassis and much needed patch repaint, we also welcomed widened Balloon 719, built by my brother same, trialling door pods as a post 2011 Balloon.

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Also In time for start of the 2013 season, most of the fleet got new Kato pantograph units, replacing the somewhat crude examples we’d hand built.

Our seconded show of the year was the Totally Transport Festival in Blackpool during the early summer… however given the weather I didn’t see much sun!

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For this show Jubilee 762 was re-chassed and returned to use after being robbed for spares during our 2012 season.

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Also for the first time 701 and 708 where set-up together and ran top and tail on the P’way wagons in a trial ‘Tram Train’ experiment.

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Overall despite the weather Blackpool went quite well, we did however have issues with Centenary car no 624 finally giving up completely, the car having been dogged with issues in its first year. Although repaired for the 2013 season 624 continued to spit gears even on brand new truck sets! The conclusion, the Bachmann PCC chasses which we still have to used with these trams, was totally shot and a new one had to be acquired.

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On a more positive note, as we were in Blackpool, at the end of the show after packing up the layout we went over to the real Thornton Gate as not all the team had been there before, with the layout still in the car these lead to the unusual scenario of taking Thornton Gate to Thornton Gate!!


In July we made our third exhibition appearance at Cambrian Railex event in Oswestry, North Shropshire.
Based at the now preserved Oswesrty station, the one day event also featured working trains outside on the former main line.

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For our part it was a relatively quite show. Centenary 624 had been rechassised with a new Bachmann US PCC unit and following concerns about Balloon 710 it to was rechassised becoming the 5th tram to run a Tomix TM-03 unit.

With these improvements we managed to get though the show and I even made it into the local paper, along with ‘Coast Guard’ Balloon No. 726!

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August bought us back up north as Thornton Gate was billed as the main exhibit of Virgin Trains Stockport Station exhibition. This was a slightly odd experience as the show took place on the platforms of the cities mainline station.

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For the event Balloons 701 and 708 and Jubilee 762 were given ‘Virgin Stockport’ branding and destination blinds were changes to read ‘Virgin Trains Stockport’. Admittedly the decision to do the branding was taken only 24 hours before we were due to exhibit so was a little rushed, but none the less well worth the effort.

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This was also the last show we ran the layout in its current ‘overlooked’ presentation form, before major upgrade work was undertaken to improve the presentation and operating experience.

During the show we only had two failures, 624 again, even with a new chassis! And widened balloon  719 with gauging issues.

Stockport marked the end of our summer shows, and so we had a much needed rest and time to repair and service the stock after 3 almost back to back exhibitions.


November marked the end of our season (almost) with the last two exhibitions.
Show five was that of the Wolverhampton Model railway club, this year being held at a new venue for the first time. This show was to be our one and only two day event of the season.

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For Wolverhampton we bought forward a number of key updates to the layout, including new lighting and surround boarding and branding including new custom printed hoodies complete with the ‘TG” logo, all in our corporate blue scheme.

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Also for the first time we used our experimental interactive sound system, the layout being fitted with speakers and a touch screen PDA computer.

Operations wise all trams were running apart from 719 which was kicked back into life by Sam during the show. The car took it in turns with 762 as they both share the same CV decoder address for our DCC system.

Balloons 701 and 708 ran separately for the first time since the beginning of the year, 701 having almost lost it ‘Virgin’ branding apart from the front red shields. During the removal of the paper ads it was found the glue used was pulling the paint off as well, so 701 received some emergency touching up before the show. As a result 708 was left with its ‘Virgin’ branding intacted and ran with the branding until the end of the season.

On day one of the Wolverhampton show, we had our first visiting tram car in the form of John Marfleet’s version of Balloon 701, this took to the rails for a short time as well as lining up with our home 701 for a twin photo!

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And Finally…

Rounding off 2013 was our local show, the Bayston Hill exhibition, Shrewsbury, this one we ran prity much off the back of Wolverhampton show.

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According to the organiser numbers were down on last year, and the future of the show is in some doubt, however it did fall on the same Saturday as the Warley NEC exhibition and being only 50 minutes away from the NEC its not surprising numbers were hit.

I along with most of the other exhibitors wanted to be at the NEC and would go as visitors the following day!

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On the rolling stock front most tramcars were running but a busy year was starting to take its toll on the stock and the layout! Although all cars did finish the show Balloon 726 which retains its original Bachmann Brill trolley chassis was having issues come mid day, and although not failed it was sidelined on the centre loop.

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The two centenary cars ran okay for most the day, but again like 726 were in need of servicing, 624 being pulled early and 641 ‘Kit Kat tram’ might have surcome to a spit gear but managed to finish the day!

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In the last 15 minutes of the final hour of the show and our 2013 season all active 11 exhibition cars were lined up for the ‘end of show’ photo, a tradition we started last year. Balloon 701 leads the line up.

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So what next? Well….

As it happens our 2014 season is all most fully booked, I’m actually taking bookings for 2015!
In the meantime we as a team have a lot of work to do. I’m working on some new tramcars, as well as additions to the layout, some elements need replacing whilst others need building! In addition all current tramcars need a full clean and service as well as cosmetic attention, this will no doubt keep us busy until April next year when we do it all again for another year!

But that’s not quite it just yet… No, although the last tram has ran for this year, one or two cars have a final engagement for 2013… more will follow!

Other then that and maybe the odd post about some of the things I’ll be doing, that really is it for this year.

So thanks for following us, and keep posted this thread will jump back into life again real soon!
 
Title: Well its that time again.... XMAS CARD 2013
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 13, 2013, 11:45:35 PM
Well its that time again....

This year Balloon 701 fiited with its snowplough dose the honers and fights another winter of bad snow fall at Thronton Gate, seen here resting between duties with the crew taking a break!

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701 is planned for another special duty in 2014 so will shortly be disappearing and may not return to later next year... and no its not going into route master livery just yet!

Anyway A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Thornton Gate!

See you next year maybe for what is looking like the biggest season we might ever do! More details when I know whats happening!
Title: Thornton Gate 2014 Season Preview
Post by: Balloon_726 on March 15, 2014, 10:38:22 PM
2014- A New Season!

Hello all we're back! And gearing up for our biggest and highest profile exhibition season yet!

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Its been just over 4 months since we last exhibited and in this time myself and my partner Anna, have been working on the numerous repairs and updates, required to keep the layout working and looking fresh and presentable.

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Above: One of the largest projects was the complete removing and refurbishment of the overhead poles and paved areas. The poles were in a sorry state after 2 years of hard knocks. Anna spent 2 days completely refurbishing, which included a rebuild, making them stronger and less prone to damage.

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Above: Here we can see Centenary 624 being used for 'gauging trials' with the yet to be repainted rebuild overhead poles.

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Above: Another area I wanted to improve was overall 'stuff' and clutter on the layout, the little day to day items that help make a scene that little bit more real, and here can be seen to results still drying, hundreds of all items bought from an number of cottage manufactures from last years NEC show..

Speaking of which.....

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Above: Balloon 701 has been given a very special livery for the 2014 season, that of the Warley NEC exhibition, which Thornton Gate is attending as the only Tramway layout at this years (2014) event. 701 has been turned out in the custom livery with the full backing of the Warley Club and we look forward to being part of the outstanding exhibition, for me a personal dream come true in many respects!

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Above: So are first show is only a matter of weeks away that of the Beamish tramway museum model show on the 5th and 6th of April 2014. A lot has really been achieved and we've now ready to reinstated the overhead catenary.

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Above: Tram cars have been rolling under there own power again on test this month (March 2014) for the first time since November last year, here Standard class no. 147 makes a round trip taking the centre 'up' line which is not a normal operation as the outer loop is used prototypically but its all part of the first preseason electrics test.

[attachment=395887:shuntering_corner_2.jpg]
Above: The shunting corner, not strictly prototypical but done in good faith and mirroring other light rail systems in the UK, Hired EWS class 08 waits which some EX BR tube opens in the new and highly detailed compound area, as you can see we have a number of new attentions which we hope will keep the visiting public interested for the coming season!

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Above: We'll end with a look at the resident Class 04 industrial and its new plant wagons, bought as ready to run Farish the wagons are typical of the sorts of things that make there want over time onto light rail networks, still lots of work to be done, but we're hoping to use the class 04 more during operations this year.

Well thats it for now, thanks for reading and hope you'll contunie to follow us thoughout 2014!

Remember our opening show is at the Beamish tramway museum model show on the 5th and 6th of April 2014, and is the furthest North Thornton Gate as been to date!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Only Me on March 15, 2014, 10:47:57 PM
One word.

great!
Title: Beamish Exhibition - The Opening Show of Thronton Gate's 2014 Season
Post by: Balloon_726 on April 14, 2014, 03:03:21 AM
Beamish Exhibition - The Opening Show of Thronton Gate's 2014 Season

An Exhibition Report.

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Above: Sunderland 101 (Blackpool Balloon Class no 703) hiding at the back of the depot due to an electrical issue.

The weekend past (April 5th & 6th) saw us with Thornton Gate in County Durham as part of an exhibition at the Beamish Heritage Museum. For myself and Anna this was the furthest north we've ever been and also set the record for the layout!

We'll come to the Exhibition in a mo, but first I just wanted to share a few photos of the goings on at the museum. As always we had very little time to look around, driving model trams is a full time job! However due to the nature of the museum if you want to get some lunch for example the quickest way is to take the tram to the next town! (You dont hear me complaining! )

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Above: The bulk of the service around the site provided by ex-Blackpool cars Pantograph Class no. 167 and Towing Car no. 280


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Above: As already mentioned Beamish's resident Balloon Car no. 101 was under repair in the sites depot, luckily the depot staff allowed me into the shed and onboard the tram to take a few interesting internal shots, mainly of the cabs and driving consoles.


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Above: The weather wasn't on our side for most of the weekend, rain and fog being the main weather features, this did have a knock-on affect with visiter numbers. The views shows the 'fan' of rails that make up Beamish's tram sheds.

Anyhow on with the exhibition!

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In all Beamish was the coming together of 10 tramway layouts all in different scales and prototypes, and for the first time we weren't the only N gauge tramway, as John Marfleet's 'Huncote Trams' layout was also in attendance so it was another case of 'swapping notes' with fellow exhibitors.

John also lent us a N gauge rail camera which he took this footage of a mock balloon cab ride along a lap of the layout, enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/embed/b8gWunKCuO0 (http://www.youtube.com/embed/b8gWunKCuO0)

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Above: Overall Thronton Gate performed well, the layout benefiting from a number updates and cometic tweaks we've been working on in the run up to this show. In this busy view No 701 can be seen stabled in the compound area awaiting a clear road with trailers in tow as well as our Farish shunting locomotives and assorted plant wagons which now occupy the yard area.

In all most tram cars worked well, however we did have a few recurring issues. Firstly 'Kitkat' tram, Centenary class no 641 began developing issues on day one and had died by the end of the first day, however it was resuscitated and spluttered on for day 2, but now requires attention, I suspect another split gear to be a problem a common issue with the serving Bachmann chassises we have to use to power these cars.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2014/post-15873-0-72198600-1397438073_thumb.jpg)

Above: 'Coast Guard' Balloon  No 726 also developed some odd running issue, the tram had been newly rechassised with a Tomix Unit for this year but despite this was running poorly, tripping up on point work and stalling. Unable to fix the issue, by day two 726 was dumped on the centre line, sister Balloon No 710 also began to struggle by the end of day two 'suspected dirty pickups' and was also retired to join 726. Compounding issues further was Standard 147 which also begain to suffer from dirt due to long running hours, the sort that cant be cleaned with a brush on site.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2014/post-15873-0-63236700-1397438310_thumb.jpg)

Above: With the number of available cars getting low P'way tram no 701 detached from its trailers in the yard and was summoned to normal passenger working which it continued to do for the majority of day two. Seen here waiting to join the mainline after detaching from its wagons at the back of the yard (out of shot).


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2014/post-15873-0-30297600-1397438485_thumb.jpg)

Above: Credit were credits due, currently the only tram to retain a Bachmann Brill trolly chassis, Jubilee car no. 762 continued to work well and has given little grief in its 2 years of service. Originally I wanted to replace its chassis as well, but its one of those 'If it ant broke dont fix it'. Out of all the trams in our fleet 762 still on its original chassis, has clocked up the most hours but continues to run well. The car was one of the last two run in the final hour of day two, running our end of the day ghost service.

In all a very good but tiring show, the 6 hour drive the Friday before not helping. Although things arnt as bad reliability wise theses days the loss of 4 trams in our small fleet has got me thinking we might need more cars to fill the void.

One idea would be to build some 'B fleet' cars using mothballed Brill trolly chassises and spare Balloon shells, the only issue being cost of more DCC chips and the reliability of these chassises. However I am increasingly aware of the high running hours our current fleet is doing and just how much we're pushing these chassises some doing up to 8 hours running over a weekend. It's food for thought, this on top of additional classes of tram car im yet to build or introduce.

A more fuller report about the exhibition can be read here: http://www.gordonstrams.net/BMEpage3.htm (http://www.gordonstrams.net/BMEpage3.htm)

Thornton Gates next outing (with a full and working tram fleet) will be:

The Festival of Model Tramways ,
Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th July 2014
at the Museum of Transport, Boyle Street, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, M8 8UW

See: http://www.tramwayinfo.com/Deffest.htm (http://www.tramwayinfo.com/Deffest.htm)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on April 14, 2014, 03:26:47 AM
I visited Beamish last year (pics on Bealman's UK Adventure thread) and should imagine that you and your team would have loved it. As someone who lived only a couple of miles away in my youth (it didn't exist then, of course), I was very impressed and proud of such an excellent facility.

 Sorry about the weather, but it sounds like it was a success.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on April 14, 2014, 03:40:23 AM
Thanks for the exhibition report - it sounds like you had a good show despite the 'casualties'. The drivers cab vid was excellent.
Not sure about cleaning wheels with a bush :goggleeyes:
Is it effective? :D
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on April 14, 2014, 10:37:50 AM
Thanks for the exhibition report - it sounds like you had a good show despite the 'casualties'. The drivers cab vid was excellent.
Not sure about cleaning wheels with a bush :goggleeyes:
Is it effective? :D

Well as you know I like to take a more 'rustic' approach  :D

Dam typos, I try my best, problem when doing these updates so late and when so tired... oh well cheers for pointing out, now corrected  :thankyousign:

And as ever thanks for your comments
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: PLD on April 14, 2014, 12:40:43 PM
Not sure about cleaning wheels with a bush :goggleeyes:
Is it effective? :D
I assumed Tom meant a railcoach built in Loughbrough!   :P
Title: Update Time!
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 25, 2014, 10:02:00 PM
Update Time!

Hi all, well its been a little while so here is the latest news from team Thornton Gate.

All in all we did alright at Beamish, but now our attentions turn to the big one... The Festival of Tramway Modelling, Manchester.

In my previous post i mentioned some of the reliability issues we have been faced with and a disre to create a stand in 'B' fleet to aid the long running hours our main exhibition fleet has undertaken since 2012.

Well last month that process started with a new 'B Fleet' car Fat Door Balloon 713 using our newer resin shell cast.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15873-0-35969900-1401039830_thumb.jpg)

The prototype 713  was extensively rebuilt and so like so many of the Balloon Car fleet is a totally different shape to many of its sisters, I wanted to try and capture the look and feel of, for what is 80 year old tram quite a sharp modern look.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15873-0-47609100-1401040544_thumb.jpg)

It achieve this the newer body shell was used the advantage being the resin its cast from allows for major changes and modifications to be done. Such as the removal and replacement of all the body lining and rebuild of the top side window pillers and major rebuild and re-profile of the roof as can be seen in the photo above.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15873-0-35508600-1401040780_thumb.jpg)

As well as the addition of door pods 713 is also fitted with rather smart under nose cowlings that replace the need for front bumpers and undercages, this ment the construction of a new cowling unit from a cut down cab of another spare tram shell with the addition of new plastic strip section to create a new master unit which using are rapid casting technology could be easily copied in resin, creating identical units for the underside of the tram.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15873-0-22510900-1401041036_thumb.jpg)

713 then received its first coat of paint, im building this tram to its 2011 condition when it wore just a plain white livery with its new door pods, as can be seen in this photo the open window surrounds have been painted black as have the low profile bumper strips on the noise cowlings. the roof complete with rain strips and pantograph unit mounts (built out of plastic) have been given a coat of matt grey as the prototype wares.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15873-0-85798300-1401041281_thumb.jpg)

This weekend just gone 713 reserved its first glazing which was done by filling the window areas with tacky 2 part epoxy resin glue, this goes off in the gaps and forms a strong clear glaze, on top of which printed window lining transfers will be applied, giving 713 the impression of the modern bus style hopper windows which it carries.

As for power drive... Originally 713 was going to be fitted with a reused Bachmann Brill car unit, one we had spare from 726 which it had its chassis swapped, however as 713 presents not only a more modern prototype but also a major development in the modelling quality of the Thornton Gate project, I have found a Tomix unit for 713,  so like all the other balloons 713 can run on a standardised chassis.

Elsewhere Sam (my bother) has been woking on a few developments of his own.
As the original builder of the first 'Fat Door' tram no 719, Sam has been building a second car no. 711 to joint its class mate. Both cars were very similar and use Tomix chassis and have door pods fitted.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15873-0-71480800-1401042173_thumb.jpg)

In addition Sam is working on our Farish bus giving it a custom livery of Blackpool Metro Coastlines orange and yellow, after a number of comments at exhibition about its incorrect livery. Seen above with 719 which has had its door pods removed and regauged both tram and bus should be ready for Manchester, although its still early days and a lot of work is still required.

So for Manchester in July, we're contemplating running all three 'Fat Door' balloons in front line service, these being No's 711, 713 & 719, if there ready and tested in time. Making we hope for an interesting spectacle come the next exhibition weekend.

More to follow soon......
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on May 26, 2014, 01:04:10 AM
Thanks for the update and good luck in getting things ready for the Manchester Show :thumbsup:
I wondered where my false gnashers had got to..........


([url]http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-15873-0-35508600-1401040780_thumb.jpg[/url])

Title: Manchester Alert!
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 17, 2014, 10:40:32 PM
Manchester Alert!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-15873-0-94231000-1405630285.jpg)

This weekend (19th / 20th of July 2014) is the bi-annual Festival of Tramway Modelling, at the Manchester transport museum.

Thornton Gate is exhibiting for the very first time and hence I've been a little busy, so this update is going to be a bit brief.

So....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-15873-0-86731600-1405630497_thumb.jpg)

Above: Ready for service, all 3 fatdoor balloons are now finished and ready for there life at exhibition. Seen here from left to right : 713 (New for this show), 719 (The original fatdoor now back in service) and its duplicate sister car No 711 (which again is new for this show)


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-15873-0-64515100-1405630698_thumb.jpg)

Above: Now getting 3 new cars ready for Manchester has been a real achievement and credit must go out to the team who have worked so hard on these... However this did give us a new problem to solve.

You see Fatdoors are by there very nature 'Fat' or wider due to the extra side door pods, some areas of the layout such as around the back are very tight track wise and so a new issue of 2 Fatdoor could not pass each other with out hitting one another presented its self.

The solution was to unpin and eek out the rear lines just giving enough clearance.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-15873-0-89209600-1405630962_thumb.jpg)

Above: Talking of track, another new addition to the layout has been the inclusion of a programming loop section of track and 6 pin master switch, allowing us for the first time to independently reallocate tramcar main addresses with out having to remove every tram from the main track first. This will be a very useful new feature and should allow us to set up replacement cars to cover potential failures, whilst maintaining 9 running exhibition cars at anyone time.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-15873-0-59103700-1405631843_thumb.jpg)

Another brand new addition is my first N gauge Brush class tram in the from of No. 636 in green 'Metro Coastlines' livery, like almost all my other trams 636 is custom cast from and scratch built master and features custom printed transfers. The inclusion of the Brush Car class solves a missing link in my Blackpool fleet and helps address the dominance of the double deckers on the layout.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-15873-0-22608300-1405632203_thumb.jpg)

Above: The real 636 has for the past few years been used as a test bed for new experimental bogies / Trucks and traction motors... Coincidentally my version of 636 is also being used as a test bed for a new type of customised Tomix chassis which as much smaller wheels and truck sets these being more in scale with the prototype. Seen here 636 (top) with its scale trucks and Balloon 710 (Bottom) on the standard size Brill / Tomix trucks all our other cars use. 636 will be on test over the weekend so we'll see how good the chassis is. If successful we might use this unit for all future projects.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-15873-0-00770500-1405632523_thumb.jpg)

Above: And finally i've relabelled and smartened up our DCC controller units. The new allocation and numbering of tram cars in clearly displayed on the custom printed labels. Hopefully making it a bit easier for the operators and a marked improvement over the biroed labels used perviously!

Right thats it! If your coming to Manchester do say Hi we're stand 36 in the main hall (Hall 1) .
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: PLD on July 17, 2014, 11:15:31 PM
The Heaton Park Tramway will also be running on both days, and I believe there should be a vintage bus service between the two sites. Our 1:1 scale Brush Railcoach 623 is among the cars currently available for service.

I'm on duty on the tramway on the Saturday, but will hopefully get to the show for a couple of hours, otherwise you could always bring 636 to see 623 Tom! :-)

Paul
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on July 17, 2014, 11:26:35 PM
Hope you will take some photos for us that live too far away to make it.  :D
Title: Thornton Gate: Summer Exhibition Report, Manchester & Stoke-on-Trent (2014)
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 14, 2014, 04:46:01 PM
Summer Exhibition Report, Manchester & Stoke-on-Trent.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-49781000-1408027690_thumb.jpg)

A very busy back to back period started for us with a 2 day exhibition as part of the Manchester Festival of tramway modelling.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-03639400-1408027713_thumb.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-34660900-1408027759_thumb.jpg)

This saw us set up on a very wet and rainy Saturday morning in the main bus garage of the cities transport museum. With lightening and heavy rail pouting down outside we we're glad to be undercover amongst the many vintage buses, and of course fellow model tramway exhibits   

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-61254800-1408027779_thumb.jpg)

Above: Rolling stock wise all went relatively ok with Brush car no.636 and Balloon no 713 making there first public debuts

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-18989500-1408027802_thumb.jpg)

Above: A real highlight for me was the late Saturday evening running at Heaton Park put on by staff for the exhibitors after the show had closed for the day. Resident Brush Car no 623 was laid on and took us on a number of trips along the preserved tramway.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-51281400-1408027821_thumb.jpg)

Above: Coincidence? On the day Thornton Gate (The Model) operates its first Brush Car publicly... Heaton's real Brush Car wares a very fitting destination blind! (If that was staged for me... then a big thanks to who ever organised that! :-) )

Anyway at the other end of the line is Heaton's new lakeside tram depot which is normally used for storage, however on this occasion I was allowed inside briefly to snap a picture of Balloon 702 which arrived in the early summer and is finally stored safe undercover awaiting restoration work. Again a big thank you to staff at Heaton Park for letting me inside your shed!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-95269600-1408028012_thumb.jpg)

702 being the second Balloon I've managed to snap this year (2014) lurking in the back of a shed, myself being lucky enough to gain access to sister car 703 at Beamish earlier in the year.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-46604400-1408028264_thumb.jpg)

Above: A final overview of the layout in the closing hours of day 2 at Manchester. All in all a relatively good show and again a very warm and positive response form the tramway community and the wider visiting public. At this point all cars had performed relatively well with only standard 147 being swapped with 708 after it had some pickup issues.

However our exhibition schedule was not over yet!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-49625400-1408028552_thumb.jpg)

Above: With the good weather holding, the following mid-week Thornton Gate was booked as a side attraction at a vicars church garden party of all things.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-13831100-1408028687_thumb.jpg)

Above: Now I've had bad experiences exhibiting in garages in the past, however for this one day event we weren't to bad, nicely fitting into the garage with the main door open so visitors could wonder in from the garden.

Operations wise 713 and 636 ran in opposing directions on 'auto pilot' for the few hours of the event, with just myself on hand to talk to any interested parties. A very casual and laid back event!


In stark contrast was the following weekend and event number 3!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-19248100-1408029013_thumb.jpg)

We we're booked to appear at Alsager MRC's Stoke-on-Trent exhibition which was based in a local primary school.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-43474700-1408029166_thumb.jpg)

Unfortunately we had been included as "Thorn Gate" ????? so I had to go around and armed with some official TG brand stickers, make a few impromptu adjustments to some of the signage. Problem solved!       

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-60285600-1408029399_thumb.jpg)

Above: Operationally we were doing ok but the many miles travelled and long running hours on the tram stock began to take there toll, once again. Before the start of Day 1 at Stoke we decided to oil as well as clean all the cars, this helped no end. For the second weekend 701 and 708 joined forces once more, operating a permeant way working in top and tail formation.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-97998300-1408029619_thumb.jpg)

Another new idea! The inclusion of an iPad to showcase photos of the real Thornton Gate and other prototype images, this saving me from having to carry lots of paper print outs and is a follow up to our trail use of a small PC netbook during shows last year. The iPad being a little more flexible.

So the mad summer rush is over (for Now) we're back at base and readying ourselves for the biggest 'gig' of my model making career, that of course being the NEC in November, speaking of which......

I leave you with this screen shot taken from the Warley Club's page on Facebook... TG's 701 doing what it was reliveried to do!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-34999800-1408030241_thumb.png)

Ps: I would just like to say it was very nice to meet so many of you from N Gauge Forum over the course of these exhibitions, thanks for saying ....  :hellosign:   :thumbsup:
:NGaugersRule: 
Title: Re: Thornton Gate: Summer Exhibition Report, Manchester & Stoke-on-Trent (2014)
Post by: PLD on August 14, 2014, 06:05:38 PM
Summer Exhibition Report, Manchester & Stoke-on-Trent.

([url]http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-18989500-1408027802_thumb.jpg[/url])

Above: A real highlight for me was the late Saturday evening running at Heaton Park put on by staff for the exhibitors after the show had closed for the day. Resident Brush Car no 623 was laid on and took us on a number of trips along the preserved tramway.

Argh!! who's that guarding 623 !  :-[ . It is a pleasure to do the evening for the exhibitors and nice to know it is appreciated :wave:


([url]http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2014/post-15873-0-51281400-1408027821_thumb.jpg[/url])

Above: Coincidence? On the day Thornton Gate (The Model) operates its first Brush Car publicly... Heaton's real Brush Car wares a very fitting destination blind! (If that was staged for me... then a big thanks to who ever organised that! :-) )

I don't think it was deliberate... Probably one of the younger guards 'playing' again  ::)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on August 14, 2014, 07:14:38 PM
Thanks for posting the pictures. Looks like you have had a busy summer. I'm looking forward to visiting your stand at Warley.
Title: September 2014 Update.
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 16, 2014, 02:05:39 PM
September 2014 Update.


Hi all its been a while once again and im finding myself getting very busy with life at the mo so not had the time to put back into the project, plus I've been having a bit of a rest after the intensive summer exhibition schedule. Sometimes you have to walk away for a little while as the interest is just not there.

However with September rolling on by and the NEC show very much on the horizon, Ive been getting back into gear and working on Thornton Gate once more!

Planning a few updates and possibly to officially 'finish' the layout in time for the NEC! However with constant repair work and upgrade to officially finish a layout is unlikely!

First off some press stuff and this photo and brief write up in 'Tramfare' Magazine following our exhibition at the Manchester Tramway Festival earlier this year.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-15873-0-21189700-1410870348_thumb.jpg)

So what been happening with Thornton Gate?
Well Anna has taken it upon herself to paint and smarten up the fiddle yard and rear of the layout. Personally I was happy to leave it but as she pointed out alot of people have been craning there necks around the back to have a look, and with the NEC coming up it was a good call to smarten this area up.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-15873-0-01955100-1410870766_thumb.jpg)

Above: Half way done, most of the baseboard area and back of the back scene has been painted, the extra programming loop and cabling has been neatend up somewhat as well. Since this photo was taken the remaining outer framework of the two baseboards has also been painted in matching blue gloss paint and a bit of filler has also been used to fill the odd hole and dent the layouts outer frame tends to pick up in the course of an average year.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-15873-0-52469300-1410871026_thumb.jpg)

Above: What every tramway needs a class 66!? In the course of the my time with Thorton Gate we have been given or have picked up a lot of stuff mostly the weird and the wonderful. In the case of our recent Stoke-On-Trent exhibition I was given by an old friend of mine a bag of broken up N gauge locomotives and assorted bits. Believe it or not there was enough parts to assemble awhole working Dapol class 66! So we now have an adopted pet locomotive which cant really get around our curves.... oh well :-)

And now for some gardening......

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-15873-0-19136800-1410871341_thumb.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-15873-0-71193000-1410871379_thumb.jpg)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-15873-0-11055100-1410871393_thumb.jpg)

Above: The houses and back gardens on the layout have been an area which ive been trying to improve and detail for some time now, and slowly over time things have been getting better. Again during our Stoke exhibition, I picked up some N gauge flowers which when cut to size and stuck down do work quite well and help bring a bit of colour and detail to the layout. I must admit i'm still tweaking these a little bit to get them looking right.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-15873-0-29254700-1410871643_thumb.jpg)

Above: And finally with success of my first brush car tram, and its new type of chassis unit over the summer, I have gone and bulk ordered a load of these Tomix units from Japan, learning from previous times when the TM-03 chassis disappeared from sale, I think I have bought Japan's whole supply! This should mean I can add a few new cars for the NEC and may no longer require any more chassis units for the remaining life of this project, time will tell!

Anyway I'm planning of having a full work weekend on the layout this weekend, a number of key areas and projects to complete and will in due course keep this thread updated on the lead up to the NEC show in November!

Thanks for reading :-)
Title: October Update...
Post by: Balloon_726 on October 04, 2014, 12:14:14 AM
October Update...

Well I keep seeing the countdown Facebook posts from the Warley club counting down the days until the NEC....(think Its something like 48 days now???).
Now I would guess for most of you (who are going) you'll be thinking "ohh i'm looking forward to that!". Now me on the other hand, well i'm thinking "AHHHH!. NOT READY, PANIC!!!".  :o

Currently I keep looking at Thornton Gate and as its my layout I know were the faults are, the things that are not good or right.. I've been working on it for so long now I feel i've lost all perspective... Anyhow before I go completely nuts with plot totally lost.....  :'(

Some progress....

It's finished! The last missing building, a half relief house the other side of the street from the current house. Unfortunately the plot was still empty when the magazine shoot was done recently ... hmm never mind. With the last house and fencing in, technically Thornton Gate is now finished! But is a layout ever finished? As mentioned I have lost the plot

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2014/post-15873-0-68561700-1412377330_thumb.jpg)
Above: And here it is.... obscured by a tree.. hmm The new building the last missing link.

The remaining photos show the tidied up yard area and a visit from Brush car 636 on a test run.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2014/post-15873-0-31598500-1412377490_thumb.jpg)
Above: Brush Car 636 enters Thornton Gate Yard.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2014/post-15873-0-47506200-1412377546_thumb.jpg)
Above: The P'way compound and rail loading platform.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2014/post-15873-0-58539300-1412377621_thumb.jpg)
Above: And finally 636 seen stabled on the rail loading siding amongst the road plant compound equipment.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on October 04, 2014, 10:42:11 AM
Really looking forward to seeing the Gate at Warley. I'm sure everything will be fine. Just a quick dust off and away you go!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on November 09, 2014, 01:07:41 PM
So fame at last. Saw the article in Railway Modeller today. Very interesting piece. I didn't realise you were a trio!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 09, 2014, 01:20:00 PM
So fame at last. Saw the article in Railway Modeller today. Very interesting piece. I didn't realise you were a trio!

Thanks very much, I haven't seen it yet! Is the article alright?

Oh yes we're a long suffering trio, consisting of myself, my younger brother Sam (who dose most of the cars, van etc and the builder or 'KitKat tram' and the two flexy 'fat door' balloon trams. And Anna my partner rebuilt the overhead poles, maintains most of the scenics and painted almost all the objects such as boxes, people and drums etc

Thats not all they did but you get the idea  :D

 :thankyousign: once again!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on November 09, 2014, 02:04:04 PM
Yes Tom, it does you proud. It whetted my appetite for seeing the real thing at Warley.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 11, 2014, 03:22:57 PM
Yes Tom, it does you proud. It whetted my appetite for seeing the real thing at Warley.

Well thats good to know, I don't think i've ever been waiting with such anticipation for an edition of Railway Modeller to come out!  :laugh3:

Anyhow yes do say hello next weekend, will be nice to meet you in person!  :wave:   
Title: The Road to Warley... November 2014 Update...
Post by: Balloon_726 on November 15, 2014, 10:35:26 PM
The Road to Warley... November 2014 Update...

Well its that time again! Yes November time ! Which can only mean its time for the Warley NEC exhibition!

Warley is a show ive been going to as a visitor for years now, however 2014 will be slightly different as we're going as exhibitors with Thronton Gate!

Naturally we at Team TG have been very excited about this as its been on the cards for the last to years now, and will mark the closure of our 2014 exhibition season.

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Above: The star of the year, Balloon 701 in 'Warley club' ad livery on test ahead being packed up ready to be taken over to Birmingham


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In order to make sure we're ready for Warley the layout has required a large mount of work an repairs, this time mostly cleaning as seen here.

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For this show and any future events, we've raised the heigh of the layout, with the perchance of some new trestles, this has ment the main curtain fabric has had to be replaced  and along with the rest of our fabric backings and dust sheets, fire treated to meet with the strict NEC safety regulations.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2014/post-15873-0-66645400-1416088460_thumb.jpg)
So it don't just look like Anna dose all the work! Here is myself with a temporary workbench area wiring back up Jubilee 762.

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Yes 762 (right) has been reinstated once more, this car has been the 'runt' of the fleet for some time normally giving up parts such as chassises and decoders for other trams, however or this show I decided to re chassis it once again as we really do need every working car we can get our hands on!

One of main reasons for 762 being on and off most years is that its not that accurate being just a repaint of 761's body shell cast, however earlier this year Sam built a more accurate body shell for a true 762 prototype (See left) using a 761 body shell as a base and then cutting new doors and reprofiling the roof. It is therefore my intention to make a new resin cast of this new shell next year and have a more accurate 762 running by mid 2015.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_11_2014/post-15873-0-07072700-1416089331_thumb.jpg)
Some of the cars ive been working on (left) 762 as just talked about, (centre) Baloon 726, which had failed during the summer, but is now fixed and (right) Balloon 701 which has had its snowplough attached again as happens for winter shows!

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Above: An overview of the cleaning table we're all rolling stock, and some more! was being cleaned and tested ahead of being packed, the next time these cars will run will be to the crowds at the NEC!

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Above: Packed up and with a week in hand! I think a record for us! If your coming over to Warley this year (2014) we're stand B72 do say Hi!

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Before I rap this update up, just to say to coincide with Warley, Thornton Gate has made its debut appearance in the Railway Modeller Magazine (December 2014 edition, page 999) Have to say very pleased with the way this has turned out, and for us getting in a national magazine has been on the list for some time!

Anyhow that is all for now, the next update will be post Warley....
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Chetcombe on November 15, 2014, 11:38:13 PM
Everything is looking great. Congratulations on the Railway Modeller article and I hope Warley goes well. Too far awayf for me to attend I'm afraid, but I woukd love to see TG!
Title: Warley 2014 show report
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 09, 2014, 12:08:23 PM
Warley 2014 show report.

Overall a very efficient set up and two day operation, brake down was also achieved in under an hour. So I must say a huge thanks to Anna, Sam and my father Simon who joined us again for this show, for there work and the hours put it getting the layout ready and up to speed, ahead of out final show of a busy 2014 season.

Yes can you even believe we've now done 3 years of public exhibitions with Thornton Gate and im now planning our 4th season for 2015.

Anyway back to the show and the story of stand B72 AKA Thornton Gate Tramway

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Above: The view of us set up in hall 5 by the catering which was quite a good spot to be in, allowing us to attack a steady flow of people throughout the long two day show.

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Above: Lighting is always a problem, as my father a veteran of NEC trade show knew all to well, so in many way i'm pleased we did the lighting and presentation updates when we did. On that note it was very nice to have dad back on the team, he'd not done a show with us since Ludlow 2012! And is seen here operating alongside Anna.

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Above: New for Warley was a second brush car in the form of 622 in its very distinctive  tiger stripe livery. This was the latest work of my brother Sam using one of my brush car shells, what was impressive was the fact he'd hand painted all the stripes on the roof and had scratch build new pantograph towers replacing the need for the card printed ones. having seen these I asked him to build a spare for my own brush car 636 with both cars finished with just hours to spare before the opening to the public.

This is something I try to avoid as 622 had not been tested and although it did do some running hours was not reliable and needed work mainly in ride height and weight issues. Also the new towers fitted to both brush cars were a bit high leading to the pantographs hitting the tops of the entrance holes in the back scene, again an issue due to not testing but an easy fix for the new season.

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Above: A wider overview of the layout in full service. Although all 14 tram cars were available for service in the end yellow centenary class no.624 wasn't run at all during the weekend, due to the poor quality of the model and like its sister car 'KitKat' livery no. 641 suffer from poor reliability. 641 did however run for most of the two days being something of a favourite with the public, although was stood down once or twice for cleaning due to the long running hours. Most other cars ran well, fatdoor balloon 719 had chassis gauging issues (again) as the body had slipped down, this was fixed in time for all 3 fatdoors to be put into service. 713 (my fat door balloon) proved one of the most reliable and was on service both days all day putting in around 12 hours of running!

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Above: I cant do the Warley post and not talk about Balloon 701 sporting its custom livery since April and doing the rounds in magazines and online media, well this was its moment and the tram spent most of the two days on show stabled with its p'way trailers on the centre road or shunting around the yard area. Its normal stable mate sister 708 was pressed into normal service for most of the day and covering for other cars whilst they had there wheels cleaned. Even 701 ditched its trailers and went on service duty near the end of day two, its seasonal snow plough attached as I normally do for the final winter shows, snow or no snow!

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Above: Over all i've been quite happy with the latter performance of our ever expanding fleet, tram car failures were at an all time low, and moral is high amongst the team at the moment, we're just really tired still! What really makes a show for us is meeting the people who come and visit, read this blog or have seen us in magazines etc. For me its so nice to talk to people, tell the amazing and still unfolding story of this project and to still be able to plan for the near future, whist still working on new ideas and bringing new developments to exhibition.

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Above: I'll bring this post and this year to a close with a view of 701 making its final departure as "Warley Tram' in the final minutes of the show on sunday evening, drawing to a close a real mile stone season which has seen two big ambitions of mine realised. 1) to get into a national magazine and 2) to exhibit at the NEC, which with the help of my team we have achieved and all in the space of just 3 years! 

We're all having a beak now as you might expect , a few jobs to be done such as the Christmas card and the removal of the ad transfers from 701 which now must return to its plain yellow ahead of next years outings, and ofcorse the general maintains of the fleet again ready for the 4th season.

So thanks very much for reading and for those of you that came and saw us this year, watch this space we'll be back soon! :-)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: PLD on December 09, 2014, 12:39:53 PM
So what livery will 701 carry next year Tom?

Will it be back to plain yellow, or brought up to date in Red and White? (see http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/news/?p=9250 (http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/news/?p=9250) ) - I think you already have the matching bus!!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 09, 2014, 01:09:14 PM
So what livery will 701 carry next year Tom?

Will it be back to plain yellow, or brought up to date in Red and White? (see [url]http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/news/?p=9250[/url] ([url]http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/news/?p=9250[/url]) ) - I think you already have the matching bus!!


Yeah I have been asked about that, I think for now it'll return to base yellow, as its still my operational works car and the yellow base is good for new all over ad schemes, should new ideas happen.

However as I work to improve things, looking at the p'way fleet is high on the list which might free up 701 and a look at its route master livery, however it would most likely mean a new body shell.

Anyway something to think about. Do you think there would be a chance of an invite to the Hull show at some point?  :D
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on December 09, 2014, 01:56:48 PM
Well done on achieving two of your ambitions, Tom, and thanks for the report :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on December 09, 2014, 02:27:50 PM
Thanks for posting the pictures Tom. It was good to see it "in the flesh" at the NEC ( and yes Mick, before you ask, we were all wearing clothes) and meeting your good self. Looking forward to seeing next year's outing list.
Title: Is it to late for a Christmas card?
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 24, 2014, 04:16:09 PM
Is it to late for a Christmas card?

Been working on this years card taken over 2 days to set up, even had to build N gauge skiers! ... Yeah don't ask!
Unlike previous years were I end up having to clean 'snow' off the layout well into March! This year I built a set for the photo shoot, so this ant Thornton Gate but with the banking at the rear it kind of looks about right.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2014/post-15873-0-52109900-1419437430_thumb.jpg)

Anyway may I wish you all a very merry Christmas from all of us at Team Thornton Gate!

Also check out our new web site www.thorntongate.tramtronix.co.uk (http://www.thorntongate.tramtronix.co.uk) , which i'll be building new and more interactive content for over 2015 in my quest to build more online support for the layout!

Above: Blackpool Ballon Class tram No.708 fitted with front snowplough clears the line on-route to Fleetwood. Note the skier hitching a tow on the rear of the tram!

PS: Exhibition dates for next year (2015) will be confirmed in the coming months!
Title: New Year Awakening...
Post by: Balloon_726 on February 11, 2015, 04:45:30 PM
New Year Awakening...

Well its still winter but as spring is now only around the corner I'm finding time and planning the year ahead for the layout.

Admittedly I've had over two months away from it but I really did need the break as at that time the enjoyment had dropped. And as i've learned if you really don't enjoy what your doing you have to walk away for awhile.

However Im very pleased to say Im back and feeling enthusiastic about the project once more, having now more or less sorted out this years exhibition season (2015). Were having a smaller season this year but I have to admit i'm really looking forward to some on the exhibitions! Details will be posted shortly...

So what do I intend to do this year?

Well...

No tramcar has ran since the late November 2014, the layout will need to be cleaned and checked over for transit damage... etc

The fleet will need the normal light maintenance, cleaning, oiling etc..

Some stand out issues are:

Balloon 701 needs some attention its had its Warley transfers stripped but now needs some patch yellow painting as well as the normal clean.

Brush 622 which was new for the NEC needs work... it ran poorly and the motor struggled
Brush 623 and 622 also need their trolly towers looking at again as both are a bit to high and so out of gauge with the overhead, a simple fix.

And our Centenaries will no doubt be under review again, 641 being ever popular with the visiting public, however troublesome and incorrectly numbered 624 (Should be 642!) may end its service life altogether as there is a plan to rebuild our Centenaries using the existing PCC chassises.

As for new builds, well I want to get my long over due Pantograph car finished!!
A proper 762 Jubilee is on the cards for this year
as is maybe an extra brush car and even a open top balloon in the form of 706!

Im also planning some cometic updates to the layout its self, with some new items and better replacements of old.

So thats kind of the plan, how much I get done is another matter but the will is there..... somewhere!

Also check out Thornton Gates Web site at : www.thorntongate.tramtronix.co.uk (http://www.thorntongate.tramtronix.co.uk)

I will be adding stuff to it over the year!
Title: The first preseason testing of 2015
Post by: Balloon_726 on February 21, 2015, 03:59:45 PM
The first preseason testing of 2015

The other week as planned the first tramcars took to the rails of Thornton Gate once more!

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Above: After cleaning most of the track, our resident Farish class 04 was the first to take to the rails, on an initial test of all the electrical connections and rail joints etc. As its not chipped it don't normally get much of a chance to run, so it made a nice change. Still really impressed how well the Farish 04 runs and this was a second hand one as well!

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Above: First tram of the year. Balloon 701, the resident engineering works car, made a successful test run on the inner circuit. The tramcar itself looking a bit tatty at the moment after having its Warley ads stripped. So after this test it was taken over to my work bench to join a few other fleet members in need of some attention.

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Above: A nice overall shot of the station area with 701, overall the layout its self faired well, no real transit damage as such, really just areas then need a little tidying up etc.

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Anyway on to the work bench were 701 joined 713 for some much needed attention, the latter had done both days all day at the NEC, but for some reason its lead weights had become loose inside making it to risky to run as if the lead hit the DCC chip or motor it would have shorted out the tram. Hence 713 with a front cowling removed is seen awaiting attention,  701 was receiving attention to its body work, manly using wet and try to smooth down areas and a spot of filler in some gaps. Some of the window linings had to be removed and after patch painting fresh sets will be reapplied.

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On the Balloon front 708 was also on the bench for attention, it last being used for the Christmas card shoot. However on closer inspection a number of issues were discovered. Mainly an area had bulged on a lower corner of the car, this was an issue left over from when the body shell was first cast back in 2012. As one of the first clear shells, 708 had an air pocket in its lower bodywork, rather then scrap the shell it was filled with plastic strip and filler. However as this is an area that the chassis grips onto it has been under pressure and finally snapped and hence bulged outwards.

Now seeing as we have many better casted balloons available (the moulds were updated two years ago) and a number of other new builds in the pipe line for 2015 a decision was made to mothball and hence retire 708 from exhibition service.

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So still sporting its 'Virgin' nose badge from Stockport 2013, 708 has been rechassied back onto an unchipped Bachmann Brill trolly unit and given a trolly pole replacing its Kato pantograph. Its chipped Tomix chassis and pantograph being reserved for a future build. 708 is now living with my girlfriend on a small box file layout thats she's building at home. However as the car still runs, it can still make appearance back at exhibition should the need arise.

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Above: Moving on, bush car 636 got into a spot of bother with its tower tangled in the overhead and was completely ripped off the car! Entering service last yeah both Brush cars had new towers built from scratch by my brother, however as time was tight ahead of Warley we didn't get time to test them and at show it was found they were both to high, so after this happen on test over the weekend, I decided to fix the issue once and for all!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_02_2015/post-15873-0-20578100-1424531959_thumb.jpg)
As this line up sort of shows, 636 (infront) has had its however modified and lowered, this was done by taking a sanding disc to the top of the body shell tower stump and removing about a mil, then cutting down some of the top framework of the pantograph tower itself.

Behind fellow brush car no 622 sports a out of gauge and higher tower as yet to be modified and behind both Balloon 713 illustrates the correct height for the pantograph.

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Above: all done (almost) the two Brush cars on bench with modified body and tower profiles, Both now requiring some patch painting and refixing of towers, in addition 622 (left) also need requires some chassis attention as it made a loud metallic clanging noise during its time running, and I'm yet to get around to investigating why!

So there we have it, most of my time spent just maintaining the current fleet at the moment, however I hope to start building new tramcars real soon.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on February 21, 2015, 09:19:05 PM
Thanks for the comprehensive update :thumbsup:

it made a loud metallic clanging noise during its time running

I thought all trams made that noise ;) :-X
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on February 21, 2015, 10:41:49 PM
Yep, thanks for the excellent update. Reminds me of broken ribs and gashed hands, though... eh Mick  ;)

(Blackpool chapter of 2013 UK adventure thread)

Seriously, great to get news of this unique layout.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on February 21, 2015, 11:47:36 PM
Thanks for the comprehensive update :thumbsup:

it made a loud metallic clanging noise during its time running

I thought all trams made that noise ;) :-X

Yes.. fair point ... cant really fault that  :hmmm:

Trust me its really not a good sound and really needs investigating .... kind of sounds like the chassis eating its own DCC decoder kind of metallic sound  :uneasy: 
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Tdm on February 22, 2015, 01:00:47 AM
This talk of Thornton Gate and Trams reminds me of when I used to work in Blackpool, and at Illuminations time I used to drive to Bispham and Board a Double Decker Tram there that would take me all the way through the Illuminations as far as the Pleasure Beach and back.

Although I now model in N gauge, I still have in my collection several Blackpool Trams in 00 gauge dating back to the Seventies.

I have a relative who bought the Windmill at Thornton and turned it into a home, but whether he still lives there I have no idea.
Title: How time flies!
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 13, 2015, 12:59:39 AM
Well have I been away from here for awhile! How time flies!

Happy to report all is well. I've replaced the car (again) so Thornton Gate was created up and went for a test fit... Success it fits!
We've having a quite season this year as other things and project (Not model or rail related) have taken over. However if your into retro computers or programming then you might have seen me around doing a lot of the computer exhibitions and shows!

Anyway as it stands Thornton Gate will be out and about at:

Leyland:  August 8th & 9th 2015
http://www.leylandmrc.com/index.php?p=1_36_Exhibition-2015 (http://www.leylandmrc.com/index.php?p=1_36_Exhibition-2015)

And a welcome return to the Fylde coast at:

Fleetwood: Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th September 2015
http://www.blackpoolandnorthfyldemrc.co.uk/exSept.html (http://www.blackpoolandnorthfyldemrc.co.uk/exSept.html)

And that is as it stands for 2015.....
Personally I've been quite relieved for the 'rest' if you can call it that! Give us time to take stock and think about what we're doing or more to the point what i'm doing!  :hmmm:

Anyhow once I've stuck BBC Micro computers (Remember those?) back together might manage to clear my work bench and do some tramming! Will post some updates soon!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on June 13, 2015, 09:50:56 AM
Thanks for the update.
I'll be visiting both shows so will pop by and say 'Hello' :)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on June 13, 2015, 10:47:26 AM
As Mick says, thanks for the update. I won't be going to the shows, but am glad I saw you at Warley last year. I do remember the BBC micro, I once wrote a disk operating system for it. About 3 months later ADFS was released.
Title: First outing for Thornton Gate in 2015! (Update)
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 09, 2015, 09:16:43 PM
So back out on exhibition in 1 months time! First outing for Thornton Gate in 2015!
After a long time away from doing anything model related, today I sat down and started prepping for the new season.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2015/post-15873-0-98796000-1436472167_thumb.jpg)
Just two shows this year, which I really don't mind but do want to build a season for 2016...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2015/post-15873-0-69043100-1436472164_thumb.jpg)
Above: 701 Thornton gates resident ballon class works tram and last years 'Warley Tram' has had a patch paint back into plain yellow again, will add some missing windows linings door ect later.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2015/post-15873-0-87584700-1436472158_thumb.jpg)
Above: Brush car 636 is in more pieces then I seem to remember ??? so been sticking that back together plus touching paintwork back up

... and ...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2015/post-15873-0-70314900-1436472166_thumb.jpg)
Im thinking about building a second Brush car as i have all to bits, chassis, pantograph ect again proving just how reliant I am on Japanese products to make this all work!


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2015/post-15873-0-23915900-1436472169_thumb.jpg)
Also been looking into using some Micro Machines toy cars and vans which I near perfect for N gauge, These were off an old old layout from some years ago as as you cant buy them anymore I was keen to find these again. Thinking of making some casts off them so I can easily duplicate if needs be. Im thinking these might be useful for modding into different vehicles.

The layout its self is still crated up at the moment, so i'll need to set it back up for the never ending cleaning and sticking back together that is always required pre season .... oh the joys!
Nice to be back.. but really did need the break!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Ollie3440 on July 13, 2015, 08:45:04 PM
Looking good Tom!

A fantastic little layout that I have yet to see 'in the flesh' so to speak! Typical that quite possibly the most local layout to me on this forum is one I've not seen! I noticed you are starting plans for the 2016 season, my club (Telford Railway Modellers Group) is not holding a show this year but should we hold one in 2016 I'd be happy to mention Thornton to the organisers. Not everyday you get a DCC Tram Layout in N Gauge!

Cheers,

Ollie

 :NGaugersRule:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 13, 2015, 10:39:51 PM
Cheers Ollie

Yes I think that sounds doable!  :D

Its been awhile since we've done any local shows, they tend to not pay anything despite taking profits (And i don't mean charity) or to be honest are a bit crap or like the ones around Shrewsbury, died a death along with the modelling population  :worried:

However yes be happy to do that, looking at one or two others locally for next year as well, in addition to wondering the miles that we do in search of that elusive exhibition :D

 :thankyousign:

Ps sorry about having to edit this just kept noticing mistakes every 2 seconds  :censored:
Title: Thornton Gate @ Leyland 2015
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 06, 2015, 11:29:08 PM
Well its the night before the Leyland show. So am about to spend most of tomorrow on the M6 going north.. hmm

As its quite late this will be a brief update on whats been happening.

We're hoping to run a full fleet service over the weekend minus Balloon 708 which as mentioned before has had to be retired due to cosmetic and structural issues, plus with myself being so busy, I've really not had a chance to build a replacement as yet...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2015/post-15873-0-09352900-1438898356_thumb.jpg)
Above: The theme for this event will be for us to run our single deckers in full service across both days. The Brush cars have been in bits since last running in November 2014 and have been worked on, repaired and in some some cases enhanced (note the new yellow plastic bumpers on 622)!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2015/post-15873-0-95140400-1438898351_thumb.jpg)
Above: The two brush cars have had some extended running over the last few days and are now settling in well, be it with a number of tweaks and modifications since last year.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2015/post-15873-0-08015900-1438898355_thumb.jpg)
Above: The other half of the single decker fleet is made up of the two Centenary Cars, these trams have been dogged with problems since day one (as were the real ones!) Anyway the every popular 'KitKat' tram No. 641 had has some external repair from transit damage as well as being resuscitated back into life! The Bachmann PCC chassis really cant cope under exhibition conditions.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2015/post-15873-0-63008200-1438898347_thumb.jpg)
Above: Sister Centenary N0. 624 is running better as it was not used much during the end of last year. Both cars need a lot of work or even scrapping and starting again! And we really need a better chassis for the class at the very least! But for now expecting breakdowns over the weekend :-(

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2015/post-15873-0-09892600-1438898350_thumb.jpg)
Finally Balloon 701 is back! well almost. Now sporting plain yellow once more, and again being used as the layout works car or stand in should a failure arise!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2015/post-15873-0-00881100-1438898354_thumb.jpg)
So all in all we're ready, Thornton Gate has had a lot of work done to it, new little features and repair of others. Come and see us at:

August 8th / 9th 2015 from 10am
Leyland Civic Centre ( Council Offices)
West Paddock
Leyland
PR25 1DH
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on August 07, 2015, 10:03:45 AM
I'll be there so will say 'Hello' :D
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on August 07, 2015, 10:36:58 AM
Hope you have an entertaining weekend, Tom.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on August 07, 2015, 11:31:18 PM
 :greatpicturessign: thanks for the update & best wishes for Leyland.
regards Derek
Title: Thornton Gate end of season review 2015 Part 1
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 22, 2015, 01:27:04 AM
Thornton Gate end of season review 2015 Part 1
Leyland & Fleetwood model railway exhibitions.


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Its been awhile since I last updated this thread, a mixture of other commitments and getting ready for a very short but solid 2015 exhibition season.

Leyland MRC exhibition August 8th & 9th 2015

Our first outing in August saw us setting up in the council offices in Leyland for what was a very good and well planned exhibition.

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Above 2X: The quiet before the storm.. well maybe! Exhibition setup and ready to go!

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Above: It was our normal 'A fleet' tram cars that started day one. 701 back on P'way duties or stabled in the yard and both Brush cars back out and working after preseason repair.

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Above: The queue for the front... Behind the scenes always seems to be a point of fascination to the public, and as seen a number of the outer loop 'up line' cars waiting to run round to the front.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2015/post-15873-0-02056300-1442865281_thumb.jpg)Above: On day two we decided to switch things around a little, so Balloons 726 and 710 were swapped for purple fat door twins, balloons 711 and 719. These joined all white fatdoor 713 and were the final cars used in the last hour of the Leyland exhibition, seen here posing for photos on the centre line.

All in all a good show no major problems, no tram car failures although, Jubilee 762 and Centenary 642 were again not used and stayed in the stock box the entire time.
According to the exhibition management numbers were down on last year which seems a shame considering how good the event was!

Moving on....

Now we did at end of August attend at the 'vicars garden party' again as a solo side show, as this was very much like last year it really didn't seem worth posting much here, other then to say it was a good opportunity to make a few running repairs, such as the roof of the station house building which along with the chimney had come loose during transit!

PART 2  Fleetwood will follow shortly.....
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on September 22, 2015, 11:33:29 PM
  :greatpicturessign: thanks for sharing.
regards Derek.
Title: Part 2 The Fleetwood Model Railway exhibition update
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 29, 2015, 01:30:57 AM
Fleetwood Model Railway Exhibition 2015

Okay thanks for waiting for this Part 2 update... I had a retro computer show (My other hobby) the weekend just gone with 2 BBC Micro computers out at exhibition, (incase anyone is interested...) hence the delay in getting this written up!

Fleetwood marked the 2nd and final show of our 2015 season. We've really enjoyed the warm reception of the North West and people! And despite being built and based in the west midlands, it really felt the layout was home on the Fylde coast. Little did we know our season would end in a bit of a bang ... or should that be crash!

Arriving Friday evening, setup was a little chaotic, as it was a new venue this year some slight space issues had arisen, poor exhibition manager was a little stressed. being something of a veteran now, we did our best to help solve the issue and did have to move around the hall a bit, which is part and parcel of exhibiting...

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Above: Anyway set up and ready to go!

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Above: The show opened a little on the quiet side on both days leading to the decision is stable some of the tram cars on the centre loop on static display until the crowds had gathered justifying a more intense service. This takes the strain off the trams and gives the operators a bit of a rest. Its normally reserved for the end of a day not the start!

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Above: On Fleetwood duty... Fatdoor 713 which for the first time was not joined by sisters 711 and 719 as both cars had failed somehow between the end for Leyland show and start of this one??? This meant 713 along with normal balloons 710 and 726 had to do a full two days as the fatdoors are normally set to the same CV decoder address, hence one car comes off and another with the same DCC number goes on.. 713 is fast becoming a favourite of mine, maybe because of its heavy rebuild from a standard shell or the fact its younger then some of the others and hence has done less running hours...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_09_2015/post-15873-0-97918800-1443483529_thumb.jpg)
Above: Moving on to everyones favourite! Centenary no.641 'having a break' in Thornton Gate yard. The reason for this was to keep the loop clear for 701 and its p'way trailers then were running at this time and also due to the continued up and down reliably of this tram, it was best to keep in on show 'The kids just love it!' but out of the way. Sister 624 (642) was yet again not used and stayed in the stock box as did Jubilee 762.

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Above: After 641 had left the yard and resumed service and with things getting quite again, I decided to have a bit of fun and chance my luck by shunting 701 and its train down the far line of the yard. Like the real Thornton Gate, the rear line was not that reliable and rarely used. However to my amazement with out stalling or derailing it made it clean over the rear point and rolled down the far line, after being stabled for a bit 701 even managed to drag its self off the sidings once more.

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Above: So its the final hour on day 2, with things winding down, I've gone for a last look around when im called back by a guilty looking Anna... why?

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Above: The late staying visitors to the exhibition were in for a treat as disaster struck Thornton Gate!! 713 now on Blackpool bound return workings, (driven by Anna) some how took out one of the catenary poles brining down the overhead and blocking the down line!

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Above: So with less then 15 minutes to go, the down line was blocked, rolling stocked back up and we were down to single line running on the up line, minus part of the overhead! Now in reality the whole system would have shut down, but we managed to keep something moving whist we waited for a quite moment to untangle the mess and start packing up!

I think that'll go down in the history of notable accidents!

So we're done for another year! Im pleased to announce 2016 is shaping up nicely and even 2017 is in the works! As ever we have a lot of work to do, starting with repairs! However even in the last few days work has started on new updates, from rolling stock though to operations, ready to bring something new for next year.

As ever I will keep you all informed what we get up to this winter!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on September 29, 2015, 09:37:18 AM
Thanks for the report and the pics, Tom :thumbsup:
Good to see you and Anna up in our neck of the woods and I was pleased to see plenty of folks watching the layout who had lots of knowledge of the trams.
Sorry about the prang (I will say nothing about women drivers :zippedmouth:) but glad you managed to maintain a service to the end.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on September 29, 2015, 02:02:12 PM
Thanks for the report and the pics, Tom :thumbsup:
Good to see you and Anna up in our neck of the woods and I was pleased to see plenty of folks watching the layout who had lots of knowledge of the trams.
Sorry about the prang (I will say nothing about women drivers :zippedmouth:) but glad you managed to maintain a service to the end.

Thanks very much! I was trying to avoid the obvious pun (I do have to live with Anna! :angel:)
We always do very well in the North West, hence next year (TBC) its back to the North West! Should just move there really :D

All I can say its watch this space we've got some plans for the layout for next year  :NGaugersRule:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: ScottyStitch on September 29, 2015, 02:17:30 PM
Poor Anna!

One hopes you weren't too hard on her. Sounds suspiciously like those in charge of infrastructure were perhaps skimping on preventative maintenance  ;) :smiley-laughing:

Thanks for the report, some lovely and colourful pictures!  :camera:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on September 29, 2015, 04:52:43 PM
Some great pictures, Tom. Glad you have enjoyed this year. No Warley in November?
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on October 01, 2015, 01:43:48 AM
Poor Anna!

One hopes you weren't too hard on her. Sounds suspiciously like those in charge of infrastructure were perhaps skimping on preventative maintenance  ;) :smiley-laughing:

Thanks for the report, some lovely and colourful pictures!  :camera:

Na its all fine, we both knew there was an issue with that overhead pole going into this year, so nursing a few issues it was going to happen at some point... Just fun to wind her up over it :laugh:

As in ... "my girlfriend broke my train set!...."  :veryangry:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on October 01, 2015, 01:45:54 AM
Some great pictures, Tom. Glad you have enjoyed this year. No Warley in November?

Thank you once again.. No done the NEC last year, no need to repeat, I enjoy sanity to much  :drool:  :'(
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on October 05, 2015, 11:15:16 PM
  :hellosign: Tom thanks for sharing, shame to end season with a crash. Looking forward to future updates.
regards Derek.
Title: Hello and.... Merry Christmas!!!
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 19, 2015, 07:52:08 PM
Hello and....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2015/post-15873-0-41536400-1450552460_thumb.jpg)

 :claphappy: :claphappy: :claphappy: :claphappy:

Yes its another year done once again! Decided to go with a more frosty winter scene with Balloon 701 out with its snowplough once more.

So 3 months disappear and no update, well.... I have been busy with other projects I have had to but all modelling to one side, the situation not improving much in the run up to Christmas.

However despite this new projects and upgrades are underway and we're hoping to get a lot done in January.

First up yet another new Balloon car this time in the form of 723.

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Above: This is one of my photos of the real 723 taken in late September at Blackpool's Rigby Road Bus and Tram depot whist we were exhibiting in nearby Fleetwood.

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Above: Never one to be happy with anything I do, despite the warm and positive feedback i've received over the years, I'm never one to get complacent, Hence I want a better Balloon class model! So to try and better capture the modernised look and feel of 723, one of my raw resin balloon shells was totally stripped and gutted of all window frames and detail. The shell was then resanded with the roof profile dramatically reduced, with filler used to help reenforce the resin in ares were it was getting a bit thin!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2015/post-15873-0-42183400-1450553141_thumb.jpg)
Above: where we are now, 723 (Sitting on a Bachmann Brill trolly chassis for now) has had new window frames cut from sheet plastic, these have then been sanded paper thin, also of note are some new upgrade parts including proper centre side doors with depth and detail! Instead of just being a recessed panel with a transfer overlay.

Also a brand new casted diamond centre head code box. The unit alone took over 12 hours to sculpt out of clay before making a mould for resin casting, however it looks much better and more in line with the prototype, so hopefully all the other balloons in my fleet will have these new parts fitted during 2016.

Still a lot of work to do on 723 but should be ready come exhibition outings next year and beyond!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2015/post-15873-0-78398300-1450553585_thumb.jpg)
And finally another project for 2016... You'll never guess what these might morph into.....!

Anyway thats it for 2015, So wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from all of us here at Team Thornton Gate!  :NGaugersRule: :beers:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on December 19, 2015, 11:47:36 PM
Thanks for the update, Tom.
Seasons Greetings to you and Anna :beers:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on December 23, 2015, 11:54:44 PM
 :hellosign:  :greatpicturessign: merry Christmas Tom thanks for sharing.
regards Derek.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on December 24, 2015, 09:37:13 AM
As NPN says, thanks for the update Tom. Have a great Xmas and I look forward to seeing the results of your efforts, next year.
Title: Settle Exhibition Sat March 12th 2016
Post by: Balloon_726 on March 05, 2016, 10:08:22 PM
Spring time! Nearly with all the snow around!

We've been busy though February and into March getting Thornton Gate ready for its one and only (As it stands) exhibition booking for 2016, which is the Scout Rail event being held next Saturday 12th March 2016 at Settle Primary School, Settle.

As another welcome trip back north!

Since our last exhibition last year we've had a few things to fix, the art of 'sticking it back together' is something both Anna and myself are getting quite good at!

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The layouts outer boards had taken a far knock during transit so were in need of some TLC. Hence I sanded the affected areas down and then patch painted.

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The results looking much better. It is imported to do jobs like this to keep the layout looking clean, and presentable and that includes the out side frame not just the contents of the baseboards!

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Now if you read a post or two back you might remember we had a accident at the end of last year, were my partner Anna managed to crash a Balloon class tram into one of the overhead catenary poles, snapping the pole and bringing down a section of the overhead...

Well priority number one for her was to fix it! As the pole had snapped at the base, it was first thought we'd have to build a totally new pole, however using a section of plastic dowl, glued inside the hollow pole, Anna was able to re-glue the pole back into position, which should buy us a bit more time before a total replacement would be due.

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Above: Bush car no 636 dose the honers and tests the gauge clearance of the repaired pole and reinstalled overhead.

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Above: With ploughs still fitted Balloon 701 was also used to test the electrics and point work, out of season we tend not to do any real running on the layout, this mainly to preserve running hours of the fleet for exhibitions as well as reducing ware and tear.

However after the layout has been out of use for a number of months, we normally do a full stock service and test running session, just to pick up any issue as well as it give the whole layout a clean and tidy up.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_03_2016/post-15873-0-30531600-1457214808_thumb.jpg)
This also includes testing areas of track not normally used that much as the the very far siding of Thornton Gate yard, which 701 successfully managed to do a spot of shunting with the p'way sleeper wagon seen here stabled at the very end deep in the yard.

So were back and ready to go, the layout has now been packed up ready for this coming weekend, we hope to see you maybe?

I'm also looking for future exhibitions, so if you have an event and would like us to consider bringing Thornton Gate, please feel free to send me a private message and i'll get back to you :-)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on March 05, 2016, 10:41:55 PM
Thanks for the update, Tom (and Anna).
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on March 05, 2016, 11:36:35 PM
 :hellosign:Tom& Anna   :greatpicturessign: thanks for the updates
regards Derek
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on March 06, 2016, 11:06:51 AM
Looking good. Hope you get a few invites this year so we get chance to see TG in operation.
Title: Thornton Gate (We're still alive!)
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 11, 2016, 07:51:15 PM
Hello all, this is just a very quick update!

Sorry it been a bit of a while... I am still alive, I've been very busy with everything else going on in life!

Just to say thanks very much for the contacts and messages of concern about the quietness of this thread during 2016.
I can assure you all is fine with Anna, myself and Thornton Gate!

I am yet to post about the Settle show we did at the start of the year, which has been our only outing this year, I will get around to posting that!
And I have a dozen new ideas and mini projects still to do. But sometimes your just not in the mood, which has been the case for this year.

Still... Onwards and upwards

Tom :-)  :thankyousign:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate (We're still alive!)
Post by: Newportnobby on August 12, 2016, 05:26:29 AM

I can assure you all is fine with Anna, myself and Thornton Gate!


Good to hear that, Tom. Best regards to you all.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on January 30, 2017, 09:31:57 PM
Remember that show report from March last year (2016).... No? Well thats because i've only just gotten around to writing it!

So sorry about that!

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Settle was the only outing for Thornton Gate during 2016, this was manly due to us needing a bit of a break from the project and myself unfortunately having a few health issues...

But still...

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Above: The show as held in March at the local Primary School in Settle which is a really lovely town. This being the first time Anna and myself had visited. After setup we spent the lighter evening on the platform of Settle station hoping to see something interesting using the famous Settle to Carlisle route, as it happend all we did see were Ex BR 1989 build Northern Rail Class 158 DMU's (We get the same type of trains at home).... never mind!   

To the show!

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Above: Another school, another sports hall! This one was not to bad, the show had a mix of local layouts and a slot car racing track display by the local scout group which gave a nice local mix. Thornton Gate was the guest layout invited by the organiser and we were all to happy to participate!

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Above: So by now are normal setup and ready for the one day event, the layout of cource had been service and clean prior to attending but never hurts to do a re-clean before operations start for the day.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2017/post-15873-0-91930500-1485810715_thumb.jpg)
Jubilee Car 762 and a flying Balloon no 713 opened operations

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2017/post-15873-0-83336600-1485810821_thumb.jpg)
And later joined by the single deckers no 624 (incorrectly numbered yellow centenary class) and Metro coastlines Brush car 636, seen in the station area with pink metro coastlines Balloon car no 710.

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Above: As always acting works car Balloon Class no. 701 stayed stable with its trailer wagons in the yard for most of the day, and as its winter still (well early spring) sports its snow plough once again.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_01_2017/post-15873-0-82083800-1485811184_thumb.jpg)
Were would we be with out Tram Car failures? KitKat Centenary no 741 and 'Tiger' livery  Brush car no. 622 letting the side down again! As of Jan 2017 both are still awaiting attention, but like all the other times stock has let go during a show they'll be back!

Yes so overall i nice weekend away, Thornton Gate was we'll received and after almost a years rest we're looking forward to the upcoming 2017 exhibition season, where we have some big changes and upgrades to do!

Details will be posted in the coming month or so, we'll be at some really cool venues this year, many being one off special shows! I always love exhibiting in the wired and odd places!

More to and will follow....!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: PLD on January 31, 2017, 12:19:14 AM
I always love exhibiting in the wired and odd places!
Is that a typo Tom, or a hint...  ;)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on January 31, 2017, 12:24:36 AM
I always love exhibiting in the wired and odd places!
Is that a typo Tom, or a hint...  ;)

Oh its a hint!  :D :P
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on January 31, 2017, 09:48:36 AM
Thanks for the update, Tom.
Best wishes to you and Anna.
Title: Thornton Gate back under construction!
Post by: Balloon_726 on March 03, 2017, 01:28:18 PM
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_03_2017/post-15873-0-42066000-1488546302.jpg)
Its time for another update.... and.....

We're doing a spot of house keeping as in some much needed repairs and upgrades to the very fabric of the layout.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_03_2017/post-15873-0-22585500-1488546382_thumb.jpg)
First up, Anna has been replacing the side panels, as I felt the originals were now to large and heavy, and i really wanted to bring the overall height and top banner down a bit.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_03_2017/post-15873-0-79589700-1488546491_thumb.png)
The end result, Both these new end boards which are simple pine frames skinned with hardboard will be painted matt black both sides to give a more minimal and less distracting appearance.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_03_2017/post-15873-0-40406500-1488546612_thumb.jpg)
The end 'shelf' panels are also going to be replace and so taking a hammer to the layout, the current set have been knocked out, ready for new smarter ones to be installed.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_03_2017/post-15873-0-28837400-1488546737_thumb.png)

The back scene has also had some attention, mainly were the two boards meet, as this area had an awful gap between the boards and had become shabby and knocked about, hence the need to cut back both boards and recut new sections. These new sections have / will be doubled up for strength and when finished should give a nice neat join line.... well thats the plan!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_03_2017/post-15873-0-72175800-1488546925_thumb.png)

Scenically, I've not done to much at the moment, but have removed most of the vans from the yard area and sanded down the roadway which was always a bit bumpy, the plan will be to give this a new reskim of plaster and general tidy up.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_03_2017/post-15873-0-36704700-1488547063_thumb.jpg)
We're also hoping to say goodbye to the current 1970's transit vans with more modern replacements.

So there we are for the moment, March 2017 is going to be a busy month while we get these updates in place. I'm hoping to do some more scenic work such as static grassing and replacing of fencing etc but we'll see how time goes.

We are next due out at the Severn Valley Railway open weekend on April 8th and 9th 2017, we'll be in the Engine House Museum at Highley, Shropshire.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on March 03, 2017, 04:20:18 PM
Thanks Tom.


We're also hoping to say goodbye to the current 1970's transit vans with more modern replacements.
 

It wouldn't surprise me if some folks on the forum would be interested if you put them on the N'Porium!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on March 03, 2017, 08:08:56 PM
With a bit of luck, we shall be at the show in Highley on the 9th. Looking forward to seeing the mods.
Title: First public outing of 2017!!! - Show Report.
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 23, 2017, 08:43:14 AM
Repairs done, Layout glued back together! .... Thornton Gate did its first public outing of 2017!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-49495200-1495317541_thumb.jpg)

The Severn Valley Railways April Open House Weekend was the first event of 2017 for us...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-20077000-1495314981_thumb.jpg)

.. With the rather splendid back scene of a Midland diagram WD 8F locomotive undercover inside the museum at Highly.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-24530500-1495315095_thumb.jpg)

Above: As mentioned in my last post, The layout has had some 'life extending' improvements for 2017 including new lower side panels and baseboard repairs. So now looking very smart!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-01588900-1495315200_thumb.jpg)

Behind the scenes, the fiddle yard got some attention + repaint, as did the new backscene areas. The speakers that provide the sound effects for the layout have been rewired and moved to the top of the boards, so the volume can be turned down a bit!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-88036400-1495315373_thumb.jpg)
Cosmetically, we're halfway though the updates for this year. The new yard road plaster work had improved the look of the yard a lot in my opinion. As seen here p'way 701 seen stabled on the yard as per normal.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-40067400-1495315500_thumb.jpg)
Above: Balloon 726 at Thronton Gate station.

Operationally, we've had to do a bit of patch job to get things working as some cars had failed since running over a year ago, mainly with DCC decoders that might have burnt out after Settle last year.

Brush car no. 622 (blown DCC chip) and "kitkat' Centenary tram 641 (split gear) were in need of repair as we wanted them for the show. As mentioned 641 a real pain to keep running is such a crowd pleaser, but had now gone though its second chassis!

In the end it was easier to do a strait chassis swap with two lesser used cars so Jubilee 762 gave up its chassis to Brush 622 and Centenary 624 (642) give its Bachmann PPC unit to 641 rendering both 762 and 624 as spare parts body shells only.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-97424400-1495316045_thumb.jpg)
And with that sorted it we were ready for two days of intensive running!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-61592200-1495316099_thumb.jpg)
Jubilee 761 and Brush car 636 on north bound Fleetwood service


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-88350700-1495316240_thumb.jpg)
Above: All was going well on day one then ... Jubilee 761 which was one of the first cars I ever built and the most reliable of the fleet broke down....for the first time ever at a show! Unable to fix it on the day the car was dumped on the centre road for the remainder of the day.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-64979300-1495316381_thumb.jpg)
Above: As things quieted down by about 4PM other cars joined 761 on centre line to be stabled until the end of the day, here Balloons 710 and 'Fat door' 713 are seen being no longer required for the remaining hour or so.

Day 2....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-97278300-1495316714_thumb.jpg)
So onto day 2 and 701 with trailers started the day at around 10:30am, the layout being left in the unheated shed all night had led to condensation build up on the rail head so 701 did some laps to clean up the rails and test for any bad spots and dirt etc....

As we were so near home for this show I had been able overnight to get Jubilee 761 back up and running for day 2, as it happened it was the only failure of the show, with all other cars performing the gruelling hours of continued running very well!

Overall the layout was once again very well received by the public with a few invites to future shows across the country... 2018 season looks to be building all ready!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2017/post-15873-0-22945100-1495316993_thumb.jpg)
So we'll end with day 2 last hour centre line stables with Balloons 726, 711 and standard 147 parked up for the final time at this show.

We've still got things to do, updates, repairs etc, are next outing for 2017 will be announced shortly its next month (June 2017).... more info to follow in a bit

But for now thanks for reading!

Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on May 23, 2017, 09:40:20 AM
Thanks for the pics and the update, Tom.
The layout is already looking very smart and I'm sure will be even more appreciated after 'Cosmetics - part deux'.
Any shows planned in the Lancs or nearby area?
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 23, 2017, 09:47:36 AM
Thanks for the pics and the update, Tom.
The layout is already looking very smart and I'm sure will be even more appreciated after 'Cosmetics - part deux'.
Any shows planned in the Lancs or nearby area?

As ever thank you for your kind words!
And yes now you mention it....

(https://scontent.flhr2-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/18489650_10213320894721360_3997273812047225475_o.jpg?oh=b2b6550eaa5f416d69557dea9a938579&oe=59A650E6)

Just this little event.... Happening at Blackpool Transports Rigby Road tram depot in 5 weeks time!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on May 23, 2017, 09:50:15 AM
I love this layout!

Thanks for the updates from a guy who hopes to see it someday!  :thumbsup: :beers:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on May 23, 2017, 09:58:25 AM
The layout is looking good, Tom. I'd love to come up for the Blackpool event, but the bad back that caused me to miss the SVR event, isn't up to it. Here's hoping for another successful outing and some more great pictures.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on May 28, 2017, 10:30:29 PM
 :hellosign: Thanks for the updates &  :greatpicturessign:  just typical we are in Blackpool 17th- 24th June,  :'(  (got work on 25th in Cornwall). Would love to see sometime
    regards Derek.
Title: Totally Models : June 24th / 25th 2017 Rigby Road Depot Blackpool
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 22, 2017, 12:19:16 PM
Its been a hot one! infact June 21st 2017 was the hottest day in the UK since 1976 .... apparently...

Anyway it has been nothing but an utter pain trying to work on the layout over the past five days in the 30+ C temperatures, but we had to with this weekends model show and open weekend at Blackpool Transport's Rigby Road Tram depot.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-48674200-1498128059_thumb.jpg)
This is the first event at Rigby Road for some years, so its a real privilege to be able to take Thornton Gate inside the depot for the weekend.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-14619700-1498128130_thumb.jpg)
Above: With the show on the horizon the decision was taken (not by me i might add!) to replace the card 'Blackpool' fencing with something a little more 3D, so with only two weeks to go at this point Anna (My girlfriend) took it upon herself to rip out all the card fencing from the layout, some of which has been on the layout for over five years now.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-57002300-1498128306_thumb.jpg)Above: The replacement was some custom resin cast panels which Anna had build the master for out of plastic strip and I had made the moulds and tooling for rather a lot of cast resin duplicates!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-06888300-1498128426_thumb.jpg)The process of cleaning and then painting these panels took in all three days, and was a large undertaking.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-35234300-1498128526_thumb.jpg)Above: Here Anna is just applying a final light weather coat to the newly install panels, which really do look for part!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-83412800-1498128584_thumb.jpg)Above: Some areas like the station were a bit tricky to say the least, and some white paper was used to protect the 'wooden' fence behind from a splatter of Humbrol matt 64!


We've also been static grassing the layout to aid the overall scenics and to try and add some depth, this along with the new fences worked well and allowed for some test 'sunset' moody photos....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-45097800-1498128990_thumb.png)
Above: Long withdrawn Balloon class no 708 made a brief return to Thornton Gate, now weathered down for this shot of it dumped awaiting onward movement at the rear of the yard.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-47925200-1498129112_thumb.png)
Above: Work crews still installing new fence panels for the tramway lineside in the streets of north Cleveleys.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-16661700-1498129226_thumb.png)
Above: And finely sunset at Thornton Gate station.

Back to the upgrades and the coming 'Totally Models' Blackpool Show.... 

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-08755500-1498129318_thumb.jpg)
Normally with Thornton Gate we like shows that give us barriers, however in this case it was unknown if we were going to get any for the weekend, in which case we have to use plexiglass shields, which I for one hate using as it gives a rather obstructed view of the layout and a 'gold fish bowl' effect. But this children and even some adults completely unable to not touch things, its a necessary safeguard. So for this show we've fitted new shields, still in there protective wrappers in this shot.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2017/post-15873-0-62338100-1498129689_thumb.jpg)
And finally we'll end with Balloons 701 and 713 out on test yesterday (21st June) ahead of the layout being crated up ready for transport to Blackpool for this weekends event.

We hope you can make it, well worth a visit this one, with all the other things going on in support of the model show, doors open from 10am on Saturday 24th June 2017!

And as ever thanks for your continued support and viewing of this thread.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on June 22, 2017, 12:29:21 PM
Sorry I won't be able to make it, Tom, but the mods look great, especially the fencing which is superb. Congrats to you and Anna. At least with the weather we've had the paint should have dried quickly!
Good luck for the show. I'm sure you'll get heaps of interest.
Title: Re: Totally Models : June 24th / 25th 2017 Rigby Road Depot Blackpool
Post by: PLD on June 22, 2017, 02:15:51 PM
it gets better with every little change Tom  :thumbsup:

This is the first event at Rigby Road for some years, so its a real privilege to be able to take Thornton Gate inside the depot for the weekend.

We hope you can make it, well worth a visit this one, with all the other things going on in support of the model show, doors open from 10am on Saturday 24th June 2017!
As I'm now Crew at Blackpool as well, I couldn't really get away with not being there! See you tomorrow afternoon Tom  :wave:
Title: Totally Models 2017 At Rigby Road Depot - Blackpool June 24-25th 2017
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 05, 2017, 05:43:09 PM
Totally Models 2017 At Rigby Road Depot - Blackpool June 24-25th 2017
Show Report..


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-70758600-1499262855_thumb.png)

Well .. were to begin with this one..... what can I say...... What a show!
I warn you this is going to be a long report at best... The Totally Models exhibition held at Blackpool Transports Bus and Tram sheds in Blackpool was really good, and thats an understatement! 

FRIDAY

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-37114200-1499263135_thumb.jpg)

Above We'll start with a few pics taken the Friday evening in the drizzle that has replace the summer heatwave of June. Having arrived in Blackpool and setup Thornton Gate, i took the opportunity to visit the real location of Thornton Gate once again to snap a few pics of how the side is and any changes etc...

The contractors left a few buildings in the yard from the 2012 rebuild, however most now appears to be the remains of supplies etc. It is worth pointing out that currently (at time of writing) Thornton Gate yard is still the active p'way depot for the tramway even if it currently has no sidings on the site itself.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-57546500-1499263470_thumb.jpg)
Above: A view looking towards Blackpool over the centre line loop sections and old station of Thornton Gate

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-08298300-1499263533_thumb.jpg)
Above: And a view the other way showing the summer undergrowth beginning to take ahold around the retained buildings of the old station.

SATURDAY

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-64899300-1499263074_thumb.jpg)
Above: Saturday started with the view from our B&B in Fleetwood. We chose to stay up the northern end of the tram system as its a bit quieter then the hustle of Blackpool itsself.

For the first day of the show we chose to leave the car in Fleetwood and took the modern Flexity class tram from Fleetwood Ferry station to Manchester Square, before with toolboxes in hand walking over to Rigby Road with an hour before doors opened to the public at 10am.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-44324300-1499263860_thumb.jpg)
Above: The setup its self was something special, the exhibition taking up two halls or should that be workshops of the Rigby Road depot these being the ones behind the main shed buildings adjacent to the bus yard. Our position for the exhibition mean we had to setup over the top of one of the tram roads, with the rails seen here underneath the layout. As these tracks were connected to the rest of the tramway, it did mean that technically we have exhibited literally on top of the Blackpool tramway! 

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-46219000-1499264548_thumb.jpg)
To some models.... And Centenary 641 AKA "Kitkat Tram'. On the first morning as i was prepping the stock 641 moved all of 1cm before failing once again! Now on its 3rd PPC chassis the fault, which i think was with the DCC decoder was not fixable, so 641 spent the whole weekend on show but dumped out of the way on the centre loop, Its future up for debate!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-79248500-1499264954_thumb.jpg)
As things got into a bit of a rhythm, all was woking well, Here Bush car 622 and standard 147 wait at the station on Fleetwood bound services.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-25880500-1499265178_thumb.jpg)
Above: As with normal practice for us, Balloon 701 stayed on the yard sidings with P'way trailers in tow.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-45538700-1499265306_thumb.jpg)
Above: Im not a bus person.. Sorry! But thought it was worth showing what was also in the hall we were in... its a BUS! (thats all i know)

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Above: And the view just outside the depot on the main Bus yard at Rigby Road, showing a number of Buses including some heritage units that along with the classic tram cars provided rides and tours for the visiting public.

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Above: With the show closing at 5PM (with an extra hour for staff to look around) we packed up and made our way to the depot fan to wait for a special taxi service back to Fleetwood! But first Balloon class 723 needed to come on shed and clear the single access line to and from the depot.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-31740500-1499266073_thumb.jpg)
Above: The reason? Well our ride back to the hotel was waiting for us, in the form of sister Balloon Class no 717, booked to do a exhibitors special Rigby Road to Fleetwood Ferry working, a perfect way for us to end day 1 and hitch a free ride back to Fleetwood!


SUNDAY


After a good first day, day 2 (Sunday) bought us some visitors....

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Above: Shortly before we opened to the public Thornton Gate yard played host to a wonderful model of diesel Pway car No 754 with matching trailer. A wonderful model and big thanks to John Marfleet for lending it for this photo. Readers of this thread might remember John's version of Balloon 701 visiting Thornton Gate a few years ago....

Below: Operations for day two were sorted in the normal way....

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Above: With 641 dumped on view as failed, the decision was taken to swap a few cars around. Taking 641 and Balloon 710 out of service and replacing with Fatdoors now 711 and 719 seen here waiting to go out front, on the hidden fiddle yard siding around the back of the layout with standard 147 stabled behind.

With things up and running and the show open, we welcomed our second guest!

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Above: Young Jack, son of fellow exhibitor John Docherty, joined both Anna and myself for a short while.

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Above: After a brief run though, Jack took control out inner line services, picking up what can be a complicated layout to operate in no time at all! Which left me rather redundant!

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As the day went on, trams cars in full flow on an intensive service Balloons 719, 726 pass failed 641 and stabled class mate 713

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-46852100-1499268235_thumb.jpg)
P'way Balloon 701 made it out of the yard on day 2 and is seen here Blackpool bound at Thornton Gate station.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-25285500-1499268630_thumb.jpg)
Above: Failed 641 is later joined by Jubilee class no 761 on a short working, waiting to be turned back to Blackpool

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We'll end this section with a view from the main hall, adjacent to where we were based, just showing how busy it got!

So with less then an hour left of the final day of the show, there was one last treat for us exhibitors.....

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Staff at Blackpool Transport took us for a tour of the rest of Rigby Road depot! As you can see here we're all standing in a boat car undergoing work in the fitting shop.

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The other side of the shed Brush car no 612 was undergoing work even as we visited!

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Above: This was a find! As my username (at time of writing) is Balloon_726 it was a joy to find and photograph the real Balloon 726! Still sporting its blue Coastguard livery, the car has spent a few years in open storage before being brought back to Rigby Road depot. 726 last ran in 2011 I think???

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Above: Ever wondered what the very back of Rigby Road's main tram shed looked like? Heres your answer! Stored Millennium Class and some what broken Balloons to be found!

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Above: I also found Balloon 703 painted up as Sunderland car no 101, again readers of this thread will remember when i photographed it in the shed at Beamish a few years ago. As with many others 702 has been out of use for some time with a broken tire.

And... welcome to the end of the post! Glad you could make it!

I just want to say a huge thanks to those that made this possible.. What a show!
I have it on good authority that Totally Models (might be called something else) will return next year bigger and even better (if thats even possible?)

Thornton Gates season rolls on ... I'll be updating about that shortly...

As ever thanks for reading and bye for now! 
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on July 05, 2017, 11:50:11 PM
 :hellosign: Many thanks Tom  :greatpicturessign: super show report, shame about 641 hope good news for it`s future
      regards Derek.
Title: Mini Update - End of July 2017
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 29, 2017, 05:05:34 PM
Mini Update - End of July 2017

Hi all, just wanted to to a quick update on Thornton Gates next and final outing of 2017 which will be:

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-42140400-1501342866_thumb.png)
Please note: This is Ellesmere (North Shropshire) and NOT Ellesmere Port!

More info can be found on the Ellesmere MRC website

http://ellesmere-modelrailwayclub.weebly.com/ellesmere-12th--13th-august-exhibition.html
 (http://ellesmere-modelrailwayclub.weebly.com/ellesmere-12th--13th-august-exhibition.html)

For us it'll be nice to do a 'local' show again the first (excluding the SVR event) since November 2013!

Its also nice to end our 2017 season whist its still summer and before winter sets in...


In other news .......
Work has continued on new updates for next year (2018)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2017/post-15873-0-63620500-1501343384_thumb.png)
My brother and fellow team member Sam and been working on some new road and plant vehicles, which he's scratch building.
To be honest i knew nothing about these until he showed me the other day! Still very much a work in progress, but once done we hope to replace some of the earlier items on the layout, but not until we come off season!

Anyway hope to see you for final outing this year.
Dates for 2018 will be announced once confirmed.

Im now taking bookings for 2019 - 2020 season(s) So do drop me a message if your interested in Thornton Gate for your show/exhibition.

All we'll keep you updated on the overall Thornton Gate project over the coming winter.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on July 29, 2017, 05:25:26 PM
Here's hoping to catch you at one of next year's exhibitions, Tom.
Title: Ellesmere Model Railway Exhibition 2017 - Show Report
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 19, 2017, 08:45:50 PM
Ellesmere Model Railway Exhibition 2017 - Show Report

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-60031700-1503168516_thumb.png)

The weekend of the 12th & 13th of August 2017 marked the final exhibition outing for Thornton Gate this year.

The two day event held in the North Shropshire town of Ellesmere is relatively local to us, and with its mere, lakes and inland water ways is about as coastal as landlocked Shropshire is going to get!


Anyway...

The show its self was very well attended with a mix of local trade and layouts, some are the more normal ones seen on the local 'circuit', but for us it was nice to see some old faces and people I knew, It being a few years since the last time the layout attended a local event.

This was the scene and our setup in the main hall, the event taking place in the town hall / local council building.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-23400100-1503168886_thumb.png)

Before the event, most of the rolling stock got the once over and quick clean. I was however keen to see what was wrong with Centenary class No 641 AKA 'Kit Kat tram' which readers may remember 'let go' in the first 2 minutes of the opening of the Blackpool Exhibition.

As well documented on this thread, our Centenarys have been a constant source of breakdowns with split gears and blown decoders. Sister car no 624 (should be 642) was broken up to allow the more popular 641 to keep running...

However on inspection this time it was found that yet again the DCC decoder and gone pop! And I am loathed to spend anymore money on a replacement!
so as a short term fix and to get the tram back into service, Using fuse wire, I bridged the decoder pins hence making a makeshift 'blacking plate' this basically made the chassis DC again.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-89719200-1503169494_thumb.png)

As most DCC control units can support one DC loco 641 was run using this mode. The only downside is the motor makes a noise all the time and its not good for it in the long run. However it got the car back into service and to be honest im past the point of caring if the motor burns out!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-43924800-1503169629_thumb.png)
Above: So ever popular with the kids! Kit Kat tram No 641 returned to service and run both days for most of the time! However due to the chassis, I'm looking at retiring 641 and this may be its last public show.

As for everything else....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-21983700-1503169809_thumb.png)
Above: A scene ... off scene! Bush car no 636 and Jubilee 761 wait just out of public view on the 'up' fiddle yard line.

A bit of news from the end of day 1... We won something!  :bounce: :claphappy:

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-31621100-1503169997_thumb.png)
Above: Okey so we might not have 'won' won but we got runner up from the Ellesmere model railway clubs 'best in show' members vote... which was nice and i'll take! As i'm never going to win against a GWR branch line .....  (that'll upset someone!  :censored: :veryangry:)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-02278600-1503170140_thumb.png)
Above: Operations on day 2 (Sunday) saw the 'Fat Door' Balloon class cars out in the form of white 713 and purple 711. We were hoping to use sister purple car no 719 but it had developed a rather major fault and was found to be 'out of gauge' for the layout and had to be withdrawn. Still the remaining 'Fat Doors' carrierd on and both 713 and 711 can be seen at Thornton Gate station on 'up Fleetwood' workings.

 
After about 2pm on the Sunday the show got a bit quiet, this was to be expected as is the case at local shows, sometimes this down time is welcome in the weekend...

To aid the passing of this time I took Balloon 701 our p'way car on a shunting trip in Thornton Gate yard sidings, an operation I rarely carry out.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-12369600-1503170544_thumb.png)

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-53675000-1503170571_thumb.png)
Above: Completing its shunting move no. 701 with the rail car trailer stabled on the far line of the yard.

So as the final hour approached and the service on the layout cut to a bare minimum we decided to shunt some cars for a final end of year photo. A bit of a tradition here on Thornton Gate.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-05651400-1503170764_thumb.png)
Above: For this years photo the serviceable Balloon cars were stabled on centre road for the photo, from left to right : no's 713, 711, 710, 726, 701 (with reel trailer which had not been detached after its shunting work!) 

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_08_2017/post-15873-0-97168500-1503170916_thumb.png)
With the line up complete and a crew getting ready for the photo, we called an end to another successful season with Thornton Gate and also a fitting tribute to the Balloon cars, our largest fleet of tram, for the hours and good running these cars have done over the past 6 years.

I would once again like to thank Anna and Sam for there continued hard work and aid in keeping the layout and its rolling stock going!
Also a huge thanks to all of you that have come to visit us at shows, stopped for a chat for have posted comments on here or send me messages.
We all really hope you enjoy the layout as much as we do!

Photos from the show taken by the club themselves can be viewed here: http://ellesmere-modelrailwayclub.weebly.com/ellesmere-12th--13th-august-exhibition.html (http://ellesmere-modelrailwayclub.weebly.com/ellesmere-12th--13th-august-exhibition.html)

And we'll be back in the new year! But do check back for updates as the work never stops!  :thankyousign: :beers:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on August 19, 2017, 09:14:40 PM
Thanks for the report and pics, Tom.
I hope you all enjoy the winter break.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Ollie3440 on August 19, 2017, 10:57:42 PM
Evening all,

It was a lovely little show. I visited on the Saturday and Thornton Gate got my vote for best in show, no contest really with it being the only N layout!

Cheers

Ollie

 :NGaugersRule:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on August 19, 2017, 11:42:53 PM
 :hellosign:  :greatpicturessign:   Thanks for the show report Tom
       regards Derek.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on August 20, 2017, 10:53:28 AM
Nice work, Tom. Second place....you was robbed.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 20, 2017, 11:38:00 PM
Nice work, Tom. Second place....you was robbed.

What can I say Malc ..... I'll never beat a GWR branch line, but im fine with that...... really I am  :'(
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on August 20, 2017, 11:41:50 PM
Evening all,

It was a lovely little show. I visited on the Saturday and Thornton Gate got my vote for best in show, no contest really with it being the only N layout!

Cheers

Ollie

 :NGaugersRule:

Hi Ollie , thanks for your kind words and support  :thankyousign:

Was I really the only N gauge there? Im trying to think now??? Anyways hope you enjoyed the show, I'm hoping to be doing some more local shows next year  :D
Title: Merry Christmas 2017.... And we have an announcement...
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 17, 2017, 11:58:13 PM
Time for an update....

OK first off...



(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2017/post-15873-0-48219300-1513552302.png)


A very Merry Christmas 2017 to all our readers / followers / fans and supporters!

Its been fantastic to get out with the layout this year! We've had a really wonderful time meeting and chatting with so many of you, so thank you!
I hope you can forgive the reuse of an Xmas scene from our Thornton Gate layout created a few years back. It is one of my favourites and well we've been a bit busy of late to do a new one....

Because.....we have an announcement...

After over 12 months of planning, research and building a new team around me,
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2017/post-15873-0-76330900-1513553282_thumb.png)

I've decided the time is right to enter the growing 3D print market, the tech has gotten better and cheaper but the demands and requirements of the public and exhibition managers has lead to the conclusion that our current rolling stock is past its best. So Above is the CAD for a new more actuate Balloon Class tram car, this was done by a CAD engineer (to save time) with my guidance and input.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2017/post-15873-0-55658200-1513553541_thumb.png)
Above: and this is the first of the 'final run' cast/prints for the new tram car. I should point out the resin shell needs a little more cleaning up and the blue 3D print plastic parts (designed by myself) are just 'tacked on' in this photo, it will also have a smoother appearance once the main shell has been primed etc, but I hope it give a good idea of what the end model will look like.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2017/post-15873-0-82578600-1513553749_thumb.png)
One thing I really like is the custom printed parts freats, as you can see the new model will have alot be detail and depth then the ones they replace

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2017/post-15873-0-84160700-1513553841_thumb.png)
The bogie or 'truck' frames are a new addition, custom designed and printed to fit the Tomix chassis we'll be using. To date we've never done custom frames before but I think new models for the post 2017 era demand it...

So there we go, I'm really happy to have got here, its taken a long time and a lot of hard work by the team so I cant take all the credit! Personally looking forward to the challenge of building a new and better fleet!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_12_2017/post-15873-0-65463500-1513554390_thumb.png)
Also this announcement helps explain why we did a Balloon line up at the end of our last public outing this year (2017), well we knew this was the last show for our current balloon cars, so it was a bit of a send off to a fleet thats been with us since 2012!

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on December 18, 2017, 10:24:24 AM
The old stock has served you well and the new Balloon looks excellent.
Seasons Greetings to you and Anna, Tom :beers:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Steve.T on December 18, 2017, 05:47:25 PM
Hi,

Great update.

I have just got into 3D printing this year and amazed what can be achieved, sometimes with quite a bit of effort mind. Still learning mind but done an awful lot of printing this year, but nothing for the layout yet.

Can I ask if you printed the balloon yourself, and if so what printer you may have?

Steve
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Balloon_726 on December 18, 2017, 06:15:45 PM
Hi,

Great update.

I have just got into 3D printing this year and amazed what can be achieved, sometimes with quite a bit of effort mind. Still learning mind but done an awful lot of printing this year, but nothing for the layout yet.

Can I ask if you printed the balloon yourself, and if so what printer you may have?

Steve

Hi Steve,

We've gone though a few machines and out sourcing in the past 12 months! but to answer your question...

Yes the Balloon master and parts were/are printed by myself, although the balloon shell is used to make a mould from which resin copies are made. This from a commercial prospective is cheaper, easier and quicker for mass production.

(Note to Admin: Im not selling these myself nor will i be acting as the agent for the vendor who is, All posts here are purely about my own work for my own project) 

The machine used to do these was a Flashforge unit, very very good printers! The material used is PLA.

For me this gives enormous freedoms to create and produce what i want / need or to test concepts, and just do really small runs of an item, without the cost and faff of having to get stuff sent away.

For Thornton Gate as well as the main rolling stock, this gives opportunities to replace and rebuild so much of the scenics or to create items missing or hard to make.

Admittedly the 3D printers I own arn't just used for model work, they do earn there keep doing other types of work.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Steve.T on December 18, 2017, 06:42:14 PM
Thanks for the info, look forward to seeing what the future brings.
I just have so many memories of these trams as most of my summer holidays with my parents were in Blackpool so love the layout.

I originally bought a cheap Prusa clone off Ebay and for £130 was actually surprised what is produced, whilst not brilliant were far better than expected.  After a month or two of spending money on upgrades decided to get a Prusa original and absolutely amazed at what can be achieved especially for a printer under £500. I know the Flashforge do have a good range of printers but will have to stick with what I have for now.

Cheers
Steve

Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on December 18, 2017, 08:37:55 PM
 :hellosign:  Merry Christmas Tom & Anna, thanks for the update. Really looking forward to watching your progress & hope to see Thorton Gate in the flesh some time in the future
    regards Derek.














 





Title: Thornton Gate: Preston Show 2018 Cancelled
Post by: Balloon_726 on February 27, 2018, 11:07:33 AM
Hello all, its been awhile once again and i'll be doing a full update real soon but.....

We were due to be taking the layout to this weekends Preston show, I received an email this morning stating the show has been cancelled due to the weather. This has been confirmed on the shows website:

http://www.prestonanddistrictmrs.org.uk/exhibition/ (http://www.prestonanddistrictmrs.org.uk/exhibition/)

I will just stress i'm not associated with the club in anyway and was just booked as an exhibitor. So very much a case of don't shoot the messenger!

In a way im glad as with the southern burst of snow hitting on the Friday it looked quite bad for Shropshire so would have been questionable if we'd made it north  :(
Title: Thornton Gate for Ludlow Exhibition May 5th 2018
Post by: Balloon_726 on April 28, 2018, 12:39:23 AM
Thornton Gate for Ludlow Exhibition May 5th 2018


Hello one and all, we're back! Having missed our planned season opener at Preston, called off due to the snow. Its been a bit of a battle to find the time to get Thornton Gate ready for our next and now first outing of 2018 which is:


Ludlow (Shropshire) Race Course Exhibition

Saturday May 5th 2018


http://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/events/16682-CravenArmsandDistrictModelRailwayCircleLudlowRacecourseModelRailwayExhibition (http://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/events/16682-CravenArmsandDistrictModelRailwayCircleLudlowRacecourseModelRailwayExhibition)


So a nice localish one for us...


So the big news of 2018 is we're bringing the first of our 3D printed tram rolling stock online, and so pulled our Balloon and Centenary car fleets at the end of last year.

Admittedly its been a long and drawn out process to get the new Balloons and Centenary cars ready for service...


Anyways....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-97048000-1524867719_thumb.png)
Above: The first tramcar to turn a wheel on Thornton Gate in 2018 was ... Mothballed Mk1 Balloon 701, it along with 'Fatdoor' 713 have been retained as 'backup cars' incase of failure or issue with the new Mk2 gen Balloon cars. Also i don't have a new works car as yet (what this space!) So 701 did the honers of testing the track and taking the 6 month old dirt layer off the rail heads!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-04896200-1524867914_thumb.png)
Above: Broken rail in the fiddle yard! Its been a while since we've had track issues with the layout, must be the best part of 5 years now. But whist testing it was noticed that a rail on the gap between the boards on the fiddle yard had broken, this being just one of those things when karting a layout around as much as we do with Thornton Gate.



(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-91542300-1524868209_thumb.png)
Above: So the fix.. Removed the whole broken section, found a piece of spare scrap track and cut to size, then had to desolder and reattach a power feed to the new rail, making sure the rail lined up and was flush. Rather a pain to do but a necessary repair.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-90996700-1524868480_thumb.png)
Above: Whist in the mood for fixing things, we'd lost a section of fence on the front of the layout again between were the boards meet. Luckily I had the missing section so just a case of gluing it back in.

 
On the work bench...

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-90854000-1524868598_thumb.png)
It really is all change as a number of chassis get swapped and changed around. As most of the fleet had upgraded Japanese chassis the plan has been to try and reuse as much as possible along with DCC decoders. Here now withdrawn Balloon 710 gives its chassis to Bush car no 636, the latter was fitted with a newer and much thiner Tomix TMTR-01 unit which was needed for the new 3D printed Balloons

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-40536100-1524870264_thumb.png)
Above: its not all used or reclaimed, most of our new rolling stock will be using new chassises. As you can see we've been stockpiling!

Ok so now for the exciting part.... although not finished and with only a week before the show, I know im pushing it a bit, so hope for a productive weekend! Here are the first of the new fleet!


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-33733100-1524870439_thumb.png)
Above: A return to green and cream for new car 3D printed mk2 Balloon no 702 sporting custom 3d printed bogie frames or 'trucks' as well as printed under cages and bumpers replacing the card used for all previous balloons (we'll just ignore the fact its held together with blue tack in this shot) The tram out on test ran under its own power for the first time as well!

Still lots to do glazing, transfers, hand rails , weathering, more testing... you get the idea!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-97654100-1524870684_thumb.png)
Next and yet to run under its own power and sitting on a set of blue test bogies is Balloon 704 sporting the undercoat of what will be an all over ad livery for a 2004 dance show. Again much more work needed, in-fact after reviewing this photo the tram was rubbed down and adjusted to fix a flaw with the lower centre door area.



(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-69564600-1524870882_thumb.png)
Centenary class have been the bain of our lives. The original two did nothing but break down. So really looking forward to the replacement, which really is an improvement brand new Centenary 642 in the beginnings of its plain yellow livery ran under its own power for the first time as well. Our Centenarys will use DCC decoders and chassis recovered from withdrawn Mk1 balloons. The Tomix TM-03 chassis used has been cut in two and rewired so that the bogie spacings are correct as it proved impossible to find a modern chassis with the correct spacings, hence why we kept the older ones running with there Bachmann US PCC trolley chassises for so long.... never again!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_04_2018/post-15873-0-82127000-1524871333_thumb.png)
Above: The race is on! A view of new Balloon 702 and Centenary 648 in Thornton Gate station. Really pleased how these are turning out, but a lot of work still to do! And many more updates on the way this year!

So do come and say hi if your coming to the Ludlow Show, and I'll post again soon(ish)
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on April 29, 2018, 12:13:08 PM
Great update, Tom. You might well see us at the Racecourse.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on April 29, 2018, 11:24:45 PM
 :hellosign: Great update Tom, wow lots happening, very unlikely i`ll get to Ludlow so best of luck & have a good one
         regards Derek.
Title: Ludlow Race Course Exhibition 2018 Show Report
Post by: Balloon_726 on May 08, 2018, 05:02:14 PM
Ludlow Race Course Exhibition 2018 Show Report



(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-46269500-1525791377_thumb.png)


May 5th saw Thornton Gate back out on show at Ludlow. As many of you know its been a bit of a rush to get the new 3D printed Balloon and Centenary fleets having retired the previous generation at the end of last year.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-01191500-1525791561_thumb.png)
Above: Not sure about the staff! We setup on the morning of the one day event, which went ok. We were able to unload and setup in the hall quickly and with out issue.



(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-36401300-1525791662_thumb.png)

Above: The main exhibition hall. Credit to Craven Arms MRS for putting on what was a really good well organised show. We were well looked after with free flowing tea and even fed at lunch time (which don't always happen)



(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-04177200-1525792573_thumb.png)

So opening for service with Standard 147, New Centenary 642 and Old Brush 636 on respective up and down line services. To be honest I was expecting problems with the new stock. Again as mentioned before, they were not 'dialed in' with the new Lais DCC decoders being rather 'flighty' on acceleration, so all needed some CV value adjustments before our next outing.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-84701400-1525793095_thumb.png)
Above: All three new 3D print balloons also went into service with green and cream no 702 with bush no 622

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-38863100-1525793207_thumb.png)
702 here again with fellow class mate new build Balloon no 704

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-00101400-1525793339_thumb.png)
And finally a new version of Balloon car No 726 sporting its distinctive 'Coast Guard' livery, this car being a direct replacement for the first gen 726 built back in 2012 and retired and broken up at the end of last year....

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-80356000-1525793476_thumb.png)
Above: All was not wasted as the chassis out of old 726 (which regular readers might remember was rechassised with Japanese Tomix TM-03 motor units a few years back) along with its DCC decoder was modified and reused for the new build 3D print Centenary car no 642.

For this to work the chassis was cut into two and lengthened so that the back to back of the bogies was correct for the new body shell.
The old Centenary class trams relied on Bachmann PCC chassises which where at best an utter pain meaning constant unreliability and blown DCC decoders. So its hoped that these new Japanese chassied Centenaries will fair a bit better, and for its first run 642 performed well and was used all day!





(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-94973200-1525793931_thumb.png)
Above: No breakdowns! All tram cars performed well, nothing failed which was amazing! So cars only terminated when the show started to quiet down hecne not requiring so many in service. Out of these that did terminate, Balloon 726  (coast guard) was sidelined first due its erratic DCC control making it a little bit of a pain to drive well though out the day.



So overall very good show and very good start to the year! Still work to be done as mentioned.

The next big project will be to remove and replace the Brush Cars!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_05_2018/post-15873-0-18084100-1525794343_thumb.png)
Which I do have the CAD for but still needs some work before it'll get though a 3D printer without looking like a ball of plastic spaghetti

Finally i'll just say I and thanks to all of you from the forums that said Hi and came out to show! Really nice to meet and chat with you all.
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: daveg on May 08, 2018, 05:40:36 PM
Got to have a brief chat while visiting the show on Saturday.

Really nice to see Thornton Gate operating with great looking trams.

Dave G
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Newportnobby on May 08, 2018, 08:31:50 PM
Thanks for the pics and report, Tom.
Good to see the 'Blue is the Colour' layout in attendance as well :angel:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on May 12, 2018, 12:38:11 PM
 :hellosign:   :greatpicturessign: Thanks for the report Tom glad all went well & looking forward to future developments
    regards Derek.
Title: Thornton Gate @ Totally Models Blackpool June 2018
Post by: Balloon_726 on June 18, 2018, 03:36:09 PM
Hello all, this is rather a late call, as I've been busy with life.... (you know how it is)


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_06_2018/post-15873-0-85845400-1529332400_thumb.png)


Just to say Thornton Gate will be a this weekends 'Totally Models' exhibition at Blackpool (Sat 23rd & Sun 24th June) inside the famous Rigby Road tram sheds.

A fantastic opportunity to have a look around, ride real trams and vintage buses


Im told the model show takes up 3 halls this year

Deatils 

http://www.blackpoolheritage.com/httours/event/totally-models/ (http://www.blackpoolheritage.com/httours/event/totally-models/)


Hope to see you there!
Title: Totally Models Exhibition, Rigby Road Depot, Blackpool, 2018 Show Report
Post by: Balloon_726 on July 16, 2018, 12:36:08 AM
(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-13014600-1531694674.png)
Hello all, June saw Thornton Gate make another trip to the fantastic Totally Models Exhibition held inside the famous tram sheds in central Blackpool.

As with last year, a truly enjoyable show, very well organised and a nice mix and real and model tramway rolling stock exhibiting side by side!


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-20579500-1531694896.png)

We were placed in the second hall once again more or less in the same spot as last year, However we had a visitor in wit us!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-08629700-1531694970.png)

Above: The view from my operating position behind the layout showing EE Balloon class No. 711 stabled in the hall for the duration of the show, which was nice!


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-39831300-1531695089.png)

Above: 711 had been roped into being an active exhibit with a scale model tramway running not only around it be also strait though the centre passenger saloon and out the other side!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-74654100-1531695203.png)

Above: And this is how new trams are made ....... :-P A active demo of what was proposed with 711 showing the larger scale which I think is G or Gauge 1 (not sure) compared to a stock HO Corgi model. Our N gauge balloons would have looked rather dwarfed!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-09534000-1531695349.png)

On with the models! Same running stock as with Ludlow here Centenary 641 heads up a Fleetwood bound service.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-23541600-1531695443.png)

Some problems for 726 which is still not running correctly, even after having its DCC CV's tweaked. So although not failed 726 was 'parked up' early on day one on centre line for the duration.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-33152300-1531695565_thumb.png)

Here Balloon 702 works a down Stargate service from Fleetwood.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-57039700-1531695630.png)

Above: Due to the nature of exhibiting in a active depot, dirt was a bit of an issue with wheels and track needing constant cleaning. Here after many hours of running 702 is shunted into the yard area to allow other services to pass. The tram later moved back to the fiddle yard for attention.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-65275600-1531695792.png)

The end of day one saw Balloon 717 run a exhibitors special from the depot to Fleetwood and back. As with last year we used with service to get back to our hotel having come down on a normal service tram that morning.



Day 2

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-18416900-1531695927.png)

Day two and i got a chance to take a few photos outside. Here Balloon 715 was in use on a special service ferrying exhibition visitors between the tram depot and tower station/tram stop. Several tramcars ran this special service on both days taking passengers off the promenade mainline and down the branch line to the depot.


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-64456000-1531696872.png)

A photo of myself as I dont normally get pictured in my own reports....


(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2018/post-15873-0-35205100-1531696946.png)

We'll finish with Balloon 704 traversing the little used far siding of Thornton Gate yard. The main reason for this was England were playing Panama in the World Cup that Sunday so the show had all but gone dead. As we had to be with our stands I decided to take 704 and play around a bit, in this case seeing how far down the far line it would get before stalling or derailing. I think the results are impressive.... nearly in the static grass!

Ok so there we are. Still really pleased how well the new 3D print rolling stock has come on and worked out.

Thanks to all that came and said hello, and thanks to Blackpool Transport for another brilliant show.

We have work to do mainly with Rolling stock etc, And we're due out again for one more planned show for 2018 and this one is a lot closer to home! More details to follow.....

Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Malc on July 16, 2018, 09:48:13 AM
Thanks for the report, Tom. Very interesting, if only Blackpool was a bit nearer the Midlands. If you get many more plaques for the stand, you’ll need some cribbing under the top valance. 😆
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Bealman on July 16, 2018, 09:57:32 AM
Wot Malc said.

Awesome!  :thumbsup: :thumbsdown:
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: cornish yorkie on July 23, 2018, 11:48:28 PM
 :hellosign: Many thanks for the show report Tom, looking superb as ever. Hope to see Thornton Gate in the flesh someday soon
     regards Derek.
Title: Shrewsbury Model Railway Show Final outing of 2018!
Post by: Balloon_726 on October 18, 2018, 01:16:47 AM
Shrewsbury Model Railway Show Final outing of 2018!

This one is a bit of a late update as i'm extremely busy and have a cold at the mo! So feeling less them wonderful!

Anyhow's October 20th 2018 Thornton Gate will be as the Shrewsbury Model Railway Show

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2018/post-15873-0-54507900-1539815876.png)
https://www.chantillygrey.com/shrewsbury-model-railway-show.html (https://www.chantillygrey.com/shrewsbury-model-railway-show.html)



This is a truly local show for us, the venue being less the a mile from home and nextdoor to the building were I used to rent a studio and build alot of Thornton Gate back in 2012!



(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2018/post-15873-0-60896500-1539815980_thumb.png)
We've had a far bit to do since the last outing. One of the jobs has been to yet again patch the road area in the yard between the two baseboards as it constantly gets knocked in transit.



(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2018/post-15873-0-89119300-1539816141_thumb.png)

I didn't have the right paint but found something 'in the ball park' so lightly worked in a patch coat which i think will work ok.

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2018/post-15873-0-16562100-1539820496_thumb.png)
Over on my new workbench (Ive now moved house) Balloon 726 is having some attention. Basically the DCC decoder in this one has been a nightmare and no matter what CV settings I do it has largely been underivable, hence the being stabled up for most of its operating life.

The plan is to swap out the decoder with one recovered from a chassis used in our original balloon fleet. The only snag is both have to be hard wired in so its a case of unpicking all the and re soldering... fun times!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2018/post-15873-0-20971300-1539820720_thumb.png)
Really like this low level shot of Balloons 702 and 726 stabled on centre road. Both crews taking a lunch break before both cars make return journeys to Blackpool. Terminating and 'turning' operations is not something we've done enough of during exhibitions if i'm honest. We generally end up just going around in circles  with set cars running on the up and down lines all day. Something to think about!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2018/post-15873-0-23664000-1539820977_thumb.png)
Back to the workbench and I've decided to weather down the new rolling stock. If its one thing we do well on Thornton Gate is grimy and dilapidated which a far few of the Balloons were getting back in 2007-8 when it looked like the lot were for the scrap man!

(http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_10_2018/post-15873-0-23549700-1539821142_thumb.png)

Balloon 704 is a new favourite, the 3 tone livery works well. Here like the others i've treated to a layer of dirt which helps to tone down the colour a bit and aids in lifting details.

It does get me how little real life weathering is done to tram models most ive seen being pristine all the time  which they just weren't.

So there we are for now.
Shrewsbury show is our last for 2018 so hope to see you maybe?
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: daveg on October 18, 2018, 07:13:55 AM
Thanks for the update.

Sorry I won't be coming to Shrewsbury as the dates clash with other stuff going on.

Hope the show goes well.

Dave G
Title: Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
Post by: Ollie3440 on October 23, 2018, 07:01:34 PM
Hi Tom.

Good to see you on Saturday. Sorry I didn't come over for a proper catch up with you and the layout but as you know it was a very busy show!

Cheers

Ollie

 :NGaugersRule:
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