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Author Topic: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway  (Read 61553 times)

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Offline Balloon_726

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Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« 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!)

Offline Balloon_726

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Ok time to bring things up to date!
« Reply #1 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 :-)

Offline K-N-Gauge

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 01:03:16 AM »
Looking great that layout :)

Offline Mustermark

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 01:30:26 AM »
Excellent work. Love the vegetation. :thumbsup:

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Offline point blank

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #4 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/ 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:

Offline longbridge

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #5 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.
Keep on Smiling
Dave.

Offline Tank

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #6 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?!  :)

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 12:45:33 PM »
Unusual subject being modelled very well :thumbsup:

Offline Pete Mc

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #8 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
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Its my train set and I'll run worra want!

Pete sadly passed away on the 27th November 2013 - http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=17988.msg179976#msg179976

Offline Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #9 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 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:


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 :-)

Offline Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #10 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?

Offline Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #11 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:

Offline Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #12 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!

Offline PLD

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #13 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

Offline PLD

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #14 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

 

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