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Author Topic: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway  (Read 62910 times)

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Offline Only Me

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #150 on: March 15, 2014, 10:47:57 PM »
One word.

great!



Offline Balloon_726

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Beamish Exhibition - The Opening Show of Thronton Gate's 2014 Season
« Reply #151 on: April 14, 2014, 03:03:21 AM »
Beamish Exhibition - The Opening Show of Thronton Gate's 2014 Season

An Exhibition Report.



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! )





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




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.




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!



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



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.



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.




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).




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

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
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 11:12:53 AM by Balloon_726 »

Offline Bealman

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #152 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.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #153 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

Offline Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #154 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

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #155 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

Offline Balloon_726

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Update Time!
« Reply #156 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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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......

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #157 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..........





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Manchester Alert!
« Reply #158 on: July 17, 2014, 10:40:32 PM »
Manchester Alert!



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....



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)




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.



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.




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.




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.




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) .
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 11:35:07 PM by Balloon_726 »

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #159 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

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #160 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
The years have been good to me, it was the weekends that did the damage.

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Thornton Gate: Summer Exhibition Report, Manchester & Stoke-on-Trent (2014)
« Reply #161 on: August 14, 2014, 04:46:01 PM »
Summer Exhibition Report, Manchester & Stoke-on-Trent.



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





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   



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



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.



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!



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.



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!



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.



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!



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



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!       



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.



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!



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: 
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 07:28:38 PM by Balloon_726 »

Offline PLD

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Summer Exhibition Report, Manchester & Stoke-on-Trent.



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:




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  ::)

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #163 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.
The years have been good to me, it was the weekends that did the damage.

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September 2014 Update.
« Reply #164 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.



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.



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.



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......







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.



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 :-)

 

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