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Author Topic: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway  (Read 62908 times)

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Offline Balloon_726

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October Update...
« Reply #165 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


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.


Above: Brush Car 636 enters Thornton Gate Yard.


Above: The P'way compound and rail loading platform.


Above: And finally 636 seen stabled on the rail loading siding amongst the road plant compound equipment.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 12:15:23 AM by Balloon_726 »

Offline Malc

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #166 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!
The years have been good to me, it was the weekends that did the damage.

Offline Malc

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #167 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!
The years have been good to me, it was the weekends that did the damage.

Offline Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #168 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!
« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 05:24:02 PM by Balloon_726 »

Offline Malc

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #169 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.
The years have been good to me, it was the weekends that did the damage.

Offline Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #170 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:   

Offline Balloon_726

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The Road to Warley... November 2014 Update...
« Reply #171 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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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....

Offline Chetcombe

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #172 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!
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 11:52:58 PM by Chetcombe »

Offline Balloon_726

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Warley 2014 show report
« Reply #173 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


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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! :-)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 12:40:45 PM by Balloon_726 »

Offline PLD

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #174 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 ) - I think you already have the matching bus!!

Offline Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #175 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 http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/news/?p=9250 ) - 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
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 01:10:44 PM by Balloon_726 »

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #176 on: December 09, 2014, 01:56:48 PM »
Well done on achieving two of your ambitions, Tom, and thanks for the report :thumbsup:

Offline Malc

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #177 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.
The years have been good to me, it was the weekends that did the damage.

Offline Balloon_726

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Is it to late for a Christmas card?
« Reply #178 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.



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 , 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!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 10:47:37 AM by Tank »

Offline Balloon_726

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New Year Awakening...
« Reply #179 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

I will be adding stuff to it over the year!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 12:10:13 PM by Balloon_726, Reason: Deleted my own edit. Sorry! »

 

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