Friday, 15 January 2016

Something entirely different

I'm a big believer in model railways learning not just from other modelling disciplines but also from the world of theatre and the arts. There is, of course, a long tradition of this.

I've just come across these 3d cardboard forests by Eva Jospin

It strikes me that 4mm versions of these would work really well as a backdrop for a layout, and that they could even be moulded.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Ahead of Schedule.

It isn't often that I complete something ahead of my self imposed schedule.  However thanks to some hard work by a step daughter's construction worker boyfriend this weekend saw the often threatened great leap forward completed. Well nearly.

Dan's conservatism saw him dig a rather deeper trench for the trackbed than I'd planned for, with the result that we ran out of ballast to bed the track down into, but we did have enough to produce a roughly level trackbed capable of supporting and draining the track, though not sufficient to retain it in place, I suspect.

After he'd finished ballasting I took over track laying, which was delayed slightly both by a cat who kept sitting on the rail joints and the slipping belt clutch on Teddy slipping rather too much as the drive belt wore in. Fixing that was my first experience of removing the combined engine and dynamo unit from the frame. That is one of the clever design features that not only simplifies maintenance but also means one person can lift the loco into and out of a car boot.

Ballast is 20mm limestone laid to a depth of around 80mm on a really decent weed proof membrane - a lesson learnt from a 16mm  line that used a less robust variety, 

Teddy is hiding under the old BBQ Cover. A siding might eventually lead off to the other side of the hut as a storage siding. The "engine shed" is in the background and still doesn't have a rail connection.

The line terminates at the gate on a side road, used solely for dog/cat walking sorties.

Late on Monday evening track laying reached the other end of the line. I wouldn't run the loco with the coupling bar in place like it is here, I was just keeping it safe before turning Teddy to face the other way - a task accomplished with the aid of a culinary lazy susan. I haven't had a chance to do much running because the step daughter  hasn't learnt how to use a petrol gauge so Teddy's petrol supply ended up disappearing into her car so she could get back to civilisation.

In theory this is the way ahead, but I'm beginning to have a rethink, not least because between here and the ash trees is the greatest change of level in the garden and to go straight on is going to need earthworks whilst not  adding  much utility to the line. Instead I might curve it round to the right  and then cross the drive to the other side of the garden where the main station is eventually planned to be.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Happy New Year

I was hoping to herald the New Year with the first picture of the Eaugate Light Railway earning its keep. Unfortunately the high winds have discouraged me from spending time in the garden so the fitting of fish plates has fallen behind schedule by a couple of days. It is a case of so near but so far. Just getting  a couple more track panels down will make a big difference in getting the track to a viable length, however temporary it might be.

My joy at the New Year, when many of my friends seem to have had life changing events, is somewhat tempered by the news that both Martin and Geoff were both taken ill over the holiday period.

My very best wishes to both of you for a full recovery.

Teddy has actually been hard at work over the weekend, working both garbage trains and taking logs to be split and stacked, and along the way totally proving the minimal railway concept in my eyes . Doing the same job without the railway would have reduced the garden to a quagmire.

I've been impressed by my wife's reaction to the railway. It is fair to say that future investment has been secured  and that the reality has far exceeded her expectations. I almost had to stop her giving Teddy a saucer of milk this morning when she opened the kitchen door this to see him waiting outside.
The very first light engine working with proud new owner

Bus replacement service

The first proper working. Xmas empties to the bin store

The bunting was already up

Hauling logs, with the skip body replaced by a plastic crate 

Compost bin, leaf pile, log store, bins and coal bunker all now served by rail

Pretty much the entire line. Not a bad view to wake up to.