Thursday, 15 December 2016

The First Year of the ELR

I find it quite hard to believe that it is only a year since construction of the ELR began . In that time it has become established as an invaluable aid to country living, Coal, wood, and rubbish provide regular traffic, and the first sections of track to be laid now low look like they have always been there. Rather too much so in some cases.

This was supposed to be the line to the second woodstore,
 bird feeding station and coal wharf by now.
Having said which, there is the small matter that the line is still some 30 metres shorter, end to end, than I'd hoped it would be by now. That in turn means two of the key locations the line was built to serve still remain rail-less, so said coal, wood and refuse services still involve some road rail transshipment.

Actually 10 of those 30 metres are laid, but only on a temporary alignment that I'm not yet happy with. And the other 20m of track has been laid, more or less, but as sidings, not mainline. that is because I altered the order of construction. In theory it shouldn't take too much work over Spring and Summer to make a lot of progress to finish this stage of construction.

The saga of the sidings has been covered on previous blogs. It has taken me a while to adjust to the lead times needed to obtain 7 1/4" gauge point work, . As you will have gathered from those posts I'm both very happy with the products from MRSC and surprised by how much easier building points in this gauge is compared to building them in EM gauge. The tyhird and final turnout of Phase 1 is under construction at the moment.

Teddy has continued to do stalwart work, with just a few minor snags needing  to be ironed out. I'm still flummoxed by the disappearing letters from from the pseudo Lister ballast weights but I'll replace those a t some point. Hopefully I'll also treat him to a more sophisticated paint scheme one day. It would be nice to supplement him with a second loco over the next eighteen months, but we'll have to see.

I've also been very pleased with the wagons built on Colin Edmondson's buolt together chassis. I really need a few more though, since they are proving so darn useful.

Sadly cashflow* means I've twice missed out on suitable coaches so passenger traffic is still restricted to the solitary man-rider. We will have to see what 2017 brings on that front. It isn't  a major issue at the moment.

There is no doubt that the ELR has been responsible for an almost total lack of progress on indoor modelling. Again I'm quite relaxed about that, but it really is time I made an effort to complete the OO9 Cadeby micro layout. I suspect all that needs at the moment is for my beloved to go away for a weekend so I can make a certain amount of mess.

*On the other hand we did have a rather wonderful holiday in India.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Spalding Model Railway Show

November is always a busy month for me, and this year is no exception with lots of conference sessions to present and the usual round of sales deals on the go. I was supposed to be working in Helsinki this weekend, but a domestic emergency put paid to that. plan.  I can't say I'm sorry because I spent last weekend travelling back from Vegas and I'm away again next weekend.

Not travelling meant I could get to the Spalding Model Railway Exhibition for the first time since moving out this way.

I have to say it was quite a good show, though I didn't spend that long inside, a feat achieved by deliberately avoiding the trade stands. To be honest when a show has Pempoul and Gresley beat in the list of layouts you know it is going to be quite good.

Gresley Beat isn't my kind of layout, but remains a real crowd pleaser and you can see  why.

The usual cliched Pempoul shots

I think this is Eastwood Vermont. The layout lighting defeated all the white balance settings on my XE-1

Foston Mills

 Tony Hill's 16mm Melin Llechi



Red Hook Bay

Clay Cross

Black Road, 7mm track powered live steam

Ogden Fold

Fen Drove


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Back at my Desk

It is hard to realise a month has gone by since our Indian trip. I've still only managed to edit the first two days of photos. Here though are some more of my Kalka Shimla shots. For those interested the link to the holiday firm is here and it is worth noting that for next year they are planning to use the charter stock rather than a standard service train. Five hours was a long time on vinyl seats.

The ZDM 3 locos are quite charismatic

First view after the long train journey from Delhi

The train doesn't stop at most of the stations....

There is barely a straight or level section of line, and the loco horn is in constant use, not least because of the volume of people walking along the track 

It could almost be north Wale, apart from the monkeys.
There isn't a lot of space inside the carriages. The steps aren't a bad place to sit.

I wasn't sure if this was a service train or not

Have I mentioned I like the locos?

This is the spur at Barog

Rather an attractive little inspection trolley

You could, but probably wise not to

Some incredible stats

Not all the locos are fitted with the protective screens

The turntable at Shimla, still used by the railcars

No shot of Shimla is complete without a monkey

Meanwhile I've been making quiet progress on the ELR, the next point kit is due for delivery soon though construction will be delayed by a business trip to the States. One it is down though it will make a big difference and provide the spur that will allow eventual  access to the second wood shed and simplify delivery of coal to the bunker.

I can't say I've been making any progress on the Cadeby diorama. In an attempt to put a quart in a  pint pot I've decided to wait until the Minitrains track is available and try to fit in an extra point. The downloadable track template convinced me this is just viable.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A Taste of Things to Come....


Just as soon as I've finished editing down the other 2000+ photos. from the last twelve days...

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Last of the Summer Work

With the dismal Summer drawing to a close, and our holiday in India fast approaching, I'm feeling the pressure to make a final push.

Sir Arthur Heywood, whose approach to small railways has so inspired the minimal railway movement, would no doubt have approved of me resorting to a  "stout mackintosh" which was his preferred alternative to locos with a cab. Sadly working in pouring rain did little for the quality of my woodworking skills, but I did manage to produce two basic flat bodies.

Talking of inspiration it appears that many of us who have embraced the minimal ethos were independently influenced  by a picture of Roger Marsh, with his original Tinkerbell working a goods train on his Nunfield Tramway. It was published in "Model and Miniature Railways" in the early seventies - a book that is well worth getting hold of.

So here is my homage to that well known photo, featuring my two new wagons.

The bodies are built in a simple jig. These are the short version, intended to sit between the supports of the tipper wagon. I'm planning to build a longer version for the bolt together wagons. They are designed to have de-mountable bodies, like the Heywood "tops" wagons but I suspect will get most use in this form. The handles on the other body make lifting it on and off the chassis a lot easier, but also facilitate hand tramming when Teddy isn't available.

Teddy actually went U/S today and wouldn't move in reverse. One of the great things about his design is it only takes minutes to strip down. Since he was working well going forwards, and with the clutch off was moving freely in both directions, it was fairly easy to work out the problem was with the wiring in the direction controller. What came as a shock was the problem was a dead earwig.

Here are a couple of shots that should really have been part of the last post. First the sub-assemblies of one of the bolt together chassis  in transit.

And here is a more complete view of the first turnout

Construction of the second one, which will provide access to the engine shed, is well underway and the third is on order. An oddity of  7 1/4" is that I've had to treat the timber sleepers of the turnout to try and get them to look like the plastic sleepers used on the plain track. 

And finally Simba has been making a big play for promotion from linescat to driver.