Sunday, 31 August 2014

Lessons from an exhibition

Corrieshalloch made its exhibition debut last weekend at RailexNE in North Shields, albeit as a "work in progress" rather than a finished layout. Overall. I was relieved that it worked pretty well, with the soldering iron having to come out on only two occasions for repairs. A succession of three trains (all of my available locos) supplemented by a class 37 running light engine (courtesy of Mick Simpson) dutifully paraded back and forth. The comments of "oh, look at this one: it's a snowscene" were frequently heard, sometimes intended as a joke but not always. Alisdair Campbell (whose prize-winning Strath made a static cameo appearance) had the inspired idea that we block the line with a snowdrift and suspend operations for an extended lunch break.

One lesson learnt was in the setting up and taking down. It took me a whole hour from close of play to driving away, which seems like a long time given the size of the layout. Although I was working alone, I decided that a lot of time was spent fiddling with nuts, bolts and washers for assembling the legs. As a result, I have now glued washers and nuts to the inside of the legs, and modified the bolts to have a handy wing nut on the outside (photo below). This, coupled with a bit of widening of the holes, should mean that assembly is much quicker and easier in future.

The other major lesson relates to the appearances of the soldering iron alluded to above. Both repairs were to the homemade bolts that connect the fiddle yard turntables. These were originally just soldered to a couple of pcb sleepers glued to the baseboard, but this was far too flimsy to withstand constant use. As pointed out by Mick (after one came off in his hand), heavier engineering is required! So version 2 will see the rails attached to heftier pieces of pcb that are screwed right through the balsa trackbed and into the plywood beneath. Hopefully this will be better. The photo below shows the version 1, as it was at RailexNE.

The turnouts at the entry to the goods yard are also a little bumpy, causing some wagons to couple up again against the operator's will. So another task is to iron out these minor issues with the track.

The good news is that the layout will appear again at Shipley on 20th-21st September, along with the 2mm roadshow, so feel free to pop along and say hello. With any luck, some of the issues above will have been ironed out, and another loco will be in service to boot.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Quick photo update

As you can see, I've started work on the landscaping, using various offcuts of polystyrene. At the front left there will be quite a steep river gorge, while you can see the beginnings of a hill and roads behing the track formation. The grey square is a planned foundation for some railway workers' cottages.

Tracklaying is complete in the fiddle yard, and I have put on all of the brass tubes for track alignment. However, there is still some wiring to be completed, along with some sort of "end-stop" to prevent disasters...

Saturday, 4 January 2014

New Year Progress

During some time off work this week I finally got around to fitting the curved backscene board:

It is made from 5mm flexible ply, which turned out to be simple to use as I could bend it to shape in the existing framework, then fix with glue. Unfortunately I had to get a full 8x4 sheet, so I now have plenty spare. I thought about bendy MDF from B&Q but this was only a 4x2 sheet - not long enough for my whole backscene in one piece.

You can also glimpse the goods shed which has occupied idle moments over the Xmas holiday. There are still quite a few details missing, not to mention the roof, but the basic superstructure is in place. I will post better pictures in due course, but it is based on drawings of the shed at Garve.