Tuesday 31 July 2012

Power to the people

Today I started work on the rewiring/wiring of St Ruth and the big hill. I decided where and how to mount the controller and the control panel. The first picture shows the controller on it's new shelf and the sheet of styrene taped in place, it will be slightly smaller than the whole sheet. It needs to have space for 10 point switches, about the same sections and seven or eight signal controls and a diagram. Dapol need to get on and produce the bracket signal. Previously I've put switches into a diagram but it makes the wiring more confused on the back and once you learn your way round the controls it's no quicker.

The existing wiring all comes down the fifty way multi-core cable that used to connect to the old control panel. Hopefully I can find the notebook where I wrote down what is connected to what... if not I'm not sure how to approach it. I drilled holes in the baseboard cross members to get the big cable to where the new panel will be and it comes to the right place. Next job is to fit switches and brace the panel, a bit more of my marvellous carpentry... oh dear.

I can't wait to get this done and all working so that I can get on with the scenery and playing trains. The Gaugemaster double controller will control the lighthouse branch and the mainline into the loop, right hand running a la FR, when I build the rest of the line I will use another controller for the balance of the mainline and the works. This will be the handheld unit I use for Underhill so that I can follow the trains round the garage without having eyes in the back of my head.

Friday 20 July 2012

Blow me its Blower

I've spent this evening attempting to rebuild Blower. It is a GEM Dennis bodged onto an 08 chassis with a rear pony truck. It has had an unlucky career so far in that even before it was painted a cat had kicked it off a shelf onto a solid wood floor... I rebuilt it after that, the loco not the cat. I painted it and finished it and then the same cat knocked it off of somewhere else. The body was smashed and bent and the chassis stopped working. Disheartened I put the bits in a box and moved on.

Finding that the IoSR now needed some bigger locos to tackle the gradient with bigger trains I got the bits out and straightened and filed and filled and re stuck it back together again. On test it strolled up the hill with 24 ROCOs and a brake van. It needs repainting and the chassis needs fettling but I think it will become a useful mainline loco. I tried it on Underhill but the clearances are tighter so it doesn't fit very well.

Here it is before the second smash.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Island Life

No more progress but I did grab a couple of pics.

Finish Smallchurch loop then get the soldering iron out.

Goods train double header about to cross the creek.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Contact has been made

I grabbed a couple of hours yesterday evening and finally joined the track in the station at St Ruth to the mai line so a train can now run all the way from the lighthouse to the loop at Smallchurch... well it could if it was all wired up. I did run a train from the loop points to the St Ruth king points and it made me smile. The bridge is tempoarily installed over the creek and it looks great, I forsee this being a good place to photgraph rolling stock once the scenery is done.

I did a couple more load test trains and Doris just about managed to haul a train of 23 loaded ROCO skips up the hill, when I added a Parkside brake van it proved too much, however with the Lilliput 0-4-0 diesel coupled on the front it strolled up the hill. It makes a nice change to see prototypical length trains which don't dominate the landscape.

Next thing really has to be wiring it all up and then I can do some proper testing, or playing trains as I call it. Can't wait.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Bridge and Loco

The paint brush has been the most active bit of my modelling life recently, first of all I've done the basic colours of the bridge that make the scenic break between St Ruth and the down hill section.

It needs considerable toning down but I'll wait until the scenery is changing colour to green before I do this, the river road bridge and signal box will also need this treatment.

I've also started making the rough outline of the scenery with blocks of expanded polystyrene and off cuts of wood and MDF. I must get the track finished and the wiring done before I play with this much more but I hate wiring and track work and like scenery making. Still you can't play trains without the track and wires.

I also finished the paintwork on the Chris Ward side tank, I'm very pleased with the look of this loco, I need to glaze the windows but apart from that it is finished. It hasn't had a go on the main line yet but performs OK on the Underhill branch. You can also see a new flat wagon and yet another micro coach, they are both built on Parkside Dundas skip chassis. The coach is lower to the ground that the rest of the rake rather in the style of an FR bug box and yet smaller, the ride would be unbearable in this on a skip chassis. The first time I went up the FR in a Bug Box I thought it was off the track and just being dragged along!

Thursday 5 July 2012

Town Quarry

A couple of pictures of the Brian Madge Ruston LB parked in the Town Quarry at Underhill.

Shows up a few gaps in the scenery painting from these angles. I've still got some detail scenery work to do in the quarry.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Pictures of progress

Test train in motion

Loop top points in place and 'Doris' in action

New Chris Ward side tank before painting

Monday 2 July 2012

It Works!!!!

I got some more time on track laying today and also wired up a controller for test purposes. I gingerly got a loco and some 4 wheel coaches out and turned the regulator... 'Puffer' strolled away with five coaches so I backed it down the hill and added another five. Off it went, starting away with no real problems, where the gradient eases for the tight curve the train sped up slightly and then slowed down again on the long drag to the top. With a bit of slipping 'Puffer' got the set to the summit. Next I tried bogie coaches and adding them two at a time I got up to ten short bogie coaches up the hill.

Later on I tried a couple of different locos, 'Puffer'is a 4 wheel Fleischmann chassis and handled more than I thought would be possible so I tried one of the new KATO shorty powered double Fairlies. I started with six carrs... the train set off backwards with the coaches dragging the static loco down the grade, hopeless. Next I tried 'Doris' which is a hefty whitemetal 0-6-0 on a modern Minitrix chassis, no problem with all ten and at a realistic scale speed. The Fairlies need a load more weight in them to be any use on the main line, they look lovely and will be great on the Underhill branch but I'd like to use them from Port Lucy to St Ruth too.

After playing trains for a bit I started work laying the track for the station loop but ran out of time. I'm very pleased the trains can drag themselves up the gradient and this means I can now crack on with scenery and finishing off the station throat at St Ruth.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Making tracks

I got up early this morning and instead of wating the time I went out to the garage and started laying some track on the new section. I started from the first length outside the top loop points at Smallchurch and got round the big bend and on towards the scenic break at the top of the hill. I layed about 3 metres, the curve might need some fettling around where the top join ended up but apart from that game on.

Hopefully I will be able to add the next length which should take me onto the level and wire it up for testing tonight. Hopefully I've not over done the gradient and I can carry on with the rest of the line... if not I have to rip up the track and do some more woodwork. Gulp.

Yesterday evening I started work on my latest loco which is another Chris Ward 3D printing job. This time his 'Side Tank' which has something of the Henshle about it. This ties in with the IoSR having some left over German stock from the WW2 invaision.

Pictures of both things to follow.