First Train to Holme Lacy

Discussion in 'WR Action' started by SimonT, 9 April 2020.

  1. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    For some time I have been contemplating my next move layout wise. Aberbeeg is no more as there was no space for it after the move. I have been working on a replacement to fit in the 9m x 3m shed that I have built. The constant rain from November to March prevented me getting the insulation and interior cladding I need to finish the shed and now Corvid has put a stop to such activities. It has also put a stop to making any progress on the Aberbeeg replacement.

    This replacement is based on the the North Inlet to Ebbw Vale works. Just short of Ebbw Vale Low Level station, what appears to be double track is in fact a freight line and a passenger line. Trains stopped with the brake van and banker just short of the turnout into the works. The BV is uncoupled and the train pulls forward over the turnout before reversing into the works. The banker and BV then followed into the works to pick up the next down train. This will have to wait.

    I also have layout called The Back End, a 3m long shuting plank that features blue diesels and large freight wagons. It has done the cycle of York, Warley, Telford, etc and has no future bookings. Some pictures of it.
    At FredFest last year we ran the layout as late steam BR with a couple of Panniers. We rather enjoyed the experience and a week ago I tested my newly converted MOK 64XX on battery R/C control on the layout. Very pleasent. This set me thinking, could I convert The Back End into something more GWR/Western Region? Could I do this during Lock Down with what I have to hand? Should I report the experience to WT? So, hard luck, here it is.

    I started like this.
    DSC02541a.jpg DSC02543a.jpg
    Not very convincing. Things then started to get out of hand.
    What did Michael Caine say in The Italian Job? Not " You're only supposed t0....", that was in The Battle of Britain. No, it was "Hold on boys, I've got an idea". I've got a few more.

    And for those folks, you will have to wait until next time.
  2. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    In the Battle of Britain he said "The engine's overheating & so am I. We either stand down or blow up; which do you prefer?".

    I did enjoy Back End at Telford last year, even though I failed to spot it was S7. Big diesels & freight cars wagons on small layouts is my kind of thing. :thumbs:
    Dog Star likes this.
  3. Ressaldar

    Ressaldar Western Thunderer

    Hi Jordan,

    should have stood down, bearing in mind that he was not really in the right frame of mind to deal with what happened when he took off. We owe more than a lot to those 'few'

    Stay safe

    kind regards

    jonte and Jordan like this.
  4. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    And he would never have said "Get that bloody bowser out of there, we'll go with what we've got". They normally landed with no ammo and precious little fuel left. Not much use as a fighter in that state. The books by Bob Neil and Geoff Wellum are recommended reading, especially First Light by Gwellum. My god father was a newby in September and was shot down by a 109 and spent a few hours in the channel. Luckily he was picked up and became one of the minor aces of the war while on 17Sqn in Burma. He gave me his wings when I got mine and they flew with me on every trip from then on. Both wings are in a frame by my desk.

    Jordan - you should have introduced your self!

    jonte, fenman, 3 LINK and 3 others like this.
  5. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    I was going to ask "what as?" but then I realised what you meant!! :)
    1. I didn't realise it was a WT Member's layout. :oops:
    2. I don't think you were there at the time. The chap by it was very apologetic for the total lack of movement on the layout, but there was an issue with the wi-fi signal in the hall, & as always when gremlins strike, the layout owner has gone for a wander around the rest of the Show :rolleyes: :D

    To be fair, I believe the wifi was an issue for a lot there, especially Traders with wireless card readers.
    I still enjoyed the layout :thumbs:
    3 LINK and Dog Star like this.
  6. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    Well here we are, another stunning day in Brecknockshire to make up for four months of constant rain. Back to the Back End. The more I played, the more I realised that the track layout was just wrong. So I lifted some and printed a crossover from Templot. At this point as I started to lift more and more I decided I ought to set some objectives. In no particular order they are:
    Reuse as much of the old layout as possible.
    As it is a lock down project, to use only what material is in stock. So carpentry with new wood is right out. Cutting holes is allowed.
    It must look GW/WR in the late fifties. So correct permanent way practice, signalling, operation and buildings.
    Use my existing stock. The 9F will have running rights.​
    Initially I looked at a terminuis as the way to go. The siding on the left in my last photo is deemed to be the line to a small colliery, think the Parkend Goods Branch. The Platform will be to the left of the Pannier. This left little room for anything but an autocoach as a two coach train would need to set back slightly for the pannier to escape and run around. The maximum freight train looked to be six and a BV.
    I then mused of the line continuing a short way off scene under a bridge to pull the crossover as far back as possible.
    The two sidings to the factory would have to go to be replaced with a single line off the run around and a point immediatley there to give the two sidings. This all didn't quite work.

    Now I have the Lightmoor Press books of the railways in the Forrest of Dean and Gloucestershire/Herefordshire. Coleford provided further inspiration with just one running line disapperaing under the Cinder Bridge and the remains of a disused/lifted platform opposite. Through running sounded more exciting. Now, also in mind was Longhope on the Hereford, Ross and Gloucester railway. This line is mostly single with passing places. Hmmm!
    So mucking about to a high standard. Colliery off to the right hidden by the ramp to the platform and vegetation with the line to continue onto the FY so empties can be loaded. Turnout to the factory top left. Somehow a trap has to fit in between thie turnout and the yard one. Station with two platforms. The decision is till open about passengers crossing the line by a foot bridge or by a walkway (as shown and correct for Longhope). DSC02576a.jpg
    The station building and platform shelter are from Aberbeeg but are wrong for this site. The buildings at Longhope might do very nicely so it might be sit out in the sun with a pencil and paper and see what comes up. Meanwhile the rail and sleepers are being recycled and each sleeper is being sanded down to remove the artex that was allowed onto the top at the Back End. Using a Prit stick to glue things down has it's merits as it allows easy recovery. This may will get the Tut-tuts going.

    I also need to do something about a new name. One of Gerald Wiley's is quite appropriate and involves a level of recycling;).

    Stay safe
  7. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    Another couple of days and some more progress.
    On the physical side of things, the reconditioning of several hundred sleepers is nearly complete with only another fortyish to sand down. A boring and finger wrecking job but necessary as I only have a few scraps of unsullied ply in stock. The foam underlay has been repaired and patched back in and the Templot templates are now glued down and a complete surface made from scraps of paper. Glueing down the sleepers is going well and may be complete by close of play today.
    I mentioned last time that I was taken with the buildings at Longhope. The problem is that there are very few photographs of them and when I scaled those that I have with reference to a known dimension (a doorway) the building was too small for use. During a leisurely morning with suitable amounts of Italian coffee, I read the captions in the book properly. There were three stations on the H,R & GR built by Mr Clark. One of them was soon rebuilt into the then Swindon style but the other survived to the end of service and was photographed. It is slightly bigger than the building at Longhope and there was an interesting Waiting Room and Gents on the other platform. The name to the station has a certain ring to it - Holme Lacy. A couple of hours at the computer produced some suitable drawings.

    Holme Lacy Buildings.JPG
    The lower building is the station building on the down platform. A quick print produced a pattern to overlay some card board and thus the mock up in the following photographs. The up platform shelter has yet to be mocked up. The following photo shows the general idea with a curved path coming down from the road behind the building. Both these stations are welll surrounded by bushes and trees.
    One of the attractions of Holme Lacy is the wide platforms with trees growing on them. It also featured telegraph poles and concrete lamp stantions.
    One of the decisions that needs to be made is the facilities for crossing the track. Footbridges are lacking on this line and the barrow crossings are put to good use. So, just a barrow crossing.
    And with a footbridge.

    I think that I prefer it without the bridge as the scene appears more open.

    Stay safe and enjoy the sun a much as you can. The curlews have returned to the moor above the house and that song rather perks me up.

  8. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    Well I've managed to turn the new layout into a tip. For some reason when I lay track the layout gets covered in stuff and in is in danger of being lost.
    The first job was to do repairs to the two turnouts remaining from Back End days. They need a bit more titivation on the appearance front but now run well. The first new track laid were the two lengths running off these turnouts. I then repaired the track to the factory and started on the yard turnout using a recycled crossing. Today I broke out onto the mainline and stated on the three 1 in 6 points. I needed to make the crossings and so I broke out the filing and assembly jigs form the S7 Group. I then demonstrated that I had forgotten hoe to use them by building crossing where half the rails were upside down when all soldered together. Unlike the chap with the barrel of bricks I learnt from this experience and the three have gone to together rather well. Here is the start of the crossover.
    I have been test running with the 64XX that I converted to battery radio control. It is very convenient and just needs sound to make it superb. I do have a strong temptation to abandong DCC and the Touchcab control that we have been using on multiple layouts for a good six years and to adopt R/C and simple DC control of the points and signals on this layout. The points and signals will need a locking diagram to be designed and a circuit diagram to be worked up.
    I finished with a tidy up today:).

    Stay safe folks.
  9. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    There's been a deafening 'ush from the land of my (wife's) fathers. What news from Wales, Simon?
  10. Threadmark: S7, 7mm, GWR,

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    That's the sound of a head down working!
    I threaded my last chair onto a rail yesterday. Most of the track work was completed on Thursday but the line into the factory was causing problems slightly slowing the loco at some pinch spots. I decided to not have the short bit of straight in front of the doorway and so on Friday I lifted that piece of track to open up the arc. With 'some';) gauge widening the new length works and the 64XX trundles around it smoothly.
    With no stock on the new track looks like this.
    I mentioned earlier that the battery powered 64XX was proving rather useful for testing. I could run it over a crossing straight away with all the clutter of track laying, including my V blocks that provide weight to hold the rails down while the Butatnone does it's stuff. This has encouraged me to leave behind the world of powered track with all the pain it can bring - I can remember a large high profile layout, on it's first outing, shut down by a short for a day and a half at a two day show. I like to use the tiebar castings supplied by the S7 Group on my points. The trouble is that the insulation is provided by a length of 0.5mm double sided pcb strip that has to have insulation gaps cut on both sides and then to be solderd to the castings and to the rails. This needs about fifteen hands to accomplish and involves a large amount of Viking language. So, I cut some .4mm NS strip, made a rough jig to put the castings the correct amount apart and broke out the296C solder. Half and hour later I had six sets of tiebars. These were soldered into place, each one taking of the order of a minute to do.
    So this is going to be a radio controlled layout. My nest thought (random, obs) was to point control. The Back End was a DCC layout with Lenz gear run using TouchCab on the mobile. An excellent way of doing things but there are getting to be a large number of transmitters on the few WiFi channels that are available. I did consider using this system to contol the points on Holme Lacy, but realised that as I wanted to have some signals, I would have to buy another two of the Lenz accessory jobies. So all this... IMG_0313a.jpg was removed. Each Tortoise now has just a pair of wires connected to a DPDT switch in a little plastic box. In due course I will build a cut down version of this... IMG_0355a.jpg
    The full interlocking of the Aberbeeg signal box. This mornings job is to work out the circuitry, only four points and eight signals. Should be a breeze. Expect strong language.:confused:

    I will return with views of the pretty bits soon. Stay Safe and Happy.
  11. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    A definite 'plus' of R/C operation that I for one had never thought of. :thumbs:
  12. paulc

    paulc Western Thunderer

    Well done Simon , i feel battery power R.C. is the next leap forward in train control and has its advantages over straight DCC so i will follow your build with interest.
    Cheers Paul
  13. 7mmMick

    7mmMick Western Thunderer

    I too am watching closely, from what I’ve seen the sound functions on RC aren’t yet up to where DCC is although being useless at wiring RC has it’s obvious attractions. Great work so far Simon, your progress in only a few weeks is superb, what a fantastic project:thumbs:

  14. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    There are some experiments reported in my Duchess thread in t’other channel. It’s very clear that r/c has huge benefits. Second hand Duchess

    A G0G member (Steve, I think, but I can’t look it up any more) was doing some good stuff, and Giles Favell has done loads using r/c of course.

    but if you like sound, and want to use the range of decoders and sound projects that are available, it’s more challenging; my experiments used the Tam Valley transmitter and receiver, supplied through Digitrains, and a Zimo decoder. It worked. But it didn’t do what I wanted it to do - run a sound equipped loco with a “big” train on my pal’s outdoor layout, reliably. I suspect the system would probably be fine for most indoor layouts, with limited trains and negligible gradients. The loco, motor & decoder certainly worked, so the issues were within the batteries, step-up and receiver, and I progressively established that the receiver was not up to the job. There is a bigger one available, the one I had is not intended for 7mm, but I wasn’t prepared to pay the extra, so the project stalled. (And if anyone wants a Duchess with the “wrong” tender, I’m open to discuss)

    I did write to Peter Ziegler, “Mr Zimo” on the basis that it might have been something he considered a commercial possibility, he kindly replied, but did not think it was a realistic option in the short term. He indicated that it is possible to separate the power and DCC inputs to a decoder, (I guess using the keep-alive connections for power) but I have not investigated this.

    like the better mousetrap, inventing a r/c system with “dcc-sound-project-capable” synched sounds would have the world beating a path to one’s door...

    Simon, sorry for the diversion, r/c & sound probably wants its own thread

    Last edited: 3 May 2020
  15. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Bearing in mind that you're speaking in a foreign language to some of us would you kindly start again with "first you take the black wire, and then the red one". (Or of you're really modern the brown one and the blue one - but what do you do with the yellow one?):))

    I really should spend more time on electrickery, but I enjoy building locos too much. I can fit a decoder and speaker and really appreciate the benefits of DCC. I just might be encouraged to have a go at RC but I don't want to lose any of the benefits of DCC so it's probably a bit early for me yet. And someone needs to lead me to the book about RC that starts "first you take the black wire, and then the red one".......

  16. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    Thank you for your comments chaps.
    I am using a Protocab set up and it seems to work very nicely. The 'instructions' are overly complicated because they are writen by the hugely knowledgable people who have developed the system and so have far too much detail. I've finally got mine working nicely and I find their 'inertia' setting quite fun. Advance the control knob in the direction, loco starts to accelerate, set the knob to the null position, loco continues at the set speed, move the control knob in the opposite direction and you have a steam brake that you can apply in short dabs to come to a halt at the desired position. I was feeling quite happy with this until my little play at the end of yesterdays work session when I found I wanted to whistle to indicate the move. So, yes I would also like sound. Incidently, the Protocab system works very nicely inside the Farady cage that is my MOK 64XX. The second generation kit that is coming from Protocab will feature a battery power display on the new handset but still doesn't have sound.

    I have investigated S-Cab who supply a R/C and DCC system. They use NCE and SoundTrax decoders. I have asked the owner about the using the Zimo and ESU chips that I already have. He hasn't tried Zimo and never really got an old ESU chip to work properly. So any purchase of this kit would require programming kit and access to the correct sound files. For me it is on hold. Richard Carr and JB have some R/C DCC locos but my memory has gone full of holes and I cannot remember which gear they are using. Their locos steped out at Telford with great success.

    Right, back to an older technology and wiring up the relays to give locking to Holme Lacy signal box. IMG_0356a.jpg
    The test bed. Four points and eleven signals. It will need eight relays, each with four sets of contacts. The green will be the power to the signal operating relays and the black lines will be the return through the individual switch and then throught the relay matrix to achieve the locking. Blue and white are the lines to the Tortoise motors. This back lock relay method was developed by Peter Kibble who designed the system for my Aberbeeg layout. Ten years after I built Aberbeeg I looked at his wiring diagram and couldn't remember what did what and I built the damn thing! So a test rig to try to rediscover the method became a big must have!
    Stay safe and happy.
  17. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    DC electrickity is easy. It's like plumbing but with smoke. If it goes wrong, the smoke gets out. Forget Alternative Current, that's scary. Just ask Mick.;)
    3 LINK, Dan Randall and oldravendale like this.
  18. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    oldravendale likes this.
  19. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    AC is easy, it's just DC not knowing which way to go 50% of the time ;):p
    Wagonman, Peter Cross, SimonT and 2 others like this.
  20. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    Wotcha! A cracking few days with some good progress.
    I realised when I looked at the test bed that I had woken up the little grey cells that held the clue to wiring the signal box and that any further work on it would be a waste. So cue some joinery (it was not good enough for carpentry but will do the job) and some graphics work on the computer. First job was to turn some tatty pieces of paper full of crossing outs, erasures and different colour pen marks into a signal diagram.
    Holme Lacy Signal Diagram.jpg
    Having given everything an identity this leads onto the locking diagram which records the relationship between each point lever and each signal lever. This looks like this.
    Locking Diagram.JPG
    This diagram records on the first line the signal and the position of the points it controls to allow the signal to be pulled off. The second and third line record the relays, the contacts used and the wiring connections.
    So, to be able to pull the up starter (1), lever 7 (the crossover) needs to be normal, lever 9 (single line entry) needs to be pulled and lever 10 (branch) needs to be normal. The auxilary contacts on the point switch energise the relay(s) which provides us with the switching to carry out the logic. The signals all receive power direct and this flows back through the relays to allows back locking, when required. So the flow for this little task is:

    1. From switch 1 to relay 7A, in at centre contact 12 and out at the matching denergised live contact 4 to
    2. Relay 9A, in at 12 and out at the matching energised live contact 8 to
    3. Relay 10, in at centre contact 12 and out at the matchin denergised live contact 4 to the return busbar.
    This goes on until all four switches on the relay are used up and you then have to add another relay to that point. I present you Holme Lacy lever frame.
    You don't need to see a spiders nest of wiring at this time of the morning! Proper labels and a diagram will be completed after testing for a week or two. And I do mean proper testing making every effort to test all possible moves with as much stock as possible. Normally Peter Kirmond comes over for a couple of days to break my railway and I do the same for him. In memory of Jenks this creates many problems which require red wine to sort. I'm left totally confused after Boris' performance on Sunday as to whether layout testing is sufficient reason to leave home!

    Now to run trains I need a fiddle yard for the down end; the existing siding on a plank will suffice for the up end for now. I had a plan. Aberbeeg sat on a Rice-esq support structure. I now repurposed some of it to provide side rails for a fiddle yard. I have about 6 square inches of 9mm ply and no 6mm ply. What I do have is some offcuts of OSB/Stirling Board. These were cut to size, glued and pinned down to give the fiddle yard a top. The cassettes from the Aberbeeg will need cutting to length to fit this layout and I will need some more of my 3D printed end adaptors. If you are easily upset by images of a gratuitous nature, look away now.

    Any way, this nonsense lead to the First Train to Holme Lacy. Where is James Stewart when you need him?
    Appologies for the daylight, Taken on the iPod and there isn't room to photograph this any other way.
    Stay safe and happy.