I mentioned a few posts ago that I planned to experiment with "grinding and blending" (in a blender) all the used ballast from the relaid track area.
The results are, I think, more prototypical than the bland one colour granules you can buy from companies like Woodland Scenics.
The next idea was to take all the remaining Woodlands Scenics granules (brown, cinders, limestone and a grey fine powder) and blend them with some green and dark turf powders. The latter seem to add a bit of English (rainy) decay to the mix. This result of mixing both lots together looks like this.
I will still be adding extra weathering, oil, ashes etc. to the mix with an airbrush and also add some vegetation where it might have been expected in the 1950s (i.e. a lot less than today!)
The blender is all cleaned up ready for its next use in the kitchen (since I do most of the cooking here no-one else needs to know!)
A bit more progress. I am not ready to ballast the main layout but there is an area that could be regarded as semi-scenicked. This is adjacent to the doorway and includes the new access from main lines to Moor Street. It’ll have the local fiddle yard in front so won't be a central part of the layout. So a good place to try out the “new” ballast.
I am pleased with the result, which in this view also includes painting the sides of the rails with burnt sienna (Birmingham rust was darker back then!)
I am not sure how much more should be done now as there are many scenic items to add before ballasting. But I have the old Woodlands Scenics containers to store the ballast in.
This evening I tried to modify the existing mono colour ballast. In the photo below the ballast on the left if the foot crossing is plain brown. To the right the same brown has has a small amount of the recycled ballast sprinkled on top. An instant improvement!
This morning I discovered that on the rush to leave last November lockdown I never finished wiring the main line loops, nor the point motors. The loops are now live and one point motor remains to be wired up. I also worked on the curves a bit to make the Jubilee run more smoothly.
With the encouragement given to the last post I have embarked on adding the recycled ballast to all the platform roads. Ironically the limestone chips could easily be paper rubbish thrown down off the platforms but did we do that in the late 1950s? Pictures of Snow Hill suggest not.
I have an American paper back on weathering track. I thought I would be sure to see a photo of the location of old grease on points but no such luck. I have my own examples of the mess where locos sat at the water cranes and have photographed French points recently (all electric traction) so can anyone help?
I'm sure folks dropped rubbish (papers, fag ends) in the 50's, though probably fewer than now. And there are lots more people now - the world population has doubled twice since WW1 and I guess the UK may be in the same range.
There would not have been the plastic waste, bottles, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, that stay so bright and visible today - newspaper would fall apart in a couple of rain showers, fag ends were probably not plastic either in those days, and similarly would degrade quite quickly.
I'm also pretty sure that there were station staff who swept it up on an hourly or daily, rather than quarterly or annual, basis.
Empty returnable bottles could be an earner in the day trip towns.
A mid-sized family I knew slightly from Stourport on Severn started up in business in the early 1960s. It is claimed that some of the money was from returning empty bottles that the visitors did not do because of catching the train or bus home.
And now experts are trying to invent re-cycling. I'l say no more!
Street people in Houston Texas used to wheel supermarket carts around collecting aluminium cans which they cashed in for money, unfortunately to buy malt liquor, the cheapest alcohol money could buy. When we returned to the U.K. we were surprised that aluminium cans had no recycling value and still don’t seem to today. Yet I would think such cans are easily recycled. Oh wait, aluminium is non magnetic!
Street folks & rubbish pickers in India too. I guess no welfare means no food…
Ally is hugely recyclable, and very energy-costly to smelt. I understand it is widely recycled in the uk, but if they can do that without paying people, you’d understand why they would. I believe it all gets shredded and then separated by magnets, followed by air flow.
Plastics are wonderful materials, far too useful to throw away. Were I suddenly in a position of power, I would add a single-use charge to every plastic bottle (and most wrappers) that would make the dairy, pop, bottled water and other industries decide it was better to use recyclable glass like we did when I was a kid. Hopefully they’d use electric milk floats too.
It would probably put prices up, but it would be worth it to stop throwing useful stuff away.
In Bucks we are probably better served than most. All paper, card, recyclable plastics, glass and metal cans of any type go in to one bin and are sorted at the recycling point. They will collect batteries and small electrical goods from the road side as long as they are in an identified separate plastic bag. The only recyclable they won't collect among the recycling is metal paint cans. I guess there must be a fire risk as far as those are concerned.
All food waste also goes to an anaerobic digester. All garden waste is collected for composting but that carries an extra cost.
When the naysayers and doomsayers predict we will run out of oil and gas I always think plastics rather than fuel. However, the negative predictors don’t even seem to know where plastics come from! But these people have been proved wrong so many times I have stopped worrying about their arguments. There’s plenty more in the ground when we come round to thinking about using it as our primary source of energy once again.
Well, another good evening’s work in the Railway Room, the only thing I’m running out of is time. The list of supplies is growing, though, so I hope Reading is on after all.
More wiring connections were found to be dangling so out with the soldering iron. And I also came across some more thin balsa sheets for the wooden planking.
I have been thinking about the main structures again. The station building needs to be scratch built so I am looking at various suppliers. The signal box was large as the main line south was quadrupled. This isn’t the case on the model so I may stick with a smaller kit I already have. The water tank is not well documented in photographs and there are few kits that look anything like what can be seen. The current water tank came from somewhere else so I’ll not use it as a go by. The original was a tank standing on round cast iron pillars, easy to build but it would be good to have better photos or plans.
Moor Street was built on a very constrained site so the real thing was compact. This can’t be emulated in the space I have, so the curved lines take up much more space and there are wide gaps between the seven tracks just beyond the station throat. I will just have to spread more ballast around!
Our posts crossed as sometimes happens. Gwynedd scored more points than the two English counties. As to food waste, having lived in rat infested cities in the tropics I find the concept of leaving vegetable waste out for them rather surprising. Yes the lids are supposed to be secure, but Rocky Raccoon has learned how to open similar lids containing food in the States. Rats are everywhere, the only time you see them is when they are ill, very hungry or dying from poison.
I don't know about Gwynedd, only that our council have improved their recycling services enormously. I don't know what else there is that the council could recycle except for the paint cans.
As for rats - well, we used to see them when we lived close to farmland. We've not seen them here but there's no doubt they'll be around. The food caddies have secured lids, though, and we've had no incidents of the food bins being raided, even near farm land. Fortunately we don't have raccoons.
My point is that, despite the negativity expressed in these columns about the recycling of bottles and aluminium cans our council does so very effectively with knobs on.
I remember the Corona and Tizer bottles and taking them back to the retailer for the deposit money. I agree about the effectiveness of this process. As a family we also buy our milk in glass bottles. Of course we could do better but I guess that's true of most families.
Recycling as accounted to me by father, a borough councilor who's brief was recycling and environment. It's done by contractors who bid on a rotating renewal contract. Some councils go for the cheapest, smoe cherry pick and a few go for the best they can afford. Collection is frquently done by the councils. Some contractors are specialists (e.g. Hills) and some are the sort of company that have their nose in every outsourcing trough (e.g. Serco). The contractors have their own business and H&S models which drive what they do. Some councils then put a layer of their own H&S and, regretably, politics on top. There was no Government dictat on how and what to recycle.
We saw a masssive improvement in Wiltshire when they changed contractor just before we moved to Powys. Here, they won't collect if you put things in the wrong bin. Morons.
How good can recycling be? When I was at school in Derbyshire during the late 1960's early 1970's just down the road Willington Metals were producing the Dural for Concorde from recycled aluminium. They has a massive rotating cylindrical furnace that did the job and only took the central 60% of the batch for Concorde with an incredably intense sampling routine to assure quality. They were guaranteed continuous power supply and fortunately Willington power station was half a mile away.
PS Back to trains. Paul I think you have got the colour mix spot on for old tired ballast.
Without wanting to get further away from Moor Street, my archaeological colleagues would confirm that rubbish is about the one constant of human activity, more or less anywhere, at any point in the evolutionary span.
I can’t speak for the various districts in Gloucestershire (or Gwynedd) off the top of my head, but I’m well aware that doorstep collection of all the usual selection of recycling - as Brian describes them, above - is the norm in all the Hampshire district, borough and city councils (that’s the level of local government that generally looks after bins) and certainly in Winchester City which is where I think you are: Recycling bin collection
I see the description of metal waste says ‘tins’ but that’s not prescriptive - local authorities want the aluminium! That’s the normal - though not mandated - level of kerbside collection these days* so I would be very surprised if this did not hold true in Gwynedd, or in South Glos unitary.
* basically that’s because it’s the standard package the contractors offer: most local authorities don’t do this via direct labour anymore.
You are right, Adam, about Hampshire having “tins” in the recycling bin. This bin is a catch all which must require sophisticated separation mechanisms once at the processing centre.
This little sub thread started when I thought about modelling rubbish on the platform tracks. Now I will not do so. What caused this decision was that the conversation triggered some fading memory cells, not to remember rubbish on the tracks, but the way our rubbish was collected in Earlswood. There was indeed very little of it though I also remember we had some regular bonfires.
In this respect I am glad I am modelling a period when I was alive, albeit quite young. Memories do come back when thinking about Moor Street, like the two horse and carts always standing at the top of the old Bull Ring (two words then!)
On the subject of grease, turnout slide chairs, fishplates, point rodding cranks have a grease nipple and are the only parts normally greased. Plus of course tight curves that have flange lubricators, which apply a squirt of grease to the side of the railhead every time a wheel passes over the treadle.