Marchford Creek

Discussion in 'Entries' started by Bullhead, 7 February 2018.

  1. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hi Jonte,
    Very kind of you to say so but I'm only recycling bits of what others have done before.
    Thanks for your interest,
    jonte likes this.
  2. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Thanks Colin. No engineering background I'm afraid, it's all guesswork and bodgery! It is great fun to build these little gadgets and they can speed up production of components required in multiple. On reflection, it might be better if I spent more time working on the layout itself!
    Best, Peter
  3. Pushpull33

    Pushpull33 Western Thunderer

    I feel the same, I seem to spend more time making bits and posting on my blog than actually building a layout. I have just made a selecting mechanism for my fiddle yard, now to find the time to post about it.
    Bullhead likes this.
  4. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Sounds interesting. Look forward to seeing how it works.
  5. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    In order to test couplers installed on rolling stock and finished electromagnets, a very simple test rig was constructed.
    This enables coils to be rapidly interchanged for evaluation and allows for easy testing and adjustment of coupler units fitted to stock.
    Dan Randall, Dave L, chrisb and 3 others like this.
  6. Pushpull33

    Pushpull33 Western Thunderer

    Hi Peter. Good job done. I was just wondering about the length of the coil below baseboard level, wondering if it would still work the same if it could be made shorter. Colin
    Bullhead likes this.
  7. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hi Colin. As I'm using Tortoise point motors, there is plenty of space below board level for these coils. I guess they would work ok if made shorter as long as the number of turns was similar. It might be necessary to use a chunkier bit of steel for the armature too.
    Best, Peter.
  8. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Uncouplers on Marchford Creek will be activated from biased toggle switches mounted on the control panel. When switching a DC inductive load such as the uncoupler coil, arcing can occur between switch contacts reducing switch life. To control this effect a snubber circuit is employed as shown below, together with a flyback diode across the coil.


    RL is the electromagnet coil. The capacitor (C) must be a non-polarised type, I have used a value of 0.22uF with a working voltage of 63V. The resistor (R) is 68R. This needs to be a 0.5W type. For the diode across the coil a 1N4001 should be ok for a 12v circuit.


    The effect of this circuit has been tested in my ..erm.., “electrical test area”.


    I don’t have any instrumentation suitable for measuring the effect so I can’t absolutely prove that it works but it does seem that there is far less sparking when test contacts are opened with the snubber/diode in circuit. I’ll take that as a win!
    jonte likes this.
  9. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Just to prove that there is some work going on with the layout itself, here is a quick review of track building progress to date.

    The majority of track required (it’s not that much!) has been completed. It has been constructed using a combination of different methods and is to EM gauge standards. Track construction is taking place on a separate board so that work can continue on the main board unhindered.


    My preferred method is to use plastic sleepers with plastic chairs from Exactoscale or C&L. It is fiddly and time consuming and the components are expensive but to my eye gives a very pleasing result. The two steel weights (ex Lima diesels) are very useful for holding things down while the solvent dries.

    Where the track is to be inset, it is constructed using pcb strips with solder. This method is quick and easy to do and results in very robust track.


    For point work, a hybrid style has been adopted combining all-plastic construction with pcb and solder to give maximum strength in critical areas. Here, the relevant pcb areas are tinned ready to receive an assembled crossing unit.


    The underside of an assembled crossing - ready to attach to the pcb sleepers.

    Attached Files:

  10. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    To get the hang of assembling crossings has taken a long time. By trial and error, a method has emerged that is now giving consistent results I’m pleased with.

    The desired angle for the V is first worked out and drawn as accurately as possible on a piece of ply. The rails are then filed as necessary and pinned in place so that the mating surfaces are lightly sprung together. Plenty of red flux and a hot iron with some 188 solder makes a good strong joint.
    Assembly of crossings was causing a great deal of frustration until I got hold of an assembly jig from the EMGS. The etch supplied needs to be mounted between two bits of ply as shown.
    It is very simple to use and has enabled me to produce much more accurate and consistent results and is thoroughly recommended. 0.5x1.0 mm brass strip from Eileen’s is used for the cross pieces. This maintains rail height for compatibility with moulded plastic chairs, which are added to the soldered joints after assembly. The addition of fishplates to track joint positions and cosmetic chairs to soldered areas finishes the whole thing off nicely. For electrically live joints etched items from the EMGS have been used and in locations requiring insulation, the excellent Exactoscale units give a great finish.
    Oops, the fishplate nearest the camera seems to have slipped a bit. The rail joints are formed by cutting through just the rail head with a fine piercing saw blade. Every electrically connected rail group gets its own dropper wire.

    The insulating fishplates here show up well but again there's a problem to sort out with the further one which seems to have lost a bit! They are very delicate.
  11. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    From an early age I have had a passion for machines and especially vehicles. It started with buses. As a very young child, I was never separated from a large plastic Routemaster bus, which even accompanied me to bed! From buses, I moved on to trains, aeroplanes, motor bikes and cars. Trains have always been a favourite and while nothing comes close to a large steam or diesel loco, small locomotives have a particular charm all of their own. Thus it was that an order for the Judith Edge Ruston 48DS was placed on my behalf by Santa. At the time I desperately needed a distraction from some troubling issues at work so the Ruston jumped the queue of waiting projects and went straight onto the workbench.

    The kit is beautifully etched and contains all that is required to build the model including wheels, motor and a fantastic drive unit by High Level kits. This provides four wheel drive and three point compensation.

    Assembly of the loco body was straightforward but fiddly in parts due to the small size of everything. The drive unit went together well once I got everything properly square and now it has run in a bit it performs very smoothly.

    To maximise electrical pickup, essential with a loco of this size, a lot of time was spent getting the pickups just right. A 1:1 drawing of the chassis components enabled different configurations to be tried out for best fit. In the end 0.25mm beryllium copper wire was used. This is nicely springy but exerts minimal drag especially if coils are wound in at the bends. The other aspect of pickup is adhesive weight. Every spare space was stuffed with lead to make the thing as heavy as possible but taking care not to unbalance it. There is lead inside the engine compartment, under the cab roof, on the cab floor, in spaces round the chassis and a crew of two white metal figures adds another few useful grams.

    Inside the cab is squeezed a DCC Concepts Zen nano decoder and its stay alive unit. By painting them and the wires the same colour as the cab interior and keeping as much as possible below the height of the windows, the appearance is ok.

    The livery of plain French blue was applied using a Badger airbrush and followed by the etched makers plates supplied in the kit and the custom nameplates supplied by Narrow Planet. The loco is named Jim after my late father. After that a moderate weathering completed the job. Getting this engine up and running is what really got the ball rolling for the development of Marchford Creek.

    Pencarrow, BrushType4, 76043 and 6 others like this.
  12. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    One of the current priorities at Marchford Creek is the completion of another locomotive, a Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0 from High Level. The body and cab unit is complete as is the chassis and motion section. It just needs final setting up and painting.

    I have nothing but praise for High Level. The products Chris produces are amazing in design and quality, his service is great and he’s a nice bloke – what’s not to like? (I should say at this point that I’ve no connection with any supplier other than as a satisfied customer). Some more of my hard earned cash will be going into his till tomorrow at the EMGS show at Bracknell – any other cameo folk going?


    This shot is a work in progress during detailling of the cab and gives a good impression of the number of components supplied with the kit. There is a sheet of lead underneath the cab floor – with an engine this small every gram counts!


    The main assemblies. Body, chassis, boiler, cylinders+crossheads and brake gear are all separate sub assemblies.

    A couple of shots showing the completed body and cab interior painted.

    upload_2018-5-19_18-14-28.png upload_2018-5-19_18-15-0.png

    Pickups took a lot of head scratching. There is plenty going on underneath that needs to be navigated round.


    I may actually have invented something useful in the process of building this kit!, certainly can’t remember seeing it described before. Alan Gibson wheels are necessarily a tight fit on their axles, making repeated assembly and removal during building difficult. To counter this a GW models wheel press was purchased and much time taken in carefully chamfering the axle holes in the wheels and the axle ends. To enable easy assembly and disassembly for setting up the motion, I took some 1/8” brass rod and turned down the ends slightly using the poor man’s lathe. By repeatedly offering up the wheels it is possible to achieve a gentle sliding fit that will not permanently deform the wheel.


    The poor man’s lathe - don't try this at home!. This is a 12v Expo drill purchased in the late 1970’s (can it really be so long ago?) and still going strong. At some point, the original collett style chuck has been replaced with a 3 jaw version.
    ChrisM, Jon Nazareth, chrisb and 4 others like this.
  13. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Lovely work there (and I'm with you on High Level - I have built no end of their gearboxes, but only one of the loco kits, the RSH 0-4-0ST). I'll be at Expo tomorrow, probably nattering with my dad about wagons...

    Bullhead likes this.
  14. Pushpull33

    Pushpull33 Western Thunderer

    I'm with Adam, Lovely work here. Chris, at High Level is a clever guy, I have built a number of his Motor/gearbox assemblies. He's a nice bloke to talk to as well.
    Bullhead likes this.
  15. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Here is a quick update on progress with buildings and structures at Marchford Creek.

    I pass this group of industrial buildings in Derby on my daily commute to work and became fascinated by the variety of building styles, materials and additions. I used some examples adapted from this site in the background buildings at MC.

    upload_2018-5-25_18-38-3.png upload_2018-5-25_18-38-12.png upload_2018-5-25_18-38-24.png


    Buildings on the layout are constructed mainly from 3mm foam-board faced with textured plastic sheets and detailed with various materials as appropriate. The two storage tanks were made from pieces of PVC waste pipe with overlays of thin styrene sheet embossed with rivet detail. All are painted with enamels and weathered with enamel, acrylic and various powders. I particularly like the small gantry supporting the water tanks. This was made from plastic sections and painted using enamels.
    These shots were set up to show the structures in their final positions and give an impression of the final look of the project.







  16. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    It is time to face the challenge of adding some scenery. Having read Gordon Gravett’s excellent book on grassland and landscape detailing and consulting a few other sources, I started to experiment with materials, textures and colours.

    Searching for something the other day, this small diorama came to light. It was built as a practice module and to display the tiny signal box, my first attempt at scratchbuilding a building!. At the same time some of my old rolling stock efforts were uncovered.

    The LSWR road van was built from a Chivers kit if I remember correctly, about 35 years ago.

    The other two LSWR vehicles are a cattle wagon from MSE (forerunner to Wizard models) and the round end open is a whitemetal kit from ABS purchased from Puffers shop in Harrow in 1980.


    This 6 wheel passanger brake is a Falcon brass (ex Jidenco) kit. I built it in about 1981 and I recall that it was a real struggle to make a working Cleminson type suspension to allow the centre truck to slide laterally and the outer ones to rotate slightly.

    The 47 is ex Lima, detailled with various etched parts and air brush finished. It wears a beautiful set of Ultrascale wheels and is fitted with an ESU sound decoder. It has been waiting in a drawer for a number of years for some attention to pickups and a few minor detail improvements.

    Attached Files:

    unklian, Pushpull33, chrisb and 3 others like this.
  17. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    That's nothing if not a varied collection! Some nicely restrained weathering on the pre-Grouping wagons, I note (still relatively unusual for modellers of railways before 1923) and one of the more interesting liveries carried by 47s (which I remember from watching the TPO being loaded at Norwich c. 2000 subbing for 67s). Nicely scattergun!

    Bullhead and Pushpull33 like this.
  18. Pushpull33

    Pushpull33 Western Thunderer

    Oh, look at that LSWR falcon kit of a passenger brake. That is stunning. I have a couple that I must get on and build.
    Bullhead likes this.
  19. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hi Adam, I have huge respect for those who can focus on a single long-term project. I just want to do a bit of everything. The RES livery has long been a favourite of mine and was my first attempt at airbrushing a loco.
    AJC likes this.
  20. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hi Colin, Thanks, hope your build goes well. Look forward to seeing the results.