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  • Latest Posts

    • Leberecht, my Prussian H0 layout.
      Having apparently completed all my wiring work, my attention now turned to ensuring that my current smallest loco will work on the layout. The whole point of a small layout being the use of small locos, surely?
      The machine I am speaking of is a Trix T3 0-6-0 tank engine and ‘cute’ is a fair description of this one as it is only 98mm (4”) long. I had read on German forums of a trick to alter the rigid suspension and as, on it’s previous test it had not performed sufficiently well for me anyway so I resolved to do some work on it.
      Here is the chassis stripped right down to its bare bones. Please ignore the metal rod poking out of the top - it’s just a sharpened sewing machine needle that I use as a fine scribe but here, it is balancing the chassis on its side for the picture.
      The loco is powered via its rear axle so that must be left alone but I made marks on the chassis approx 1mm above the bearing area.
      Then I carefully filed away material of the chassis (bearings), to the depth of my marks. Note that the centre axle has a recess for a spring. Yes, the Trix T3 does have a sprung centre axle! (I had read that it doesn’t). You can now see why the chassis has to be stripped right down as you really don’t want metal filings getting into the motor or the gears.
      Simply checking that the filing work is done.
      Testing the rolling chassis. A point to note here is that clipping the plastic keeper plate on now is a bad idea as the gears still need to be added and one of their securing pins is not accessible with the wheels secured by the keeper plate. Fortunately, finding this out the hard way didn’t cost too much time but it did result in more handling of the delicate valve gear - which caused stress!
      Rebuilding the motor/gears and circuitry. I had noticed the original pick-up wires were slightly too thick and had become trapped by the body so I replaced them. Now I was ready for an electrical then driving test - not so much a disaster, just a damp squib!
      Reading the decoder/loco on my programming track - nothing was working at all, it was completely dead. Was it the decoder or what? No, the decoder was fine.
      Changing the decoder for a blanking plug and testing on my analogue track showed there was a very intermittent electrical contact - somewhere.
      I used a ‘buzzer’ to check all the pick-ups and slowly narrowed the problem down to the 21 pin decoder socket. It seemed that some or all of these very fine pins were loose, something that I don’t recall previously finding. I decided that tinning all these pins with solder might do the trick and it did.
      The offending 21 pin connector with solder tinning. Having re-fitted the decoder and testing on the programming track, everything appeared fine electrically. At last, I could test run the little T3 on my layout and I’m very pleased to report that she performed very well indeed - as a chassis. Confirming that all appeared well, I now had to add thread lock to the tiny nuts that held the valve gear in place, secure the wiring and put the body back on. This more than doubles the weight of the loco to 125 grams, so better testing can be carried out.
      Here she is crawling over a point without hesitation at speed step 1.
      It’s difficult to tell and there is really not that much movement but here she is riding over a shallow obstacle, a scalpel blade.
      I think she’s ready for service.
      Cheers,
      John.
       
    • Uganda Railways
      The first of these posts about locomotives and rolling stock on the railways of Uganda and Kenya covered locomotives used by the Uganda Railway. This second post primarily covers locomotives introduced by the Kenya Uganda Railway up until it handed over to the East African Railways Corporation in 1948.  
    • Dapol and Hornby OO Gauge Terriers…some details and modifications...
      Dapol and Hornby OO Gauge Terriers…   Some Model Rail Magazine Terrier Coverage... Issue 40 FEB 2002.  Pages 34 - 42 Real and Model. Full details. Class History 1872 - 2002. Improve the Hornby Model. . Prototype and model photos. Extending the bunker Isle of Wight Style. A1X front sandbox removal. A1 Smokebox Wingplate construction. Alan Gibson cast brass Salter Safety Valves.   Issue 246 APRIL 2018. Loco Spotlight Stroudley's 'Terriers' Part 1. Getting closer to classic locomotives. Pages 80-85. Class history. List of preseved locos. List of building dates and basic specifications. Side view of "Knowle" with some basic dimensions added. 5 small photos shewing livery variations from LBSC IEG to BR Lined Black. Prototype photos including some detail photos of "Boxhill" (NRM) as A1. amd BR liveried "Knowle" (Kent & East Sussex Railway) as A1X. No actual modeling features, pure prototype information.   Issue 248 JUNE 2018. Loco Spotlight Stroudley's 'Terriers' Part 2. (The Locos sold by the LBSCR) Pages 88 - 93. Pages 88/89 Introduction and large photo of "Freshwater", W8 in Southern Green at IOW Steam Railway. Pg. 90. Details of 6 destinations. 3 small BW pics, (K&ESR, L&SWR & SECR) and one colour pic (Newhaven Harbour. Fenchurch 1958). Pg.91. Details of 4 destinations. 3 B/W pics. (S&MR, WC&PR & EHLR). Reccomended Reading. What's Next (Details of Part 1backnumber!). Pg.92. "Second-hand 'Terrier' walk-round". 7, mainly detail pics, of BR 32670 (Ex K&ESR, with unique modified bunker...) Pg. 93. Isle of Wight.The IOW Terriers. 2 BW photos, inluding 1 with Stroudley type coach set 49 (Both 1936). List of details of IOW Terriers.   Photo Below: 32670 is a Hornby model. It represents a loco that was sold to the Kent & East Sussex Railway (Where it was re-boilered, and had a unique extended bunker, not modelled, fitted.). The loco was later, after Nationalisation, transferred to the Hayling Island Branch. It is now preserved, back on the K&ESR!.   "Stepney", No.55, is a Dapol Model.  It now (after minor modifications) represents the loco as preserved on the Bluebell Railway, where it was re-painted into LBSCR livery, but in A1X condition, vacuum braked only, with no Westinghouse air brake pump.
      Link to a photo of "Fenchurch",  No.672 in a "Brighton Works" livery. (2012)  This loco has been restored to represent later A1 condition. http://www.brightonmodelworld.com/wp-content/uploads/brightonworks_small.jpg The Dapol (& now Hornby) model is a hybrid, with A1X sandboxes on the chassis, and an A1 length smokebox (some models have a spacer ring pre-fitted at the factory to lengthen the smokebox to A1X length.). The models also have A1 (pre-re-build) splasher mounted sandboxes, the "vents" on the tank tops (from the A1 condensing system I believe), but no "wings" on the front of the smokebox/sandboxes on the footplate. Most models seem to be fitted with the added Vacuum braking ejector pipe, which runs from the cab front to the smokebox, as well as a Westinghouse Air Brake pump on the eight hand cab side, but only have one brake pipe fitted, which looks more like a Vacuum brake pipe than an Air Brake pipe… With the locos when new is a bag of parts, which can, with some modification to the base model, be used to convert the locos to other varieties. There is a pair of pipes, which are the condensing system pipes, which run from the top of the tank fronts into the sides of the smokebox (Copper coloured on Boxhill, see the recent Model Rail article). There is a plain (not Salter Safety Valves) boiler dome, and a set of Ross Pop type safety valves. I, would assume these are for one of the "sold on" locos... There is a spacer ring to lengthen the smokebox to A1X length. This fits onto the smokebox front, after this has been carefully removed (the glue bond can be strong!) from the boiler. The smokebox front mounting flange is long enough to go through the ring and still locate into the boiler. There is a set of coal rails, with a coal load moulded in. This is the simplest part to fit, as it locates into the top of the coal bunker
      Fitting the A1X smokebox extension ring. The smokebox front can be pretty well glued in place.
      It needs careful persuasion to part the glue bond.
      There is a small location pin on the bottom of the smokebox front, which locates into a slot in the bottom of the boiler. When the smokebox front finally surrenders, it may well be found easier to fit the extension ring over the location flange of the smokebox front with the handrail removed. The location pin on the smokebox front locates into the cut out in the extension ring.  The two recesses are designed to clear the handrail knobs, but may prove too shallow. I glued the extension ring to the smokebox front, and when the glue had set hard, drilled out the handrail knob locations with a small drill, before gluing the handrail back in place. (The first attempt I made, without drilling the holes out a bit, the handrail knobs pushed the extension ring away from the smokebox front!) It will be noted that there is now no positive location pin to align the smokebox front onto the boiler!
      This is where care and attention will be needed when gluing the smokebox front to the boiler, to get the hinge vertical… If you are going to remove the splasher sandboxes, do not glue the smokebox front into place yet!
      Speaking of “vertical”, the lower handle on the smokebox door should point vertically Down, as this is the catch handle. The model comes with this handle at the “twenty-five to “ position!
      I carefully carved the handle away from the bottom, meeting with a cut across the top at the centre boss.
      I then re-glued the removed section in the correct place! I have removed the weight from the boiler (held in by a screw from underneath)  and made a hole from the boiler to the motor area by chain drilling around the inside of the boiler from the smokebox end.
      This makes an access to the boiler from the motor area when the smokebox front is re-attached.
      I have not yet reattached the smokebox front; it is at present just slotted into place.
      I have yet to fit a DCC chip, and may need access!
      Removing the A1 splasher mounted sandboxes. The front splasher sandboxes need to be removed.  This is not so easy, as the earlier Model Rail article found. I worked out that there are a couple of places where it is not so dangerous to cut with a fine razor saw. Cut 1 is across the diagonal from the end of the splasher, to the side of the smokebox saddle, horizontally to form the base line.

      Cut 2 is again a diagonal cut, but vertically downwards to meet cut 1, across the corner of the sandbox top.

      Cut 3 is across the remaining sandbox part, just above the top of the splasher, until just before the smokebox. The top flap thus made can be prised up with a small screwdriver (or similar), and then cut off with a sharp modelling knife. The remaining sections of sandbox then need to be carefully trimmed away, hopefully leaving the splasher side intact, and a squared off vertical flat smokebox saddle. There should be a rectangular hole. About half is in the footplate, and half in the front part of the splasher top. The first repair section I applied was a piece of plastic card, running from the rear of the splasher hole, to the position of the front of the smokebox extension ring, where it meets the smokebox front (This bing plugged loosely into place to get the measurement.) The height of this plastic section should be the same as the smokebox saddle. The real smokebox saddle has a distinct concave curve to it. This could be ignored, or fiddly job  made to get it right (I do not think it worth while, as the splasher and clack valve pipes would also need attention, as both are joined to the boiler!) I used round files, and put a groove into the vertical smokebox saddle side…better than nothing? Patching the holes!... The hole in the footplate is patched from the inside with a piece of plastic card. Making sure that it does not obstruct the wheels…
      The hole now left, in the splasher, is patched with a pre-curved section of plastic card.
      If required, careful application of filler may fill any gaps… I was lucky, and managed to retain the splasher lining.
      Check photos, but most A1X locos did not retain the tank top vents, in ront of the tank filler caps. These have locating pegs that protude into the tank tank tops inside the body. In my case, using a flat item, such as the handle of a craft khife or screwdriver, I simply pushed them out from inside, breaking the glue bond. The holes were patched with plastic card squares on the inside, and plastic rod in the hole, with glue as filler.  You may find some plastic sprue or rod of the correct daimeter, which could be glued into the holes, and then trimmed off flush with the tank tops. Or make small circular "blanks" to attach over the holes, like the real thing!
      The prominent lubricator bowls for the cylinders have been represented with brass handrail knobs, inserted into holes drilled into the smokebox saddle. I will be fitting these to the other (BR) Terrier, which represents KESR No. 3; BR 32670, which had an A1X boiler fitted by the K&ESR, but retained the tank vents, and splasher mounted sandboxes. (It does have a unique bunker extension though!) On these A1 sandboxes, the lubricators are mounted on the front, nearest the smokebox. On A1s the lubricators are in the same place, on the smokebox wing plates.
      Vacuum, Air or both forms of braking? From photos, Stepney has had the Westinghouse air braking system removed. . (By BR I believe...)
      http://www.semgonlin...eam/a1x_07.html This loco is preserved in A1X (Re-built) condition, with extension "coal rails" on the bunker, but in Stroudley livery.
      The Westinghouse Air Brake system and pump has been removed, therefore this loco should only have vacuum pipes on the buffer beams, and the Vacuum ejector pipe on the Left Hand side of the boiler. Dapol and Hornby models seem to all come with this pipe fitted. It is the plastic pipe that runs from the front of the cab to the smokebox. The vacuum brake control would be mounted on the rear of the cab front where the pipe joins the cab. The Westinghouse pump also seems to be a standard fitting, on the right hand cab side. On Vacuum only braked locos, this needs removing. (It is best to see a photo of  the real version of your loco to check!)
      This is held on by two pins in two holes, and can be carefully prised to break the glue bond.
      The holes then need plugging. Colour matching touch up paint may be a small problem….
      Brighton Works, No. 32635
      Brighton Works, No. 32635, in the September 1962 photo (Earlier Model Rail article, and on the web.), was dual braked, and retained the Westinghouse pump. https://mikemorant.smugmug.com/Trains-Railw...nes/i-XTCjrdh/A From... https://mikemorant.smugmug.com/Trains-Railw...R-tank-engines/ There is a photo of the Westinghouse pump side on this site...which is of more Brighton interest! http://thebrightonmotivepowerdepots.yolasi...on-loco-men.php This loco also has both Air and Vacuum brake hoses on each buffer beam. The standard fitted brake pipes most closely, in my opinion, resemble Vacuum brake pipes. I fitted two new brake pipes from a batch of spare parts. I think they may be Dapol parts
      These, being smaller, make very good Air Brake pipes.   Couplings and DC fitting.
      Kadee couplings, or NEM sockets, are still to be fitted.
      DCC is still to be fitted.
      DCC is still to be fitted.
    • All Cars Stop Here
      Started infilling between tracks on 18/06 but will leave crossover exposed to represent newly-installed trackwork as I hate infilling points!!
    • Leberecht, my Prussian H0 layout.
      Carrying on with my wiring work, I took advantage of the nice weather and worked outside, under the gazebo as it was simply too hot in direct sunlight! Here is the turntable board, again with a simple C shaped bus as that is sufficient for all the track feeds on this section. Almost out of shot is the first (Conrad) point motor that I installed. Now fitting the point motors on the ‘busiest’ board. I think you can just see my pencil marks where I plotted the alignment of the point above then it was a simple case of lining the motor along these lines and getting the actuation lever in the right position and voila! Screw the motor into position and set the actuation wire, I always use the thicker wire supplied. I knew that my micro switches would need elevating from the baseboard surface so I found a piece of strip wood that would just slip under the motor actuating lever and got them prepared. Fitting the micro switches into position, all that was required was to ensure the point motor actuation lever was able to operate the micro switch arm. Curiously, I had some smaller switches in stock but these larger switches seemed to work better. Having now done most of the physical work under the boards, it was now time to fit a full wiring bus. As this final board is quite busy, I made full loops all the way around the perimeter of the board. Here we have most of the track feeds in position, later I realised that I had missed a couple of track feeds when doing the droppers, despite drilling holes for them. Just a close up of the above, you can actually see one of the holes where a track feed should go! Looking a bit more complex now.
      Most importantly, the Lenz LS150 accessory decoder is now fitted along with connections to all the points, including the point on an adjacent board and the micro switches are all fed from the bus and to the point crossing vee. My good friend Les, gave me some assistance with making the micro switch connections as all I could reliably do was the ‘common’ feed to the vee. Without Les’ help with identifying which of the red/black wires goes where on the micro switch, using an electrical tester, I would have spent ages trying first one way, then the other - I really am that electrically incompetent so “Thanks” to Les!
      Also, the bus feed and inter-board connections are also fitted. I probably over engineered these as they are sections of heavy duty HiFi speaker cable soldered to both outputs of HiFi/video Phono plugs and sockets, red and black to correspond with the bus colours. Nearly done now, thankfully.
      I had no idea this job would take quite so long! Principally because I have never gone so far with a project such as this - all my previous layouts have either been simple power routing though the point or ready built.
      If I had tried to wire a layout like this using traditional analogue methods, I would have been stumped as it would have been too much for me. Using a bus to provide two wires to each piece of track - that I can deal with!
      I would say that I worked for an average of over six hours a day for ten days, doing this - I am sure that others, more experienced and who know what they are doing, would be much faster. But, I am satisfied with this and bar one minor adjustment to one point, everything worked first time.
      Must be beginners luck!
      Cheers,
      John.
       
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