Ingatestone 00 is our demonstration layout on Thursday 20 April in the lower hall, and we hope to put up the four front scenic boards to help check for shorts and running.
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I took a trip down to Ingatestone station this Sunday arfternoon to update myself and the team on the referbishment work carried out - although we have to draw a line on when we close our time period for the layout. We had said 2014 to 2016 but its a hard call.
The first referbished 321 EMU's have started to enter sirvice which represent a third version of the class for the team doing the crowded build (see red doors blue doors post ) to consider.
We also now have the London side station building sensitively restored and finding new life. As can be seen this sturcher was in a sorry state a few years ago when we first started surveying Ingatestone to be our prototype and looking back to B&W pic's from the 1970's we are thankful that this fine late 1840's building and 1900's buildings survived the age of concrete & plastic.
The group of buildings at Ingatestone have been put forward for world heritage status as they show in one place the style and devlopment of the early railway including the footbridge built in early rolled wrought iron - one of the few remaining in situ this was to be removed and replaced with a motorway style concrete bridge totaly out of keeping. This threat has spurred folk on to get stronger powers of preservation. There are also orignal OHLE structures which relate to early electrification and the first 25 kv main line too .
So my modelling dilemma is do we model the London building in gentle decay or its new smart role as a very 21st century coffee shop?
Last Thursday Ingatestone had a demo / running night so we all brought some stock in to run on the two big end boards. Chris had his class 90 – a work in progress upgrade from the Hornby original whilst James had the old “One Anglia” livery version ‘out of the box’ so we could compare (as shown in the title picture), and talk about the ways to improve it. We also had some HST's and class 56's running for the fun of it!
New member Gus brought in a class 92 (freshly delivered from Hattons sale) which will be a conversion to GBRF/Euro Port livery as these class 92 were running between Trafford Park/Crewe and Ipswich with a daily container train for Felixstowe in our time frame. This was a short lived event in the real world but we will run this train through Ingatestone to show the variety that can appear on today’s Great Eastern railway .
A fun night with the team, as the pictures below show, with Kev fixing a wheel, a class 92 running under Stock Lane past the new signals, and James and Gus in discussion whilst operating.
I still get a bit of a buzz when the postman has a parcel for me and yesterday I took delivery of two laser cut kits from Lazor Works. With some adaption these should make a fair model of the signal box at Ingatestone. Mo has been busy at home working more traditionally on the model of the gate keepers cottage - Looking good Mo!
Meanwhile back at Keen House we did a master class in ballasting with Chris, watched avidly by Kev who was soon stuck in with the PVA spray bottle. Note the handy little ballast hopper/dropper - very useful for getting clean lines.
The summer is often a down time for modellers, as family holidays, the gardening and BBQ's take over. But we have been continuing with work on Ingatestone mostly on Board 6 (the big corner board that goes into the fiddle yard) with what in the photo looks like a complicated amount of wire and points is in fact a simplification. The expanded fiddle yard being built by Putnum has head shunts so we have now dispensed with ours we just need to return our trains to the (correct?) UK running practice. Hence James, Chris and Lawrence have re-laid the track and put in points and motors in tandem. So with one flick of the switch both move which means a lower risk of accidents as the ladder is either open or closed. As pictured the wires and electrics are in Beta testing ahead of proper installation.
As we indicated in May, we have an exhibition in Peterborough in October, and so the summer has been focussed on getting ready for that. As we started to fiix some problems with the track with (including some damaged track ends at board joints, the fiddle yard and some unevenness in the track itself) we encountered more problems. After some soul searching we realised that trying to fix the specific problems would probably just create more and that without decent working reliable track we would struggle to operate the layout well. So the decision was taken to relay all of the track.
As we lifted it, we realised that some of the problems were caused by delamination in the camping mat foam used as underlay (possibly the glue?), and that whilst it looks good the butanone bonding of plastic chairs to woopen sleepers isn't as strong as using plastic sleepers. I used the same techniques discussed in previous blogs for points and board joints to build the track in situ using some 1/8" cork as underlay. The added challenge here is building track in situ on wider boards than I'm used to or easily have space for in my workshop (who knew 6" made such a difference..) and with the scenery in place.
In preparation for Ally Pally this coming weekend, the Ingatestone crew have been busy getting ready the boards that we are taking to display. On Sunday, the packing crates for the corner boards were finished, with an extra day of work by Tom, Bob and myself getting the foam core for the scenery being cut. What is on display will be a work in progress to show visitors how we are building the scenery, to allow them to ask questions, learn and hopefully come and visit us at our open day in May. To act as a "place marker" for the PECO
After a lot of wiring, testing of the track power on Ingatestone has started - here we have Bachmann Class 37/4 37421 on the up line on board 6 powering round the corner - next Thursday we will be testing the boards that will be attending London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace. Come and meet us and see the layout - we'll be in the West Hall ! The hard work to progress the hoods for the corner board storage also took a step forward today as Maurice and Tom completed the panelling and secured the strengthening battens in place.
This weekend saw Lawrence. Mo and Tom make progress with the power wiring for the layout, as well as on the woodworking. Protector boards to avoid track damage on board ends are being fabricated, and the covers for the trolleys that will be home to the corner boards 5 and 6 took more steps forward. See the pictures of Lawrence making connections on Boards 3 and 4 above and below. We welcome anyone who would like to joing us - all skill levels are most welcome!
Our invitation to the National Festival of Railway Modelling has been the incentive to get a few more things progressed on the layout.
A major resignalling scheme has seen searchlight starter signals mounted on an etched brass gantry installed, replacing the Berko 3-aspect signals originally installed as a temporary measure hours before the first proper exhibition in 2007. The LEDs in the new signals have common anodes whereas the old signals and the remaining ground signal were common cathode, which meant reconfiguring the wiring on the 'interlocking' which clears the correct signal based on the route set. I hadn't written down how it was originally wired, so the most tedious part was working out the existing wiring had worked...
The original signal box, again built as a temporary stand-in from a Prototype card kit, has been replaced by a small cabin, kit bashed from a Peco kit.
Above we see a couple of pictures taken by Lawrence Robbins this afternoon at Keen House. These show the great progress being made on Ingatestone. Mo, Tom and Kevan are seen building the base for the new dollies that will take boards 5 & 6 in due course. The second photo shows boards 5 and 6 which connects into the country end of the fiddle yard that will be common with Putnam. The mock up of the bridge prepared by Bob Allaway has been a great help in getting track centres spot on and avoiding side-swiping on the curves between Mark 3 coaches (the longest vehicles that will run on Ingatestone). Once the last piece of trackwork has been done, we will turn to soldering the main power buses to the power droppers. Come and drop by and meet with us - we will be in most Thursdays and the next couple of Sundays !
This is the first blog by the team that will be bringing Ingatestone to life in 4mm scale. The team are: Chris Ibbotson, Tom Slade, Bob Allaway, Maurice (Mo) Beanlands, Lawrence Robbins and Kavind Patel. We are at Keen House most Thursday nights from 19:00 and also have Sunday working sessions from 11:00 that will be advertised on here.