We have been doing quite a bit of work behind the scenes in the last few weeks to make CF easier to shift and exhibit - especially as we have Ally Pally coming up in less than a fortnight. We have a truly massive fiddle yard board at the back that has undergone a weight & width reduction programme. It is now 10kg lighter and a bit narrower. Our bespoke barrier is now screwed together, making it much more robust and unlikely to fall apart in transit. And silly things like a lifting hook and lifting bar are now properly located in storage pockets in the box they relate to. All of these minor changes can save valuable minutes when erecting and dismantling the layout.
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Following Putnam's last showing at the London Festival of Railway Modelling in March, work has commenced on expanding the side of the layout away from public view. The storage sidings, now shared with the clubs a-building modern image OO gauge layout Ingatestone, are being increased from 8 to 13 lines. The Club's carpentry whizz has grafted on extensions to the baseboards and work is well underway on the trackwork. Once that is complete it will be a case of all hands below decks as we get stuck into the wiring.
Following our last blog in May, we have unpacked the layout from its hibernation and a group of members gathered to go through the list of stuff that we thought needed doing. Now as we know, there is no 'right way' to build a model railway. There are certainly some wrong ways but most of us have a preferred way, generally one that is proven to work for us. And with a pretty much new team there were various ideas of how things that need to be sorted out could be done differently from the original plan.
One of the things on the list was to improve the track around the entrance to the fiddle yard, and the fiddle yard cassettes themselves. The current system is L-section aluminium fixed to foamboard which has warped, and it's all a bit tight around the entry to the layout.
Work has continued over the weekend, with all 15 boards now made. The picture here shows 12 of them with some of the underside cross-bracing. What's more, they all fit together, but our work-room is only about 10m long, so it's not possible to erect the full length at one time, even if we didn't have parts of four other layouts up at the moment.
The boards are aligned using dowels, and then held together using toggle latches. These are now fitted to 10 of the boards, so that track laying can continue unhindered this week.
As you can imagine, we get a fairly steady stream of requests to help others make bespoke model railways, from a huge range of people - private individuals, TV and film productions and fixed installations in commercial premises.
We aren't in a position to help with most for all sorts of reasons (normally unrealistic budgets and timescales), but from time to time we get asked to help with a project that is both interesting and achievable in the timescale. Although a few years ago now, you can see some of our work in Bernard Butler's video for "Not Alone" which had specially built O gauge tracks and ran some of the stock from our layout Happisburgh.
Recently we were approached to build a working railway for a pop-up restaurant in Vauxhall. For the uninitiated, a pop-up is a temporary venue, and in this case it's a lovely old mews area, normally used by a steel fabricator. Except over the summer it's being turned into an American gold-rush themed restaurant every Friday and Saturday night, with a five course meal and music for about 80 people a night. So the whole restaurant has to be set up on Friday afternoon, and taken down again and put into storage by Monday morning. So a bit like an exhibition every weekend but with better food and drink.
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!
It is often said that rail fans are off their trolleys! But the guys working on Ingatestone 00 are now firmly on and in control of their trolley’s.
We have been putting in some painstaking work (gold star for Mo for his skill and guidance) to build some trolleys so the layout can be mobile This is very important part of the project as we need robust cases on wheels to store and protect the layout as well as transport it in the months to come .....
The is a MRC tradition of giving packing cases ships’ names - Copenhagen Fields has Titanic & Carpathia I think I will have to look up the names of the Harwich to Hook of Holland train ferries -anyone know them off hand ?
Tom Slade co leader
I haven't posted for a while - this doesn't mean we haven't been doing anything we have - well I haven't but the team has. However, with an exhibition looming we have had a burst of activity that quite frankly puts our gentle summer progress to shame.
The show - its all about the show after all - is the South Hants MRC's exhibition in Portsmouth on 21 November 2015
Baseboard joints are a necessary evil if you ever have to move your layout. Scenically they create what is often an obvious rift line across our otherwise beautiful handiwork, but operationally they can be a major cause of unreliability. So I try to make the joints as unobvious as I can, but robust enough to stand the knocks and bangs that happen to all portable layouts and maximise the chances of good operation.
It is very difficult to make a board joint better later – so I spend time getting the basics right.