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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Over the Christmas period we've been doing some unglamorous logistics work - tidying up the electrics and rearranging the transport boxes to make travelling to and from shows easier - ready for our 2017 outings, the first of which is at the CMRA's first show at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on 14th and 15th January.
In the meantime, Doncaster works has, I hope, finally adjusted the new chassis in 'Papyrus' so that it will run successfully on CF at Stevenage. The main problem which presented at Warley was that the 13 mm fine scale drivers are 0.8 mm smaller than the N scale originals, which threw out the front bogie clearances. With a bit of luck she will turn out to be a really useful green engine and look good on the Queen of Scots Pullman.
With this project out of the way work has resumed on the P2, 'Lord President' and the valve gear is now erected on the LHS.
The valve gear can be placed in forward or reverse, as can be seen in this video: https://youtu.be/fUTQ5Ibe1Bk
So we're back from Warley. Setting up was restricted to four hours because of a delay getting into the hall - we need five, to include getting stock on. Needless to say, our running on Saturday morning was a bit of a trial. However the big success was seeing the major works at the south end giving the layout a big improvement in its overall ambience.
I thought you might like to see the last bit of work on the centrepiece of Belle Isle, before we crated the layout to go to Warley.
Making blocks of buildings is a useful way of checking shape / space requirements. There is no question that Goods & Mineral Jcn. box will need a fully detailed interior, because you will be able to see see right into it from the front. We should also have all the lattice girder work in time for Warley, assuming Mike's eyesight holds up.
Finally, whilst ruffling through Matthew's Brown Box I found the last of Ced Verdon's resin cast buses. These are exquisite works of art and, even if it is completely the wrong type of bus, looks excellent on York Way. Just needs a few bill boards along the parapets to complete the scene.
The layout running settled in very nicely at the Club's Open Day on 20th November. Gary has devised a very elegant shuttle mechanism for the underground and Richard's buildings made major progress as he demonstrated today.
The main buildings and roads have been given a more convincing colour wash at the south end (which belies the large amount of work still required) and Mike's eye aching lattice bridges are beginning to look the business on the ramp line. The goods warehouse will be lowered to single story for three bays near York Road after the next show - it would be more in keeping with the potato warehouses at this site and make the building 'stack up' better
The new J39 has bedded in well and the repaired B17 purred along all day. The A3, Papyrus, despite a frustrating amount of tweaking, still has a wooden leg and so the chassis will probably be replaced by a 12 hr fine scale replacement - perhaps even in time for Warley.
We have maintained professionalism in the Club on York Way as can be seen by one of the photos: probably a senior member of the legal profession in the Jaguar.
Quite a lot of recent progress in the King’s Cross yard. The ramp to the Cally Goods & Coal Yard is now blocked out and in red oxide primer. It is red brick anyway, but will need detail cladding in our home made brick plastic. In the short-term it will be weathered in its current form to meld it into the scene.
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.
We have had a very productive two days working on the layout. The track plan at the southeastern side of the goods yard, especially at the front, has been finalised and has gone to Keith Armes for turnout manufacture. We have included an extra crossover to allow a twelve-wagon run-round in the goods arrival sidings, without conflicting with the main up goods traffic. This area can be worked as an independent front yard. Interestingly, we have identified a loop line that would also be an excellent way for transferring trains between the Up & Down lines.
The goods lines fiddle yard track at the back has always had a ghastly S bend on the big fiddle yard board. This was no longer needed as any crossover of passenger trains between Up & Down main lines will now be accommodated on the Sopwith Camel-shaped southern board, therefore removing the need for this kink. We have therefore straightened it out and realigned the section, as can be seen in the photo: our goods engines will hopefully no longer need to attend agility classes. At the same time we have laid in a straight piece of track on the new raised baseboard for loco testing. This could be connected to the Up Goods line as a storage spur for the train that shunts the yard. There is also now a comfortable rounded