20th January 2012: A transport box was made for the station canopy and a coal cart and horse completed.
26th October 2011: The station canopy has now been painted and the columns fixed to the underside with epoxy. A piece of valance has temporarily been attached to the end of the canopy with Blu-tak pending construction of the canopy extension along the paved portion of the platform.
20th September 2011: After a weekend out playing trains with the main layout at the Medway Show (for which we won "Best in Show"), work has resumed on the station canopy. The basic shell has been built up from plastic section and sheet as before but this time it is fixed firmly to the aluminium base plate. Plastic strips have been added to the roof to provide the panelling detail. Finally the third picture shows the etched brass valence in place.
6th September 2011: The canopy support columns have been fabricated from brass. The main uprights are 3mm diameter rod with the top 20mm turned down on the lathe to be a snug fit inside the pieces of square section brass tube. The bottom parts of the columns have been turned from 6mm diameter rod and a hole drilled through the centre into which the uprights fit. Finally the whole lot has been soldered together as seen in the second photo.
The third and fourth photos show the cast white metal brackets have been superglued onto the square sections at the top of the columns.
Roof panelling was added to the frame and the canopy was virtually completed as seen in the fifth picture. However this has subsequently been scrapped because the whole structure twisted out of shape due to shrinkage after the plastic cladding was added.
The second attempt has been started using a more robust construction for stability. A base plate of aluminium sheet has been cut to size and a wood batten fixed along the front edge to support the valence. The plate is shown resting temporarily on the columns. The protruding bolts which retain the mounting plates will be cut down. Then the roof panelling will be fabricated from plastic as before and should remain true by virtue of the metal plate.
10th August 2011: The first two pictures show the goods shed has been fitted with internal lighting.
A start has been made on the framework for the platform canopy along the front of the station building. The framework has been fabricated from various plasticard sections and is shown resting on temporary supports at the final height of the posts which have not yet been made.
The fourth picture shows the small fillet required to fill in the gap between the canopy and the parcels office which is set back from the main frontage.
The fifth and sixth pictures show the end elevation and how the canopy interfaces with the lean-to on the station house. The top will be covered in plasticard sheet and etched brass valences fitted in due course.
27th June 2011: The final shunt signal has been installed at the exit from the run round loop. The yellow arm, when in the On position, allows trains to shunt in and out of the goods shed siding without the signaller having to clear it every time. The signal only needs to be operated for movements using the crossover to the main line.
As with the other shunt signal, the operating mechanism and ballast resistor have been squeezed in alongside one of the point operating mechanisms.
16th June 2011: The first two pictures show the shunt signal protecting the loco release crossover has been installed. Two sleepers have been extended and the signal has been fixed to a representation of the mounting plate and mechanical detector fashioned from plastikard and brass. The vertical brass wire to the right of the signal carries the feed to the signal lamp, the return being provided via the brass body of the signal.
Underneath the baseboard, the third and fourth pictures show how the actuating motor has been squeezed in next to one of the point operating mechanisms together with the associated current limiting resistor. The fifth and sixth pictures show how the travel of the motor is controlled by the two screws acting on the plate attached to the operating shaft. An actuating crank soldered to the end of the shaft drives the operating wire which passes up through the baseboard. The electrical connections seen in the foreground are for the lighting.
The final two pictures show the finished article after completion of the painting.
16th May 2011: Despite having made its exhibition debut, Sidport Regis as with any model railway layout, is by no means finished! Work has now turned to completing the signalling by making the last two shunt signals. One for the loco release crossover and the other to control outgoing movements from the run round loop.
The first four photos show the bodies of the signals have been machined from a single piece of solid brass on a vertical mill. The signals were then separated and the roof profiles filed on.
The third picture shows the front of the shunt signals. The lower hole is the bearing for the shunt disc, and the top hole produces the aspect light from a grain-of-wheat bulb. The fourth photo taken from the rear shows the top hole is enlarged to accommodate a grain-of-wheat bulb within the structure.
Photos 5 and 6 show the front of the two painted and assembled signals lit in the On and Off positions respectively. The luminosity of the aspects shows up better to the naked eye than in the photos. The final two photos show how the backlight of the right-hand signal is obstructed by the back blind when in the Off position as per the prototype.
The next job will be to mount the signals on the baseboards and connect them up to their motors.
27th March 2011: The photos above show the new Branch Line Terminus, Sidport Regis, at its first exhibition in Leamington on 19-20th March 2011.
17th March 2011: The last few items have been finished off. This involved adding a ‘load’ to the crane so that the hook and string hang straight, and also finishing off the transport box for the goods shed which can be seen in position.
13th March 2011: The newspaper stand has had more detail added, and the seats, loading gauge and lever collars have been painted. The last photo shows one of the lever collars placed over a lever handle. When placed on a lever, the collars act as a reminder to the operator that the lever concerned must not be moved. For example there may be a train standing over a set of points so the points must not be moved.
12th March 2011: The whole layout has been setup in order to position and drill holes for the figures and telegraph poles. Also a pile of sleepers and sleeper chairs have been glued down beside the P-Way hut.
9th March 2011: 12 telegraph poles have been assembled and can be seen in their transport box with the signal box. In the next day or so, holes will be drilled in the baseboards to place these on the layout.
The hinges on the gates surrounding the end loading bay have been painted black, and garden has had more plants added to finish it off.
Lastly a knob and spring-loaded catch have been added to the control panel lid that covers the mechanical locking bed.
28th February 2011: Rapid progress has taken place on the station garden, what a difference! There are still more vegetables to be added to the vegetable patch, and the flower beds will be planted up shortly.
The sixth photo shows clearly the need for the locating bracket on the underside of the garden in order to hold the garden securely in place within the transport box.
The last two photos show the platform steps which will be weathered to dull them down a bit, and the end loading bay fencing which has been adapted to fit and painted. The final plan is to have a station canopy covering part of the platform which will require a small redesign of this fencing.
27th February 2011: The first 4 photos show the station building in place together with the garden. Details such as curtains and the inside of the station ticket hall have been added to the building.
The fifth photo shows further progress on the garden, while the sixth photo shows the cattle dock has been weathered. The last photo shows the painted figures placed safely in the biscuit tin which has a place in the station building transport box.
20th February 2011: The first four photos show the transport box for the station garden. As the garden will have plants, washing lines, trees etc. placed on top, it will be very delicate and difficult to transport. Therefore in order to transport it safely, an aluminium plate has been attached to the underneath of the garden. This slots accurately between two more aluminium plates which are attached to the bottom surface of the transport box. This locates the garden in position inside the box without anything having to touch the top surface.
Photos 5, 6 and 7 show the progress on the station building which is now complete except for the guttering and a couple of other finishing touches. Also photo 5 shows the figures which have been painted.
The last two photos show 6 lever collars, a loading gauge and the station seats have been sprayed with brass etch primer ready for painting. The lever collars have been turned up from brass and will be painted red. The loading gauge has been acquired second-hand.
10th February 2011: A removable tray has been made to fit the station building transport box. This tray fits above the station building and transports items safely in foam pockets. The trick to cutting out the pockets in the foam is to use a very sharp new scalpel blade. The last photo shows the brick wall and contouring have been added to the station garden.
17th January 2011: Significant progress has been made on the station building.
Work has now turned towards building transport boxes for the safe transportation of the scenery to and from exhibitions. The third and fourth photos show a transport box has been built and finished for the signal box. This will also transport the telegraph poles once they are built.
The fifth photo shows the transport box for the station building. This has more work to be done inside.
The last photo shows a start has been made on the transport box for the goods shed.
4th January 2011: The station running-in board has been completed.
A start has been made on preparing figures firstly by inserting piano wire pins in their legs so they can be removed from the layout for transport.
Some figures require posing by having their arms/heads etc. added. For example the Boy Scout figures have been "fitted" around their push cart.
The castings are generally very crisp and require very little cleaning up. Some filling may be required where arms have been glued on before priming and painting.
The layout will require quite a few more figures and it is expected that these will be added to over a period of time.
29th December 2010: The remaining two platform seats have been assembled and await priming and painting.
The fire devil has been painted and some rust colour dry brushed on to weather it a little.
The platform barrows have been painted and assembly completed. Another two wheel handcarts have been assembled and painted.
The garden items prepared previously have also been painted together with a garden shed which has been customised by the addition of a rain gutter and water butt.
Finally a few more pieces of luggage etc. have been painted.
20th December 2010: A start has been made on the etched brass platform seats. The arms and legs were formed to shape using jigs on the etch. The legs were then placed in another jig and soldered as shown in the second and third pictures. The seat back and slats were then bent to shape using a pair of sacrificial jigs. The whole lot was then soldered together and the sacrificial jigs cut off. So far four out of six seats have been assembled.
9th December 2010: A number of castings for packing cases, barrels, luggage etc. obtained from the bargain bin at a recent exhibition have been cleaned up and painted.
A fire devil to go under the water crane, a couple of platform barrows and a wheelbarrow and dustbin for the station garden have been assembled.
26th November 2010: A shelf together with its securing brackets and captive nuts have been made to mount the block instrument to the right of the control panel. Mounting holes and captive nuts have also been added to mount the block bell to the left of the control panel.
Diagonal leg braces have been manufactured to prevent the layout from wobbling.
Lastly a protective cover has been made for board 0.
13th November 2010: The whole layout was set up for a second thorough functional test and to view the entire layout with all the scenery in position, thereby giving us an idea of how much more scenery is needed. The photos also show progress on the goods shed.
28th October 2010: The ground beside the station master’s house has been raised to the same height as platform level. This area is the house garden and will be separated from the running lines by a brick wall. The garden and wall have been made removable to facilitate transportation of the layout.
The third photo shows the station running-in board has been fabricated from plasticard, fitted with mounting pegs and awaits priming and painting.
The final photo shows real coal has been added to the coal staithes using a thin layer of roofing felt adhesive.
12th October 2010: The rest of the platform has been surfaced with gravel including the wide-way that leads off the end of the platform ramp.
Three blocks of wood have been added to support the station building at the correct height in relation to the platform top.
8th October 2010: The first two photos show plasticard sheets of paving slabs have been cut out, painted and glued to the platform top. The unpaved areas of the platform will receive a layer of gravel.
The third and fourth photos show that the last of the plasticard has been cut out and fitted to the station building.
The fifth photo shows that the last little strip of ballast up against the end loading bay wall has been added and glued. Also a different style of paving for the end loading bay has been painted and fixed.
The final photo shows the new strip of ballast has been dirtied to match, and the last four coping stones together with the bulk of timber have been glued in place.
21st September 2010: After time out taking Newchapel Junction to the Guildex exhibition, work has resumed on the station platform.
The coping stones were masked up and have been spray painted in a concrete colour.
19th August 2010: The stationmaster’s house together with the lean-to has been built and attached to the rest of the station building structure. More plasticard brickwork and roof tiles have been added. The station building structure was tried in the platform cut-out one last time before the platform top was attached to the board. The last of the individual coping stones have been laid.
As part of the signalling for the new Branch Line Terminus, a shunt signal has been added to the siding on the existing adjacent board on the main layout. A slightly different method of operation for this shunt signal has been developed and is under test with a view to using this design when the main station is signalled in a few years time. The advantage of this new design is to give slower and more realistic movement of signal arms.
12th August 2010: The coping stones have been laid on the platform ramp to complete the coping stones on board 3.
The second photo shows the hardboard platform top for board 1 has been cut out accurately to allow the station building to slot down into the platform. The third photo shows strips of wood to support the platform top around the station building have been attached to the baseboard. The fourth photo shows the platform on board 1 has had a ‘false bottom’ glued in to receive the location pegs for figures, canopy pillars, etc.
The final photo shows that work on the end loading bay has been started.
29th July 2010: Work on the station building has progresses with the parcels office structure now built from plywood, and some of the brick cladding has been added to the station building. The station house has yet to be started.
The second photo shows that wooden strips have been attached in the middle of the platform to give the hardboard platform tops more strength and to stop them from sagging in the middle.
The third photo shows the hardboard platform tops on Boards 2 and 3 have been glued and screwed down.
Finally, individual coping stones have been laid on Board 2 and most of the way down Board 3. These have been cut down from 20mm x 20mm plastic angle from a well known DIY store.
28th July 2010: After much consideration it has been decided to use scatter for the grass. Apart from the cost advantage it was considered that this would match the rest of the layout better and the long grass was deemed to look too unkempt for a Southern Railway station area. The final colour used is a blend of equal parts Woodland Scenics Medium Green, Light Green and Burnt Grass.
The first picture shows the scatter being applied to a thick layer of PVA glue on the cutting on Board 6. The second shows Board 5 while the third picture shows the excess scatter being brushed off Board 3 after the glue had been left to dry overnight.
The fourth picture shows the final effect on Board 6. Once all the grass was laid the boards were laid out on the workshop floor to see the overall effect.
24th July 2010: The newspaper stand for the station has been assembled from a kit and given a coat of grey primer. The door in the foreground fits in one end of the kiosk, the two cases are Southern Railway stretcher cupboards.
The opportunity has been also been taken to prime various boxes etc. for the goods yard.
14th July 2010: Unfortunately the station building structure which was previously built using a foam-plasticard type material was not considered to be robust enough for transport. Therefore construction of the building has started again, this time using thin plywood which is giving the building much more strength. The photos above show the first section of the ‘new’ station building constructed using wood. The stationmaster’s house and the lean-to extension will be added to complete the structure of the station building.
4th July 2010: The retaining wall and coping stones have been weathered.
The cattle dock surface has been paved with granite sets and the fencing has been darkened slightly and fitted.
28th June 2010: Coping stones have been scribed onto strips of plasticard, painted a concrete colour and added to the retaining wall on Board 6. Some weathering still needs to be applied to tone the colours down.
The fencing for the cattle dock has been painted and again needs weathering to darken the colour down a little.
22nd June 2010: The textured surface for the goods yard and entrance roadway has been painted in a slightly darker colour to tone down its appearance.
Four buffer stops have been assembled and painted, and lastly the fencing for the cattle dock has been made from scratch and sprayed with brass etch primer ready to receive the top coat.
18th June 2010: The textured surface for the goods yard and entrance roadway has been applied. This was done by painting on a layer of slightly watered-down wood glue, then sprinkling on the gravel texture, pressing it down, and tipping off the excess gravel. The gravel texture is now ready for painting in a slightly darker colour to tone down its appearance.
13th June 2010: The walls of the cattle dock have been built, clad with embossed brick sheet and painted.
Some banking has been added to provide a grass ramp for access.
The top surface has been made up as a removable unit and edged with plastic angle which has been scribed and painted to represent Engineers blue bricks.
8th June 2010: As seen in the first photo, the entire layout was assembled for the sleepers to be painted in a slightly darker colour, and to show how the layout currently looks with the scenery in place.
The second photo shows a close-up of the scenery on board 6, the third photo shows a close-up of the signal box and lamp hut, and the fourth photo shows the station and building.
The last two photos show the crossing boarding for the goods yard has been glued in place, and the station platforms have had a ‘false bottom’ glued in to receive the location pegs for figures, canopy pillars, etc.
1st June 2010: The banking on all boards has been repainted a better shade of brown and most of the cesses have been "ballasted". The second picture shows Boards 2 and 3, the third Boards 4 and 5 and the fourth Board 6.
Note the cut-outs for the buildings and signals have also been painted.
26th May 2010: Trials are under way to evaluate different ground cover techniques for the banking – small trial pieces have been made up. The first picture shows a conventional scatter material with added details and the second picture shows a grass matting again with similar added details.
The main advantage of the scatter over the matting is the large difference in cost, the imported matting coming in at around £24 a roll! On the down side the scatter lacks the texture of the matting which is more significant in O gauge than the smaller scales. Decisions, decisions....
5th May 2010: The coal staithes have been built up from strips of basswood around balsa wood profiles for the coal heaps.
Whilst Board 6 was out, the opportunity was taken to fit locating strips to retain the P Way hut in the correct position.
Lastly the coal staithes have been painted. They will be weathered and real crushed coal added after the ground surface has been applied.
25th April 2010: PVA and tissue paper has been applied to the last of the banking on boards 2 and 1.
Whilst waiting for the glue to dry, a start was made on preparing the boarding for the crossing on the roadway into the goods yard.
The banking on Boards 1, 2 and 3 has had a coat of poster paint.
The crossing boarding has now been painted and is ready for final fitting.
Further strips of Basswood have been cut ready for construction of the coal staithes.
19th April 2010: The first three pictures show the foam banking has been shaped and fixed down on Board 3 alongside the roadway, filled and covered with the PVA and tissue mix.
Further foam has been fitted along the whole length of Board 2 (as seen in the fourth picture) and part way down Board 1 as far as the loco servicing area. This will all be covered in the same way once the glue has dried properly.
The final picture shows all three station boards laid out on the floor to give an idea of the final appearance of the landscape.
15th April 2010: Following experiments with trial pieces, it has been decided to cover the foam banking with PVA and tissue paper as this has proved to be more resistant to impact damage than the plaster coating proposed.
The first two pictures show the banking on Board 4 covered with tissue paper and PVA. This sets quite hard but retains a degree of flexibility.
The third picture shows the banking extended along Board 5. The gaps between pieces of foam have been filled and, since this picture was taken, the foam has been covered with tissue and PVA.
The fourth picture shows the plaster on wire banking on Board 6 has been given a coat of brown poster paint to hide the whiteness.
The fifth picture shows the banking on Board 4 has been toned down with poster paint and the foam has been extended onto Board 3 adjacent to the turnout for the bay platform.
The last two pictures show the foundations for the roadway into the goods yard have been built up from hardboard and plywood. More foam banking will be added between the roadway and the run round loop and extend the full length of Board 2 and part way down Board 1.
4th April 2010: Contact springs have been made up from brass wire and mounted under the false floor in the signal box.
A piece of printed circuit board has been mounted on the base board and wired up to provide the supply for the lighting. The wooden strips accurately locate the signal box when it is put in place.
Two small pins made from piano wire have been driven into the baseboard to support the bottom of the ladder assembly. The last picture shows the ladder assembly has been painted and the signal box is now finished!
It has been decided to give the expanded foam another try for the smaller banking required on boards four and five.
The first two pictures show the banking in position on board five. The joints will be filled and the surface sealed with a thin layer of Polyfilla before painting and grassing.
The last three pictures show the banking on board four. Note a small retaining wall has been added behind the signal box steps and the corrugated iron lamp hut has been tried in position. Further detail such as oil drums and the signalman's coal heap etc. will be added in this area in due course.
30th March 2010: The handrails have been painted and fitted to the balcony.
New posts and handrails for the steps have been fabricated from plastic sections as the original resin castings were deemed to be too fragile.
The steps assembly will remain as a free-standing unit - they will simply lean against the balcony floor so that they can be easily removed and packed as a separate item to avoid damage when the signal box is removed from the layout.
23rd March 2010: The guttering has been painted and the down pipes have been painted and fitted together with the waste outlet from the sink at the rear of the signal box.
14th March 2010: The signalman has had a pin inserted in his leg and has been painted together with the remaining pieces of furniture and a broom. All have been fitted in position; the signalman is looking anxiously at this pocket watch wondering where his late turn relief has got to...
The false ceiling, which carries the interior lighting, has been glued in place.
The fourth picture is a final look at the interior detail before the main window assemblies were fitted as seen in the fifth picture.
Guttering castings (from Invertrain) have been added to the roof assembly.
Down pipes have been fabricated from brass rod with twisted fuse wire used to make the fixings which will locate in holes drilled in the walls.
9th March 2010: The roof assembly has been finished and painted and the stove pipe has been fitted.
28th February 2010: The remainder of the tiling has been added to the roof.
The levers have been painted and the lever frame assembled.
The lever frame has been mounted on the floor together with a block shelf fabricated from brass rod and balsa wood. The diagram was drawn on the computer and printed at 10% of full size on photographic paper. The indicators are made from scraps of plastic rod as is the bell plunger with the addition of a pin for the plunger itself.
The floor assembly and interior wall panels have been glued in place and a false ceiling made up to support a couple of grain of wheat lamps for lighting. This cannot be finally glued in place yet because a signalman has yet to be sourced and added.
The wires pass down behind the rear interior wall panel into the locking room where they are terminated on a terminal block fixed to a piece of plywood. Contact springs will be added on the other side of the terminal block to collect power from a piece of PCB which will be fixed to the baseboard.
21st February 2010: After time out taking Newchapel Junction to Brighton Modelworld, work has resumed on the signal box.
The porch and balcony assembly has been fitted to the end of the main building. The locking room windows have been fitted. Having tried unsuccessfully to make the roof assembly fit properly, it has been decided to make a new one from plasticard.
The main windows have been assembled (and since the picture was taken have been glazed).
The castings for the lever frame quadrant plate have been assembled and primed and the levers have been primed ready for painting. The levers have been left on the sprues for now to facilitate handling while painting.
A start has been made on tiling the roof using strips of plasticard cut to represent the tiles.
4th February 2010: The sides of the first three boards have been painted in Newchapel Junction orange.
The platform surface has been cut out of hardboard and is pictured placed in position.
2nd February 2010: The brickwork on the embankment retaining wall has been painted.
1st February 2010: Fine wire mesh has been stapled to the formers for the embankments. Screwed up newspaper provides additional support under the mesh.
The wire mesh has been covered with plaster impregnated bandage (Mod-Roc).
Work continues on the signal box; the window frame castings have been painted. The brackets that support the balcony have been fitted and painted and the roof has been assembled.
27th January 2010: The finishing touches to the water tower and the surrounding scenery have been completed.
26th January 2010: The first two pictures show a cover board to protect the signal operating mechanisms for the platform Starter signals on Board 3 has been made and fitted. The two circular cutouts give access to the signal lighting dimmer control and the base of the signal mounting spigot to allow the retaining nut to be fitted.
The second two pictures show Board 6. Unfortunately the insulating foam which had previously been used to form the embankments was found to be dimensionally unstable - i.e. it twisted out of shape quite severely whilst being stored prior to fixing to the baseboard. It has been decided therefore to revert to more traditional methods. Wooden profile formers have been cut and fitted and fine wire mesh will be stapled onto these before being covered with plaster bandage in due course.
The retaining wall for the cutout in the embankment around the Advance Starting signal has been made and clad with embossed plastikard and awaits painting and the later provision of coping stones.
19th January 2010: The water tank has been painted and the scenery around it has been completed.
17th January 2010: The Advance Starting Signal has been mounted in position and the operating mechanisms have been adjusted and the lighting tested. The picture shows the Advance Starter arm in the Off position together with the Distant for the junction at Newchapel Town.
A start has been made on the signal box which is of typical LSWR design and from the former NMB Models kit. The main outer walls have been assembled and painted.
The entrance porch has been assembled and painted and the interior wall panels, which have some of the furniture and fittings including the electric token instrument as an integral part of the mouldings, have been painted.
3rd January 2010: The shunt signal for moves into the siding beyond the road bridge has been mounted on a bracket attached to the post for the Advance Starting Signals.
The operating wire has been added to connect the shunt signal to its balance weight lever.
The operating wires for the two main arms have also been added as have the linkages from the balance weight levers to the operating levers under the baseplate.
Ladders and handrails have also been added.
The final picture shows the nearly finished signal (apart from some painting) with the aspects illuminated and the shunt signal in the Off position.
30th December 2009: The remaining ballast has been dirtied.
27th December 2009: ‘Ash ballast’ has been added to the area surrounding the ash pit.
Captive nuts have been attached to two boards to receive the bolts that secure the control panel.
The ballast has been dirtied to tone it down on the first three boards.
24th December 2009: The first bits of banking have been cut out of insulation foam and shaped.
The third photo shows the ground level at the entrance to the goods yard has been raised for the level crossing.
The last two photos show the textured surface for the goods yard has been applied to the first board.
21st December 2009: Hardboard sheets have been cut out and attached to the boards to raise the level of ground up to the top of sleeper level in the goods yard area. Holes have been cut out in the hardboard to let the goods shed and yard crane slot into the hardboard. The goods yard sidings have been ballasted which now means the ballasting is complete.
The last two photos show the frame for the goods shed has been constructed and tried in place, also the yard crane is shown in position.
11th December 2009: Construction has started on the station building which is based on the one at Sidmouth. The platform retaining walls have had the mortar colour applied. The ballasting has been completed except for the goods yard sidings. Lastly a water tank has been constructed and the scenery around it has been started.
7th December 2009: Strips of wood to support the platform have been attached to the baseboards. Embossed brick plasticard has then been glued to the wood supports for the platform retaining walls. The plasticard has been spray painted in Dark Brick Red and is now ready to receive the mortar colour. Finally, a start has been made on the ballasting.
5th December 2009: The track has been spray painted in a basecoat of Track Dirt.
4th December 2009: The Advanced Starting Signal has been accurately located and the signal operating mechanisms have been manufactured and fitted.
The final 5 inch buffer stop extension board has been made and the track has been glued in position on it.
1st December 2009: The first two pictures show the Home signal has been positioned and accurately located.
The third picture shows the Platform Starting signal has also been positioned and accurately located.
The fourth, fifth and sixth pictures show the signal operating mechanisms have been manufactured and fitted for the Home signal.
The final picture shows the operating mechanism for the Platform Starting signal.
The signal lighting feed and return wires have also been wired. This is seen best in the final picture where the brass spring wire (seen at the bottom of the picture) provided the positive supply, and the wire connected to the signal retaining bracket using the ring crimp provides the negative return.
29th November 2009: The complete Branch Line Terminus has been set up together with the adjoining board from the main layout. A full functional test was carried out and no faults were found.
25th November 2009: The 1933 Austin TT Vincent Bodied London Taxi has been completed.
23rd November 2009: The cranks and operating wires have been added to finish the platform starter signals.
22nd November 2009: The first three pictures show the handrail on the Home signal structure has been painted and the operating cranks and wires added. The back blinds have been soldered onto the back of the signal arm spindles. This signal is now ready for fitting to its baseplate.
The handrail and bottom of the post for the Starter signals have been painted as has the bottom of the Advance Starter post.
The remaining signal arms and shunt discs have been prepared (although the Yellow on the shunt disc still requires another coat of paint and the aspect spectacles glazing).
18th November 2009: The handrail has been made and fitted to the Home signals. The return wires from the lamps have been connected to the hand rail and the lamps have been powered up.
Painting of the main bodywork on the Taxi has been completed.
17th November 2009: The decking has been glued on to the structure for the Starting signals. The return wires from the lamps have been soldered on to the handrails and a test illumination undertaken with signal arms temporarily in place.
The decking has also been fitted to the Home signal structure. A piece of wire has been passed temporarily through the front handrail posts to help support the decking while the glue dries.
A start has been made on painting the Taxi.
16th November 2009: The feed wiring for the lights in the platform starters has been added.
The wooden decking for these and the home signals has been painted.
The posts for all three main signal structures have received two coats of white paint. They may even need a third because the paint keeps soaking in to the wood.
11th November 2009: Wiring for the signal lamps has been started on the 3 arm Home signal. The first picture shows grain of wheat bulbs have been inserted into the holes previously drilled out in the lamp castings. One leg of each bulb is terminated on a pin inserted in the rear of each doll. Fuse wire then runs down each doll, joining at a pin inserted in the back of the main post before continuing down the post to a further pin near the bottom onto which a feed wire coming up through the brass baseplate will be connected in due course. These wires will be almost invisible once the structure is painted and the decking is added.
The circuit will be completed by connecting the other leg of each bulb directly to the handrail on the decking when this is added. One of the handrail posts is extended through the bottom of the decking and will be soldered on to a small brass plate which has been fixed to the underside as seen in the second picture. An etched brass ladder will be soldered to this plate and the signal baseplate from which a return connection will be made to the power supply.
The third picture shows the handrail post soldered to the plate under the decking for the platform starters.
The fourth and fifth pictures show the goods yard crane has been painted in grey and the detailing painted.
The final two pictures show that construction of the 1933 Austin TT Vincent Bodied London Taxi has been started.
8th November 2009: The post, dolls and supporting brackets for the Platform Starters (3 & 4) have been assembled and the finials added.
Notches for the dolls have been cut out of the front edge of the decking which is made from a lamination of thin plywood scored to represent the planking. The hand rail and uprights have been made up from 0.6mm diameter brass wire and soldered together.
The post and dolls for the 3 arm Home signal (11, 12, 13) have been assembled. Thin strips of wood are glued on in front of and behind square sections of balsa wood between the dolls and the whole lot is held square with pins and some weight while the glue dries.
Once again cutouts have been made in the front of the decking for the dolls and the uprights for the handrails have been inserted. The handrail itself will have to be added once the decking has been painted and added to the structure because it will be more difficult if not impossible to add as a completed unit due to the longer dolls on this signal.
Cast white metal support brackets have been added as have the pieces of wire to limit the travel of the arms which are shown temporarily in place with No. 12 in the Off position for a move into the main platform.
1st November 2009: A start has been made on the signals.
The lamps for the Advance Starter and Newchapel Town Distant have been fitted to the post (first photo).
A piece of wire has been added near to the bottom of the post to form the pivot for the balance weight levers (second photo).
Pieces of fine wire have been added near the signal arms to act as stops to limit the travel of the arms (photos three and four).
General view of the signal with the arms temporarily in place (fifth photo).
A start has also been made on getting the parts together for the platform starting signals (photo six) and the Home signal (photo seven).
26th October 2009: The P Way hut has been weathered with a light spray of "muck".
A start has been made on preparing parts for the signals.
The lamp castings have been drilled out to accept grain of wheat lamps and small pieces of brass tube have been added to form the bearings for the signal arms. The completed assemblies have been primed and painted.
The balance weight lever castings have been drilled to accept the pivot pin and operating wires.
Mounting spindles have been turned from brass rod and one end threaded.
Brass baseplates have been made up. The holes at either end will locate on pins to be driven into the top of the baseboard to ensure accurate location. The spindles will be soldered to the baseplates with the thinner end protruding up through the hole near the centre to form a spigot onto which the wooden signal posts will be glued in due course. The spindles have been cross drilled for pivots which will carry operating levers to transfer drive from the operating mechanism to the balance weight crank via wires which will pass up through the baseplate. The lower threaded end of the spindle will engage in a bracket mounted under the baseboard and a retaining nut will be added to hold the signal in place against the thrust of the operating mechanism.
18th October 2009: As a diversion from all the wiring work, a P Way hut has been assembled and painted. Also a concrete lamp hut has been assembled and primed. A pair of resin cast huts have had their corrugated roofs added and they also have been primed awaiting painting. Finally a crane for the goods yard has been constructed and primed.
4th October 2009: The jumper cables from Boards 3 and 4 have been made up and terminated.
The third picture is a view from underneath the layout showing them plugged into the bottom of the control panel.
27th September 2009: The jumper sockets were found to be sitting too low in relation to the cover board and have been raised slightly on small blocks to make plugging and un-plugging easier.
The various cutouts have been made in the cover board and this has now been fitted.
Boards 3 and 4 have been erected to allow the holes for the control panel mounting brackets to be drilled. The legs to support the front edge of the control panel have also been made.
20th September 2009: The first two pictures show the wires to the jumper sockets have been terminated.
The third picture shows the completed baseplate fitted in the bottom of the cabinet with the wires from the lever frame, diagram etc. waiting to be terminated.
The fourth picture shows these cables terminated in the "plug-in" terminal blocks. A support block has also been added in the middle to provide extra support for the middle of the cover board which has yet to have the cutouts made for the jumper sockets etc. before it can be fitted.
The final picture shows the cabinet powered up for testing of the diagram with the route lights showing a route set out from the bay platform.
13th September 2009: The baseplate wiring has been added. The pins seen protruding from some of the terminal blocks are to allow a second row of terminal blocks to be "plugged in". The cables from the illuminated diagram, lever frame etc. will be terminated in these and will thus be easily disconnected if the baseplate has to be removed from the cabinet for maintenance to any of the components hidden behind it.
The mounting blocks have been painted and the sockets for the jumper cables from Boards 3 and 4 have been mounted. The wires from the sockets are ready to be terminated in the terminal blocks immediately above. The small jack socket mounted bottom right is for the incoming telephone line from the rest of the layout. A length of telephone cable will be run from here to the standard master socket (top left).
6th September 2009: The controller faceplate has been fitted together with the telephone cradle.
The power controller sub assembly has been mounted inside the cabinet.
A start has been made on the baseplate for the cable terminations, relay units etc. Most of the components have been fitted. The wood blocks in the foreground are for the sockets into which the jumper cables from boards three and four will plug.
30th August 2009: A current limiting resistor and spark quench diode for the solenoid, which operates the electric lever lock, have been installed in the underside of the lever frame bay.
Captive nut plates have been made and fitted in the top rear corners of the cabinet. These are threaded to accept bolts which will secure brackets that will attach the cabinet to the layout side rails.
The cover board for the bottom of the cabinet has been made. The cut-outs in the bottom corners are to allow legs to slot in and support the front of the cabinet. Further holes will be cut in the cover board in due course to allow incoming/outgoing cables to be plugged in.
The illuminated track diagram and lever frame, together with its lifting cover plate, have been fitted. The power controller has not yet been fitted due to an electrical fault which is still being investigated.
The final photo is an underside view showing the general arrangement. When the power controller circuit board is ready it will be mounted on the left of the middle bulkhead.
28th August 2009: The remainder of the wiring to the LEDs has been completed. The numbered wires will be terminated in the bottom of the control cabinet in due course.
The wiring to the track feed switches has been added.
The controller faceplate has been wired up.
The power controller PCBs have been mounted on a baseplate which will be mounted on the rear of the bulkhead behind the lever frame.
The boards have been wired together. The terminal block on the right will connect to the power controller faceplate. The four wires on the left are for the incoming supply and the controlled output.
The wiring loom has been added to the microswitches on the underside of the lever frame.
The control panel cabinet has been painted.
23rd August 2009: Sanding, filling and undercoating of the control panel cabinet has continued (three undercoats so far) and it is now almost ready for the top coat.
19th August 2009: A start has been made on wiring the illuminated diagram. The cathode of each LED has been wired back to a separate resistor in the resistor panel. The anode of those LEDs that form part of a group indication have been connected together. The feed wires will be added next together with the track feed wiring to the section switches.
The control panel cabinet has received its first undercoat. When dry it will be lightly sanded and filled again with car body filler where required, then sanded and undercoated again.
14th August 2009: The screw heads and other blemishes in the plywood have been filled with car body filler and sanded ready for the first undercoat.
The fascia for the power controller has been laminated and mounted on its backplate together with the various components. The completed panel will be mounted from behind the aperture in the cabinet in due course.
The LEDs have been inserted into their bezels from behind and secured by pressing on retaining collars.
The track section switches have been added.
The panel is now ready to be wired up.
9th August 2009: The back plate for the power controller has been made and trial fitted. There has been a minor redesign of this for ergonomic reasons which has necessitated enlarging the cutout in the top panel.
The telephone cradle has been mounted on the left hand side of the panel.
A surround has been made for the lever frame. This has been hinged at the back so that the lever frame cover can be raised to show off the mechanical and electrical interlocking.
Holes have been punched in the illuminated diagram for the LEDs and section switches.
The final photo shows the diagram has been placed on the aluminium backplate and the LED bezels have been push fitted in the holes.
2nd August 2009: Three more blocks have been added at the back of the cabinet to accept screws through the baseplate to support it along its rear edge.
The holes have been cut out of the top panel for the illuminated track diagram and power controller. The edges have also had a preliminary sanding to bring them flush with the cabinet sides. The inner corners of the cutout for the lever frame have also been tidied up.
The backplate for the track diagram has been trial fitted.
1st August 2009: The front, middle and rear edges of the top panel have been bevelled using the router (first photo). The inner corners of the cutout will need finishing by hand.
Wooden blocks have been added in the front corners of the cabinet to take the weight when the removable legs are inserted from below into the recess formed by the plywood battens (second and third photos).
In accordance with prototype practice, the Advanced Starting Signal (Number 14) will be interlocked with the block instruments controlling the single line connection to the rest of the layout. This is achieved by an electrically operated lock which prevents lever 14 front being pulled unless a "Line Clear" has been received on the block.
The lock assembly, which has been machined from brass, is operated by a solenoid (of the same type that we use to operate points) mounted on the inside of the front panel (fourth photo). The solenoid is connected via a piano wire linkage to the lock itself which is mounted in front of the tappet associated with lever 14. In the normal position, the lock arm is held by spring tension against the right hand end stop preventing number 14 tappet from moving forward out of the frame thus locking the lever in the Normal position (fifth photo).
When a "Line Clear" is received on the block the solenoid is energised and this pulls the lock arm to the left moving it clear of the tappet allowing the lever to be operated to clear the signal (sixth photo). The travel is limited this time by the left hand end stop and excess travel of the solenoid is absorbed by the omega loop in the wire linkage.
When the departing train enters the block section and the instruments go to "Train on Line", the feed to the solenoid is cut allowing the lock arm to rest on the left hand side of the tappet under tension from the return spring (seventh photo).
As soon as the lever is replaced in the frame, the tappet moves clear of the lock arm which is then returned to the locked position by the return spring. Thus it is not possible to clear the signal again until another "Line Clear" has been given on the block.
26th July 2009: The top edge of the front, middle and rear bulkheads have been bevelled with a router to match the angle of the side panels.
The top panel has been cut slightly oversize and is awaiting attention from the router on the front, middle and rear edges before being drilled for fixing and making the cutouts for the panel diagram at the rear and the power controller faceplate to the right.
In the bottom of the cabinet, battens have been added around the edge to support a cover board and a base plate added which will carry the various relay units, busbars, cable terminations etc. on the underside.
19th July 2009: A start has been made on making the cabinet for the control panel. The cabinet is being built up around the lever frame sub-assembly.
The four sides are complete and the lever frame sub-assembly is in place. The top edges of the front, intermediate and rear bulkheads require bevelling to match the sides. The illuminated track diagram will be mounted behind the lever frame. The power controller will be to the right and a telephone for communication with the rest of the layout will be to the left. The busbars and fuses, circuit boards for the power controller, relay units for control of the panel indications, plug couplers and other wiring for incoming and outgoing circuits will be mounted on the bottom of a baseplate to be added underneath the lever frame in due course.
11th July 2009: The remainder of the upper tappets have been filed and fitted.
The perspex cover fitted over the locking tray prevents the tappets lifting and bypassing the locks. The locking has been tested and tight locks identified. After several time consuming iterations of removing all the locking components, fettling the notches in the affected tappets, putting it all back together and trying again, all operates smoothly.
The finishing touch is the upper cover which is hinged at the front (so it can be lifted to enable the locking to be admired from time to time!). The cover incorporates a paper sheet prepared on the computer which shows the numbers for the levers together with the locking table. The table shows that certain levers require others to be pulled first (in the "Released By" column) and also shows which levers become locked (in the "Locks" column).
5th July 2009: During the process of marking out the tappets, the holes in the locking bars were also marked "L", "U" or "B" to denote whether the locking pin applies to the (U)pper, (L)ower or (B)oth tappets.
The pins are short lengths cut from brass rod which is an interference fit in the locking bar holes and these have been pressed in to the locking bars using a drill press.
The pins have been filed to the correct length using an offcut of tappet strip with holes in as a template. The non-business end of each of the single pins is merely filed flush with the locking bars.
All 76 pins have been fitted to the locking bars which have now been put back into the frame. Operation of the levers has been checked to ensure that the tappets eject the pins smoothly from the notches. This has necessitated a number of strip down and re-assembly operations for fettling. It's now nearly right although there are one or two locks which are still a little tight and will require easing.
A start has been made filing the notches in the upper tappets. The first three have been fitted and the operation of the pins in the notches is being checked as each tappet is fitted.
21st June 2009: The lower tappets have been temporarily refitted and connected to the levers with their wire links and the lock bars inserted. With careful reference to the data tables provided with the kit, the notch positions have been marked in the lower tappets using a fine pen through the locking pin holes in the lock bars.
The upper tappets were then added and the notch positions marked. The lines show the actual notch position and the two dots at the side indicate the side that has to be filed out in a gentle curved ramp shape to eject the locking pin when the lever is moved.
The third picture shows the notches being filed out in the tappet for lever number 2 (the first of the lower tappets). The notch seen on the right hand side is for locking which operates when the lever is in the Normal position. The double notch to the left is for locking which operates in both the Normal and Reverse positions.
The fourth picture shows tappet number 2 complete and refitted in the frame.
The remaining lower tappets have all been finished and refitted.
15th June 2009: Since the miniature PCB mounted switches provided in the lever frame kit did not appear to be sufficiently durable for an exhibition layout, it has been decided to replace them with commercial microswitches. This has meant that new brackets have had to be made. The first two pictures show the slots being milled in the brass angle to clear the end microswitch in each group of six.
The brackets have now been mounted on the underside of the lever frame using long M3 screws and spacers (which were machined from brass tube) and the pre-drilled and threaded holes in the main bearers of the lever frame.
The microswitches are mounted on two lengths of M2 studding and are adjusted to align with the levers using nuts and washers either side. The gaps in the centre group of microswitches correspond to the Facing Point Lock levers which do not actually operate anything on the layout.
4th June 2009: The wire links which connect the levers to the tappets have been fitted.
The levers have been mounted on their spindle in the lever frame assembly.
3rd June 2009: The holes for the LEDs and section switches have been drilled in the aluminium backplate for the track diagram.
The resistor bank for the LEDs has been mounted on the back of the backplate.
The levers for the lever frame have (finally!) been painted and varnished. We can only assume that the etch primer used initially had "gone off". A new tin of primer was used this time round and appears to have done the trick.
17th May 2009: Painting of the levers for the lever frame is currently being delayed by a paint adhesion problem which is being investigated.
In the meantime, the heatsinks which were machined from aluminium angle have been fitted to the main PCB for the power controller. The power transistors have been installed and this board is now complete.
The positions for the LEDs and section switches have been marked and pilot drilled on the aluminium plate which will support the track diagram.
11th May 2009: The levers for the lever frame have been cleaned up, masked and sprayed with brass etch primer ready to receive the top coat.
10th April 2009: Filing of the locking bar guides has been completed and the locking bars fitted (first photo).
The locking bars were then removed and the slots in the front and rear tappet guides filed to ensure the tappets slide freely (second and third photos).
With all the lower tappets in place, the locking bars were put back in and the upper tappets added (third photo).
Some of the intermediate locking bars which fit between the full length locking bars required light filing along their full length to ensure free movement between adjacent bars (fourth photo).
Once all the intermediate locking bars were in place, the upper tappets were added and everything checked for free movement (last two photos).
5th April 2009: The lever frame has been mounted in its baseplate which will form an integral part of the control panel in due course.
A start has been made on fettling the holes in the locking bar guides to ensure the locking bars can slide freely from side to side.
1st March 2009: The control panel track diagram has been drawn. The different sections are marked by different colours on the diagram, the red circles represent the section isolation switches, and the plain circles represent LEDs which are illuminated to show which track sections are live.
18th February 2009: The first power controller PCB has been completed (you may notice the middle relay has been removed - this was fitted in error and is not required in this instance).
The second power controller PCB is nearly complete with the exception of the power transistors and their heatsinks which have yet to be machined and fitted along the left and right edges of the board.
15th February 2009: All three of the PCBs have been etched. The resistors have been added to the LED resistor bank PCB, and the first of the two PCBs for the power controller is almost complete.
8th February 2009: The printed circuit boards required for the control panel have been cut out, drilled and marked out with etch resist pen ready for etching.
The first picture shows the two power controller boards and the second shows that for the resistor bank for the LEDs on the illuminated track diagram.
2nd February 2009: The main framework for the lever frame has been assembled. The wide slots at the front and towards the back will hold the tappets which will be connected to the levers (at the back). The small holes to the left and right will hold the locking bars. The mechanical locking will be achieved by pins in the locking bars engaging with notches in the tappets. There will be quite a bit of fiddling and fettling to get this all to work!
However, construction of the lever frame will probably not progress further for a little while yet. The next stage is to cut a base plate for the frame to sit in within the control panel. The various other components (i.e. power controller, illuminated diagram, LED resistor bank and jumper cable termination panel) to be incorporated within the control panel will be started in order to get an idea of their size. This will facilitate their laying out and thus enable the design of the control panel cabinet to be finalised.
27th January 2009: Cover boards over the dimmer units have had a hole cut in them to allow access to the control knobs. The one shown here is on Board 4.
Boards 4, 5 and 6 have been erected together and functionally tested (with some help!).
With the exception of the wiring between relay units and signal motors and the jumper cables between Boards 3 and 4 and the control panel, the board wiring is now complete. So far 300m of cable has been used!
The next phase of construction will focus on the control panel including the lever frame and power controller.
18th January 2009: The first photo shows the aluminium faceplates for the dimmer units have been cut out and drilled. The second photo shows the components have been added to the printed circuit boards. The third photo shows the first unit complete. The fourth photo shows the front of the first completed unit. The fifth photo shows all four units completed. The sixth picture shows the units being bench tested. All four units have been mounted on the baseboards – the seventh photo shows the one mounted on Board 4. The last two pictures show that, whilst the cover boards were off on Boards 1 and 3, the opportunity was taken to add the return springs to the point operating mechanisms.
11th January 2009: A start has been made on the PCBs for the four lighting dimmer units required for the various lighting in buildings and the signals. The boards were drilled and the tracks were marked out with etch resist pen before etching in Ferric Chloride solution. Finally the tracks have been tinned ready to receive the components.
8th January 2009: The equipment protective cover boards for Boards 5 and 6 have been made and fitted.
30th December 2008: Board 6 has now been wired up.
The jumper cable to Board 5 has been made up and terminated, as have the two jumpers between Boards 5 and 4.
13th December 2008: The sockets on Board 4 for the jumper cables to Board 5 have been fitted and terminated.
The wiring on Board number 5 including the jumper socket to Board 6 has been completed. The jumper cables to Board 4 have not yet been made up.
Some prep work has been started on Board number 6 which carries the main line (at the back) to the rest of the layout and the ends of the goods yard sidings.
7th December 2008: The return springs have been fitted to the point solenoids on Board number four.
The power intake panel has been made and fitted. The red and black terminals are for the 15v supply to operate the relays, point solenoids, signal motors and lighting circuits. The yellow and blue terminals are for the traction supply.
2nd December 2008: The equipment cover-boards for board number four have been made and fitted and the mounting blocks for the jumper cables to board five have been made, fitted and painted.
Some preliminary work has been carried out on board number five which has the main line at the back and the two goods yard sidings in front:-
The layout of components has been decided. The signal relay units and motors to operate the main 3 arm signal on the approach to the platforms will be at the front. The fuses and busbars will be behind these together with the dimmer unit for the goods shed lighting.
The framework for the cover board has been partially completed and finally the dropper wires from the track have been installed.
1st December 2008: The busbars, terminal blocks and relay units have been mounted and the ballast resistors added to the point solenoids on board number four.
The wiring on this board has been completed with the exception of the jumper cables to the control panel and board five.
The unterminated wires with labels on in the last picture, are for the signal box lighting dimmer unit which will be added between the two solenoids.
30th November 2008: Board number 4 (which has the station throat point work on it) has had the support work for the cover boards made. The dropper wires from the track have been installed, as have the point solenoids.
24th November 2008: The jumper cable between boards one and two, which was made up previously, has been terminated.
A new jumper cable between boards two and three has been made up and terminated.
All three baseboards have been set up together and tested – and it all works!
With three boards down and three to go, thoughts are now turning to laying out the various components on board four.
17th November 2008: Cover boards to protect the relay units, point mechs etc. have been made for the first three baseboards.
16th November 2008: Board number 3 (which contains the London end of the platforms and the repositioned point into the goods yard) has been wired up.
Space has been allowed for the signal operating mechanisms for the platform starters and the shunt signal in the run round loop.
A large cover board will protect the relay units, point solenoid and fuses etc. The nearside edge of the support woodwork requires notching where the wiring passes through.
The wiring is complete apart from the jumper cables to board number 2 (to the left) and the control panel to the right. The unterminated wiring towards the bottom right of the picture is for a dimmer unit for the signal lighting for the whole station. Another cover board will be provided in due course to cover this and the signal mechs.
9th November 2008: A wooden lid has been fitted to board number 1 for protection during storage and when travelling to exhibitions.
Board number 2 (which simply contains the two platform tracks and the run round loop) has been wired up. Busbars were mounted first together with the blocks for the socket for connection to board number 3 and more blocks for a cover board to protect the busbars. Dropper wires and terminal blocks were fitted before completing the wiring. The jumper cable for connection to board number 1 has been made up and awaits terminating.
2nd November 2008: The wiring on board one is now virtually complete (signal mech wiring and a dimmer unit for station lighting will be added later) and ready for testing.
30th October 2008: Positive and negative busbars have been installed for the 15v supply to feed the relay circuits, point solenoids etc together with a common return busbar for the traction supply.
The signal and point relay control units have been mounted. The space between the relay units and the point solenoid has been left clear to accommodate a signal operating mechanism for the shunt signal which protects the loco release crossover.
In order to ensure reliable running, we do not rely on fishplates for electrical continuity, we provide a direct feed to each separate piece of rail. Dropper wires have been soldered to the rails and protrude through the baseboard awaiting connection to the main wiring.
26th October 2008: The second point operating solenoid has been installed together with its current limiting resistor. Both mechanisms fitted to far are still waiting sourcing of the return springs.
Further prep work has been carried out on the underside of the baseboard. Battens have been added to support cover boards which will protect the point operating mechanisms as well as the relay units and fuses etc.
Terminal strips have been installed together with the mounting blocks for the multi-way socket which will connect this board to the rest of the layout via a flylead from Board 2.
Finally, the new woodwork has been painted and the board is now ready for the wiring to be installed.
19th October 2008: Clevis pins have been turned up from brass rod to secure the point operating rods to the solenoid armatures.
Operating rods and return spring links have been bent up from stiff piano wire.
The solenoid for one end of the loco release crossover has been mounted on board number one. The position of the solenoid is adjusted by means of the slots in the base plate until there is +1mm overdrive. This will ensure that the points are held securely when in the reverse position. The excess travel is absorbed by the omega loop in the connecting rod.
The short wire link on the other end of the point operating crank is ready for a return spring which will hold the points in their normal position.
3rd October 2008: The relay units have all been assembled and tested. The first picture shows the Point control units, the second shows the single and twin general purpose units and the third shows the signal control units.
The point operating solenoids have been secured with specially shortened M4 countersunk machine screws to the mounting plates which were prepared way back in May. The next stage will be to mount these on the underside of the boards and connect them to the actuator units which have already been installed. Then (at last!) it should be possible to make a start on wiring it all up.
28th September 2008: The PCBs have now all had the circuit designs drawn on in etch resist pen. Then the excess copper was etched away in a Ferric Chloride solution and the etch resist ink removed with cellulose thinners. Finally the copper tracks have all been tinned with solder.
The first three pictures show the boards for the signal motor control units. The final picture shows two general purpose twin relay boards, and four point motor control boards, one of which has been partly assembled.
23rd September 2008: All the component holes have now been drilled in the PCBs using the jig plates, and the mounting holes have been opened out to their final size.
The PCBs in the first picture are for signal motor control, those in the second picture are for point control and those in the third are for single and twin relay general purpose units.
The next step will be to mark out the required circuit tracks with an etch resist pen.
10th September 2008: The 4 PCB drilling jigs have been completed. All the PCBs have had their mounting holes drilled to 3mm (these holes will later be opened out to a larger size to accommodate rubber grommets). However the next stage (as seen in the fourth photo) is to bolt each PCB to the appropriate jig using M3 nuts and bolts to ensure accurate drilling of the component mounting holes.
The kit of parts for the mechanically locked lever frame has arrived sooner than expected (all the way from Australia). This will be set aside until the layout wiring reaches an advanced state and will be tackled as part of the construction of the control panel.
23rd August 2008: All 24 printed circuit boards (PCBs) needed for the layout, have been cut to rough shape and cleaned up on the vertical milling machine. Although using the milling machine to give clean edges to the PCBs may seem a complicated way, it is actually a very quick and easy way to mass produce the PCBs accurately and neatly! Although we already have in total about 100 of these 4 different types of PCBs in service on the current main layout, these new ones have been redesigned to fit more modern components and as a result are more compact. This means that 4 new jig-drilling plates made out of steel (as seen in the 2nd photo) have to be made. These jig plates have the necessary holes drilled very accurately to locate the relays, etc. on the PCBs. Once the jigs are completed, the PCBs are simply jig-drilled using the relevant jig plate.
16th August 2008: Although there does not seem to have been much progress recently, quite a lot has been going on. The design for the mechanically-locked lever frame has been completed using software provided by Modratec and the order for the kit of parts has now been placed (no photos, but see www.modratec.com). The remaining baseboards have had their undersides repainted and the point operating cranks have been refitted. Design work on the wiring has been completed (all 37 sheets of it!). A large box of wire, relays, solenoids, switches and other electrical bits and pieces has been delivered and work is about to commence on making the printed circuit boards for the various relay units required. If that's not enough, we have also recently taken Newchapel Junction on a 600 mile round trip to Model Show Wales in Llandudno!
6th July 2008: The cutouts for point operating mechanisms in the two baseboards which have had the old point work removed, have been filled in with balsa wood and body filler. This has been sanded down together with the old paintwork and new gloss white paint applied to provide a clean surface. The paintwork on the underside of the other baseboards will be similarly refreshed in due course.
29th June 2008: The rest of the track in the second siding has been laid which now completes all the track laying.
28th June 2008: The crossover has been completed, and the remaining two boards have been attached to the far end of the layout to enable the track for the two sidings to be laid. The first siding has been laid with a length of straight track which will run parallel to a goods shed. The raised sloped sides on the very end board are to accommodate grass banks which will run up to the bridge, which is located on the end of the neighboring board on the main layout.
23rd June 2008: The first pair of switch blades have been shaped and fitted to the crossover.
21st June 2008: The switch blades have been shaped and fitted to complete the siding turnout, and the crossover has had the last two check rails fitted.
19th June 2008: The crossover has advanced with both noses finished, all four wing rails in place, and the first two check rails finished.
18th June 2008: The check rails have been soldered into place on the siding turnout. The length of plain track has been laid at the near end of the crossover, and the crossover itself has progressed with the final two stock rails in place, and the first nose finished.
16th June 2008: The next length of siding track has been laid, and the second stock rail has been laid for the loco-release crossover. Lastly the second wing rail has been soldered into place on the siding turnout.
12th June 2008: The rails over and the track beyond the ash pit has been glued down. The nose of the turnout into the siding has been completed.
11th June 2008: The copper-clad sleepers have been laid for the loco-release crossover, and the first stock rail has been soldered into place for the turnout leading to the ash pit. The first length of track has been laid.
7th June 2008: The second stock rail has been soldered into place for the siding turnout, and the sleepers cut to length. The first length of track has been laid in the siding, and the balsa wood sleepers have been glued down for the loco-release crossover. The fourth photo shows the loco-release crossover and the ash pit in the foreground, and the siding turnout located in the middle. The final photo shows the layout from the opposite end (there are two more boards that attach to the near end of this photo which extend the mainline and sidings).
5th June 2008: The copper-clad sleepers have been glued to the balsa wood sleepers, and the first stock rail has been soldered into place for the siding turnout. Also the steps have been made for the ash pit.
4th June 2008: The hole for the ash pit has been cut out, and the balsa wood sleepers (that bring the copper-clad sleepers up to height) have been laid for the siding turnout.
3rd June 2008: The new alignment for the siding has been finalized and marked out. The original track has been lifted to accommodate the new turnout leading into this siding. Also the new alignment for the crossover has been finalized and marked out.
26th May 2008: The solenoid mounting plates have been made for the point operators, together with 17 shafts that will rotate in the bearing tubes. The 6 completed operators for the Branch Line Terminus can be seen.
11th May 2008: A batch of 3/32nd balsa has been cut into strips in preparation for the construction of the new points. The balsa strips bring the copper-clad sleepers up to the same height as the plastic sleepers of the Peco track.
7th May 2008: The 17 point operator bearing tubes have been made.
4th May 2008: Work on the 17 point operators has continued with all 17 operating arms made.
3rd May 2008: The first photo shows the new baseboard has been painted in undercoat and the underside has been painted gloss white.
Now that the layout has been extended by four feet by the addition of the new board, it has been decided to reposition the point leading into the shorter of the two sidings in the goods yard further away from the crossover. Not only will this provide additional much needed siding space, but it also means the point will no longer be across the baseboard joint as seen in the second photo.
The third and forth photos show the old point has been lifted and replaced with plain track. The new point will be let into the run round loop and positioned close to the near end (out of shot below the pictures) of the nearer baseboard. The siding will run out towards and then along the right hand side of the boards.
22nd April 2008: A batch of 17 point operators are being made – 6 for the Branch Line Terminus, and 11 in preparation for building the Motive Power Depot in about 2 years time. All the base plates have been made so far.
20th April 2008: Construction work has started once again on the Branch Line Terminus. The new extension board has been made, and can be seen in place. The track laid eight years ago can be seen on the original boards.
A Brief History
This project was actually started around 1997 by one of the group members with the intention of replacing an older branch line terminus. The project got as far as the boards being built and about 80% of the track being laid before being “mothballed” upon the arrival of twins.
Having reviewed the Branch Line Terminus as it stood, it was decided to extend it by one further baseboard (four feet) at the buffer stop end. This is in order to provide longer platform/run round facilities as these are considered to be too short for current traffic requirements. With this in mind, the existing loco release crossover at the end of the main platform has been lifted, the platform and run round loop lines realigned and extended. The new crossover will be positioned on the new board. The Branch Line Terminus track plan can be seen below.