Friday, 11 January 2019

Looking back over 2018

Having realised I've not done an update for 2018, I reckon I'd best do one quick before we're not too far into 2019!

First off we're still working on Lightcliffe, recently concentrating on wiring but at the beginning of the year David Varley brought along some of the buildings he was working on -

Firstly, the signal box -

Next, two views of the main buildings, and a footbridge abutment -

The layout is now also wired and both main lines can be run from end to end, although some refining of the feeds to each main line remains to be done.

With the main lines running, it's given us a chance to test out some locos. Over the last year I've been progressing my 3F conversion to the point that it's now running smoothly and is painted and weathered - here's a couple of pictures of it on a test run or two shunting a few wagons about -

This Jinty has had new brake rods, salvaged from an old Bob Jones 3F Chassis kit, to replace the original plastic ones and it needs a some extra coal, crew and weathering as well as a few fire irons placed on top of the tanks to complete.

It will be then ready for service - I have a Golden Jubilee project 'in the works' and the folding test track is also still in progress - AVRMC are having an open day in April so I'm hoping it may be ready for then.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Back building buildings

For various reasons, time for modelling has been in short supply in 2017, but an enforced absence from work since the beginning of October has meant that I've had quite a bit of spare time on my hands.

So what have I been doing with it?

Well, cast your minds back 18 months or so ago, and I'd just finished my model of the signal box for Lightcliffe. And before that I'd almost finished the main station buildings. 

Due to changes in Photobucket's image hosting, the photographs of those models have disappeared from this site so I'll post some more of them as a reminder of where I'd got to and then we can go from there.

First the signal box ...

... then the main station buildings ...

... and finally the staircase between the footbridge and the Bradford bound platform.

There's still work to do on the main station buildings - signs and timetable/poster boards need to be added to the platform side and five chimneys need to be added to the roof of the WC block at the rear. I had been struggling to work out the chimney arrangements for the WCs from the drawings and photographs that I had, but thanks to some aerial photographs of from Historic England's archive, that particular mystery has been solved.

Mysteries still remain though, particularly as regards the other building on the Bradford bound platform, which can be seen to the right of the first three pictures at

Whilst it had a goods yard, Lightcliffe didn't have a rail served goods shed, so I'm assuming that this is some sort of store/wharehouse that also served as accommodation for the station porters (as far as I know there wasn't a porters' room in the main station buildings, and there are a couple of photographs showing the Bradford end of the building - the end furthest away from the photographer in the above photos - with platform trollies parked against it).

There are several good photographs showing the front of the building and a couple of distant ones of the wall at the Bradford end, which was plain, but I've yet to see a photo of the rear and until recently the only photos I'd seen of the Halifax end were partial ones that seemed to indicate that that wall was plain as well.

Then a photo turned up on Ebay which showed that there was a door in the Halifax end of the building and that the building appeared to be lower at the rear than it was at the front (as with the main station building).

Looking at the Historic England aerial photograph again, there was also the possibility that there was a road access door in the rear wall. Anyway, the building has to be built, and I've now almost finished making the walls - a custom made running-in board has been ordered but has yet to arrive and guttering downpipes need to be added, but otherwise the walls are ready for assembly.

Platform frontage with timetable/poster boards losely positioned (the larger board is actually too big and I'll need to make another to the correct size) ...

  ... the rear wall ...

 ... and the end walls (Bradford end on the left and Halifax end on the right) - there's no evidence that there was a flight of steps but it looks right to me).

The building bug have rebitten me, next on the list was the gentlemens' toilet on the Halifax bound platform where I had the benefit of some lovely dimensioned drawings by Chris Arthur to work from.

Again, the walls are almost finished - there are still some guttering down pipes to be added to the Halifax end wall and the front wall, as well as a "Gentlemen" sign and associated ironwork. The rear wall of the building was plain and abutted a retaining wall for higher ground behind the platform so won't actually be seen once the buiding's in place on the layout.

Bradford end wall and front wall ...

... and the Halifax end wall.

And then there's the weighbridge hut in the goods yard. The dimensions for this were taken from the drawings that were obtained from Calderdale archives for the main station buildings and the aerial photograph has also helped in determing the roof structure, but otherwise it's guesswork as to what the building looked like. At the moment, just the basic shapes of the walls have been cut and window and door openings made, though these still need some cleaning up.

I've not just been working on Lightcliffe though - also underway are three Furness Railway horseboxes of 1871 vintage (as below) and planning and baseboard construction is underway for a layout for the 2mm Finescale Association's Diamond Jubilee challenge (no pictures of that yet but it's going to be based on Tewkesbury engine shed).

Come the New Year, I need to get down to Aire Valley Railway Modellers' clubrooms to play around with the platforms and have a look at the work that John and Sam have been doing, but for now it's Merry Christmas to one and all ... and hopefully see you again in the not too distant future.

David V.

Friday, 22 September 2017

AVRMC open day and double success.

On the 27th of August, the Sunday of the bank holiday weekend. AVRMC held an open day for the public to see what we do.
The day generally went very well with only complementary comments received and a few interested people.

In the months and weeks leading up to the open day we had been concentrating on getting all the track on Lightcliffe operational and reliable. This had been achieved but only with one controller for all tracks. During the morning, after settling in, track cleaning etc, I investigated getting both controllers available so we could run two trains at once. This seemed to just need some wires connecting with a choc-block. This was done in stages, to check at each point, that I hadn’t stopped the other controller from working or created a short. Once the second controller was connected to the track it was tried, but.. nothing! A look underneath the control panel showed that the controller didn’t have a supply to it so a link was added from the supply for the first controller, then… it worked!

Sadly I can only upload this one video due to size limits on Blogger. I have two other, better, ones. Anyone know an easy way to reduce video file sizes?

Edit to add that the videos should be viewable on these links:

Friday, 9 June 2017

Quick milestones.

A fairly brief but successful visit to the club on the 27th.

After my last visit I wasn’t able to get to the club for quite a few months. This time I didn’t get there as soon as I’d have liked but despite the reduced time available I was able to make progress.
Firstly, after removing the cover from the layout, I carried on connecting the droppers for Brookes sidings to their buss bars. Then I made a link from the buss bars to the temporary ‘choc-bloc’ plug that connects to the next board, and inserted temporary jumpers on that plug to connect to the wires for the main lines.
Next, the big moment, so out with a loco and do a bit of track (and wheel) cleaning. Then, connect the controller and see what happens.
The result… TRIUMPH! :-) The loco was able to run over all parts of the layout, especially Brookes sidings. The photos below show this and hopefully I’ll be able to upload a video.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Jinty Progress and the new Test Track

With moving house there's been little time for modelling, however I have been getting some done - firstly my Jinty conversion, using the association conversion for the current Farish model, is progressing nicely - indeed all it needs now is painting, renumbering and weathering once I've done a bit more fettling on it to discover why it seems to rock a little on the centre axle.

So here it is thus far, complete with a replacement N Brass Lines chimney...

My other project has been working on a new folding test track for use at AVRMC, this follows the pattern of Chris Arthur's test track as described in the August 2003 issue of the magazine, based around some MDF cut and stuck back together to allow a 2 foot radius circuit to be made -

It's almost ready for laying track, and it will be able to be set up on either a pair of trestles or flat on a suitable table.

Next Pennine Area Group meeting is on Saturday June 10th at Aire Valley MRC where more work will be carried out on this to cut holes suitable for carrying it when folder and also painting it in a suitable colour, probably green of some sort!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Success and progress.

My visit to Keighley on Saturday 17th was brief but good.

First step was un-soldering the white wire from the switch for the frog, which eliminated that as the short. 5 sleepers down, umpteen to go! I then connected the multi-meter to the siding rails and proceeded to laboriously examine the insulation gap on each sleeper, in turn. Any gap that looked as if there was the slightest chance of a short was given a scrape with an old craft knife blade.

Eventually, about halfway along the stretch of track, I found one sleeper where the gap ‘appeared’ to only be partially cut. Anyway, a few swift but careful cuts & scrapes with the knife ensured a proper gap. Simultaneously the needle on the multi-meter moved towards infinite resistance and a small cheer spread round the room (well I and the two locals who were watching & assisting, anyway).
Overview of the end board showing Brookes sidings on the right of the main lines.

The area of the problem...  Multimeter & knife at the ready.

Mug shot of the culprit.

Further probing with the multi-meter indicated there were no further shorts so I got out the soldering iron (having remembered to bring my big one!), flux & solder and prepared to connect Brookes sidings to their new buss bars installed at my last visit.
I started by moving the connections to the switches that move the point blades and switch power for the frog from the main buss bars to the Brookes sidings bars. Checking each connection in turn to make sure no new shorts had been created.  Then I moved on to connecting the running rails to the buss bars but time & cold fingers prevented this being completed so that will have to wait until next year.

Next visit I will connect the rest of the droppers to the buss bars and look at connecting Brookes sidings to the controller.
There is a further thin copper wire that needs soldering to the side of a rail joint on the main line.
Some of the wires under the board are really too short, being pulled taught. So we should perhaps think about extending them by a couple of inches to give a little slack.

Finally, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.


Friday, 11 November 2016

More frustrations from a different source.

A slightly frustrating visit to the club on the 22nd of October.

On my previous visit we had managed to get power to the whole of the layout including Brookes sidings but then discovered that we had a short somewhere on the end board (the one with most of Brookes sidings).

At an intermediate visit someone had tried to find the source of the short by cutting the feeds to the sidings from the buss bars. However, some of the main line feeds had also been cut and some of the siding feeds had been missed.

So, this time some careful work with the multimeter, showed that the main line was not the source of the short, and in fact showed that one piece of rail on the main wasn’t linked electrically to its neighbours by the thin copper wires that are soldered to the side of each rail joint.

Therefore the main was re-connected fully and the rest of the sidings were disconnected from the main line buss bars.

Then a new pair of buss bars were installed for Brookes sidings. (hmm, do we need some for the goods yard? and does the goods yard have sufficient droppers to maintain reliability?).

Nothing has been connected to the Brookes buss bars as the rest of the afternoon was taken up with methodically searching for the short with the multimeter.
This was eventually narrowed down to the area of the outermost 'Brookes' siding and the point that leads to it. The rest of Brookes sidings seem to be fine. Hopefully we'll be able to pin-point the short soon.
I think the next step will be to un-solder the switch for the frog to eliminate that & then examine the sleeper insulating gaps. Must remember my big iron next visit.