Operating the full layout….properly!

Today has been an eventful one!

This afternoon I took delivery of the Cwm Prysor Fiddleyards from Tim Horn. Things didn’t go as smooth as hoped initially, regarding mating the boards to the main layout…..eventually though, we got there.

Here is how things look now!

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Blaenau Ffestiniog/Trawsfynydd Fiddleyard below. The cassettes are split into loco, single coach passenger and two coach passenger/goods trains. They are clipped together with bulldog clips and the beauty of this, is it allows locos to be taken off and turned without actually handling them. However, do not touch both sides of the cassette at the same time when connected to the layout! 😉

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Bala Fiddleyard below. The cassettes are connected to a transition piece which draws it’s power off the main board tracks temporarily. However for shows it will have it’s own connectors off the main bus wires.

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Some extra items from Tim, the frontage to the platform made from laser cut MDF (sadly the brick work isn’t going to be visible to the public, because it looks very nice!)

The platform itself will be made up from polystyrene which will then blend into the hillside as the real thing did. Also can be seen is the entry culvert for the stream that ran into Llyn Tryweryn. This will be covered in Das modelling clay, before being carved to represent the stone work.

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It’s been very enjoyable to actually run trains over the full length of the layout tonight. The only thing, is I must not get too distracted running trains, or I’ll never get the layout finished!

Thanks for your patience today Tim! It was well worth the effort!

 

 

Welsh Odyssey Part 2

Apologies is the delay in getting Part 2 posted.

I was rather pleased with the evening photos I had taken from Friday night, but they were nothing compared to what I was to see on Saturday morning. I left my B&B at 7.30am and took the short drive up to Cwm Prysor. Nature really knows how to do it!

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The morning mist across Llyn Tryweryn was particularly atmospheric.

I then headed back down to Trawsfynydd to take some photos at Llyn Trawsfynydd and as dawn broke across the Rhinogs.

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Back at the B&B I had a good hearty Welsh Breakfast, and headed off to Porthmadog. The original plan was to do the Welsh Highland. However I had decided to cut the weekend short due to my Dad’s health, and felt the WHR was going to be a touch too long at a 6 hour round trip, so I decided to travel on the Ffestiniog.

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As we set out from Porthmadog, I really couldn’t believe how lucky I had been with the weather. The view across the Cob sums this up well!

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After a truly spectacular journey, I decided to head home, via Cwm Prysor to get some close up shots of the remaining crossing gate and dry stone walls….. there were no trains today….

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Although only a short trip, it’s left me feeling inspired to crack on with the layout. Things are coming together and I think it’s fair to say, with the landscaping to the front of the layout nearly formed, I’ll be starting the scenic work in the new year.

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My focus now is to have the layout finished by the Summer, as Railway Modeller are hopefully coming up to take photos for an article I’m writing.

Happy Days! 🙂

Welsh Odyssey Part 1

As I type, I am now settled into my rather cosy B&B for the night at Trawsfynydd. Today has been rather enjoyable, meeting up with my friends John Roberts (former signalman on the Bala-Blaenau branch and Ruabon – Barmouth lines), Martin Williams (author of the super Ruabon to Barmouth Line Book) and Derek Lowe (another author of several books including the Cambrian Main Line and ‘Return to Pwllheli’).

After a good natter about all things regarding this lonely branch line over the mountains, Derek and I headed up to Capel Celyn and Arenig. The former Quarry Station has been completely levelled with little sign of the former Granite Quarry (other than a couple of buttresses).

Capel Celyn was my primary interest, as there is a surviving farm bridge that crosses the trackbed. This is very much what I want to base the Cwm Prysor bridge on, that forms the Blaenau scenic break. After some exploring, we found the said bridge which is really in superb condition for it’s age.

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After saying farewell to John, Derek and Martin I bought some Fish and Chips at Bala, and ate them at Cwm Prysor. To say it was a beautiful evening would be an understatement.

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Finally, as the sun set….I had time to take some quick snaps of Trawsfynydd Lake and the Rhinogs…..roll on tomorrows furthering Welsh Odyssey!

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Goodnight! 🙂

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Cwm Prysor developments….

Since the last update, with the layout now wired, things have continued to move in a positive direction. 🙂

The track has been painted, initially with a coat of Grey Primer and then secondly with a coat of Halfords ‘Camouflage Brown’, as recommended by Jim Smith-Wright. The results of which are very pleasing and have just the right look for a basic coat. Plus it blends the SMP and  timber sleepers together quite nicely. I’ve now painted the entire landscape to the rear of the track, just to give a good earth texture before scenic work begins.

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I have also been doing some ‘Ballasting Experiments’ which have proven interesting. I initially tried the method of adding PVA first, then lots of ballast before hoovering the excess up. The results were not great, with the ballast sticking and bulging out between the sleepers. I therefore went back to the conventional method of diluted PVA sprayed before hand with water with a drop of washing up liquid. The results were far better as can be seen below. I have been trialling two ballast types, Woodland Scenics ‘blended gray’ Medium and Fine. I already have one I prefer, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.

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I was originally going to begin ballasting the layout next, but I have decided it’s going to be best to start landscaping the front of the layout….that way the modrock stage is done, without effecting the ballast work.

Next weekend I head up to North Wales again, this time to stay for a few days as a sort of mini break, which will involve be taking in the delights of the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways. What I am looking forward to though, is meeting up with some friends, one of which being the ex signalman from Bala I have mentioned before. We are going to have a bit of a sight seeing tour with a look around Capel Celyn, Arenig…..oh and possibly this place for some reason! 😉

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In other news, I have just finished writing another article for Railway Modeller on ‘Goods Traffic for Cwm Prysor’ It has been an enjoyable experience once again to be writing for the Modeller and hopefully will be published the beginning of next year. Tony Wright has kindly taken some lovely studio photographs of my stock which should look very nice in print.

That’s all for now! 🙂

Tom

 

Cwm Prysor – Fully Wired!

Good Morning all!
Very brief update. The layout is now fully operational!

I’m extremely pleased I’ve managed to do it (wiring was something I didn’t think I’d be able to do) and with some advice from Ken Gibbons and Andy Jones, the process wasn’t as difficult as I thought. Below is a quick video I made last night, just to show locos and stock moving over the new area. The point is operated with a DPDT switch, which switches the polarity, and manually switches the point.

 

Just the fiddle yards to go, and we can start thinking about scenic work! 🙂

Point work finished!

I don’t think I ever thought I’d be able to manage it, but Cwm Prysor’s point work is completed.

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I’m very pleased with the results and the appearance. The soldering of the tiebar to the switch blades was interesting, but they now work well. The point operation will be manual, using Ken Gibbon’s method with a DPDT switch (I became acquainted with the system when I was operating Ken’s layout at ExpoEM North). Overall though, I have rather enjoyed building point work and this will certainly be the method I use in future, no matter how good RTP track work becomes.

Next stage will be wiring them and operating them, and hopefully……we should have an operational layout (the main layout was wired last week).

We can then move on to ballasting and scening work!! We are getting there!

The Finishing Touches

With a great deal of time off during the Summer, I’ve thrown myself in to more goods stock for Cwm Prysor. The LMS vans I built several months ago, are now in Bauxite and two of them are now finished. I focussed on D1978 first, which was built from a Ratio body, Parkside under frame, with Lanarkshire Buffers, Vents and Vac Pipes. Screwlinks were made up from the Masokits etch.

As well as this van, another 16T has been through the works this week. I wanted to take it a little further than the last one, working from a photo from Trawsfynydd in 1959.

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The more I have been looking through prototype photographs, the more I have felt my Van stock has been lacking that final little detail…. chalk markings. Just looking through the superb prototype section of Geoff Kent’s 4mm Wagon Volume 2, you can see a variety of scribbles all over the vans.

I’ve seen various methods for producing chalk markings, some more successful than others. It was on a google search I came across some convincing scribblings, and to my (not so much) surprise, it was the work of Ian Fleming. Ian had used a mapping pen with white ink which gave a rather nice result. A mapping pen and white ink were duly ordered via Amazon and arrived this morning. I practiced on some spare Van sides, before trying it out on D1978. I tried to pick locations local….and not so local seen as Vans are common user.

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This older LMS van (D1676) you may remember from a previous blog post. I had worked from a photo in Geoff’s Book (Vol 2 again) and have based one side on the chalk markings (page 38). The other side I went for something a bit more local to the branch… 😉

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Finally, and the latest van off the workbench is this, a BR Dia 1/204. The design of this is very much the last of LMS family, but was produced by BRITISH RAILWAYS. The model was produced from the old airfix body (now available by Dapol), a Parkside under frame, and again Lanarkshire Models for the detailing bits.

I wanted it to look different than D1976, so went for a far lighter approach. In my mind as a new build in 1950, it had been overhauled around 1956…so my model is probably 6 months-12 months after overhaul. Again I tried to give the chalk markings a local flavour as well as touch more distant.

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So what is next? Well I would like to add the odd poster to some of these… not on everyone of them, but just enough to give a touch of variety and individualism. Overall this as been an enjoyable process once again, and hopefully will just add that little bit extra realism to the layout when it’s done. 🙂