All change

Mixture of feelings today.

After much consideration, I have decided that for the foreseeable, Cwm Prysor will be a home layout. To put this bluntly, as well as trying to make a living I am the carer for my terminally ill father. He is housebound and on 24hour oxygen and although there was the plan for someone to be with him when I was to be away at shows, I ultimately do not want to leave him. One day he wont be here and I can do what I wish, but at the moment he needs me and I need him.

My whole enthusiasm for the layout has taken a knock recently, but the decision not to exhibit has given me a bit of a boost today, so the plan to finish the layout in the coming months is still on target for the summer and a photo shoot with Railway Modeller.

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I have now finished the bridge and the lake frontage, so my next stage is to texture the road surface, adding the dry stone walls before grass work will begin.

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Meanwhile, I’ve started planning the next layout, which will be a home layout. It will fit nicely alongside the opposite wall and to quite Monty Python, it will be a case of ‘ and now for something completely different’. I don’t want to say much more at the moment, but they do say variety is the spice of life! 🙂

Activity will probably be slowing down on here now, but I hope to post some more content in a month or so.

All the best

Tom

Stafford Show

I’ve just returned home from an enjoyable day at Stafford Model Railway Exhibition. I was helping out on Phil Greave’s lovely Ellesmere, and after some morning hiccups, settled down nicely. I have to say shunting is becoming the thing I really enjoy, and on Ellesmere it was no exception (especially with a 57XX at the front)!

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I also had chance to look at Phil’s new Hatton’s 14XX….

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I have to say it looks exceptional, a really fine piece of locomotive. Sadly it didn’t run too happy, but this appears to be down to the Ellesmere controllers rather than the loco. As mine will be DCC it should be ok.

Oh and before I forget, I picked this little chap up today from Mister Wright. More on this when it’s weathered.

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The highlight of course, was to catch up with friends and discuss our current projects…that’s what makes the hobby for me.

 

 

2017 – Cwm Prysor’s Time!

Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to everyone.

You may have noted things have been rather quiet around these parts. I have decided to cut down my online presence as I felt I was saturating my work by posting on the FB page, modelling forums and here. It seems best to focus on one place, and those that are interested will find me here, on the blog. I also needed the Christmas period to rid myself of some demons, so it’s fair to say 2017 feels like a real fresh start.

So, to kick things off…. those of you that read the model railway magazines may have seen I had an article in this months Railway Modeller on the goods stock for Cwm Prysor. It was an interesting article to write and I can’t thank Steve Flint and Railway Modeller enough for giving me the opportunity to share my ramblings. What is nice is that this article, and the subsequent two I’ve written, are all gearing up for the big one…’Cwm Prysor’ which will be appearing in the Modeller (probably next year).

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As for Cwm Prysor, I took a break from the layout over Christmas, but since the New Year progress has been coming on well. The platform is now in place, the landscape is fully formed around it and we even have the shelter in place (courtesy of Geoff Taylor). The station area has had plasticard added so there is a nice flat base for the station building, plus a seamless join into the level crossing.

Recent work though has seen the dilapidated snow defences put into place. I’ve seen a photo from around 1910 where these sleeper defences are all standing in place, neat and proper. By the 1950s though, they were really uncared for and that is how they are represented on the layout. Special thank to Tim Horn for supplying the laser cut sleepers.

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Finally, I’ve begun work on the over bridge at the Blaenau end of the layout. Tim kindly laser cut the MDF pieces for the buttresses to my specifications. The bridge itself I have no photos of it, so I’ve based it on the one further down the line at Capel Celyn. The girders are by plaststruct with 20 thou plasticard on top. The railings are from Geoff Taylor’s etched range of building accessories. These need shortening which will be done tomorrow, before I primer the girder/railings and spray satin black. The buttresses will be coated in Das modelling clay, and then a few weeks later the stone work will be scribed.

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Everything is coming together nicely, I’ve ordered the scenic bits to do the lake and stream and all the grass work is here for when it’s needed. So there is lots going on at the moment!

2017 is Cwm Prysor’s year!

‘Dad and Lass’ courtesy of Modelu – forever on my layouts….

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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 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 – 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!