Friday, December 24, 2010

Nadolig Llawen! (Merry Christmas)

Merry Christmas! I’d like to thank the people that have visited this blog over the last few months. And I’d like to thank Colin Lea, creator of Rhyd Ddu ( and Rob Waller creator of Bron Hebog ( for advice and constructing carriage 100.
Just to give the narrow gauge modellers a taste of the Ffestiniog in the snow (if you didn't see the picture on the BBC news website). Here is a picture I took of Tanygrisiau Station as I went for a walk up to Stwlan Dam (for the people that don't know, Stwlan Dam is the 'top' Resevoir built for the Hydro Power Station)
If you look very closely, you will see the Baugley-Drewery 0-6-0 Harlech Castle, on Ploughing duties on the 'Up' line, before the Passenger trains.

For the ones that might not be able to see Harlech Castle, It's just to the left of the middle of the photo.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not much progress :(

Similar to Rob Waller's recent post here, progress has slowed down dramatically due to Royal Mail.
Last weekend I bought a new soldering iron at Warely as my old one (which was my dads when he was a apprentice, 30 odd years ago!) was quite literally on its last legs, a new tip was put in, connections tested etc but it just wouldn’t heat up.
So i bought a new one from Squires, at Warely. To be fair it was fairly cheap, but it was also a 'health and safety conscious' soldering iron (didn't heat up!) So after a phone call, they said that they would replace it, so I’m currently waiting for that.
Also at the NEC, loads of bits and bobs where bought. Wire, 25 pin connectors + connector housing, plastic cement, plasaticard, plastic 'letters' for station name boards etc, and suitable material to make a hoist to go outside one of the workshops / engine shed.
I enjoyed all of the layouts, they where truly of great quality. They gave me plenty of ideas on what I can do on my own. Here are a few things I will most probably be doing.

1) Adjustable feet. A no brainer really, for uneven floors etc, I will need 16, 4 have already been made last Saturday, at the Lodge.

2) Control panel / Stock transporter. This was taken from 'Bridport Town' I'm not sure if it was all a control panel or not, but it was simply a cupboard, with leads connecting to the layout, and two doors at the front for access. I will most likely go for a browse at the local recycling centre to see what they have, but I could make one if I can’t find one. The top 1/4 will hold the electrics, transformers etc, with the mimic panel on the top and the stock will be kept in box files on shelves in the bottom 3/4.

And there’s plenty more ideas whizzing around my head! Hopefully once I get the soldering iron, the track for the station can be soldered together, glued down, then the ‘alignment pieces’ at the joints be lined up, then, it’s test time! The point motors have been roughly fitted, holes have been drilled for Peco uncouplers (yet to be bought) and track feeds.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Progress over the weekend

Firstly, I apologise for the lack of updates over the last month, been a bit busy with collage and work.
But, over the weekend massive progress have been made! The legs have been screwed into the baseboard and a frame the same dimensions as the baseboard has been screwed into the bottom of the legs. 50mm castors have then been screwed into the bottom of each leg to make it portable. The baseboard for the station module was re laid. The way I did it last time wasn't the best way in the world. So hers a picture of the progress so far....

Unfortunately I am starting to regret converting the B.L board (and had plans to convert the rest of the layout) to DCC. It dawned on me, that its going to be a fair bit more expensive to go DCC... So watch this space...
Also some Peco 009 points and Gaugemaster PM-1 point motors have been ordered. a neat little feature on the PM-1 is a built in accessory switch, which will be used for powering the LEDs in the control panel to indicate which way the point is set. There is still quite a bit to do to get the layout running, including building a 6 or 7 road fiddle yard. Hopefully some N gauge points will be bought at the Warely Exhibition at the NEC in three weeks.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Let there be light"

Well, two light bulbs at least. After a half day in collage yesterday, i decided to go and have a browse around Home Bargains. And I managed to buy a few odd things for the layout.
1) A children’s Halloween mask, with flashing eyes. With a bit of butchering of the mask and clever rewiring, I think it could make a good impression of a fire or an arc welder.
2) Two 'clip on' lamps without lampshades. I bought these to experiment with the lights on my layout. I'm thinking of (somehow) making a 'structure' that will support the lights from above. A board will be placed along the front of them with the name of the railway, exhibition badges and info about certain locomotives and features on the layout, such as a (very) brief history of the layout of maybe a timeline of the FR, not sure yet.
Also I have been thinking a bit more about how I can support the layout. My problem is that it needs to be fairly movable because dad wants enough space in the garage for 'emergency use' i.e. he needs to do something on the car without warning. So I have come up with some sort of a system (I think).
I might build a steel box tubing frame underneath that somehow 'screws' onto the layouts wooden frame, it will also have a way of supporting the lights. The best thing about it is that the lights will be able to slide down and protect the layout in transit. The structure will also be on four casters with brakes, so when the garage needs to be used, it can simply roll into the corner. Bit more thought is needed with this idea.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Carriage 100 painted and (Almost) finished

I painted the carriage today, in the FR Green Livery. These are the pictures.. on the layout!
I'm writing an article for a magazine and decided to put the layout up and photograph the progress up to now. The sand is only dropped on for a bit of 'visual effect' I will probably brush it off later on or tomorow.
Also just out of curiosity, i put all of my FR passenger stock together, headed by Pamlerston (which will serve the steam hammer at the works when the building is constructed).
After seeing the layout like this it has given me a boost to get on with the
electrics so i can start on the scenics!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Carriage and Facebook Page

Today, the new carriage from Robert Waller arrived. So the paint was out! (After I photographed it)

Firstly the sides and end (bottom end) where masked off, leaving the 'corridor' to be painted Matt Black with the roof. The chassis and carriage where then painted with an airbrush.

Whilst the Matt Black was drying I decided to test a paint colour I was given by my uncle. It's Railmatch 'Frame Dirt'. When observing the obs, and various other carriages in the carriage shed. I noticed that the bodywork of the carriages are kept very clean (cleaned weekly) But, the chassis and bogies aren’t, they are covered with the dust from the lubrication pads Boston Lodge produces (so I’m told)
They are surprisingly dirty, so I’m going to replicate this but not as 'strong'. I am also thinking of painting some carriages as 'new' and others more weathered, to vary the appearance a bit.
Just to let you all know, I've made a Facebook page, where 'quick little' updates will be posted, but the majority of posts will be here. Also the page 'Gallery' will only hold links to the Albums on Facebook.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Carriage finished

Well, not by me anyway. Over at Boston Largs Works, after an epic battle to form the roof (as he posts here) My first carriage has been finished. I will (attempt) to make an interior, paint and0 fill with people myself. But for now, i'm waiting for either mum or dad to come home (who have pay pal accounts) so i can pay Robert Waller (Creator of the famous 'Dduallt' 009 model railway and one of his newest creations is Bron Hebog, Beddgelert in 009)
I am as of now unsure what livery i will paint my carriages, i have many choices...

1) FRs modern livery

2) FRs 'green and cream'

3) FRs Green

4) FR Vintage/Victorian Stock (Glossy black with gold/red lineing)

5) FRs 'Red oxide'

hmmm... any suggestions?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mega progess over the weekend

I got loads done over the weekend, mostly saturday. I decided to start converting Boston Lodge to DCC. I then ended up, removing the board from the frame, repacing the board, adjesting the frame so it is rectangular like the others, adding a new baseboard, new back (the old back was a bit flimsy) then i started to lay the track and adding feeds etc. I'm now trying to list what i need, and how much money i have got to spend.
I'm now thinking of not having a harbor station, maybe a Blaenau Ffestinog or Llanfair Caereinion (from the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway. Unsure yet. Also i went to Llanfair to the G scale Gala (and i'm glad i don't do that scale, £2300 for a Garrat and a locomotive in 009 is the same price as a point in G) Whilst we where a stone throw away from the WLLR, we went to their Gala. Chaveleir, The Earl and The Countess where pulling regular (usually late) passenger serivce with Dougal (a tiny engine that can only haul 1 half full carriage) chuffing around in the background. We took a trip to welshpool in one of the three carriages that Boston Lodge built for them.
Just for a laugh, i was on the way home from work when i had a chat with a Guard on the Ffestiniog (he prefers the WHR). He said that he has a amazing modernisation plan for the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland which is... closing the FR from Tan y Bwlch to Blaenau (but still keeping the track to dduallt) then scrap all of the un-economical engines (all the steam ones) and stations/sections that do not make money, i then replied
"So, basically, your modernisation plan is to close the WHR, and only run services to Tan Y Bwlch?"
"Erm.... yeah" he replied
Here are some photos of the layout and WLLR Gala

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Progress at last!

After work today I spent a few hours on the layout. I've epoxy to hold a GEM coupling to an N gauge bogie, and the height etc seems ok, might invest in some more. Anyway, I’ve decided to convert the layout to DCC from the works, working my way towards the station. The track plan of the works board will now look a lot more like Boston Lodge. I will post a picture of the plan soon. Tomorrow mum and dad are off to Llandudno, and whilst they are there they will buy me some points for the works. I'M Also considering going for seep point motors, only because they change the polarity of the frog (when wired correctly) automatically. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to go for Tortoise slow motion motors. To me the time of the throw doesn't bother me too much.

Monday, August 30, 2010

E-Day (the day after D-Day!!)

Today, I finished painting, clearing, brushing and sorting out all of the junk in the garage. The layout is now up, not all in one piece, but in three pieces. The only two boards together are the harbor boards. The idea is that I have enough room to store 'the cob' at the end of the harbor boards, but if I want to connect it too B lodge, I can just move it to where I’ve made a 'working area'. Everything I need I
have kept under the BL board and workbench

My Workbench with various GEM kits

Both of the pictures below are what i did today

B lodge Board

Cob Board

Harbor Station enterance Board

Harbor Station Board

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Today, I made good progress in the garage. Dad said he would let me put up the layout if I get 'my half' of the garage painted and sorted, so I did! I've only got little more to do tomorrow then the layout can be assembled!! Pictures will be posted as promised. Hopefully I will be able to put up a set of shelves and a few drawer units I have to keep most of my stuff. So tomorrow evening, pictures will be posted of the layout (hopefully fully assembled).
Also, after thinking what I can do with a small approximately 30cmx30cm patch on the harbor board, I’ve decided to build a P.W yard (like Minffordd) which includes...
1) 'Polly tunnel' (like Minffordd) to store the P.W train (pictured below)
2) Piles of raw material, gravel, ballast etc
3) Lengths of rail piled up
4) P.W shed (no rail access)

First set of carriages

The first set of carriages i needed where a basic FR set, which include a observation carriage, guards van and two 3rd class carriges. The first (number 100) is currently being built over at Boston Largs Works
This is the first carriage to be built.

Followed by the 124, the buffet/guards van.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The plan for the next two years!!!

I’m the kind that likes to plan what I’m doing with the layout. And, I have made a list of things I would like to do for the Porthmadog and Warley shows. Here’s the list of thing I need to do before the shows.

+ Fiddle Yard
-make the board
-lay track
-wire up
-add blocks of wood that a top sheet of wood screws on to protect the track

+Boston Lodge
-Wire up too DCC
-Relay some of the track
-Make buildings
-Add trees, bushes etc

+ Cob
-add some sand
-Add seaweed, old boats etc
-detail track

+Harbour Station Board(s)
-finish laying track
-wire up
-add point motors

-Make a control panel
-Re-paint the back scene
-make test track at back
-make board protectors and fold down display boards
-buy lights (long reach desktop variety) and a IKEA ‘Dimma’ to control the intensity and figure out a way to hold them in position.

Also the layout is still in pieces around the house. Hopefully soon my aunt will collect a freezer from the garage, and the layout will go up after new windows (that don't have 1/2 a inch gap around the frame for 'ventilation') are installed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

DCC Friendly Points

For the last couple of days I have been wondering what to do with my points. I want reliable running of locomotives, which means no shorting on points, but I’m unsure what to do with them. I have had a look at sites such as John's, he has an amazing 'how to' section.
I'm pondering of buying the new 'Mainline' Peco points, but it has a different angle from the old ones :(.
It's obvious that I need to do something with them. Can anyone help? Just leave a comment with any suggestions; it will help a lot :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ffestiniog Railway Gravity Train

Nothing to do with the layout this time, just posting some pictures of the FRs gravity train. We started at Dduallt, and stopped half way accross the cob, when we ran out of gradient.