Monday, December 31, 2012

Plan of Attack.

After a few weeks of not working on the layout (or not as much as the past few months) it has started all over again....
I'm not sure how many people read the 'Exhibition Information' section (or have read previous posts) but i have been invited to exhibit at Superpower, along with a few other layouts (which i have wanted to see since i first heard of it) So, i have made a list of things which i would like to do before exhibiting the layout again.
Re lay harbor station track - put the new crossover in, with catchpoint. Then connect up the track thaat leads into the slate wharff.
Build Porthmadog town - Park, buildings, pub, people, etc.
Build workshop - I'm not happy with my first attempt, so going to have anothere go, this time making it out of balsa and embossed plasticard.
Rewire boards + new controll panel - It was a pain at Warely to walk from one side of the layout to another several million times to operate the trains. This will enable the layout to be operated by 1 person from 1 location.
Build bigger fiddleyard (6ft) - Simple, bigger fiddleyard that allows more stock to be kept on the tracks. Possibly with traverser.
Wire lights and accessories - things like building lights and flashing units in the workshops wern't working at Warely, i ran out of time to wire them up. So this is something i'd like to get working at Warely.
More slate wagons - 10 full, 10 empty and a few dotted about the slate sidings.
Get Earl of Merioneth running - try to get two N drive production chassis' and wire them uo to get the Earl running.
Make 'Merddin Emrys' - in 1959 condition, Cabless with red oxide tanks. With two N drive chassis to run it.
Finish B set - finish the other carriage set, possibly in green and cream livery (1970s).
Railcar with auto shuttle - Quite self explanitory. It's something to keep the viewers interested.
Build a 'cob' board' - It's something i've allways planned on doing. The Cob is something that makes the FR what it is and since the TMRs is based on the FR, it can't be called 'inspired by the FR' without a cob! Especially since the lyout is based in that area!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tender loving care.

Since i had a hour or two spare tonight, i decided to have a go at adding pickups, reduceing the weight and inserting brass bearings to the axleboxes. Thease modifications will 1) stop the engine from stalling so often on points. 2) Make the engine pull a bit more stock 3) Allow the tender to roll better, so more stock can be pulled. Here are some photos of the modifications. I haven't added the pickups yet, i'm still trying to figure out how to. I'll soon figure something out. The edges of the Langley cast coal still needs tidying up and a realistic 'layout' in the tender.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Well, It's that time of year again. Unfortunetely the weather isn't as white as what it was last year and the year before. Only the tips of the mountains have any reminence of snow. I'd like to take this chance to thank everyone that's read the blog and all who commented about the layout at Warely / on the blog. I've had another invertation, this time to exhibit at Superpower 2013. Hopefully i'll be able to make it. Need to re-lay the crossover at Porthmadog and fiddle with the wireing first. So, Merry Christmas everyone and a happy new year. Photo is by Andrew Thomas from last year from the BBC website.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Eastwood Town

I just thought I’d share this. When I was looking across the net for some guides on how to make some points I came across this. All of his points are handmade, over 70 of them!
I particularly like the way he's designed his layout with software then printed it out to 'full size'. Very cool.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Catch Point

I spent about a hour today making this, a 009 catch point. It's my first attempt at doing this sort of thing. I wouldn't mind trying to do the entire Porthmadog yard-mainline crossover and the point to the slate wharff like this, but I don't think I have the skills to do such a complicated piece. We'll see.
It's just been rested on top of the existing point work for now.
I bought a Tortoise point motor a few weeks ago, I didn't get much of a chance to look at it before Warely, but now I have, I'm impressed! I wonder how much it will cost to replace the failed Seep motors with Tortoise ones....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I've finally got round to re-erecting the layout. The three 'major' changes will be done first, over the next few weeks (months?)
First off, is altering the harbours track plan to allow trains to be ran into the slate wharf. This is to allow more variety of trains to be run, 'scenic' storage areas for the stock to be displayed and finally somewhere for the gravity train to run to!
Second is a centrally mounted Controll panel, which will let the layout be operated from the front and back by one operator.
Finally, more insulating sections and track feeds to allow more things to happen at the same time.
This is a revised track plan of the harbour crossover. The red lines are track, blue spur is a catch point. I apologise for the poor quality, it was made by hand on my phone and I seem to be suffering from the shakes!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Warley 2012, what a experience.

I don't know why, but when i write all of this in paragraphs, when i upload it it comes out all in one paragraph. I'll upload it now and try to sort it in the morning.
Well, I'm proud to say that I've done my first major exhibition. I met a few nice guys from the 009 society and had a good time chatting with the guys (and girls) of Southwold, a stunning Hon3 layout which featured many interesting features which I will adopt for Traeth Mawr. More on this later.
As a whole, the layout functioned OK. Apart from ALL of the points on the workshop board. I think (Haven't investigated yet) that the CDU is knackered and that in turn has knackered all of the point motors :/
Luckily, they were not important for the running of the layout, this was just a massive inconvenience. On the other hand, it could be a 'bad batch' of Seep point motors as the 'fuel road' point at the station also failed. The other thing it could be is me wiring the points incorrectly, but like I said, I haven't investigated yet.
The only other 'failure' (which was my fault) at Harbor Station's inspection pit. Since I built the layout in a relatively cool garage, when the temperature warmed up at the NEC, the nickel-silver in the track expanded, and bowed the track out over the pit. This was cured by simply cutting the track with a cutting disk in Dremel tool. Since there was a feed wire each side, locomotives could still run around. This will be properly fixed by simply adding a fishplate to the cut, which will allow it to expand and contract, but still stay in alignment.
Now for the bits that I have learnt from other exhibitors and things that I have found out myself that will make operating and taking TMR to exhibitions much more easy.
1) Mimic panel control board. Since the TMR operating team is 3 people, two people always seemed to stand around doing nothing. So, if all of the layout could be operated from one place, it would make things much simpler, as the other two could walk about the exhibition and swap about every hour or so. So, the answer is a centrally mounted control panel, with point indicator LEDs, Automated signals. This was the initial idea for me, but it was too expensive. Luckily at Warely, I've found a solution. More of this in the future. I have already designed the Mimic Panel and what it needs.
2) Stackable Boards Make either a rack to hold the layout, or make them so they can be stacked above each other.
3) Larger Fiddle YardLarger fiddle yard with a traverser. It'll make things easier to hold stock on rails and run engines around with the traverser. This was used on several other layouts, including Southwold.
4) Longer Cob, which looks like the cob! Simply make it a bit longer with a 'exhibition extension board' which will only be used at exhibitions. 5)Basically, extend the layout even more! I have plans for at lest another 4 boards;
a)Rhiw Plas, the bit where the road gets close to the railway near Boston Lodge and the road bridge.
b)Minffordd 'as is' trackplan with a bridge over standard gauge and a siding which goes into minffordd yard, aka another (smaller) fiddle yard.
c)Woodland, similar to the area near Whistling Curve or Hafod y Llyn (FR Hafod Y Llyn)d)Rhiw Goch and Cei Mawre)8ft Fiddleyard - about 6 roads, a 'Railcar' Road (read on and you will find out what i mean) and a traverser to move locomotives to a run around loop and loco storage sidings. The other operators fancy making boards to join up to my layout. So, this is a 'might' at the moment. Another passing loop and access to the slate siding is a must. Just to add more operating intrest in the layout. At the moment, the most amount of trains on the layout is 3. One at the works, a goods in the Harbor loop/fuel siding and a passenger arriving into the platform. It must be done in the correct sequence or a train will need to be propelled back to at least boston lodge, so the passenger engine could run around and then let the goods into the loop.
6) AutomationMaking a Railcar, which will travel from the fiddle yard to the station and back automatically. I'm not sure how to do this, a Gaugemaster 'Shuttle control unit' will be unsuitable for this, as it involves two diodes to be attached to the track. I'm going to send a few Emails to Heathcote electronics, which have cool Infa red train detectors. I'm thinking of one each end of the layout and a timer unit. When the railcar passes over the infa red detector, it sends a message to (unknown device, possibly relay bank) which changes the polarity of the rails and a timer. After (say 15 seconds) the railcar could in theory, move in the other direction heading for the fiddle yard. Which will have a similar stopping mechanism, maybe incorporating a micro switch, rather than a slightly more expensive infa red detector. It could also be done with Magnets and Reed switches. This will be handy when eating our lunches!
7) Permanent Magnet UncouplersWhilst on the subject of magnets, permanent rare earth magnets between the rails in strategic places. I had a chat with a Southwold operator, which showed me how their system works. They're coupings are arranged so when pulling the couplings lock together, and the magnets don't effect them. But when pushing, the magnets lift the loops of the coupling. It worked well on Southwold, so I'm hoping the same system will work on TMR.
8) Light Rig adjustment
Make some horizontal braces between the light rigs, this could hold information boards etc.
9) Digital photo slide show.
Some photos on a laptop by the layout showing the various stages of construction to show how it was built. And possibly a video of the layout from the 'drivers eye view' Anyway... Just some thoughts! Also me and the other operators have been talking about making a local 009 modeling club/society/group.
Finally, I'd like to say thanks to Warely Model Railway Club for a brilliant exhibition, great facilities and a all round pleasurable weekend. Hotel was very pleasant, nice meals and friendly, helpful stewards and club members to talk to.
Also a big thanks to Martin Neeves, who dropped his plans over the weekend to drive the van for us. Also, Amy Charlesworth, for being very helpful when trying to figure out how to get the layout to Warley!
Soon I will put up a 'Exhibition information' page and a 'Photographs' page. So many things to do!
Traeth Mawr Railway will be available for exhibitions from around June 2013. Will consider attending others before this date. Send any enquiries
I'm pretty sure this is the longest post I've written, over 1000 words, shame I couldn't write as much in my English GCSE!
If you've read this far, thanks!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 1, done and dusted.

Day 1 of Warely. Everything ran well, with only a few minor kinks that we managed to smoothe out.
Most of all, I got to see two layouts that I've wanted to see for a long time. County Gate and Cliffhanger, spectacular!!
Here's some photos I took with my camera. Poor quality but you get the idea, I'll get my propper camera out tomorrow.
Somehow, I've only spent £3.50!!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Warely 2012 Let the show beggin...

Well, we're at Warely. Currently sitting in the Premier in, feeling like a King in my double bed! The layout has been successfully put up, with only two slight problems. The first being is the uneven floor of the NEC, which has caused a bit of hassle with the joining in the rail between the Porthmadog and workshops boards. This was cured by putting packing between the layout and trestles. The other problem is the kind point of the fiddle yard doesn't seem to be going over far enough to get good electric conductivity. This was solved by putting packing underneath the tie bar. only 3 layers of thin card, but it seemed to do the trick! I'd like to say thanks to Martin Neeves, which is the man that dropped his plans to take the layout to Warley after the hassle with the van and thanks to Paul Jones, the exhibition manager for handling the issue of an extra operator. Some photos will be put up on their own page after the weekend. You could find this underneath the blog title at the top of the page, possibly tomorrow evening. Just a thought, who'd buy a book about the construction of the layout? It was suggested by one of the other exhibitors that i should write a book about it. What do you guys think? Is it worth it?

Warely, here we come!

Van packed and on our way! See you all there.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Against the forces of nature.

If anybody has been watching the news over the last couple of days. North Wales has been badly hit with poor weather.
To top it off, the van rental company refused to give me the van, after agreeing online! So I managed to find a driver, wich arose the complications of acomidation, food etc.
We went to the rental place again after (driving the 80mile round trip) and they refused it again, they couldn't find the address of the driver.
So tomorrow morning, the van will be collected with proof of address, driven home, loaded and then of we go to the NEC.
It's going to be close. Anyway, if your a reader of the Blog and planning a visit, we are at stand C34, not far from Lyd, which seems to be following me!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Almost time...

Just thought I'd share my to-do list.... Last one refers to navigating and driving in foreign country in a unfamiliar van!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


A picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks Colin Lea for the advice on how to paint them properly.
Also, I've bought one of Rob Waller's DZ waggon kits from the FR shop. I also built that today. Puts my scratch built B waggon kit to shame!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Confusing bit of track work.

With just over a week to go, I decided to turn two of the fiddle yard roads to a depart/arrival line and a run arround loop. This will make things a bit easier at exhibitions, as the locomotives won't need to be handled so often which will reduce the chance of damage.
It worked fine when the point was set towards the depart/arrive road, but when the point is changed, it shorts the system.
So some investigation was needed. It turns out, Peco points are basically 'DCC friendly' the following diagram s show the two polarities in blue and red.
If the power is fed into the point via the turnout road, which it is on the fiddle yard, the polarity of the frogs and check rails are different to the rail that comes in.
I find it hard to discribe, but if you have a look under a point, you could see the two short pieces of wire joining 4bits of rail together.
All of this was done on my phone, so sorry about the poor quality!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Japanese miracle

The title pretty much sums this up, this eavening I soldered the motor feeds to the pickups on two Kato Portram chassis.
It took a lot of squinting, magnifying gass, patience of a Budah and the steady hand of a brain surgeon to solder these together.
But the result is a beautiful pair of power units, which I am adement that it is powered by little fairies inside!
Here's a photo of the units, next to a British 20 pence coin.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The countdown begins...

25 Days to Warely!!
So here's a report on what needs doing!
Scenics: Some bits and pieces have yet to be finished, walls, figures etc. but the most pressing is the construction of 'Porthmadog' in the corner of the layout, I've been reading Ffestiniog Odyssey like the Bible over the weekend and have a plan in how to tackle Porthmadog.
Track work: all of the tracks have been laid except for a few sidings at the Fiddle Yard, the layout can operate without these, but it would be nice to have them by Warely, but it isn't a high priority job.
Electronics: Some of the station lights etc need connecting, otherwise everything is done.
Lights: the supports has been made and a suitable way of attaching then has been thought of, just needs finishing off now.
Motive Power & Rolling Stock
Here's a few photos of what you should expect. The layout has progressed massively since the Photo's of Prince and the slate train were taken. Some of the items still need some attention, but this is what WILL be running at Warely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The prototype is here!

Here it is, the Pecketts cab. Some alterations are required before it will be sold to the public on Chris Ward' website.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Royal colours

Today I decided to get the Prince and it's train sorted out.
Prince will mostly be hauling slates at Warley, so I got all of the wagons out. I have 10 3 Ton slate wagons and a brakevan to go with it. The brakevan has been built, and will be in Red Oxide livery.
The wagons have all been painted gray, they will all be marked as 'Maenofferen' wagons.
The Prince, I'm especially chuffed about. It turned out better than what I expected. It's been painted in it's 'new' colour. It's darker than the cherry red that it currently carries, but lighter than Palmerston and Merddin's maroon.
There is only one problem at the moment, it can't pull the train!! It slips even when pulling the train on a flat bit of rail. More weight is required, the question is, where?!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hunslet Progress

The Brian Madge 'Velinheli' kit is coming along nicely. The drive unit has been built and cranks attached, the nickel-silver frames where soldered together and a start was made on the body.
Here's some pictures.

(Irish?) Mail.

Today, after I got home from college, this was waiting for me at the post office.
It'll be made up to look like a hunslet, not sure which one yet. I now have enough locomotives to keep thing interesting at Warely.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Usual day on the workbench.

Today, I decided to have a go making a FR profile/style can to fit on the Peckett. I took a good hour to make the cab, when suddenly... Blood everywhere. The knife wen't through the cab and half way through my thumb.
A plaster and insulation tape was applied before I designed a 3d model of the cab on the computer and sent it off for 3d printing before I injured myself any more!
I then spent the rest of the day fault finding a short curcuit on the layout.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Following the post a few days ago, some aluminium has been bought to make the light stands.
This is how the bits will look eventually. The uprights are 4ft and it extends out 2ft. There are 5 of them with lights on each one.
They will be bolted together and clamped to the back of the layout.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Getting closer...

Things are steadily progressing to have a decent layout at Warely.
I was talking with Paul Martin (EDM models) and he suggests that I should also put lights above my layout, as the NECs lights are spotlights high in the atmosphere!
Luckily mum and dad recently bought a shop. The previous owner left about 6 12inch fluorescent lights, this 'back of an envelope drawing' is what I'll make, uprights will be thin wall box section, and the front will be plywood. They will simply clamp onto the back of the layouts.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Homeing in on things...

Today I recieved three signals. Two Dapol n gauge LMS home signals, one new and the other is not working. The other signal is a 2 aspect colour light signal.
The colour light signal will be placed 'in front' of the broken semaphore, which after magically turning it into a 4mm/1ft signal, i removed the arm and made it look like it was being decomissioned. The working Dapol signal has had the same work, turning it to 4mm/1ft but left intact. This will become the home signal.
Here's some pictures of the signals, personally I think it looks alright, especially with the Earl parked next to it (on my work top test track)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today's progress

Today, the layout is now 90% wired up and operable. It only requires the lights etc to be connected then the fiddle yard to be sorted.
A good portion of time was spent building Parkside Dundas FR bogies to fit under the carriages. (see picture attached) An additional 6 where made, only another 14 to go!! I've also built a Parkside Dundas 4 wheel Hudson Steel bodied wagon,kit a Carriage 10 / Van 2 kit and FR style 3rd compartment bogie waggon.
As for the Earl, I'm getting more and more frustrated with the chassis. The poor quality of the whitemetal castings mean that it teeters on two wheel sets, which means it will wobble whilst moving and slip with minimal load, I need to find a solution, quick!
By the way things are going, I'll only have a ALCo, Prince, Cricieth Castle and Taliesin working at Warely with Oliver Bennett's Welsh Pony. The Earl will most likely parked outside works! A shame really...

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Here she is, the Earl of Merioneth with shiny brass domes. She still requires modifications to the chassis to make it work, which will hopefully be done tomorrow.

Another Fairlie from Boston Lodge

Almost all staff, voulenteers and any enthusiast that visits the Ffestiniog Railway, will know that the FR, is where Robert Francis Fairlie finally developed a working (efficiently) double engine, and waved the patent fee for all Fairlie locomotives built there. But I can bet that Robert Fairlie never anticipated that a 4mm/1ft Fairlie would be built!
Today was spent machining a boiler barrel for my next project, a Merddin Emrys in 1963 condition, just after it's first Major overhaul since voulenteers had started to rebuild the FR.
It was a very basic machine, it had no sandpots or cab, square edged tanks which where painted in red-oxide primer. It was oil fired and the crews where exposed to the elements, the driver had a little more protection, as his side had 'half height' can sheet (as high as the top of the tanks) whilst the poor fireman had a quarter cab sheet, with handrails at tank top level to stop him tripping over the cab and falling out!
For me, the 60s and 70s are the most interesting period of the FRs history, locomotives where made to run, not to look good, the line was quickly being extended towards Blaenau and locomotives such as the Ladies, ALCo, Peckett and a little known of Austrian Tank was purchased for potential mainline use. Most of which are still in use today.
Here are some photos of the bits I made (including some brass domes for the earl.) The boiler barrel for Merddin is still unfinished, it hopefully, will be finished over the next week. Merddin will have similar shaped domes, but made from steel, painted black.
If anybody requires some domes for they're engines (instead of horrid brass painted ones) let me know, I'm sure I could help.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


This post surprisingly, is about bogies!
For the 8 new carriages i have for the layout, built by Colin Lea ( originally were going to be put on modified Lima n gauge bogies. That idea, soon went through the window, they where only chosen in the first place as I was given quite a few of them.
Instead, I decided try out the Parkside Dundas 'Standard Ffestiniog 3' 6" w/b bogie' kit. One was bought from the FRs shop and assembled. It took a while to figure out how many 10 BA washers the bogie needed underneath for the bogie to have adequate swing, and not look silly, but eventually I settled for two per bogie.
Some 009 couplings were superglued on to the bogie frames, which resulted in a coupling which is the perfect height. The pictures are of carriage 112 with the bogies, parked against Cricieth Castle and the modified Lima bogie.
More of the bogies and couplings will be bought tomorrow, so all of the carriages that I have will be rolling by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More wires than the Thunderbirds!! (Part 1)

Tonight, the wiring for the workshop board was completed. This is the most complicated board.
It has 5 point motors, two track circuits, 5 buildings that have lights, several small accessories (Welders' lights etc) the controls for the layout's lighs and 'accessories' circuit and finally the input from the 16v AC (points + track), 12v DC (bright lights) and 9v DC (Accessories and dimmer lights).
Tomorrow evening, I will start on the station board, which only has 3 points, 2 signals, lights and accessories circuits. Much simpler!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Raising the sea...

I spent a few hours today, getting on with a few odd jobs, Warely is coming closer!!
The sea level was raised from 'empty' to a (scale) 10ft deep. This was done with a simple wooden frame and plywood. It will be painted, then varnished several times to get a sea effect.
You might notice a station and coaches has appeared in the attached photo. It's a old FR station, which still exists but not Porthmadog, any guesses?
As for the coaches, they are the ones that Colin Lea kindly agreed to build for me ready for Warely more details to follow.
Throughout the next week, the electrics in the boards will be sorted out.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekend Progress

Over the weekend, some good progress was made. The backscene was shortened in height and permenantly fixed, Controll panels and controllrs were mounted, they will be wired in within the next week.
A length of plastic cable conduit was bought to try out a fiddle yard cassette system, a post will soon follow on the results of a few test pieces I've just finished making.
Here's some pictures.