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.