What we've done so far in 2018
Not all of our members can get to the club on a Friday, so our beloved Chairman suggested a new page on the website to keep everyone abreast of what's happening on the layouts - cheers Mr Chairman - if you'd like to join in the chaos there's a list of contacts on our Contacts page.
The big event in the model railway world locally is NEWGOG, which is run by long-term club member, Fred Lewis. Also involved are Andrew Jamison showing his work-in-progress layout, Brade's Siding, in public for the first time (more views here) and YTS demonstrating battery-powered radio-controlled (BPRC) locomotives.
Meanwhile back at the clubhouse experiments with lighting were underway on ABB with separate banks of LEDs being installed for dawn (red), morning, noon afternoon (all white) and twilight (red) light, each controlled by their own faders. We also trialled blocking out external light using a black sheet to avoid unintended shadows or bright spots on the layout.
We took Frecclesham to the York Show - a long weekend, loading the van on Thursday; travelling up and erecting the layout on Friday; operating Saturday, Sunday and Monday with a visit to the National Railway Museum and a journey back to Newport on Tuesday. All rather exhausting but a jolly time was had by all, the layout worked well and garnered several favourable comments and a few potential invitations to other exotic far-flung locations.
The common way these days to display the name of your layout is to get a mock BR station totem board made up. We have them for Frecclesham and others. But with Abergavenny Blackbrook being a long name we wondered how we could fit it all in to a totem without it appearing too small. So to break with the norm and make things a bit different we opted for laser cut letters in the appropriate font to mount on a board on the fascia.
Well, today was meant to be the day of the Open Day but as you might have seen elsewhere we had to postpone the event due to Storm Emma. When we have a new date we'll update the 2018 Open Day page.
But life goes on and eagle-eyed readers will note that this week's picture has the track gauges in different positions from last week's. Happily this is because last week's exercise in gauge widening was successful and we've moved onto another tight spot. Hurrah!
The rectangular brass block at the botton of the picture is a Roger Sander's 'Mint' gauge, which is available (to members) from the Scalefour Society and is a boon for finding those tight spots.
With nine days to go to the club Open Day Andrew was working on a building for his Brade's Siding layout, we exhumed LMJ's fiddle yard and inspected it for failed rail-sleeper soldered joints (and found far too many) ...
Our hope is that the butanone will soften the chairs enough such that when the gauge-widened gauges (denoted by the single, double or triple rings at the middle of the barrels) are removed after the chairs have re-hardened the tight spot will have disappeared. Tune in next week (or, better still, come to the Open Day and see if stock falls off the track) to see how successful we were.
One week until Abergavenny Blackbrook has its first outing to Monmouth next week (next week!) so test running, DCC decoder setting, wheel back-to-back checking, coupling adjusting, pick-up tweaking, short circuit locating and more test running were the order of the day. The coil of solder is testament to Chairman Dave's work in re-wiring the relaid section of track (see 26 Jan).
With three weeks to go until ABB's first outing we ran into serious problems - coupled trains were spontaneously splitting when being hauled into the fiddle yard. Investigations showed some unacceptable rises and falls in the track levels so Chairman Dave did several stints of overtime with some remedial tracklaying.
Development of the scenics on ABB has started with the formation of the contours for the cutting that will form the scenic break. We have used expanded PVC foam on an 3mm MDF base, which will allow sections to be worked on away from the layout itself.
And then, after carving the foam the with a bread knife we get closer to the final contours.
Meanwhile following successful trials and emboldened by their success on Frecclesham we have decided to standardise on Dingham couplings for ABB so Chairman Dave has been busy fabricating and fitting them to stock. And Rob is coming to the end of the marathon of assembling all the fiddle yard cassettes.
All the ballasting on Abergavenny Blackbrook is now finished, though still needs to receive its final colouring, Meanwhile, YTS has got most of the electomagnets working from the control system so we can get on with testing operation of both the stock and the coupling system. We'll test stock with both Alex Jackson and Dingham couplings before making a final decision.
YTS has progressed with the installation of the control system on ABB for the coupling electro-magnets to a point where we were able start operational trials. The control system worked fine but unfortunately the magnets did not provide enough oomph to move the Alex Jackson couplings on LBH's wagons reliably. So further work is required and ABB's first outing in mid-February is fast approaching.
Post-script 9th January By modifying the Alex Jackson couplings slightly, adding some soft iron wire (with its superior magnetic properties) YTS demonstrated that the magnets would be powerful to operate them.