Friday, 8 September 2017

Mainline 56XX 0-6-2

This is the latest addition to the GWR locomotive collection, a second hand Mainline 56XX in pretty good condition and ready to run. I suppose a 45XX would have made more sense but the Bachmann model is priced way above my wallet and will have to wait until Xmas. I really like the 56XX and can justify one on the grounds that my proposed layout will be situated in West Wales, a little off the beaten path for one of these but not totally out of the question!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

N Gauge Dead Engine

I had a test track set up today to see if the ancient N gauge Wrenn Ivatt 2MT I inherited still works. The answer is a qualified no, although it did try very hard to get going. I think it needs a good overhaul and a lubrication but even then will probably only do either zero or one hundred scale miles an hour full speed ahead, in proper 1980's model train set style. Other than that I don't know what I can do to revive it or to get it to behave itself in proper shunting fashion?

I think I will need to get myself a new and or good second hand N gauge locomotive of some description before I can even think about building a layout. As this will be expensive, it will have to wait until Father Christmas can deliver something down the chimney, perhaps even a starter set of some sort, ready to be used as the basis of an N gauge branch line layout. Oh well, best laid plans and all that! At least I can crack on with my plans in OO.

Northumbrian Branch Line Halt

The second old Mainline J72 that I found on eBay turned out to have seen better days, so has been relegated to the spares box, although it only cost me a bit over a tenner so I'm not too bothered. However, the first one I managed to acquire is a lovely runner and virtually new, so I can still crack on with my plans for a small and minimalist branch line halt layout in Northumberland. This will be set in the early 50's, so will have a mixture of old LNER rolling stock and new or refurbished British Railways wagons, vans and brake vans.

Fontburn Halt on the Rothbury Branch Line

I'm in no rush to get started on this project, in fact I don't intend to do anything until the start of next year, so in the meantime I can continue gathering bits and bobs to build the layout. I will also be thinking up some variations on track plans and scenery to make the layout as interesting as possible, if perhaps a little less than exciting to operate as a pure 'Inglenook' shunting layout. I have some prototypes to use as  a basis for the layout design and appearance, so will have no shortage of ideas when it comes to working things out in greater detail.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Soldering On

I've just bought myself a cheap, entry level, no whistles or bells soldering iron from the local hardware shop to use on my model railway track and wiring projects. I haven't used one of these in years, so I'll need to practice my soldering skills before I have a go at the real thing. It should be either lots of fun or incredibly frustrating either way!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Mainline J72 69001

I won a second J72 in good running condition on eBay today, this time in the 'lion on a unicycle' post-1950 variant of early British Railways livery. I can now run both tank engines on the NE Region Inglenook branch shunting line that I'm planning to build before I move onto the larger and more complicated GWR layout. I am keeping these plans to a simple theme but still have room for a bit of development, perhaps away from an Inglenook design to a very small, through branch line station or remote rural halt.

I've been thinking about this and have been reading up on the old Rothbury Branchline in Northumberland, which has several features that would be a good basis for a fictional rural layout in the area. I particularly like the idea of a lime works, small colliery or quarry as a focus for the goods traffic on the layout, all of which are features of the local landscape. I also like the idea of a more scenic layout rather than one which concentrates on just shunting operations.

N Gauge Inglenook Wiring

Not very exciting but very useful

I moved my N gauge 'proof of concept' Inglenook shelf layout a little closer to the starting line today by purchasing a Bachmann N gauge power lead, to use with my existing handheld controller. I suppose I could have just bought some Peco track power clips and a bit of wiring, or even just soldered it up directly to the track, but this seemed like the simplest option for the lowest cost to effort ratio.

I can now clip this power lead onto the track directly, then use cable clips and a bit of careful scenic camouflage to make it a permanent wiring connection. The controller will then just plug into the lead ready for use. Easy, cheap and tidy. Job done! I have a spare floating shelf somewhere in the garage that I am going to try to locate, then I might even be a able to start building this little shunting layout before the end of the year!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

GWR Modelling

I found a second hand hardback copy of Modellers' Guide to the GWR in the local Oxfam bookshop yesterday. It is a gold mine of useful information, a lot of which I was familiar with but much of which I didn't know. The section on locomotives and rolling stock is particularly interesting, giving a detailed overview of liveries and coding over time. So, for less than a fiver I have another very useful resource for my OO gauge GWR projects!