Tuesday 6 February 2024

New Year Update

It's been a busy few weeks on the railway front. First it was the SWOONs open day on the Saturday where I had my sales stand for STModels and then it was the annual committee meeting on the Sunday for the 009 Society which, in my role as 009 News Editor, I attend. The following weekend was the regular Wiltshire 009 Group meeting. Then it was the 2 day Southampton show where I was exhibiting Melin Dolrhyd as well as having the STModels sales stand. Last weekend it was the Alton show where I helped operate Garreg Wen for Matt Kean.

All set up and ready for customers at Southampton

STmodels continues to grow and I have done 3 commissions in the past month. The first was for some tank wheels, the second was for some Vale of Rheidol lattice fencing and lastly a request for Southern Railways 8 Wire Concrete fence posts. The last two are available to be bought on STModels.

Southern Railways 8 Wire Concrete posts

The layout with no name has also progressed. It now has the track down, it's wired up and a small amount of scenery has been created. The points are planned to be operated by wire in tube and that has been installed but doesn't show up in the photo. 

Adding the backscene former

The track plan is roughly what was on the initial sketches on the notice board. In the end the actual positioning of the points was dictated by my stock. The points are positioned such that I can have a Bachmann Baldwin and one WD bogie in the headshunt whilst also having 3 WD bogies in the loop and being able to run round them. The section of track between the loop and the running line is long enough to hold a Baldwin without fouling the running line.

The most recent job has been to add the backscene former. This was created with a piece of timber across the back, down the sides and along the bottom to which a piece of 5mm ply was glued. It's added some much needed rigidity to the board. 

The trouble is that it has given me a headache I hadn't envisaged. The layout was planned as something to take to shows that was simple, more easily transportable and more light hearted than Melin Dolrhyd. Keeping it simple was the mantra. The problem is that with it in the railway room against the wall I can't easily reach the point switches. The electrical section switches don't matter as they will always be on. I can just reach the point switches but have a habit of knocking trains off the track. I know I will want to 'play' with the layout and use it to test stock running through the points so it really needs to be useable in the railway room.

The only sensible thing to do is to change the point operation so that it can be operated from the front as well as the back. If I want to extend the mechanical operation in some way then I will have to break up that lovely curved front of the layout, that is if I could work out how to do it!

In the end I have to go back to point motors but I have decided to try servos - this layout was aimed at trying new things, after all. I am currently looking at an Arduino to drive the servos. I had already planned an Arduino Uno to operate a couple of working signals. All this means is I have to extend the system to handle the points as well.

In the stash I have an Arduino Mega, some Dingo servo mounts and some 9g servos. Time for a little experimentation!

Leek & Manifold Transport Wagons

Personal modelling has taken a big hit recently with launching a new shop for STModels along with taking the trade stand to Narrow Gauge Sou...