Thursday, 14 March 2019

March 2019 Meeting

Back to base again without the layout which is in transit to our next exhibition appearance at the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace on 23 and 24 March. Keith and Alan took the opportunity to check the baseboards for their Somerset and Dorset layout. As this has a large footprint (see December 2018 blog entry), the large flat area of the church hall floor is ideal for checking it all fits together. We also discussed improvements to the DG couplings on Lightermans Yard rolling stock, and ways to improve making the units and the reliability of the un-coupling magnets throughout the layout.

Pete K's T-shirt perfectly summed up our thoughts.

Keith and Alan assembling the baseboard units.

Both ends of the layout connected to the fiddle yard.

Not yet built, the baseboards for scenic part of the layout will join across the front of the two circles and fiddle yard from the wide shape in the foreground - linking to the mirror shape on the opposite side.
Below an experiment for the fiddle yard point work, soldering flat-bottom track to PCB board and electrically separating as necessary. 

The meeting continued with a discussion on standardising DG couplings. Alan S demonstrated a loop making jig to manufacture identical elements of the couplers. The manufactured loop on a van.

From David Smith, nine goods wagons and vans to join Lightermans stock

Locomotive of the month is progress on David Smith's scratch built South Eastern Railway 0-6-0 R1. When finished it will join the shunting roster on Lightermans Yard.

See you at Ally Pally

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Tonbridge MRC Exhibition,

The Tonbridge one day show lived up to its reputation. By the 10am opening a substantial queue had formed stretching quite a way from the entrance. Inside the exhibition's various rooms, exhibitors were preparing for the public onslaught! The show was very well attended. We were fortunate to be in the main hall, our companion 2mm layout 'Freshwater' was jammed into a tiny cramped space, many visitors must have given up trying to view it. Pete K, Alan S, Keith and Richard were Lightermans Yard's operators.

Pete K wrote on Friday's set-up; "I don't want to jinx things but the setting up was scarily good. That's it I'm not saying anymore!!!" and on Saturday, “Seriously, another enjoyable day in your company gentlemen. In spite of “The Yard” sulking for most of the day, I left the show knowing that I’d had a good day.”

Alan S writes; “But lets not get too disappointed, most fixes have worked, this only highlights the ongoing problems with sticking locos and unreliable DG's both are common in 2mm.
It was noted that more than one loco stuck at the same spot (a couple were identified)  so this may be a track issue (it was very cold in the hall and may have contributed to the problem)
The same magnets appeared to be weak or non working although we were sure all was working when tested.
This could be down to the fine tuning of the couplings being required. We discussed several likely causes, double loop, loop under latch, no dropper or not enough 'iron' to lift loop etc.
I found myself pulling the wrong magnet only to see the train drift effortlessly across the one I though I was activating, now that's frustrating!
We had the issue of the entry crossing shorting and thanks to Keith for doing the required 'Limbo' under the layout. This is not the first time this switch has played up so perhaps a swap to enclose micro switches may be a solution. I am not sure if this is possible however.
I'm sure with a real sort out of the couplings on our stock (I think Keith's all worked pretty faultlessly)
Things will appear to get much better. Of course the stay alive's may improve things no end.”

 Alan and Pete's view of shunting operations.

We were very pleased with the crowds and complementary comments that 'The Yard' attracted throughout the day, and there were more invitations to shows too.

This was a well attended exhibition with representative layouts of the major gauges, including finescale.

Our newly liveried bus makes its first appearance, but awaits its correct destination binds.

Pete and Alan carefully disassemble the scenic boards at the end of an enjoyable day.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

February 2019 Meeting

Back to base for our regular monthly meeting following our outing to the Erith Exhibition and in between the Tonbridge exhibition. As Lightermans Yard is in transit between exhibition appearances, we settled down to discussions on various topics, some we had on our 'to do' list. We also resumed the Terrier conversion workshop.

The 'Best in Show' shield we were awarded at the Erith Exhibition now has 'Lightermans Yard' proudly etched in first place

Alan S reports. Peter K kindly agreed to make Templot drawings for the turnouts on Evercreech Junction (Alan and Keith's new layout). The first crossover seemed to be a B10. I made a track base from Peter's drawing but before I made the crossing itself I thought I'd try a 1 in 9 crossing I had in stock (from the standard Easitrac range) it proved to be a good fit. It just goes to show that the prototype and our associated modelling of it there is always some compromise. It was suggested that although standard parts were used in the prototype there were many variables. Comparing our C&L plans to Templot, although both are correct, shows minor discrepancies. It was assumed by the group that all the big 4 would indeed have their own standards which in turn would lead to further variations.

Another discussion centred on advice for the early stage construction of Pete K's Brixham baseboards (not photographed). 

Alan S bought in a new LT bus with the correct 1960s livery and with other scale modifications (we need establish an authentic South East London route number and destination).

We had agreed to talk about 'Stay Alive' capacitors for Lightermans locomotives.

Alan bought the components to show, and we discussed the various sources of instruction and the practical implementations for 2mm. An article by Nigel Cliffe 'DCC Stay Alive Capacitor' in the 2mm Magazine, December 2013 page 108 is one such source.

Terrier Conversion Part 2

Remaining etch (after parts removed for Part 1)

Following on from Part 1, the next job is to prepare and assemble the side frames. The etch provides for side frames and strengtheners that need to be 'sweated' together, an allowance has to be made for the extra thickness when forming the chassis width.

The etch has side frames and strengtheners that need to be sweated together. First the etch surfaces are cleaned with a fiber stick...

...and flux applied to the surfaces to be tinned. Flux can be liquid or paste or solder paint can be used.

Tinning the surfaces to be 'sweated' together.
(note; tin both sides of the inside frame strengtheners but only the inside of the main frames).

Wash the flux off the etch before proceeding.

Remove the main frames and the strengtheners from the etch with a scalpel, chisel or sheers. Take care to save any small parts that are attached to the frames.

Check the alignment of the frames and strengtheners but keep them separate.

Check that the bearings fit the axle holes on both main frame and strengtheners. Six bearings for the axles, and two for the gear assembly. If necessary ream the holes to fit the bearings. Solder the bearings into the inside of the main frames, the cap should be on the inside.


End of part 2; many thanks to Keith

In case it helps fill in any gaps, included are sketched notes.

Lightermans Yard will be at the Tonbridge MRC's 38th Annual Exhibition on Saturday 16 February 2019.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Erith MRS Exhibition, Longfield

Keith and Pete K set up Lightermans Yard on Friday evening and were pleased to find we had been allocated a place next to a door which was handy for unloading/loading. The setup went smoothly with everything working just right.

On Saturday “The Yard” was manned by Alan, David S, Keith and Pete K. and Sunday by Pete K, Keith, Alan and Richard. Gordon and Alan B were also in attendance.

Despite the appearance of chaos, we've done this before and it's alright in the end!

Saturday was a very busy day public wise and at times we had viewers two and three deep. There were lots of very nice comments, all of them positive. We didn’t find out until Sunday that the Saturday visitors had voted “The Yard” best in show for which we were the first recipients of The John Muskett Memorial Shield. To our delight the layout behaved itself, apart from the odd nudge of the tank locos. We will be prioritising stay alive units in these locos in an attempt to achieve near faultless running.

Day two was also well attended, again lots of nice comments, invitations to future shows and congratulations on the shield - taken away to have Lightermans Yard engraved in first place!

An enjoyable exhibition event. Thanks to Pete K for most of the words and images.

Monday, 14 January 2019

January 2019 Meeting

We start the new year with this blog returned to it's original web address, after a slight hiatus over user names and alternative locations. The December 2018 entry has is now where it should be, under this address. If you adjusted your bookmarks - please revise to

Our first meeting this year focused on our attendance at the upcoming Erith MRS exhibition on 26 and 27 January, and preparing Lightermans Yard for the show. Having experienced a number of little bugs, mainly electrical, in previous outings, we needed to check that the known problems were rectified. The most important being testing the uncoupling magnets and thanks to David S's investigations into the control box, these are now 100% working. A report on the exhibition will appear on the blog.

Before each outing we need to check that everything is working and that we have all the components ready to load into whoever's cars the layout will be traveling to the venue in. As access to our storage space is at our monthly meetings. Checking and loading is now down to a fine art!

Pete K and David S surveying the track board  and about to check the uncouplers.

On the way to test the magnets!
...set of vans coupled...

success! Note the white dot that marks the position of the uncoupling magnet

General feeling of satisfaction, and ready to take on the challenge of another outing.

Adding another loco to test the controllers and below - running a double header

 Three locos running coupled together!
A discussion on making scale track work drawings in Templot for Alan and Keith's Evercreech Junction project (see last month's blog entry).

We will continue the Terrier conversion. Possibly next meeting as Lightermans Yard will be 'on the road' for the Tonbridge MRS Exhibition on 16 February and Alexandra Palace in March.

Friday, 11 January 2019

December 2018 Meeting

This month's meeting was an opportunity to see the physical progress of the layout that Alan and Keith have talked about and is now beginning to materialise. Our meeting venue was a chance to set out the baseboards on the flat surface of the church hall, and to finalise accurate measurements for the completion of the non scenic baseboards.   

Kit of parts - the baseboards ready for assembly

 Alan Smith takes up the story.

The layout Keith and I are working on is Evercreech Junction. This was the hub of the Somerset and Dorset line and the subject of many books and films. The period modelled is the popular mid fifties to early sixties the line closed in March 1966. Nearly all trains stopped at Evercreech even though is was in the middle of nowhere! Freight trains were shunted in the two largish goods yards and this practice was carried on around the clock employing a number of staff. Nearly all passenger trains stopped either to take on water or add/remove pilot locos as the ruling gradients of 1 in 50 made double heading over the line a necessity.
The layout will be approximately 24 x 12 feet. and will incorporate two eight road storage yards. These will allow trains of up to twelve coaches and two locos long.

The acid test - linking the baseboards 

The immaculately constructed undersides of the baseboards

The base boards are constructed from birch plywood throughout and will be transported in ply transit cases, these in turn form the main part of the baseboard sub structure onto which the baseboards are mounted.

The scenic section is to scale with no compression of the prototype. It is only at the extreme scene ends that any compromises are taken. The main scenic boards of which there are seven in total form the main station and yard, the up main goods yard, the loco facilities and turntable, and the junction itself and the start of the branch line to Burnham-on- sea. The layout will be controlled by DCC and will incorporate some working features.
The layout has been a while in the planning with a start being made on baseboards about a year ago. We would expect the remainder of the boards to be completed by spring of next year. Some track is being laid in the fiddle yards and work has commenced on the fiddle yard throat point work.

We also discussed arrangements for our next exhibition appearance - 26 - 27 January 2019 - Erith MRS - and an additional appearance at The London Festival of Railway Modeling at Alexandra Palace on 23-24 March 2019.

The intention is to continue the Dapol Terrier conversion at the January meeting.

The loco of the month is Keith's almost complete 7f for the S&D layout above.

...and lastly - a very Merry Christmas and great New Year