Monday, 24 June 2019

SBB on the Pennstadt - Valdorf Line

I have always liked the Krok, even when modelling US,etc. so it was inevitable that I would eventually turn to the SBB for some stock. First off, I have bought a new 39568 Krok and a 2nd hand Marklin 482 from Rails of Sheffield on EBay. Rails admitted that they couldn't test the 482 so I got £10 off the price - Not bad value at £80 - no sound but you can't have everything.

Now, I had to get some stock. First off was a pack of three 3rd class SBB coaches. Again, these came from EBay at a cost of £40. These are Roco, I belive and one even has a slider and lighting fitted. I am investigating how to get lights into the other two coaches. Here is one of them. The others are the same.

I then dashed of to my LHS and ordered 6 Roco 'aggregate' wagons - these came in at £25.00 each. The cost of all these is proving to be very acceptable.

I found these four mineral wagons on EBay for £40.00!

I have written a nice little bit of web software that provides me with trains to run. For my Open University degree, I wrote a program that provided for the routing of freight cars on US model railroads. This was great to use but it did demand that you run your trains exactly to the schedule because it needed to know the physical location of every loco, wagon and caboose. I didn't want anything so complicated with my nice little Marklin train set so I fitted up a "shadow station" with four tracks off the main board and wrote some software to propose trains to run.

This requires that I can find the exact wagons it is asking for. I then accept the train, make it up, run it and then release all the components. To make this easy, I have everything in open trays so that I can find and replace things easily.

This is the box that I built for my new SBB equipment.

This sits on top of the wardrobe until required!

The locos are in little carriers that make it easy to lift them out and put them back without damage.

The mineral wagons came in a nice polystyrene box so, rather than make the tray even bigger, I chose to leave them where they are.

There is a piece of ribbon glued to the top of each locations. This ribbon is run under each wagon. Pulling on this gets the wagon out without a lot of gripping, etc. The coaches have two ribbons and a bar between them. As you pull on the bar, the coach rotates and is easy to hold.

Finally, when packed up, it looks like this.

Here is a video of both the Krok and the 482 running on my layout.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Shadow Station Routing

Now that the shadow station board is complete and the routing set up, I can finalise the details.

This is how the whole thing looks with the shadow station board in place.

It all fits very nicely - sorry about the wonky leg! There are four tracks running the length of the board. These are fed by a three way and a standard point.

The board length is planned against the Rheingold train sitting there. So that the board wasn't unnecessarily long, this train only fits onto the middle track of the four as this is the straightest out of the three way.

To make all of this easy to manage, I have created a set of routes. This was a very simple operation on the ECOS. However, to avoid lots of confusion, I moved all of the staging point controls across to a second page so there is a clear set of operations for the main board and the staging area.

The ECOS is very clever when it comes to setting up points. I put the new three way onto the layout and started to define it. I was worried that I only had a new point operation. I need not have worried because, as soon as I added a three way image to the setting, it understood the change and managing it was extremely simple. Here is the point control/routing page from the ECOS.

New Shadow Station Board

My main layout size is just 2m x 0.9m. As I now have a few locos and a few more wagons and coaches, I need somewhere to store them when the railway is in use. I can't have any more space permanently so I have to have a detachable board for what I used to call a 'fiddle yard' and then 'staging' but now must refer to a 'shadow station'!

Originally, to enable me to move in and out of the bedroom railway area, I designed and built a board that went on the end of the 2m side. This meant that it had to squeeze in between the railway board and the wardrobe. It also meant that I couldn't reach the top end of the board as it was now over 1m away and out of reach. I fixed the support side by including a drop down leg but could never resolve the track connections.

When my wife looks at things, she can often see what I miss. I think that I get too close to the problem. She took one look and said, why don't you come off the long end of the board into the room. My response was that it would over hang the bed, but - in fact - the old design was already going that way once I had a Class 23 and four Rheingold coaches. On looking at here suggestion, it made a lot of sense. She also commented on the fact that I had extended the original board and suggested that I should build a new board which would be in one piece rather than being three bits glues together. As we were only talking about £20 worth of 5mm foam core, this made a lot of sense.

I have a lot of dedicated tools for making up foam core so the process is easy. I make all the framing from three thicknesses of foam core cut in strips 50mm wide all stuck together with 50mm double sided tape. This is extremely strong along the length. The cross members are notched into the side members and everything is hot glued into place.

The next problem is to square it all up. I do this by hot gluing the top surface on, ensuring that the boards are nice and square.

As this board is to stick out into the room on a pair of legs, It makes sense to put some walls along the sides and ends of this board to stop anything falling off the edge or careering off the end!

To finish it off nicely, I used up the remnants of my Woodlands Scenics grass mat.

Attaching it to the main board is done in two ways. I have a couple of sockets for dowels which locate the board correctly. (As you can see, I had a couple of goes to get these in the right position). There is also a flat board added (see in the right of the above picture) that slips under the existing board between it and the desk the board is rested on. One these are in place everything is very secure.

The above shot is of the board in place before I had laid the track. The near end is supported on two legs that slot into boxes in the underneath ((see later).

The board is designed to be stored between the permanent railway and the wardrobe.

Moving things around, you can now see the two sockets for the legs. In the second image, bellow, you can see that the legs are designed to fit one inside the other for storage.

The legs are constructed using a clever knife that slices a V-shaped cut in the foam core, which makes a clear and firm fold and another that slices a 5mm piece of foam out of the board leaving the paper outer coating. Three V-shaped cuts and one notch make for a very strong box section, which is how I make the legs.

The next post will conclude this by showing the track in place and how the routing is set up.