Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

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ArtDent
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:02 pm

Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

Postby ArtDent » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:55 pm

Hello folks.

Getting back into the hobby after a long (25+ years) gap. The last thing I did previously was build a double loop layout on a plywood baseboard (3ft 6in x 6ft 6in / 1.1m x 2m) for my son (now aged 29). This was in the days before DCC so was controlled by two 12V DC Gaugemaster walk-around hand controllers with inertia (one for each loop) plus several isolating sections to allow trains to stand in stations whilst other locos ran into/out of the sidings or loco shed.

Fast forward to 2016. Suddenly, I find that I'm retired and have a huge empty loft (and a new grandson) so I decided to build a large looped layout in the loft.

First thought was that at last i could go O-gauge - but cost and availability of rolling stock knocked that on the head. That said the last 12 months have seen a huge number of O-gauge models announced/released. I may still add an 'end-to-end' O-gauge track at some point.

My son fleetingly mentioned N-gauge, but it is too 'fiddly' IMHO although with a circuit of the loop clocking up at least 85ft (26m) of running line we could have at least had 13-coach passenger trains and station platforms to accommodate them!

I grew up with OO-gauge (as did my son) so it was decided to stick with OO. We also decided to go DCC from the off (more on that later). Currently we have somewhere in the region of 22 locomotives - a mixture of late steam era / early diesel plus a couple of indulgences by my son.

Before laying track (I'm almost at that point), I've had to complete the flooring of the loft (around 50% was done some 20 years ago) and put in a ring main for power, lighting, ventilation and boarding (to prevent dust & dirt). All the flooring, electrical and ventilation work is complete and the boarding and insulation is about 85% complete - I'm on the home stretch now)

Loop in the loft is some 28ft 8in long x 12ft 10in wide (8.75m x 3.90m) with open access (no pesky roof trusses in the way) and will feature a twin-track tunnel section some 44ft 4in / 13.5m long so will feature some IR train detection electronics and signalling.

The track was planned using SCARM and has gone through many, many iterations. Even now - although the present design is labelled ''final'' - I'm still not completely happy with some aspects (namely the site of the main station and the 8-road fiddle yard).

Below is a basic idea of the track plan (bear in mid this is version 5 - I'm now on version 9.1)

Image

Period is 1965/1966 - covering the end of BR steam traction and the beginnings of dieselisation.

I've done some modifications to rolling stock - adding coach lighting with home-fabricated anti-flicker circuit-boards, coach lighting and working, track-powered red tail-lamps on the Mk1 brake coaches and working, track-powered red tail lamps on some brake vans. These modifications were photo-documented on another model rail forum but Photobucket's change of use policy has rendered these posts somewhat redundant now (picture below from ImageShack showing working DCC Concepts tail light - it may continue to be available after 4th Sept or not, I'm not sure):

Image

I initially invested in a Gaugemaster Prodigy Express DCC system but despite its ease of use, have now ditched that system and moved to a NCE PowerCab & SB5 booster which is very similar in many respects to the Prodigy Express system but more capable (can control accessories) and more future-proof.

As far as decoders go, we have a mix of Lenz Silver and DCC Concepts Zen Nano decoders (non-sound) and ESU Loksound & Zimo sound decoders - plus the odd oddity from Hattons, TCS and Hornby.

Many of our locos - both steam and diesel - are both sound-equipped and weathered. Roughly 50% of our rolling stock is also weathered to varying degrees - an art I am still trying to master!

Lighting kits have been installed in an EMU set and a Bachmann Class 20.

Currently investigating IR train detection - the image below shows my current plan for the tunnel using a mixture of DIY-built detector boards based on a circuit from Rob Paisley in the USA and commecially-purchased IRDASC-5 boards from Heathcote Electronics:

Image

As I'm due to finish the tunnel section at 'Cameron's End' and start laying track here to check clearances (already planned on paper templates but aware that the space inside the curved tunnel sections is ''tight''), I thought I'd also sort the electronics out at the same time as well as putting in the power bus and droppers for the track power.

Below is a picture of the paper templates on part of the curved tunnel section and a second showing the cantilevered wooden tunnel supports (to allow storage underneath) in more detail:

Image

Image

Hope this introduction has been of some interest.

Regards,

Art

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End2end
Posts: 3769
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

Postby End2end » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:18 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum ArtDent.
I'd be so tempted to make a break in that long tunnel to watch long trains on a straight at full tilt. :D
Thanks
End2end
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ArtDent
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:02 pm

Re: Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

Postby ArtDent » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:21 pm

Hi there End2End

Thanks for the welcome.

I thought about putting some windows in the sides of the tunnel (which would negate the need for so many IR detectors).

I'm still pondering about this...

Art

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Bufferstop
Posts: 10651
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:31 pm

Hi Art, welcome aboard. Lofts are great when they have that sort of headroom, ours is about two thirds of that height and became an utter pain in the neck (literally). So I settled for a smaller space on the lower floor of our upside-down house.
Be sure to have a local copy of any images you have posted, as insurance against other hosting sites withdrawing third party links. I had all of mine in one place so it was not difficult to replace them when PB dropped their bombshell.

John W

aka Bufferstop.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

ArtDent
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:02 pm

Re: Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

Postby ArtDent » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:56 pm

Thanks for the welcome and reply John.

Yes, the loft space is both large and unencumbered - a real godsend. When all of the insulation & boarding is complete and track-laying commences, I can retire to my man-cave, play trains and be as happy as Larrry!

Regarding 3rd party image-hosting sites, someone recommended me to ImageShack but I couldn't find anything out about trial/free accounts until I signed-up and then found out that after 1 month, you couldn't upload any more photos without paying but I believe that links to any pictures that you have already uploaded should still work. I now also have a Flickr account which I may have to switch to, but in any case, the original images are safely stored on two different PCs - just in case!

Cheers,

Art

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Dave
Posts: 696
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:20 pm
Location: Up North

Re: Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

Postby Dave » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:03 pm

Welcome aboard.

I had a big loft with full insulation and a velux in the last house. Nice for watching long freight trains trundling around, but couldn't face going down that route again so now make use of a couple of shelves in a convenient small room.

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glencairn
Posts: 2533
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:09 pm
Location: Both sides of the Border

Re: Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

Postby glencairn » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:11 am

Welcome on board.

Glencairn
To the world you are someone. To someone you are their world.

ArtDent
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:02 pm

Re: Hello from (sometimes) Sunny Sheffield

Postby ArtDent » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:53 pm

Thank you for the welcome Dave and glencairn

Sheffield is grey and damp at the moment and quite cool - so ideal weather to be up in the loft - except I have run out of thin string, so work has come to a halt!

Art


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