Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Post pictures and information about your own personal model railway layout that is under construction. Keep members up-to-date with what you are doing and discuss problems that you are having.
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LukeB
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Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby LukeB » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:23 pm

After a few months hiatus from modelling followed by several months laying the groundwork I'm finally at a stage where I feel like I can start to show my latest project, Newtonmore.

Some of you may have seen my previous project Fort Ealasaid-

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=46684&start=150

The ending to the story of Fort Ealasaid is a sad one - the layout was housed in my attic and mice attacked it. This, combined with a number of things that I wasn't so happy with about the layout, made it easier to start again. The problems with the layout were small but numerous and I hope to learn from them in my new project. They include-

- It was too hard to get into the attic to use it, requiring a ladder and long extension cable.
- The track laying was poor and trains regularly derailed.
- There were only two power feeds per loop and this led to running problems.
- Much of the detailing was too rushed and scruffy.
- It wasn't based on a real location and as a result the layout of the track and roads just wasn't realistic.

With this project I aim to work on these points. The layout is based on a wallpaper pasting table with an extended ply top. This makes it easy to store downstairs. It's based on the town of Newtonmore, just west of the A9 in the Cairngorms. It's a place dear to me as my wife and I spent our first New Year's Eve together there and this part of the Cairngorms is my favourite part of Scotland with many happy memories of my university days.

The project started in early February and the wiring and track laying was only finished a week and a half ago. Compared to my previous layout where this process only took two weeks and you'll appreciate I took much more care- each track has its own power feed, carefully soldered, and the layout has been tested with every loco and train combination I have to ensure derailments are rare.

As with Ealasaid the layout will cover two periods- LNER/LMS and what was the present day when I started in N gauge but is now the period around 2007-2014. I may be tempted to get some of the excellent new Farish Highland Region BR Corporate Blue locos at some point.

As you can see the track layout is simple. It's mostly based on the real thing but has retained the sidings which were present until the mid 1980's. I have chosen to add a distillery building on the furthest right siding but otherwise the layout will be fairly closely based on the real layout of the roads and buildings until the 1950's.

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The best thing about moving downstairs is that there's natural light to play with! Here's all my steam stock (some of which is new) in one place-

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The layout is only about 8 feet long but sticking with N gauge means I can run some decent length trains.

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Last weekend I got to the stage of putting up the backscene. Here's a photo of the whole thing to give an idea of where I'm going with this- the buildings in their proposed locations and so on. There's going to be quite a bit of contour work going on before it looks anything like this again, though.

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Notroh
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby Notroh » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:08 am

Hi LukeB,

Good to see you have started on the new layout, after the trauma's of the loft!

That long sweeping backscene looks great.

One quick question, with all that space behind the backscene, might there be some room to squeeze in a couple of passing loops to store extra trains, to add interest/ variety when running trains later. I only ask as I only put one on the inside track on Trouve and ended up having to add a strip to the back of the board to add one to the outer track later - a piece of 2 x 1 timber sufficed. Always good to look at as many options as possible before ballasting, I have now learnt :(

Anyway can't wait to follow your progress.


Peter
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=50617#p620337
French N, too much fun!

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LukeB
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby LukeB » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:34 am

It is something I've considered but I had a rack of passing loops on Ealasaid and never used them so on this layout have pushed the backscene right back so there's not much space behind it - I find I'm quite happy to let trains go round and round and focus on the scenics. I know this isn't to everyone's cup of tea and I can see why but it works nicely for me. It is easy enough to extend if I don't get on with it.

More advice before I start ballasting would be much appreciated, though - I'm sure I'll have missed something!

heda
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby heda » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:07 pm

That's a nice size board, I agree with you about watching trains go round through the scenery.
My only 'pre ballasting advice' would be to do what I think you have done already, make sure everything works as it should, all the tracks are powered and there are no derailments.

Daev

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Notroh
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby Notroh » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:32 pm

LukeB

I do have just one more thought, how about supporting the baseboard where it is no longer supported by the pasting table, it would be terribly back luck - and infuriating, if it sagged over time and all your lovely locos headed south .........

Peter
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=50617#p620337
French N, too much fun!

Dad-1
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby Dad-1 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:15 pm

I'd agree with Notroh about adding some additional support under those ends that
extend beyond the pasting table limits. I've suffered sagging in 9 mm ply !!

I'm certain I stood on Newtonmore station, now a single track unmanned station.
I have good memories of staying there, it must have been the time we went on the
Strathspey railway.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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LukeB
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby LukeB » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:29 am

Good point, I'll add some more support there. I don't envisage it'll need much, just a bit of a brace against the end of the table.

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LukeB
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby LukeB » Wed May 04, 2016 12:47 pm

A little more progress has been made. My wife and I were away over the bank holiday weekend and this seemed like a good long stint for the glue to dry on some ballast. The problem was that I only realised this week and my platforms are pivotal to the laying of ballast and building of contours. Previously I've been unhappy with Metcalfe platforms because of how they look and Lyddle End/Scenecraft platforms as they are too rigid. I had bought some Plasticard and embarked last week on making my own.

These are constructed in a similar manner to the Metcalfe ones but with the pieces being hand cut from plasticard. The base is 2mm correx which adds strength without being as heavy as ply and the sides are supported by strengthening bits of card from a Metcalfe kit. The sides were primed and lightly weathered before the construction of the tops. The sides were the main thing for ballasting though so I got the bare minimum done on the tops and laid them on the layout ready to ballast. It's taken about 3 evenings to get to this stage and I'd envisage another 3 to sort the tops out (glueing down gaps, adding the edging and detailing, flowerbeds etc.). There's a lot to do before they are finished but it meant I could lay the ballast.

The ballast is Woodland Scenics brown fine and I'm very happy with it. It's roughly the right colour for Scottish ballast (in the modern day, it's not right for my Big Four era locos but my focus is the modern image stuff). I have since lightly weathered it and will be spending a few evenings giving everything a really good clean.

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Notroh
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby Notroh » Wed May 04, 2016 4:17 pm

LukeB

That's coming on nicely, doesn't it all start to look better once the ballast is down :)

Peter
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=50617#p620337
French N, too much fun!

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LukeB
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby LukeB » Thu May 12, 2016 10:16 am

I've been chipping away at the start of the landscaping over the last fortnight. This has started with the terrain. The valley floor around the railway at Newtonmore is relatively flat but there are small level changes, most notably around the platform which is at ground level on the road side and drops to the railway on the other.

The hills are formed with correx formers, cut out and glued down like contours then covered over with plaster. This means the core of the hills is light and tough, and won't degrade, but the surface looks nice and smooth.

You can see it here before I smoothed it off with sandpaper. Because it's white it's not very clear, and the levels aren't high (up to 12mm thick, so only a scale 1.8 metres high). Hopefully once it's painted it'll be more obvious.

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After a few evenings sanding it now looks like this, and most areas are smooth enough to place a building on. I've then sketched on where the roads, vegetation and so on will be doing so I can start painting and landscaping.

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And, following ballasting and weathering of the track, I've had time to give the rails a proper clean and miracle of miracles it all works! Just a stray bit of ballast to clear from a point and that was it. This took ages on my previous layouts but because I took more care when I was ballasting this time it was much easier.

To celebrate here's a little video of some of my steam stock. The Farish 3F really creeps along nicely with the freight stock, I was never able to get stuff to move this slowly on Ealasaid so I'm very happy with it. It will run more slowly without any trouble.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDcSZ_4vXnI

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Notroh
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby Notroh » Thu May 12, 2016 6:19 pm

LukeB

Some nice progress there and a nice video, lovely to see some LMS stock running (as I can't) :)

Just a quick point - have you supported those ends yet? It would be a real shame if the board warped and the scenic cracked :(

Looking forward to the next post

Peter
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=50617#p620337
French N, too much fun!

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carnehan
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby carnehan » Thu May 12, 2016 7:34 pm

Your galloping on at a rate there Luke and it all looks terrific. Your previous layout had some home made trees included which looked fabulous - will these feature again here?

Paul

Dad-1
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Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby Dad-1 » Thu May 12, 2016 7:50 pm

Hi Luke,

Quite right about the ballast for Scotland. Taken from the current (2009) real Newtonmore platform
Makes you wonder why many still want cork to get a decent ballast shoulder ?
I love the mountainous Scottish landscape, even the sheep !! You're quite right using 'N' but even
then to do it justice you need a 40 ft shed !!

Just a link as the photo has been buried by Photobucket deep in my 50+ pages of photographs as it
was taken in 2009 !!

http://s191.photobucket.com/user/dad1IP ... a.jpg.html

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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LukeB
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby LukeB » Thu May 12, 2016 9:56 pm

Thanks very much chaps.

Geoff- I would love a huge garage layout with trains rolling through big landscapes. That photo is actually very helpful, photos of the station aren't that common.

Carnehan - Newtonmore is very sparse and there aren't many trees. Also the mice did away with several of the homemade trees! Some will be making an appearance though.

Notroh - I was going to mention that I haven't forgotten and will be dealing with the ends next, before I do anything else. I'm off to B&Q tomorrow to get some paint and wood.

The LMS 3F was bought on a whim when ebay did their 20% off deal. I had my eye on a Jinty but that deal made the Landship train pack with the 3F and three bogie flats about £70. If you could see the quality of the loco, in particular the cab details, you'd appreciate how much of a bargain that is!

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LukeB
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Re: Newtonmore - N Gauge in the Highlands, again!

Postby LukeB » Wed May 18, 2016 10:17 pm

Well, a little sooner than I thought but I've added the support to the ends - just some softwood timber but it's the same as the stuff the table is made off and it does stop the ends drooping so thanks very much for the advice.

The reason it's a bit soon, as I planned to be busy all weekend, was the arrival of a Dapol A3, Papyrus. New locos always need a look at and make sure it runs nicely! It runs well with five Gresley coaches behind it. I also had the 4F and B1 out, the B1 on a north bound mixed freight and the 4F on a local passenger service.

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As you can see by the time I'd got photos it was pretty dark- hopefully soon I'll get some photos in that natural light I was so excited about!


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