The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

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WhitehouseFilms
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The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby WhitehouseFilms » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:24 pm

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The Ffarquhar Branch

Background of the original layout
In the mid 50’s, The Rev. W. Awdry (Creator of Thomas the tank engine0 was commissioned to build a layout to display at the Wisbech trades fair. At the time he was struggling to get a new Island of Sodor layout built with constant mishaps and derailments, so the idea of making a smaller layout would be easier to do. The result, The Ffarquhar Branch, a 4x6ft layout based on the top station on Thomas’ Branch Line. It was simple little layout which operated very smoothly and reliable by its engines Thomas, Percy, Toby and spare engine Duck. This layout performed well without a hitch for nearly 12 years before it was cut down to Ffarquhar MrkII, due to the railway room in the new house being too small for the layout to fit in.

My Replica
In 2007, with kind permission from Christopher Awdry, I set out to try and replicate this layout but the result was more based off the illustrations in the books than the actual layout. In 2011 I tried again, only this one was more based off the MrkII version and went on the exhibition circuit in November 2012. After my last exhibition in 2014, my Dad suggested I’d try one more time only this time make it exactly like the original. I thought about it and after a week I agreed to give it one last try. So that Christmas I got the essential items and work began on the baseboards in January 2015.
To help me along with the layout, I’ve printed out a copy of the 1959 December issue of Railway Modeller upon which the Ffarquhar Branch is featured in the ‘Railway of the Month’ category. The article gave me clear instructions as to how each item was made and how I can go about making it myself using ready at hand items, which was the aim of the original layout from the start.

Baseboards
The original layout was made to fold up into a box of 2ft x 6ft x 1ft 9inches so I had to take a look at examples of folding layouts to understand the principles on how it was done and how to go about it myself. After fixing on some 2x2 batons to the edges of the layout for scenic back scenes, Box hinges were screwed on the two which go over the baseboard joint. It is important that the boards are flushed together and that each surface was even with each other. Box clamps were fitted on each side to ensure a good, strong join was made. The surface board is 4mm thick sundeala hobby board which will be handy for when tracking down the track. The board was then given a coat of emulsion paint and the markings for the track layout was drawn out.

Trackwork
Trackwork on the original layout was done using Wreen track so for my one I used Peco Streamline Flexible track and Peco set track code 100. The main oval was the first to be laid before the station area was laid. For ballast I used Peco foam underlay but as this stuff disintegrates after 10 years I haven’t glued it to the track as recommended so it makes things easier when re ballasting. While ballasting, small neo-magnets are fitted areas where I need to uncouple rolling stock using Spratt and Winkle couplings. I used to use magnets from door stops and cut a small hole in the underlay to help me know where the magnet is while shunting wagons at exhibitions. In the fiddle yard behind the station, Peco Settrack isolating tracks were also laid as marked in the layout’s track plan.

Wiring
The wiring on the layout is standard DC control with Peco PL-10 and PL-11 point motors used throughout the layout. This would be the longest bit of work done on the layout as it took some time to work out which wire controlled what point motor as well as wiring points to operate simultaneously. But once finished everything worked like a dream. On the original layout, The Reverend Awdry made his controller from bits or radio dials and switches as controllers back then, to him, didn’t provide the right kind of movement he wanted from his engines. For me I find Gaugemaster’s controllers just the thing to get excellent running from your engines. Originally I had a D model controller powering the layout but like with Revd Awdry the location proved difficult when carrying out shunting and the constant straining over to see if the hook was above the magnet made things difficult. So the solution, again like the original, was done by having the controller above the fiddle yard in a gantry sort of fashion. The D model controller was switched to the Combi Controller for its light-weightiness and just the right size for the layout. All track wiring was then fed to run on the controller and thus completed the wiring.

Scenery
The scenery started on the first half of the layout with the construction of the main hill side. This was constructed using mainly newspaper cushions and polystyrene blocks. A top cover of newspaper completed the surface before the grass was applied. A friend of mine recommended using hanging basket liner for the grass, so after buying a roll from Homebase for £3, I had a nice hillside formed up. The liner was trimmed down in areas and given a wash of Green Sap and Burnt Umber paint to help bring the colour up. For areas where I didn’t require rough wild grass, I find Javis Scenic Scatters very useful as they have just the right shade of colours that I require for areas such as roads, tracksides etc. Bushes and shrubs were made using Woodland Scenics’ Olive green & Light green foliage. Trees are Noch as well some homemade ones using the instructions from the article.

Buildings
Buildings on the layout are mostly Bilt-eezi card kits but others are made from scratch using Model Craft and Prototype models brick papers or print out models online. Items such as the loco coal stage and Hackenbeck Halt are made from bulsa wood and matchsticks and are given a brush of wood stain to bring up the colour. Backscences are Bilt-eezi. Originally the station backscene was a Peco one but it didn’t suite the scene that well and looked out of period with the model. On the original layout the back scenes were from Basset Lowke, but as they are no longer made, I found Bilt-eezi's back scenes more suitable.
Signalling is done with the Ratio signal kits. The kits were of the GWR ready assembly range with upper quadrant arms fitted to match the original models. Operating them is done using the kit’s signal operation kit.
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The layout was ready for it's first exhibition in November 2016 at the Friends of Cultra Model Railway Show. It's turn out was well received and many stopped by to see the engines performing their tasks on the layout and to take note on how the layout was built and operated.

The layout's operation follows the original 1950's operational sequence, which the Railway Modeller article explains in full. Workings of the 1960's sequence is being looked upon and tested but success on that will be notified at a later date.

The locos of the layout are mock up replicas of the original models that ran on the original. So far only a few were made using the same kits and models that the Reverend used while others were either altered RTR locos to bare the appearance of the originals using reference photographs which I took with kind permission from the Talyllyn Railway. This list of the engines and rolling stock are as follows

Locomotives

Thomas
Thomas' model was bought in December 2015 in the form of a Stewart Reidpath tank engine. The model came with it's original motor which was quite worn in parts and ran very loudly. This was common for these motors as they were one of the earliest examples of DC control in 00. There was also the issue with sticking while run rounding a train and a few pushes from the hand would send the engine on it's way again-only to stick once more. So to help me out with this issue, I sent the model off to a friend who cleverly designed and 3D printed a new chassis for my model. The model came back and has been a reliable runner since with no signs of trouble whatsoever ever. The model bares the livery of the original model carried from the 1940's to the late 60's.
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Percy
Percy was a tricky model to make as the original model was an altered brass kit from the manufacture LARKO. These kits are no longer produced so to replicate this model I had to study the appearance of the original and alter a RTR model to resemble it. The best choice for the moment was the Bachman 0-4-0 Percy/Greg model as it's wheel spacing and footplate length roughly match those of the original. Now some heavy modification had to be done to this model and after several rebuilds, the current appearance is the best that my labour could manage. The body work comprises of parts from several broken Hornby/Tri-ang models with some parts scratch built. The motor casing for the chassis also had to be heavily modified so that the boiler was the correct height and so that the motor was able to run. The original model was painted in BR Green until the late 1960's when it was painted in a brighter green to match the pictures in the books, but patches of the original paintwork can still be seen. My model is painted to match the latter livery.
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Now at the moment a new model is being planned and a fellow 3D modeller kindly designed a 3D printed replica of the body of the original model to fit the Bachmann chassis. But I think maybe there is a way that perhaps a new chassis could be made for this second attempt but how that will go about is yet to be planned. So far the bodywork and footplate have been designed and printed but a chassis will be made at a later stage.
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Toby
For now, Toby's model is a SliverFox J70/Y6 tram kit powered by a Tenshodo motor bogie. The model is painted in chocolate brown and side plates sky blue. At the moment a new model is being planned to be made using the original instructional guide the Reverend gives in the Railway Modeller. A spare model is also being planned to be made using the K's/Keyser white metal kit.
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Daisy
Daisy's model like the original is made from a Tri-ang Class 101 DMU. I got the model second hand from a family friend and made it up using the same method the Reverend used for his model, Cut the driver's cab from the dummy car and stick it to the end of the powered unit. A spare model is being planned but is currently waiting on new wheels from Ultrascale.
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Mavis
Mavis was a fun model to make. She was made using the Dapol/ex Airfix Class 04 Shunter kit with plasticard side plates and Ratio fence cowcatchers. The body was filled with bits of lead and modelling clay to weigh it down and a Tenshodo motor bogie was fitted to power it. A smooth runner with the extra weight added and often makes several appearances during the layout's operation.
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Duck (Spare model)
A Gaiety Model 57xx Pannier tank body mounted on a Tri-ang 0-6-0 chassis. At the moment the model is being converted to have finer wheels in replacement to the 'clumsy' Tri-ang ones.
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Rolling Stock

Annie and Clarabel
Thomas' trusty coaches. Like with Mavis these models were fun to make and were my first attempted at scratch building coach stock with plywood. Wooden bodies on Ratio bogie bolster kits, these model perform well and look the part behind Thomas. Just incase anything happens some spare models are being designed for 3D print, using reference profile photos of the originals.
Scratch built models
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3D designed ones for print.
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Henrietta and Elsie
Tob's quarry train. At first Henrietta was made from a modified Marklin coach but was shortly replaced with a repainted Bachmann model. It was not until recently that a new model bought off shapeways which portrays the Wisbech coach she is based off much better. Fitted with Bachmann coach wheels is quite a nice model to have.
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Elsie was one of my first scratch built plastic models. Using scale plans of the original luggage van she is based off, the body work was made using Wills plasticard sheets and the chassis from a broken Ratio coach kit.
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The goods stock on the line is a mixture of Ratio and Parkside Dundas kits and Tri-ang. Each have been repainted and liveried to match the original rolling stock seen on the original layout.
All wagons and coach stock are fitted with Mrk1 Spratt and Winkle couplings. Originally fitted with delay type couplings but this proved to make things difficult for shunting.

Having recently gone through a small upgrade to help with the operation, the layout will making it's next public appearance at the North Down Model Railway Society's model show in Bangor Grammar School, County Down and will later return to the Friends of Cultra show in November later this year.
I'm very pleased at how this layout turned out and hope to continue exhibiting this layout as much as I could.
If you have any questions about the layout, you're more than welcome to ask.

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luckymucklebackit
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby luckymucklebackit » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:56 pm

Hi - I have previously seen your thread and blogs on RMweb, really nice depiction of Awdry's legacy.

Jim
This Signature Left Intentionally Blank, but since I have written this and I intended to do it, this Signature is intentionally not blank. Paradox or What?
My layout - Gateside and Northbridge
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Ex-Pat
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby Ex-Pat » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:31 am

Looking forward to seeing you at Bangor on Saturday (and carnehan will no doubt be there as well).

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WhitehouseFilms
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby WhitehouseFilms » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:24 pm

Thanks.
I'm quite looking forward to this show as it's my first time exhibiting there. Mostly I exhibit at Cultra's show but I was glad when the NDMRS invited me to theirs.
Been quite busy getting the layout ready for it's transportation to the show and making any last minute plans and fixtures that needed to be done to the layout. Before packing the engines and rolling stock away into their stock boxes, I gave the layout one last test run to make sure everything was working fine and I'm glad to say it does.
Heres another shot of the layout as it currently is. NOTE: I forgot to put the signal box back in it's place hence why it's behind the station building.
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If anyone is at the show and should see Ffarquhar Branch there, feel free to stop by.

HarryR
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby HarryR » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:19 pm

The layout looks great, I'm sure it will attract a lot of interest

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carnehan
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby carnehan » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:55 pm

Ex-Pat wrote:Looking forward to seeing you at Bangor on Saturday (and carnehan will no doubt be there as well).


I will indeed and will introduce myself for sure. Looking forward to seeing this in the flesh.

Paul

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WhitehouseFilms
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby WhitehouseFilms » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:22 pm

Well the layout is now set up at the show so your more than welcome to drop by and say hello. Don't know how much of a crowd will turn up tot he show but I will try and get some time away to have a look around the other layouts to get some photos and also see about getting a few items as well.
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nickbrad
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby nickbrad » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:48 am

That's a great model, I'm too young to remember the RM article on the original layout, but I always enjoy seeing the Rev Awdry's work whenever possible.

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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby Ex-Pat » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:14 am

It certainly stood out at Bangor yesterday, drawing plenty of "young blood", a lot of whom were well acquainted with each loco.

And what's more, whilst some of the layouts stuttered and started (one didn't even start whilst I was looking at it) this layout performed faultlessly - well done Michael!

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Mountain
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby Mountain » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:15 pm

nickbrad wrote:That's a great model, I'm too young to remember the RM article on the original layout, but I always enjoy seeing the Rev Awdry's work whenever possible.

I never forget seeing the Rev Awrdy at a local model railway exhibition in Wales. He was a kind looking elderly gent. I believe he was signing autographs for the kiddies. I would have liked to have had a chat but it was a bit embarrassing as where he was was in a place set up with kiddies in mind, and I'm no longer a kiddie! :D Mind you, I wasa bit of a kiddie when I came to looking at the other exhibits! :mrgreen:
It is always nice to see people who are well known as it is something to make me smile! I have learnt to give them space, as one must find things difficult to always be in the publics gaze and not be able to walk without lots of people wanting to talk to you, as I imagine it can get tiresome.
I remember once, while working a quieter mid afternoon train one of my local celebrities was on his way home. He was tired and on his last leg of a long journey. I had a lady on my train who looked in her 50's and she was given a job of asking passengers to complete passenger survays (We had a little chat as she had to come to me for permission to be on my train etc).
It was funny. She started to go through the train and saw him. She came back to me and said (Pointing at the man excitedly) "Do you know who that is?" I said yes, he's Terry Griffith's". [Now he lives in the same village andi was in school with his sons so of corse I know who he is, even if I didnt know he was famous]. The lady then said excitedly and quite loudly "You dont know what I mean... Its THEE Terry Griffith's", as she stood right near the poor man pointing at him! He must have been thinking to himself " Here we go again! :D ". I was trying to let him rest while I had the over excited lady trying to make a big thing of him being on the train!
It is funny how some react. It is nice they are well known, and for me, I'd like to have nice quiet conversations with them in a more private setting... But it is hard to know how they cope with being famous!
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Bufferstop
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:01 pm

When I was young I knew a Glaswegian fitter who worked in Bescot sheds. Last time I saw him he was complaining about this young lad who was working with him who had no interest at all in the trains, always rattling on about pop music. I think about him every time I spot Pete Waterman at the NEC, the pop music was a passing phase, the trains dragged him back in the end!
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
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Emettman
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby Emettman » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:24 pm

WhitehouseFilms wrote:Well the layout is now set up at the show...


And how nice it looks!

It shows that 6x4 can work, but also the importance of working such with small engines and short coaches.
Gordon would be longer than the two coaches sitting at the platform, I think, never mind adding mainline coaches for him to pull.

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

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WhitehouseFilms
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby WhitehouseFilms » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:49 pm

Many thanks, guys for your kind comments. I've thoroughly enjoyed this show and was thrilled to hear the many positive feedback from the other exhibitors and visitors at the show. I was really touched by some of kind words they left regarding certain features that the layout had and was also pleased some of you spotted some of the little scenes that were happening in among the houses. Mr Kneatly, for example, under his car fettling with it or lazy young Simon Horker not doing the weeding like he should be.
I was also pleased when the layout got invited to attend the show in Belfast Methodist College in August. I'll have to check that I haven't anything on that weekend so that I'm able to attend.
Anyways, here are a couple of snaps I managed to take of the layout while it was at the show. I will be filming an operational video later this summer so you can get an understanding of how the line operates.
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Pierluk
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby Pierluk » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:34 pm

Wonderful layout. Is it the right track plan bellow ?

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Emettman
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Re: The Ffarquhar Branch - 6x4ft Replica

Postby Emettman » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:56 pm

Pierluk wrote:Wonderful layout. Is it the right track plan bellow ?


Yes, that's the close copy of the original plan.

Stimulated by this thread, I recently had a look at 6x4 for Thomas to see if I could get rid of the R1 curves in the original version,
and perhaps also increase the storage capacity.
What came out was something a little less than conventional, but it achieved both aims.

You can see it, with explanation, here
https://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=52984&p=650738#p650738

Chris.
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."


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