The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

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Silver Surfer
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The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Silver Surfer » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:36 pm

Following much deliberation and agonising at the amount of work I've already devoted to it, (yes I know lots of you have been there, done that, T shirt and video etc, etc), I've decided the time has come for me to dispense with my half complete layout, and start again from square one with Hawkers Bridge MkII.

In quieter moments during construction of MkI, I came across many things that I wished I'd done differently, one example was of falling into the age old trap of having a layout design and then thinking 'what if I added....' which has resulted in just a mass of trackwork and was not what was originally planned.
So weighing up what I like - again shown by my many hours of deliberation whilst trying to sort one or two problems (usually electrical), it seems to be mainly watching trains go by with the occasional bit of shunting. The thought processes began, and after many doodles, I started on a new track plan where I could maximise the running length but at the same time have it more of trains passing through countryside rather than the mass of trackwork I seem to have ended up with.

The area I have is approx 10feet x 10feet and rather than solid baseboards I'm going to have a shot at the 'L' girder system so I can attempt to get three levels into it.

This is what I have come up with:-

Image

In effect this is a continuous run dog-bone with trains travelling from one loop to another via the three levels then back again which, based on a rough guess, gives me somewhere around 75 to 80 yards of track to traverse before getting back to the starting point.

On the middle level - around halfway between the two loops - I want a small country station with an appropriately sized goods yard (to do my odd bit of shunting etc) and plenty of scenery so that trains at least appear as though they are going somewhere and ultimately coming back.

Hopefully, there will be enough room in the centre of the two loops (each of which has two tracks for storage) for an operating well, but I might also incorporate electrical extensions so I can operate from the front of the station if I wish. I reckon if I really want to test the old grey matter, I could have six or so trains running, which fits in very nicely with my recall stack of six. There is no fiddle yard to keep 'extras' and the only storage will be those in the loops (one on each) so everything that gets put on the layout for an operating session will get a run. Minimum radius is intended to be 24".

Like so many others, the railways that I have always had a soft spot for are the S&DJR and the Settle Carlisle so maybe, just maybe, I will attempt my own clumsy way of trying to get a mix of them both.

As the station area will hopefully be level(ish) and the remainder either up or down, I might try and get room for a 'banker' (or two) to assist with at least the up incline out of the station - bit like Evercreech Jct, but not a replica.

Outline planning permission from the appropriate authority (SWMBO) has been sought and conditionally obtained - she insists that the mess I'm going to make dismantling the old and creating the new, bear in mind it's in the loft and entails dragging everything through the house, is kept to an absolute minimum (fair enough I suppose). So I'm now at the drawing stage hoping to create a card model of the idea to ensure a) I have enough room and b) whether I'm going to suffer gradient problems with using three levels.

The end product will be DCC (NCE PowerPro) and, to aid troubleshooting, split into three large(ish) power districts - the two loops and the centre station section. Mainly steam but a selection of early diesels in a period around the 50's and 60's which coincidentally coincides with my youth - no surprise there. Oh and by the way, that's 1950 not 1850.

So I have much drawing, cardboard cutting, and wrecking (not to mention rubbish clearance) to do before I can post much more about it. I'll keep you informed, so watch this space.....

Mike

ps. If anyone can see any flaws or pitfalls I've not thought of, please feel free to tell me as I'd sooner rectify it in the planning stage rather than after I've started the re-build.

pps. The exact track diagram for the station/goods yard area has yet to be decided so please ignore what's drawn. Any ideas for such a small station with goods yard (nice and simple) - again, feel welcome to suggest away, all contributions gratefully received.
Last edited by Silver Surfer on Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hawkers Bridge - A work in progress
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Silver Surfer
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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Silver Surfer » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:35 pm

Little bit of progress. I decided to take accurate measurements of the available room in the loft and, to my surprise I have 12' by 10' not the 10x10 I thought I'd got - a bonus.
Armed with this new info, I've quickly thrown together a one tenth scale mock-up of the plan more than anything to check whether the gradients are satisfactory. I appear to be okay in as much as the gradient from the lower level (green to blue) works out at about 1:96 and the next level up - up out of the station to the top loop (blue to red) is about 1:73 - hence my thought about having a banker.

Most of what you can see on the mock up will be covered in scenery with the viewable parts consisting of a) the station and goods yard b) the top red level over the viaduct - except the bottom left corner which will be under a hillside to hide the sharp bend, and c) a small section of the bottom (green) level as it disappears under the station.

The square feature in the back left corner (the thing that looks like it's got windows) will be the operating well with the scenery going up to the top of it - the 'windows' will give me access to trains in the two loops once the scenery is in place. Bottom left is a triangle deliberately left open for access, as otherwise I won't be able to reach into the corner, this will also have access windows in it.

I've also shown the viewing area although I think the edging boards on this will need to be lower. All levels have a mimimum clearance of two and a half inches between them.

The thing that the mock up is built on (which looks a bit like a multi coloured draught board) is a 2D representation of the 'L' girder framework which will be hopefully holding everything up. The squares are 12" x 12".

A few piccies of the mock-up:-

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Mike
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Hawkers Bridge - A work in progress
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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Raider » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:13 pm

Interesting mock up there.

I always find it easiest to plan with the bits of track in the available space so I guess this gives you the opportunity to plan what you want without the initial investment in track.

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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Sprintex » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:44 pm

That 1/10 scale jobbie is a work of art in itself!! 8)

Be an interesting layout, very different from the norm, look forward to following the build :wink:


Paul

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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Silver Surfer » Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:24 am

Amazing what sitting looking at a mock-up like this can do...

I'm not totally happy with the area in the red square (the station throat) as it seems constricted to me and, other than a rock face, I can't think what to do with the vertical wall.

Have a couple of options though;-

1) Ease the red loop back by making it circular, at the moment it has a little bit of straight in it, although this will inevitably tighten the already restricted operating well.
2) Tighten the top (blue) curve and bring the top left corner front of the viewing area out a little, which will squeeze the over bridge closer to the viaduct. Not a problem as I can shove the viaduct further round the arc.

Image

The other vital thing I spotted was that I'd got my clearance between the layers wrong - originally the minimum clearance was to be 2 1/2" but in fact this should be 3" (or 75mm). This alteration can be accommodated during the build but I've had to recalculate my gradients, which will now be 1:78 green to blue, and 1:64 blue to red - still acceptable I think, but will almost certainly need that 'banker' now.

The other thing is with photos you can sometimes get a better understanding of what your layout will look like with the tracks covered (those that are hidden from view) and a bit of scenery applied.

This is a not very good attempt at imaginary scenery but gives me an idea of what tracks will be viewable when it's eventually got the green stuff on. The light grey bits are roads and the blue bit on the right is supposed to be a canal basin. Thinking about the basin, it has got to have a pub so I'll need a road coming down through the end arch from the country lane, maybe also put an isolated signalbox up on the embankment just after the viaduct somewhere - my minds in overdrive now and I can't wait to start ripping out MkI.

Image

This is the first time I've ever built a mock-up prior to assembly and boy am I glad I did as it's already proved invaluable. I'll keep staring at it thinking of scenics etc and you never know I may realise some other mistakes I've made - all part of the planning stage I suppose but hey it's saving me a fortune.

Thanks for reading

Mike
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Hawkers Bridge - A work in progress
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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Silver Surfer » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:57 am

The more I study the mock-up, the more I see.

I've decided that the top (red) loop will get reduced in size making it a circle rather than an oval. This will hopefully overcome the constriction problem around the station throat but will undoubtedly tighten the room I have available in the operating well.

The other thing I studied was, a train leaving the bottom (green) loop makes just a very brief appearance on an exposed running line before making it's entrance proper at the station throat (blue) which is almost one third around the track. In an effort to give a better view of these emerging trains, I think I will loop it across the viewing area using a similar curve to that of the red viaduct section and a lift off bridge - as in the yellow line on this photo.
Image

The lift-off section maybe a little difficult to manufacture accurately as it's not only on a curve but also on a gradient - time will tell.

Another thing I've learned is not to forget the overall height or thickness of a multi layered layout. Not many lofts have four vertical walls (I have only one, which has two chimney breasts in it), usually two or maybe three slope inwards towards the ridge at the top of the roof. If you start your layout on legs that are too high, you may run out of room (vertically) if you've planned the track using all available space.

As this is designed to be a three level layout the overall depth of it will be 14.5" without including any buildings or scenics that may go on the top layer. Obviously, this can cause problems the nearer you get to the slope of the roof and I found it necessary to drop the height of my legs by 2" to get the top layer under a 'purlin' (wooden beam) on the western side of the layout, but fortunately this was at the planning stage and not during the build.

I like to have a work bench/modelling table to save me doing construction on the layout itself or on the dining room table. The reduction in baseboard height also meant a reduction in the legs of my work bench which was okay but it had metal legs with castors and took a fair bit of sawing etc - done now tho' so I can press on.

Rather than dismantle MkI, cart it all down the loft ladder and start with a clean slate, so to speak, I've also decided to dismantle one side of the solid base board, replace it with the 'L' girder framework and then move round the loft in similar fashion doing each of the four sides. Hopefully they will meet properly when I get back to the starting point.

Keep you posted...

Mike
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Hawkers Bridge - A work in progress
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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Silver Surfer » Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:39 pm

Let battle begin.....

Today I set about getting rid of one side of my MkI layout and replacing it with the first set of L girders in preparation for MkII. First bit went okay but I didn't realise how much wood I'd put into MkI. I know I tend to over engineer things but this was silly, I've got more wood than there is in Sherwood Forest.

On considering erecting the first girder, I was conscious of the advice about screwing it to a wall. Well I've got one vertical wall which has two breasts and a radiator so no go there, and three sloping roof sides all of which, fortunately, have long purlins - I have no cross struts at all.

So I decided to screw vertical battens to the purlins (as I did in MkI - I actually used those left from the former layout) and then fixed the bottom of these to the floor using small angle brackets.
Image

Once these were done, I put together the first L girder and screwed it to the uprights making sure it was level. The girders were originally to be made from 3"x2" softwood but the nearest I could get in planed timber was 18mm x 34mm which roughly translated gives a girder which is 1.5" across the top and 2.5" deep which I'm sure will be okay. The 3x2 timber I could get was unplaned and I hate making things out of unplaned wood due to the ever present danger of splinters.
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This is the first (South side) of the layout L girders. note that the legs and cross members used are temporary fixings only as I want to place boards on the top so I can load it up with gear from one of the other sides. It'll test its strength if nothing else.

Also in the picture you can just see (right hand side above the bin) the eastern side of MkI and, running down from the left side the old partially painted back scene - don't know whether I need this yet so I've left it where it was.

So loads more to do.... the saga continues

Mike
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Hawkers Bridge - A work in progress
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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Black-Marlin » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:02 am

Hi

I'll be watching this with interest. I was always far too frightened to muck about with open-plan baseboards or L-girder frames, so already you have my respect. And as for that card model - that was very impressive! Will you be making the buildings on your layout out of the same material? You seem well able for it!

Cheers,
Gavin

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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Silver Surfer » Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:24 am

Hi Gavin, and thanks for your interest in my project. To be perfectly honest, I'm a little on the nervous side too as in 50 odd years this is the first time I've ventured into L girder baseboards and must admit they do seem flimsy when compared to the usual construction of solid baseboards - for instance they have no top board to keep everything nicely together. However, I do tend to 'over engineer' things so it may work out okay.

Two of my primary objectives or reasons for doing it were a) to make the railway look as though it was cut or built into already existing countryside as opposed to being built on flat terrain and then scenery plonked around it and, b) to make an attempt at getting rid of the drumming noise made by models on flat solid baseboards - something I have always seemed to suffer from.

The open baseboard should certainly help to overcome point 'a' as all the trackwork will have some form of gradient apart from the station area which will remain on reasonably level ground. I'm not yet fully convinced I have the ability to make the station area as an 'open build' so it may go on a baseboard of its own with the other tracks leading up or down from it.

Point 'b' will hopefully be partially resolved in the next few days as I've ordered some Tillig trackwork with a separate foam underlay. In addition to it providing some form of sound deadening, the underlay is already ballasted so, if satisfactory, will save me the unenviable task of hours of ballasting. I'll report back on this one.

As for buildings; The material in my mock up is actually 1mm and 2mm plain card, nothing else apart from a piece of 9mm mdf as a base (over engineering!). It has paper details stuck to it with thinned pva and then cut out and stuck together - nothing mysterious about it, in fact it's exactly the same as building a scalescenes type kit.

My plan (subject to alteration/development) is for this to be open countryside and, apart from a small intermediate type station and goods yard, and oh yes the pub near the canal basin and a couple of signal boxes, no other buildings have yet been planned - I'll see as the scenery develops so, nothing hard and fast as yet. For the signal boxes I'm thinking of maybe using brass etched kits but I've never done brass etches so this would be something else completely new for me.

A combination of S&DJR and Settle Carlisle is what I'm aiming for (if thats possible) so who knows what'll eventually end up on the layout - for the moment I'm concentrating on the L girder framework and everything else will take its natural course as things develop.

Thanks again for your interest.

Mike
Image
Hawkers Bridge - A work in progress
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'A Diesel engine is a machine - A Steam engine is a living being, almost human'

Michael Thornberry
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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Michael Thornberry » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:28 pm

Hello Mike,
Your project is taking-shape nicely. Very impressed with your card-model. I'm very interested in the "L Girder" Track-suspension system you are using. I am about to start planning/building my 1st lay-out so I will be watching your progress with interest. I was originally intent on building my lay-out in our garage but have "nearly decided" to erect a 16ft x 18ft shed for it instead. My lay-out is to be GWR&LSWR Joint Railway, era 1895-1936 set in western Cornwall. Looking forward, Mike, to future Posts on "Hawkers Bridge",
Kind Regards,
Michael Thornberry.

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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Silver Surfer » Sat Jul 04, 2009 7:09 pm

Hi Michael, and thanks for your interest also.
Michael Thornberry wrote:but have "nearly decided" to erect a 16ft x 18ft shed for it instead.

16'x18' is not a shed, it's a pavilion. Wish I had that much room.
Michael Thornberry wrote:My lay-out is to be GWR&LSWR Joint Railway, era 1895-1936 set in western Cornwall.

That sounds a great project too.....

I think the thing to bear in mind with L girders is where possible to have it screwed/battened to a wall to give it some form of rigidity as I can see these being a bit on the flimsy side if left free-standing. Also, L girder systems don't like to be transported they like to be fixed for the duration, but quite how you would transport a 16'x18' layout is incomprehensible anyway.

Look forward to following your build.

Mike
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Hawkers Bridge - A work in progress
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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Black-Marlin » Sat Jul 04, 2009 7:26 pm

Silver Surfer wrote:Hi Michael, and thanks for your interest also.
Michael Thornberry wrote:but have "nearly decided" to erect a 16ft x 18ft shed for it instead.

16'x18' is not a shed, it's a pavilion. Wish I had that much room.


So say we all... 16'x18'? That's going to take years. Brilliant!

Gavin

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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Sprintex » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:05 pm

Black-Marlin wrote:
Silver Surfer wrote:Hi Michael, and thanks for your interest also.
Michael Thornberry wrote:but have "nearly decided" to erect a 16ft x 18ft shed for it instead.

16'x18' is not a shed, it's a pavilion. Wish I had that much room.


So say we all... 16'x18'? That's going to take years. Brilliant!

Gavin


Be REALLY brave . . . do it in 'N' :mrgreen:


Paul

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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby SouthernBoy » Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:16 pm

Hello Silver Surfer,

What a sublime plan - all that trackwork - but just a couple of small sections where trains make 'stage appearances' :) It must be the pinnacle of the ''railway in scenery' school of thought.

I love your scale mock-up: nicely constructed and (for a multi-level layout) so much easier for others to follow than a one-dimensional plan :)
But I'm a little confused by your second post in this thread "The square feature in the back left corner (the thing that looks like it's got windows) will be the operating well" - does this mean you sit inside and operate your trains from there ... ? :? I don't quite see the attraction of that :shock: :)


L-Girder construction is pretty solid. I've used it on my current layout and like you was a little apprehensive at first - but now am happy that I did. It seems a sensible choice for any layout that has viaducts / embankments / inclines etc. Also, I found the front of the lower section of the 'L' useful for cable runs and switching gear - and later I'll use the upper protruding lip of the 'L' to mount a removable facia to hide the wiring, but wiring that's that is still easily accessible.

Anyway - good luck - keep the pictures coming :)

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Re: The new ' Hawkers Bridge'

Postby Silver Surfer » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:23 am

SouthernBoy wrote:What a sublime plan - all that trackwork - but just a couple of small sections where trains make 'stage appearances' It must be the pinnacle of the ''railway in scenery' school of thought.

Just hope my scenic modelling backs up the theory...

SouthernBoy wrote:I love your scale mock-up: nicely constructed and (for a multi-level layout) so much easier for others to follow than a one-dimensional plan :)

Thanks. It also makes it a lot easier for me to follow as well... (I easily get confused) but I think the main reason I did it was to see if it worked without loads of work/expense only to find it didn't.

SouthernBoy wrote:But I'm a little confused by your second post in this thread "The square feature in the back left corner (the thing that looks like it's got windows) will be the operating well" - does this mean you sit inside and operate your trains from there ... ? :? I don't quite see the attraction of that :shock: :)

The square feature (SWMBO calls it a window box) was designed to be exactly that. I did go on to say I was thinking of electrical extensions to allow operation from in front of the station - in the viewing well.
First point is it is a large 'access' hole and it made sense to be able to sit inside the two reverse loop/storage roads - to allow engine changes if I wished and operating from here gives me a certain 'persective' of the whole layout where I will be able to view the 'stages' as you called them and train appearances all from one viewpoint - like standing on the top of a hill looking at trains in the distance if you like, and will be my operating spot when I have visitors.
On other occasions, I will stand or sit in the viewing area to gain another perspective from a more 'on the ground' level. Not many round the wall layouts have places where you can view from more than one position - so I thought this might be a nice facility to have.

SouthernBoy wrote:L-Girder construction is pretty solid. I've used it on my current layout and like you was a little apprehensive at first - but now am happy that I did. It seems a sensible choice for any layout that has viaducts / embankments / inclines etc.

My thoughts exactly and thanks for the re-assurance.

SouthernBoy wrote:I found the front of the lower section of the 'L' useful for cable runs and switching gear - and later I'll use the upper protruding lip of the 'L' to mount a removable facia to hide the wiring, but wiring that's that is still easily accessible.

I was wondering about cabling, my last layout had a 2"x4" section of plastic trunking running right round the inside of the operating well - thanks for the tip.

Layout update:
Yesterday I erected the second side of the L girder base and today hope to press on with the other two sides. Although I'm working to a plan (and a mock up) still having to work round small problems as I construct, like how far apart to have the top spacers? I decided on 15" centres as this allows firstly, enough adequate support for the incline piers for the gradients, and also enough room for me to get my electric drill/screwdriver in between them to screw the piers in place.
Talking of piers, I've also recently realised just how many will be needed so will have to give this some thought on how best to do it but, that's in the future must press on with the bases.

Thanks for your interest Southern Boy - more photos will follow when I think I've got something worth taking a picture of..... Don't you just hate those threads without pictures or diagrams?

Mike
Image
Hawkers Bridge - A work in progress
__________________________________
'A Diesel engine is a machine - A Steam engine is a living being, almost human'


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