Stourford

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AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

This will be the first proper model railway I'll have built since my first attempt as a teenager back in 2010 as I originally tried building a small layout in my parents attic using a few thin plywood boards from MFO boxes my dad had saved from the army years ago. Fast forwarding back to today, my parents have moved out into my late grandparents house leaving just me and my brother looking after the house. Since I've claimed the master bedroom, that freed up my old bedroom which has been turned into a hobby room for myself and I can finally get round to having a layout again.

Due to needing to avoid having anything permanently fixed to the walls, I have built a "J-shaped" free standing workbench in there which gives me plenty of storage space. There is a chimney breast in the middle of one of the walls hence the need for the J-shape. Anyway, this gives me a suitable worktop of roughly 8ft by 7ft which I can place portable baseboards on top of to work on and run the layout. These can then be stored on the shelves underneath when I need the workbench for other jobs.

After many months of planning and tweaking, I now have a workable trackplan to build my layout from:

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This will be a fictional GWR Terminus in 00 Gauge set in the West Midlands region during the inter-war period and includes a goods yard and a small MPD with a coaling stage (and a hopefully working automaton of the coaling tub.) Space in the room allows for a non scenic traversing fiddle yard to be put in which I can either leave trains out on or store away if needed.

For historical links, the name Stourford is an amalgamation of the towns of Kingswinford and Stourbridge which I live in between and these were in the old GWR territory which included what was the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway (later the West Midlands Railway and merged into the GWR) and the Kingswinford Railway (later extended to Oxley, Wolverhampton via the Wombourne Branchline and also connected to the Earl of Dudley's Pensnett Railway). Kingswinford also had the Shutt End Railway (which eventually became part of the Pensnett Railway system) that was built in the late 1820s to transport coal from the Pensnett Area to Ashwood Basin which happens to be 5 mins away from my house. The engine that orignally worked this line was the Agenoria (sister engine to the "Stourbridge Lion" for those who may have heard of it) which has been preserved and you can see it at the NRM in York.

As I'm setting this in a fictionalised area within the Black Country area, I can base rolling stock on those rostered at Stourbridge and Oxley sheds and potenially Kidderminster too for the odd excersion from the Severn Valley Line. So looking at various Pannier Tanks, 14xx's, Large and Small Prairies, Halls, Granges, possibly Manors as the nearest ones in the area at the time would have been based at Shrewsbury, Moguls and Collet Goods. So nice wide variety of stock.

So far the baseboards have been constructed, cork underlay sheets have been purchased and track is slowly being acquired. Have been collecting various bits and pieces of buildings, trackside scenery and electrics during from visits to various model railway exhibitions so have got plenty to work with.

Pictures will follow once I make a start on laying the track.
Last edited by AJFE 2488 on Tue Dec 12, 2023 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Phred
Posts: 528
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2023 10:53 pm
Location: Queensland Australia

Re: Stourford

Post by Phred »

That's a very impressive plan! I look forward to seeing it progress. :)
AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

Mini update as I have now got myself some free time after finishing my coursework for university. I've started off doing a dry run of the track layout with the track I currently have to see how it looks on the baseboard and to check how the rolling stock handles it.

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Excusing the mess under and around the workbenches, the track plan fits ok onto the board provided that I nudge it over far enough to ensure the curve on the right isn't too close to the board edge. The part of the board with the multiple straights will eventually be the MPD so they are just there for rough positioning of the roads and coaling stage.

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Rough layout of the station which works ok with the rolling stock I currently have. The gap in the track will be filled with a piece of flexi-track to save me buying multiple straights to chop and fit into it. The points and straight at the back is the rough position of the goods sidings and shed, this may need moving further across to the left so that the access road can be fitted it and adjusted so that the curve isn't too sharp.

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Opposite end of the station. This is a rough positioning again of where the turntable will be along with the two inspection pits. 3-way point is roughly in position subject to alteration to suit the track work.

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Rough layout of the MPD which will require a couple more points, another 3-way point and plenty of inspection pit kits to be purchased. Will need to remind myself to check what code rail is in the kit next time since I managed to pick up 2 packs of code 75 railed pits instead of what I assumed was code 100 years ago. There will be a ramp leading up to the coaling stage using some flexi-track and I'll have to look up the best way to build one in the first place.

So testing wise, all the engines I do have that are running handle the track layout fairly well but I do need to keep the speed down when going over the double slip as a couple of them derailed once or twice. Some of the engines are old and need a bit of tlc or just brand new chassis for the limas.

Cork sheets aren't fixed down yet and I'm assuming the norm is to cut strips that are wider than the track? This is a learning curve for me as I've never used them before and the last time I did layouts years ago, the track was pinned directly to the based with ballast glued around it.
AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

Before I say anything else, Happy New Year to you all! Have kept myself busy over the Christmas holidays and cracked on with the layout.
So far I've focused on the 4 foot boards and they're almost finished trackwise, underlay has been glued down, track nailed in placed, holes have been drilled/ cutout for the point motors, inspection pits and the turntable. The majority of the track has been soldered with dropper wires as I'm taking no chances with loss of power on this layout.

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The goods yard has been re-jigged slightly as whilst doing the dry run, I hadn't originally decided what size the goods shed was going to be when I come to making it and the siding nearest the stations wouldn't give enough clearance for a shed and any vehicles that would be present after doing a rough measurement based on the readily available models. So I've moved the points closer to the double slip to give a new angle for the sidings which should give enough clearance. Thinking about future applications, as this is a portable layout and I may choose to add an extension to the station end, I figured that I could fit in another platform to give me 3 in total should I wish to have trains travelling in either direction. So to allow for this, what I have done is marked out a centreline for the near siding so that it gives space for a single sided platform. Until then, it provides a bit of breathing space between the station and the goods yard. Still need to glue down 2 more strips of cork underlay and then I can lay down the track for the goods yard.

I have been able to do a test run of the electrics with a DCC fitted 66XX and a DC Hall and they do like the vast majority of the trackwork. I did make a start on weathering the track last week and didn't clean off the tops of the track making them stall on those bits but that can be easily fixed. They have crossed over the baseboard joints with no problems however on the track leading towards the 3 way point, they're not particulary keen on the curve as it is slightly tighter than 2nd radius and the Hall has been getting stuck there with either the bogie leaning off it or one of the driving wheels coming off. So think I'll be replacing that with a 3rd radius half curve and refitting the flexitrack to compensate. The curve leading away from the station is a wierd one as when the locomotives travel straight from the platform, they're perfectly fine. However when the Hall comes over from the loop, it doesn't like the curve on the point leading into the curve in the opposite direction which might be due to how close the tender is fitted to the locomotive. It is a Bachmann one if anyone is curious.

So next tasks will be to get the turntable finished off, get it wired and motored, fit it along with the inspection pits, fix the curve leading towards the 3 way point, sort out the track for the goods yard and make a start on the point motors for the 4 foot boards.
Bigmet
Posts: 10289
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by Bigmet »

Good progress, and it looks very neat overall.

Regarding the Bachmann Hall, one of their models I have not sampled, what is the drawbar arrangement to couple on to the tender? If it has the tender pin on a screw locked adjustable slide, it is very easy to adjust. I have seen these set 'all over the shop' as received, since they introduced this method around a dozen years ago. (Typically spaced off to the maximum distance, but a couple of times so tight that it's straight track capable only...)
AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

Bigmet wrote: Tue Jan 02, 2024 10:22 am Good progress, and it looks very neat overall.

Regarding the Bachmann Hall, one of their models I have not sampled, what is the drawbar arrangement to couple on to the tender? If it has the tender pin on a screw locked adjustable slide, it is very easy to adjust. I have seen these set 'all over the shop' as received, since they introduced this method around a dozen years ago. (Typically spaced off to the maximum distance, but a couple of times so tight that it's straight track capable only...)
I've had another look at it just and Bachmann has done it with the drawbar being permanently fitted to the locomotive with 2 pin holes at the tender end. I remember now that out the box, the tender and locomotive were separate and you had to feed the drawbar through the tender's buffer beam before latching it onto the pin which was a bit of a pain.

I've fitted it onto the outermost pin now and it has plenty more wiggle room now. Will still need to swap out the flexitrack curve going into the 3 way point for a 3rd radius curve.
AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

Have been doing some more work on the track and baseboard since my last post whilst fitting it between work and uni.

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So far all the track for the 4x2 baseboards have now been laid and wired in with exception of the turntable, the 2 inspection pits and the road leading onto it. Left hand board has been fitted with second hand point motors and have purchased plenty of brand new ones to go with the other 2 boards. Will need to finish wiring the track feed circuit for both boards and install a link cable between them and my controller.

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Have done a lot of work on the MPD board with the majority of trackwork acquired and loose fitted, first 4 inspection pits fitted into the baseboards and the incline for the coaling stage in the process of construction. As I've taken to soldering dropper wires to the track joiners, it is taking time to do but for a good reason. However, I have been using the same gauge wire on the points motors and managed to run out so will need to purchase another couple of lengths of red and black wire when I get the chance to do so. The inspection pits that will be inside the shed still need the slots cutting out and very tempted to have a go with my new jigsaw instead of the router this time to cut down on the noise, mess and burning smell. Also need to purchase 3 more inspection pits to finish the shed track and haven't decided whether or not to keep the track at the front edge of the yard straight or put a slight curve in front of it. Point motors will need fitting as-well along with another track feed link cable to the controller.

Will be looking at constructing a portable control panel incorporating the track controller(s), point switches/ mimic board and other electronic controls as I will be looking at motorising the signalling, wiring in the turntable feeds and motor, the coaling tower animatronic and lighting on the boards. This contol panel should then be able to be repostioned depending on whether I've got it set up at home or eventually at exhibitions. Still need to look at the storage section as I'll need to build a curved section off the display boards and a traverser yard.
Phred
Posts: 528
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2023 10:53 pm
Location: Queensland Australia

Re: Stourford

Post by Phred »

Coming along very nicely. :)
AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

Got some more work done to the layout and have pretty much got the vast majority of the trackwork now laid and wired in with the exception of the elevated part beyond the coaling stage where I need to landscape first and to finish building the coaling stage with an automaton built in. Connectivity between the boards is currently provided by choc-block terminals for the time being and will be looking at fitting suitable jack sockets and leads in the future.
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Have been running test engines across the layout using both Analogue and Digital Controllers and happy to see that all the electrical connections from the droppers work since the engines have been able to go corner to corner on each road. Even sent a few of the tank engines up the ramp to the coaling stage so managed to get the incline angle right. Will be restricting it to the Panniers only considering that propelling coal wagons up to the stage is a job for shunting engines.

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Couldn't resist getting a few of the coaches out for test running but does help to check where the clearances need to be for the platforms when it comes to building them. The main platform will comfortably take a tender engine and 2 coaches without fouling the points however, I can fit a 3rd coach in on the basis of stopping the engine over the points, uncouple, runaround and then propel the set further into the station. Not sure whether this would have occured on the real thing in the steam era but hey ho.

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Turntable has been fully wired up along with the motor fitted, installed in the layout and it turns. Have ended up using a voltage regulator between the switch and the controller since the motor doesn't like being subjected to 16V. Only issue with it is that I have used the old EXPO turntable gearbox kit and it is very noisy even when you drop the voltage down to the lowest operating level. However, I have had a ride around on the turntable at Kidderminster a couple of months ago and that gearbox on that is quite noisy as-well. So for prototype's sake, I could get away with having the noise but will be looking at putting some sound proofing around it just to quiet it down a bit.

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Finished off installing the inspection pits inside the shed and made sure to put droppers on both ends of each pit so that the engines will go to the ends of each road. Coaling stage ramp has been landscaped, just need some more modroc to do the other end of the coaling stage before I nail down the last bit of track. Coaling stage still needs finishing off and the automaton fitting when I get round to making the mechanism for it (See my other posts for this one).

So all I've got left to do p-way wise is wire up and fit all the point motors for all 3 boards and construct the fiddle yard and the link curve between that and the MPD board. Control Panel will follow in due course. Still having issues with running the older locomotives due to flange sizes and old motors so will be upgrading all of these with new chassis' and fitting them for DCC.
aleopardstail
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:48 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by aleopardstail »

Looks like a fun layout, and the track plan with the decent sized MPD becomes a perfect way to display and collect stock.

nicely done too. what sort of gradient have you got up to the coaling stage & how high is the track through it?? wanting something similar here and wondering on the practicalities
AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

aleopardstail wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 9:09 am Looks like a fun layout, and the track plan with the decent sized MPD becomes a perfect way to display and collect stock.

nicely done too. what sort of gradient have you got up to the coaling stage & how high is the track through it?? wanting something similar here and wondering on the practicalities
The height I've got from the bottom of the coaling stage to the track floor is 55mm, the slope is about 1000mm from the start point to the high point not including the curve and I've calculated the gradient as 5.5% or 1:18 if that's of any help. The slope starts about an inch inwards on the turntable board and runs for another 3 foot using a 3rd radius curve, 1 double curve and a double straight. Haven't had any issues with engines stalling on the way up so probably got it right first time through the art of winging it.
AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

Haven't done anything else to the layout but have made a start on the control panel. Was thinking a lot on how best to do it as I wanted one panel to control all 3 main boards with regards to locomotive power, point motors, signalling, lighting, turntable and the coaling stage automaton. Also wanted to be able to control it at home while I'm standing in the middle of the layout and also at exhibitions by standing on the outside behind the backscenes.

Didn't want to fork out on laser cut packs or metal enclosures for cost purposes but luckily, I had a couple of old shelfing boards leftover from when I redid my hobby room along with some 9mm plywood and hardboard sheets.. So after a bit of wombling know how, I've managed to come up with this:

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The size of the control panel board was dictated by fitting the layout design on 2 sheets of a4 and redrawing them as a graphical schematic. I also needed to include space for my dcc controller at the end. The board is hinged to the panel unit to allow for electrical access when required and I will be fitting plenty of jack sockets to power everything.

Incase you're wondering why it's upside down in the second photo, that's where the exhibition use comes into effect as since the panel unit is in the form of a triangular prism, it can be rotated to sit on the required side for usage. I plan on fitting a few picture frame hooks to both sides so that it can be hooked onto the layout depending on if it's at home or at an exhibition. The controller can be easily turn around to suit and there are a couple of props underneath to tilt it upwards. It will be receive finishing so probably staining and varnish.

Points control will be through momentary push buttons and I will be fitting accessory switches to all points so that the selected roads will light up on the panel. Have got a load of ratio signal kits that I want to get servo operated and fitted with led lighting, not sure yet as to how best to control them as I don't want to use dcc for anything other than locomotive control.
aleopardstail
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:48 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by aleopardstail »

AJFE 2488 wrote: Wed May 29, 2024 5:06 pm
aleopardstail wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 9:09 am Looks like a fun layout, and the track plan with the decent sized MPD becomes a perfect way to display and collect stock.

nicely done too. what sort of gradient have you got up to the coaling stage & how high is the track through it?? wanting something similar here and wondering on the practicalities
The height I've got from the bottom of the coaling stage to the track floor is 55mm, the slope is about 1000mm from the start point to the high point not including the curve and I've calculated the gradient as 5.5% or 1:18 if that's of any help. The slope starts about an inch inwards on the turntable board and runs for another 3 foot using a 3rd radius curve, 1 double curve and a double straight. Haven't had any issues with engines stalling on the way up so probably got it right first time through the art of winging it.
steeper than I was expecting, though I guess its a loco and a pair of wagons so not exactly a heavy train. should have space for something, though maybe not quite as high, a way off yet.

cheers :)

also that panel looks perfectly good, while going pure digital here (partly because I can't work out where to put the thing) the actual tactical feedback of flicking a switch is hard to beat and that sort of box screams "play with me"
AJFE 2488
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:14 pm

Re: Stourford

Post by AJFE 2488 »

Got a bit more work done on the control panel this week and still plenty to do on it.
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Gave the panel a few coats of white (same stuff I use to do skirting boards) and redrew the track diagram with sharpie. I'd imagine there are a tonne of different ways to have gone about it but this works for me for the time being.

Electrics at the moment consists of paired push to make buttons wired up to a strip board and a peco cdu and these currently operate 5 point motors on the left hand main board. Also fitted the toggle switch for the turntable with added directional arrows for a user friendly interface. The setup so far works but what I have learned is that the motors don't like working with the Hornby Select Controller but work happy as Larry with the old analogue controller. Might get hold of another CDU for some extra oomph.

Not keen on having both controllers in use as it would mean hiding the analogue controller inside the control panel where its liable to move and knock something. So possibly looking at getting an external transformer to power all the accessory electrics.

OCD is kicking in a tad regarding the push to make buttons as the ones fitted are all the ones I do have that are red and working. The remaining that I do have and work are multicoloured. Would like to have them all the same colour for uniformity reasons so it would be a case of fork out for some brand new ones, trawl the exhibitions for some more second hand ones or just paint the tips of the multicoloured ones red if they work.

I'm also mulling over the idea of fitting panel LEDs to illuminate point directions. It'll work perfectly fine for the normal turnouts but the double slips are giving me a right head scratcher figuring out how they would work.

Still need to acquire Jacks and leads for track power and need to get hold of some multicore cable and suitable connectors for point motors and other accessories. Thinking either D sub or aviation sockets and plugs.
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