Saturday 30 July 2011

Starter signal for Rhiw

Some wobbly photos of Rhiw's starter now erected and working. It took two of us the best part of two hours to get all the linkage working. But now it goes up.... ...and it goes down.

All via some Gem wire in tube on the horizontal to the board edge and the Ratio wire to the balance weight. The two planes linked by a piece of 7mm copper-clad sleeper, fashioned into a crank by Mr. Hill after the Ratio plastic one broke. I had my doubts about using this, but as it was there, I thought I'd try it.

The wire that runs to the top of the photo is just the spare end pre-trimming.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Rhiw Signal

After a lot of fiddly painting the starter for Rhiw is ready for installation. A visit from Stig and subsequent chat decided that the history of this item would be that it was the original advanced starter for the site. Now partially upgraded to make the DMUs pull away from the new platform.Starter signal for Rhiw Basically a Ratio kit with a few additions such as a phone box and anti-vandal ladder.
Now all I have to do is make the bloody thing work remotely.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Crawley Signal Box

Remember the classic 'Tizer and limp sandwiches' photo of Crawley yard by Gordon Gravett in an early MRJ? This is the adjacent box, taken yesterday on a walk into Crawley.Crawley Signal Box

Crawley Signal Box Crawley got a new modern station a few years ago under a sweeping modernisation plan with the site shifted 1/2 mile east. The box was de-commissioned in 1986 (the area being controlled from Three Bridges box) but preserved (with its own society) in 1992. Gordon Gravett's photo being to the right of the second shot.

Saturday 16 July 2011

British Leyland switch

The plan was to mount a switch at the front of the layout to activate the isolating section on the headshunt - so far so good. Problem 1: the barrel of said switch is less than two thicknesses of mdf.

To solve this I decided to drill a 14mm hole through the first layer then a 10mm one through the second giving a lip to attach to. You can guess the next bit. that I had a 14mm hole all the way through....

I had to drill a 10mm hole in a further piece of mdf, attach the switch and glue and clamp the whole lot to the back of the board. This does have a slight positive in that the switch is further in, so less vulnerable to knocks. When I read custom car mags in my teens this sinking of switches used to be called 'Frenching'. This probably means sticking something in somebodys arse these days.

Friday 15 July 2011


This caught my eye. Ultimate model?

Keystone for Rhiw

It was apparent from the outset that getting two boards to line up well on exhibition hall floors is tricky enough, adding two pieces of 6mm mdf a foot above this and expecting it to line up in two planes would be nothing short of miraculous.Keystone for Rhiw model railway So as the post a little further down shows, two 43" lengths were cut and arranged to sit a fag-paper away from each other. As expected, due to inconsistencies in the boards and gallows units , they didn't quite sit level or in line. So in order to mask and align, a keystone was constructed from two pieces of shaped 6mm mdf with another piece an inch deep sandwiched in between held with wood glue and a lot of pins driven in from both sides. This simply clips over and is held by its own weight.
All that's needed now is to paint and maybe engrave PRR on it.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Ratio GWR signal kit

A bit of a fiddle. I'd had the Ratio (466) kit in the drawer for a while, so when the basic research for a 1980s valley line was carried out I found that here was the perfect use for an ex GW semaphore. Most of the area was then, and possibly still is, non colour light.Ratio GWR signal kit The instructions are awful. Going back to the Spitfire project I remember that even if I had no idea of what one looked like, I could have made a reasonable job as the instructions were so clear. Not here. The modeller is required to do some work. Luckily I've got a fair bit of photographic evidence and found myself referring to the articles that appeared in RM about 6 months ago. They don't cover this specific kit, but they did help to identify a couple of mystery parts and answer questions such as , what angle does the rear blind sit at?
Having said all that, the kit is very good value, and you could probably squeeze 3+ signals from it.
There is still much to do.... ladder, motor, where exactly to site it....

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Rhiw Facia

After a period of inactivity due to other life stuff going on I spent yesterday trying to get the final woodworky bits on Rhiw done i.e. the pros-arch bit of the fascia.Rhiw Facia boards As expected, due to minor cutting discrepancies throughout, the two halves don't quite line up. This is not a bad thing - the important part is that the track lines up/can be adjusted. The the slight (1/4") off in all directions of the pros-arch will be masked by a clip-on 'keystone' which I have yet to design. The important thing is that in real terms I've avoided having to transport 8' of whippy MDF to exhibitions.

Rhiw Facia boards
RM dropped onto the mat on Saturday and surprisingly carried a note about the death of Phillip Hancock. I assume the fall-out from this will be huge so I won't add to it, only to say that the influence to myself and all those around me is huge.

Wednesday 6 July 2011


It says Eurostar on the side, so why am I thinking American F-unit?