Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Up and running ...

This photo is a bit blurry, but represents an exciting development because the N9 shown is actually moving under power through the junction just in front of South Pelaw Box (despite the signals set to danger ...). This was the first occasion on which one of the boards had been powered up, and to the general amazement of all present, it all seemed to work! We plan to control the layout (sections, signals, and turnouts) using the CBUS system developed by MERG (http://www.merg.org.uk), and so what we achieved on Sunday was not just a locomotive moving, but integration of signals, turnouts and section feeds from the control panel, all designed and built by Martin.

As well as exciting developments in the electrical realm, Phil has been busy with the scenics at the Ouston/Washington end, Pete has almost completed one bridge, and Rich has been working on the bridge at Stella Gill Flatts. A huge amount still needs to be done, and don't hold your breath for an exhibition booking yet, but we are getting closer to the moment when we will be able to find out just how tricky this layout will be to operate, and just how many coal hoppers and plate wagons we are going to need to put on a convincing show ...

Richard Clayton October 2014

Friday, 13 June 2014

Colour vision

There has been some spectacular progress with South Pelaw in recent months, mainly on the scenic side of the layout. Much of the trackwork is now painted and ballasted, and work has begun on greening up the trackside areas. A lot more detail remains to be added of course, but much of this will need to wait until the electrics have been properly tested. Meanwhile, it is starting to look like a proper railway, and here are some photographs to enjoy.
Above is a view looking over the site of the Signal Box, with the lines into Stella Gill yard on the left, and the bank up to Consett to the centre right. Pelton Lane bridge is missing, and the cocktail sticks are in the signal holes. On the right, the buffer stops (which were still there a few years ago) have been installed. In the immediate foreground are the sidings for South Pelaw colliery.
Here is another view of the start of the bank up to Consett. In the foreground is a test-piece of teddy bear fur. Having experimented a bit with this, we have opted to go for other scenic materials at least for the time being.

Not sure about the historical accuracy of this shot, but it is a nice view of Martin's class 40 posed on the bank with a few ore wagons. On the left is Rich's fantastic model of Stella Gill Box. 

In the last week or so, this box has acquired a set of spandrels to support the platform around the windows, and now looks even better.

In addition to the scenics, Phil has been working on the NCB shed, which lies between the Consett Lines and Stella Gill yard. As mentioned in a previous blog post, we have had to re-arrange the geography somewhat in this region to make the layout a reasonable size. The shed is taking shape very nicely indeed, but there is still plenty to do on the bridge -- not to mention the signal gantry which will dominate this view.

At the other end of the layout, Pete's bridge is now nearing completion, and looking the part. Each of these stones has been individually carved from plasticard. Pete is also responsible for the very fine bufferstops.

We have also been busy assembling some motive power, keeping in mind that operating a layout of this scale is going to require many tough locomotives. Rich has recently completed a London Road models N9, which is seen here posed on the ramp up to South Pelaw colliery.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

It has been a while ...

... since the last update. The two main reasons for this are that both Richard Nice and Richard Clayton have both been involved in major building work with a barn conversion and cellar conversion respectively. Both of these projects have consumed a lot of time and effort, but the outcome is a barn space where we will be able to erect parts of South Pelaw for scenic work and electrics testing and a cellar workshop.

Despite the hiatus in work on the main layout, some of us have continued to work on motive power and wagon projects. Martin has produced a very nice rendition of a Dave Alexander Q7, which is now ready for the paint shop.