A lot of the progress with South Pelaw since our last posting here has been unseen but nonetheless dramatic.
We had a problem with our turnout operating system. We adopted an Iain Rice method favoured by some P4 modellers of having the point tie-bar under the baseboard with droppers from the switch blade toes, all made to look realistic with cosmetic tie bars above the baseboard. This meant making our own point machines utilising servos. The outcome was disappointingly unreliable so we went back to old fashioned PCB tie bars. This involved a lot of work in retro fitting the tie bars and motors, about 40 in all. The servo mounts are MERG 3D printed.
The other major trauma was the decision to abandon the installation of DC cab control and go for DCC. The ripping out of lots of wire and relays was quite painless and the rewiring with heavier duty wire has gone smoothly. Nonetheless it has taken time. Whilst the fiddle yard track plan had been decided many moons ago we never had a clear mind about how it would be controlled. This indecision with several daunting alternatives was partly instrumental in changing to DCC. As a result the fiddle yard track and pointwork is complete and the wiring is about 50% complete.
The front side of the layout works pretty well but it has meant that the scenic work has been slowed down whilst baseboards have been upturned for rewiring. However two of the baseboards are now scenically complete but are erected with the next one for continuity of treatment in one of our crew’s garage. Now for the first time in many months we have been able to erect 8 of the 11 scenic boards as a unit. Another ‘behind the scenes’ activity has produced the LED lighting system. All this was squeezed into the room we use for construction. We were rather in each others way.
We have made a number of signals including the Stella Gill Flatts gantry. We have completed the lengthy painstaking building of one set of cottages. Two of the three bridges are now complete and fastened in place whilst the third has taken significant strides forward recently.
We have been running our version of the MICs by passing on various model making skills within the group. The building of the NCB shed is part of this process as is the building of signals.
We have also progressed the building, modifying or finishing off of locos and rolling stock. We have fitted DCC decoders to some. Others to follow.
The following photos show some of the progress.
These two photos show the cottages before the gardens have taken seed. Close examination of the upper phot shows the two bridge plates - nos 2 and 27. The scenic work in this area is the basic first cover before the detailed treatment.
A view from bridge 1/28. The replacement tiebars in the point work are visible. they need to be painted and disguised.
There are two even smaller signals that have been modelled, NER pattern rotating lamp ground signals. Unfortunately they don't show up well on any of our current photos. That will be attended to. They will have a dozen more for company but of the LNER rotating disc type - eventually.
Eight of the 13 arms on the model do work, from servos. We don't have enough roads in our fiddle yard to justify the extra complications. All of the other signals on the layout work (or will do) from servos driven by the MERG CBUS system.
We must apologise for some of the photos showing locos that have passed signals at danger. Once the layout is up and running properly, such offences will be punished. The penalty will be 'drinks all round' for the rest of the crew.
Hope you enjoyed this trip.
We'll try to update things more often.