Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Wright Stuff

Thanks to the generosity of a property company in Middlesbrough, we have been able to erect the layout in a large office space for the last few months.  This has enabled us to do a lot of snagging work as well as installing signals, working on the control systems, buildings, scenery etc. We have made good progress although there is plenty still to do (when isn't there?).  A couple of weeks ago we held an open day and one of the guests was Tony Wright.  He took some photos of the layout and has kindly agreed to let us share them online.

A suspiciously clean Q6 pulls a short freight up the hill towards Consett.  Note the ex NER snowploughs in the siding - scratchbuilt by Pete with some inspiration from Worsdell Forever on RMweb.

An O1 waits on the Down Washington for another banking duty.  This picture shows some of the progress in this area with 'Pete's bridge' bedded into the scenery and the NCB spoil tip created.

A 9F prepares to tackle the severe gradients on the Up Consett with a loaded iron ore train.  Some newly installed signals are shown to advantage, with Martin's No 62/67 bracket signal on the left, controlling movements from the Down Consett towards Ouston Jn (left) or right towards Washington. No 62 (the left arm) is an ex NER slotted post lower quadrant, while no 67 (right) is an upper quadrant mounted on a wooden doll - I'm sure this kind of combination wouldn't be allowed nowadays.  On the right we have Richard's superb lattice cantilever bracket with signals 85, 84, 79 and 78 controlling movements from Stella Gill roads No2 Outgoing, No 3 Outgoing and No 3 Incoming.

A busy scene at South Pelaw with a pair of 9Fs starting the hard work up the hill to South Medomsley Junction (where the bankers uncoupled, next to Eden Colliery) while an O1 hauls a set of empty iron ore hoppers en route to Tyne Dock.  In Stella Gill No 1 Outgoing road, a Wilson Worsdell N9 shunts a loaded rake of mineral hoppers.

Another view of the O1, taken from the guards van of the train it is about to bank. The diminutive NER slotted post is No 9 signal, the outer home from the Washington direction.  The arm is raised slightly into the upper quadrant - this is intentional (honest), as many lower quadrant signals suffered this complaint due to worn components.

A 9F stands outside South Pelaw box awaiting further instructions.  Mark's labour of love on the signalbox continues, with the interior work complete he has turned his attention to completing the exterior.  The ornate cast-iron brackets which supported the balcony are gradually being added - the product of a detailed drawing by Mark and laser cutting by York Modelmaking.

Just to show we do allow the odd diesel to appear, a Clayton plus brake tender emerges from Pelton Lane bridge with a mixed freight in tow.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

A Peek Through The Windows

(and we don't mean Windows 10)

Three pictures of the inside of Mark's model of the South Pelaw cabin - shots that will be away from the public gaze at exhibitions.

A view from across the tracks - with a telephoto lens!

Signalman Steve, with lots of Brylcreem on his hair!

All the instruments kept clean and polished.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Demolition Reversed

Not really but we surveyed, measured and photographed this bridge before it was demolished and here it is reincarnated in model form.

Pete (Stephenson) Hill overlooks his masterpiece.
The Left hand span is bridge no 26 on the line from Tyne Dock. The right hand span is no 1 from Ouston Junction. The centre span has an identity crisis!
The present day cycleway goes now where the line to Tyne Dock went. (Hallowed ground?)
Scenic bedding in work still to complete.
The two buffer stops at the siding ends were like that in the 50s. Presumably the far one was a replacement for the original NER one after some rough treatment. These sidings were well used. Long coal trains were divided into three shorter rakes for Q6s and later K1s to take up the bank to Consett, 7 at a time.

 The centre span is 3 inches lower than the right hand (in this view) and the left hand span is 12 inches lower than that. Strange but true. The bridge parapet had an unusual rolled top making it a modelling challenge. Most of the stonework is a faithful copy of the original, with each stone individually carved.

The demolition firm will no doubt have made a tidy packet out of selling all these stone blocks - cheaper than quarrying!

Here's the real thing. Mark is under the No1 span. The cycle way is under the far span.

Another structure underway, close to a bridge, is the former NCB store at Stella Gill Flatts. the shed still exists even if the NCB doesn't. It is now a wreck but here is the side face, on which, Phil is learning his building skills, under Mark's tutelage.
To keep the layout under the 40ft limit (you've got to stop somewhere) this model building is closer to the main line, on the other side of the building, than it was in reality. A decision has yet to be made as to what the other side of it will look like.

 The new item here is the NE slotted post signal on the RHS of the picture. What we find puzzling is that the Northern division of the NER seemed to paint some of the ironwork black but some of it, like the balance arms and weights, white. They were repainted thus even when other parts of the national network painted iron work black. This post was substituted in the late 50s but we kept it 'cos we liked it.
Mark's signal box now contains a full lever frame, block instruments - the lot. But not easy to see from here.

 We still have a number of signals to build - hence the meat skewers with labels on but here is one on the way. This is one of the brass posts that were milled for us by Vincent Worthinton on a demonstration stand at an Expo EM exhibition a couple of years ago. The only problem with them is they are quite difficult to solder to with their massive heat sink properties. But Phil is coping!
According to the destination blind, the bus is off to Norwich Thorpe Station - under the ownership of Eastern Counties bus co. However The United Omnibus Company operated similar vehicles, maintained in Darlington. That facility, like North Road Works - gone!

Recently I bought the new NERA book on North Eastern Signalling. I found out from that book that the NER didn't refer to these structures as signal gantries but signal bridges instead. So I've included this again under that pretext.

 Bobbing back to Pete's bridge, here Phil is making up the scenic approaches on a wet and muddy track.

As you can see, there's still lots of work to do.