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Dhu Varren

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About Dhu Varren

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  1. Meenglas moved to Whitehead.

    It is good to see that something is finally being done with Meenglas, even if it is only a cosmetic restoration for static display. She has been lying around out in the open in all weathers for a long time now, in a pretty derelict state.
  2. Silverfox - New Irish Coach releases

    The two bogie coaches have all the characteristics of the Airfix/Dapol LMS 60ft Composite coach, which have been fitted with etched brass overlays for the sides. The two Bulleid vans have no parts recognisable to me, so I would assume they are kits. The six wheel van is running on a Hornby six wheel van chassis. The body is probably a kit. The TPO and Luggage van seem to be fitted with Lima wagon couplings, so I would assume the underframes are of Lima origin with added detail, and again the bodies are probably kits.
  3. IRM Cement Bubble Latest News

    Not everyone wants to use Kadee couplers.
  4. IRM Cement Bubble Latest News

    All couplings have now been replaced, and the wagons tested. No problems at all, either being hauled or propelled through pointwork and crossovers. As the minimum radius anywhere on my layout is 2ft, I had to do a static test on a piece of 1st radius Hornby track to test for buffer clearance. This turned out to be about 1mm between buffers when being propelled, which is more than adequate.
  5. IRM Cement Bubble Latest News

    Received my 12 bubbles this week, absolutely exquisite models. The only criticism I have is the lack of close coupling with the standard NEM coupling, a problem that also afflicts the ballast wagons. On rummaging through my spare couplings, I found the Bachmann 36-027 Short Cranked NEM Coupling is 2mm shorter than those supplied with the wagons. A simple calculation reveals that fitting the Bachmann couplings reduces the gap between wagons by 4mm, not perfect, but much better. A check online revealed that Track Shack were the cheapest, and an order was placed, received today. I am now in the process of replacing all the couplings on my bubbles. BEFORE AFTER
  6. Kingsbridge - workbench

    Noel, I too have used the plastic strip method, but with a better result than you have ended up with. I built up the grille on a piece of plasticard, using a solvent like Mek-Pak or similar to glue each strip to it, ensuring that each strip was positioned exactly before applying the solvent. The other method I have used successfully, is to scribe a piece of plasticard with a Junior hacksaw blade, over and over again. This gives an even sppearance to the grille, and if you look closely, each slat is slightly angled, as are the teeth on the blade. The grille on the picture below was made using this method twenty eight years ago.
  7. RPSI /MM Cravens

    Here are the pictures that could not be uploaded earlier. I have used white plastic so that the strips show up clearly against the black underframe, but a quick coat of black paint would soon hide them.
  8. Dutch Van

    Some time ago, I decided to build a Dutch Van to go with my rake of RPSI Mk 2 coaches. A couple of years ago, at an exhibition, I picked up an old Triang Track Cleaning wagon, with no roof and a broken bogie, for £1.00. Later in the year at another exhibition, I picked up an old Triang Transcontinental Reefer Boxcar with a broken roof also for £1.00. The bogies were used to repair the track cleaning wagon, and the roof, after repair and adjustment, was also used on the track cleaner. That left a perfectly good Reefer body in my junk box. After checking the dimensions, it was found to be 1mm longer than a Dutch Van would be, but the width was fine. A bit of work with a fine saw and a file, saw the height reduced and the raised detail on the sides and ends removed, leaving a very useable shell for a Dutch Van. This van was to be one of the original steam generator type, one of which is now running with the RPSI as No 462. A new roof was fabricated, using two Triang Hornby LWB goods brake van roofs to get the basic arc for the roof, plastic strip makes up the extra width. Ribbing was added using plastic rod flattened on one side, and roof detail made from plasticard, and bits of scrap plastic. This is a picture of the roof of an EGV Dutch Van under construction using the two Triang roofs. Windows and doors were either cut out, or scribed where appropriate, and handrails and other detail added. The van is currently sitting on Jouef MK3 coach bogies, which surprisingly don’t look too much out of place, but these will ultimately be replaced with something more suitable at a later date. After priming with grey primer from Halfords, which would normally reveal any imperfections in the construction of the vehicle, I am glad to say the primer revealed nothing worth talking about. The next step was to finish it off in RPSI livery, glaze it and finish the underframe. Almost completed. Just glazing and underframe detail to do. I have to say, I am really pleased the way it has turned out, even down to only having the lining on one side, as the prototype had at one time. From refrigerator van to heating van:-
  9. Cheap trucks from Tesco

    Tesco do a couple of cheap trucks which are ideal for tarting up, or converting to something better. The are the right size for 00, and sell for £2.00 in the UK, or E2.99 in ROI. There are two trucks, the first a Mercedes tractor unit having a 40ft articulated box trailer, and the second a MAN tractor unit with a 40ft tank trailer. There have been two versions of the tank trailer, the first being in Tesco Fuel livery, the second, and current version being in Momentum Fuel livery. The livery detail on each truck is on self adhesive stickers, and is easily removed, leaving a good surface for replacement decals. I have a number of these vehicles waiting to be dealt with, with one livery change shown below. The wheels are not ideal, but could be changed for something better, or toned down a bit with less garish paint. I have done the wheels on the Shell tank with silver paint, but even that is not ideal. The Shell tank has decals produced on a PC and printed on decal paper. The tractor unit has Hoyer decals, again printed on a PC, Hoyer being the distribution company for Shell in the UK.
  10. Mystery carriage

    On a recent visit to Warrenpoint, I noticed what appeared to be a railway carriage across the water near Omeath. I then went onto Google Earth, and found said carriage, which turned out to be a grounded coach body, roughly where the trackbed of the old DNGR used to be. Does anybody have any idea of the origins of this carriage?
  11. NIR Gatwicks

    Recently had reason to take a quick trip to Dublin by train, and noted the two pairs of Gatwicks plus Generator van still rotting away at Lisburn. However, also noted the other two pairs languishing at Dundalk, with the Translink logos painted out. Has anyone any idea why the Gatwicks at Dundalk are there?
  12. Signalling a layout

    Watching “The Derry Road’s” Interesting thread on signalling ‘Rachelstown & St Stephens Green’ reminded me of a signalling project I undertook twenty five years ago, and which is still working well. The layout is a large terminus station and loco depot, which are approximately 35 feet long, before the tracks disappear onto double track running behind the scenes. This length gives the opportunity for some 4 aspect colour light signalling. The signals are a mixture of Eckon signals, and scratchbuilt signals to look like Eckon signals. They were fitted with LEDs at a when Eckon were still using bulbs. The signals were also built before the advent of white LEDs, so, as a compromise, yellow LEDs were used where white lights were required, such as feathers and shunting signals. All signals are controlled by 3 position switches. The centre position is the signal ON, showing the stop aspect (red). The down position is the signal OFF, showing a proceed aspect (amber, double amber or green), depending what aspect the next signal is showing. The up position switches on the appropriate calling on signal, if fitted. The passage of trains cancels each signal as the train passes (returns to red) by means of a treadle in the track. Magnets and reed switches were considered, but decided against, as a treadle will work with any vehicle. All signals, except 4 aspects will stay red until the switch is returned to the centre position, moved back to the down (OFF) position, and the train has passed two more signals. 4 aspect signals reset themselves automatically after the train has passed two more signals, showing first a single amber, then a double amber, and finally a green. Signals are interlocked with the points on the route the signals control, so that if any point is not set for the route, the signal cannot be pulled OFF. As this layout was originally an exhibition layout, it was decided that points should not be interlocked with signals. This was to ensure that should there be a signal failure, the layout could still operate, albeit without signals, until the fault was sorted. The first set of pictures show from left, Platform 5 starter with calling on unlit. Platform 4 starter showing green with feather, and a calling on unlit. The ground signal is showing stop. There seems to be a bit of red light leakage into the top led, never noticed that before. Platforms 3 & 2 showing reds and calling ons unlit, and then Platform 2 with the calling on signal OFF. These signals are all scratchbuilt. Platform 1, not shown, has a simple 3 aspect starter with calling on. The second set of pictures shows the full length of the layout, with the starter signals nearest, the advance starter signal in the middle, and the first 4 aspect section signal in the top centre. Apart from the starter signals, all the others are standard Eckon signals with LEDs, plus calling on signals where necessary. The pictures show the sequence of events as a train departs, and once the signalman has pulled off the signals, everything is done automatically, with no further input from him. From left, all signals are ON. Next, Platform 4 showing amber plus feather. Then advance starter showing amber, and P4 starter showing green with feather. The section signal has gone straight to green, which allows the advance starter go to green. The train leaves P4, the starter changes to red and the feather goes out. As the train passes the advance starter, it also changes to red. Lastly, the train has passed the section signal which has gone to red, and then the next signal, not shown, has been passed which has released the advance starter, which now shows amber. With a bit of cunning circuitry, the section signal will work it's way back to green, via a single amber which will let the advance starter go to green, then a double amber, and then the green. The third set of pictures show, from left, the home signals all ON. Then there is the outer home signal, which is scratchbuilt, showing an amber as the following home signal is red, and the feather for the second crossover. Next are the home signals, with that for Platform 3 now showing an amber. There are no green aspects on the home signals, as the next signal is permanently red, the buffer stops. Back to the outer home signal which now shows a green, as the Platform 3 home signal is now showing an amber aspect. I hope this shows what can be done with a signalling system, and a bit later on I will be putting together a piece on how the system works electrically, which will really frazzle your minds.
  13. Chassis for 001 Class

    Much has been said over the last few months about a suitable chassis for the Silver Fox 001 Class kit, and the running qualities of the Lima/Hornby Deltic chassis. With an 001 Class kit waiting to be built, I decided not to take the easy option by using the aforementioned Deltic chassis, but to construct a chassis of my own. This was to have all wheel drive and pickup, flywheel motor and DCC sound. The project started by constructing a chassis frame out of brass. The floor was made from brass sheet, about 1mm thick, and the sides from 6mm brass strip. The floor pieces were cut to shape, to be a snug fit into the body, and the sides soldered on. The ends of the floor were shaped to the inside profile of the body ends, so that they rested on the lip behind the buffer beams. This meant that the bottom of the floor was almost flush with the bottom of the bodysides. Stage two was to prepare the bogies. They were originally from an Athearn SD40 loco, but the sideframes were from something else. A hole was drilled in the centre of what had been the Athearn swivel pad. A spacer made from a piece of 6mm brass strip was also drilled, and superglued to the swivel pad, ensuring that the holes lined up. The holes were then opened out to the size of the head of an 8BA screw, which would be the pivot pin. Two lengths of 6mm brass strip were cut to fit exactly between the sides of the chassis, and an 8BA screw fitted in the centre of each. The screws were cut flush with the top of the strip, and the heads on the bottom would become the pivot pins for the bogies. Once the required height of the chassis had been decided, the cross pieces were soldered in place. The bogies were then fitted to the chassis, and all dimensions checked. The bogie sideframes were removed, and a brass frame, using 6mm brass strip and brass tubing, fabricated for each side. These were then fitted to each bogie. The original Athearn wheels, which are notorious for getting dirty, were replaced with Bachmann plain disc wagon wheels, which are just about the right size. Although the Athearn bogies have the correct off-centre wheelbase for the 001 Class, the sideframes supplied with the kit do not. However, the difference is not too noticeable, and, despite the fact that I have a ‘thing’ about axleboxes not lining up with axles, I can live with the discrepancy. The sideframes were then tidied up, and bits that should not be there were removed. More bits made from plasticard will be added later, once the mechanical part of construction is fully finished, and the cosmetic part of construction is under way. The sideframes were then temporarily fitted to one bogie with double sided tape, the frame marked, and which has yet to be trimmed to shape. The chassis was then assembled, the motor being placed in a bed of silicon sealer using bits of plasticard under the flywheels to support the motor with about 1mm of silicon under it, until the silicon cures. This provides a good solid rubber mounting for the motor, and absorbs any vibration from it. If needs be, the motor can be easily removed at a later date, and refitted with fresh silicon. Any excess silicon can be removed by cutting with a craft knife. The motor is from an unknown Bachmann loco. The driveshafts are Athearn, with one end fitted with the end of a Bachmann driveshaft. The chassis was then fitted with some flat steel strip from B&Q for weight. This was cut to length and screwed in place. Countersunk screws had to be used as the sides of the chassis were a snug fit inside the loco body. Due to the width of the motor, there was only enough clearance for a single strip each side, but at the ends, clearances allowed a double thickness. The extra steel strips were fixed in place with superglue. Finally, the chassis was fitted with a 21 pin circuit board from a Bachmann locomotive, and a speaker in a suitably modified enclosure. The chassis was tested on DC, without a decoder, on a rolling road, and performed well with no excessive noise. The following road test on DCC was also very good, and the chassis (not yet fitted with couplings) propelled seven coaches up a 1 in 75 gradient with ease. It also traversed complex pointwork without any hesitation. More weight will be added once the underfloor fittings are in place, as I will fill the space in between with a solid lead block. Then we will see what it’s maximum hauling power is.
  14. NIR 80 Class

    Looking through some old documents, I recently unearthed some useless information about 80 Class formations and liveries in early 1990. Whilst working in Portrush at that time I made some notes as part of research into the 80 Class with a view to building a set. The information may be of some use to someone. Power Car Intermediate Driving trailer Livery 67………………………...........732....………….Suburban 81..............764…………...736………….....Suburban 82……….......765……...……739……....…….Suburban 83………………………...........746 or 736…..Maroon/Grey 84……….......766……..…….738....…………..Suburban 85……….......762…………...742…....………..Suburban 87 M/G….....763 Sub…….744 Sub 89……….......769………..….743….....……….Suburban 91 M/G….....780 I/C……..749 I/C or 733 Sub 91 M/G….....773 I/C……..753 M/G 93……….......768…....…….734………......…Suburban 94……….......779…..……….747......…………InterCity 95 M/G….....774 I/C……..746 M/G or 753 M/G 96……….......780…..……….749…………......InterCity 97…….....…..776……....….751…......………InterCity 98……….......778.….……….754......…………InterCity 99……….......773 or 776..752 or 751.....InterCity Intermediates and driving trailers were swapped around on a regular basis.
  15. Lima Class 201 improved running

    Much has been said on this forum, rightly or wrongly, about the poor running qualities of Lima locomotives. It must be remembered that when the Lima 201 was produced, it was as good as you could get in British/Irish outline locomotives, and well before the ‘super’ all wheel drive, all wheel pickup and twin flywheel motored locomotives that we all take for granted these days. Twenty five years ago I ran a fleet of Lima BR locomotives, and at exhibitions, I was frequently asked how I got them to run so well. The answer was simple, modification. This post describes how to modify the Lima 201 to get the best out of it. You will need a back to back gauge to check the wheels after the modification. If you don’t have one, make one up using a piece of plasticard or brass, and adjust it till it fits between the existing wheels. You will also need two spare Lima wheel and axle sets. 1. Remove the body from the chassis. 2. Remove the two screws from the bottom of the power bogie. This will release the sideframes and allow the motor unit to be lifted out of the chassis. 3. Push the bulb at the motor end of the chassis out of its holder, this will give extra slack in the wiring. 4. Remove the drive wheels. They are a simple clip in fit, and will unclip easily by pulling downwards. 5. Remove both wheels from each axle using a suitable support and a drift. A blunted nail about 2mm diameter will do the job. A good hard knock will be required for the non-tyred wheel. 6. Using a sharp craft knife or blade, push it in behind the plastic gear and slice it off. The bit being sliced is only about 3mm diameter at the centre of the gear, so not much effort is required. Remove any excess plastic there may be left where the cut was made, ensuring the gear is flat on both sides. 7. Discard the wheel, having removed the tyre for reuse. (I retained the wheels, and when I had twelve, I turned them down to get rid of the tyre groove, reprofiled the flange, and used them to rewheel a complete loco, but that is another story). 8. Remove the raised boss on the back of the other wheel, using a file. I use a drill to remove most of the metal and finish off with a file. It is imperative that the back of the wheel is perfectly flat. 9. Gently knock the axle back into the wheel, till about 0.5mm short of flush at the front. 10. Push the gear onto the axle till flush with back of the wheel, it will be a good tight fit. It must sit flush. 11. Using a suitable support, drill a small hole through the wheel and gear, and fit a pin to lock the wheel and gear together. The size of the hole is dependant on the diameter of the pin you are going to use. The pin must be a good tight fit. Ensure the pin is flush at the front, and trim off flush at the back of the gear. 12. Remove the insulated wheel from the spare axle set, and fit onto the axle with the modified wheel. Ensure the wheel goes on straight. Roll the wheel set on a flat surface to ensure there is no wobble. Check that the back to back measurement is correct using the gauge. Lay the wheel sets to one side. 13. The centre axle does not need any modification. 14. The Lima motor unit, as it comes, collects current via the wheels on the opposite side from the gears. Because we have modified the axle so that the drive gear is now fitted to the pickup wheel, which is now on the opposite side, it means that the motor bogie is now picking up the opposite way round to the trailing bogie. The simple way to correct this is to disconnect the wire which connects the motor bogie pickup strip to the left hand brush holder, and reconnect it to the right hand brush holder. The wire will not be long enough to do this, so it needs to be replaced. No other wiring needs to be touched. 15. An extra pickup strip is now fashioned by making up a Z shaped piece of phosphor bronze strip to fit vertically as shown. At the top of the strip, a 90 degree bend is made, and trimmed to be 1mm long. The Z piece should be tinned at the bottom, for the pickup strip, and near the top for the wire, before fitting to the motor housing. The Z piece is then positioned and the 1mm tab is melted into the plastic with a soldering iron, making sure the Z piece does not foul the centre wheel. It will not cause any electrical problems if it fouls the wheel, but rather a physical problem on tight curves. A piece of phosphor bronze strip is then soldered to the bottom of the Z piece, cut to length, and bent as shown. If difficulty is experienced in fitting the pickup, it may be necessary to remove the centre wheelset, and refit later. A short length of wire is soldered to the Z piece near the top, and connected to the left hand brush holder from where the original wire was removed. 16. The trailing bogie already has four wheel pickup fitted, but on one side it is the centre wheel that picks up. There is no weight on that wheel, which I am not keen on, so I have fitted a pickup to the third wheel on that side, by soldering a piece of phosphor bronze strip to the back of the existing pickup and adjusted it to bear on the back of the third wheel. This gives the trailing bogie a five wheel pickup. 17. Refit the centre wheelset, if it was removed. Clip in the modified drive wheelsets taking care not to damage the new pickup strip, and that it is in position against the back of the wheels. Refit the motor bogie into the chassis, refit the bogie sideframe, refit the bulb, clean all the wheels and the chassis is ready to test. A job well done. 18. Due to the lack of traction tyres, the modified chassis will need extra weight. Many DIY stores like B&Q sell flat steel strip about 1 inch wide, which is very useful for weighting locos. My preferred option has to be Cerrobend, which is heavy like lead, non-toxic, and, best of all, it melts at less that the temperature of boiling water, so you can make a mould out of thick plasticard, or any other material, and cast your own weights to whatever shape you like. All my modified Lima BR locos were weighted with Cerrobend. I hope this will be helpful to someone. It is quite a straightforward job and does not take long. It has taken me far longer to compose these instructions, than it would have done to do the job. If you feel you are not up to being able to do this modification but you would like it done, I can do it on an exchange basis. You send me your chassis and payment, including return postage, and I will send you a modified chassis by return. PM me for details. If you are planning to visit Modelrail Scotland next week, and you let me know by midday Wednesday, I can have a chassis ready to exchange there, thus saving two lots of postage. I will be at the exhibition all three days. PM me if you are interested.

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