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David Holman

Arigna Town - this week's scenery

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It's the first of the twice yearly shows in Cheltenham this week-end. Have to get the organiser, Mike Walker, interested in booking you. His only problem is a lack of computer to view Arigna Town.

Stephen

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No not the nether regions of my maiden aunt, but the operator's side of the layout, plus a peek underneath, though am sure there was an Ealing Comedy on a similar theme & no doubt one of you out there has an Aunt Arigna with a large flat rear...

As you might have gathered, the layout has been turned round, so the operating side is facing outwards in the workshop. This is because most of the scenic work is complete, so wanted to spend some time making sure it will be operationally sound for Chatham in June.

First job was to complete the links for the signals. The photo shows the wire in tube and cranks to the edge of the baseboard. Copper tube and steel piano wire have been used - all a bit crude, but it seems to work and the signal can be lifted out to avoid damage when the layout is transported in the car.

Next job was to enlarge the holes for the point control. The same wire in tube, but on the baseboard surface [under the scenery] this time. however, the initial holes drilled were too small to get my fingers in to pull/push the points, so these have been enlarged. A couple of points were VERY stiff, but turned out to be a bit of over painting & they were cleared fairly easily. Have therefore been test running stock & so far, all seems well. However, will do a lot more testing as previous experience shows that there will always be one or two movements that result in a wagon derailing for no apparent reason - usually at a show when a video camera is running - so it is important to try and weed these things out beforehand.

One immediate problem is with the turntable, as the pickups to get power to the track on the deck are proving temperamental. Indeed one wire has already broken, so a re-think is needed. Can eventually see me having to cough up for a metal version [Metalsmith do one for around £100], but at the moment, at least the hand cranked gears are ok, but a 'table is no much use if you can't drive a loco on or off it, while for the Railbus, it is an essential.

Any ideas on powering the track on a plastic [Dapol] turntable welcome! Currently am using phosphor bronze wire wipers rubbing on squares of copperclad at each end of the deck, but open to suggestions.

 

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Did some web browsing on how to get power to the turntable tracks. Our American cousins seem to favour using a stereo jack plug as the main spindle and routing two wires from this to the rails. The other main method is to use the circular rail the table runs on and wiper pick ups to the deck rails, as per your locos. However, the Dapol kit is all plastic, so decided to have another go at my own method, which happily seems to work ok now.

I've put two phosphor bronze wires in copper tube, through the wall of the turntable well, just below where the running rails are. The PB wire is bent to rub on small brass squares epoxied to the girders. Leads are then soldered to these and the deck rails. Provided the table is always rotated the same way, the PB wire contacts the brass squares and power from the track is taken to the table deck rails. This happens only when the track is aligned, so there is no danger of the loco running away when the table is half way round. with 'pick ups' at both ends there is a bit of 'belt and braces'. It seems to work for now - just hope it will prove robust enough in exhibition use - I estimate the table will be turned at least 50 times a day at a show, so time will tell.DSCN0934.jpg

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Not much modelling of late, but a lot of effort to make the layout look presentable for its debut at Chatham in a month's time. Have built and painted a full pelmet to frame the layout and hide the lights. The lettering took ages, but now looks the part, I hope. Am also preparing notes to go on the fascia along the front of the layout, as am guessing not too many folk will be over familiar with the SLNCR over here, so am hoping to educate them.

Wired up the lights to the buildings & almost set fire to a transformer when the temporary crocodile clips I was using ended up touching each other & causing a short. The nasty smell of plastic starting to overheat was a bit of a give away & very much a 'lesson without words'...

Small bit of publicity in this month's Railway Modeller as editor Steve Flint put in a short blurb about the Chatham Show & a small pic of Hazlewood. Full article in the next edition of New Irish Lines though & always a nice buzz to get something published.

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The vehicle of choice is currently a Skoda Yeti, which is an ideal dual purpose machine as, with the rear seats removed, it has the load carrying ability of a small van. Around 1800 litres in fact - with only stuff like Mazda 6 & Ford Mondeo estates [plus Skoda's Superb] matching that volume in terms of conventional cars. Previous motors I've had which were also good were the Honda Civic and the previous Mazda 6 & I occasionally muse at what the best dual purpose 'exhibition/family car/boy racer' might be. An AMG Mercedes E Class estate maybe? Discuss?

Loading one's hard work in the car calls for care and attention, for you do not want to damage either. This morning, had a trial run, which despite lots of measuring and drawing, showed the importance of a proper practice.

The three scenic board slide in on their backs & thereby occupy a footprint of approx. 4' x 3' x 2' high. MDF end plates [3x2] will be used to hold these together [apart?], with similar ones across the top. The latter are needed because the fiddle yard board goes across top of the front of the baseboard 'crate', with the train turntable across the rear. Two of the four trestles go on top of the fiddle yard board, along with the three pelmets and the lighting posts. The other two trestles fit just inside the tailgate, behind the baseboards.

Meanwhile, the longitudinal beams which join the 4 trestles slide down the left side of the baseboards. There is then plenty of room on top of the train turntable for the two stock bags, plus two 'sundry bags' which contain things like the Clipspot lights, drapes & main extension leads. All the control equipment is taken in an old brief case, which also holds important documentation such as the wiring diagrams & layout details for anyone who might want to invite me to future shows. The briefcase fits in a convenient space just behind the front passenger seat, while my modelling toolbox goes behind the driver's seat. Never like to be without the latter, though in truth a soldering iron & some gaffer tape are probably what gets used most!

So, rearview mirror now redundant & door mirrors vital...

Goes without saying that one tends to drive more carefully with such a full load. The worst parts of any journey to a show are undoubtedly the urban bits - motorways tend to be fairly smooth, but round town, potholes, drain covers and the like can cause enough rattles and bangs to make you wonder if the layout will have been reduced to kit form by the time you arrive. What you really want to avoid though is hard braking, to say nothing about flat tyres!

Anyway, hopefully the pictures will give you some idea of what is involved. Experience says it takes about half an hour to load/unload, but quite a bit longer to put the layout back together again.

 

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Overall I quote 16 feet by 30 inches Nelson. More precisely, each board is 46 inches long and 24 inches wide. Each of the scenic boards has a 5 inch fold down fascia which will have photos & info about the SLNCR on it. The train turntable is 44 inches long, so that end of the layout needs a bit more room for it to rotate.

The slightly odd dimensions are because my workshop is the former integral garage [which was made habitable a few years ago, with access from the house]. This is just under 16 feet long and the layout runs down one side.

My Eatonswell layout also [just] fits in the Yeti. It is 20 x 2, but a real tight fit as a 'sundries crate' goes in the front footwell and a pair of scenic board, crated together, sit on the front passenger seat. Decidedly cosy & needless to say, other operators make their own way...

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Hello David,

 

I am very interested in layout transportation as I consider it to be a neglected aspect of layout design and building. Most modellers, including myself, spend a lot of time designing a layout to fit the house and forget that one day it need to be taken to a show. I think that this partly because people just used to hire a van, but in my hard-won experience, that is not a great option as it costs for the Club and adds time collecting and delivering back the vehicle - who feels like that after a long weekend away?

 

For a long time my vehicle of choice was a Saab 900 Convertible (I still have it) and I brought a trailer for moving layouts and garden waste, heavy items etc.

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Sorry David - that seemed to go before I had finished it! I meant to add that I now use a VW Touran to transport Kilbrandon and it is kinder to the layout and means I get there and back at car speeds. I also get 45mpg as opposed to 25mpg with the SAAB and trailer!

 

Good luck at Chatham - I'm sure Arigna Town will rum as well as it looks, and that is superb!

 

Best wishes,

 

Paul

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That is highly valuable information - the sort of thing we don't all think of. Years ago, I had occasion to take an old disused layout baseboard to the dump, and it occurred to me en route that had it still been operational with track and scenery on it, there's no way under the sun it would have made that particular journey undamaged. Even for those not attending exhibitions, you might have to move house some day (as I am at the moment), so a lot of thought needs to go into layout design for that reason alone...

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... please little minds - and I should know!

 

In the Sprinks album of the SLNCR is a picture at Enniskillen showing what appears to be a dogbox of some kind, sitting on the loading dock, opposite the platform. It is quite large [enough for the eponymous wolfhound] and labelled 'SLNC Rly No2 Collooney'. Peering at the picture, it is quite a complex box &I couldn't resist building a model. However, not sure about the colour - in b&w the shade seemed to match the railbus [green] behind. However, am suspecting it may actually be a red or brown. Let me know - should be easy to correct.

Also on the small side [though many of them] are the reeds I've been planting in the drainage dyke. Lengths of sisal [Woodlands Scenics], they all looked a bit uniform. Then a walk round my local marsh made me realise I needed some taller seed heads to break up the evenness. Longer sisal, dipped in PVA & then 'short dry grass' fibres did the trick & the scene looks a lot more convincing. Hope to eventually make the reeds more extensive, with some new green growth, but the process is a long way down the 'interesting things to do on the layout' list.

The final picture shows the scenic boards all bolted together with some mdf end plates, which should keep things secure in transit.DSCN0987.jpg

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Turned the layout round recently, so I could do operating practice from behind - the way when it is exhibited. Discovered that there were a few areas that needed tidying up, not least that the rails were still shiny from this side. So, out came the rust coloured paint, along with a bit of track colour to touch up bare patches on the sleepers.

Thought it then worthwhile to take a few pictures, as this viewpoint is not one that folk will see at a show. The downside is there is no backscene to frame the view.

Also, Fermanagh has been receiving attention. The gearbox I used was not working well - the frames were too flimsy and the main gear too narrow. Replaced it with a Branchlines one. These are so much more robust and also really well etched. Just solder in the bearings and fold up the sides & it is complete. Fermanagh already runs more smoothly, which can only improve with a bit more running in on the rolling road.

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David - i would weather the bejasus out of the turntable well - its too clean!...not a criticism, just my own thought. your layout is a great source of inspiration to us all!:tumbsup:

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Hear what you say HF, though it is fairly grubby, but looks a lot lighter in the photos. Need to remove the deck to adjust the height of one of the rails, so will use the opportunity to add some more oil & grime.

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The layout is now about as finished as it can be for its debut, so here are pictures of the sequence of trains I'll be running. They are intended to reflect those of the real SLNCR.

First up is the mixed train, Fermanagh, coach 9 & a couple of wagons. First job is to turn the loco, then move the brake to the stop blocks. After, in best Sligo style, the coach and wagons shunt the goods siding & all is made ready for departure.

Next up is the railcar - a simple operation, out and back is all that is required.

After comes the J26 and loaded coal wagons, down from the mines above Derreenavoggy. Arrive in the loop, move the brake to the platform [the intention is to eventually have a small group of miners here, looking like they are coming off shift], then away again. no turntable for the tank.

We then have the railbus, which certainly needs turning & finally, Hazlewood and the goods. After turning, the loco shunts the cattle dock and goods siding, before departing with its small string of wagons. Too many pics, so will add the goods in a moment

Turn the fiddle yard and start again...DSCN1016.jpg

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Hi David

 

It all looks absolutely amazing, I hope I get to see it in real life someday.

 

murrayec

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David this is the most realistic Irish railway layout I have ever seen, it's truly amazing in every way - I love the 'Sprinks' reference! Maybe sometime you'll provide us with a 'cab ride' video - that would be the icing on the cake! Many congratulations on a superb creation.

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After around three years of planning and construction, Arigna Town is at last out in the public domain. Chatham Club members assembled from 7am this morning to begin setting up the exhibition halls, beginning with marking out the 100+ stands, while the sparkies began adding the same number of power points. A huge number of tables and chairs then needed setting out for exhibitors and the public - all in time for the first arrivals early in the afternoon.

After setting up the new club's 0 gauge circular layout [only at the 'test track stage at present], I went home to get Arigna Town, which was fully set up by late afternoon. The photos show the layout in its full presentation mode, complete with pelmet and fascias, both of which include constructional and prototype information. Should any of you make it to the show - please come and say hello!DSCN1021.jpg

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Wow, I wish I could go, fantastic presentation amd fantastic use of information sheets and photos, I reckon your layout is best in show :) good luck for the weekend.

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Hi David

 

Looking great, I think that's the first time we've seen the full layout- wide view.

 

Good look over the weekend and have fun

 

murrayec

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Looks great David, good presentation. Best of luck with it.

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