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Arigna Town developments

David Holman


As it has been a while, thought I'd bring you up to date on what is happening on the layout. Much has been covered in the workbench section, but these notes will try to bring it all together.

The layout is effectively complete, as far as scenery goes, so work since the summer has concentrated on stock and operation. For the latter, new LED lighting strips have been fitted, cutting power consumption down from 480 watts to 150, with [i think] sharper light too. A fair bit less heat as well! The fiddle yard bolts needed attention after the Uckfield show, so these has also been strengthened, while the cassette for the railbus in the fiddle yard has been rebuilt to enable power and alignment without any leads or clips. This simply uses screws going through the aluminium angle & 80thou plasticard base, which then sit on brass plates, which are wired to the incoming tracks. Wrote this up for the Model Railway Journal Christmas Competition in 2013 and in the last couple of weeks heard I'd come runner up. Can't be bad as this gives me two years subscription.

A new project is underway, to build a 'Pilgrim's Train'. These were regular sites on both CIE and GNRI. Mine takes advantage of the new Tyrconnel G2 2-4-0 and a rake of 6 wheel coaches. One of the latter is approaching the paint shop. It is another Tyrconnel etched brass kit. The other two will be scratchbuilt from plastic, using the Alphagraphix card kits as drawings. Am hoping the full train will be available for York at Easter.

Before then, the layout has another outing, this time at the Orpington show [small but very friendly & always with some very good models] on the second weekend of January. This takes place at the wonderfully named Pratts Bottom village hall, just up the road from Badger's Mount. I kid you not...


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Serves me right for taking Pratt's Bottom's name in vain.

All was well when setting up, but just as the public were coming in at 10am on the Saturday, gremlins emerged. First the turntable started playing up, then a mystery electrical fault stopped all running...

The turntable's problems were rapidly traced to the locknut on the main pivot - the gear wheel turned, but the table didn't. After the show, a larger flat was filed and the pivot given a brass tube sleeve - so hopefully all is now well in that department.

The electrical problem was VERY [lots of rude words here] annoying, because there are only 6 wires going from baseboard 2 to baseboard 3 [and 4 wires to BB1]. This is because the points are self isolating and worked by wire in tube. However, somehow the 9 pin computer plug/socket was shorting out and trying to investigate it, underneath the layout, with lots of folk looking on was somewhat embarrassing. We ended up having to cut all the wires and hard solder them, so it was nearly two hours into the show before things were running again.

Happily, everything went well after that & all the stock ran without problems. Back home, it only took an hour to rewire a new pair of computer joiners. However, am going to hope build in a bit more safety by changing to 15 pin joiners, so there is no chance of a loose strand causing a short, because there will be at least one spare pin between each wire.

Work on the turntable has also improved the 'pick ups' to the train deck. Fingers crossed, it is now robust enough to withstand the 3 day show at York, plus another 7 shows during the year. The alternative is a Metalsmith 42' table, which [motorised] will cost around £200 and still need quite a bit of adapting, as mine is only 38' [42' with rail extensions]. The Dapol kit was just £5, plus the Frizinghall hand crank jobbie, which was about £15, I think.

We'll see...

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