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Alan An easy way of keeping axles square is to use a jig made by Brassmasters which is series of parallel slots.I've just used it for a couple of Bandon convertables,as for the SSM w irons i use them and wedge the wobbly bit solid,it seems to work on Valencia Hope this is some use Andy.


Thanks Andy. Do you know, I actually have one of those and one of the last things I did the last time I was modelling was to actually smack myself on the head, say D'oh, and get it out.


:doh::doh:Then I ran out of time.



On an unrelated matter:


I've a problem with my drilling. I can mark the place where I want to drill carefully - engineer's square, dividers, inter-cert maths approved method for bisecting an line, everything carefully marked out and centre punched, then set to work with the archimedes drill to avoid the sort of drift you get with the dremel. Then I take the drill out of the hole to examine my handiwork and it has ALWAYS and INEVITABLY moved at least 0.25mm, often more like 0.5mm. It doesn't sound much, but if you're trying to make something to within a few 100ths of a mm tolerance, and people keep telling you it will fall off if you don't, it's a bit of a pain. Has anyone out there got any top tips that don't involve expensive machine tools. Clearly a pillar drill with a proper chuck on the base to hold work would solve the issue, but I don't think I'd get away with setting one up in the study. Not an immediate worry though due to general lack of progress.



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Thanks guys. I use an engineer's scriber which seems to have a better point than the dividers I use to mark out the parallel lines (check 1). I do a starter hole with a 0.4mm drill (check 2). And I've tried the pin chuck as well as the archimedes with, I thought, less success, probably because it tends to wander while I'm turning it (check 3). Maybe I don't have the hole deep enough before I start drilling.


Maybe I should just admit that I'm not very good at this.


Maybe I should just try harder.


At least I can see the hole is off centre. I suppose that's a start.


Thanks for the suggestions.



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Zombie Alert - Dead Thread Rising

Apologies for the prolonged absence. Was it really 2015? Gulp.

Well, there was trouble at t'mill that took a bit of sorting out, and in the meantime I wrote a book. Didn't get it published yet, mind you; but I'll try a few more publishers now in the new year and, if all else fails, try self-publishing.

Anyway, railways.

This is Mallow:


It's not a great image, but it's got everything - a main line, 2 junctions, small engine-shed, turntable, plenty of sidings, a great sweeping curve through the station. Mallow would be great fun, but it would be big - 6 to 8m long plus fiddle yards either end, or else far too much space to make a continuous loop.

And it would take me far too long to build all the stock I'd need for it. I needed something smaller.

Killarney is good, but would still take about 6m plus fiddle yard:


I'm not sure how these pictures will display, so I'll post them now, take a look, and then continue.



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Right, that looks ok.

The problem with Killarney is the shuntback and then the Tralee line rising above the station. Without that, it's not Killarney, and with it it's just too big and unwieldy. I looked at ways to fit it, and decided Mallow would be easier.

So then I looked at every branch on the GSWR. Kenmare had potential:


But it's not actually that much smaller than Mallow, and the buildings are useless.

Valencia lacks operating potential:


Caherciveen has potential but is as long as Mallow and needs a fiddle yard at each end:



By this stage, you can see, I was getting picky.

OK. Time to post and then carry on...






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How about Tralee?


It had potential. But I'd need to drop the North Kerry terminus. No harm in that though. On the other hand, a broad gauge - narrow gauge interchange is a bit of an Oirish cliché. Can't be playing to stereotypes now, can we, begorrah?

Well, I ruled out every branch line in Kerry as too restrictive.

I ruled out Sallins and Portarlington because I'd need as much stock as for Mallow, and they wouldn't be much shorter. And Portarlington didn't have great goods facilities.

I ruled out any number of long, narrow stations on the basis that there wasn't much going on.

I ruled out city termini because they were too big.

I came up with a long list that included places like Kilkenny (good potential in a fairly small space), and Clonmel (nice and with a mix of GSWR and WLWR, but would it be a bit Castle Rackrent?)

The shortlist came down to a decent terminus on the Atlantic, based on Baltimore or Bantry, or Headford Junction on the Kerry line.

This is Baltimore:


This is Bantry:


And this is Headford Junction:





Oh, before anybody gets excited, I haven't actually started anything yet.

But I've got a fair way with just thinking.


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I had visited Baltimore, and liked the station building. Suppose Roaringwater Bay was deeper, would it have made a good stopping place for the Atlantic liners instead of Cobh? I concocted an alternative history. The liners went to Baltimore, the GSWR bought the CBSCR and built straight across the Lee and into Albert Quay, making a direct link. It looked better than the way they built to connect to the Cobh and Youghal line. I could imagine a viaduct or lifting bridge to clear the shipping channels. Then I imagined the first years of operation, running the mail in two sections in order to squeeze it into the small station site. It could be fun.

But then, there simply isn't a good anchorage between Sherkin and Baltimore, and I thought of how the Titanic ran aground there on her maiden voyage, her rusted hulk still dominating the skyline years later. Maybe not.

The best anchorage would be where it was in reality: out at Castletownbere, with the fleet and the fishing and the Allihies copper mines over the mountains. Maybe I could run ore down from the mountains too. There'd be great viaducts at Garinish and Adrigole, and a station running onto a wooden pier in front of the town with the mountains behind. (This one is still attractive.)

Or how about Bantry. There are great shots of the town and the station in the Lawrence collection on the NLI website, and a good recent article by Oliver Doyle in the IRRS Journal. Lots of pictures online too, and I got to visit the town for work and walked the site in the rain. There was a steamer service up to the Great War, out to Castletownbere, fish traffic, and I could justify my mine traffic here as easily as at Castletownbere. Plus, the railway vanishes behind the Station Hotel and a row of houses, so no problem getting off scene and into the fiddle yard. And if I was feeling bold, I could swap in the station building from Baltimore.

It's easy to waste time imagining.

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So I thought I'd better see what would work.

The learning curve on Templot is steep, and it's hard to figure out what way Martyn's mind works, and the instructions are a bit hit and miss, and it's harder still on a Mac where the keyboard shortcuts tend not to work.

But then you begin to get the hang of it, and you start saying, 'ah, I see,' and it gets to be quite fun.

This is Bantry:


The problem is that the pier extends beyond the end of the station, adding 1 to 1.5m to the length, so I ended up at 6m without a fiddle yard. I thought about cutting it down, but decided to have a look at how something based on Baltimore would look:


The fiddle yard is at bottom right with a straight run into the platform at bottom left. The sidings at the top left are an imaginary pier alongside what is in reality a very shallow inlet (from which we launched when kayaking to Clear Island and the Fastnet*.) The kick-back sidings on the top right are for operating interest and to hide the fiddle yard. They'd also keep my copper mining idea alive.

All the turnouts are B6 minimum.




(* Gratuitous boast. I was actually sick as a dog coming back.)



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I wanted to have a look at Headford, to see what sort of space it would take.


It worked out at 10m, 9m if I set the fiddle yards at 1.5m max.

(The two lines at the top are a long fiddle yard, accessed from a swinging sector plate, 1.5m, at either end. If I put scenery on the sector plate, I can get photos of trains disappearing into the distance, and only destroy the illusion of space when I swing the line to put a train on or off. The lines at bottom left are an imagined industry to hide the main line disappearing towards Mallow. The branch at bottom left is the line for Kenmare - fish specials off the branch, and tourists heading for Kenmare, Parknasilla and on to Glengariff.)

Now, if I could persuade herself to let me set up for operating sessions in the sitting room and dining room, I could actually run to 9m and this would be fun to operate.

Chances of that?

Hmmm, yes. You might say that, alright.

And if I had a 9m space, wouldn't that fit Mallow anyway? Time to draw up Mallow:



Lengthwise, I've probably lost about 2 to 3m, but I can still fit an 8 coach train at the mainline platforms, which would keep me happy. Fiddle yards would only be 1.5m long, though, so I'd only be able to run 6 coach trains, but how bad.

Anyway, I was clearly losing the run of myself.


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So I decided to return to an old idea, based on the North Wall. This is the North Wall:


But the layout was too clean and logical for what I had in mind:


And this is how I envisage the different bits looking:


It's a partial layout, only 3m long, showing the very end of a station, with some pretty improbable track arrangements. A passenger train arriving will pull in on the lowest line and it's engine and lead carriage or two will emerge from the train shed that covers the fiddle yard. The engine will be released along the middle road, and then the carriages will be pulled away. The carriages will then be placed at the departure road, with the end 1 or 2 again appearing outside the trainshed. Meanwhile, a second passenger train can arrive, drop its load, release the engine and have the carriages taken away. They will move to the departure road after the first train has departed. Or I could have one road for the GSWR train and the other for the Midland or GNR. I might assume the LNWR got the mail contract from the City of Dublin Steam Packet.

Meanwhile, goods will be handled through the improbable station, backed up, and then shunted into the different sidings. Obviously, in reality, the direct route down the outside behind the train shed would be used, but that wouldn't let me find out if I actually like shunting puzzle layouts.

So that's where I'm at, at the moment.

It may be a case of 'Mallow or bust', but for the moment I'll try to build something smaller, and to get practice with difficult and unlikely trackwork, all within a space that could go up in the spare room. It will also give me time to build up my stock, starting with that J26.


Phew. That took a bit longer than planned.




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Interesting exercise which basically demonstrates that a  small country terminus or through station requires  a similar space lengthwise to a large terminus or junction station.  Makes sense though on a railway system that was set up to handle 50-60 wagon goods trains and 20-30 wagon goods trains were not exactly un-known on country branchlines.

It will be interesting to see how your North Wall scheme works out. 


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The thing I'm dealing with at the moment (or rather, Baseboard Dave is!) approximates to something between Westport Quay and perhaps Valencia Harbour. The idea was to have something simple, as space is somewhat limited at the moment, but which didn't look too crushed up. Still, it has to be interesting to operate prototypically.

Initially I had toyed with 21mm, but settled on code 75 00 gauge. However, I still aim eventually to make an even simpler 21mm set-up, and your North Wall diagram above, and your comments, recalled this to mind. A layout based on shunting, while not everybody's cup of tea (but what is?) can provide an interesting proposition to operate. Therefore, I had thought of some sort of North City Mills type of goods yard; such a set-up could be as simple or complicated as one likes. Polloxfens Sidings as Ballysodare provide another similar interesting location, with characteristic buildings and VERY compact trackwork, including three-way points, a great rarity in Ireland.

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1 hour ago, islandbridgejct said:

I suppose the railway was running for miles anyway, so there was no need to build the station short, and building it narrow might require less land.


I think it was more a case of the cost and availability of land.

A railway company would leave itself open to a lot of political pressure and potentially loose a lot of money if its stations were incapable of handling the traffic generated by a cattle fair or other peak seasonal traffic like fish or fresh produce.

The Government funded railways (Baltimore, Valencia) tended to be a horse of an other colour with scrimping on construction and facilities compared to privately built lines.

Galway and Harcourt Street stations were on relatively short but wide sites with station, goods yard and loco sheds in close proximity, while relatively small stations like Athenry and Loughrea spread out over the best part of a mile.

Galway had/has the advantage of a loop that extends almost out to Renmore which allowed the station to handle long passenger and goods trains.

While the Loughrea mixed passenger train usually loaded to 3w wheel coaches and half a dozen wagons, the station was capable of dispatching over 100 Cattle wagons in 4-5 specials during the big autumn cattle fairs.

The average mixed on the Valencia line appears to have loaded to a couple of 6w coaches and 18-20 wagons.

On the narrow gauge the C&L coal trains appear to have loaded to 10 wagons and a brake, on Keadue 5 wagons and a brake appears to reasonably

With selective compression in 4mm 10-15 wagons appears to be a reasonable length of goods train.

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In rural areas, cattle & goods often “kept things going” long after passenger traffic had as good as vanished - and possibly never amounted to much, anyway.

Many rural lines on both gauges had one mixed per day plus one or two passenger services. This could have a branch set of two six-wheelers or just one bogie, or maybe a bogie and a 6-wheeler. But for the modeller, the 10-15 wagons on the back are the shunting point of interest.

After 1930, by which time road transport was developing, just a few examples off the top of my head - these aren’t absolutely cast in stone, of course, but were absolutely typical.

These are just random examples I know of.

Foynes - one 6w brake 3rd (plus wagons)

Achill - bogie compo + 6w brake

Clifden - 6w compo + 6w brake 3rd

Castlegregory - 1 or 2 coaches including brake

Dingle - 2-3 coaches inc brake

Arigna - 1 brake compo

Loughrea, Ballinrobe - 2 x 6w, then (Loughrea) one brake standard

Drimoleague - Skibbereen - 2 x 6w

Belturbet - (GN) 2 x 6w, then 1 or 2 non-corridor bogies; (C & L) 1 coach & a brake van

......and so on.

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All ideal train combos, even in 7mm scale. Applying Iain Rice's formula, that a train needs to travel three times its own length across the scenic part of a layout, means that on Belmullet/Arigna my fiddle yard is a quarter of the overall length.

 This is just under 1.2 m. Doesn't sound a lot, but is enough for a G2 2-4-0 and three MGW six wheelers, or a Sligo tank and six wagons.

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