Saturday, 30 November 2013

Littleford Trains 40

N gauge class 04 shunter D2258 with a mixed freight and passenger train
 
Class 04 shunter D2258 calls at Littleford with a mixed freight and passenger train.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 04 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-051 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Friday, 29 November 2013

N Gauge Model Railway Layout Restoration Part 5 Baseboard Adaptation for a Bridge

Appertures created to construct new low level model railway scenery
 
I altered the model railway layout baseboard surrounding the curved track to start work on constructing low level scenery.
 
 
Holes drilled to create slots in the layout baseboard for a pad saw blade
 
I drilled holes in the railway layout baseboard then removed the waste between the holes using a chisel.  This allowed me to insert a pad saw blade.
 
 
Waste wood removed between the holes ready to use the pad saw
 
As stated in my blog post dated 11 March 2012 a pad saw is a useful and affordable alternative to an electric jigsaw.

I used the pad saw to remove some of the layout baseboard.  Creating an apperture in the layout baseboard on either side of the track allowed the model railway landscape to dip in order to incorporate a bridge within the new low level scenery.  I then used a coarse file to clean up the wood alongside the track to enable me to attach Peco NB-39 plate girder bridge sides to the straight, flat surfaces.
 
 
Close up of the Peco NB-39 plate girder bridge sides
 
I cut the minimum of wood away around the scenery edges which needed to be sloped using woodworking tools.  Materials such as cardboard or polystyrene were to be used to fill the area beneath the track around the bridge abutments as wood is a very hard medium to shape in this area.

This is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Cramford Trains 14

N gauge class 04 shunter D2264 with a local pick up goods train
 
Class 04 shunter D2264 arrives at Cramford with a short local pick up goods train.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 04 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-050A from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

N Gauge Model Railway Layout Restoration Part 4 Inner Framework for Low Level Model Scenery

Screws visible over the micro layout baseboard where the inner framework was attached
 
I added additional wooden components beneath the N gauge model railway layout baseboard to allow me to sculpt the landscape as desired.  The top of the screws can be seen in the photograph over various parts of the layout baseboard.  Without the additional woodwork the outer framework would be very weak at the edges after using woodworking tools to create the revised scenic contours.
 
 
Inner model scenery framework attached to the baseboard and outer framework
 
The additional inner model scenery framework was made using 34mm x 34mm pine which left enough depth to attach a piece of plywood.  The plywood was attached at the correct depth to form the lower part of the road under the model bridge.
 
 
Screws showing where the inner framework was fixed to the baseboard and outer framework
 
The inner framework was screwed to the outer framework and also to the bottom of the layout baseboard.
 
 
Plywood which formed the lower level of the road under the bridge
 
Part of the plywood needed to be cut away to allow one of the Peco point motors to be re-attached.  Peco PL-10E point motors and PL-25 electromagnetic uncoupler units were removed whilst work to alter the model railway scenery was in progress.

At this point the inner framework was not glued in place as I needed to use a saw to remove some of the railway layout baseboard when adding the bridge.

This is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cramford Trains 13

N gauge class 08 shunter 08 748 next to Cramford quarry loading chute
 
Class 08 shunter 08 748 next to the loading chute in Cramford quarry sidings.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 08 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-015 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Monday, 25 November 2013

N Gauge Model Railway Layout Restoration Part 3 Preparing the Baseboard

N gauge model railway layout baseboard with original scenery removed
 
In my blog post dated 23 November 2013 photographs of the N gauge model railway layout were studied to help confirm which parts of the model scenery would be retained and which needed to be removed.

The plans I had to re-model the railway layout scenery made it necessary to remove all of the existing features from the baseboard, taking great care not to damage the painted and ballasted track.

In creating something close to a ‘blank canvas’ to work with, I found it much easier to plan creation of a new model landscape with no existing scenery to distract the eye.
 
 
Model scenery altered to create a new yard area and extended yard area
 
Even at this early stage it could be seen where alterations to the model railway scenery were helping to create new features.  Whilst removing the existing model scenery the yard area opposite the platform has been extended and an additional small one created between the sidings.
 
 
Original N gauge station platform and tunnel components
 
I was very pleased and also pleasantly surprised when I managed to remove the platform without damaging it!  If I re-texture the top surface of the platform and repaint the stonework I can use the feature on another N gauge model railway.  I also managed to rescue the tunnel components for future use.

As this was built as an analogue micro layout, electrics are simple.  I removed two Peco PL-10E turnout motors and three Peco PL-25 electromagnetic uncoupler units and put them to one side to avoid damaging them whilst making structural alterations to the layout baseboard.
 
 
Pine framework added to the perimeter of the model railway layout baseboard
 
I drilled holes along the edges of the model railway baseboard and screwed 44mm x 18mm pine battens to it.  The battens form the basic framework to prevent the baseboard from warping.  The framework will also allow me to anchor more components in place in order to create an assembly which will enable the model railway scenery to drop down significantly to incorporate a bridge.  I plan to model a plate girder bridge to take the track over a road which will provide access to the goods yard.
 
 
Glue blocks added to strengthen the railway layout baseboard framework
 
Glue blocks are a great way to add a lot of strength to corner areas and have been added to the inside of the railway layout framework.

This is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Littleford Trains 39

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7001 with a train of fish vans
 
Class 35 Hymek D7001 passes through Littleford with a train of fish vans.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084R from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

N Gauge Model Railway Layout Restoration Part 2 Photography Opportunities

Aerial view of the N gauge micro layout before alterations to the model railway scenery
 
Before making any alterations to the model railway layout baseboard I thought it would be a good idea to take a few photographs both close to track level and from a distance.  Looking at this micro layout in photographs helped me to visualise planned alterations and greatly influenced many decisions which helped to create improved model railway scenery.
 
 
Goods yard sidings close to the edge of the layout baseboard
 
As stated in my blog post dated 21 November 2013, I wanted to ensure that I would be able to create as many good photographs as possible by making carefully considered alterations to the railway layout scenery.

Taking photographs of trains on Littleford, one of my N gauge micro layouts, revealed that it can be useful to be able to place the camera very close to the end of sidings.

Altering the scenic levels and contours when creating the pond for Finchley, an N gauge scenic country branch line, taught me quite a bit about the benefits of lowering the scenery so that it is possible to look up at locomotives and rolling stock.

Lessons learnt building both model railway layouts were remembered whilst I studied photographs to confirm which parts of the model railway scenery should be saved and which should be removed.
 
 
View along the N gauge branch line track and original station platform
 
I decided that by removing the existing station platform I could create a dual purpose feature.

Instead of the existing station platform, a flat area could be created for an N gauge coal merchant when the micro layout is used as a shunting puzzle.  This could be represented using the Ratio coal depot kit 229 which contains two coal staithes and a hut.  When using the model with a removable fiddle yard for continuous run I could replace the coal staithes and hut with a small wooden station platform for rural passenger trains.
 
 
View looking towards the goods yard and along the station platform
 
Removing the station platform also offered an additional benefit.  The edge of the model railway layout baseboard could be sloped to allow photographs of N gauge locomotives and rolling stock to be created with the camera below track level.
 
 
View along the curved track towards the N gauge tunnel
 
 
View from the tunnel of curved track and the model railway landscape
 
Creating new contours with sloping model scenery all the way along the platform side of the railway layout baseboard would help to create a convincing landscape to encapsulate an N gauge bridge.  It seemed that the S shape of curved track could accommodate a small model railway bridge with a road underneath.  The angle of the bridge could enable me to take many interesting photographs from a variety of viewpoints.

Other photographs revealed that it could be beneficial to have a very open arrangement with few or no buildings and structures to obstruct the camera.

This is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Cramford Trains 12

Side view of N gauge Jubilee 45699 Galatea and passenger train
 
Sunlight works a little magic over the bodywork of Jubilee 45699 Galatea as it pauses at Cramford station with a passenger train.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge Jubilee model locomotive photographed is product number 372-475 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

N Gauge Model Railway Layout Restoration Part 1 Design Potential

Aerial view of the N gauge scenic model railway layout
 
I built this minimum space N gauge model railway layout many years ago to use as a shunting puzzle.  After a short while I found that I no longer had time to use the layout so I put it to one side and forgot all about it.  I was having a tidy up recently and was both pleased and at the same time a little disappointed to find it!
 
 
View along the road on the N gauge model railway layout
 
When I built this model I was very proud of my first serious attempt at creating an N gauge railway layout and I was therefore pleased to re-discover it.  However, when I had studied it for a while I was surprised that how I had remembered it in my mind’s eye did not match the reality at all.  Having built many more railway layouts since I designed this one my working methods have changed and improved.  I was disappointed to find the model landscape so flat and boring with little scenic interest.  Granted I had taken the model trees and N gauge buildings off before storing it, but even so it showed how much my working style had changed over the years.

After spending quite a while wondering what kind of model railway project I should pursue next, I decided that it could be useful to blog how to re-model this micro layout in order to create an interesting and attractive shunting puzzle.  Hopefully, this will encourage other people in the same situation to have a go at rebuilding an old model railway rather than selling it for next to nothing or worse, throwing it away.

It is quite common for a model railway enthusiast to find that they are in possession of a layout which they no longer find interesting, particularly if it is a first project.  Whilst this can be disappointing, it must be remembered that skills have been developed, lessons learnt and that there are often parts of the model railway layout which can be re-used.  With the benefit of hindsight it is easy to see what could have been done differently which helps when planning improvements.

If track has been poorly laid it is usually best to remove it and start afresh with new, reliable components fixed to a level, flat surface.  If the track has been well laid and operation is smooth and reliable, this part of the model railway can be kept which saves the time it would take to re-lay it and also saves money.
 
 
N gauge weathered and ballasted track showing holes for electromagnetic uncoupler units
 
I found that the N gauge track components had been fairly well laid and ballasted and so decided to leave them in place, though with the intention to tone down the bright rust coloured paint on the rails and chairs.  Track had been laid for analogue use and I decided to leave it that way rather than alter it for DCC use.  Peco SL-E395 medium radius electrofrog points were used with Peco setrack components, curves being first radius.  I removed the Peco PL-25 electromagnetic uncoupler units beneath the railway layout baseboard which left temporary holes in some parts of the track.

I needed to work with the simple nature of the micro layout track plan and so wished to develop the surrounding model scenery in a logical manner.

I wanted this model railway layout to offer three main benefits, shunting puzzle operation, continuous run with a removable fiddle yard arrangement and opportunity to take good photographs of locomotives and rolling stock.  These desires would dictate the alterations which mould be made to the model railway scenery.

Re-modelling the model railway scenery can completely change the appearance of a layout.  As the track was to be left in place, this presented challenges when creating the new model landscape.  With no freedom to move the track I needed to make the best use of all areas of space surrounding it which were sometimes thin strips or odd shapes.
 
 
Stone effect station platform viewed from the yard next to the branch line
 
A rural backwater with the minimum of passenger comforts and simple yard areas seemed logical.  I therefore felt that it could be a good idea to remove the station platform in favour of a small wooden station halt.
 
 
N gauge tunnel with raised model scenery and station car park
 
To create the most opportunities to take interesting photographs I felt that the tunnel and surrounding raised landscape would need to be removed.  I wanted to drop the scenery below track level all along the platform side of the railway layout and create a road running under the curved track to connect to the main goods yard.
 
 
S shape of track where a model bridge could be incorporated
 
When I built the model, I originally thought that observing trains enter the layout along the S shape of curved track would be more interesting than a simple straight run.  I placed a pair of N gauge Peco NB-39 plate girder bridge sides alongside the track to find the best location for a small bridge.  A model bridge would allow the scenery to be developed whilst adding a feature which would help to create interesting photographs.

I decided that yard areas would be different shapes with four instead of two.  One of the yard areas would be a dual purpose feature to accommodate the platform halt when the model is used for continuous run and to offer an area where I could place N gauge model railway accessories when using the model as a shunting puzzle.
 
 
Aerial view of the sidings and the rectangular main goods yard
 
The main yard would be expanded to create a larger goods yard with a more irregular outline.
 
 
Wedge of scenery between the goods yard sidings
 
The small wedge of space between the sidings would be more useful as a flat yard area to use for freight handling.
 
 
Small yard area between the branch line and sidings
 
The small yard area in front of the platform could be extended to create a more useful feature.

I wanted an interesting and unusual scenic feature somewhere near the goods yard and came up with a few ideas.  Once alterations to the layout baseboard to incorporate the bridge and road are complete I will be able to see how much space is left to work with, dictating which scenic feature is constructed.

This is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Cramford Trains 11

N gauge class 42 Warship D815 Druid shunting in Cramford quarry sidings
 
Class 42  Warship D815 Druid is reflected in the puddles whilst shunting a small number of mineral wagons in Cramford quarry sidings.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 42 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-603 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Micro Layout Design Part 5 Dual Feature Model Railways

Cramford N gauge micro layout aerial front view
 
Often a branch line would have a limited amount of services which operate throughout the day.  Whilst nothing happening for a while can be said to be a realistic aspect of railway operation it is not very interesting to look at!

When planning a minimum space or micro layout it is sometimes better to design a model with more than one significant feature.  By having a second significant feature on the same railway layout baseboard, a greater variety of trains can be operated with a more interesting timetable.
 
 
Cramford N gauge quarry shute and sidings viewed from beneath the bridge
 
Cramford is an interesting N gauge model railway layout to operate as it has been designed to combine two significant features, a branch line station with goods yard and a pair of quarry sidings with loading facilities.  Shunting operations can be performed in the quarry sidings during the periods when no movements are observable at the station platform or in the goods yard.

This type of benefit would be particularly useful to individuals who exhibit their model railway layouts at shows and need to ensure that the public have frequent stock movements to observe.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Cramford Trains 10

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7001 with a train of tank wagons
 
Class 35 Hymek D7001 rumbles through Cramford with a train of tank wagons.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084R from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Littleford Trains 38

N gauge class 14 D9555 and single coach passenger train at Littleford station
 
Class 14 D9555 calls at Littleford with a rural passenger service.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 14 model locomotive photographed is product number 372-950 from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Micro Layout Design Part 4 Separation of Scenic Features

Aerial view from the left side of Cramford N gauge micro layout
 
To create a minimum space or micro layout with maximum visual interest, certain strategies can be employed at the planning stage to design a model railway which appears to be much larger than it really is when viewed close to track level.  Such design considerations are particularly important if the model landscape is to be used to photograph rolling stock.

When Cramford is studied from a distance it is obvious where all of the features lie in relation to one another, quarry sidings on the left, station area in the middle and goods yard on the right.
 
 
Cramford quarry sidings and model rock face
 
When Cramford is studied at track level however, it can be seen that the station and goods yard features have been separated as much as possible from the quarry sidings by elevating a small wedge of railway layout scenery behind the loading platform.  The wedge of model railway landscape has been built up as much as I considered rational, then bushes and trees added to help screen off the quarry sidings.

This strategy enables photographs of rolling stock to be created within the quarry sidings which do not include adjacent features in the background, thus avoiding lots of repeated content.  Equally, photographs taken in the goods yard show little of the quarry sidings, though the loading chute and the top of the rock face are apparent in many views.

This method creates the illusion that there is more space between the main features, making this very small micro layout model railway seem much larger.
 
 
N gauge quarry loading chute and sidings viewed from ground level
 
By creating elevated model scenery as a rock face on the left of Cramford, this feature and the small elevated wedge of scenery opposite encapsulate locomotives and rolling stock when photographs are taken from certain angles.  This scenic arrangement helps to draw attention to the locomotives in photographs as well as presenting an interesting three dimensional scenic backdrop.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Cramford Trains 9

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7042 with a train of mineral wagons
 
Class 35 Hymek D7042 passes Cramford station as it takes a train of mineral wagons from the quarry on the return trip along the branch line.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084M from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cramford Trains 8

N gauge class 67 locomotive 67 001 light engine
 
Class 67 locomotive 67 001 dashes through Cramford light engine.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 67 model locomotive photographed is product number ND-101M from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Mico Layout Design Part 3 Efficient Goods Yards

Aerial view of Cramford N gauge micro layout goods yard
 
When designing a minimum space or micro layout, construction of freight handling areas on both sides of a goods siding can enable more realistic and varied scenes to be created using model railway vehicles, figures and accessories.

If there is only one yard area on one side of a goods siding it is tempting to crush too many vehicles and accessories together, often all in a row.  This can appear contrived, crowded and unrealistic.

By creating yard areas which surround sidings vehicles figures and accessories can be spread out.  If there is opportunity to separate the location of lineside features, each yard area can be developed with more regard for the needs of different railway customers.

Cramford has been designed to enable many user needs to be well served in a small area.   The main yard area could be considered quite large in relation to the length of the sidings and the compact nature of the track plan.  The main yard area sits between the two curved sidings and is wide enough for road vehicles to move around and turn properly.  There is opportunity to position a feature such as a pair of coal staithes next to one siding with lots of space left in the rest of the yard which can be used effectively.
 
 
N gauge class 35 Hymek D7042 shunts a mineral wagon to the coal staithes
 
Modellers often place coal staithes next to a siding to indicate that a certain area of the goods yard is regularly used to supply a coal merchant.  In reality the coal merchant would need reasonable room to go about their business efficiently and safely.  The main yard area on Cramford is large enough to allow other freight handling tasks such as unloading logs from a wagon in the adjacent siding to be undertaken without compromising the working needs of the coal merchant.
 
 
Cramford micro layout curved freight loading platform
 
Another strategy employed to make the most of sidings in Cramford micro layout was to construct the loading platform so that it follows the curve of the track.  The loading platform does not run the entire length of the siding, leaving space to add another small but important flat area of tarmac at the front of the model railway.
 
 
View over the yard areas next to Cramford micro layout sidings
 
A road vehicle can be placed in the small yard area at the front of Cramford ready to receive goods straight onto the trailer from a wagon which has been carefully shunted into position.  Freight can also be unloaded from a wagon shunted alongside the loading platform whilst handling of goods is performed as described in the main yard area, four separate scenes created in a very small amount of space.

Cramford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts. To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Littleford Trains 37

N gauge class 35 Hymek D7001 with a very light freight train
 
Class 35 Hymek D7001 with a very light freight train consisting of a single mineral wagon and a brake van.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084R from the range by Dapol Ltd.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Littleford Trains 36

N gauge class 04 shunter D2264 with a two coach passenger train
 
Class 04 shunter D2264 pauses at Littleford station with a two coach passenger train.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 04 model locomotive photographed is product number 371-050A from the Graham Farish range by Bachmann.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Littleford Trains 35

N gauge class 35 D7001 with a train of steel mineral wagons
 
Class 35 Hymek D7001 speeds through Littleford with a short train of steel mineral wagons.

Littleford is one of my N gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website www.brianford.co.uk.

The N gauge class 35 model locomotive photographed is product number ND084R from the range by Dapol Ltd.