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Brettell Road

Bubble part 1

I’ve always liked bubble cars (let’s be honest, who doesn’t?) and i recently stumbled across a cheap Lima class 121 so Brettell Road will get a class 122 to play with.  Here it is ready for paint.

The roof has had the grooves filled (not sure why lima did this when the retooled the 117 as the roof was the only bit of that model they got right ) with new vents from MJT.  The cab domes are spares from the DC Kits 304 kit with my own etched fronts.  The exhausts are spares from Dapol (with thanks to Geoff of Western Thunder for pointing out they were available as spares.) and the headcode boxes are microstrip.  Buffers are from 51L and the bogies are Hornby class 110 as per most of my DMU’s. Buffer steps are my own etch and the underframe had has some strategic holes drilled in it to open it up a bit.


Tweaks

Afraid there’s nothing new in this post, just tweaks of things already seen. Ok so you can’t see this one really but in testing the parcels stock shown last time, this point wasn’t as reliable as I liked.   I have a view that all stock should go everywhere and while the parcels stuff probably wont run over this point at shows. it did show up the problem. To be honest its always been not quite right so having tracked down the problem to the nearest point blade the old one was removed and a new one filed up and put in its place.   The old one and a few dead chairs can be seen in the ballast and I thought why not let the layout have a bit of its own history, so they are now firmly glued there.Looking the other way nothing more than a bit of oily track.  After the initial coats of track grime and gunmetal I treated it with AK interactive wet effect and engine oil.   At the recent Derby Show (where we were showing Moor Street) my friend and fellow layout operator Paul pointed out that railcar 14 had lamp irons on the nose. I dunno how I missed this.  So given that I hadn’t sorted the horns either (should be 4 not 2) I have set to work.  I also found that there were cab end handrails and Dapol had missed the double door handrails as well.  Another small tweak that I’ve been meaning to do is to sort out the cab side windows on the class 20.  The original Bachmann ones slid open and like most RTR gimmicks were a bit naff.  So using a spare pair of window frames from Extreme Etches that I had lying around I’ve fixed this little bug bear. My Derby lightweight was always a bit of a rush job for Scaleforum.  The gap between the vehicles being much too big was the main eyesore! Closed up and a masokits gangway fitted. Another problem was that the on board lights lit up the cab.  Some simple blinds from black paper resolved that. Moving on to the warehouse. I’ve finished the guttering and added a low handrail along the top of the wall.  Although Brettell Road is set well before the health and safety culture we have now there was still a reasonable chance of a driver falling off the wall! A bit of the gutter has fallen off at some point.  So some water stains and higher weeds below are the results.


A post post!

Originally I wasn’t going to really have ‘through trains’ on Brettell Road – the through line was only going to be used by the industrial shunter but like most of the plans for this layout it all went a bit wrong.  So now that the branch is used by BR as well it made sense to have a short parcels train.  I had already done a LMS GUV from the Lima model but in another hark back to my childhood train set I always liked my Lima Siphon G as well.  I’m not quite sure what happened to the original one I had but I found a bashed up one on Ebay for a few quid and set to work. The Lima body has had the lower vents added from the cooper craft (ex blacksmiths) etch.  Kindly picked up for me from Scalefour southwest last year by Steve Carter of the Scalefour Society.  The bogies are MJT on the brassmasters frames, as are the buffers, with small steps from the Frogmore Confederacy Range (both available from here).  The gangway is a Hornby DMU one which I cut into from the bottom and glued back together to give that characteristic drooped look. The other side with some of the vents left open. In terms of somewhere for the guard to sit, the good old Mainline LMS BG.   just new handrails, glazing and underframe bits on this one.

A couple of RTR wagons from Bachmann.  the Grain wagon has had its axleboxes replaces with Parkside spares and the brakes moved to line up with the wheels.  Finally below just a few images of my Jinty pottering about.


A little wander around.

The point of the above picture is nothing more than the drainpipe.  Yeah so what? you are no doubt thinking, we’ve seen this stuff before!  Well you would be right but modelling this sort of stuff is now a lot easier thanks to some useful bits from Alan at Modelu.  See here.  I still need to add the actual gutters yet.Speaking of Modelu a couple of Alan’s figures discuss the latest delivery of real ale to the pub.  The chaps umbrella is actually a parasol intended for Z gauge.  The lights and indicator on the lorry do work as can be seen in this little video of a wander around the layout.

For those who like to see things, here’s a daylight version too!

Finally a couple of images starting with Brettell road trying to impersonate a small depot somewhere!


Moor street bridge and its little known history.

This is the view of the real inspiration behind Brettell Road. This is taken from Moor Street bridge looking towards Brettell Lane/Stourbridge.  The remains of the sidings can just be made out to the right of the running lines. There is nothing to show it now but this location was, in 1858. the site of what was, at the time, Britain’s worst rail disaster.

The story starts on the morning of the 23rd of August and the The Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway Company (which was known as the worse and worse, a nickname it never lost) had organised a day trip for Sunday School children from Wolverhampton to Worcester. In the event the ticket offices mostly ignored the instruction that the trip was for school kids and many sold the tickets to anyone.  The train set out from Wolverhampton made up of a tender loco, 24 4 wheel coaches and a guards van (info is sketchy it seems that the guards van was a good van although apparently some guards coaches were included in the train).

It picked up passengers and vehicles along the way as by the time it arrived at Worcester it was made up of 2 locomotives, 42 coaches and at least 2 brake vans. The outward journey hadn’t been without incident as they had coupling failures at Brettell Lane,  Hagley, and Droitwich. It was estimated that there were between 1500 and 2000 passengers on board when it got to Worcester. The train was examined by the inspector of rolling stock at Worcester, the repaired or replaced side chains were replaced by four-link goods couplings before the return journey, but no attempt was made to repair or replace failed centre couplings as the inspector considered that a re-made screw coupling was weaker than the goods couplings.

For the return trip the train was divided into 2, the first being made up 2 tender engines, 28 carriages, and 2 brake Vans (one at each end). The other was made up one tender engine, 14 carriages and a brake van. The second train followed the first 15 minutes behind. The line was worked on the interval system, in which trains were allowed to follow the previous train without positive confirmation that it had reached the next station, relying instead on it having been an adequate time interval ahead at the last station. The guard on the first train was a man called Frederick Cook who it was alledged had allowed passengers into the brake van and even let them operate the brake while he played cards and drank with them.  He was normally tasked with being the guard on freight trains and might not have been all that suited to passenger work.

The line from Brettell lane rises on a 1 in 75 gradient towards round oak so the second train had an additional engine added to cope with this at Stourbridge.  It was after 8pm when the first train arrived at Round Oak, the second arriving at Brettell lane at about the same time. Reports say it was dark and there was a lot of smoke blowing across the tracks from the local factories. The train of the first crew hadn’t spotted that another coupling had broken and 17 coaches and the brake van, with about 450 people on board were now rolling back towards Brettell lane.  A porter tried to chase the carriages but they soon became to fast for him.  The last hope was that the guard would stop the train. Frederick Cook was not on the train though, he was on the platform.

A telegraph message was sent the staff at Brettell Lane to warn them.  Unfortunately the second train was actually departing the station at the time and the telegraph was missed. The second train was struggling with the incline and when the driver did spot the runaway, very late, he slammed on the brakes. Hit train slowing to 2mph at the point of impact. The free coaches were doing about 16 mph but construction at the time meant that the brake van and 2 coaches as good as disintegrated. 12 people died in the crash, 150 were injured of which 2 would pass away later. All of the victims were on the first train.  The driver of the second was said to be ‘shaken’. His loco had its buffers ripped off but was otherwise not too badly damaged.

Amazingly several hours later the track was cleared and the 2 trains carried on their journeys to Wolverhampton. Some of the injured getting back onboard as they just wanted to go home.

Frederick Cook claimed at inquest that he never left the train, that the brake hadn’t held the train and he had jumped for his life at the last moment. He changed his testimony when it was established the brakes were off and he looked remarkably clean and uninjured for someone who had apparently jumped from a train doing 16 mph! Test showed the brake would have held the train and he was charged with manslaughter but acquitted. Some alledge the jury was bribed.

The view looking towards Round Oak/ Wolverhampton


Tweaking the lighting and yet more rain.

I wasn’t all that happy with the positioning of the yard lamps shown last time.  The one on the right masked the tail lights on the lorry (as several people didn’t notice them) and it didn’t do enough to light up the entrance to the yard. Leading a couple of people to enquire how the lorries actually got in. So I’ve had a bit of a fiddle. I’ve moved the light further along so that the back of the lorry is in shade.  This on its own didn’t do enough to illuminate the gate area so…I’ve added headlights to the lorry.  (this picture was taken on a phone).  They are much to bright really but you can’t see them from the front of the layout anyway. Here is what I was aiming for.  Again its too bright for a lorry of that era but I’m happy with a bit of artistic licence for effect.  You can see the difference when the headlights are blocked (on the left).

I have also been busy with more AK interactive wet effects fluid.  Below are a few overviews that give a better hint of the rain. Finally another video, time for another cuppa and a biscuit!


Return to the factory

Although the factory was essentially finished for Scaleforum it lacked the clutter that gives it an ‘in use’ look.  Unless the workers were meticulously tidy I suppose. So I have gone back to make a bit of a mess.  The image above is the before shot……and the after.  I’ve added a wall and gate to the entrance. The old lorry was featured earlier. The wooden boxes are from 4Ground models. I knocked up a rudimentary travelling crane from bits of brass and plastic. The discarded machine tools were 3 d prints and originally intended to go inside the building but I thought they were a bit too nice to hide away so I weathered them up an dumped them outside. Another crane from bits of brass and some basic yard lights.  Below are a few images of the factory at night.  The yard lights do provide a bit more light to the centre of the layout.


Hoppers finished off and a few other things.

I’ve finished off the hoppers I was working on. Here’s the coke hopper in the company of the previous one I had already done. As the older one is an LMS version I revisited the weathering to make it look a little more used. The 13ton hopper Mackerel with a gannet and herring. A few I haven’t mentioned before. The M. E. Evans one is a Bachmann collectors club model in memory of Merl Evans. I spent a very enjoyable day at Tysley with Merl surveying a couple of class 150’s so this little wagon seemed a no brainer to me. Straight wheel and coupling swap with a bit of weathering.  The ED wagon is a Powsides kit for one of the Earl of Dudley’s fleet. Another no brainer.  Whether either wagon would have lasted to the late 50’s I dont know.

Finally I was directed to this neat little book. OK it’s not Birmingham and it’s not even West midlands but if you are, like me, a fan of what I call ‘urban grim’ (I guess most people aren’t here because they like pretty layouts) then you might find this right up your street. No text, just a lot of super atmospheric pictures.

Click here for the link


Whats the opposite of green fingered?

After Scaleforum i became aware that the vegetation on Brettell Road probably was a bit to green and lush for a late October setting. To remind you roughly what it looked like back then here are a few images from earlier in the layout build.

Ok so it wasn’t exactly late spring or anything but armed with some scenic sheets from Martin Welberg and some more muted static grass from WWS supplies I set to work making it all look a bit more, well, dead! As you can see I’ve made he disused line look a lot more overgrown. The eagle eyed will spot a bit of extra iron work supporting the wall. I always intended to add this from the early days of the layout.  I’m happier with it now.


A hopper hat-trick.

3 hoppers via 3 different routes. On the left a coke hopper from the old Three Aitch kit.  I’ve already done one of these and this follows the same pattern of using Bill Bedford W irons.

In the center also a kit but a brass one from Dave Bradwell for the BR 13 ton hopper.  A fun if not sometimes tricky kit to build. Dave Bradwell kits

On the right a mackerel ballast hopper converted from a Hornby trout, again with Bill Bedford w irons. I make no claims for the idea behind this as I first saw it on Kier Hardy’s EM 70s website. Click here


Werble

No I’ve not gone completely mad!Werble is an app for adding animation to photos. Since Brettell Road is supposed to be set in the rain it would be rude not to!


End of the year – end of a sub project

With 2017 drawing to a close I have also (nearly) finished off the road vehicles I will need for Brettell Road.  Despite having 5 bridges over the railway I’ve resisted the urge to do any buses to put on them and I also haven’t done any cars either.Above is the latest and last batch.

Starting with some kits. On the left a resin Ford Thames 400E from Road Transport Images and on the right a white metal ex military Austin 3 ton dropside from MMS.  Unfortunately MMS have now closed so this kit is no longer available.

I found this part built Langley models kit on eBay for next to no money. Its a 45cD tractor unit from the very late 30’s and once disassembling the more sketchily assembled bits I decided that it once belonged to one of the business owners. Some sort of engine fire meant it got dumped but with the intention to restore it to its former glory. However it ended up forgotten and is now rotting away. The tarp is from a black latex glove and I attacked the inside of the front mud guard with a burr in a minidrill to depict the rust working its way through. The rear mud guard is hanging on for dear life as well and some parts have now long gone. Finally a Leyland Steer from a combination of base toys bits.   I find these lorries quite intriguing with their (to my mind) odd wheel arrangement.  The base toys Steer has a different cab to this so I swapped it from an ‘8 legger’ box van.  If you look at the inset picture you can see that I’ve widened the wheel arches and reprofiled the front windows to get something looking more like the pictures I found of the real vehicles. I could have done more with the chassis but where its going you wont see it. Wheels are from Road transport images.


Return of the rain

Up until now I have been using various gloss varnishes to attempt to make Brettell Road look wet. The results have been somewhat mixed especially on the ground itself. So I’ve given a few AK interactive products a try, still water and wet effect. Here are a few pictures of the results so far (Yes it is dry)

The Still water is a self levelling resin and it’s quite thick.  The wet effects is an enamel.  What you see in the pictures is a mixture of both products.

https://ak-interactive.com/


Dapol GWR Railcar, finished off

I can draw a line under my Dapol GWR railcar project as its now weathered and finished. The new numbers came from Steve at Railtec transfers (click here). Here are some pictures of the end result.


More on bananas, couplings and a short time lineside.

With the motor sorted out I cut away the molded hump (as well as the seats) and added a new floor from 20thou plasticard.  The replacement seats were from DC kits (I think).  The interior was then sprayed a reddish colour as that’s what pictures seemed to show. I added some curtains (drawn up in photoshop and printed) along with 3 passengers – Brettell road being very sparsely used by the public.

Although I will be keeping the railcar as no14, I removed the numbers in preparation for adding the later off white version at the other end to the way Dapol had them.  The numbers came of very easily with a spot of turps substitute on a cotton bud.  Be very careful around the lining as that comes off almost as soon as you look at it!

Returning to the coupling conundrum

If you remember I was toying with the idea of using a UV torch for my coupling pole but the one I had gave out a lot of visible light. I’ve upgraded to a much better UV laser torch and since photographing it is quite difficult I did a video instead.  I did try adding a filter to block the visible light completely but it made it extremely hard to use.

On the subject of videos, may I invite you to get a comfy chair and a mince-pie and spend a while line side watching a bit of shunting. (this one is all diesel)


The Dapol flying banana – part 2

As mentioned last time I planned to use a Brassmasters 7ft bogie for the none powered end of my GRW railcar. The Brassmasters bogie is longer overall than the Dapol one – you can see the adjusted one at the top of the picture. Here is the bogie in position with pick ups on the far side. The near side picks up through the bogie itself.   If all you want it a p4 railcar then you can stop here. I tested mine at this point and all seemed fine but its worth noting that the pickups  are wired the opposite way round at each end. The red wire at this end goes to the opposite rail at the other.   A bit odd!

Naturally I didn’t stop there. This is the interior without the body. That huge moulded lump has to go. The culprit is this huge motor. No idea why its this big, the thing only has to move itself and you can’t couple it to anything anyway!  The Mashima sitting on top is a 1020.The good news is the motor and its mounts simply unscrew from the underframe.  I mounted my 1020 on a  bit of 80thou plasticard and on the floor. By moving the motor back from its original position you can mount the flywheel lower too. A bit of 1.5mm ID/ 2mm OD tube meant I could use the original flywheel which contains the universal joint. The drive shaft was cut in half and lengthened with a bit of tube. There’s a small lip in its channel at the motor end that needed to be ground away. While I was hacking the chassis about I cut a hole to allow me to represent the engine. Spares from the Heljan class 128 underframe sprue did the job. Next, the interior and finishing.


The Dapol Flying Banana

Dapol have recently released a 4mm scale model of the GWR streamlined railcar.  The model depicts one of those ordered in January 1935 to lots 1546 and 1547 meaning it can cover railcars number 8 to 16 (number 17 was ordered at the same time but was a parcels version).  Overall first impressions are good. Not being all that familiar with the real thing it looks the same as the pictures in ‘The History of the Great Western A.E.C. Diesel Railcars’ by C.W.Judge.   There are a few things that stand out immediately though as room for improvement. The interior isn’t great being a 1 piece moulding with a huge lump in the middle to over the underfloor (well below the window line anyway) motor. With something with such big windows this isn’t ideal. The bogies look very under nourished.

First steps in converting to P4

The model uses a single driven bogie which has split axles, picking up through the bearings. The other end is a more traditional coach type bogie with wipers on the backs of the wheels. You might be able to use the Branchlines class 108 conversion for the power bogie as it looks a similar arrangement but as I didn’t have one I can’t say for sure.

I used standard wheels and drilled the center gear out 2mm to fit. I disconnected the wire from one side and used a little bit of copper clad and phosphor bronze wire to arrange new pick ups.

At the ‘trailing’ end things don’t looks so easy.  The bogie is very, very narrow. No doubt a compromise to allow any sort of swing on the full skirted versions on 00 curves. You can see from the picture that a standard 26mm axle is wider that the bogie.   You might be able to fit P4 wheels on the original axles as they do just about fit between the sideframes but…

… lets face it the super skinny bogies look more than a little bit naff. The quite low relief details really don’t help either. No doubt another compromise for the skirted models. The powered end has plug on sideframes, like a Heljan diesel so these can be easily spaced out to something approaching the real thing. The difference is quite marked to my eye for as good as no effort.

This is the driven side after its been re-spaced – the additional drive details go some way to mask the low relief nature of the basic sideframe.

I await a Brassmasters 7 ft bogie to redo the trailing end with new pickups which should kill both of the problematic birds with the same piece of small aggregate!

EDIT – Tony on the scalefour society forum has tried the Branchlines class 108 conversion and reports they don’t fit.


Hornby hacks 1 part 2 (and a few wagons)

My class 25/0 is now done. Here are some pictures. I don’t normally like a pre-weathering shot as its not finished yet. But some people do. Below some now customary moody shots.(well you kind of expected the last one didn’t you?)

Wagon News

As I mentioned in one of the post scaleforum posts I found i had more wagons than really necessary. So im planing to just finish off those in the to do pile and try to resist adding any more. Nearest is a diagram 2049 wooden ended open with steel reinforcement. this uses the Parkside sides and underframe with a Rumney Models kit for the ends.  Behind is another standard 20 ton brakevan, this time from Bachmann.


Hornby hacks 1 part 1

I currently have 3 projects lined up that involve taking a razor saw to old Hornby models. This is the first one and to be fair there’s a lot more Bachmann in it than Hornby (but that wouldnt fit the title as well!).

Class 25/0

This has been on my to do list for years. When we used to help my friend David exhibit Amlwch we had all of the main variations of class 24 and 25 except for the 25/0. But then David sold the layout and it just went in to the abandoned project pile. With class 25’s being one of my favourite classes it made sense to resurrect the project for Brettell road so……following the same pattern as my late body style class 25s this is a hybrid of Hornby cabs on a Bachmann body. The Bachmann model having the correct raised bodyside grills for a 25/0 but the wrong cab roof shape while the Hornby cabs having the right shaped windows (more of that in a moment) and the headcode boxes. As I am doing an original condition loco with valances the effect of chopping up the underframe as I did on my other 25s isn’t so much of a win but I did rearrange the bits of underframe you could see to better match my prototype. The original 25/0’s had no steam heating so there is no water tank.

The beading on the roof was redone in the correct place and the panel Bachmann missed off was added. These panels seemed to vary a lot.  The grill is from Shawplan. Moving on to the cabs the comment of the windows being correct isn’t strictly accurate. The important thing is that the top of them is right but the center window is too small and the main windows, although right for a later 25 are too big for a 25/0.  The side window is also a bit high and a bit too far forward. Filing and microstrip sorted them out.  I re-used the bottom section of the Bachmann cab and cut the buffer beams off and mounted them to the body. After a blast of primer to check that the joins were good I set to work adding in panel lines, the tail lights, cab front handrails and the row of rivets around the base of the base of the cab (archers transfers). The cab vents and exhaust are from the Brassmasters etch.  Next stage will be paint.


Post Scaleforum part 2

Couplings

The subject of couplings tends to come up at most shows. Each have their own ideas whether manual or autocouplings are best. I’m firmly in the manual camp and within reason I like couplings to look like the thing they are supposed to represent. Yes I know the infamous ‘hand of god’ grates to some but, to me, I like to suspend my belief for a second or 2 while an operator couples up rather than something looking wrong 100% of the time due to some weird design of autocoupling. On Brettell Road I have kind of the best and worst case scenario at the same time for the hand of god problem. Best case because its dark and its easier to hide it. Worst case because if the operators have any hope of seeing what they are doing you need a light! I can appreciate that this might well be the ultimate per peeve for some. Bit like my own of tipped from the box road vehicles or magnificently modelled signals with a flat etch for the ladder, so is there another way? Well there might be!The couplings on this wagon have been modified do that they can be seen in the dark.  in the light there are no derogatory side effects but in the dark……and under a UV light coupling hook they are clearly visible. Potentially easier to see than inter the normal pen torch. The UV torch I have does still give out visible light so the next mission is to find a truly black light source. By marking the coupling link, the wagon hook and the end of the coupling probe with a UV marker I might have a reasonably invisible manual coupling method.

Cassettes

Of the 5 layouts I have regularly helped to exhibit 3 have used a cassette system and this always seems to generate interest at shows. Cassettes are one of those weird things in model railways that everyone seems to be aware of but no one ever really explains to anyone. I have to hold my hands up and say I am not really a fan of them but for Brettell Road I didn’t really have a lot of options.  This is how my cassette system works (other methods are available).The baseboards were designed with a recess for the cassettes. The connecting end of the cassette itself. this is the third revision.   The track is only actually stuck to the cassette at this end via the copper clad. the rest is merely clamped between the cassette and the inner piece that runs down it’s length.

I say third revision because the way it connect to the layout has been a tad problematic. initially I had extra rails outside of the running rails that transferred power to the copperclad sleepers by sitting over the top. This worked for the vertical alignment and at the test session at Phil’s seemed to be fine for horizontal too. However in terms of transmitting the power it wasn’t 100% and as Simon (one of the operators) pointed out – it was likely to wear through the copperclad at some point.

For Scaleforum I retained the extra rails for alignment but added phosphor bronze strips for electrical connection. these were better but fragile. Also oddly we had horizontal alignment problems that hadn’t shown up before.  This is my revised arrangement that I am happy with so far. It seems reliable in tests but until the layout goes to its next show we wont be absolutely sure. It does look a little bit more complicated than it needs to be due to 2 tracks feeding in from the layout. The basic idea is that a piece of flatbottom rail mounted sideways and into the web of the running rail does all the alignment and power transmission. you might have noticed that the rail in the cassette picture wasn’t attached to the first sleeper. this is because it’s slightly tweaked outwards and is held in line by the flatbottom rail. The advantage of this is that its robust but easily adjustable if needed. So far in tests the derailment problem hasn’t re-occured. The cassette in place. I also have some half length ones too.


Uh-oh – hes got distracted again!

Well sort of! When I was a kid my mum and dad took me and my brother to Matlock for the day. I might have been one of those family away day rail tours BR did back then. I can’t remember why we were there but I do remember wandering down the platform waiting for the train home and finding a little loco shed. Inside was this! (picture © Philip Wheldale and used with permission).

I can’t remember if it was exactly the same and I seem to recall some sort of tarpaulin on the roof but I had absolutely no idea what it was. I could only see the front and it looked kind of sad sitting there.  On getting home and checking my early loco numbers book I found out it was the last surviving co-bo and ever since they have always held a certain appeal.  definitely weird and pretty much hopeless from the very start they were like the runt of the early diesels litter, whats not to like?

Anyway given that Brettell Road is a what if and none to serious. What if one made it to there in the late 50’s?  Remember I have set it to be more midland railway than it should be so it’s not a leap of imagination to presume that Derby might have sent one to the area to see if they could find a use for it. So, just as Hatton’s stocks of the Heljan model were dwindling I ordered one. They only had the full yellow end version left by then.

A quick win would be to stick some P4 wheels in, weather it and jobs a good-un but that would be a bit too simple really so I set to with files and opened the cab windows out to their original sizes. A bit of wire restored the framing. The actual windows were cut from the packaging the model came in to get the curves edges. The cab front was re-sprayed back to green (Precision locomotive green being a very close match) and then it was weathered. Ok A quick win-ish!The other side (yes I know it’s not the right headcode arrangement for a passenger train) I know this shot is rapidly becoming a Cliché but I am not bored with it yet!

For more of Philips photos click here.


Back to the bridges

As mentioned in the last post, I did get the bridges in place for Scaleforum but they weren’t as bedded in as I would have liked. Well now, they are! Going right to left for a change, these are the bridges over the canal.Closer view of the main branchline bridge. one of the 2 bridges for the sidings (both are the same design)The overbridges at the left hand (or Stourbridge) end. another view of the same bridges. The final view along the alleyway.And a night-time view, after all that is the point of the layout!


Post scaleforum, part 1

Brettell road seemed well received at Scaleforum and for a first show I was very pleased with how it went.  That’s not to say there isn’t a list of things that need looking at for the future though.

One of the things I did before the show that I didn’t really have time to post about was this derby lightweight from a Bachmann model. I have long-term plan for a DMU but this was a quick win to have something for the show. I wired the 2 cars together and disconnected the red tail lights. A swap of the destination blinds, a few passengers and some weathering and it was good to go.  I still need to redo the gangway at some point. I found at Scaleforum I had more wagons than I needed. this meant withdrawing ones that played up wasn’t a problem and to be fair my cripple train is reassuringly short. The class 20 didn’t have enough rotation in the bogies so that’s been fixed too.

I’ve toned down the streetlights as well as several people remarked that they were too bright. finally a quick shot of the Deeley parked up under the bridges (well why not?). I still need to finish the bedding in of the bridges so that will be a future post of its own.


Testing times and building bridges.

Been a bit quiet around here recently as I’ve been busy on the run up to Scaleforum in 2 weeks time.

A few weeks ago Phil kindly let me set up the layout at his house for a pre-show shakedown. I have to be honest it all went very well indeed with some great feedback and suggestions from the guys who will be helping at scaleforum. The main thing I wanted to decide on, and the operators were pivotal to this decision was if the layout was going to have a roof or not. I think we all decided it should so a roof is currently under construction. Another thing changed for the show is the point motors. Although the ones I had didn’t give any trouble I decided to switch them over to tortoises for reliability. There are an awful lot on Calcutta siding 2 (there was an awful lot on Calcutta sidings 1 as well!) and they have never given any trouble. I’ve also set up routes (no laptop required, you can do it with digitrax) so hopefully we will at least create the impression that we know what we are doing!

What about building bridges?  Well that’s what I have been doing. The bridges on the layout are perhaps the ultimate example of how far away from the original idea Brettell road has come. I could have just used a pile of wills verigirders and got on with it but I really wanted to get back to etching things after several years so I drew up 4 different designs.

Starting from the left hand end, this is going to be the road over bridge. Next is the footbridge. These 2 bridges and their locations take inspiration (and measurements) from the bridges at Moor Street Sidings. moving to the canal. this will be the bridge that carries the branchline over the canal. Its based on one close to home that’s the other side of where the real Brettell Lane station used to be. Finally the bridges for the sidings themselves. This is based on one at round oak.