28th November 2023 - Point Motor Wiring

The seven points installed back in July have now all had motors added and been wired back to the control panel
I also took the opportunity to improve the cable connector that has to be removed to open the flap, this is now a 37 way connector rather than the 12 way push in block that I had previously
I also tried out some 3D printed alternative mounting plates for the Peco PL10E motors as the Peco PL9s are too fiddly and I've struggled to get them positioned and fixed in place. I'm happy to report that these new ones are a great improvement when it comes to fixing in place but are still fiddly to get located in the first place - these are available on eBay here

22nd October 2023 - Running Repairs

With other jobs around the house taking priority, the railway has taken a back seat in recent months
However, an issue arose where I'd left the lift up flap open for a few days and it got slightly bowed
I needed to strengthen the flap and remake the track joins on one side as derailments were common
There is still one more joint to remake but the main issues are now sorted

16th July 2023 - Power Wiring and Testing

The last few weeks have been a steady plod on wiring power and common return to all track sections on the main boards to complete the circuit and then adding switches to the control panel
The honour of being the first train around the completed circuit fell to 97201 'EXPERIMENT' with its short RTC train, followed by a full FGW HST set, a Black 5 and a Class 47
At this stage the point motors aren't yet in so the point frogs aren't yet live and small locos stall on the dead sections
Next step is to install and wire up the point motors - my least favourite job!
Check out the videos of testing on the Videos tab above

19th June 2023 - Track Wiring

With the track in position it's now time to take it up and glue down and paint the cork, drill the holes for the point motors and wires, wire up the track and points and then relay it all exactly where it was before...at least that's the idea!

16th June 2023 - Track Laying

Laying the track for the main line through the station, the platform roads and the through roads
3mm cork used as underlay, cut to size/shape once track positioned
Peco Streamline Code 100 used up until now but between the points the four roads through the station are Legacy flat bottom Code 100. This was on offer at Rail of Sheffield so I got some and it does look slightly better but I found it easier working with the Peco. I have 25 yards of the Legacy so will probably carry on with that as I'm almost out of Peco

4th June 2023 - Scenery

Static grass in the valley, I settled on WWScenics 2mm which I think looks good but I have a selection of other grasses in different colours and lengths to add in small areas to give some variation
I used a DMG Electech static grass applicator which seems to work well. I've not used one before so nothing to really compare but for just over £30 it seems to be just the thing!
Added a fence from the Scale Model Scenery range (LX236-OO) which was pretty easy to puit together and seems to look good
Still more to do in this area but enough done for now to be able to move on

20th May 2023 - Scenery

Painting of the valley, including the roadway. I experimented with different mixes of brown to give some variation....most of it will be hidden under grass and bushes eventually
Added a front board to give a tidier appearance at the front edge
Tunnel mouths! I laid the track without properly working out where the tunnel mouths would go so have had a nightmare finding decent looking tunnel mouths to fit in the places I need them to fit! I thought I had it with the Gaugemaster (GM199) but they were just too narrow. Eventually settled for Metcalfe (PO242) card tunnel mouths as they were easier to adapt to my needs

16th May 2023 - Scenery

I realised the track up the right side of the valley was too steep so I filled it in and covered it over with plaster bandage, it now only goes up and under the viaducts
The Sculptamold has been added across the valley, including the roadway and the farm track
Tyre tracks have been impressed in the surface before it dried to simulate tractor tracks across the humpback bridge and up the farm track and car tracks into the old chalk quarry which will be a small car park for walkers wishing to go up to the white horse on the hill above

9th May 2023 - Scenery

With the second viaduct now firmly in place it's time to create the rest of the valley using polystyrene and Mod Roc as before, making sure I leave room for the road and farm track and not forgetting the humpback bridge
I also decided to include an old chalk quarry for added interest

7th May 2023 - Scenery

Before the second viaduct is permanently fitted in place, the small section between the two has to have basic scenery completed
Polystyrene is cut to shape and glued in place then plaster cloth (Mod Roc GS471) is layered over the top and allowed to set
Once dry, Sculptamold is used to give the final finished surface, including the ruts on the farm track...using the model tractor to make sure they are realistic and the right size!
The roadway, farm track and river bed are then picked out in coloured paint, mixed from poster paints bought on Amazon for a few pounds
Then the whole area that will be grassed is painted brown
Static grass is then added once the paint has dried. I've not done this before and the small unit I bought from DMG Electech seems to work OK...and it was only about £35. The grass used was what came with the machine and isn't very realistic in colour but that's OK as most of the area will be covered in bushes using lichen from Gaugemaster (GM165)
The second viaduct is then glued in place and left to dry

28th April 2023 - Kit Building

We had the plasterer in to do the ceilings in the hall, stairs and landing which meant no access upstairs - a perfect opportunity to build some kits
The Scale Model Scenery (KX059-OO) humpback bridge was done in about 90 minutes and I think looks excellent, a few edges to tidy up and the road needs trimming once in place but not bad for a first laser-cut kit
The diesel depot is a Gaugemaster kit (GM406). The lifting doors were a bit awkward and all the colour is stickers so looks better than I was expecting. The finished depot needs some weathering to lose the plastic look that it currently has but it'll do nicely

17th April 2023 - Scenery

Change of method with the valley as I realised I need to get the scenic part under and around the first (branch line) viaduct done before I can fit the second (main line) viaduct
Back scene behind viaduct painted green and branch line viaduct glued in place
Polystyrene around the branch line viaduct cut and glued in place

11th April 2023

Completed wiring of the eight points in the mainline fiddle yard, without further incident. The revised method is to fit them, get them working then remove them, trim the excess on the rod with hand cutters, then refit....quite a fiddly process when there's less to poke through!
Check out the Videos tab above for videos of the smallest and largest locos testing out the switchable electrofrog points.
Also tested out a bit of weathering on the viaducts to try and remove the less than realistic look...think it worked out OK. Piers not done yet so you can see the difference.

27th March 2023

Wiring of the point motors with switchable electrofrogs is underway starting on the lift up flap but another disaster means both points are damaged and require replacement. So far, I've found fitting point motors is the single most difficult thing to do and I've yet to settle on the way that works for me. Here, the problem is cutting off the excess from the rod on the point motor that sticks up through the board. All previous (14 of them!) points have been fine with me cutting with my Black & Decker Wizard (like a Dremel). I have read about being careful as this generates heat and too much melts the tie bar but the previous ones had no issue, these two both melted!
Also (while cooling down and thinking about solving the points problem) started looking at how to make the valley under the viaducts with polystyrene and using a rather nifty heated cutter tool I got off Amazon for £15...it works a treat.

25th March 2023

Continued wiring the track for the mainline fiddle yard, including cutting out a section of backscene to make access easier with wires from the control panel to under the board.
Testing of completed sections with large and small locos, including a new arrival from Bachmann, a WD 2-8-0.
Second Metcalfe (PO246) double track bridge delivered and built. Heavily modified to fit with the other one and into the required gap but looks good now its finished. Just need to add pavements.

21st March 2023

Wiring up the mainline fiddle yard. Trying to keep it as neat and organised as possible but so many wires!
Replicating the track diagram on the control panel as I go with switches for each track section. Switches used are ON-OFF-ON so I can choose between two controllers for each section. Broadly speaking, the branch line will be controllers 1 & 2 and the mainline will be 3 & 4, with a section between the two to allow access from branch line to mainline and vice versa which will be controllers 2 & 3.

4th March 2023

Track laying on the other half of the mainline fiddle yard, now that the viaduct position is finalised.
Another HST has arrived, had to be tested!

28th February 2023

The second viaduct is built, both are Wills SS80 kits with additional SS81 arches to make them longer. Curving the brick arches was a real pain on the first one so tried something different this time but still not very successful. They still ended up with bowed ends so decided to wedge wood into the base of the bridge where the arches join and then heating gently with a hair dryer to make them bend to the correct shape! Otherwise the piers don't fit as they should which was the problem I had with the first viaduct.
Various positions tried for the two viaducts before settling on the only one that really works, in parallel, which isn't very prototypical but won't be the last compromise to get track to fit in the available space. Cork was then laid on them and they were painted grey so any gaps in the ballast, when it's laid, won't show through

19th February 2023

Modifications to the Metcalfe double track bridge mean it will work perfectly as the eastern scenic break, just need another one of them needed to complete it.
Installed a master switch for the controller and power points built into the railway board so I can make sure everything is switched off when I leave the room.

12th February 2023

Track laying for the mainline fiddle yard, but first the lift out section is turned into a lift up section for ease of use. Track is then laid on it, including two points, and then track is laid for half of the mainline fiddle yard.
The board joints were particularly challenging but research on the internet revealed the method whereby you screw a screw into the board at the right height and postion for the rail to sit above, just resting on it, and then you solder it in place. Took a while to get levels right and perfect the technique as the tracks were curved but got there eventually.
Tested with various locos, large and small, with differing wheel configurations to make sure the joints work OK.

4th February 2023

The viaduct kit turned out not to be suitable for the eastern scenic break so I bought and built a Metcalfe (PO246) double track bridge. Hopefully this will better suit what I need.
Hornby's new Midland Pullman HST has arrived and is tested on the track that's been laid....not a lot of room!

January 2023

Building card kits. Not sure exactly what to use as a scenic break at the eastern end of the layout so building a Metcalfe (PO240) brick viaduct to see if it works. Don't want anything too big as it's right by the doorway into the room and the lift up section.
Also building a Superquick station kit but this was so fiddly and difficult that it ended up in the bin after I got a glue run down the front and the paper ripped off the card when I tried to remove it. More my lack of manual dexterity than a problem with the kit itself but I did find it so much harder than the Metcalfe viaduct kit. The hunt for a suitable station building goes on.

December 2022

The first track is laid for the branch line fiddle yard and is inspected by Toffee!
The track diagram is started on the front of the control panel so the power switches and point operating studs can be fitted.
Testing with a Bachmann 08 and various other locos to make sure everything works as expected. Check out the Videos tab above for some action shots! At this stage the points have no motors fitted and are electrofrog with switchable polarity that isn't yet connected, hence the sudden stop when going over point frogs.
At the end of the month, disaster strikes, the Morley controller blows up! This has been nothing but trouble since I got it, having to be returned once already. As the warranty was out now I decided to bite the bullet and do what I should have done in the first place and buy a Gaugemaster Model Q controller - a very expensive mistake buying the Morley Controller!

November 2022

A quiet month on the railway with the Morley Series 500 controller installed and basic wiring into the control panel from each of the four controllers.

October 2022

Baseboards completed, including the lower section for the viaducts and the lift out panel in the corner by the door to avoid having to crawl under.
Each baseboard is 1 metre off the floor and has a shelf underneath for storage.
Shelves and display cabinets fixed to the walls as well as the main control panel which will eventually have the full track diagram on.
Name decided and BR Western Region Totem fitted to door, White Horse Juntion is born!

September 2022

With the room redecorated and a new carpet (!!) laid, time to fix nameplates and pictures to the walls and start building the baseboards.
12mm plywood boards with 100mm plywood sides and cross braces to hopefully give enough strength but without getting in the way of the likes of point motors etc.
Also had to build a five arch viaduct (Wills SS80/81 kits) so that I knew exactly what height to build the lower board where a pair of viaducts will eventually be fitted.
No sign on the door yet as I'v not yet settled on a name for it!