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A long day on the FCPyF

I had a running session on the FCPyF yesterday, filmed in three sections to break it down for YouTube but still took a combined total of nine hours to upload at an abysmally slow rate.

Part 1

There are some rough transitions between scenes and, because it was taking so long to edit and upload the films, I’ve not bothered adding a soundtrack. I must also apologise for the mess in the garage!

Part 2

I really need a walkabout controller so I can film trains around the layout more easily. Trains are driven throughout from Grande but there are also controllers for shunting at Cuarto and San Fernandez, these local controllers can be used to take trains as far as Rio Paleta on the high line an Casablanca bridge on the low line.

Part 3

Between them the three films show the full day’s operation with the trains finally ending up back where they started from. There was a problem with diesel 61 derailing at Casablanca so Llama was called upon to haul the southbound train and No.58 was used on the return run.

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On your marks…

I had an intense track cleaning exercise on the FCPyF this morning then tried out the trains that had been scheduled for use in the upcoming operating session. Some worked better than others so there have been a few changes to the line up reported in Tuesday’s blog entry.

No.71 was not happy on the superelevated curve between Cumbre and Grande so it has been replaced with the Renault twins, 36 and 37, on the Cuarto/Grande train.

No.35 won’t stay on the track since I removed its motor so it has been withdrawn, No.305 will work the San Fernandez/Grande train.

No.26 will replace 305 on the Grande/Cuarto stopping train and the class 80 DMUs will be used on Grande/Perejil and Grande/San Fernandez services. Between them the five passenger sets will provide two trains each way between San Fernandez and Grande and between Cuarto and Grande, plus a single round trip between Grande and Perejil (staging).

The empty minerals will start from the staging track at San Fernandez, hauled by No.61 to Grande where the train will reverse before heading up the hill to Cuarto. Rumour has it that a steam engine will be used from Grande, No.7 arrived light engine from Perejil at lunchtime today.

The loaded mineral train on the return run will change engines again at Grande, with No.61 taking it from there to San Fernandez (staging).

Hopefully the operating sequence (divided into manageable chunks) will be:

1 – Class 80 from Grande to Perejil (staging). 2a – No.26 from Grande to Rio Paleta (passing siding). 3a – Class 80 from Grande to Casablanca (loop). 4 – Renault set from Cuarto to Grande (carriage shed). 2b – No.26 from Rio Paleta to Cuarto (turn for return run). 5 – No.305 from San Fernandez (bay platform) to Grande (middle road siding). 3b – Class 80 from Casablanca to San Fernandez.

6a – Empty minerals from San Fernandez (staging) to Grande. 7a – No.26 from Cuarto to Rio Paleta (passing siding). 6b – Empty minerals from Grande to Cuarto (exchange empties for loads). 7b – No.26 from Rio Paleta to Grande (hold on turntable). 8 – No.305 from Grande to San Fernandez (bay platform). (Shunt 26 from Grande turntable to middle road siding).

9a – Loaded minerals from Cuarto to Grande. 9b – Loaded minerals from Grande to San Fernandez (staging). 10 – Class 80 from San Fernandez to Grande (EoT). 11 – Renault set from Grande to Cuarto. (Shunt class 80 from Grande EoT to carriage shed). 12 – Class 80 Perejil (staging) to Grande (EoT).

Passenger trains 1-5, 7 and 8, 10-12. Mineral trains 6 (empty) and 9 (loaded).

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Many of my ideas never get past the drawing board stage. In fact most are dismissed out of hand before they even make it as a rough sketch.

Of the ones that actually get built most survive for a short time before being scrapped because I want the chassis for something better. I suspect this battery electric tram may fall into that category.

Some models I don’t like at first survive longer because they do eventually grow on me. Unfortunately this one has a lot of growing to do! It’s not going to get used on Muchness Light (top photo) because I will have more than ample stock for this layout when the Drewry Car is delivered. It certainly will not pass muster at Derrotado (above) so its only real hope lies at Beach Halt (below).

I’ll paint it properly and see how it looks then, but I’m not expecting a change of mind.

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Preparing for an operating session

The problem with a layout the size of the FCPyF is that it can be a bit overwhelming at times. The main reason I built the Ferronor Division as a series of micro layouts was that this format is more user-friendly and they can be operated individually.

I have been removing surplus stock from the main layout in preparation for a running session. After clearing the spare locos and coaches into storage boxes I turned my attention to the lift out section at Pueblo Cumbre. Actually, lift out section is a bit of a misnomer. While it is removeable it tends to stay in place most of the time because it’s high enough to duck under without too much effort. Anyway, it had been removed to allow a painter access to the back garden to have a look at the windows. The weather seems set for winter now though, and I doubt the job will get done until the spring, so Pueblo Cumbre has been reset. There was a problem with a dipped rail joint which caused Kadees to uncouple at the top of the hill from Rio Paleta (not good!).

This has been solved using coffee stirrers as timbers wedged under the rails to lift the joint. Crude but it works and this area is hidden in a deep cutting and not usually seen anyway. As shown in the photo above this is not the first time the track has been adjusted in this area, it never seems to go back in the same place after the lift out section has been removed.

After some fine tuning the test train ran across the baseboard join with no problems. During the operating session this mineral train will start from the hidden siding behind Veinte Veinte and run via Grande (loco change in each direction) to Cuarto and back.

Meanwhile the railcars required to operate the passenger services are stabled at the termini. No.71 (above) will work from Cuarto to Grande and back with the coach as tail traffic. The railcar needs to run round the coach at each end of the line, adding operational interest.

The class 80 fleet are all at Grande awaiting their duties. One set will run to Perejil (hidden staging behind Colina Rosa) and back, another will run to San Fernandez Norte (the hidden siding vacated by the mineral train) and back. The third set will make a round trip to Cuarto.

Still at Grande, the loco shed will not see much use during the operating session apart from providing stabling for No.61 (above, middle) while locos 48 and 62 take the mineral train from Grande to Cuarto for loading. When the mineral train gets back to Grande No.61 will haul it to San Fernandez. Llama (right) and the P-way railcars (left) will not take part in the operations but No.77 (far right) may assist with shunting as the mineral train changes engines at Grande.

Railcars 26 and 35 will work the stopping and mail trains respectively between Veinte Veinte and Grande. No.35 has been playing up recently and it started smoking when I was testing it this afternoon so its motor has been removed and the Bedford railcar now runs with the mail van as a “trailer” (the van is motorised so the whole train has to be turned as a single unit). No.26’s tail traffic is a coach, like No.71 on the Cuarto line this railcar also needs to run round its train between trips thus adding more operating interest.

On the other side of town in San Fernandez is Norte station (below), the Ferronor Division will not be part of the planned operating session but the photo is included partly because I like it and partly to show where railcar 64 has gone. This railcar will be sharing suburban duties with No.70 because there’s no room for it on the main layout at the moment.

The operating session is intended to take place later this week, I’d invite guests but that would mean tidying up the garage, there are currently four micro layouts under construction in there so there’s a lot of mess to be tidied up, and I won’t be able to find anything afterwards if I do.

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Scenic work at Corrish

To be honest there’s not really much room for scenery on an On30 layout in a clementine box, what greenery there is has to be confined to the backdrop. Moreover I didn’t want the backdrop drawing the viewer’s attention away from the 3D modelling so I have attempted to copy the technique used by Steve Jones on his Miteside module.

The non-descript green and yellow stippling is like out of focus scenery, you are aware it is there but it shouldn’t be of interest. Some clump foliage will be added as low relief bushes, disguising the corner of the box and the point where the station building and backdrop meet, when the paint has dried.

As Corrish represents a preserved heritage line, rather than one of my usual run down railways being run on a shoestring, it is perfectly reasonable that the fences will be freshly painted. The stark white woodwork, along with the well maintained station approach footpath, should also distract the viewer’s attention away from the backdrop and forward into the modelled area.

Work has also started on cladding the station building with SuperQuick stonepaper, this will continue tomorrow because I don’t want to risk smudging the wet paint on the backdrop.

Having done all I can for now on Corrish I turned my attention to Muchness Light, there were some more drying cracks in the scenery that needed filling but the main job today was adding the bathers on the beach.

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Finally, for today, I binge listened to “The Coming Storm” on the BBC website this afternoon.

While I was doing that I repainted a couple of the motorbikes to go on the FCPyF and, at the same time, gave Sir Charles Topham Hatt a makeover.

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On yer bike!

A while ago I bought a new motorcycle, not for me though!

It was promptly claimed by the stationmaster at San Fernandez Norte. It is a bit over-scale but not jarringly so provided it isn’t displayed front and centre.

I received another eBay lot yesterday, again these are not quite the right scale but they’re near enough to be acceptable.

Two of the new batch are far too big for O scale (I think they’re 1:32) but they work as small bikes in 1:24 so they have been sent to Diwedd Gwyrdd (above). Three of the remaining seven are similar models, one of these has been allocated to Queso Shed, another to Antequera and the third to Grande. All three need repainting in dark colours so they don’t stand out so much.

Still at Grande another bike has been parked near the freight office, this one has new handlebars that need their paint touching up because the model was damaged.

Another model that also needed its handlebars replacing is seen at Muchness Light.

This one needs a full repaint, as with the others it is approximately 1:41 scale but will pass muster providing no figures are placed too close to it.

That leaves two more, both of which required some work on them before they could be used on the layouts. The one above has been made into a single seater, looking a bit like a Harley with monkey-hanger handlebars. This is the smallest of the batch and should OK with figures around it. The last bike (below) needed the most work and is still not finished. Its frames were shortened, bringing the front forks much closer to the engine. Even now I’m not sure how it will look when completed so it might not be used on the layouts.

I’m the first to admit that the motorcycles are not perfect, but proper scale models are rather expensive. This collection cost me under two pounds each (including postage!) when averaged out over the two eBay purchases.

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That’s odd

While waiting for glue to dry on the Diwedd Gwyrdd micro layout’s boundary walls I decided to run a train on the FCPyF.

There is still a P-way possession in effect at Cumbre because the lift out section/duck under is disconnected to allow easier access to the back garden.

As a result of this the railcars have to turn back at Rio Paleta, which is where the oddity has arisen.

No.64 has been used on the high level line with no problems since it was built last year. This morning it fouled the platform on the station building side at Rio. It has never done this before. The platform has not moved, the track has not moved, the railcar has not been altered.

I gave up and trimmed the platform edge back by a couple of millimetres, anything for an easy life.

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Autumn 2022 brings another bumper edition of Ian Holmes’s “Dispatch” with a varied selection of micro layouts.

The FREE eZine is issued quarterly and it is well worth signing up for email notifications if you’re interested in small model railways. Previous editions and details of how to subscribe are available via the home page.

Home page / Issue 6, Autumn 2022

My recent shenanigans using puppet power are reported on page 54 et seq. of issue 6 but they were submitted for publication a few weeks ago so they do not include the latest addition to the collection.

The Playcraft inspired Decauville loco was completed yesterday.

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It works!

First up, a recap of what I’m trying to shoehorn into a clementine box, this is the upper end of the preserved Corris Railway. The line used to extend beyond the village, being built primarily to serve the slate industry but it now terminates at Corris and preservation society are building a new station to make better use of the available space they have. To save length they have installed a traverser instead of the usual points for running round their trains.

They are also aiming to erect a brand new station building conveying something of the original, complete with an overall roof. The image below is copied from the railway’s website.

I intend to use this feature as a convenient exit to fiddleyard, if you’re standing at this end of the station you won’t be able to see any further down the line anyway.

The micro layout had its first trial with a loco running under its own power this morning.

The test was just with a light engine. In full operation the loco and first coach will come into view but what we’re looking at may be the front end of a three or four coach train. Just as we assume the rest of the railway is beyond the station roof so too is the rest of the train. This is a massive space saver on a micro layout!

Knowing that it works I could get on with the next stage, ballasting the track, but not before I made a note of the wiring colour code in case anything comes adrift under the platform and needs resoldering.

Putting the layout under a spotlight helps create a sharp shadow under the station roof. I was considering cutting the car park side of the box down to fence height but, on reflection, perhaps a hazy painted backdrop would work better while reducing the risk of damaging the box’s structural integrity.

The same goes for the end too, a painted backdrop will look better than cropping the box.

The central runner under the traverser is just cosmetic, it’s there because the traverser at Corris has three cross rails.

Final shot for the day, the evening passenger train is diesel hauled, photographed at Corrish as the loco runs round its coaches.

I suspect there may be some readers out there who know me well and are awaiting the appearance of a diesel railcar. It may well happen, after all this is not Corris. Perhaps the Corrish Railway’s management had been to inspect the FCPyF’s money saving passenger operations in Sierra Oculta.

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