Slow progress

I’m getting into the Latin American way of doing things, have a siesta, then something to eat before another siesta. Not much work gets done but is that really a problem? However, a little self discipline this morning has resulted in some progress on the station building and platforms at Norte.

In chronological order, bottom left, No.17 collecting empty vans, these had been left in the station overnight for unloading. Top, right and left, two shots of the morning rush hour. Bottom right, it’s lunch time as No.79 is arriving with the Antequera Mail.

There’s still a lot to do, especially on platforms 3 and 4 which need sanding down and re-tarmacking before passengers can be added, but I’m quite pleased with the way the cushion stuffing bushes have turned out on the abandoned platforms 1 and 2.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on Slow progress

I’ve worked in worse

The station building and bricked up bridge hole at at San Fernandez Norte are taking shape. Shabby chic would be far too posh a description for it but I’ve worked at stations that were in much worse condition.

Considering the station only sees one loco hauled train a day the Antequera Mail seems to appear in more than its fair share of photos!

The heritage fleet are in evidence today, No.57 on north side switching duties and No.1 waiting for departure time before heading north with the train.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on I’ve worked in worse

San(dy) Fernandez Norte

The tracks at San Fernandez Norte were wired up yesterday afternoon and have been tested this morning. Everything works as planned so I’ve started on the scenic work.

Of course the place to start with the scenic work is at ground level so a mixture of sand, filler and diluted PVA is now making the most of the warm weather and drying outside. Here lies a very significant advantage portable micros have over the main FCPyF layout, if Estacion Norte was fastened to the benchwork in the garage it would probably take three or four times as long to dry.

What you see in the photo is not meant to be ballast, the base scenery will be almost entirely covered with grass and weeds to imitate the appearance of Puente Alsina.

It can be done, and still achieve reliable running. It’s just like ordinary ballasting of the track but using green scatter instead of sand or grit for the top layer. I would not try it with static flock style grass though, the cheaper old fashioned stuff is easier to keep below rail level and securely in place as it soaks up the glue and sets solid. It may not look as good in close up but it’s fine from normal layout viewing distance, the grass in the prototype photo blends into an amorphous carpet in the distance. While we’re looking at that photo of Puente Alsina, notice how close to the track the canopy support columns are. British commuters in the days of slam door stock might have been less eager to fling the doors open and alight while the trains were still in motion if our stations were designed like that!

After a couple of hours the sand was painted, still fresco, with green poster paint then sprayed with water and sprinkled with green scatter. In turn this was doused with more diluted PVA and placed outside again to dry.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on San(dy) Fernandez Norte

Poaching stock

No, that’s not a typo for coaching stock, the motive power department’s staff have been eying up number 8 from the Ravenglass and Windermere. The Tri-ang body on this was originally intended for conversion to On30 but I couldn’t be bothered at the time so took the easier route of adapting it for 55n3. However, another beefy diesel would be useful on the FCPyF, the R&W can have one of the FCPyF’s smaller locos in exchange.

With that in mind I have ordered a kit cab to do the job. When rebuilt the diesel will carry the number 62 and share freight train duties with 61.

As the cab is designed for a different OO scale donor I will need to make some minor alterations, ideally I’d like it to be mounted quite low, with the base of the kit level with the bottom of the bodywork but it might end up a bit higher, depending upon how much surgery is involved and how the cab windows match the height of the Tri-ang bonnet.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on Poaching stock

Dereliction

No further work has been done on San Fernandez Norte but I have been considering the short platforms. If the station building is located between platforms 1 and 4, making 2 and 3 into dead end bays but allowing the outer tracks to pass under a road bridge it will appear as if these two platforms were on through tracks and supposedly extend beyond the road. This style owes more than a little to the stations on the Great Central Railway’s London Extension.

The assumption is that the lines now forming the FCPyF’s Ferronor division were once part of a larger network which stretched to the north and west of San Fernandez, though only the lines to the north remain in use.

With the abandonment of the western lines the station has fallen on hard times, not only are platforms 1 and 2 derelict and overgrown but track 4 now ends just short of the bridge, which has been bricked up to provide additional strength as road traffic has increased in weight.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on Dereliction

It doesn’t fit

As so often happens, the transfer of a track plan from paper or pooter to plywood reveals any miscalculations. In the case of San Fernandez Norte this means the level crossing will not fit so a change of plan will put some bushes in its place to hide the baseboard join. The station building is just a temporary stand in. I’m thinking along the lines of using a Tri-ang station upscaled to On30 and cut down to low relief.

SF Norte is to be operated almost exclusively by railcars but the FCPyF’s sole remaining regular loco hauled passenger train has just arrived. The Forney, working as today’s north side switcher, followed the Antequera Mail in and has coupled ready to release the train engine.

The water tower view block for the exit to fiddleyard is borrowed from elsewhere but it might be more convincing than a signal box now the level crossing has gone so it might stay.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on It doesn’t fit

Siesta time

The Antequera Mail departed from San Fernandez Norte on time at 13:00 today, leaving the station staff amazed but with nothing else to do for the next few hours so the empty railcar sets have been tripped from the holding sidings early.

At the departure end of platform 3 is the afternoon train to Puerto Tablon and Frontera, due out at 16:00. The Derrotado train will follow at 16:40, also from platform 3, then the Antequera stopper is the last train of the day at 17:20 from platform 4.

It’s siesta time.

Once the last passenger train had departed the civil engineers moved in. The track has been lightly pinned down so some structure gauging was undertaken before the track pins are driven home.

The former presidential saloon, now in use as a mobile chapel, is the widest vehicle on the railway so it’s the obvious candidate for testing clearances.

Giles suggested an abandoned boxcar gently rotting away at the disused platform, possibly with a tree growing through it, but I’m not so sure. I think I prefer my original idea of mother nature reclaiming the disused platform and setting her sights on the rest of the station.

Note Connie at platform 4, the San Fernandez works shunter doesn’t usually stray any further from home than the shed lead at Veinte Veinte but she’s made it all the way across town with a ballast train.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on Siesta time

San Fernandez Norte

As hinted yesterday I have decided to build San Fernandez Norte, but it will not be a pretty sight. Inspired by the photo below half of the station will be derelict and the rest of it not much better.

Platforms 3 and 4 will still be in use, as at Guide Bridge when I worked there, platform 2 will still be visible, but not in use, and the track bed adjacent to platform 1 will be completely hidden by bushes and small trees. Remnants of disused track will be visible at the level crossing, left in place because digging them out would cause too much disruption to road traffic, elsewhere the ballast will show evidence of the track being removed with some disconnected rails and sleepers still half buried in the ballast and weeds as nature reclaims the dereliction.

The potential for such a layout is restricted but I intend to operate San Fernandez Norte mainly with the railbus/freight motor sets used on the northern area branch lines. The odd steam excursion may appear, in which case a relieving engine to take the train out again will be required. To permit this operation the dead ends will have electrical isolation provided.

Engine turning, servicing and stabling sidings are presumed to be off stage, as they were with the original San Fernandez Terminus and the second, pre Veinte Veinte, version.

The points from Littletown Siding have been recovered, no easy task because they were solidly buried in ballast. Originally from Muttsdorf, later Perejil Sur then Littletown, they have been reused still attached to the Muttsdorf baseboard until now but I needed to salvage them so a lighter baseboard can be used for SF Norte. As I type this they are soaking in water to remove the last bits of filler before they can be reused.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on San Fernandez Norte

Railcar review

The Billard railcar is almost finished. I have fitted the glazing though I’m not 100% satisfied with the curved end windows. The clear plastic is attached using gaffer tape, because I did not want to risk melting the glazing bars with glue, so it’ll be fairly easy to remove it if I decide to try again. The railcar still needed its numbers when the photos of it at Grande were taken early this morning. It is just a tad too wide for the platforms at San Fernandez so No.22 will be transferred from the Cuarto Mail to operate the San Fernandez to Grande route. A major advantage of using railcars on the mail trains is that they can be stabled overnight at Cuarto and San Fernandez instead of both being based at Grande. This greatly reduces the congestion at the southern terminus as the mail trains can have a much quicker turnaround before heading back home.

With both main line expresses operated by railcars the dieselisation of the FCPyF’s regular passenger trains will be almost complete. Stopping trains and branch line services have been railcar operated for some time but the Antequera Mail remains steam hauled, as are the heavy mineral trains. Tourist and heritage excursions are almost exclusively steam of course, not for operational reasons but because that’s what tourists expect.

The FCPyF route map is for reference in connection with the railcar allocations.

As mentioned previously, No.64 will operate as the mail train on the Cuarto to Grande line when it enters service and No.22 will be used on the San Fernandez Mail.

No.80 will operate the stopping train on the Grande to Cuarto line with No.31 providing a similar service on the route between Grande and San Fernandez.

Nos.87 and 89, in the carriage shed, are a spare set based at Grande. Having spare railcars available should obviate the use of loco hauled stand-ins when needed. No.4 is also kept at Grande as a spare.

No.37 is stabled at Cuarto as a spare and No.20 handles LCL freight on the Cuarto line.

No.305 works a round trip from Derrotado, via Perejil, through to Grande, a duty it shares with No.310, seen stabled in the yard at Cruce Muelle.

The motley collection of railbuses and freight motors shown is used on the Ferronor lines between San Fernandez and Frontera, Puerto Tablon, Derrotado and Antequera. The sets are not generally found on the main lines south of San Fernandez because they’re underpowered for the gradients involved on the lines to Grande and Cuarto.

They’re seen at Veinte Veinte today because San Fernandez Norte is closed for engineering work at present. That may, or may not, be a hint of things to come. I have got a spare baseboard, and an itch to build an urban terminus, about the same size as the original San Fernandez Terminal but in a very run down condition, representing a main line station now reduced to a shadow of its former self and just handling local passenger trains. Something like Broad Street in the 1970s.

The photo above reminds me, No.21 has not been used for a while. The Galloping Goose is kept with a number of the FCPyF’s older railbuses, still available but safely stored in boxes at present. One presumes they are used on suburban services out of San Fernandez Norte and that’s why they’re not seen very often on the lines south of Veinte Veinte.

Unusually for an On30 railway the FCPyF also runs two OO9 railcars. 301 is the green AEC car and 306 is the red liveried Leyland. Any similarities between the two, such as the doors, windows and underframes, can easily be explained because AEC was absorbed by Leyland in the 1960s. These railcars are used on the branches to Esquina de Ganado and Qu├ęcarajo which do not appear on the route map, probably because upper management is unaware of their presence.

Ignorance is bliss, and the FCPyF’s managers do have a very blissful existence.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on Railcar review

Station nameboards

The only station on the FCPyF currently displaying a nameboard is Rio Paleta, and that’s crudely hand written so it really needs replacing.

Time to set matters right.

That station nameboard really does look as if it’s been printed with the label maker, there’s even an apparent difference in size between some of the letters as if the handle had not been squeezed hard enough!

I have made some progress with the new OO9 micro layout. Qu├ęcarajo is in an area that gets plenty of rainfall so the scenery will look depressingly like Wales.

Posted in Toy train chit chat | Comments Off on Station nameboards