On the level

I am uncertain why The Level is so called, it may be because of a number of mine adits, or levels, in the area or it may be because the main road here is, erm, level. It makes no difference, it is, and that’s that.

I’ve obtained some OO scale level crossing gates, a bit under-size but I don’t fancy scratch building so they will do. They’re about chest height on a 5.5mm scale figure so not too small.

I’ve also got a pair of wicket gates on order to complete the crossing. The building is fairly simple, and will be partially concealed by the bush growing next to it.

Again I’m lazy, kitbashing is easier than scratch building and I’ve got these parts in my scrapbox waiting to find a use. The weeds agound the base of the building will make it easier when adding a little extra height but the OO station kit has fairly tall doors to start with. The row of cottages alongside the line will be just off stage, the baseboard edge intervenes, other buildings will be scenic flats on the backdrop.

Work will proceed on both sides of the half and half module at once, but I need to add the dividing backscene first.

There is no obvious cut-off point at either end of the scene but bringing the ends of the backdrop forward to meet the inter-module link sections seems to work quite well on Steve Jones’s Miteside and Shannon. as shown in his photo of the layout at Burton, so I’ll adopt this method for Colby Level and at the far end of Eskdale from the bridge.

Finally for this post, after much use of gratuitous expletives while fiddling with nuts and bolts, another look at The Level. This time without using MS Paint to conceal Eskdale.


Posted in 1/55 scale module, Bodging and Kitbashing, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

How odd

It has been a rather wet afternoon so my planned dog walk (to the pub, natch) has been postponed and I’ve been exploring, virtually at least.

I was looking on a map to see the best way of getting to Rainford by road, having “arrived” at my destination I was curious about the area because it is off my beaten track. I switched from OS map to aerial mode, always good when exploring, and that’s when I spotted an odd clump of trees.

If you’re going to hide something in the woods at least make it look natural!

Of course its layout when seen on the OS gives it away as an old armaments dump, confirmed by a look at RailMapOnLine.Com.

That was when I spotted (arrowed) what looks like a small narrow gauge industrial line. Now we’re talking. Probably not much to it though. Maybe a single loco, or even just horse or hand worked, and a few wagons for collecting peat. Unfamiliar with the area I then scrolled south to see where the standard gauge line went. Remember I had “arrived” in Rainford using an OS map, RailMapOnLine gives a much different view!

Just look at that amazing collection of lines serving clay pits, pipe works, a pottery, a sand pit and, adjacent to the standard gauge branch, a sand washery. This lot has just got to be narrow gauge and its complexity suggests more than a horse worked affair.

“OK, so the ring of trees might be a bit strange but why is this odd?” you may ask. Well, why this caught my attention is because the local OO9 society meet in Rainford. Can it be coincidental that a bunch of narrow gauge railway enthusiasts from across Lancashire and Merseyside meet here? Maybe so, after all it is more or less on the border between the two counties, and Greater Manchester too for that matter, but I don’t believe in co-incidences.

Anyway, further investigation revealed that the sand extraction was in connection with Pilkingtons Glass, logical when you think about it, and the line connecting clay pit, pipe works and pottery crossed the line connecting the sand pits to the washing plant at right angles as shown on the map above. Perhaps the two lines were independent of each other?

Rainford seems to have been something of a narrow gauge Mecca before the OO9 group started holding their meetings there!

Posted in Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Eskdale (and Colby Level) test run

Half past seven on a Saturday morning and there’s the smell of burning finger tips as I try not to wake the neighbours with the odd swear word.

Anyhow, half an hour later everything is connected up so I can put the soldering iron away and turn my attention to attaching the point operating rod to the underside of the baseboard. I couldn’t do this late last night, I don’t think the neighbours want to be listening to power tools at that ungodly hour.

After a little adjustment the point was working properly so I went to get Carters Bridge’s controller to plug into the link boards… Then remembered that the transformer is away for PAT certification. Never mind, the old Gaugemaster can be attached to the rails on the Colby Level side using a pair of crocodile clips. This done the plain line of the Colby side was tested first, it ran perfectly so I put the loco on the Eskdale side and got the camera out.

Sorry, it’s a bit shaky, I couldn’t find the tripod.

Posted in 1/55 scale module, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Second module progress

I called in at Haslington Models on my way to Crewe this morning and bought two yards of Peco O-16.5 Streamline to complete the tracklaying on the new module. The internal wiring loom has also been connected between each end of the module and is ready for soldering to the rails.

The green/brown colour coding standard for the modules is maintained by marking the connector blocks at each end of the wires, I see no point in buying additional wiring when I have an adequate supply of, albeit white, wire to hand. Colby Level, or what will eventually be Colby Level, is nearest to the camera. The backscene between the IoM and Cumberland will follow the green line drawn on the baseboard.

The three-wire connector highlighted is a back-up for the electrical connection made by the point blades on the Eskdale side of the module, I don’t envisage much shunting taking place at exhibitions though so this will normally be left set, as it is in the photo, acting as a jumper lead for the “brown wire” inner running rail.

Posted in 1/55 scale module, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Of mice and modellers…

The best laid plans are undoubtedly those that are drawn out full size. Unfortunately they often show up faults in original sketches. Such is so with my idea for modelling Eskdale Green and Colby Level on a single modular baseboard. The problem lies with the points. The set I have are left handed, what I really need to model Eskdale Green is a set of right handed because the curves needed to use the left handed set take up too much length.

The solution, other than buying another set of points, is to mirror image the station so the main line can be straight, giving more room for the siding and platform. Of course this means it’s no longer Eskdale Green.

In real life Dalegarth station was not built until the R&E was converted to 15 inch gauge but in my version of events the original R&E has been extended and Dalegarth is the first stop after Beckfoot on the way to Windermere.

The next station up the valley, Eskdale, is the subject for my module.

Looks familiar, has the company style, but it’s not Eskdale Green, it’s Eskdale.

If I mention the initials O&K most narrow gauge fans would instantly assume I’m referring to Orenstein & Koppel. They’d be wrong. O and K were two models made by Bedford. Probably the most famous being the O, both for lorries and the OB bus. The K was a smaller, 30cwt, truck.

Regular readers will recognise the FCPyF’s Bedford O railbus but the smaller vehicle is new, it’s a rebuild of the R&W’s Morris using the cab from a Bedford K.

Posted in 1/55 scale module, My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

Cañón Mosca Quemada

This is the second Cañón Mosca Quemada on the FCPyF. The first was a short lived, and uncompleted, module before the 2016 rebuild commenced. This one is not part of the main layout but intended for use as an independent photo plank.

The railway is on a ledge above a swollen river to allow low close up shots of the trains to be taken, as here with the Wickham trolley.

The baseboard, and the cliff above ledge level, has been salvaged from Frog Rock.

Rule one – Never throw anything away.

The name, Burnt Fly Canyon, is inspired by this wonderfully laid back bit of blues, but I thought a rocky gorge would be slightly more photogenic than a swamp. The band’s name may inspire a microlayout at some time in the future.

Posted in My trains, Narrow gauge, Toy train chit chat

2nd excursion, 1st connection

Carters Bridge went to Burton on Trent yesterday where it was exhibited as part of a modular layout instead of going solo.

Photo – Steve Jones 5.5mm Modular Group
Posted in 1/55 scale module, My trains, Narrow gauge, Other people's trains, Toy train chit chat