One track mind

‘Tis true, I do have a one track mind.

The SLT, or single track terminus, gained popularity as a micro layout genre some years ago. I could also point out that I built one for an old Tri-ang DMU to run on way back in the 1970s when I was still at school, but it wasn’t anything like as good as some of the modern versions. However, what almost all SLTs have in common is that they are built for multiple units or railcars. An SLT could, quite realistically, represent something a bit more interesting though.

Just imagine it’s the tail track of a wye as shown above, all sorts of trains could back into town, doing a three point turn as it were, before pulling out again to go back whence they came.

You could even model the town as well, in its entirety!

The example shown is standard gauge, in “wild west” scenery (Nevada to be exact), but it would work exceptionally well as a narrow gauge layout in either north or south America.

All the images have been of a real location so far, but adding a few of the classic facilities transforms the rather bare location into a more interesting layout without rearranging the existing features.

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Something different

I really like the Russian narrow gauge diesels frequently seen in photos on Facebook and elsewhere on line, such as this TU4 which was inspiration for the FCPyF’s No.61.

Added to this, there is a fascinating discussion taking place on the NGRM Online Forum about Russian and East European “Children’s Railways”. These vary a lot in size but some are 750mm gauge, not far off the FCPyF’s 2’6″ and use standard Russian narrow gauge coaches.

The locos are also about the same size as ordinary narrow gauge machines, some dressed up to look like steam engines, some real steam engines, some real diesels. It is the latter that I’m particularly interested in. While there are still numerous 750mm gauge lines operating in the former Soviet Union new locomotives are no longer being built for them so a brand new design has been developed for the Children’s Railways.

The TU10 looks toy-like but it is a proper narrow gauge loco, not a miniature. Watch this video to the end, and the second train as it shunts into the station, propelled by a TU2.

OK, nothing to do with the FCPyF so far, but what if one of the TU10s attracted the attention of the motive power department? The railway might want something slightly different, a single driving cab perhaps, with the blind end not streamlined.

As the TU10 looks toy-like maybe a toy would be a good starting point. The Teamsterz die cast models are built to 1/55 scale, but they’re standard gauge prototypes and narrow gauge trains are smaller. A few cosmetic alterations should convert that diecast Eurostar loco into a 1/48 scale 2’6″ gauge diesel.

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Last year I set up a spare blog to act as a place-holder and reserve the URL in readiness for when “Playing Trains” reaches capacity, though that may be some years off  yet. I have recently received advice that somebody is following that spare blog and will receive email notifications when there are new posts.

I hope they’re not holding their breath in anticipation. The Sierra Oculta postal service will probably deliver the mail on time before the spare blog starts sending auto-notifications.

Don’t go holding your breath for that either, due to on-going engineering work at Grande railcar 39 had the honour of working the Cuarto Mail this morning.

Things are looking grim!

On a more positive note, while it has been stabled at San Fernandez over the weekend the set for the San Fernandez Mail has been strengthened from four to five cars after the brake second was restored for loco haulage.

The full brake looks a bit shabby next to the two matching coaches but anyone old enough to remember British Rail before its parcels business was sacrificed for privatisation will recognise this as the correct condition for such a vehicle.

Things are looking grimy!

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Working at Grande and Derrotado

Railcars 36 and 37 are at Grande station platform awaiting departure time, railcar 26 is at the fuelling point. The twin set will be going to Derrotado, with 26 not far behind them as far as Bodjio where this railcar will take the high line, heading for Cuarto de Pulgada.

In the foreground work is progressing on the construction of a run round loop. I’m still not convinced about bringing the middle road all the way to the end of the extension. It might yet be shortened with a few small buildings placed between the standard and narrow gauge tracks.

From the roof of the station building we see the work area sandwiched between the carriage shed and the freight house (above).

I mentioned that railcars 36 and 37 were heading for Derrotado. They will stop short of the bridge, instead of running through to San Fernandez, this morning because engineering work is also taking place here as the road is connected at the end of the combination bridge.

It’ll take the rest of the day for the “concrete” (sand, filler and diluted PVA) to set so there’ll be no trains to the northern terminus until Monday. What looks like a temporary barrier to stop road traffic is actually a plastic bag wedged in the gap between the bridge and solid ground so the setting filler does not adhere to the lift out bridge section.

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Breaking eggs, again

As the saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

The two main yard tracks at Grande have both been cut short and the end wall has been demolished to allow the run round head shunt to extend beyond the carriage shed.

This view of the goods shed (below) is usually obscured by a freight car on the standard gauge track in the foreground.

The area is now ready for new trackbed to be installed, raising the middle road to match the height of track one.

There’s been work going on at the other end of the line too.

The road at the San Fernandez end of the bridge has been curved round to separate it from the railway.

It’s a road to nowhere though, with some work still required at the Derrotado end.

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Break through?

I was stood in the garage earlier, deciding whether or not to make a start on the parapet for the other side of the bridge between San Fernandez and Derrotado when I had an idea.

I’ll let Freddie tell you about it.

Not an urgent project but fairly simple to undertake once the required points and timber have been acquired.

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Pottering around in the yard

Pottering about in the yard at Grande, not the back yard, that’s covered with snow.

No.61, unusually running cab first, was in charge of the southbound San Fernandez Mail today.

No.9, on station pilot duties, moved the empty stock to the carriage shed as soon as the passengers had alighted. The baggage car has been rebuilt on a new chassis. It now rides slightly higher than it did so I need to adjust the couplers accordingly.

The brake second to match the baggage car and composite coach in the San Fernandez Mail is currently fitted with a cowcatcher for use as a driving railcar trailer but I am going to return it to loco hauled status, allowing the mail train to be strengthened to five cars.

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that No.9 has gained a cab roof. Her crew kept complaining about getting wet when it rains. Now the fireman is complaining about banging his head on it when he climbs onto the tender.

At the other end of the line the bridge now has a parapet fence added on one side, and a coat of grey paint vastly improving its appearance. The other side will be dealt with when tomorrow when paint has dried.

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Bored out of my skull

The bridge (see previous post) is still drying on a chair in front of the kitchen radiator so there’s not much I can do with it at the moment. I don’t feel in the mood for working on the three current loco projects so I’ve been rummaging in a box of bits looking for something else to keep me amused.

The cannon on Captain Flint’s houseboat was part of a set of six.

I’ve just assembled the other five and found, included with the 3D prints, two spare gun barrels, an N scale Napoleonic soldier and what looks like a 1:32 scale human skull.

I have very little use for an N scale figure but he might be remodelled as a OO scale child and find a place on the platform at either Foxbaile or Park Hall Halt. The gun barrels could possibly be cut down for use as safety valves on a steam locomotive.

That leaves the skull. I feel a temptation to paint it white (it’s printed in black plastic) and place it under the loading chute at Lescanby Moor.

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The bridge

I’ve done some work on the bridge between Derrotado and San Fernandez this weekend.

No, that’s not it, that is just for inspiration!

My version is nowhere near finished yet, the glue needs to set on the road before I can smooth it out and start painting the bridge.

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Two saddles

No.61 worked the northbound vans this afternoon, usually a steam turn.

I’ve not made any further progress with the vintage locos but I have fettled the ancient Lima mechanism under No.3 and it is now a fairly good runner.

I was contemplating scrapping this loco and using its tank instead of the Ertl one on the 0-4-2ST as photoshopped below.

But No.3 may defer her meeting with Gertie the Gas Axe after all. I’m not happy with either loco’s front end though, they both need extending beyond the smokebox by a quarter of an inch or so.

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