Category Archives: Workin’ On The Railroad

Running In – Please Pass

As the the time to start laying track approaches it’s time to look at the motive power.

Most of this stuff has been collected over the years but has hardly ever been out of their boxes. When I can, I like to get stuff that is either closely associated with the Plymouth and west Devon area, or at least could have reasonably been found there on occasions.

The engines will eventually be fitted with DCC, but now require running in to make sure their mechanisms run smoothly and without issues

Hatton's ex-GWR 14xx 1470 0-4-2T - Laira shed
Hatton’s ex-GWR 14xx 1470 0-4-2T – Laira shed

I achieve this on my DCC programming track, although for this process I use 12v DC via a regular old school controller. Since running a loop isn’t practical the engines run on Bachmann EZ Riders, basically, a miniature rolling road.

This time I’m running three of my smaller engines. Two ex-GWR steam engines – 1363 0-6-0ST and 1470 0-4-2T, and a privately owned 0-4-0 Sentinel diesel.

This is my DCC programming track. Rolling road is by Bachmann EZ Riders. The basic 12v controller easily powers three small locomotives
This is my DCC programming track. Rolling road is by Bachmann EZ Riders. The basic 12v controller easily powers three small locomotives
Heljan ex-GWR 13xx 1363 0-6-0T  - Laira and Priory
Heljan ex-GWR 13xx 1363 0-6-0T – Laira and Priory

I run the locos for about 20 minutes in each direction at a moderate speed I estimate to be no faster that that particular prototype might reasonably run at. Towards the end of each session I up the the rate to eleven for a minute or so and then down to the slowest possible, for a couple of minutes, looking for a very smooth low speed.

Hornby Sentinel/Rolls Royce 0-4-0 diesel - Esso Cattedown works
Hornby Sentinel/Rolls Royce 0-4-0 diesel – Esso Cattedown works

In this case I had to run the Sentinel on its own, because, even though it was just run in, and not yet even on the much more controllable DCC, it runs very slowly and smoothly indeed, probably below scale walking pace. Pretty impressive!

This trio, being quite short wheel-based tended to waddle a little. I’m not too bothered about that because in reality the prototypes tended to do that as well, so, no problem.

Well, it was fun. The next time I look at these it will be time to install DCC.

Slow running from Hornby Sentinel – 12v DC

Plus ça change

plo͞o sä ˈSHônZH

Well, I had this vision.

The branch vaulting the Boltorr Brook with the dam looming behind. And, you know, from some angles the view is actually quite impressive, but in reality jamming everything in is an issue.

Theview under the crossing towards the dam, looks plausible, but, I’m working on the principle of squeezing the illusion of as much space from an 8ft x 2ft plan as possible.

Looking under the Boltorr Brook crossing towards the Boltorr dam. It looks plausible from this viewpoint, but...
Looking under the river crossing towards the Boltorr dam. It looks plausible from this viewpoint, but…
Can the river emerge from under a bridge, Cadover style. There's a degree of elevation to overcome, but a couple of rocky pools and a "rapids" might do it...
Can the river emerge from under a bridge, Cadover style. There’s a degree of elevation to overcome, but a couple of rocky pools and a “rapids” might do it…

The prime aim of this layout is to look as if it really could have happened. The problem isn’t really the perspective from under the bridge towards the dam, which, though I say so myself looks pretty good, but being able to fit some realistic looking waterworks in between the bridge and the dam.

I think it can be done, but I might have to re-align the dam or think of some other way of making a scenic break. And the other question is, would there really be a rail embankment and bridge just a few yards downstream from a dam? Probably not.

From a bird's eye view, the real estate is very tight
From a bird’s eye view, the real estate is very tight
Imagine a railway crossing just downstream from here - Cadover Bridge : SX 554 646
Imagine a railway crossing just downstream from here – Cadover Bridge : SX 554 646

It’s pretty lucky that this is a figment of my imagination… or rather, another universe, so it’s pretty much up to me what to do next.

I think I’m going to have a retink about the positioning of the dam and see if it can be fitted in. It was a lot of work, after all. And I learnt that carving out every individual stone isn’t as good as placing them individually. It’s possibly quicker, but doesn’t look the same at all. Just look at the bridge abutments compared to the dam walls.

In the meantime I need to get on with the rail bridge piers. The retaining buttresses towards the front of the layout are now pretty much sorted. I’ve made them bigger than the last time they appeared so it looks as if they’re actually holding something back. I also need to sort out what happens between the bridge and the back of the layout.