Sunday, 5 May 2013

Is it May Already?

I have just logged on and was horrified to find that my last post was a Christmas greeting! What has happened to the first four months of the year? Well, I suppose the three-week holiday and several long weekends away haven't helped. Then there's the training for last week's run (raised £2k for Parkinson's UK). Lots of gardening (we're opening to the public on 8th June under the local hospice's open garden scheme). Pretty poor excuses really. Oh - and I've been working on the garden railway!

Jobs done or in progress this year are:
  • Routine maintenance
  • Extension round the corner from the railway boundary to the neighbour's boundary
  • Complete automation of removable crossover module
  • Re-ballast, wire, signal and automate the viaduct
  • Get the railway wi-fi control network working reliably
  • Install a power bus and connect to track at reasonable intervals.
Maintenance. The worst things the winter has done other than the obvious dirt and corrosion are to remove some of my earlier experiments in ballasting, and to significantly widen the gap at some of the rail joints. This gap-widening is rather strange, and mainly occurs near the apex of some of the sweeping curves in the picture below. I can only assume that the trackbed is"stretching". It doesn't yet cause derailments, so I haven't done anythng about it, but will soon need to as the gaps are still increasing (so it's not thermal contraction of the rail).

A Spring test-train sweeps around the reverse curves.
The railway track-bed has now reached a point where although descending at 1 in 50, the ground is descending faster and the track is about 2 feet off the ground. This, the need for a bend, and the fact that too much straight concrete viaduct gets boring, led to the decision that the next section of trackbed would be timber. This also gives some potential for tradional layout scenery, though weather proofing or protection could be interesting. The picture below shows the general construction of the first 12 feet of new trackbase, and the transition from concrete. Since the picture, a further 12 feet have been added.

A new section of wooden baseboard (paint still wet), and the transition from concrete.
 When I'm working in the garden, I am often visited by Mac the Cat, who likes company.

Hello. Need any help?

This ballast needs a good scratch.

Mmm, I like this nice smooth cat-path.
In the foreground of the ballast-scratching picture can be seen the viaduct, complete with its new ballast job, and with the points automated and a signal fitted. I haven't yet got round to proper painting and weathering.

While we were in the garden over Easter, I noticed some unusual motive power for the Waterloo - South Western main line. This was a result of the closure of Reading for major rework.

A diverted First Great Western HST heads for London Waterloo.
Given the opportunity to play with a brand new sound-fitted Britannia, what could I do but accept? The sound is fairly realistic, but has a few flaws and is not as good in my ears as the Bachmann class 37.

Hornby Britannia 70040 "Clive of India", fresh out of the box.
And finally....  I laid some temporary track on the new section of baseboard "round the corner". And who was first along it, propelling the rail-head treatment vehicle? Why, it was Thomas of course!

Thomas covers new ground with the track-cleaner.

No comments:

Post a comment