On Saturday 30th September, the members of the Surrey & Sussex Black Sheep set up their largest modular layout to date, some 66′ or 20m around four sides of a room at the annual Seaboard Southern exhibition.
Saturday saw six module owners and three additional engine drivers arrive at the annual Seaboard Southern exhibition to which we’d been invited. By the skin of our teeth, due to some gremlins, we had erected and tested more than 60′ of modules, our longest layout to date.
Operating was on a warrant basis, with two in operation, one each way between the fiddle yards and the central passing module. There were also sidings to shunt in each direction, adding to the operational interest. With a crew of eight, we were split into teams of four and operated an hour on with an hour’s rest. That made the day go very quickly.
Striking down was a lot quicker, with everything boxed up and ready to load within 45 minutes of closing time. Lots of things were learned, experiences gained, which means that the next outing will be even better than this.
Modular narrow gauge railway modelling is some much more fun than having a single layout, not least because it doesn’t have to be the same each time. It’s also great to be able to exhibit works in progress, so long as they are making progress.
We’re waiting for confirmation of the date for this event next year, when we’ll hopefully be doing it all again, bigger and better.
Had 4 people turn up for the working day on the 23rd July. Jobs completed included track joints re-aligned on Simpson’s Peak. A new passing loop installed at Skinners Creek. The track all cleaned and most of it hoovered. Point numbers and magnet locations cheeked and any missing indicators replaced. he last job was some tree stump casting.
This work was all nearly complete before lunch, with just a few bits needing finishing after lunch. of the after lunch session was spent testing two FremOn30 modules that were brought along.
Work was also started on the low bridge after Bouviers Peak, but more strengthening work is needed to the ply boards for this to work better. Not sure if it will be a swing bridge or a lift bridge. Need to look into this.
As we were all busy working I forget to take many pictures, so only a few to add.
Well, that event‘s been and gone. Thankfully, it appears to have been a huge success. Here’s what was learned on the day:
- It is possible to set up 23′ of modular model railway that’s never been together before in under two hours, including consumption of bacon butty and coffee
- A line token, or warrant, makes control easier for those operators that don’t get the whole single track main line concept
- A Work In Progress is well received in an exhibition environment, if it’s quite apparent what the end result is supposed to be
- It is actually possible to have too many trains, at least for the immediate occasion. One per fiddle yard road plus a spare would have sufficed
- We’re not the only nutters who are inspired, interested or intrigued by this project. At least three people loosely attached to the group have committed and we took enquiries from visitors too
Feedback from the show organisers has been positive too, which might result in a repeat invitation for next year. That’ll mean more modules and more progress on existing modules will be required!
Busy afternoon on the deck. All five of my modular boards connected together for the first time. Track joins across baseboards all adjusted and soldered. Inter baseboard connectors tested. Final track laid on depot board. 3 tracks laid on the traverser. More testing to do but hopefully power tomorrow. It’s a pity I have had to take it all apart for the night.
For a change here is a quick post on some new wagons I’ve been working on. Last week I was after on my hols and took some simple kits and tools with me. They are all Mountblue models kits.
These came complete with the chassis. The flat car came with trucks and couplers. I have used Kadee trucks and couplers. i found the instructions clear and easy to follow. the prts were easy to remove and required very little clean up.
I know it is normal to paint these before they are built but as said at the start I was on my hols. I will use paints so any glue on the body shouldnt be a problem. I was very careful to ensure any glue on finished surfaces was removed before it dried.
I still have detail to add to all these cars, but this will be painted before adding and the car bodies painted.
I enjoyed building these in the evenings when away. I have 6 more to build that require the Bachmann 18 foot chassis and a Drovers Caboose to build.
Progress has been slow with other things getting in the way. 2 3 way turnouts have been ordered from Cream city One will form the throat for the fiddle yard. The other will be used when the fiddle yard is expanded.
The depot boards are taking sharp, with nearly all the track laid. I still have to do the baseboard end tracks and solder to copper clad sleepers. These are nearly all cut and ready.
I have also been working on legs. I have reused the legs from Bouviers Peak. These have been turned upside down, the cross bar adjusted to sort these boards and a new location peg fitted. I have also made from spare material that I used to build the boards. This maybe the design when the modules get raised to the full FremOn30 height. I have 3 more legs to adjust and enough material to make another trial leg.
The he boards are fitting together nicely. This join is my home made version of the standard end.
The two boards have now been set up in the shed allowing for more work to be undertaken. The next job is wiring. I’m hoping this won’t take to long and too have trains running soon.
Progress has been slow. the main fiddle yard board has all the tracks bonded together and wired back to the DCC bus. this will need repeating at the other end of the board, a belt and braces approach. it will take 2 soldered joints to fail before a track becomes dead.
All tracks on this board have had the ends soldered, mainly using Gap Masters, these have been easy to fit and provide a good solid end for the rails.
This is the one I have mainly used.
I have also ordered the 3 way point from Cream City Turnouts. I ordered 2, so that i can make the fiddle yard a through fiddle yard for all tracks. it will current be only a through track for the middle road. Im hoping the 3 way no. 5 point will fit on the current board. If it doesn’t i will build two short boards, one to fit this point and one to give a bit of a headhunt at the depot end. I’d hope these boards won’t be more than 300mm long .
hopefully today I will start laying the track on the depot boards, I’m going for the track plan number 3 I posted on Facebook with one additional point.
pictures on progress to follow in the next post.
No pictures today as I was only working on the boards. Pins pushed below the surface and holes filled on side trims. Baseboard tops all screws filled.
Two boards done. Not as long as yesterday in garden to do this. Sanding to do next, then other two boards to do the same too.
Still thinking about track plans for boards 3 and 4. Track plan 3 is looking the faviorite.
Brian is one of the driving forces behind the current wave of Frem0n30, at least in Surrey and adjacent counties.
He is currently President of the Rio Florida Logging Company, and our expert of DCC.
You can see some of Brian’s posts from his blog here.