More distractions …

These are pretty aren’t they ? And a little more justifiable than the Peckett. The Helijan 47 has been kicking around for a while, still not decided what to number it as yet.

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I haven’t been entirely distracted by retail therapy though, I did also manage this:

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Quarter size track plan on the back wall , far left hand corner of the garage is the top right hand corner of the plan. The two overgrown spur brackets on the right represent the proposed position for the current Portwilliam, assuming they’ll actually take the weight !


Peckett Pocket Rocket

I swear I only went in for a packet of trackpins, and the “Got any Pecketts left ?” question was rhetorical, it just followed me home, honest.
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I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it. I’m not even allowed to weather it – apparently it’s “cute”. Hmm, I wonder if the chassis fits under that ARC 9″ Barclay body…

(Edited with some slightly less muddy photos !)

A Home For My Railway – 5

Just over a thousand days since I started this (assuming the exif data on that photo of the first row of bricks is correct) and finally the end is in sight.

A 3″ high plinth was constructed upon which stands a motley collection of new cheap B&Q cupboards, some recovered from my mother-in-law’s old kitchen about ten years ago, and some old Ikea IVAR units which once supported ‘Portwilliam‘ about three house moves ago. An added complication is the need to provide somewhere to store half a dozen 1m square outdoor play mats over the winter (no lawn here), two ladders, a bike and all the garden stuff which won’t fit in the shed, so the kitchen cupboards go about three quarters of the way round then there’s a semi-open bench with all the bulky bits underneath. There’s an almost continuous 2 foot wide worktop on top of the cupboards built from all sorts of bits of chipboard and MDF including an old woodworking bench, left-over floorboards and some baseboards which once formed part of a very large half-started airfield diorama including a scale Type C hangar ! The carpet (it has carpet !) is a nice bit of Floatex recovered from my parents’ kitchen some time ago and pride of place goes to two signal arms which have been kicking around outside for years waiting for me to get round to doing something with them. There is also now a heater and humidity meter in there, it was barely above freezing and 90% humidity when I first put it in, it’s on 2 hours a day and is keeping the temperature no lower than 7 degrees (and above 20 when I’m working in there !) and the humidity around 50-60%.
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I’m sealing up all the gaps as I go to eliminate the spider hidey-holes and keep the place looking neat, and slowly painting everything with cheap vinyl silk undercoated with the dregs of every half-finished tin of paint in the house and a few matchpots. Of course it’s still full of junk but a lot has gone in the cupboards, in fact most of the last week has been spent taking things out of cupboards they were hastily shoved in, sorting them, and putting them back. A fairly ruthless clearout followed by two trips to the tip saw off a lot of rubbish, most of what remains is either construction material (shelving, timber, electrical bits) or destined for Ebay/charity shop/tip depending on how much effort I can be bothered to expend on getting rid of it.

So last Monday there was just about enough room to get an oval of set track laid and drawing-pinned down so that Clan McLeod could belt around with the Paddy in tow. Progress has slowed somewhat.
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But of course, this only the end of the beginning …

A Home For My Railway – 3

A week off for half term and I managed to get a whole day on the railway. A whole day ! I can’t remember the last time that happened !

At the start of the day the garage looked like this – fully insulated, ceiling up and most of the polythene moisture barrier in place. Just the walls to panel out.
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Plasterboard would have been very easy, it comes in 3′ x 4′ sheets which fit nicely in the car which was how I did the loft, but unsupported between the battens it would have been vulnerable to damage. Plywood was too expensive so that really only left OSB. Oriented Strand Board, or Sterling Board – the stuff you board shop windows up with. So on Wednesday morning this lot arrived, 10 sheets of the stuff from the local builders merchant, delivered free.
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Of course every single sheet was going to need cutting to size, and the garage was still full of stuff so the only place to saw it all up was outside. That would have been fine except our garden doesn’t have anywhere big enough to lay out an 8′ x 4′ sheet of OSB let alone get around it with a saw. So improvisation was required. With the sheet clamped vertically against the back step railings there was just enough room between the sheet and the bog garden (that clump of Juncus grass in the foreground) to get it with a jigsaw. The resulting lines weren’t exactly ruler straight in places and I now ache in places I didn’t know I had muscles, but it worked.
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I took Jamie’s advice regarding the up and over door, abandoned the fancy inwards opening hinged door/wall idea and just boarded over it. Just inside the door is a stud wall of treated softwood (38×76 CLS) with a layer of 50mm Cellotex sandwiched between it and the door. The stud wall itself has an infill of more 50mm Cellotex making 100mm in all. The door itself was screwed shut from the inside, I may seal around the outside edge later. The first sheet of OSB is in place against the stud wall but only tacked as the sheet of polythene for the moisture barrier was buried somewhere else at the time.
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The next two photos show the fit a bit – move stuff – fit next bit – move stuff – fit next bit sequence down the side wall. I painted myself into a corner a bit with the back wall – with insufficient room to manoeuver full height boards in through the door and over/around the junk I sawed them into smaller chunks than I was planning to but it looks fine now they’re fitted.
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So by tea time it was all done apart from the tricky panel over the window (I need to leave access from the inside in case I ever find a suitable UPVC one second hand) and a small bit which still needs some electrical cabling tidying up before it can be closed up.

But I’ve broken the back of it – what’s left is essentially fitting out and decorating !

Dignity and Impudence

Mrs P has a thing about A4s. I have tried to convert her to the One True Way slightly further west, but she particularly likes 60007 “Sir Nigel Gresley” in BR Blue. Unfortunately she is married to a tight git who thought that 170 quid for the “Great Gathering” version was far too steep even if one could be found, and to make matters worse, she knows that I already have 60007, albeit in dark green, renumbered from “Woodcock” when they were going for far more sensible prices as part of a “3 Hour Express” project.

Anyway, it was her birthday in May and the local dealer had “Golden Eagle” on his shelf for £130, so I gave in and bought one. Of course, it’s the right colour but the wrong chimney and tender, and it needed nameplates. Where to get nameplates, a double chimney and corridor tender fittings to swap over ? In less than two weeks ?

Man hath no greater love than this that he should lay down his A4 for his wife.
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A brief perusal of Simon AC Martin’s writings showed that the various bits could indeed be pinged off and swapped over, so clandestinely, over several weeks, my green one was shorn of its fittings and “Golden Eagle” got a makeover. It’s not perfect, I didn’t have time to swap the tender interior mouldings over so it just got the external fittings at first, but it was enough to make me Husband of the Year briefly. I even resisted the temptation to weather it.  photo IMG_0019 2_zpsokamdjt5.jpg
My green one will rise again as 60009 “Union of South Africa“, which I was once honoured to blag a ride on up and down the yard at Appleby by simple expedient of standing drooling in front of it until Mr Cameron himself took pity on me and told me to get on. I forget what I was supposed to be doing, supervising it running round it’s charter train set I expect. Just as soon as I can fabricate a double chimney and tender corridor connection …
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Meanwhile, the Hawkshawe Estate Tramway continues to beg borrow and acquire odd bits and pieces of kit to run its ramshackle operations. The latest refugee from the big railway is 68138, a tiny Sentinel lately of Ayr shed.
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The real one was at Ayr in the late 1950s where it replaced a similar LMS Sentinel, and they appear to have been used to shunt the lairage sidings on the North Harbour. Known locally as “The Chipcart”, they were apparently not universally liked, being awkward to drive and unpleasant to fire by all accounts. This is the Model Rail model, produced by Dapol, and it is gorgeous. Almost everything below the windows is filled with Mazak so it weighs more than you might think and easily handles the three or four wagons required of it, but it is fussy about clean track, not surprisingly. Seen here pottering about in the tramway exchange siding, nobody appears to have bothered cleaning it since it arrived.
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A Home for My Railway – 2

Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.
– Plato

Well I had expected to be writing this rather sooner than two years after I wrote this – – but it’s getting there.

So this is the current state of play in the garage. Despite my assertation that something would circumnavigate it by Christmas last year it’s still not finished and the only things circumnavigating it are spiders. Big spiders. Insectol kills them far more effectively than carpet glue but at the time it was the only can near enough with sufficient reach and lethality. Halfords Peugot antelope beige doesn’t kill them but it does make them easier to spot.

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Yes, quite. All the junk is still there, work sessions alternate between clearing a space to do a job, and doing the job. Then a space is cleared for the next job. All the walls are now insulated and most of the vapour barrier is in place. On top of this a 2″ x 1″ batten has been screwed to the upright battens (themselves bolted to the concrete walls) to take the rafters. These are 3×1 treated softwood with 1″ slab insulation above.

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My carpentry isn’t great, so these were secured to the battens with 40mm brackets, the ends of the rafters being notched over them. The idea was that the 5p bracket was just securing it, not taking the weight, but it hasn’t quite worked out like that. I was going to reinforce the joints with more brackets inside the corners on both sides but in the meantime another problem manifested itself.

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The cement board roof is supported on two transverse steel trusses, about 4″ deep. The battens were fixed below these lowering the effective headroom by two inches. Unfortunately the floor boarding and slab insulation below had raised the floor nearly three inches. This wasn’t a problem at the high end (the roof slopes front to back) and the very low bit at the back would have a 2 foot wide base board below it, but I wasn’t expecting to bang my head less than halfway down. I’ve got to add some sort of lighting yet as well.

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Of course all the rafters were in place by now, as was most of the slab insulation. But it has been raised by simply shoving the rafters up out of the way one at a time, turning the bracket upside down and refitting it. There isn’t much space between the insulation and the roof but air can still circulate via the corrugations so we’ll see. There, that looks perfectly robust doesn’t it ?

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No, I didn’t think so either so the ends have been reinforced with leftover 2×1 and extended over the batten. This is actually stronger than it was before (there are more screws than the one visible) and I should have done it this way in the first place.

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The slab insulation serves too purposes. Firstly, if the roof leaks it will hopefully stop the rafters getting wet although where the water will eventualy show up is a good question. Secondly it covers up all the spider hidey-holes so I can work without fear of them dropping down my neck.

Of course, the first person I showed looked at it and suggested that as the ceiling is not required to actually do anything except support it’s own weight, I should have just cut some 8×4 sheets of 4″ Cellotex to fit between the steel trusses and filled all the gaps in with squirty foam. Grrr.