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The Duke 71000

Bio: I am a qualified Locomotive Mechanical Engineer currently working with a Spanish Railway Museum restoring real steam locomotives. I have also worked for a number of railways around the World, doing everything from Driving trains (Steam, Diesel & Electric) to Railway Corporate Economics. As my hobby is obviously model railways, I have been a member of some very good clubs, both in Britain and other European countries. I've also built numerous exhibition layouts, including German, Japanese & British outline. Many of which have featured in various modelling magazines and even TV programmes around the world. I have worked in all scales from Z to O, including specialising in building working dual gauge pointwork, and working catenary down to Z gauge size. I am currently building a large 87ft x 25ft British "OO" layout to recreate a scale 5 mile section of the 4 track mainline through Basingstoke, in the last 10 years of steam (1958-67). Which I hope will be available for exhibitions in Europe, and more regular use in the Museum where I work, once complete.

All Posts

BASINGSTOKE 1958-67 - Mayhem with the PVA and Peco track.



ABOVE: 5 pictures (above & below) showing yesterday (Fridays) progress with tracklaying in the Final narrow part of the Fiddle Yard.


ABOVE: These 8 tracks are divided between 6 for the Up Slow line, and the two right hand tracks being part of the Up Fast sidings. The main part of the Fiddle Yard is off camera to the right.


ABOVE: The track seen in previous posts, on this section, had to be lifted in the end, even though the track was only 10mm out of line.  


ABOVE: By lunchtime the farthest of the two boards was almost complete. The track on the nearer board is as originally laid, before I was forced to shrink the layout a little thanks to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. That dreaded red & white bottle "Cola Blanca" (Spanish PVA), seen on the stool gets everywhere.......


ABOVE: Progress by lunchtime, a little more tracklaying was done yesterday afternoon. Before I got sidetracked rebuilding a Hornby 68ft ex LMS restaurant dining car........



The Duke 71000 




The size of a control panel is dictated by the number of switches/controls, their size, and how you want to arrange them. The simplest way to start is to draw them out full size. Either on a sheet of paper, or on the wood or other material that will form the facia.



ABOVE: An example of a largish control panel (part complete) in a confined space. It was bracketed from the baseboard behind, and the Facia hinged so I could get at the wiring. This panel was solely intended to control the Fiddle Yard of my (Mk1) Basingstoke layout, in the loft of a large house. Virtually all the switches are "mini toggles". There are LED's on the track plan to indicate polarity of awkward Live frog Diamond crossings, & at bottom right for communication with other control panels. The Fiddle Yard was in a separate room I built specially for it !




ABOVE: Another control panel on the same layout. This controlled the two track Basingstoke-Reading line from the station around to the Fiddle Yard. It clearly reveals the mini-toggle switches painted different colours to indicate use. White ones for track sections, Black for points, Red for signals, & Blue for inter-panel communications. At bottom right is a Gaugemaster panel mounting type controller. On this panel there were also LED's to repeat the indications actually shown on the semaphore signals. Not all of the signals could be seen by the operator !



ABOVE: The ultimate in control panels ? This large panel designed for two operators controlled two of the four mainline tracks around the whole layout. I was in the process of building the bench seat seen in the foreground. This panel has two Gaugemaster panel mounting "Inertia" controllers.The boards beneath the controllers were for displaying the operational schedule cards, as this layout (Basingstoke Mk1), when fully manned operated to a proper Timetable. The train seen was a Hornby A3 (owned by a guest operator), as A3's didn't normally appear at Basingstoke.



Food for thought !



The Duke 71000



Track laying & Ballasting....



Just take a look at all the pictures & details of track laying methods on my General Discussion page "Basingstoke 1958-67 87ft x 25ft" exhibition layout.



If you want professional results, you'll find all sorts of modelling methods and pictures to demonstrate most problems dealt with there....


Good Luck.


The Duke 71000  



You find it all explained with pictures on my General Discussion page "BASINGSTOKE 1958-67 87ft x 25ft".

Indeed lots of pics showing track construction, and the way to install and remove track, as well as how to go about buiding your own points, save a fortune, and build the points to fit the location. Rather than design the layout to fit commercial points......


Good luck.

The Duke 71000 



 Something to do during the COVID 19 epidemic, or even over Christmas !!!



Obviously as "Basingstoke 1958-67" is intended as an exhibition layout, you can't run trains simply "out of the packet". Visitors to exhibitions expect to be entertained by something a little more sophisticated than what they can achieve themselves at home. So Model Railway Club layouts tend to predominate, and demonstrate the skills of the more advanced modeller, with quality layouts, and of course rolling stock.... 



As part of that aim, I have a mix of proprietary models, kit built items, and even scratchbuilt items. The Proprietary items include many of Hornby's locos and rolling stock, but ALL of them are "improved or individualised" in various ways. 



Below are a number of photos, which indicate in the detail panels, many of the "mods" I have made to them. The photos incidentally are from my "library" of stock photos. Two pics of each item (one each side) help me to visibly remember what I have done to my rolling stock. With near 800 items of stock in total, you simply can't remember everything !



ABOVE: The now somewhat dated GWR Hawksworth County Class 4-6-0, has had a whole host of extras added, as listed, to bring it up to the highest levels of detail. However many of the additional items came from a "Crownline" detailing pack intended for just this purpose. These are very helpful, in introducing beginners to the delights of "individualising" your models.



ABOVE:  Another Hornby loco, and one that only needs a few basic alterations. The most visible change is the reduction of the gap between loco & tender. Which would otherwise require the Fireman to be a long jump expert !  Reducing the coupling length, was quite simple and only required a new hole to be drilled in the metal coupling bar. A job that took just a couple of minutes. It has the added benefit of allowing the "Fallplate" (the plate the Fireman stands on when he get another shovelful of coal) to actually slide over the tender floor, as it does in real life, instead of jamming between loco & tender in curves !



ABOVE: Yet another Hornby loco. But, in this case a type that really needs a number of modifications. I have 20 odd Hornby Bulleid Pacifics, and the number of mods I inflict on them is still increasing. The models are powerful, but they have trouble getting that power down on the rails, so adding some lead shot improves their haulage capacity. There is no danger in adding the extra weight as the motor used in these Pacifics, is also used in Diesel models that usually weigh at least 200g more out of the packet.  




ABOVE: A newish model that has already been seen in a few of my Posts.  However it has already had the alterations as listed in the picture. The reason I remove all DCC parts, is primarily to reduce the amount of wiring, as wiring is something that can go wrong, and cause embarrassing moments during an exhibition. Further my rewiring of these locos, then allows the loco to be cleaned on a Gaugemaster powered cleaning Block quickly, without the tender needing to be attached. An important consideration during exhibitions !! 




ABOVE: Another of my Hornby Merchant Navy Pacifics, but one that has had heavy weathering to represent the type, in its last couple of years in use (1965-67). Weathering steam locos takes time, and this was also one of the first models I did. So it was also a bit of an experiment. It was first given a little spray weathering in matt grey & black. This didn't look right as many dirty marks on steam locos often have crisp edges. So touching up using dry brushing techniques, added glossy black around the cylinder area valve gear where lots of grease and oil gets trapped. Rusty marks on the superheated lower ashpan. Also water/rain track colour spray marks on the rear of the tender chassis, as these monstrous beasts didn't hang around, and were known to often reach a 100mph.




ABOVE: One of the "foreigners" often seen in the last years of steam at Basingstoke were members of the huge LMS Stanier Black 5 class. They appeared normally hauling inter-regional trains from 1965. They too were often very grubby by this period. As this is a more recent model in my collection it has been weathered a little differently. The weathering covering steam locos can also reveal the weather conditions, and this loco has obviously been enjoying a dry hot summer. As a result the weathering is primarily a layer of dirty grey/black smoke, smuts & soot. The reduced gap between loco & tender is also much more convincing and totally changes the appearance of the model. Much more realistic. 



ABOVE: One of my BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0's. In this case one of those locos that received names from withdrawn Southern King Arthur engines. Being an older Bachmann model, but a type expected on the Southern Region to haul secondary expresses, the models main problem is lack of haulage ability. It has as a result had a little extra lead weight, squeezed inside the boiler. These older Bachmann models also have a nasty habit of sounding like a bag of nails when hauling a decent load. The cure I have discovered is to change the driving wheels for nickel silver ones made by Romford/Maygib. 




ABOVE: This unusual model is made by a small specialist company called "OO Works". Very small handbuilt production runs are produced. But as a kit type loco in metal, they do provide good haulage capacity. However as a ready made kit type product, you will need a few skills to look after such a model. They are traditionally wired, with only the wheels on one side of the loco and the other side of the tender, connected to the high quality motor. This presents a problem on any layout using "Cab Control", as models wired in this way will stop dead when moving from one controller area to another. The solution is of course to wire up all the wheels. The other detail enhancements including adding the missing red boiler bands, might annoy many younger modellers. Especially when you consider that all "OO Works" models are in excess of £200 each. Having said that they normally pull anything, although this one had a balance problem, making it tip forwards. Hence extra weight in the firebox.     



ABOVE:  Another current model if you can call "Batch Production" current. The catalogue number indicates a special or limited edition item. Being a new Bachmann item, it has the benefit of machined (not cast) driving wheels, so is much smoother and quieter. However Bachmann still seem to have a reluctance to wire up all the wheels for pick-up. Not very helpful on a 4-4-2 Atlantic. So as mentioned I rewired the whole loco, with all wheels now capable of collecting current. It was otherwise a reasonable puller, but just to ensure it can haul 12, I added a little more lead weight inside.   



ABOVE: The above West Country class Hornby model is now around 10 years old, so does NOT have the current mechanism/chassis. These earlier Pacific models had a minor design fault, now cured.  This involved the motor mounting. No provision except a bit of double sided tape under the motor, held the front of the motor in place. So as this end had the drive shaft, and engaged with the gearbox, things began to go awry. The motor would rise just slightly at the front and chew up the first nylon plastic cog. Replacing the damaged cog does not solve the problem as this too soon gets chewed up. I therefore designed a tiny clamp using a bit of thin brass & two tiny screws to clamp the front of the motor in place ! In other respects this model is indistinguishable from the current version externally. So its just my external mods that make it "unique".



The Duke 71000



A little progress with my now heated office, which should stop my locos freezing in the coming months. Some more tracklaying. And a little on organising your coaching stock.....



ABOVE: First off, the "office" which is now sprouting more shelving, to store all the stock boxes, amongst other things.... 




ABOVE: Inside the "office", an enlarged modelling workbench now covers the original desk. Note the heater under the desk to keep me, and the locomotives warm during the cold winter spell. This also reveals the layout passing by the window, not that anything will yet run on this section, as it is now awaiting wiring.



ABOVE: A little tracklaying inbetween reconstructing the office, was done over the weekend. The two right hand "Down lines" have now been laid almost to the end of the Fiddle Yard. Or at least to the point where they have to part from the Up lines to get to their respective Fiddle Yard sidings. Attention has now switched to getting the Down sidings into place, at the opposite end of the Fiddle Yard, as seen in the next picture...  



ABOVE: At the other end of the Fiddle Yard from the previous picture, we can see here the part built Hook commuter station in the background. In the foreground are the first points being laid for the "Down sidings", which was the situation yesterday evening.....



ABOVE:  Of course all those new empty Fiddle Yard tracks were just crying out for some stock. So I have been slowly unpacking various sets and odd vehicles from their boxes, which takes ages. All sorts of locals and express sets, are slowly filling the sidings virtually as I lay them. Around a 100 coaches already on show.



ABOVE: A more expansive view of the increasing hordes. There being 16 tracks here. The farthest 6 are the Up local sidings, the middle 6 tracks are for the Up Fast, and the nearest 4 are part of the Down Fast sidings. The trains aren't necessarily in their correct tracks yet, as its a logistics exercise in itself, just to unpack 430+ coaches, and find a complete set amongst all those boxes. But all those trains have been carefully planned, before purchasing them from various well known sources. 




ABOVE: Hopefully you can read the captions in the photo which give some idea of what each set of coaches was purchased for. Basically I used BR timetables and other internal BR documents to ascertain exactly what trains ran, and their precise formations.



Even the individual carriage numbers are known, so many of my coaches have had to be re-numbered to get the correct vehicles for each SET.  Indeed the end coaches of some of the Southern Sets reveal the correct "SET" Numbers, which I have added. Only HORNBY have so far discovered this "Southern" behaviour, so a few of their models do actually come with the correct vehicle number & Set Numbers on their ends. 



All the logistics necessary in researching what ran through Basingstoke, also dictates how the Fiddle Yard has to be set up. If it is to operate efficiently, and ensure entertainment value, when the layout is on display at exhibitions. My layout is NOT just intended for show within the Museum, but also to be available for MAJOR exhibitions around Europe. 



Major exhibitions are another reason why I use a specialist wiring system (TCC), to ensure my layout operates better than any other layout. Which basically means at least one train should be seen passing any point on the layout every 30-40 seconds. It's called "Entertainment Value". 




The Duke 71000.  

BASINGSTOKE 1958-67 - Winter is coming, don't freeze your locos. 

Not much layout progress this weekend. Having realised that if I'm going to be stuck in this workshop for a couple of years, as COVID 19 has seriously delayed the reconstruction of the building at the station, intended for my layout and an HO layout based on Mora la Nova. I need to "beef up" my office. The first problem being where do I put all the boxes, for the rolling stock I have been gleefully unpacking and posing on the layout ? 


ABOVE: "The office" . That little room at top right, with the lights on, (a few weeks ago). 


"The office" is one of those places, where you chuck things in, and then forget about them. Or it was. There being no electrical facilities in the room except the light switch ! So the first step was to install some power sockets. Not easy as Spanish wiring is spaggetti (a cable for each electrical item), not the British style "ring main" system.



Next was the little office desk, which has been enlarged, by screwing a 2 metre door to the top of it. It can now be used as a modelling workbench, so I don't need to take locos home to give them a service for example. Also more shelving is required to stack the hundreds of stock boxes somewhere.....



Of course winter is coming, even for Spain, and temperatures here could fall to around 3 deg Celsius at night from now until the end of Feb. This is potentially unhealthy for model locomotives, as motors can be upset at such low temps. So a heater has also been installed in the office to keep the stock nice and warm.   




ABOVE: This Hornby Black 5 4-6-0 "Ayrshire Yeomanry" can now spend a warm winter in my now heated little office. Temps of 5 deg and lower can cause problems with locomotive motors. The model was originally sold in LMS livery, but as seen I have totally resprayed, lined and weathered it.


Heating the office also means I shall hopefully be able to keep a little warmer, as the building has no heat or air-conditioning. This should mean layout progress can continue during the cold period, unlike last winter, where I had to give up for a couple of weeks in Jan-Feb. 


Indeed the problem of wiring this layout, which I estimate will still need around 5 miles of wire, for my fully interlocked signalling and train movement system, known as TCC (Track Circuit Control). A real life system shrunk for use on model layouts to ensure really realistic operational methods. Some of which can now be done in the heated office such as wiring the control panel facias....




ABOVE: Another Hornby loco this time one of my four S15 4-6-0 6F fast freight locos. This model still needs a little extra weight to ensure it hauls 40 wagon trains. It also needs the loco to tender coupling shortening, as the hinged "fall plate" currently keeps dropping between loco and tender (as seen in the picture). This then derails the tender in curves. These little jobs can now be done here in my now heated office, instead of having to pack the model up and take it home. 


The Duke 71000




A little re-assurance...



Many of the motors used in Hornby's modern steam models including the GWR Castle, will also be found in their Diesel loco models. Why mention this? Because their Diesel loco models tend to be considerably heavier, even double the weight of some of the steam locos, and use the same motors. 



The Diesel locos suffer no ill effects hauling trains in excess of 6 coaches around numerous Club exhibition layouts during exhibitions. Locos do as a result often get quite a few hours running during a show, particularly if you are doing a show in Germany where shows often last a week or more. 



I have had literally hundreds of model locos on numerous exhibition layouts (my own included) for over 40 years, of all makes. They all get a good pounding, and I have never had a loco motor expire on me from heavy duty use on such layouts.



Having said that, if you run a model continuously for hours at a time, non stop, then the motor will obviously get hotter, than if it is being given just a few minutes running every hour during a show. This sort of continuous running will wear out the motor more quickly, probably within 6 months to a year, but even this depends more on the curvature of the track than the load hauled.



As an example, one of my jobs in the past was to service shop window layouts. Where the locos were generally doing usually no more than one minute running, with a minute rest. Using "station stop" timers. They still got a hammering however. Radius two curves resulted in locos on such tight corners not just buring out motors but also wearing their flanges away, often within 6 months. And these models were expensive German Fleischmann items.



There is a law of Physics applicable to this problem: "With every degree of curvature in the track, the power required by the loco, to negotiate the curve increases with the square root". This fact being the main reason I won't build any "OO" layout using track with a radius of less then 5ft, including my current exhibition layout. This greatly eases the stress on all my 130 odd locos, which are expected to haul real life train formations up to 12 coaches. Even with added weight in many of them, I do not expect any of them to suffer motor burn out's due to heavy use within 2-5 years at least. Oiling the two motor bearings is the most important item in the model needing servicing (with just a pinhead drop) of oil. Too much oil can be as bad as none at all !  



If you thumb through my page(s) here in the "General Discussion" section under the title (Basingstoke 1958-67 87ft x 25ft), you can see numerous pictures of locos hauling 12 car trains up 1 in 100 gradients, including the smaller Hornby GWR Grange class, with no adverse affects. Although the current layout is not yet complete some of these locos are now 10 years old, and have been subjected to considerable use on my previous (Mk1) layout, as some of the photos will reveal......



The Duke 71000    



Track Mats: Simply draw what is on the trackmat onto the baseboard, and dump the trackmat. Then you can glue the track & any other accessories to the baseboard. Tip if you glue the track & other items down with Evo-stik PVA white wood glue (non waterproof type). Then if you want to move anything later, you only need a little lukewarm water, to loosen the glue.



Fishplates: If they are loose, you need a small pair of modelling pliers, to give them a slight squeeze. This will help ensure more reliable current flow, and less jerkiness with your locomotives. The fewer railjoins you have the fewer electrical problems. One reason why many modellers eventually move up to a flexible track system .....



Loads more tips in my "Basingstoke 1958-67 87ft x 25ft" exhibition layout page(s), here in the General Discussion forum section.



The Duke 71000.



Simplest solution: Remove the current couplings. Cut off the loop. Then cut a slot in the air brake tanks & superglue an NEM Coupling pocket into the recess. Height & positioning of the new NEM pocket must be checked before finally glueing in place. Then of course you can put whatever type of coupling you want into the NEM pocket, whether it be Marklin, Felischmann, Roco, British standard or even a real life type Kadee Buckeye........



The Duke 71000  

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