Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

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Colin Parks
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Colin Parks » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:35 pm

Hi Tim,

Not a comment on aspects of ballasting, but while looking the first picture with the single slip in your recent post, my eye was drawn to something I had never noticed on track work before: there are chairs omitted on certain sleeper locations around the K crossings. Did the Midland not have a range of special chairs for such applications and just left them out?!

Perhaps someone could tell us.

All the best,

Colin

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John Donnelly
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby John Donnelly » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:50 pm

TonyMont wrote:For this type of ballast I intend to use floor tile grout, it occured to me a few years ago, but as yet I have not tested it.


I'm planning on trying the same for NER ash ballast but my concern was keeping it out of the sleepers and chairs...

John

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TonyMont
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby TonyMont » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:38 pm

Hi Tim,

The plan was to use the grout as the ballast, laid dry and then wet with dilute pva, hoping for fixing both the track and the ballast. It maybe easier said than done, but the texture and grain size look about right.

Regards, Tony.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:26 am

TonyMont wrote:Hi Tim,

The plan was to use the grout as the ballast, laid dry and then wet with dilute pva, hoping for fixing both the track and the ballast. It maybe easier said than done, but the texture and grain size look about right.

Regards, Tony.


Wouldn't the grout dissolve into the PVA giving a smooth finish? ... or am I misunderstanding the nature of the grout?
Tim Lee

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:12 am

I have been playing around a bit with the ballasting, and though not happy yet, I kind of feel I am making progress. Attached are some pictures of my last two trials.

On the right hand side I have a mix of fine and medium grains which were placed in dry and the bonded using a dropper. There is I think too much of the larger grit size and this was compounded by the dropper washing the finer granules to the bottom and making the larger pieces stand proud.

On the left I had more of the fine grit and also introduced some chinchilla dust. I then pre wet everything with a fine water mist. I also used more of the PVA such that it was quite wet. Ignoring the colouring, I think that this is getting nearer. I think it would benefit from an even finer powder mix in places, and the limestone base colour is not right yet for the peak. Of course things will radically change once the sleepers are coloured and the ballast weathered.
Station Ballast.jpg
ballast - 1.jpg
ballast - 2.jpg
ballast - 3.jpg


The cess area will need to be a lot finer ... I think I am going to look at the Gordon Gravatt technique of a fine sand and powder mix onto gloss paint to see how that might work.
Last edited by Le Corbusier on Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tim Lee

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:16 am

Hi Tim, :)

One way of producing this effect is to use a mix of fine ballasts and once they have been stuck down then a mix of acrylic paint (or enamel paints) and mixed with sieved fire ash used to paint it up - the fire ash acts as a fine filler. There are also fine textural materials that you can add to acrylic paint which can be bought in art shops which will also do the same job.

I will be doing the same in a few weeks time.

Very nice photographs by the way Tim. :)

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:27 am

Allan Goodwillie wrote:Hi Tim, :)

One way of producing this effect is to use a mix of fine ballasts and once they have been stuck down then a mix of acrylic paint (or enamel paints) and mixed with sieved fire ash used to paint it up - the fire ash acts as a fine filler. There are also fine textural materials that you can add to acrylic paint which can be bought in art shops which will also do the same job.

That is interesting. I have just taken some of the fine light grey woodland scenics ballast mix (which is made from nutshells) and whizzed it up in a coffee grinder and it has given me a very fine grey powder (but still with a very slight texture). I have rubbed this into the surface and applied another fine coat of dilute PVA ... it will be interesting to see what happens. I will experiment with the same but with acrylic tonight.
Last edited by Le Corbusier on Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tim Lee

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:44 am

I hope people don't mind me putting up all these pretty basic trials and tribulations. There is of course the purely selfish motive of hoping for input to solve my various issues .... but I also think that it allows pretty basic questions to be out there. I suspect that there are many skills which are just taken as read, and only when seeing the need for input will such things come to the fore. Pretty vital if for whatever reason you are not a member of a group where skills are passed on by Osmosis.

It is why threads such as Alan's are gold dust to me .... alongside others such as Jeremy's blow by blow account of the iron mink build.

:) ;) :thumb

Tim
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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:07 am

Hi Tim, :)

I notice you have been using chinchilla dust - I would be a bit wary of using too much of it. We did some trials a while ago using it as the basis for ballast and all sorts of things were problematic I am afraid - however using it as a small part of a mix may work out fine. In quantities it clumps together when water or glue is applied to it. Thought I had better mention it in case others following your thread decide to go down that route and have the same problems.

You do have to be particular about what you use for ballast, recently a new ballast was tried out on Burntisland - I think it was the material which was used for sand blasting bridges on the real thing, (but not entirely sure about that as I was not involved on this occasion), and it caused problems due to it being slightly magnetic I have been told.-strange one that. :o

Don't worry about the thread going into basics from time to time that's perfectly OK. Not every person has a club nearby to go to. Sadly the local club in Livingston is now defunct for example. Not every S4 group has a policy of helping members develop their own layouts either, but that's politics and I prefer to keep out of discussing political matters. ;) On my own Wemyss thread I realise that not everything will be particularly S4, but can be applied to any 4mm scale layout.

Thanks for the kind words by the way. :)

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:56 pm

Allan Goodwillie wrote:Hi Tim, :)

I notice you have been using chinchilla dust - I would be a bit wary of using too much of it. We did some trials a while ago using it as the basis for ballast and all sorts of things were problematic I am afraid - however using it as a small part of a mix may work out fine. In quantities it clumps together when water or glue is applied to it. Thought I had better mention it in case others following your thread decide to go down that route and have the same problems.


Thanks Allan,

Good to know. I came across it in Gordon Gravatt's modelling landscape book ... he uses it sprinkled into wet gloss enamels to great effect.

Tim
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:06 am

A little further ballast experimentation. The left hand trial patch has had a fine powder applied to the previous surface and then further dropper application of PVA - powder is a little too blue grey and I think the result is too smooth.

The right hand trial is using the newly arrived Buxton stone. It is a mix of sizes including powder all applied and built up dry, and then flooded with PVA using the dropper.
ballast - 1 (1).jpg

ballast - 1 (2).jpg

The colour of the final sample I am very happy with ... once weathered I think it should work very well. Also, Although I have to admit I prefer the more open later style of Ballasting, I don't think I am a million miles away from where I need to be now. I think the largest size is too large and should be omitted and I think a larger amount of the dust mixed with very fine should see me there. Interestingly there does seem to be a difference between the ballast on the general running lines and where it comes through the station with the station evidencing a greater compaction of dust and fines. and as a result some of the larger submerged ballasting working through to the surface.
Monsal Dale Station Ballast.jpg
Monsal Dale-2 Ballast.jpg
Coombs-1 ERM Ballast.jpg
The cess also appears to be compacted hardcore and earth rather than ash ? It certainly looks claylike in texture.
Tim Lee

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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:13 pm

Out of curiosity, are you sure what material the Midland was using for ballasting around 1900 or earlier?

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:13 pm

Armchair Modeller wrote:Out of curiosity, are you sure what material the Midland was using for ballasting around 1900 or earlier?


I have nothing definitive so far, but the suggestion is that it was the local limestone. The best I have found is that it could be a mix of the local stone, ash and slag. I would have to look out where I found it but the point about a top covering of smaller stone was certainly documented and that this was stone not ash/clinker. Given the amount of blasting required to build and form the line and given number of quarries within near proximity I was assuming that the local limestone would have been the obvious choice.

Do you have any reason to believe this might not be the case? :?
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:19 pm

Just curious!!!!!

You are reading too much into my question ;)

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:27 pm

Armchair Modeller wrote:Just curious!!!!!

You are reading too much into my question ;)


Phew :!: :!: :!: :)

Never sure on here .... remembering Bill's cryptic comment about the wagons :shock:

I do have this photo from 1915 which suggests that when unstained it was pretty light though ... and pretty similar to the screes around.

W-C-J 2.jpg
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:39 pm

The ballasting in that shot is quite interesting. If you alter the contrast etc to compensate for the photographer shooting into the sun etc etc there are some quite large loose pieces of ballast lying on top of the formation. The ballasting in between the sleepers seems quite uneven as if it hasn't yet settled properly. Also, many of the sleepers have what look like ballast-coloured marks on them, as if the residue of fresh ballasting has not yet washed off.

aW-C-J-2.gif
aW-C-J-2.gif (221.78 KiB) Viewed 2678 times


Easy to read too much into a photo of that age, but my guess would be it is newly laid and ballasted track.

In any case, you may wish to consider aesthetics as well as accuracy. A stark, bright, clean look is not going to balance well with the rest of the model. Older, well weathered ballast is going to seem much more 'right'. I suspect, to your audience.

Wonderful view though. I have walked those paths you see on the hillside aabove the tunnel many times!

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:14 pm

I thought it looked newly laid as well ... This is the partner that goes with it and the new condition may well have been the reason for the photos ?
W-C-J 1.jpg


The sleepers also seem to be quite 'contaminated' ... its also amazing how much spoil there is above the mouth of the tunnel.

This image also suggests quite white ballast mixed with more weathered beneath
Monsal Viaduct-22.jpg


For what it is worth I think the early ballasting was most likely a mix of limestone, ash and clinker with a topping of smaller scale limestone. What we are seeing in these slightly later photos is a process of renewal I assume linked to the upgrading/replacement of rails and track.
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:23 pm

More beautiful photos!

Interesting how dark the signal posts appear. I wonder if they really were that dark or if it had something to do with the sensitivity of the film to certain colours?

Edit

Do you have a date for the Monsal Dale Viaduct image? Looks like a local with a couple of through coaches at the rear maybe?

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:59 pm

I don't pretend to be an expert but I believe it is a Johnson Class 60 ... I know they were based at Derby from 1899 and worked the through passenger trains. They received 'H' boilers around 1907 and were renewed in 1913 ish. I can't judge whether it has the slightly heavier 'H' boiler or not but it would appear to still have the Johnson smoke box door ... so it could be quite early. There was a problem with a landslip on the viaduct around 1907 -8 which may well have lead to reballasting.

here is another one
Monsal Viaduct-3 @ 600 .jpg


As there is no centring on the far arch and yet you can quite clearly see a change in construction it suggests that the photo is post 1907 ... so perhaps the first one is also.
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:23 pm

Here's an image from 2012. I suspect the viaduct has received attention on more than one occasion. There is strong evidence of repairs and refacing.

aDSCF1546.gif

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:35 pm

This is the quote I have on the land slip

In 1907-8, remedial work was undertaken to counteract the effects of slippage. Timber centring was erected under one or more of the arches east of the river to carry this out. The south elevation has an extensive area of blue brick in the spandrel wall above the eastern arches, probably indicating the repairs. Other patch repairs over the years have been made in gritstone and red brick, marring the overall effect close up.

You can see the centring on this photo
Monsal Viaduct-add 2.jpg
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Armchair Modeller » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:34 pm

Ah yes, I noticed that the first time you published that image but was mainly interested in the train at the time. :o

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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby FCA » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:39 am

thumbnail_AA2575DA-06FA-47D5-B294-3A0EE46D483A.jpg


Like many of us I have been experimenting with ballast effects for many years.

The photo shows a section of unweathered track on my current layout. The left hand track is a headshunt and the right hand is the 'main' line.
The method used is to lay the track with one rail on to a bed of PVA and apply the ballast once the sleepers are in place. the PVA is applied with a gloss paint roller which ensures a smooth level layer of adhesive. The limits of the ballast are defined with cheap masking tape. The finer ballast on the headshunt is simply the same ballast ground up in a mortar and pestle. To make a cess or path I use the finer ballast applied before the ballasting proper is done again using making tape.

The 'fishbone of pre-assembled track is made using a simple jig which I made many years ago and which caters for all rail lengths. Droppers for the rails are fixed to the rail before laying and are threaded through pre-drilled holes.

Richard

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:22 pm

Thanks for posting this Richard,

Very interesting and gives pause for thought. I am certainly glad I am only working on my test track at the moment. It may be that I completely re-assess depending on how it goes in the end :?
Tim Lee

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:27 pm

Armchair Modeller wrote:More beautiful photos!

Interesting how dark the signal posts appear. I wonder if they really were that dark or if it had something to do with the sensitivity of the film to certain colours?

Edit

Do you have a date for the Monsal Dale Viaduct image? Looks like a local with a couple of through coaches at the rear maybe?

I have been doing some thumbing through of various books looking for the variety of Johnson 4-4-0s that might have run on the line ... during this I found a copy of the image dated 1890s ... so that would suggest it is pretty early.

As an aside .. does anyone know where the D F Tee photo collection might be found?
Tim Lee


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