CRAG visit to Buckingham GC 17/5/2018

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Ian Everett
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CRAG visit to Buckingham GC 17/5/2018

Postby Ian Everett » Mon May 28, 2018 12:26 pm

!7th May 2018 was a real red letter day as four CRAG members (Stuart de Boer, David Dredge and myself) visited Tony Gee, to operate Peter Denny’s famous Buckingham Great Central.
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I have known this layout all my life and I must have read nearly all PBD’s writings about his phenomenal achievement. It certainly has been the biggest influence on my modelling.

Tony has taken on the immense task of transporting it from Devon to South Yorkshire and restoring it to its full glory in a specially made shed, desiged by Crispin Denny and built by Tony. The layout fitted with just 1/8” clearance!

We spent most of the day at the controls, ably assisted by Tony and Alan Rollins, breaking just for a hurried carvery at the local pub.

The restoration is largely complete, with just the signalling of the “up” end of Grandborough Junction and the “Automatic Crispin” train controller to complete and Leighton Buzzard, which is currently used separately as a portable exhibition layout, to reconnect.

The important thing is that the railway looks wonderful and runs beautifully, and PBD’s logically designed control system was mastered very quickly by the novice operators.

The layout is run to Peter’s original timetable, written in his neat handwriting in small books which can be seen in this photograph:

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Buckingham panel - simple, neat, logical


It also shows the miniature block instruments and the lever frame made of sliding wooden rods connected to points by wire-in-tube. I used the same system on my first Bradford North Western 30 years ago and having seen the real thing I have decided to use it again - why spend hundreds of pounds on point motors or servos and their associated electronics on a permanent layout? KISS is the principle I will adopt, especially with my failing brain and fading eyesight…

Although the layout is complex and many routes can be set, operation is simplicity itself. Clear signalling diagrams show which points and signals to set. Communication to the signal box in advance is by miniature block instruments and, although it is DC, not DCC, powered, in most cases there is no need to think about which electrical sections need to be connected. This is all done by the lever frame and block instruments. Set the route, gain acceptance from the next block post, pull off the right signals and hey presto!the right train will run - all very railway-like..

I cannot thank Tony and Alan enough: I just wish I lived near enough to join in their twice-weekly operating sessions!

Thanks to Stuart de Boer for the photos

The next meeting of CRAG will be on Thursday 14th June in Ron Tyler’s eyrie in upper Swaledale - the railway room with the view! Meet at the Farmers’ Arms, Muker at 1300 for lunch.
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Last edited by Ian Everett on Tue May 29, 2018 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

SteamAle
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:38 pm

Re: CRAG visit to Buckingham GC 17/5/2018

Postby SteamAle » Mon May 28, 2018 1:06 pm

Ian
I'm only sorry I could not make it. I've got the books and articles, which were inspirational and are still relevant today.
A quick question, Is it the original stock or have they had to produce their own?
Philip

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Steve Carter
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Re: CRAG visit to Buckingham GC 17/5/2018

Postby Steve Carter » Mon May 28, 2018 1:12 pm

Leighton Buzzard is the special guest layout at Scaleforum this September. :thumb
Steve Carter

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Tim V
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Re: CRAG visit to Buckingham GC 17/5/2018

Postby Tim V » Mon May 28, 2018 6:22 pm

That grin says it all Ian!
Tim V

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Ian Everett
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Re: CRAG visit to Buckingham GC 17/5/2018

Postby Ian Everett » Tue May 29, 2018 8:24 am

SteamAle wrote:Ian
I'm only sorry I could not make it. I've got the books and articles, which were inspirational and are still relevant today.
A quick question, Is it the original stock or have they had to produce their own?
Philip



I'm sure there will be another chance to visit.

The stock is practically all PD's original, mostly scratch built, and the locos run superbly smoothly. I was quite surprised at this, given their fairly ancient mechanicals - no High Level gearboxes here! The only exception that I saw was a tank loco built as a gift to PD by Tony Gee.

The only issue was some excess slop in some goods wagon axles, resulting in buffer locking on particularly sharp curves but I am sure this could be eliminated - if only Tony has time. It's an awful lot of railway to maintain!

And Tim, I'm surprised you could detect a grin behind all that facial hair but you're right, it was a pure delight. :D

Ian.

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Andy W
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Re: CRAG visit to Buckingham GC 17/5/2018

Postby Andy W » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:58 am

Tony Gee should be loudly applauded for restoring Buckingham GC. I clearly remember the impression Peter Denny's article "A Small Loco Depot" in Feb 1960 RM had on me. I couldn't define at the time why his work had such an impact (I was only six!), but now I realise it was because I was looking at a model rather than a toy - which most of the other magazine articles contained.

I'm sure it also stirred my interest in pre-group railways. Creating that level of work using the materials available at the time to produce a representation of an (even now) rarely modelled prototype company was truly astounding.

Thanks for posting Ian and thanks also to Mark T for sharing his excellent blog.
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