A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

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jsherratt
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A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:50 pm

Hello All,

I thought I would start a thread on here to keep you updated with progress with "my" new railway.

I expect most of you will have read of Don Rowland's Central Cheshire Lines layout, featuring the station at Rhuddall Heath and the yard at Alpraham Sidings, in MRJ over the last few years. Well, I am lucky enough to have acquired the layout from Don, and am now in the process of installing the railway in its new home.

I should perhaps assure you that Don has not given up modelling, far from it. Matters are moving forward already with his new project. Other than to confirm that it is to be in P4 it is probably best I let Don tell you about this, which I am sure he will when there is a little more to report.

The railway is being set up in an outbuilding here. Some remedial work was called for to fix a few leaks in the roof, other work has involved putting down a new wooden chipboard floor to support the layout, putting in some new lights and a general lick of paint all round. With the help of Tony Montgomery and Phil Ryder (thanks very much chaps) the layout was moved over here last month. The layout has I am glad to say, survived the move remarkably well, bearing in mind that it was not really designed to be taken apart and moved. There has been some damage to track ends where the rail had to be cut to allow baseboards to be separated, but that was to be expected.

A small start has already been made on setting up the railway - now, may I make a claim would this be the smallest individual P4 baseboard ?

IMG_0628.jpg
A small baseboard, large trees from little acorns grow etc.
IMG_0628.jpg (83.12 KiB) Viewed 16683 times


This in fact is the "stub" where the lifting section came down and rested - I have since firmly attached the former lifting section to this and added the next board going round towards Alpraham Sidings..

Some new legs are being made to hold up the section that rested on built in cupboards at Don's house, which was the engine shed.

I hope that the whole layout will be set up over the next few weeks, then it will be a case of putting the wiring looms back in and getting the railway working.

I plan on keeping the railway pretty much as it was at Don's house. The only change I am thinking of, is to turn back time (keep scanning for croniton particles) to around 1905 - 1910 or so, to fit in with my own interests. The upper quadrant signals may be replaced with LNWR lower quadrant as a part of this.

I will put some more pictures up when there is progress to report.

John S

Terry Bendall
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:26 am

Sounds very good John. Look forward to seeing progress.

jsherratt wrote:The layout has I am glad to say, survived the move remarkably well, bearing in mind that it was not really designed to be taken apart and moved.


Perhaps there is a message here for those who build layouts that are not intended to go to exhibitions. Circumstances can and do change and building a layout where dismantling and moving it would cause a lot of work, and potentially damage, it is worth while planning for this at the design stage and avoiding things like complex pointwork across baseboard joints and large wiring looms crossing joints.

jsherratt wrote:Matters are moving forward already with his new project.

Now I know why Don has ordered 15 packets of sleepers. :D (which are due to be produced this week)

Terry Bendall

martin goodall
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby martin goodall » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:54 pm

Interesting that this item should pop up just at this moment.

My work took me to Cheshire this week, and I stayed overnight on Monday at Tarporley. I noticed that not far away on the map was Rhuddall Heath, and a little further away the village of Alpraham. Time did not allow me to explore the area around, but this is clearly the countryside in which Don Rowland's famous series of layouts is based.

What I had not appreciated until this visit is how deeply rural this area is. It may not be that far from Crewe, but there is certainly no industry around here. It has given me a totally different perspective on the Central Cheshire Lines, which I had always assumed would have served a fairly well-developed industrialised area. Not so.

[I suppose those already familiar with the area will think that this is the attitude of a typical effete southerner, who assumes that everything north of Watford consists of coal mines, steel works and back-to-back housing!]

This does however pose one query or problem. It would seem that the Central Cheshire Lines would have had no obvious source of traffic, other than a limited amount of local agricultural produce and inward supplies such as fertilizer, etc. I recall that Don conceived the Central Cheshire as primarily a diversionary route for carrying through traffic, rather than as a local line.

Whatever the protoypical background, there is something inspirational about the various iterations of the Central Cheshire Lines, and about the articles that Don has written about these layouts in the model railway press over the years. It's good to hear further news of the layout.

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Jim Summers
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Jim Summers » Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:14 pm

Congratulations on acquiring the layout, John, and I do hope you report progress, which will of course go swimmingly.
Without regular doses of the inspiring doings at Rhudall Heath and environs we would all feel very deprived.

Jim

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:35 pm

Did you say LNWR LQ signals, John?

Good idea, here some I've just finished.

Regards,

Jol
Starter signals web.jpg

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jsherratt
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:11 am

Hello Jol,

I like the signals. If you find you have accidentally made too many and have more than you need, let me know....

Terry, the boards for the railway are made in sections. Aside from the part around the lifting section, the rest of the railway came apart in to four large sections. While these were much larger than I think you would ever plan on for an exhibition layout, and despite them not having any crates or similar for carriage, they survived the journey pretty well. Most of the cuts in the track where the boards came apart were in plain track, although one point has been damaged beyond repair. That is the point in to the new dairy siding. I will probably take that point and the siding out anyway and put plain track in, at least for now.

Despite being fairly close geographically, I don't know "this" bit of Cheshire all that well, I think the last time I was that way would have been on a visit to Oulton Park, and that is going back a few years. Don did, if I recall, at one point think of having a connection to a colliery on the layout (this is speaking from memory without looking back at MRJ's) but decided that the good citizens of that part of Cheshire would not stand for such industry on their doorstep.

Well, again with help from Tony and Phil (thanks!) the layout is now set up in it's new home, as shown here:

IMG_0692.jpg
The railway set up
IMG_0692.jpg (179.14 KiB) Viewed 16302 times


It took a while to get the first board (that is the one under the engine shed) set up and level, but the rest then followed with less difficulty.

An advantage of the new location is that you will be able to look at and "get at" the outside of the railway, as well as the inside. The present job is reinforcing and stabilising some of the legs and the baseboard joints, there is also yet work to be done to the new "home" itself. Apart from the engine shed which you may see in the distance, the buildings and signals have not yet been put back in place. This will probably wait until I have sorted out the track and have trains running. Probably.... A few wagons have already crept out of their storage boxes and appeared on the layout.

The repairs to the track will use ply and rivet, I have some of the "Hi - Ni" nickel rail from C and L in stock to go with it.

I'll come back with further reports.

John

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jsherratt
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:31 am

Hello All,

Some progress since I posted last month. The point leading in to the dairy siding that was damaged when the boards were separated prior to departure from Don's has been taken out and the curve has been replaced as shown in the photo here.

IMG_0830.jpg
The new section of track in place
IMG_0830.jpg (257.11 KiB) Viewed 16111 times


The new section of track is being tested by a Black 5 chassis, and power is being supplied via a couple of crocodile clips from an H and M Clipper.

I changed my mind after the last posting, after I'd had a conversaion with Dick about the track on his railway and I decided (for this part) to use C and L flexi track, with their Hi-Ni rail. Sod's law the bit of track to be replaced was something over one meter, so two sections were used here. The curve was set by eye with the help of some curve templates which Tony Montgomery very helpfully lent to me. The ruling curve here seems to be about 1.2 meters.

Other parts of the new track may well use ply and rivet - I have been staining a supply of sleepers and being away at a course next week may give a chance to get some sleepers riveted for this.

Other progress has been made since this photo was taken. The two control panels are now plugged in to the railway. After repairing a couple of dead sections that probably arose from wires coming loose when the railway was moved, it is now possible to run through off this new section of track, past the station and the engine shed up to the old lifting section. There is movement in the marshalling yard too.

The second photo here shows my 4F peering out of the engine shed, both of which have been temporarily placed in position on the railway.

IMG_0837.jpg
4215 in the shed
IMG_0837.jpg (203.4 KiB) Viewed 16111 times


This is my second P4 loco and when I worked it out, it is 29 years old now and still runs ok. It uses an Airfix body with an original miled brass Perseverance chassis, and Maygib wheels.

Off now for a bit more modelling.

John

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Jim Summers
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Jim Summers » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:03 pm

Good to see progress continues, John.
And I wish I had thought of using courses for rivetting sleepers.

Jim

Terry Bendall
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:28 am

Caleyman wrote:And I wish I had thought of using courses for rivetting sleepers.


With apologies for getting a bit off topic ...

Barry Luck of the Mid Sussex group once built the bodies for 10 LBSC ballast wagons whist on a course, and I have been known to take plastic wagon kits away to work on. (usually because time was short).

Terry Bendall

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jsherratt
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:48 pm

Well I see I couple of months have passed since I posted on here, I don't know where the time goes. Anyway, since then progress has been made even if it is not as much progress as I would have hoped for.

The up line is now working and last weekend the first train made a full circuit of the railway since the move here earlier this year. See the photo. I would like to think that this shows NSR No 36 on a short transfer freight from Alsager which has worked over via Crewe.

IMG_1139c.jpg
NSR D Class No 36 with the first train
IMG_1139c.jpg (252.92 KiB) Viewed 15678 times


You will see that at the moment single line working is in place, as the down line has not yet been put back in. In the background the headshunt has been taken up, although a start has now been made on putting that back in. Work continues as and when time permits.

John

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Tim V
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Tim V » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:09 pm

Looks impressive as a single line - just an idea....
Tim V
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jsherratt
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:43 pm

As I've not posted anything since October I thought I'd add another photo and a little more news from the Central Cheshire Lines.

I have not had as much time to devote to the railway as I would have liked due to combination of employment, being laid up, trying to fix another leak in the roof which the lovely weather over the last few months revealed, stepping on a nail :o (the list goes on) but there has been some progress.

Sorry to disappoint you Tim, but the double track has now been reinstated as you will see in the picture, at least in this corner of the railway. For those of you who remember the layout at Don's house, this is where the lifting section in to the conservatory was. All the boards including the lifting section are joined up solid.

336c.jpg
LNWR Chopper Tank and brake van in the headshunt
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The main line has been relaid with C and L Hi-Nickel flexi track, the headshunt uses ply and rivet. The replaced headshunt is shorter than the original yet on an easier curve, but still holds 9 wagons plus a tank loco.

I did wonder if using flexi track on the curves for the main line would cause any problems with a lack of gauge widening but in fact, this does not seem to be a problem. However, I have put the headshunt down as ply and rivet track and have eased the gauge a bit as the curve here is a little tighter.

You will see the new track has not yet been ballasted. I will probably leave ballasting until all the new track is down and I am quite happy with the running.

The next job is to finish putting in the rest of the track on the second circuit on the opposite side of the oval, that is, near the level crossing and the former dairy siding.

John

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grovenor-2685
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:05 pm

I did wonder if using flexi track on the curves for the main line would cause any problems with a lack of gauge widening but in fact, this does not seem to be a problem.
It did cause problems for me, but maybe my curves were a bit tighter than yours ;) I replaced the offending curves with ply and rivet and now only have C&L on straight or nearly straight track. give it a good check with your largest locos before you do the ballasting etc.
Regards
Keith
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Keith
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jsherratt
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:23 pm

Hello Keith,

That's a good point. I'm not in any rush to push on with ballasting ... and as you may see in the photo, the C and L flexitrack is only lightly pinned down at the moment.

A Black 5 with a compensated Comet chassis has been round the curves that have been relaid so far without any difficulty, and I don't imagine I will be looking to run anything bigger (or should that be longer?) than a Black 5.

John

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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby grovenor-2685 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:29 pm

Its generally the fixed wheelbase that matters and all the Derby Std. 8' + 8'6" locos are longer than a black 5.
Regards
Keith
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Keith
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Ian Everett
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Ian Everett » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:44 pm

grovenor-2685 wrote:Its generally the fixed wheelbase that matters and all the Derby Std. 8' + 8'6" locos are longer than a black 5.
Regards
Keith


The minimum radius on the non-scenic part of Bradford North Western is 3'6" and I can run a Jinty, Fowler 7F 0-8-0, Stanier 8F 2-8-0, Black Five and even a Jack-Shaft diesel shunter happily. The only loco that finds it difficult - but not always - is my G5 0-4-4T, where the bogie is just pivoted and has little side-play w.r.t. the chassis. The track here, being non-scenic, is built on copper-clad sleepers with a gauge of approx 19.5mm. On other slightly less tight curves I have used the gauge-widened version of C&L track, which also has a gauge of about 19.5mm and makes a big difference compared with the standard 18.83mm gauge.

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jsherratt
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:50 pm

grovenor-2685 wrote:Its generally the fixed wheelbase that matters and all the Derby Std. 8' + 8'6" locos are longer than a black 5.


My 4F, 3F, NSR "D" and GCR Pom Pom all go round the curves ok too. John

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grovenor-2685
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby grovenor-2685 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:25 pm

So far so good then :)
Keith
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Keith
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:28 am

Some time has passed since the last report, so here goes a short update.

Work has been a little slow due to the severe cold weather making it a little uncomfortable to spend too much time in the railway room. However, the new partition wall and door are now in place which keeps out some of the drafts. Thanks to my employers giving me Maundy Thursday off, the second circuit of track is now relaid and working.

IMG_1698sf.jpg
GCR Pom Pom on the newly relaid up line
IMG_1698sf.jpg (216.17 KiB) Viewed 14665 times


The Pom Pom is built from an Alan Gibson kit as MRJ readers may recall. It is in line for the workshop to have boiler fittings changed and be backdated to GCR livery adn condition, but Dick Petter says I must not do this as long as it is required on Knutford East Junc. I see now that I have built the kit, Bachmann are now doing a rtr model. I imagine it will be some time before they get around to North Stafford prototypes though.

The fencing in the foreground has taken some damage from my stomach while working on the track. In the background, it is missing completely where it was attached to the backscene. In these places where the backscene has been removed, there are just pieces of perspex where the track is close to the baseboard edge as a precaution against derailments. I have a plan to add a few inches of extra scenic depth to the edges of the boards, so the fence will be repositioned in due course.

In the background,the yard seems to have acquired something of a GWR feel. I do need to build some more LNWR and NSR wagons of the common open type to be more representative.

IMG_1713sf.jpg
GCR Pom Pom on the turntable
IMG_1713sf.jpg (162.04 KiB) Viewed 14665 times


Having left its train at Alpraham Sidings the Pom Pom has gone to the shed to be turned and serviced ready for the return working to the Cheshire Lines.

John

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Ian Everett
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Ian Everett » Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:55 am

John - that looks lovely.

(PM sent)

Ian

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Paul Willis
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Paul Willis » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:35 am

jsherratt wrote:Some time has passed since the last report, so here goes a short update.


Hi John,

And for the third time this morning...

Any chance of those pictures in a high-resolution version? Emailed to "marketing@scalefour.org" please :-)

I have to say, there really is some crackingly good pictures of modelling taking place at the moment.

It's certainly inspiring me to get a little more done, after I've put all of this paperwork in it's place. Who said modern life is rubbish?

Cheers
Paul Willis
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Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

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jsherratt
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:33 am

Hello Paul,

Sorry for sluggish response to your post, p/m sent.

May well do some more pictures of the railway over the weekend.

John S

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jsherratt
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby jsherratt » Thu May 22, 2014 12:18 pm

Time flies, as they say, and I had not realised that it is over 12 months since I posted anything on here about the railway. In that time I have been keeping busy and work has been progressing slowly on the railway in between putting time in at the work bench constructing locos and rolling stock.

For some time there had been difficulty gettiing the marshalling yard at Alpraham Sidings to work. My knowledge of electrickery and the mysterious art of wiring is not great and there were a few bugs to be ironed out. Most of the bugs and gremlins I think come down to mistakes by me in setting up the railway in its new home and disturbance in moving the railway, but one mysterious short did cause much bafflement. Eventually and with help from my friend Bill Wood, the problem was found.

One of the point motors had managed to become "live" and with one of those coincidences that can bedevil model railways, the tie bar it was driving had also become "live" to one of the rails. This meant that the track was shorting out through the tie bar, down the actuating rod and the point motor and to the common return. Now that this has been bypassed, and some dry joints and other minor problems put right, all 9 roads in the marshalling yard work and shunting can commence.

Here is a short video clip by way of evidence - apologies for the poor techincal quality, taken on my phone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_pDsOSY6eI&list=UU00Nan-DGm4toEOPV2KUCYQ

Next job is to get the goods loops fully working.

John

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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Terry Bendall » Fri May 23, 2014 6:49 am

jsherratt wrote:Here is a short video clip by way of evidence


Looks very nice John and a nice mixed freight train.

jsherratt wrote:but one mysterious short did cause much bafflement.


A bit like the occasion with Pulborough where piece of rail on the acuating arm of a point motor touched a 15 volt AC supply wire and put 15volts AC through the track - this on a layout with conventional DC control! :(

Having spent 2 hours under the layout at a show trying to find the fault, 2 seconds work with a pair of side cutters to snip a bit off the rail solved the problem. The joys of exhibitions. :twisted:

Terry Bendall

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: A New Home for the Central Cheshire Lines

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Fri May 23, 2014 7:08 am

Nice work work John.

We had a similar suddenly unexplained short on London Road at the Watford show on the second day. The heat in the hall caused on of those two bits of wire in PTFE tube tie bars to short out, as the wire expanded and meet in the middle.

Your post has prompted me to consider showing some of the slow progress on London Road, which I'll do soon.

Jol


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