n.e.r. - newood east railway

I'm going to move back to "00" !!

However I don't want to burn my bridges in "N" completely so I'm going to take the middle out of my present layout. This is the centre section of a little over 9' 9". It can be removed intact by just cutting the tracks to the reversing loops at each end. All the point work and electrics are on the centre section. I have removed the bookcase from underneath the layout and replaced it with a low level filing cabinet and an old printer table of about the same height. I propose to "drop" the centre "N" scale baseboard intact onto these new supports which will place it about 15" under the yet to be built new baseboard that will house the "00" tracks etc. I will have to lift the "N" gauge reverse loops tracks from each end section, but this is no big deal since there is no turnouts and no wiring involved.
The new "00" baseboard will be wider (24") than the "N" one (15") . The provisional plan is for an out and back terminus with a reverse loop and hidden storage sidings. The track will be Peco Code 75 fine scale in all visible sections otherwise Atlas Set-track which is much cheaper over here at least (Canada) Rolling stock will be the usual mixture of just what 'takes me fancy'. I don't believe in inventing fancy justifications for "my toys"! So far I have a Hornby Pannier and three wagons (Bachmann) I propose to standardize on Kadee couplers since they are cheap, reliable and easy to convert to. (OK so they don't look like 3 link but on the other hand neither do tension lock couplings which are much more visible than the Kadees) Work will start after the summer break, probably late September.



So here it is! The provisional design for the new 00 layout. Nothing spectacular, just a fairly simple two level affair with a modest terminus which is loosely based on "Clun" the design by Iain Rice in the most excellent Wild Swan Publications book "An approach to Model Railway Layout design. This connects to a "dumbbell" continuous run via a 1 in 40 incline concealed behind the back drop. The minimum curve is 15" (nominal - Atlas or Peco Set track) but all such curves are hidden and largely accessible. I've included a continuous run for two reasons, firstly its useful for running in locomotives and secondly I just love to watch a train running round and round! With the above design it gives the appearance of a length of double track so that the "tail chasing" effect is largely lost. The overall size is 14'10" x 34" maximum. This still fits along the side wall of my office (3rd bedroom) leaving plenty of room for access and work!
The design was accomplished using XTrkCad from Sillub in Ottawa. Although it takes some handling this CAD programme does a fantastic job. The bitmap at the left doesn't do credit to its powerful features. Using an "old" wide carriage 24 pin dot matrix printer I am able to produce large scale drawings of the complete design (1/4 scale) as well as producing full size layout templates for direct placing on the baseboard.

Construction is due to start soon, actually a soon as I've finished the wife's Dolls House which was started back in 1980. Some sort of ultimatum has been issued! It looks like this will be in the next week or so, just in time for the fall model railway season.

I'm also looking into the possibility of using DCC as a means of controlling this new layout. I have a background in electronics (albeit some 45 years ago!) but the same principals still apply (I hope). The idea of being able to control locos independently of each other on the same length of track is highly appealing.  My currently most favoured supplier is MRC who produce a basic set which will allow you to control up to 6 locos simultaneously with a minimum of fuss. The price also seems to be about right, $229.95 Canadian for the basic outfit.

Work Begins !

I've finally gotten around to dismantling the "N" Gauge" layout and starting the bench work for the new "OO" gauge layout.
I've made a couple of minor adjustments to the plan shown.  I've increased the minimum radius to 17" or thereabouts. I found some rolling stock wasn't too happy on 15" . This increase in radius necessitated widening the table framework to 36" at each end and there is a small conflict with the door!. However one can still get in OK and since I'm really the only one who uses the room (it doubles as my office) there really isn't a serious problem. The other small adjustment is to add a "kickback siding at the front of the terminus goods yard.
This shows the "door" end reverse loop. (Click for larger image) The paper pattern was generated using XTrkCad software and printed out on an "old" dot matrix printer. As you can see it shows both the track and its centre line as well as a user definable track board outline. The paper patterns were tacked to the 11 m/m poplar ply and cut out with a jig saw.








N.E.R. "OO" December 1998 ...

Just to recap, my frames are built using nominal 2" x 3" select pine. This is screwed together using 2" x #8  countersink (flathead) screws. No glue is used so that they can be disassembled and re-built should the need arise. The track boards or profiles are cut from 11 m/m G1S (Good one side) poplar plywood which is nice and clean to work with, cuts easily and takes pins and paint perfectly. The back of the framework is screwed to the walls and supported at the front by 2" x 3" pine legs. I personally don't have a problem with building "baseboards" this way. I find it relatively cheap, especially as much material can be recovered from previous frames, its quick, the total frame for this version of the N.E.R. took less than 4 hours to cut, assemble and install to the stage you see in the pictures below.



Left to right ..The "Door End" loop with cork underlay pinned in position. Shelves underneath allow lots of "hidden" storage. Eventually this "storage" area will be hidden by the high level terminus that is located above the reverse loop.
Here you can see most of the length of the baseboard. It is 14' 10" overall length. The ends are 36" wide with a centre section of 24".It is mounted 48" above floor level, I find this height is best for someone of advanced years like myself! At the left hand side (along the wall) you can see the beginning of the incline that will loop round into the high level terminus. Hopefully this will be under 1 in 40 (2.5% for our North American friends)You can see the XTrkCad patterns roughly in place for the beginning of the "Window End" loop.




Above track laying has begun. Peco Streamline, Code 75 fine scale. The low level "main line" is laid and tested. Nothing fancy, just cork underlay and lightly pinned track. Eventually the exposed portions will be properly ballasted using Woodland Scenics ballast mixed with their dry adhesive, arranged in place and then well sprayed with water with a drop of detergent added. This will only be done after the track has been painted. First coat is matt black to simulate creosoted sleepers, then the rails will be picked out in rust colour. A bit of a fiddle but well worth the effort in the end .

I've made some changes to the track plan as above.  Added a small Low Level Terminus. Originally there was nothing here, but with the simple addition of a double slip I've fitted in a tiny station with run-round and a bay, might even manage a "coal siding" or something off the run round . This is instead of some "hidden" storage sidings that I was considering. (N.B. The green tracks are high level, the black low level, buildings omitted for clarity. )Half of the crossover has been replaced with a double slip to enable access to the newly added lower level terminus.


In the photo above the "old N" scale layout can be seen underneath together with the inevitable collection of "junk" that's needed to build a model railway. Eventually I plan to remove the "N" scale baseboard and salvage anything that's worth keeping. In particular there is a Peco point motor on each "N" turnout which can be removed and reused as well as some tiny D.P.S.T. micro switches that can be used for switching turnout polarity.


There will be an "interesting" plate girder bridge over the end of the low level platform where the high level approach road crosses it. This alignment is somewhat tricky but should work OK. I shall probably re-work some of the high-level terminus tracks to suit the slightly reduced area.

February 1999



The high level baseboard (11m/m poplar ply), is temporarily in place. It will be framed wherever possible with 2" x 1" pine. The gradient to this station which runs alongside the wall, is not covered over by the upper baseboard. It will be "hidden" by a backdrop and some low relief shops etc.

The GWR Auto coach is "parked" in the bay of the new low level terminus. All the turnouts have Peco switch machines (point motors) fitted below them and they have got wiring "tails" soldered in place ready for eventual hook-up to the control panel. The motors for the double slip will be "above ground" and hidden under a suitable structure or embankment.


Above looking towards the "window end" The upper baseboard is temporarily located to allow for track alignment. the through girder bridge that will carry the high level track over the end of the lower terminus can now be accurately located. The top end of the gradient can just be seen at top centre. Not sure yet what will happen to the large loop that will lead from the gradient into the upper terminus. I may well hide most of this under a townscape or hill. Perhaps an old church or farm would look nice, something suitably "old world" and bucolic. The 18" loop won't look too good exposed.

March/April 1999

The last couple of months have been pretty hectic, too much work and a new Grandson!. However some good solid progress has been made on the N.E.R.
Scenery has started to appear, a new control panel has been built and all existing turnouts are wired to it and working. Some new locomotives and rolling stock have been acquired. The low level main line and country terminus are now finished so far as track work is concerned. The inclined track runs up to and over the truss bridge (Dapol Kit ex Airfix))
The following pictures show progress...


The control panel is installed, as yet no scenery. The Country Terminus start to take shape. I've used fine aluminium screen wire as a base for the embankments. This is probably not available in the UK since they do not need or use window screens. Its a perfect base for any sort of plaster work. I used a something called "screen wire as a base for the embankments. This is probably not available in the UK since they do not need or use window screens. Its a perfect base for any sort of plaster work. I used a something called "Amaco Sculptamold" for the first time. Its a wonderful product, very fibrous and dries absolutely rock hard. I added some black powder colour to it to "kill" the stark whitene. I then work it over with poster colours followed by judicious application of various colours of flock. The start of this process can be seen under the truss bridge. The station building is the ubiquitous Ratio Country station kit in progress. Road access to this rather cramped station will be via a level crossing over the double tracks seen in the foreground. I have the necessary Wills kits ready for assembly.. I then work it over with poster colours followed by judicious application of various colours of flock. The start of this process can be seen under the truss bridge. The station building is the ubiquitous Ratio Country station kit in progress. Road access to this rather cramped station will be via a level crossing over the double tracks seen in the foreground. I have the necessary Wills kits ready for assembly.. I then work it over with poster colours followed by judicious application of various colours of flock. The start of this process can be seen under the truss bridge. The station building is the ubiquitous Ratio Country station kit in progress. Road access to this rather cramped station will be via a level crossing over the double tracks seen in the foreground. I have the necessary Wills kits ready for assembly.

New locomotives are, a Bachmann Collett goods in GWR livery, great runner and really smooth. A Bachmann Warship also in GWR colours...Wow.....Now this is what all manufacturers should be aiming for. Almost silent, heavy, silky smooth, all 8 wheels pick-up and are driven. Body finish is great and the price is right. I have a pair of GWR Suburban brakes (Dapol) and a few more sundry wagons (Bachmann and Hornby) Eventually all these will be fitted with Kadee)  Eventually all these will be fitted with Kadee Magne-Maticouplers. I know... I know!! Totally non-prototypical, but they're a damm sight neater than the tension-lock abortions and they work like a dream. Our local Model Railroad store (Hutch's Trains) - has a great deal on these couplers. Over the years I've tried just about every type of coupler from Peco simplex to three link, since I enjoy operating and shunting (switching) I need something reliable and easy to fit.)

I'm building a "High Level" brass loco, my first venture into this "modern" technology. Progress is slow but very satisfying, not too sure about the "works" but I'll keep you posted. Also I've ordered a couple of Comet Gresley suburbans which I intend to build as an articulated set. This is pure nostalgia on my part. I used to travel from Harrow on the Hill to Moorgate in these many years ago. (Metropolitan and Great Central!)


The Warship waits for the Colletts Goods to clear the mainline while the pannier sits in the spur
siding with its Auto coach.

The embankment is, as yet, unfinished, even so its natural texture and colour looks fairly good. There is a section of Ratio retaining wall embedded just behind the auto coach. Next job is to start on the track work for the main terminus. The Wills semi finished station building can be seen approximately where it will finish up. I have a roll of "cloud" vinyl wallpaper which will be applied to replace the current track plans.

A few words about the control panel. I've made several of these over the years, this one is a strictly KISS version. The board is a piece of enamelled hardboard (Masonite) sprayed with dark green high gloss acrylic paint. I drilled/cut most of the holes for the various switches before painting. The panel is hinged along its bottom edge so that it can be folded down for access to the wiring. Our local electrical component store (SAYAL) has an absolute Aladdin's cave of bits and pieces and I found some rather nice D.P.D.T. toggle switches with plain silver aluminium toggles.($2.00 about 80p each) These act as the controls for all my turnouts. Each one has an attendant push button to send a "shot" of juice to the Peco point motors. I use a home made capacitor discharge unit which really gives them a jolt! Other switches will be added as required. I had considered going with DCC but "funked" it at the last minute. Instead I'll stick with simple cab-control, at least for the time being."



A word about this latest batch of photos. They were taken with a simple fixed focus cheapo camera. (Actually a special offer from my Gas (petrol) company ). In the past I've borrowed a friend's Nikon but he lives a fair way away and is not over keen on lending me it. One day I'll have to get a digital camera, but right now the N.E.R. has priority over any spare cash I may have.

So it begins to look a bit like a model railway. Still lots and lots to do, but surely that's the joy of our hobby. I've now been "at it" for 52 years, so I reckon I'm something of a guru. Not particularly talented but it gives me great pleasure even at my advanced age of 67 in 1999.
The "old minces" are still pretty good and the hands pretty steady. Long may it continue at least for as long as The Good Lord sees fit to leave me on this mortal plain (or should that be plane?)

By the way...



This where I develop custom software to support my modelling habit! (Just in case you're interested!)

N.E.R. "OO" May/June 1999

Onward into late Spring 99...
Still very busy trying to make a "buck" writing software. The N.E.R. has been somewhat neglected these last few weeks. However there is some progress.
The embankment has now had its first set of colours which will do for the time being. I used poster colour and lots of water, just "sloshed" it on using Yellow, Green, Blue and Brown with plenty of white and a touch of black here and there. A small sprinkling of flock adds a bit of texture and there are few desultory "bushes" from something I had in stock!


The station building has progressed somewhat and there is now a signal cabin and level crossing. The latter is from Wills and the former by Ratio. A start has also been made on ballasting, I used a medium grey ballast and sprayed it with water and a drop of washing up liquid. I should mention that the ballast was first mixed with Woodland Scenics adhesive. (2 parts Ballast to 1 part adhesive). This certainly sticks like "you know what to a blanket" but you have to do a lot a scraping afterwards to release the point blades and get rid of stray bits of ballast. Tedious, but worth the effort.
The platform has acquired some passengers and some working lamps, not very prototypical but they look pretty when lighted. The platform surface is somebody's embossed plastic sheeting, thin but effective. Painted overall "concrete/york stone" colour and then touched up flagstone by flagstone with various shades of grey/brown, again tedious but rewarding.
The track has been laid out for the upper level terminus but as yet not finalized. I'm sort of living with it just hooked together for the time being and at the same time siting various buildings to get the best arrangement. There is a Ratio single road loco shed and a Ratio goods shed at present being tried in various positions. These will be followed by the Cooper craft weigh scale, Ratio loading gauge and Ratio Goods hoist. Future purchases will include a water tower, coal staithes and lots of fencing various and of course a complete town of Newood!.


A "head on" view of "Mollton station". Semi finished Ratio loco shed in background


the top two pictures show the provisional track layout for the high level terminus (Newood) The half finished Wills Country Station can just be seen top centre with the Ratio Goods shed to the left of it. (also unfinished) next is a closer view of the terminus showing the pannier in the "bay" with the autocoach, the first low relief shop is leaning on the old light switch which has now been moved over and replaced by a rotary dimmer (just visible behind the goods shed.

N.E.R. "OO" October 1999

The summer has finished and being extremely strong willed I resisted the temptation to spend a fortune whilst in the UK on our annual holiday. I visited a few model railway stores, in particular The Engine Shed at Ford in Sussex (Near Arundel) This is a great store, extremely well stocked and with helpful and knowledgeable staff. I stocked up on leaflets and catalogues resisting the temptation of buying one of everything!.
Another highlight was a few days stay in York (actually to hear my grandson sing in the Bedford School choir in York Minster, what a fabulous experience) and consequently a day at the N.R.M. ( National Railway Museum) for the uninitiated. Also absolutely fabulous! Perhaps the only disappointment was the "O" gauge layout which is looking its age and in real need of an update.

The N.E.R. has not made any startling progress over the last few months. Usual excuses, holidays, work, a death in the family etc. However I have been experimenting with ballasting, a task that many funk or leave out altogether. Over the years I've tried all kinds of methods and have yet to discover a definitive system that satisfies my appearance requirements and is easy and quick to execute. The current ballasting seen in the pictures below is a combination of methods.

I have used Woodland Scenics products. How we managed without this company's amazing range of products I don't know. I first tried mixing Medium Ballast - Gray Blend with their dry adhesive. Sprinkling this over the area to be ballasted, getting most of it off the sleepers with a soft paintbrush and then over spraying it with water plus a drop of washing up liquid to lower the surface tension.  Hmmm...not bad but it turned the ballast somewhat pink. I then sprinkled dry ballast over the area and sprayed with Woodland Scenicscenic Adhesive. This is, I believe, just watered down white PVA glue. This works fine but of course everything that is in the general area get sprayed with glue. The makers claim that it is matt, however this is not strictly true as it imparts a slight sheen (or as the lady in a paint shop said " a shite scene") to everything that gets some. I wasn't entirely happy with the final effect and found it was improved by over coating with a sprinkling of Gray Fine ballast and re-spraying. This is probably what I should have used in the first place. Having applied the ballast and adhesive I spent many a happy hour armed with an Xactonife scraping the grains of ballast off the sleepers etc. I then dry-brushed the sleepers matt black and painted the rails with rail colour. The final effect is just about acceptable.

The DMU is a recently acquired Hornby 3 car set, currently running as a 2 car set since I'm short of space in the bays(s) Runs just about how you would expect, noisy and a bit jerky. Of course I've been spoiled by the Bachmann Collett and Warship. These are so unbelievably silky smooth I can only liken them to the best of the US models. I am still resisting going over to US outline even though the availability of products over here in Canada is a million times more than that of UK outline.and Warship. These are so unbelievably silky smooth I can only liken them to the best of the US models. I am still resisting going over to US outline even though the availability of products over here in Canada is a million times more than that of UK outline.


Next project is to get the upper terminus (Newood) track laid and wired and hopefully ballasted. This is projected to be finished by early in 2000. Work and budget permitting.


N.E.R. "OO" November 1999

Winter is upon us and supposedly this is the beginning of the "High Season" for railway modelling. I have made some good progress recently and as the pictures show the main terminus is now taking shape.



Work in progress, I'm trying to finalize the layout of this terminus and juggling my stock of turnouts etc.
As a result of an article in MRJ No.113 I have ordered one of Bob Jones' wonderful etched footbridges. Coincidentally it is of an N.E.R. design, of course this is the original N.E.R. not mine. I have long wished to include such a model and consequently changed the design of the terminus to have two platforms linked by the bridge.


This is the footbridge, picture courtesy Model Railway Journal. I am currently awaiting the arrival of the kit and anxiously look forward to assembling it. The next photo shows the completed track layout. Space for the second platform is between the two crossovers. The second platform will be fenced along the goods yard side and will therefore only accept passenger trains on its right hand side.

 The next photo shows the completed track layout. Space for the second platform is between the two crossovers. The second platform will be fenced along the goods yard side and will therefore only accept passenger trains on its right hand side.
The "black" patches are actually pieces of card covering the holes for the Peco switch machines (point motors) These are made on my computer using MS Publisher and a business card format. I draw the slots for the fixing lugs and the operating arm on the card layout and then reverse the print so that they print white on a black background. Using standard Avery business cards I can print 10 at a time and then just cut out the slots with an Exacto Knife. Eventually they will be trimmed and then hidden by the ballast.

The buildings are a bit of a mixture and as you can see none of them is really completely finished and certainly not fixed in position. Doubtless you will be able to identify them without my help. Platforms will be built using 1/4" x 1/2" model aircraft balsa stripwood and then surfaced with either Wills paving or maybe just styrene. The visible faces will be covered with Wills English Bond brickwork.


Here's a closer view of the Ratio Good's Shed

Almost finished, just needs to be somewhat more weathered.

Next job is to connect all the turnouts to the control panel, set up the various feeds and test all the track work thoroughly before ballasting.

I now have a second power unit and this will be the supply for the terminus. I'm considering "Cab Control" but never really "got a handle" on it and I'm not sure of the advantages. Perhaps in the future I will go with DCC but this is a low priority.
I'm also planning to install a "fiddle yard" that will connect with the terminus and allow trains to leave there and go directly to the fiddle yard avoiding the continuous main line altogether. This will allow greater flexibility in running and make for much more interest. I haven't yet finalized the design for this and there is a small amount of domestic objection since the fiddle yard's baseboard will run across the lower part of the window. I've installed the turnout coming off the terminus approach road and am now debating whether to also install one running in the opposite direction thus creating a "Y" junction into the fiddle yard. This would allow trains to travel in and out of the fiddle yard either directly to the terminus or via the incline down to the "main line". But first I must get the terminus fully operational and looking somewhat more finished.

December 1999

At last I have bought a Digital Camera, I needed one for work so it seemed a good investment especially since it can also be used for the N.E.R. history. Here's are some of the first pictures.


These shows the new footbridge mentioned on the previous page, which still hasn't received it's final coat of paint and is resting on the as yet, unfinished platforms.