St Columb

Discussion in 'Talk' started by Trenoweth, 19 November 2018.

  1. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    St Columb (or how to re-write history)

    The ideas for St Columb, a station on the Newquay & Wadebridge Railway, were formed thirty to forty years ago though despite some quite detailed plans being drawn up, never actually materialised - until now! It has varied down the years between being an extension of the North Cornwall Railway and a narrow gauge line. Now it is coming to fruition, it is the narrow gauge that has come out on top, though also including a standard gauge branch running from Padstow to St Columb.

    The premise is that after waiting for the North Cornwall Railway to proceed on from Padstow towards Truro, and being disappointed when that wasn't going to happen, the burghers of St Columb got together and approached Sir George Newnes to ask for his help to build a narrow gauge line, the Newquay & Wadebridge, between those two towns along the lines of the recently completed Lynton & Barnstaple line, though to a gauge of 2' 3". The line was duly built after which the North Cornwall Railway, fearing loss of revenue if traffic went to and from St Columb via Newquay and the GWR, eventually built a branch from Padstow to St Columb.

    The line, built on a shoestring by the same contractor as the L&B, J Nuttall of Manchester, opened with a motley collection of second hand locomotives and rolling stock, much to the displeasure of the local population. Upon the Grouping the Newquay & Wadebridge was absorbed into the Southern Railway, which did much to improve the permanent way and station facilities, but nothing to improve the rolling stock in use.

    Then in 1935 the Southern closed the Lynton & Barnstaple, re-gauged a couple of the Manning Wardle tanks (Exe and Taw), plus the better items of rolling stock, and transferred them from the L&B to the N&W. The rolling stock suffered from lack of maintenance during the war resulting in two of the engines needing to be taken out of service for heavy overhaul in 1946, so to help maintain services they bought a Baldwin 4-6-0T, 'Hummy', from the Ashover Light Railway when that line took it out of service. Come 1948 and the N&W is now a part of British Railways, Southern Region, though with an uncertain future as traffic wasn't picking up as expected in the late 1940s. Then the news of the Tall-y-llyn Railway's rescue inspired the Southern Region to re-visit the past and market the line as a tourist attraction. A pick-up in traffic, plust the age of the two "old ladies" prompted BR(S) to build a third engine to the Manning Wardle design, with the later form of cab as had been fitted to Lew. One of the Manning Wardles was repainted in original L&B livery and another in Southern livery whilst the third, named Lyd, was in BR black, along with the Baldwin.


    Map of the area​

    The fainter dotted lines are the standard gauge line to Padstow above and the narrow gauge one to Wadebridge below, both in tunnels.

    So much for fiction.........

    The model is being constructed using three of the boards formerly used for my Boscarne Junction layout. It seemed, once having finished stripping and reconstructing them, that this was a more difficult task than was building new ones from scratch! The three boards are constructed so that they fold down into self-contained boxes which may be easily handled by one person - and will also fit in our car!

    A couple of photos of the boards in their storage or using modes below.



    This layout is being DCC operated, a first for me though I did assist my grandson with building one. As far as "it's only two wires" goes, hah!

    For the electrics I'm using a Digitrax DCS 51 All-In-One Throttle/Command Station/Booster with a DC Specialties PSX-2 Solid State Circuit Breaker with two outputs. One is the bus for the Narrow Gauge circuit and the other the bus for the Standard Gauge branch.


    The DCS 51 clips on to the back of the middle board and has just one connection to the layout.

    Something else I have salvaged from Boscarne Junction is the level crossing, which I was surprised, and pleased, to find has fitted into the board well.

    It's all very well drawing things on paper (and approximating in SCARM) but will it all really fit? That's the big question. Having laid the cork base for the hidden sidings and round to the front of the board, out came rulers and a pencil and the answer to that all important question was - yes. Phew! Next to see just how well it'll work I put some stock on the boards, which showed me that I could actually move the standard gauge about an inch forward, giving a little more space for the scenicing behind. Here is where it was at by June 2017:


    The view from the Wadebridge end of the layout


    The view from the Newquay end
    The controls on the left are for the level crossing. The blue switch is the gate lock that allows current to flow to the servo controllers whilst at the same time cutting off the current to the track, hopefully avoiding any accidents through trains hitting closed gates! The white switch operates the servos which move in sequence, first the one nearest the camera which controls the gate on the 'outside' of the track, then the other which controls the gate on the 'inside'. The box in front of them is to step down the voltage from 12v DC to 5v DC. These will, of course, all be hidden once the scenery has been built.

    The track was laid on board one, and all the electrics connected.


    What two wires? Above is the underneath of board 1.​

    After this things went on hold for quite a while due to family circumstances, and really only got going again in October this year.

    Two big problems did make themselves apparent though, both now sorted. The first of which concerned a short circuit. The track on board one was wired up, tested and working satisfactorily but then suddenly started creating a short circuit. But where? Try as I might I couldn't pin it down, I even undid much of the wiring, then replaced it one connection at a time until the short circuit re-appeared. The culprit turned out to be one of the points where a tiny piece of metal chaff had lodged between one point blade and the frog section, though this could not be seen until I had gone so far as to lift the point having decided to replace it! Problem number two was to do with point motors. Due to the track plan not being optimised for the re-used boards it is not possible to have precisely placed under the baseboard motors in several locations so I opted for some above board ones on boards two and three. This was about the time that Cobalt released the Cobalt-SS above board point motors and as I'd been very pleased with the traditional analogue Cobalts I'd used previously, plus having a pretty small, quite easy to disguise, footprint, I decided to use them. Installation was not that difficult but the first problem to rear its ugly head was that unlike the previous Cobalt motors these only have one SPDT built in, which means that without additional relays I couldn't switch power to the frog area and also to the isolated sections leading up wrong road to the points. So I invested in some Cobalt REX relay extension boards. Boy, did this require a lot of wiring - so much for "DCC only needs two wires"! However, they did the trick with the SS control board sending the signal to the REX which in turn switched the power as required. Next thing, though, was the SS motors themselves are not as robust as I would like and infuriatingly had a habit of re-setting themselves. Setting them up in the first place wasn't too difficult but it is a real pain to have to go back under the board to set them up again. And again. Apparently I was very unlucky here as they are supposed to be very reliable, but mine certainly caused me more than a problem or two so I decided to change tack. I purchased six Cobalt iP Digital motors to replace six of the SS ones where the under-board motor can be located close to, though not exactly under, a point's tie bar, some utilising the 90° adapter that Cobalt sells. For the other four points (in the fiddle yard) I have used Gaugemaster BPPM20 point motors controlled by Train-Tech PC2 controllers with Gaugemaster GM500D relay switches to switch the power for frogs and isolated sections.

    I am given to understand that the release of the next batch of Heljan Manning Wardles may happen sooner rather than later so it will be good to be able to run them. First, though, I'll need to source some correct DCC sound decoders. I have had the Bachmann Baldwin "Hummy" for some time and have fitted it with the Digitrains decoder designed for this engine. The Manning Wardles do not yet, as far as I am aware, have a dedicated sound decoder though with the Ffestiniog built Lyd available for sound to be recorded I would hope one will soon be marketed. Alternatively, I understand that the Adams Radial sound decoder is a suitable choice. My original order was for three engines though I have now increased this to four - one in L&B livery, two in Southern and one in BR black. This latter was a welcome addition to the range as I had been thinking of repainting a green one - which may be thought of as sacrilege!

    I've been working on a track diagram to show the positions of the various points and signals with the route set being indicated by green LEDs. Points 1 to 4 are standard gauge, 5 to 10 narrow gauge with 7 to 10 being the "hidden sidings".. I did consider adding LED displays for the signals but decided just showing these for the points is all that is required as the aspect of the signals themselves will be more than obvious, so I've just noted their places and numbers, 11 to 13 being 'up' signals, 14 to 16 'down' ones, the distant being a fixed signal.


    It may seem a bit pretentious showing a Signalbox at the foot of the diagram but ..... that's where the Controls and Mimic board will be.

    By mid-November the wiring of Board 2 was complete (which means the Standard Gauge section was now complete) and I moved on to Board 3 where the rest of the track for the "hidden sidings" was been laid and the crossover points 7 wired up and working.

    Above are the works for the crossover points 7. The TrainTech DCC Controller is the black box in the middle whilst the Gaugemaster GM500 Relay Switches are the small green cards either side. The footprint for all these, and the wiring, is substantially less than for the Cobalt SS point motors that I gave up on. The white wires feed the frogs whilst the isolated sections ahead of a point when set the "right" way are fed by the black wire on the left side of the left hand GM500


    This is a view of the crossover points 7 above the board. Not a pretty sight for "out in the country" but for the "hidden sidings" they are ideal and work with a nice positive click. The cork underlay tells where plans have been amended a couple of times! The two points 8 and 9 on Board 2 are similarly set up though the crossover points 10 on Board 1 are controlled by two of the analogue Cobalt point motors salvaged from Boscarne Junction, with Cobalt AD-2fx DCC decoders.

    The very last piece of track, the short narrow gauge siding from the station, was laid on 15th November.


    As can be seen, the glue beneath the track was still wet when this photo was taken! The point motors have since been fitted and the board is now ready for wiring.
    Last edited: 28 March 2019
  2. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Oh dear, I've just come back to this after a couple of weeks' holiday and all is not well! I don't know whether or not it is a failing of these Peco points, or whether or not I'm just unlucky, but one of the point blades in the 'Y' point has detached itself completely. In fact I had to crawl around the floor to find it after having had the board upended to wire up the last of the uncoupling electro-magnets. So, a new one of these is required as even if I could refit the rail I feel it would be a weak area and something that may well happen again.
    Last edited: 9 December 2018
  3. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Today I finally had time to come back to the layout building and for the first time have run an engine all round the boards. It wasn't quite plain sailing, though, as for some reason the crossover points 6 didn't want to work. They were fine half an hour before I set up for a test running, but ..... a job for tomorrow. Strange that it is affecting both point motors.


    Hummy by the recalcitrant crossover, point 6A in the view. This was working perfectly not half an hour earlier!~ Grrrrr......​
    Last edited: 24 December 2018
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  4. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    There's Always Something!

    Yesterday I resolved the problem with the crossover points 6 - a loose wire! Anyway, having done that I then ran Hummy all round the layout a number of times, using both roads through the station area and all four loops in the fiddle yard. Ran like a dream! Phew. Next I hooked up a couple of coaches and Hummy set off as briskly (well, alright, just as slowly) as before. But .... when the consist arrived at the first of the Gaugemaster point motors the footboard of the carriage fouled the top of the motor! Grrr .... Time to put on the thinking cap!


    Above the Gaugemaster point motor can be seen right up against the ends of the sleepers​

    What to do about this? And if the coaches are fouling the motors, what would be the situation with the Manning Wardles? I asked Bob Barnard what the measurements of the MW engines are and was reassured that they are a millimetre or two narrower than the coaches, so how best to fix this? I toyed with a couple of ideas then settled for the time honoured one of a brass wire connection. But, the holes in the Gaugemaster actuators are rather large, and a brass rod small enough to fit in the points' tie bars would simply flop around inside these. So, a quick cup of tea was called for, and a scratch of the head. Solution was a short length of 3/16" copper tube inserted in the Gaugemaster actuator, the brass wire inserted into that and a quick dob of solder (before the plastic started to melt) to hold it all together. The first point motor was very carefully re-positioned and manually tested OK (these can be worked by hand as well as electrically) prior to fixing with screws. Turned on the power, selected the point's decoder and phew - all works well!


    The new arrangement on the first point to be sorted.​
    Last edited: 24 December 2018
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  5. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Not much time to look at this today but I have managed to amend the point connection for the other half of this crossover. As it's a longer run, and goes under an adjacent track, I used a thicker length of brass wire. That was a problem in itself as it was too thick - though filing a groove in the cork underlay soon sorted that.
  6. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    A train has run!

    Today the last two point motors were moved half an inch further from the track and Hummy, with up to four coaches, made numerous circumnavigations of the whole layout. I'm getting a bit better at stopping in the correct place - something that will be quite important where uncoupling is required, at a signal or in the platform without the rear of the train out of the station. Four coaches is just about this engine's limit, though when the Manning Wardles arrive Hummy will be relegated to goods workings only. There are 11" radius curves at either end of the layout and with four on Hummy does slip slightly.


    Hummy and coaches on the first run.​

    These Peco coaches (now fitted with metal wheelsets) are very light and I was thinking of adding a little weight to them but I think I'll put that on hold until I know how well they'll behave behind a Manning Wardle. Exe is on it's way, but I don't yet have a DCC decoder for it.
    Last edited: 24 December 2018
  7. John57sharp

    John57sharp Western Thunderer

    Must be great to get trains running!
  8. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Not arf!!! :)
  9. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    A short while ago I had turned my thoughts to track cleaning. This is a very necessary task that I was quite surprised to find I needed to carry out on brand new track, albeit track that had been laid for a while but had not been run on. I'm not a fan of track cleaning rubbers as I believe they damage the rails over time, so was thinking of a track cleaning wagon, if only for the longer run of 9mm track. I was drawn to the kit made by Lanarkshire Models and Supplies, which has some good recommendations, but it is only made for OO, EM and P4 track, not OO-9. I had a word with Dave Franks at LMS and he very kindly produced one for me as a one-off special with a turned down roller and smaller frame to hold it. Next was the question of where to install it? A Peco four wheel wagon is too short and I think the overhang on a rather long Peco L&B Bogie wagon would be a problem, so after a brief Internet search I decided on an Eggerbahn four wheel long wheelbase wagon. This arrived today and I set about carving it up! Because the 'ground clearance' is less than with OO I fixed it above the floor of the wagon rather than underneath, as in the instructions. I had to glue it in (easier with above floor mounting) as where I would have put the fixing screws would have obstructed the pony trucks that carry the wheels. The whole construction worked perfectly and I now have a track cleaning wagon almost ready to go. I say 'almost' as I need to paint the underneath of the roller holder plus add a rather large packing case I'm making from some scrap balsa to hide 'the works'. Oh yes, and add a little weight.

    The track cleaning wagon as first turned out of the workshops! As may be seen, the size is just perfect for OO-9.​

    This seems so successful that I think I may well invest in one for the OO gauge track even though there's only a short run.
    Last edited: 3 January 2019
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  10. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    The Eagle has landed!

    Well, not quite The Eagle, but the first of my long-awaited Manning Wardles, 760 EXE arrived today. I know there have been a lot of problems with these models so unpacked it with trepidation though I have to say first impression was, "What a lovely model". However, I wasn't quite so enamoured when one of the motion covers fell off as the engine was being unpacked. Maybe a light touch of glue is required if it happens again. There doesn't seem to be any lug to hold it, so perhaps it's simply a matter of faith! I have now set up the rolling road and am giving it the recommended 30 minutes on 12v DC in each direction but the thing runs at almost full speed from the start. It does quicken a little as the controller's knob is turned up, but not by much. Hopefully this won't be a problem when a DCC decoder has been installed. Time will tell.


    EXE running at the "slowest setting" on the rolling road set up on my programming track.
    Once the 30 minutes in each direction has finished I'll try it on a piece of track.
    Last edited: 3 January 2019
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  11. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Some Countryside Appears!

    Time passes and not much gets done! There have been a lot of other things taking my time again recently, plus it's been blooming hot! Shifting a board or two is enough to break out a sweat. :(

    However, some work has been done and I've just finished fixing the back scene which now hides the 'hidden sidings' (except where you can see through the hole in the wall which gives access to the standard gauge cassette).


    The left side of the layout. The line here runs on the other side of the road from the town and I intend to add some houses to the shorter straight side to indicate this. The line will then enter a cutting with an overbridge before disappearing through to the hidden sidings beyond.

    The middle section of the back scene. This is the same as the one I used for my Boscarne Junction layout and I'm rather disappointed that in this print there is an obvious colour difference between two of the sheets, as is easily seen above. Oh well, I suppose some creative planting will be called for here!


    The right hand side of things. The scenery here will form a hill that completely covers the hole in the wall through which the cassettes will be put on and taken off the layout. The strips of wood on the base are guides for locating the cassettes accurately with the access road. For ease of operation the power socket shown is going to be moved to the other side of the track. The shorter side on the right has an opening door so that in case of an event inside the tunnel, that will be up to the scenery level here, things can be sorted easily.
    Last edited: 15 February 2019
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  12. Pencarrow

    Pencarrow Western Thunderer

    Good to see you making some progress despite the terrible heat you ate suffering. Will send some of our rain, gales and frosts you way. :p

    There's two buildings I've always fancied modelling alongside the old line between Wadebridge and Boscarne, near to Grogley.


    Just off camera to the left there's a pair of bridges carrying the road over the railway and the River Camel. Another road drops down from behind the left house to run along the railway behind a retaining wall and in front of the right house.

    Iirc you can't get that shot anymore today and there are thick bands of trees either side of the river blocking the view. I did get lots of photos of the bridges and buildings a few years back though.

    It's a great little scene full of character and very modellable. Have thought about doing it as a diorama many times. Any inspiration to you?
    Last edited: 15 February 2019
  13. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Thanks Chris, we could actually do with some rain. A couple of months ago, though, I would never have believed I'd be saying that!!!

    No, Mother Nature's being a right old spoil sport with all this growth going on. Time precludes any thoughts of modelling something else in the near future - the indoor and outdoor lines take up more time than I really have. Despite that, earlier today my wife was suggesting I could make a model of the Raurimu Spiral here. Raurimu Spiral - Wikipedia
  14. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Time flies by so quickly and it really doesn't seem like six weeks since I last posted! Some progress has been made and I'm now just about to start some serious scenicing with a skeleton structure in place. Next will come cladding it which, for the first time, I shall be doing using Woodland Scenics Shaper Sheet. Sounds good but .... will it prove to be as good as the adverts for it? Time will tell.

    From the level crossing end on board three the background rises steadily as a rock face with a road part way across this board.​

    Board two has the background continuing to rise and the standard gauge line diving into a tunnel in the rock face​


    Board one and the background is now at full height. Beneath it is the cassette bay for the standard gauge "fiddle yard". On the far right the narrow gauge line dives into its own tunnel. This tunnel mouth is actually meant for N scale, so needs to be raised a little!​
    Last edited: 29 March 2019
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  15. Pencarrow

    Pencarrow Western Thunderer

    Good to see you making some progress - 6 weeks flies by!
  16. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Thanks Chris, hope it's not another six weeks until there's something else to post!

    Well, no, it's today, one day later! The Woodland Scenics Shaper Sheet cliff face cladding has now been added to thefirst board, as below. This was easier to do than I had feared and once anchored top and bottom it was a doddle to "adjust" the middle part. Next I have to fill in a couple of gaps where it makes a 90° turn, plus finish off by the sides of the tunnel mouths. Then progress to the next board.

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  17. Trenoweth

    Trenoweth Member

    Work progresses and now the Shaper Sheet has been applied all the way across the hilly section and the various gaps, corners and tunnel mouth edges have been finished with Foam Putty. This is not something I'd ever come across previously but is very easy to work with and has dried to a nice hard surface that is simple to cut, file and shape if necessary. Next will come a coating (or two) of plaster, then it'll be off to the paint shop to, I hope, completely transform it from a snowscene to a rugged rock face.


    Part board 2 and board 1. No matter how hard one tries there's always an annoying line in the scenery where the boards meet. The Shaper Sheet was applied across the join (as may be seen above) then cut with a sharp knife once securely fixed yet still the "join" is obvious.
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