The first ever show at Wincanton, and our final chance to get everything ready for our big trip to the Midlands. Our final “Warley warm-up” was a great opportunity to fully test all of the recent repairs and modifications to get the layout as perfect as possible.
The isolators for the fiddle yard all now work, both inner and outer, which frees up space for more trains to be stored.
Double heading on the top loop. All the points now operate correctly and with the redesigned control panel, operation is both simple and reliable.
The goods wagons ran without fault, thanks to the insertion of tiny neo magnets in each coupling.
The LED yard lights with their yellow sleeves create a perfect ambience.
The goods depot is more of a diorama but with added swarf and some cut-down coffee stirrers, looks very effective. Both shunters run but look more effective here, plus the shunters aren’t renowned for their pulling power.
All the roads from the turntable now work, whereas previously only a couple could be used. The indexing is also now perfect. More on that in a bit.
The green EMU, another restoration using vinyls looks brilliant operating along the shuttle and runs really well. The modifications needed to make this work on the shuttle are invisible.
Twin Co-Bo’s, a sight not seen for some time as one had been stripped for spares to maintain other locos and EMUs. After an extensive rebuild and rewire these run without fault. Also making a reappearance were the maroon sleeper coaches, these were heavily modified as they’ve never actually run properly, thanks to their pivoting bogies, all of which have been replaced with the more reliable, fixed version.
Up until this weekend, the coal wagons have been hauled by the 0-6-2 tank and engines, usually 69565 and 69566, however it became clear that the recent addition of the coal to each wagon has added extra weight, and the little tank engines were starting to struggle. No point risking burning out two treasured locos, so with so many Deltics available, St Paddy & Crepello have taken over these duties. One Deltic could haul this rake but why not have two?!
Ludlow Castle has probably been the most troublesome Castle of all but following recent work has now settled into reliable operation and saw plenty of use.
The back scene, replaced in its entirety when we upgraded to 21ft, looks much cleaner and tidier and the layout is about as perfect looking as we can make it!
And finally, the business side of the turntable!
I’ve tried light sensors and infrared and while both worked reasonably well, there were still times where the bridge didn’t quite line up and locos derailed. Not a good look at a large event, so many hours have gone into designing a latch mechanism that could also incorporate a microswitch. The Arduino had to be reprogrammed to allow for the operation of the solenoid, and to allow time for the solenoid to activate before trying to move the bridge. The latest version was only finished with less than a week to spare and worked perfectly.
It also means the the original latch can be refitted and with the latch filed down so that it’ll never engage from above, creates a near-invisible modification.
Thankfully any locomotives that failed were repaired on site, meaning just a fe requiring minor servicing before the main event. The good news is that there are no further layout modifications required. Everything has worked as planned!
in less than two weeks, we’ll see if all this hard work and expense has been worth it.
With thanks to Steve Rodd and the organisers of the Wincanton show.