Following derailments by locomotives reversing into the horse siding at Banbury, the facing point on the Western DOWN main has been removed and replaced with a point on the Great Central UP main. This has resulted in much improved reliability. Pictures of the operation are below:
I recently completed repainting a 5 carriage HST in Grand Central's second livery.
Following the acquisition of a pair of cheap GNER power cars from our local hobby store, 5 Lima Mk3s were acquired to create a Grand Central rake. Decals were obtained from Railtec Transfers. The decals were fairly difficult to apply, given their length, but the end result was excellent.
Unfortunately, my Humbrol Clear varnish decided to dry with a white glaze. This was rather disappointing and required the carriages to be carefully repainted in gloss black to hide the effects.
With this rectified, I finally thought we had an operable train. However, the Lima Mk3s I had, had their wheels changed which created excess axle play. This caused the train to derail. I have temporarily rectified this with bogies from another Lima XPT rake.
Pictures of the train are below.
To improve railway reliability, the three way point at Machynlleth lower level was recently replaced with two conventional points.
Given that the station's electrical wiring partially went through the three way point, we were somewhat perplexed as to why nothing would operate immediately following the rebuild. This was rectified by attaching new power leads to the track in question and disconnecting the original leads from the point motor.
I attach a picture of the new arrangement below. The three way was replaced by the two points in the top right.
Owing to the previous shortage of electric locomotive storage at Sheffield, delays to the UP Manchester to London could create an operational lock up at Sheffield Victoria when the DOWN train had already reached Sheffield. What would happen is that the electric loco on the UP train wasn't able to run around to the other end as the track was blocked by the DOWN train.
The new siding has enabled the addition of another electric locomotive, thereby rectifying this problem.
The picture below shows two EM2s side by side at Sheffield Victoria. The original siding is on the left whilst the new one is on the right. Addition of the new siding required modifications to the station's overhead in a number of places.
Following a kind donation of old plastic buildings from a local modeller, Banbury Connections installed an industrial backdrop behind Bradford Exchange Station.
Before installation, the buildings required some minor repairs and a new baseboard was erected in the gap between the Bradford baseboard and the train room wall.
Following the acquisition of several more trucks and a couple of additional Bradford trolleybuses, the buildings look very much at home in their new location.
The last time the modern trains were operating late last year, a couple of our operators brought round a few trains from their own fleet.
In a rare moment, the operating team has sent the Sheffield sand wagon down to Gosport where it has returned ready to service the fleet at Sheffield Loco.
After many years with a plain Masonite wall behind Sheffield Victoria Station, we recently removed the wall, cut 24 arches and reclad the entire wall with Slaters stone plastikard and inset stone (cardboard) lintels. Per modern scenic standards, a copious amount of putty was used to hide any joins resulting in a much more realistic wall that looks strikingly like those ready made Noch walls you can buy "off the shelf".
The red brick walls behind Sheffield at Leicester and Rugby were also reclad as part of the upgrade.
As with many activities on this railway, this project was a victim of scope creep. Both ends of Platforms 4 and 5 were relaid to improve the track geometries. This required one of the electrification masts to be extended for the second time!
Pictures of the new wall and track are below. The last photo shows the improved wall/viaduct.tunnel mouth for the Rugby to Leicester mainline (new wall and pratt truss support) and Huddersfield line (tunnel). This job was necessitated by recent improvements to Nottingham's walls (previous blog post).
A nasty reverse curve on the northern end of Platform 1 at Banbury Station was a source of derailments for many years.
To rectify this problem, Platform 1 has been curved at the end to allow a smooth transition into the northern throat. This has allowed for faster and more reliable running through the station.
A number of pictures showing the changes can be found below.
You'll be pleased to see that this post is the first in a while not to refer to new walls being installed on the railway!
As a Christmas treat, I've attached some photos of a recent trip to the National Botanical Gardens in Washington DC where I found an outdoor railway where all the buildings and bridges were made entirely of plant matter.
The display included scenes from multiple countries, including Australia's Barossa Valley, each depicting a type of agriculture that has defined a particular region.
The pictures below reflect work done on the Gosport, Winchester and Bradford aisle of the railway. New red brick walls were installed at Winchester and behind Solihull and parts of Leamington Spa whilst a large new stone wall was inserted along the mainline between Bicester North and High Wycombe. Whilst dad was initially worried about how the stonework would turn out, we were pleased with the final result which incorporated a subtle mix of colours typically found in stone work.
One wall led to another and another...
The recent lockdown resulted in the construction and reconstruction of 12 walls across the layout. Following the recycling of some test arches for Marylebone, Birmingham Snow Hill received a new arched wall.
Shortly after, following many years of disgruntlement concerning Nottingham's pictured wall, relative to the larger arches behind the station, a major project was undertaken to replace the three small arches with six large ones.
As you'll quickly notice, the new arches made the old "superior arches" look rather rough which resulted in the application of a Slaters stone cladding to all 16 existing arches. This resulted in a completely refurbished 19 arch wall behind the station.
We also took the liberty of applying a new station sign across the entrance and some period BR notices.
A selection of photographs from the project can be viewed below.
A couple of videos have been recently uploaded to the BC Youtube channel.
The first shows the railway running in 2012 mode whilst the second shows a locomotive change at Sheffield Victoria since electrification.
John's prototype arched wall for London Marylebone was repurposed and extended to produce a new row of arches to reinforce the wall behind Birmingham Snow Hill. The first picture shows the arches in place without the new stone work above the arches and the second shows the completed wall.
Banbury Connections General Blog
The Banbury Connections blog looks at issues of significant interest involving the railway and its staff.