Photo Collection

Video Collection

The Fiction

Careless talk costs lives. That makes writing these notes very difficult as a copy might fall into enemy hands. This station on a quiet branch line somewhere in the South of England is now becoming very busy, but we are not allowed to say why. Most of the traffic serving the sidings is very sensitive in nature and cannot be described here. Indeed, we are not even allowed to reveal the station's name or location. Suffice it to say that Wartime is Somewhere Southern and the period depicted is in the range 1939-45.

Track plan

The Facts

Ed wanted something set in the West Country during the war.  Considering he was probably our most junior member at the time and done very little model making before he was doing very well. Unfortunately Ed wasn't able to attend very often after starting work so us senior members decided to 'help out', now we've rather taken over the project. A legacy of the original intent behind the layout means it has rather tight curves and a small fiddle yard but it keeps the Southern fans in the club happy.

The Progress:

23 December 2008
The Hoffman motors have now been replaced with inexpensive R/C servos controlled using the MERG Servo4 modules with modified firmware. To be honest they seem to be working better than I'd expected with a pleasing, if somewhat exagerated, bounce on most of the signals. There are a couple which need the linkage adjusting a little but all being well these should be up and running in time for the Calne show in January 2009.

9 July 2008
We acquired a Servo4 kit through MERG (N. B. membership is required to purchase MERG kits) and modified the supplied firmware to allow for the setting of bounce positions in each direction of travel. Having played with this it is now intended to replace the Hoffman motors operating the signals with some inexpensive R/C servos. Doing this will allow the signals to bounce, remove the need to physically limit the travel of the signals, and eliminate the mismatched speed issues with the Hoffman motors. Details will be published as and when the work takes place.

11 May 2008
The layout has aquired a pelmet facia containing lighting. This means that even in the darkest venue it can be admired in all its glory. Operation of the semaphore signals using Hoffman turnout motors has not worked out quite as well as hoped. The wire used for linkages was too stiff such that some motors failed to operate their built in limit of travel switches. Also matching the speed of the motors is harder than we'd hoped. The original linkages have been replaced with softer brass wire which has helped but the operating arms at the base of the Ratio signals really needs extending so as to better match the length of travel of the Hoffman motors.

5 August 2007
The Hoffman turnout motors are now in place and linked to the Ratio signals, which have been spiked permanently to the baseboard to stop them rocking about.

26 July 2007
The signals have all been modified so that the arms can be moved using the supplied operating lever in the base. The stops integral to the base allow too much movement so additional stops have been added, just a piece of wire glued across the opening in the base.

A test run with the first signal has confirmed our second fear. The signal is not a tight enough fit to the hole through the baseboard and waggles back and forth as the mechanism operates. For simplicity we'll fix the signal base down using track spikes. This may be a little untidy visually but it will allow the signal to be removed without the risk of damage if this ever proves necessary.

19 July 2007
A quick trial has shown it will be practical to operate the semaphore signals, Ratio kits, using Hoffman turnout motors. An initial concern was that the Hoffman has about 8mm of travel whereas the operating lever for the signal only requires about 6mm for the full movement of the arm. As it turns out the difference between the bore of the hole in the operating lever and a generous omega loop in the connecting wire seem to cope with the difference. Using the supplied operating lever in the base avoids having to design and fabricate our own mechanism for working the wire to the arm from the Hoffman armature.

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