Shunting 14 – finally some movement

Last time we covered the ongoing struggle with the three way point which is still not resolved, mine buildings construction and the start of track laying.

Oh and the introduction of new loco.

Very smart. Apparently the chimney is as it should be – low clearance for small spaces.
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.

The Andrew Barclay 040 NCB loco is a good example of the type that ran on smaller coal lines, that and 060 locos were the main types used to haul the coal trains to the mainline for onward transfer to the docks.

This particular model is one example of a number of different liveried models offered by Hattons, currently on special offer at £88 each. It is a good quality model, surprisingly weighty and detailed. The price does not include a DCC chip so I had to add an additional £17 for that. The recommended chip was out of stock at Hattons, but the website flagged up a generic one that was frequently bought at the same time.

After a day or two the post arrived as promised. The instructions for installation were fairly clear and other than it being a very compact model with near zero space inside, it came apart just about as expected. There were a couple of steam pipes that would snag the body as it was removed, but they were easily fixed. The only problem was the DCC chip supplied was too big! Yes it may have been bought at the same time as this loco – but not for this loco.. Hattons initially grudgingly accepted the return stating it has to be unopened packaging to be accepted – a bit tricky when you’d never know of the fit without trying it. I replied reminding them that it was bought under distance selling regulations and the were then more than helpful.

Just enough room to fit this DCC chip (top left).
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.

A couple more days passed before another chip arrived –  the right one this time, from Rails of Sheffield. It was easy to fit, other than the loco & instructions had no indication of which up it should be – it could fit either up or down – not ideal for electronics. Usually there is a mark to show which socket is for pin1, not this time. In the end going with electronics ‘up’ was a good call. Once installed, some work needed, setting up a line of test track on the desk, giving it an engine number and setting acceleration and deceleration parameters – doing both gradually is much more realistic and less toy-like than shooting to top speed from a standing start. It does mean you have to gauge your stopping more carefully as it takes time to brake. In this case it was much easier to complete than the previous two locos – the austerity tank engine is still in pieces!

All set to go.
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.


Most of the time taken this week was working on the track. It is now laid for both main lines and around to the three way point. That leaves the mine sidings and 3 way point to fix and finish. The base is painted with an undercoat of brown, the track laid out and cut to size then watered down pva applied and the track weighed down for a few hours. Each section includes power connectors for when it is all sectioned and can be split (it’ll happen one day honest!) and I managed to get all in place. The connectors are too tight for the rail, so each one has to be prised open a little with a tiny screwdriver. In a few days I had most of the loops of track – painting, gluing, cutting, drilling holes for wiring, and fitting. The one issue is the final piece has to be exact or you can end up with small join gaps across the fishplates. When using standard track that is not a problem – it is deep enough to allow for such things. With finescale track the small gaps are a recipe for derailment, particularly on a curve. Flexitrack is notorious for these gaps – you think it is all lined up perfectly before cutting the track to size, only to find the other end of the piece has a 2mm gap you’d not spotted and it is a problem! Note to self for future – make sure the final piece is a curve – then it can be moved in and out to get the right fit. A straight piece of track can’t be stretched… Once these bits have been fettled, I’ll start on ballasting it all.

Just enough track to join up.
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.

Derailments were a feature of the first test runs. The diesel engine itself was also rather reluctant to move, having not been used for a number of years. That eased as it warmed up and it began to run more smoothly.

First test runs of the track.
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.

In the end I slid the track around, spreading out the gaps as much as possible on to straight pieces, leaving no gaps on the bends and will look at cutting a tiny sliver of track to slot into a gap in one of the power connectors – so both rails sandwich the sliver in place.

All of this had one huge benefit – I was finally, after 14 episodes, able to run trains for more than two feet! Here we have both engines running at the same time, from the same controller – they can even run on the same section of track. The small green steam engine needed running in – 15 minutes of steady constant running. It is much better to look at – not just for the shape and colour, but the movement of pistons and rods you don’t get with a lump of diesel.

First double run. A better link is below
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.

No buildings built this week, all effort has been upon getting the track in place. I have received some coalmine wheels for future use – wooden ones produced to order from ebay for a couple of quid. They are probably the next job – building a frame for them and incorporating it into the mine. I will use old bike brake cable for the wires and hopefully find a motor to make it move.

Wooden wheels for the Coal mine headstock.
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.

The mine entrance near the bus station needs some railings and a crossing as unfortunately it straddles the main lines, though that is an excuse for a footbridge….

Once the trains were running the board was tidied up, all the tools, weights and general rubbish removed – it looks quite bare in a number of areas, so will be something to consider in the future.

Still need some paving at this end.
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.

I set up the town a little more, Mrs JWP can be seen cleaning her front step and the mine owner’s car  (1640something?) parked at the office.

Mrs JWP attending to her duties.
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.
The boss is in.
© Sweaty Dave, Going Postal 2021.

Here is a fuller version of the video at real speed.

Choo Choo!

© Sweaty Dave 2021

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file