The old layout has been somewhat neglected of late, and a few question marks have been hanging over its future. So earlier this week I dusted everything down, cleaned the track, had a brief operating session and ran a critical eye over the whole layout. From an operating viewpoint I was more than satisfied, 4678 was the branch engine for the day and didn’t let me down. I did have a few issues with the uncoupling magnets, which was mainly due to their markers having been disturbed. But in truth I’m drifting away from using magnets of any kind for uncoupling, and find myself using the hand in the sky more and more. This might seem to be taking a backward step, but on a layout that never leaves home and with very little shunting taking place it doesn’t bother me one jot.
The hand in the sky, the uncoupling device comprises an old scalpel handle and a piece of brass wire. The curved piece of the wire rests upon the ballast, and with the remainder of the wire aligned with the coupling hooks the handle is gently tilted forward to depress the coupling hooks. So much for my current thoughts on uncoupling, which might come as a shock to some, and dismay others.
Another thing that I’m not entirely happy with is the trees, I feel that I’m slowly getting there but can certainly improve. I rather like what Paul Marshall-Potter is doing in that department and am sure a little experimentation of my own won’t go amiss. On a slightly different note I have finally made a decision on the Llanbister Rd. shed water tower. In short it had to go, so I’ve been looking for another location for it and came up with the idea of using it at Llangunllo.
Trains travelling to Presteign from Titley Junction faced some severe gradients, and had the line been extended to Llangunllo they would have faced even more. No watering facilities were provided at Presteign, so why not provide some at Llangunllo? I’m sure the chance to top up the tanks would have been welcomed, if not necessary after such a steep climb up the valley. I used the old Ratio GWR water tower kit as a starting point, but rather than model the conical version I cut the tank down, as I find that design to be more attractive. I also felt that with it being shorter it would sit better and blend more easily into the background.
Early days, the tower is far from complete and will be built on a sub base, as the etched ladder and other fine detail is rather delicate and prone to damage. The whole base will then be blended into the surrounding ground. The mirror has been adjusted slightly to give the impression of a gradient, the line dropping away towards Presteign. It is also capturing the reflection of the road bridge, thus adding to the illusion of the line carrying on into the distance.
Having taken on some water 4678 draws forwards prior to shunting the yard…..
Shunting complete the pick up goods heads for Llanbister Road.