Anybody else still wind up your trains? I do!

artfull dodger

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12 Apr 2012
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When not wanting to run live steam and all my battery converted models need charged, what is one to do when you want to run trains? You wind them up of coarse. Here is my nice old Bassett-Lowke gauge one 112 tank with clockwork drive. Got this in partial trade for one of the live steamers I was selling. Was heavily covered in smoker residue, even the main spring was yellow, along with the rods and bodywork. Some work and lots of PB Blaster and compressed air to flush out the spring and drive. I am getting almost 2 laps of the railway now, was about 1.5 laps when I shot the video. So you can wind it up and have it return to the starting station. Just as BL wanted. A railway that can be worked with no electricity needed, with live steam and clockwork drives.
 
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dunnyrail

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When not wanting to run live steam and all my battery converted models need charged, what is one to do when you want to run trains? You wind them up of coarse. Here is my nice old Bassett-Lowke gauge one 112 tank with clockwork drive. Got this in partial trade for one of the live steamers I was selling. Was heavily covered in smoker residue, even the main spring was yellow, along with the rods and bodywork. Some work and lots of PB Blaster and compressed air to flush out the spring and drive. I am getting almost 2 laps of the railway now, was about 1.5 laps when I shot the video. So you can wind it up and have it return to the starting station. Just as BL wanted. A railway that can be worked with no electricity needed, with live steam and clockwork drives.
The way the old boys used to run to Timetable with clockwork was to calculate the distance by turns of the key. Thus you ought with not too much of an issue be able to hang a train and get consistent 1 loop before stopping exactly in the station. Will take some testing to get that but hey? Will also be different for different loads so make sure you record what you have been pulling, amaze your friends with your amazing dexterity!
 

artfull dodger

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I have some articles on the Crewchester garden railway in coarse O gauge back when live steam and clockwork was the chosen motive power before things changed later on. That was a quite a railway back in the day. Proves that even vintage tinplate can be done in the garden, just not as weatherproof as the LGB and other modern stuff we have these days that can be all but left out in the weather all the time. I have many times considered rebuilding my railway to coarse O scale with vintage clockwork and live steam power from Hornby and Bassett-Lowke and working timetable operations. Its still an idea I kick around from time to time. Usually the cost of replacing all that track with a double loop of weatherproof O gauge track jolts me back to reality.
 

artfull dodger

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Here is a pic of the gauge 1 Bing for BL Midland Compound live steamer that I was considering and may still consider as my wife really likes it. But should I really run it again, the boiler has been obviously repainted at some point, nicely by the looks of it. I use Bioethanol, which reduces the sooting of a pot boiler, but its still nearly 100 years old. Most true gauge one UK engines like this take much larger curves than I have and would require a massive rework of my railway to run them. Whats everybodys thoughts?
 

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artfull dodger

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This is what I will be getting instead of that antique that deserves to just be in a display cabinet or museum. Catatonk Loco Works 18 ton Climax, built by Mike Chaney in the UK.
 

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dunnyrail

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I like the sound of Timetable Operations, but with clockwork though done at Crewchester, Jack Ray’s line and Peter Denny’s all using clockwork for timetable operations it is all possible. But shortage of working clockwork locomotives these days may be an issue.

Live steam brings different issues into timetable working that can be difficult to resolve particularly with multiple operators. Here reliability on a long line of running time rears its head, 20 minutes is about as much as you could reliably expect with Roundhouse Locomotives and that does not go far when you have to shunt a train at the start of its run. You need facilities at most stations for gas toppingbup and water oh and a siding to keep the loco out of the way of other trains that may still be running.

Far better would be to do you rebuild plans for operations and while you are at it do some locomotives for Battery Control, i have done this and it makes my operations days so much more of a pleasure, no track cleaning and so long as the batteries are topped up for the day few issues with failures.
 

Paul M

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If you read up on the history of Brambleton, it gives you an idea of gtheir clockwork operations. Quite a thing on such a large outdoors layout with multiple stations
 

dunnyrail

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If you read up on the history of Brambleton, it gives you an idea of gtheir clockwork operations. Quite a thing on such a large outdoors layout with multiple stations
Ah on my first visit to Brambleton they had generated Battery Power with Blue Flyer Hymecs and Lima 33’s. This would have been back in the 80’s. I do not remember any clockwork running, but can imagine that with such a long established line like the Brambleton Clockwork would have been the only optin available that would work reliably for Timetable running. Was chatting to one of my regular Operators on Thursday about the place, he is a regular runner on the 16mm line. It appears now that the Operations have been moribund for some time and Battery DCC RC appears to be at the forefront just running round in circles. What a shame though the Boxes may be sorted soon now that things are opening up some more.
 

Northsider

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Peter Denny's line was a big inspiration for me -those 1970's articles (it might have only been one article...) in Railway Modeller sowed the seed. You could still buy NOS Hornby clockwork mechanisms in those days, so I did. But square axles and the apparent pace of a scalded cat stopped the project...for 35 years! AD's original post & vid shows the charm of these heritage models...