Hall Royd Junction Box nameboard as preserved at the East Lancashire Raiway, Bury

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Instant workshop for a model railway layout

With great regret I did not go to Warley this year. I’ve been meaning for years to set-up a proper workshop area in the spare bedroom but have never quite got round to it, and an unexpected 'spare' weekend was the opportunity to do something about it.

A piece of 4' x 2' ply formed the table top. A visit to eBay found M2M Furnture Ltd  that make very handy looking workbench shelving units - these are advertised as being for CDs but I think we can forgive them this slip.

Basic gear includes a test track, which incorporates two Peco curved points in a reverse curve configuration. A controller and a set of leads with crocodile clips completes this set-up.  

Other essentials include an angle poise lamp and regular desk lamp to provide plenty of illumination. There's also a Dremel drill and box of bits and tools.

Model Railway Workbench

So now all those old ‘spares or repairs’ (i.e. not guaranteed to work) bargains bought on eBay over the years now have a proper home and can be seen lined-up along the shelf awaiting their turn to be ‘shopped’. For those interested in these things, the locos in view are (from left to right):

> A Jamieson Black 5 (ex- Eames of Reading) acquired motorless and fitted by me with an RG4. Still something not right with quartering.

> A Hornby Britannia - the first I tried to fit a chip to. This didn't go to plan, and she has already visited the workbench to be reassembled correctly, but currently chipless

> A stunning Black 5 assumed to be built from a kit, but not DJH or Brassmasters. Some beautifully milled rods but again a problem with the chassis preventing smooth running when the body is fitted.

> Mainline Jubilee on a Comet chassis 

> DJH Black 5 awaiting the paintshop: now a runner.

> DJH Crab: bought years ago and not run. Now to be serviced and put into traffic

> Beautifully made DJH Crab with flangeless wheels and unpainted. The flanged centre wheels were provided and will probably be refitted.

Sitting at the back in our Hornby 08 which is on the naughty step after it started slipping its wheels - a common problem with the prototype.

The first loco through the new arrangement was old 4F (Airfix body and Comet chassis) which has been a box of bits for longer than I can recall. It is on the layout although the chassis is still unpaited brass. The Patriot (Hornby body, Comet chassis) which has been a bookshelf ornament was also brought in, the chassis properly fitted to the body and DCC socket and chip fitted. She too has passed into traffic.

Model railway workbench showing DJH WD receiving a new Portsecap motor and in the process of being reassembled.

The second shot shows the current ‘victim’ on the production line. This is a DJH WD 2-8-0 which I bought about 10 years ago. It had been painted in Dulux gloss, and its open framed motor ran well but gave up the ghost if asked to pull anything. When Nitromors paint stripper was dabbed over it, all the bits fell off as they’d been glued on rather than soldered. It has sat in its box ever since.

The shot shows the an RG4 motor fitted and tested, and wired to the pick-ups to allow it to run up and down the test track. The tender has been reassembled but still needs a bit of cleaning up. The DCC socket has still to be fitted, and the socket and chip will have to be fed down the boiler barrel when the body is put back on - making sure that the chip and socket are protected by insulation tape. 

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