Granbourne is a small town somewhere in the East Midlands which has two lines passing through it and is loosely based on Rothley. The first line, the lower level (DC running on our layout) is a former section of the Great Central System which closed in the early 1970s and was taken over by a preservation society. A substantial engine yard and carriage sidings are located on the site of the former exchange sidings close to a large engineering works which closed in the late 1970s. The station goods yard has been restored to a traditional goods yard by the preservationists.
As with most preserved lines signalling is a varied selection with lower quadrant and upper quadrant signals controlled from the Granbourne box (not the original).
The upper level line (DCC running) is the remains of a former Midland Line which once ran from Ambergate to Nottingham and Peterborough. It is still in sporadic use for freight to and from a military depot and a quarry although the substantial iron ore and coal traffic which once flowed through is long gone. The station yard was used for fertiliser traffic until the early 90s and is still used as a yard for the line.
Signalling is still semaphore and the line is popular as an off the beaten track route for rail tours with occasional specials running to the former station for gala events and Christmas shoppers.
It is the intention that this layout will never leave home but be used partly as a beginners layout on which different techniques of building scenery etc. can be used and partly as a layout to be used by any of our members who would like to bring some stock along and have a running night, rather than just using the test track.
These pictures were taken by David Edsall in the summer of 2013 and clearly show the style and colouring of building we are trying to capture.
The original images are available on CD at the club should any member require.
The baseboards are of mainly ply construction with a 9mm top. The boards themselves are placed along the top of storage shelves which hold the usual variety of items in open topped boxes. Alignment is by means of bolts through the end of the baseboards and alignment dowels placed in pairs at each end. One side of one of these can just be seen in the adjacent picture, ringed in red.
The DC part of the layout is entirely separate, electrically from the DCC part, the intention being that members can run either or both types of locos, depending on their interests. The track was divided into a number of sections with control of the various sections switchable between one of two controllers. The wiring throughout was done on the basis of 'common return' and the club wiring code was followed throughout. Electrical joins across boards were managed by using plug in chocolate blocks
The layout is divided into two power districts. The DCC system uses the Merg system with Cbus control of point motors. Canacc4's are used in place of CDU's, each being able to control up to 4 point motors. All the electronics were built from Merg kits by Brian Norris. The control panel also built by Brian uses on/off toggle switches which are 'read' by a Canace3 unit. Any change causes a message to be fired down the Cbus and each message is read by both the Cannacc4's which change the points and a Canled unit which updates the status of the LED's on the control panel.
This layout has been 'on the go' for many years. About four years ago (2009/2010), Edwin Fitchett took on the role of project co-ordinator and a layout plan was discussed and implemented. At first, track laying was restricted to the DC part of the layout which was at baseboard level. Wiring was to be on a common return basis and the track was to be divided into five sections. It has to be remembered that this is very much a beginners layout and that wiring is not everyone's forté! After much trial and error the DC side became operational by around summer 2012 thanks to help from Brian Norris, a new member who took on the challenge. The layout uses a mixture of live and dead frog points, and this alone caused significant problems as many of the team were unaware at the time, of the difference.
An occasional record of progress
May 2014Scenic work is progressing well and here are some shots, taken on Board 1 showing the high quality of progress to date. Overall management of the layout is now in the hands of a small team of members.
Photos May 2014
Control Panel for the DCC section complete and tested. Fiddle yard boards construction complete, awaiting final height adjustment. Scenic work in full swing on Boards 1 and 2.
We now have DCC running on the upper level, subject to final testing, and we are starting to join the baseboards back together both electrically and mechanically. However, this has revealed that the track is not level across all the board joins and some remedial work will have to be done before we can start running trains.
The layout is loosely based on Rothley and the station building was almost identical to a Bachman building which we purchased. However, keen that it should not just turn into a collection of bought buildings, David Edsall kindly agreed to take some pictures of the station at Rothley and David Hildred has been impressing us all with his wonderful card buildings which have appeared at intervals, only to be whisked away again for safety's sake while track laying and wiring continued. Meanwhile, due to Edwin's poor health, overall control of the layout was passed by the committee to Brian Norris.
August 2012 DCC
Brian Norris, a member of MERG put forward a proposal to the committee to wire up the DCC part of the layout using Merg DCC kits for the traction and Merg Cbus kits for point control. The committee accepted the proposal and electronic kit building commenced in earnest.
Meanwhile, track laying for the upper DCC level was underway under the auspices of John Handy, Edward Collard, David Hildred and Alan, dropper wires being attached to each piece of track, for later connection to the DCC power bus.