Sunday, 24 June 2012

Coal Stages


To me, a coal stage is a must in a steam loco servicing environment.  Even if your layout is in a later era they can be positioned in a state of disrepair & still add a focal point.

Choosing one that suits your intended track plan, space available or blends with the surrounding landscape environment is another issue entirely.

I am yet to decide on a firm period for my layout & with all the quality locos & rollingstock available, some flexibility will probably be afforded.

When i decided to plan & build a stage,  it became apparent that even though there are basic philosophies that carry through in each stage, there are however, subtle differences that have either been variations on a theme or have been additions at a later time due to maintenance.

Due to the availabilty of drawings & basic plans I decided to model the stage that was erected at Wauchope in about 1913.

This stage serviced parallel tracks & had a platform or inside bunker length of 102 feet / 6 inches.  This gives a HO footprint of  359mm long x 42mm wide.... I figured that this was a tad too big for my needs & decided to shrink the length to around 257mm which equates to a stage of around 73 feet in the old "stuff" overall.  The other reasoning for the size was also based on removing spans between piles.

So....over the last couple of days i spent a bit of time transposing all of these changes to the trusty computer with a view to lasering the components necessary for the stage & build a couple of prototypes to ensure all measurements were correct & all bits fit as they should.

The deck has all visible bolt detail & indeed looks crowded in places as the underneath joists overlap at joins.  The bolts used to fix the deck timbers to the joists were 5/8" & with washers ( i am assuming they were utilised ) a scale 1'' was lasered.

The photos show the deck, end bunkers, joists & bearers in place.  Detail still to be added are vertical support posts that strengthen the bunker ends & sides ( 3 evenly spaces per panel )  which will entail notching the deck so they fit flush with the piles when fitted.

A total of 39 piles will need to be partially rebated to fit the bearers & angled knee braces will complete the major construction components.

Of course Mr Grandt Line's range of bolt & nut detail will be included where the laser is of no use.

Yes... I have planned everything with a view to adding the kit to our range & have tried where possible to keep the kit simple.  Evidence of this is visible in one of the photos where the underneath of the decking sheet has areas shaded where the joists are fitted to aid location during construction.

Accurate & repetitive rebating of small dowel in both basswood & balsa has always been a problem for me & i will this week bite the bullet & make a jig that holds a large number of precut dowels to put through the rotary engraver & effectively route the required rebates in one pass.

It would be helpful for any comments to be posted as to the choice of prototype, size & any other issues that would make this kit attractive to the modeller.

Of course i will post progress of this project.....

Decking showing end bunkers fitted

Underneath of decking showing shaded sections to aid joist locations

Joists & bearers added

Sort Of...Close up Of End Detail



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