Nolwyn Valley Tramway

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drewzero1
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Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Wed Jun 21, 2023 10:18 pm

The story so far...

Formerly serving the now-flooded Nolwyn Quarry, this rural line has taken on new life in preservation with an eclectic mix of passenger and goods traffic. Probably located somewhere in northernish Wales, the light railway is run by a small team of dedicated volunteers who aren't sure what year it is and have never actually been to Wales. Which is to say, time and place are a bit flexible here.
Industrial diesel 'Moke' pulls a stone train through a cutting in the quarry prior to its closure.
Industrial diesel 'Moke' pulls a stone train through a cutting in the quarry prior to its closure.
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Yesterday marked a special day in two ways: track arrived in the mail, and I finally (almost) completed the year-long process of knocking out the primary roadblock to construction-- a concrete foundation with some large metal pieces sticking up. The immediate plan is to install two preformed pond liners with a small waterfall or spillway in-between, and start with a loop of track around them at around knee height. Later on it might be nice to extend the track along the house and/or fence, add a tunnel, maybe a bridge, and a runaround loop, but for now I'm going to keep it simple with a single loop and see how long it takes to get bored. If I can build it quickly and cheaply enough, and the effect is pleasing enough, I suspect it won't be difficult to get parliamentary approval for a branch line or extension for next year. :lol:
The quarry near the end of operation. The large pipe in the foreground was extracted in preparation for converting the quarry into a lake.
The quarry near the end of operation. The large pipe in the foreground was extracted in preparation for converting the quarry into a lake.
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The grand plan for the space also includes revamping the adjoining patio, so that will likely take precedence over this project (but also push it along). With any luck I'll be able to run some trains out here before the snow flies!

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Wed Jun 21, 2023 10:35 pm

The track is Gargraves tubular stainless O-gauge track, with a few tweaks. I'm removing the center rail and re-spacing the sleepers to a scale 2ft6in on center. Ultimately if the rail holds up I plan to make some cedar sleepers to replace the treated basswood ones, as I have read that they don't hold up very well long-term. Removing the third rail and re-spacing the sleepers also makes the track a lot more flimsy, so I'll need to put some extra work into underlayment. Right now I'm thinking either cedar or concrete block.
Top to bottom: tinplate test track, post-conversion Gargraves track, Gargraves track as received.
Top to bottom: tinplate test track, post-conversion Gargraves track, Gargraves track as received.
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NVT loco no. 1 'THORNAS' tests the new track prior to conversion.
NVT loco no. 1 'THORNAS' tests the new track prior to conversion.
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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by FWLR » Thu Jun 22, 2023 6:38 am

Thats going to be some line when you get it up and running. Love the idea for the ponds or waterway. I couldn't put my our track alongside our pond, it's to close to the house and it's also on the patio, so any track would be either impossible to maintain or it would be making our small patio even smaller.

Anyway, carry on with your project and enjoy the journey with our hobby, I do, it's been a life saver in many ways. :thumbright:

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Thu Jun 22, 2023 6:57 am

Thanks, Rod! The pond came first, and I had a mini pond in the same spot last year to try it out. The fish and plants seemed to do well and I was able to keep the water clean, so I felt emboldened to move up to something bigger. The trains were a bit of an afterthought but I think I can make it all fit just right.

I have to say, the FWLR has been a bit of an inspiration... I like the way it blends with the garden instead of imposing its will on the surrounding area as garden railways often tend to do, especially here in the US. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but my yard situation suggests a subtle approach.) I'm planning to keep railway-specific scenery to a minimum aside from a halt, a signal, and one house.

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by ge_rik » Thu Jun 22, 2023 8:19 am

The end result does look very much lightweight contractors track.
The bonus is the third rail and excess sleepers give you half as much track again. Nice one!
I do like "underlayment". My predictive text tried to correct it to "underpayment", but the spell checker recognises it. Hadn't realised it was a real word. One for the memory banks. :thumbup:

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Thu Jun 22, 2023 10:13 am

Thanks Rik. The bonus track has been a really nice perk of starting with 3-rail. I converted a second section tonight and built a bonus section with the third rails, then tried bending a curve to see how it would turn out. I'm pleasantly surprised by the smoothness of the resulting track but will definitely need to draw out some patterns once I get my radii figured out, which in turn requires me to finish emptying the concrete tailings out of the pond liner and finalize the pond layout. Phew! Who knew building a railway was such hard work? :lol:

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by ge_rik » Thu Jun 22, 2023 12:36 pm

drewzero1 wrote: ↑Thu Jun 22, 2023 10:13 am Phew! Who knew building a railway was such hard work? :lol:
All part of the joy and satisfaction with the end-result...... :thumbright:

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Thu Jun 22, 2023 11:07 pm

Still working on the exact pond configuration. Today I started laying everything out to get an idea how it'll fit together in the space. Need to smooth out the curves a bit but I was impatient to practice bending the rails. Once I get the layout of everything finalized and approved I'll need to do a bit of plumbing for the filtration, aeration, and waterfall feature, then I can build up the surrounding raised bed and trackbed. I plan to leave a bit more space away from the house for maintenance (thanks to FWLR for the reminder) and to protect the metal siding. I'm also trying to keep enough space between the track and the pond that derailed stock won't instantly go for a swim. (Note to self- build a model of Spooner's boat to test its amphibious capabilities.)
Test fit - for reference purposes only
Test fit - for reference purposes only
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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by FWLR » Fri Jun 23, 2023 6:33 am

Glad I have helped Drew. :thumbright:

Are you going to put the waterfall coming from the back rock. I can see how it would work brilliantly..

These photos are what I had in mind and my still do with our pond, but of course on a lot more of a smaller scale.. :lol:

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Of course there are loads of ways you can fit any waterfall to work for you and I am really looking forward to seeing how it develops.

Stay safe and most of all enjoy life and our hobby. :thumbright:

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Fri Jun 23, 2023 7:22 am

Love the inspirational shots, Rod. :thumbup: I think I could make that work if I reroute the tub drain from the upstairs bathroom directly above. ;) I hadn't thought of starting the waterfall from where the rock is, but that would give some interesting possibilities. (There's a downspout in that corner that will need to be rerouted anyway.) The idea, at least for now, is to create a tiered pond with the waterfall falling between the two.
Something like this, but smaller and less blurry. Did I forget my glasses again?
Something like this, but smaller and less blurry. Did I forget my glasses again?
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I've been trying to figure out if I can make the elevation make sense to have the round pond overflow with a small waterfall into the jellybean pond, with the track running around just above the level of the jellybean pond. Having the trains running behind and somewhat below the level of the round pond offers the possibility of having them disappear into a mock tunnel, and might help create the illusion that they aren't just going around in a circle.
Early concept art from February. Note that this shows the rails at ground level with the pond elevated, contrary to more recent plans. Drawn to entertain a three-year-old and not to scale.
Early concept art from February. Note that this shows the rails at ground level with the pond elevated, contrary to more recent plans. Drawn to entertain a three-year-old and not to scale.
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I'm not 100% set on the two ponds thing, but I have two pond liners so I might as well give it a try. I've tested the idea on a smaller scale with one of my aquariums; using a sponge intake on an air uplift tube to pump water to an upper chamber and create a small waterfall, the effect is achieved and the water stays clean. Scaling it up will be the real test, though.

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by DafyddElvy » Fri Jun 23, 2023 9:09 am

FWLR wrote: ↑Fri Jun 23, 2023 6:33 am Glad I have helped Drew. :thumbright:

Are you going to put the waterfall coming from the back rock. I can see how it would work brilliantly..

These photos are what I had in mind and my still do with our pond, but of course on a lot more of a smaller scale.. :lol:


97D69CFB-5392-4F27-AC3B-B0FCF80AD0D4.jpeg4740698E-3E59-4AC9-992D-DB7FBA788707.jpegB0E59506-B3EC-40D3-B59A-D7A50266FD68.jpeg


Of course there are loads of ways you can fit any waterfall to work for you and I am really looking forward to seeing how it develops.

Stay safe and most of all enjoy life and our hobby. :thumbright:
Rod thanks for those photos, I needed a something to show the domestic management an idea of what I have been thinking about for the first corner I need to negotiate on my line, thanks.

David

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by Phil.P » Fri Jun 23, 2023 11:02 am

Whilst I to like the idea of the line disappearing behind / under the upper pond:
You will need substantial foundations (and support) if the pond is not to mive/settle.
It might be an idea to have an opening (or the back open) of the tunnel, with 'pedestrian access' around the back? - Does not have to be too big. But access to retrieve a derailment in the tunnel, and for maintenance to pond-plumbing, house, and garden.

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by 3 minutes of fame » Fri Jun 23, 2023 11:05 am

I've got a box of coarse scale code 200 16mm track on wooden sleepers if it's of any use to you. It's got cast chairs pinned to sleepers, so might be useful for parts?

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Fri Jun 23, 2023 2:17 pm

Phil.P wrote: ↑Fri Jun 23, 2023 11:02 am Whilst I to like the idea of the line disappearing behind / under the upper pond:
You will need substantial foundations (and support) if the pond is not to mive/settle.
It might be an idea to have an opening (or the back open) of the tunnel, with 'pedestrian access' around the back? - Does not have to be too big. But access to retrieve a derailment in the tunnel, and for maintenance to pond-plumbing, house, and garden.

Phil.P
Phil, thanks for the advice! I should probably have been more clear- the track won't go directly under the pond, but rather just behind it at a lower level. The pond will still be fully supported and surrounded by rock, block, and gravel. I read somewhere early on that you should avoid having a tunnel longer than you can comfortably reach through and I've tried to keep that in mind. In this case the tunnel would be a few inches to a foot long, just to provide a visual break, but would be open at the back to provide easy access.

At this point I'm feeling I need to do less talking, more digging, and I'll soon find out what parts of the plan will or won't be feasible. All will be revealed with sweat and time.

3 minutes of fame, I'll send a PM. I think I have enough for phase I but there's always phase II (or phase 1.5 when I get frustrated and wreck what I've got).

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by ge_rik » Fri Jun 23, 2023 6:27 pm

I love seeing this stage in a railway's development.
Keep us posted

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by FWLR » Sun Jun 25, 2023 9:28 am

It's not a big problem with the tunnel Drew, we had one that was over 8ft long on our old line before we moved.

These are some photos of the tunnel which we struggled getting through the bush. :lol: :lol:

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You wouldn't believe how big that bush was..... :lol I built the tunnel from OSB board that I then put two coats of lacquer on it. On the ends that were showing out of the bush I also painted with gloss paint and the inside with waterproof bathroom and kitchen emulsion paint.It was then fixed to a 4m/13.12 ft scaffold board, which in its self was heavy enough. Anne was so helpful I can tell you....We even took it to our new home and the board is now in part carrying the line to the bridge and you can see the scaffold board also, but that is going to be replaced with some sleepers eventually. The line was so straight there was no derailment and when the bush had grown over the ends of the tunnel it looked even better.

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Wed Jun 28, 2023 5:52 am

While the railway waits for some other yard/garden projects to catch up, I got the idea into my head that my small single-track loop couldn't possibly be complete without a signal. Following (and deviating slightly from) Rik's excellent guide on the subject, I produced this:
Hm, seems a bit off.
Hm, seems a bit off.
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And then promptly realized I'd built it for the American side of the tracks. A quick brush with the soldering iron and a lick of paint later, I had corrected the issue.
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I took a bit of a shortcut in using brass square tubing instead of tapered wood for the shaft. My three-year-old has informed me that "it's pretty good, but you need to make a ladder and a light and red and green." Kid knows his signals!

The remainder of the parts (ladder, throw lever, lamp and bracket, finial) will be a combination of 3d printed and brass parts. I guess I just needed to run out of filament for a while to remember that I can still model things the "old-fashioned" way!

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by drewzero1 » Wed Jun 28, 2023 6:12 am

Thanks Rod for the photos, that's some food for thought for sure. I've been reading about Hydrostatic Dazza's tunnel construction on the POR as well, and rewatching the Mark Found program(me) for some tunnel tips. The more immediate puzzle is figuring out how to build a raised bed for the pond and railway to sit in/on, preferably using stone and soil. This week's forecast calls for a few trips to a landscape center to gather materials for other projects, and while I'm there I'll gawk at stones and (I assume) gasp at prices.

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by ge_rik » Wed Jun 28, 2023 7:04 am

Looks prettier than my efforts

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Re: Nolwyn Valley Tramway

Post by FWLR » Wed Jun 28, 2023 7:28 am

I have also toyed with the signal issue, but as yet not got around to it. Time for our holidays soon and things for the line are in a queue... :lol: :lol:

The cost of materials are silly at the moment and I am afraid they won't get any better will they. I would go around building sites and see what they are not using, you will be surprised on what they will let you have for nothing or a little bit of beer money....you never know you may be able to build your raised bed and tunnel with very little money. :thumbright:

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