Coal Post

I’m helping our model railway club build a layout that is set near to us in Swanley. In the real world, there is a Coal Post at the side of the line between Swanley and St Mary Cray station:

I thought it would be worth having one on our layout, so measured some photos and 3D designed one:

Unfortunately, this didn’t print terribly well on my 3D printer:

A friend of mine has a much better 3D printer that prints using resin, and this gave a much better result:

And this is what it would look like on one of the model railway boards:

It will need painting and weathering, but I’ll leave that to the experts in the club.

Controller Holders

Now I’m a bit more familiar with the 3D design and printing process, I designed a holder for the handheld controllers used on the railway:

This is a holder fitted to the side of the layout:

And a second holder, with the controller in place:

I then designed and 3D printed a second holder for the small control panel at the ‘country’ end of the layout:

I was pleased with this one as I got the design and size right first time!


Automated Level Crossing Prototype

One of my background tasks for the last year or two has been building an Automated Level Crossing to go by the halt. There are various designs around, but many are very complicated and often too deep to fit under the baseboard.

This shows the gates on the current prototype – it operation, they all move so that they close either the tracks or the road:

Underneath, it’s a bit more complicated:
Each gate is mechanically connected to a servo using a pair of gear wheels. The servos have small motors that are driven by the electronics in the middle.

The end position of each gate can be independently set using the small push buttons on the electronics board. The speed of movement can also be programmed.

Originally, this used standard servo arms to connect the servos to the gates, but these didn’t move the gates to the exact position reliably.

I spent a while looking for better solutions, then looked at various designs of gear wheels on the internet, found something the right size and then printed them on the 3D printer:

They are a bit rough, but serve the purpose and seem to work well.

Now I’ve got the mechanics right, I need to find some better level crossing gates before adding it to the layout.


Main Station – Forecourt Improvements

The Main Station Forecourt had been a problem ever since the narrow gauge track was laid in front of it. This is how it originally looked:

Unfortunately, the curves on this track proved to be too tight, so it had to be relaid, which then disrupted the paving…

Finally, I’ve reworked this area, and am reasonably pleased with the results: