On the 11th September 2018 all the remaining track in the workshop was lifted. A trowel was used to get underneath the concrete holding the track in place, the concrete was then removed from the track panels with a chisel. Carndonagh station buildings and the mill were the last items to be removed. That's it: the TBLR is no more.
The remaining section of outdoor track, from the North portal of the workshop to Malin station was lifted on 28 August. The last demolition train was hauled by loco No. 2 'Errigal' which was also the first loco to run on the railway back in 2007.
After lifting the track at Culdaff, the demolition crew returned to the railhead a few days later - locomotive No. 3 heading the train. Track was lifted from the old harbour branch and on the mainline as far as Malin. The girder bridge was then dismantled and all buildings, fencing etc. removed from Culdaff and Aughaclay.
The workshop is closed - apart from carrying out running repairs - pending a house move. The TBLR is still operational for the time being; I will provide updates as demolition of the current railway progresses. The line will be re-born in its new location eventually.
In January 2018 I decided to sell the tram body of my loco number 8 - see Withdrawn Locomotives for more information.
I decided to keep the Roundhouse Bertie chassis and boiler, and it seemed logical to order the bodywork for this loco.
The bodywork duly arrived from Roundhouse, painted in my desired colour - Victorian Maroon - and was complete with cab roof, running plate and painted brass dome.
I carried out a number of enhancements and improvements, before carrying these out, I painted the cab interior cream, applied a coat of satin black enamel to the running plate and painted the smokebox and chimney matt black.
The cylinder heads, wheels and slip eccentric valve gear rods were also painted black.
In order to hide the more visible pop rivets on the smokebox sides, I drilled these out and replaced them with 10BA hex head screws. The pop rivets at the front of the saddle tank were also drilled out and Roundhouse handrail knobs fitted in their place, together with a handrail.
A Summerlands chuffer was fitted to the twin exhaust pipes.
The Roundhouse enhancements were:
The loco was finished off with a set of number and name plates and TBLR crests were applied to the Saddle tank sides.
My Roundhouse 'Charles' was originally purchased with the intention of keeping it set to 32mm gauge and using it as my 'touring' loco, taking it along to other 16mm Association members' lines on their steam up days. Following a relaxation of my historical authenticity rules, the loco has been taken into TBLR stock and set to 45mm gauge, despite the fact that it is a model of a 1 ft 10 3⁄4 inch gauge loco running on a 3 ft gauge line - it's my railway and I will do what I like!
Anyway, the first job to consider was fitting my standard Accucraft chopper couplings at 28mm above rail level: unfortunately Charles's buffer beams are too low to fit these easily. I may make up some adaptors at a later date to allow this to happen, but in the meantime I will use chain to connect to the hook provided on the Accucraft chopper coupler pockets on the rest of my stock. I painted the buffer heads and coupling hooks satin black to tone down their shiny metallic appearance.
I picked out the lettering on the Hunslet worksplates in acrylic matt black paint and polished up the brass faces of the plates. The cab back was removed; the inside face above waist height was painted cream (3 coats) and a lamp iron was fitted to the cab back by drilling two 2mm holes and attaching the lamp iron with 10BA hex head bolts.
I fitted a Roundhouse brake handle gas valve control in place of the original brass knob - the gas valve can now be adjusted without having to lift the cab roof. A piece of black Plastikard was glued to the inside of the right hand frame, over the switch fixing holes - the switch is only fitted to radio controlled locos.
A small but very noticeable improvement was to paint the brass roof hinge screw heads with black self etch primer.
Finally, the loco was given the number 9 and a set of Roundhouse number plates were attached to the cab sides with a dab of silicone - these can be easily removed if the loco is sold on.
When it was built in 2008, railcar number 3 was fitted with a Strikalite six volt rechargeable battery pack; nothing lasts forever, and after nine years of service, the battery pack was in need of replacement.
Luckily, during construction, I took into account the need to facilitate easy battery replacement. The battery pack fits into a recess cut into the ply floor of the railcar, and is held in place by a brass strap, which is retained by two wood screws.
The first job when replacing the battery was to isolate the power - to avoid a short circuit when metal tools came into contact with any live parts - this was achieved by removing the fuse. Once the wiring was removed from the retaining clips on the brass strap, it could be removed. The battery pack was then levered out of position and the positive wire was disconnected from the fuse holder; the negative was removed from one of the terminals on the charge socket.
The new battery was then popped in and the positive and negative wires soldered on to the aforementioned terminals. That done; the brass strap was replaced and the loose wiring tidied up again by securing with the retaining clips.
With its new battery, the railcar should deliver about four hours running on a full charge.
The locomotive list has undergone a slight modification, and as a result, one of the locos - formerly number 9 - has been renumbered, and now carries the number 4.
I had kept the number 4 spare as I originally intended building a model of the first Tralee and Dingle loco to bear that number; plans for that project have now been abandoned, and as I don't like gaps in numbering systems, I have given the number to the ex Ballymena and Larne loco.
This involved removal of the original No. 9 oval plates - they fell off anyway! I also decided to relocate the numbers to the middle of the side tanks, above the nameplates; I ordered some matching No. 4 plates from MDC. The paintwork under the original plates was intact, and I was able to remove the remaining silicone adhesive by gently scraping it away with a fingernail and then giving the area a wash with a piece of kitchen towel soaked in white spirit.
Like the nameplates, the new numbers were fixed in place with cyano adhesive, the paint under the plates was gently scraped away with the tip of a small screwdriver; this was in order to ensure the plates were fixed to the loco and not just a layer of paint! A piece of Plastikard strip was used as a spacer to ensure the plates were square with the nameplates.
There is still a gap in the numbering system - number 7 - but I have plans to remedy that!
I can't believe it has taken me a year to complete this wagon, but I finally got round to finishing it. The brass fittings supplied in the kit were fixed to the body using cyano adhesive; the underframe was glued to the body, and once the working sliding doors were fitted, the interior was masked off and the body was given several coats of grey primer spray paint. I did not use the ply roof supplied, but cut a roof from a sheet of Brandbright corrugated roofing material. This was glued in place once it had been formed to shape, and was then painted matt black.
Once painted, the axleguards (including wheels) were fixed in place with wood screws; a handbrake from IP Engineering was fitted, this works on one wheel only, as per the prototype. Lettering and numbers were then applied - Letraset rub down type - and finally the wagon was given a light weathering by gently wafting some olive drab model spray paint over the whole. Finished at last!