Lester's  Model Railway




Modelling Tips


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Thomas G


I do hope you find some of these tips of use It would be nice to hear your feed back just send a email to modelrailway@lester.me.uk  or use the link above

Rusty Track

Leave some old steel track outside for a few weeks, when well rusty use on your layout for disused siding or cut into small pieces and drill  for fence posts




Weights for rolling stock

Visit your local roofing contractor  they may sell you some off cuts of lead flashing. this can be easily cut into lengths for weighting trucks and coaches









Fibre optic Lantern

A simple way to illuminate those little lanterns  on the outside of Skaledale buildings is to use  some fibre optic cable or strands from a old Christmas tree. Twist the lantern up out of the way. Drill a small hole to take the fibre optic then twist the lantern back down to cover the fibre optic. Make a small box  a bout 2cm square with 1 hole at the back to take a white LED and one at the front for the fibre optic. position the fibre optic to give best light transfer by moving it back and forth then hold in place with a drop of glue

Click on picture



A very simple way to power LED's for a mimic board or 2 aspect signalling is to use the switch blades of the point 

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Connect a suitable pre addressed
decoder to the dcc bus. Connect the  common  terminals on a double pole 2way relay to the track via a ballast lamp  in series with the track I use a 12v 12watt car bulb this will protect the decoder from pulling more than 1 amp should a short circuit occur 

cross wire to the NC and NO  contacts of the relay and connect to the decoders motor output.

 A small adjustable timer circuit is powered from one of the decoders function outputs.  Make sure the the load does not exceed the decoders output rating

 I have a goods yard separate from the main layout with a shuttle
 service running.This also acts as a DC test track powered from a
 suitable decoder.
Operation is simple call up the decoder on your command station select the decoder function number I use F1 set the speed and forget

This is a economical way to replace the old  5 and3 pole Ringfield motors
By John Dent  http://web.onetel.net.uk/~johndent/ringfield.html


Station Lights

A simple project to convert a decorative lamp post to a working one.
The LEDs are from a set of battery operated Christmas lights from my local Poundland,
10 miniature clear LED's for a 1 you can also get them in red and green. 














The two fine wires running along the platform supply the power for the lamp posts




Coach Lighting


There are several ways of illuminating coaches I have found this to be an inexpensive answer.Remove wheel sets from the bogies.

Leave conductive glue 24 hours between coats.While the glue is setting fit the pickups to the bogies I used some copper covered card that was used for screening an old swich mode power supply, and thin flexible conductor will do.

I have found the resistance through the glue from wheel rim to axel varies from about 50 to 85 Ohms this can be ignored in the calculation of the current limiting resistor used with your selected led's. I have found this works well on my DCC system and although there is extra drag on the coaches I have not noticed any problem with my average train length of 6 coaches.


In use there is some light flicker from the led's I do not mind this however it is very easy to fit a small bridge rectifier and capacitor in the coach.


Daplo Track Cleaner


I have never found the track cleaner to be reliable after converting to DCC although the buffing pad polishes the track well the wheels wound need cleaning every few minutes. There is a very simple answer to this problem convert it to run off a 9 volt rechargeable battery Disconnect the track feeds to the small pcb that the DCC decoder plugs into. Connect the motor to the battery via the switch making sure the polarity is correct if you want to use the vacuum attachment.

 Signal Conversion