Leeds Weeklyn Hill MPD

A 1960's Steam/Diesel shed set in the heart of Leeds


Behind the Scene's Two - Loco Preperation

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

By now me have selected our locos, drawn up the roster and movement sequence for a show - now comes the task of making sure each loco is ready for action over the weekend. During the course of a normal two day show the sequence will hopefully be completed 3 times - this equates to each loco coming on or off shed 6 times (sometimes more as the sequence often involves some of the engines coming back for fuelling in the middle of the sequence). this naturally equates to a fair distance covered by each loco and therefore they need to be in top condition before we set off.

All locos are put through the wheel cleaner at the very start of the preperations. This allows us to make sure the locos will acheive maximum pick up over the 2 days but also to see if there are any running problems with locos which can be addressed before the show starts. Thankfully any problems are usually easy to fix and all locos are soon running with shiny wheels.

The next stage is to pack all the locos up into stock boxes. For this we use Bachmann Collectors Club sotck boxes which have capacity for 10 locos in each box. All the locos are packed up carfully trying to keep locos for either the shed's or hidden sidings together so that boxes do not have to be moved too much once we arrive at the venue.

With the locos all packed up and ready, we then move on to ensuring all the loose scenics, electronics, stands and anything else we need are all ready to go. The final job is to load the car and set off to the venue - this will be covered in part 3.

Behind the Scene's One - Pre Show Admin work

Posted on January 8, 2012 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

As 2012 is now upon us and the final prepaerations for the lines next show are mainly minor painting of figures and scenics. I thought I would try something new this year to keep the website updated and write some blogs about how we go about things before a show arrives. One of thethings that most appeals to me at shows is what is in the hidden sidings orstorage yard of the layout, I like to see what is there and how it works -sometimes even more then the front of the layout. Therefore it seems only fairI gave you all an insight into how our layout works and what we do and why.

The first thing we do is the boring admin work. You may not believe itbut a lot of work on a computer goes into this layout before a show takes place- this is not calculating pay figures for operators or anything like that it ismore the selecting of which locos to take to the show and how the sequence orthat show will pan out.

The first starting point is the selecting of locos, we have a fleet ofapprox 40 locos available based purely on sound fitted locos that had a (slim in some cases) chance of appearing at Leeds in 1960. However the line will if full to capacity hold 23 locos in the storageyard, 9 locos in the steam shed and 6 locos in the diesel shed. Obviously we want to keep some spaces free in all areas so we can move stuff around withou thaving to adopt a "one in, one out" policy all day as no shed in real life would be like that. Therefore you are talking about a max of about 35 locos for any one show.

The first job is to check out the show and see what links we might have to it. For example this year we are doing Middleton Railway in Leeds show so the first loco on the list for the roster will be BR Y1 Departmental 54 (not on our Weeklyn Hill database yet but now Howe’s do a sound chip for one it will be added) or if the show fell on a certain weekend (e.g. remembrance Sunday) we would try to find locos that mark that weekend to add to the roster.

The next set of locos to be selected will come from what would be the “home” team namely locos that were allocated to Holbeck, Copley Hill and Neville Hill,it is likely these will take strong preference over other locos as they would actually have been seen on shed. Finally the locos available from other sheds are whittled down to leave us with a fleet that will not overfill the yards.Those locos that did not make the cut might still appear if one of the selectedlocos fails and we can replace it in time.

Once all locos have been selected for operation the next stage is to decidewhat starts out on shed and what is out on trains. Normally the railways wouldbe mainly freight at night and passenger in the daytime, so we would start witha couple of express passenger locos on shed along with the local suburban tanklocos, with all our freight engines waiting to come in.

Now comes the tricky part – the sequence. We do not operate to a timetableas I personally feel that if you try to stick to a timetable at a show you canend up with problems whereas a simple sequence can take as long as you want toplay out and then you can go back to the beginning. The sequence has to involveall locos coming on and off shed in one “24 hour” session, however it is morecomplicated then just saying loco “X” on, loco “Y” off.  There is a limited space on each line at anytime so all movements have to be able to work.

Sadly we do not have the space to set up the layout and plan a full sequencebefore any show (the roster will change for each show so the sequence has to aswell) this is where the computer comes into play.


The above photo is a screen shot of a simple Excelspreadsheet which we use to plan all our movements, each line in the shed hasan individual line on the sheet with the correct number of spaces for locosallocated to it (the red squares are to stop us allocating more locos to a linethen we have space for)


Now all we have to do is plan each movement by inputting each loco number onto the sheet against the appropriate movement, as thesequence plays out on the computer the locos will move from the entrance roadto the coaling tower, then to the disposal road and finally onto shed (ifsteam) or the diesel fuel line and then the shed (if diesel) before they departagain later in the sequence. If a loco stays in one spot whilst the currentmovement occurs the loco will not move on the computer model.


While this is going on the sequence is typed into MicrosoftWord in a table format which will be printed off, each movement cut out and glued into the movement sequence card index book.


This allows up to check we have all locos planned. Inaddition we can be sure no loco will try to complete an impossible move (eitheronto a full track or driving straight through a loco in its way). The finalcheck is to see that the final movement in the sequence correlates to the startpoint so we are ready to flip over and start again.


Once this is complete the admin side of our preparations aredone and we can move onto the prepping the locos, this will be in part 2 of our“behind the scenes” guide.