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Wednesday 27 January 2016

Project 16 - Down Line Operational

Very pleasing to get trains running again, albeit only on the 'down' line.

Initially I was stumped on how to create the complex curve but, it was simple. The apex measurement was transferred from the plan to the baseboard and then a length of flexible track was used to define the curve, set by eye looking down the length of track.

To Part 6.

 To Part 1.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Project 16 - Control & Wiring

Control is provided by a Hornby Zero 1, an early form of DCC from the1980s. As with all DCC, isolated tracks are not required; every track is live - well almost. The Peco Single Slip and Asymmetric 3-way turnouts whilst having live frogs also have dead sections that require switch control.

Usually switching is integrated with the point motor setup but, I am adopting finger control of the turnouts. I need a separate control panel of on/off switches. (The push buttons on the panel shown here are for semaphore signals - more on that later.)

The Single Slip and 3-way turnouts are supplied with drop wires already installed. Holes are drilled in the baseboard close by and the wires pushed through. The drop wires are quite short and are taken to a multi-way terminal block for each drop wire group underneath the baseboard.

The baseboards are modular and therefore, electrically isolated from each other. Each baseboard has a D type connector mounted at the front of the frame and its mating connector brings power from the controller. Back under the baseboard power wires from the front connector are taken to a mult-way distribution terminal block. Wires from here connect to the drop wire terminal blocks. Straight track sections also have drop wires where needed.
 A and B are power feeds. Switches shown in 'Slip' position.
Switches shown in 'main' position.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Project 16 - Track Laying

My aim is to complete track laying for the 'down main' first so that trains can be run around again.

Hitherto track was stuck down with double sided tape. Double sided tape was used as it is unobtrusive compared to pinning and it reduces train motor noise. Pinning can convey noise to the baseboard, which acts as a sounding board. No special measures were applied where the track bridges modular baseboard joins. The downside is that the track has a tendency to move/slide causing misalignment at baseboard joins. The track can also become damaged when removed if the tape bond is strong.

This time I decided to pin the track, not by passing the pin through the sleepers but  trapping the ends of the sleeper by half the pin head. (see 4th sleeper from left in photo). I did this to avoid drilling holes in sleepers. When the ballast is laid I may either paint the overhanging pin head same colour as the ballast to disguise it or, if the ballast gluing holds the track firm enough then remove the pins altogether.

At baseboard joins I am replacing plastic sleepers each side of the join with copper clad board that is glued to the ground and then the rail soldered to it. This provides a strong bond to stop misalignment or track damage should the boards be separated for transit. An insulating cut in the copper is made in the middle of the sleeper. The rail is cut through after soldering. Drop wires are soldered to the copper clad sleepers for electrical continuity.

By the way, the plastic sleepers are home made, 3D printed.

To Part 4.

To Part 1.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Project 16 - Trackbed

The baseboards, which are 3'x2' modules, were built in plywood following the Barry Norman technique of open beams made from thin plywood sides spaced by blocks of softwood. It makes for a light, strong structure. The modules are linked together using three butt hinges (two top and one beneath in the middle) with removable hinge pins. One is just visible top left of the photo.

On the bare baseboard I lay paper sheets all over, glued down only by the edges and a few blobs in the middle. This makes for easy removal of previous layout groundworks without damage to the baseboard surface. Consequently, months of work in creating the previous layout were ripped off the baseboards in a matter of minutes.

The track on the other side of the oval (that is being retained) is raised above ground level on eighth inch cork floor tiles cut to the shape of the track bed with cambered sides. (Cork helps to absorb sound of the 'toy' trains in motion). It will be necessary to do the same on this side to maintain level alignment where the tracks join. However, the landscape of the prototype at Crewkerne was level with the top of the railway sleepers. To replicate this on the model would require much infilling each side of the cork trackbed. I decided to simplify matters and cover the entire baseboard with the tiles. The groundworks each side of the track bed will be level with the bottom of the sleepers.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.
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