N Gauge

LAYOUT WORK: Building 'Bournemouth West for the S&DJR'


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29 December 2015

This update has been a long time coming, but the stock of track has been replenished, allowing work to begin on completing the fiddle yard.

Long-term problems with the power feed to the points motors, and with setting up the motors themselves so that they work reliably have now been fixed. It was all thanks to one marvellous fixing session by someone who knows a lot better than I do.

Apparently the PIT (power board) wasn't wired up to provide the best 'punch' so that throwing double points motors together (and even single motors with switches attached) was very unreliable. Much testing has followed without a fault. I've even wired in one new motor, which worked straight off, so the feeling of taking a huge step forwards is palpable.

I've also begun to install the rest of the incline. This is the trickiest bit - the final curving climb to the upper level. The bridge has been glued in place and the supports for the incline are being tested for positioning and height. Using the M7, even with extra weights attached, hasn't produced a smooth ascent, but other locos seem fine.

Anyway, photos to match - here's the bridge surface in place.

Layout construction

And now onwards to the fiddle yard, where the work of laying the last three storage roads has begun.

Layout construction

Layout construction

The layout now has a full twelve road fiddle yard. The first four roads have mid-section cartridge slots for short trains, while the other roads, except 11 and 12, have mid-section isolators.

Layout construction

Time to test the connections between storage roads and loco cartridges. A fair bit of fine-tuning and fettling took place, but most cartridges seem to work pretty well in most slots. If one particular cartridge doesn't work in one particular slot then swap it over for another.

Layout construction

Speaking of loco cartridges, the fiddle yard definitely needs another batch, so let the production begin, using moulded plasticard and a handy short bolt.

Layout construction

Layout construction

Now for some incline testing, using the weakest runt in the litter - the Dapol M7. Sadly even with some temporary additional weights attached, it can't do what every single Farish and Union Mills loco can - get up the incline hauling two Farish suburban carriages. Even Dapol's Terrier can do that, so the M7 must be particularly bad.

Layout construction

Testing the positioning and height of support blocks for the incline.

Layout construction

Layout construction

Temporary track on temporary underlay to test an as-yet temporary incline...

Layout construction

In fact the temporary underlay was fairly curled, which forced up the track and provided false incline test results. So the underlay had to be applied more permanently.

Layout construction

There will be more to come after Christmas.

30 January 2016

A lot more work has been taking place since Christmas, so it's time for a big update.

A fix to the power supply for points motors seems to have given me fresh energy, and the rate of progress has been good. Most of the work has been on the electronics side, so there's not necessarily too much to show for it. But all except one of the lower level points motors have been installed, along with the first relay (these will replace the existing four auxiliary switches and all others).

The first 'easy' task was working on the bridge so that the bridge sides will fit securely.

Layout construction

Following that, some preparations for the upper section of the incline, which also happens to be a tightish curve. Never let it be said that I allow myself an easy life.

Layout construction

Incline supports in place, after a good deal of testing, some gluing, and some last-minute sanding and filing. The good news is that coaching stock on the lower level still goes round unhindered.

Layout construction

Incline in place and the works train makes it all the way up without the slightest hesitation.

Layout construction

To avoid using unfixed underlay when testing the incline, it makes sense to apply permanent underlay to the entire upper level. Cork gluing underway...

Layout construction

...followed by cutting out of cork.

Layout construction

With the upper level back in place, it's time to start gluing down track on the incline.

Layout construction

Outer line done, although in the end the Peco Code 55 didn't quite want to follow the curve properly. Never mind. A bit of scenic work will soon hide that. Well, not soon. It'll be a while before I get to scenic work.

Layout construction

Meanwhile, underneath the layout, it's time to set up the power connection between lower level and upper level.

Layout construction

Two points motors and auxiliary switches installed.

Layout construction

Inner track laid and glued on the incline. Testing with a Dapol M7 and two coaches can be... fun?

Layout construction

The track layout across the bridge amended its own identity as it was laid, so some extra ground is required for the scenic side of things, and to which the bridge sides can be attached.

Layout construction

Looking back, it seems that the completed Bournemouth West mimic panel hasn't been mentioned, so here it is, with all switches (but two) in place...

Layout construction

...and on the inside, there's still a lot of work to do.

Layout construction

In between the two mimic panels, there's the changed controller area, with the Morley double and Graham Farish single track units being replaced by two AGWs. These are much better for low speed loco control.

Layout construction

Time to wire in the last points motor switch on the Evercreech panel, for the twin-motored Points 1...

Layout construction

...and also time to install the first relay. This one will supply power across a point which previously had no extra power supplied across it. But installing anything in the most crowded part of the layout is not easy.

Layout construction

Points 1 (left and right) and Point 2 installed. It's a nice tight space, so it makes perfect sense to locate as many points motors here as possible. Doesn't it?

Layout construction

Relay close-up.

Layout construction

Time to grind off the bars for the newly-installed points motors.

Layout construction

Now for the hard work. Moving the fiddle yard has become a two-man job. It has put on a lot of weight since I last moved it. The controller unit has to be detached beforehand, and the backscene corner panel also needed to be taken out so that I could access the top of the incline.

Layout construction

The main board, moved forwards to permit access to the back of the layout.

Layout construction

Here's what will be sliding underneath the track on each side of the join at the top of the incline. The scraped-out lines are to maintain electrical isolation between the two sides of each track.

Layout construction

Sleepers removed, board slid in, glued, and screwed, and soldered. That track isn't going anywhere.

Layout construction

And before any hesitation, a dremmel job to cut the rails so that the upper level is once again removable...

Layout construction

...as you can see!

Layout construction

And finally for this update, with all that track work done, here's a view of the path ahead. Onwards, to Bournemouth West!

Layout construction

 

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