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
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
And now onwards to the fiddle yard, where the work
of laying the last three storage roads has begun.
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
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.
Speaking of loco cartridges, the fiddle yard
definitely needs another batch, so let the production begin, using
moulded plasticard and a handy short bolt.
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.
Testing the positioning and height of support
blocks for the incline.
Temporary track on temporary underlay to test an
as-yet temporary incline...
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.
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
The first 'easy' task was working on the bridge so
that the bridge sides will fit securely.
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.
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
Incline in place and the works train makes it all the way up without
the slightest hesitation.
To avoid using unfixed underlay when testing the incline, it makes
sense to apply permanent underlay to the entire upper level. Cork
...followed by cutting out of cork.
With the upper level back in place, it's time to start gluing down
track on the incline.
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.
Meanwhile, underneath the layout, it's time to set up the power
connection between lower level and upper level.
Two points motors and auxiliary switches installed.
Inner track laid and glued on the incline. Testing with a Dapol
M7 and two coaches can be... fun?
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.
Looking back, it seems that the completed Bournemouth West mimic
been mentioned, so here it is, with all switches (but two) in
...and on the inside, there's still a lot of work to do.
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
Time to wire in the last points motor switch on the Evercreech
panel, for the twin-motored Points 1...
...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.
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.
Time to grind off the bars for the newly-installed points motors.
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.
The main board, moved forwards to permit access to the back of the
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
Sleepers removed, board slid in, glued, and screwed, and soldered.
That track isn't
And before any hesitation, a dremmel job to cut the rails so that
the upper level is
once again removable...
...as you can see!
And finally for this update, with all that track work done, here's a
view of the path
ahead. Onwards, to Bournemouth West!