N Gauge

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


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3 December 2017

Some time was spent on getting the platforms at Evercreech Junction just right. After a couple of false starts I finally produced this version in balsa wood (easy to shape) toped with a layer of cereal box card (easy to shape after the balsa has been shaped, and easy to paint and stain. The ramps, though, needed to be propped up with more card, like this:

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Then the platforms were painted lightly in several coats and three different greys until I found a shade I was almost happy with.

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Elsewhere, more scenery formers were added between the colliery and the main line out of Evercreech.

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Then one of the curved storage lines in the colliery area was taken up and relaid as a straight line. Having found a good modeller's article on the colliery I now have a much better idea of how this area should look.

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Here's an overview of the entire Evercreech Junction (EJ) area at the front of the layout, with painted platforms in place faced in brick and stone paper, and both water columns in place (although the farther one would soon be taken up temporarily (aka accidentally knocked out of its housing).

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The loading gauge for EJ Goods has been permanently fixed in place.

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Underneath, some more of the route setting relays have been put in place.

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Needless to say, I didn't wire these in. They're an unexplained mystery to me!

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Here are the beginnings of an experiment to produce an uncoupling ramp. The brass square rod which fits inside another rod was easy enough, as was soldering the brass ramp to the top of the thinner rod. The servo underneath the board which operates it will take much longer.

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Much easier to complete were three more of the kit-built rolling stock cartridges which will sit under the fiddle yard.

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At EJ station I decided to add a bit of a raised roadway at the back so that it comes up to meet the back of the stationmaster's house. Visible at the bottom of the photo is a white metal post for the level crossing, but more of that another time.

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And now for a bit of major work on the incline.

The top section from the bridge up to the joint with the MPD board has never worked properly. I decided it was time to rip up the entire thing and start again. But first I needed to store some rolling stock prior to removing the fiddle yard. That meant a few extra storage trays, and at last I have enough stock of the same type in one tray to be able to label a few of them.

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With the stock removed, I was able to remove the controller section from the front of the layout, and then detach the fiddle yard and heave that out into the spare bedroom (it's really a two man job, so heaving it out solo requires a bit of effort). Then the layout could be wheeled forwards so that I could get around the back (after refitting the controller section so that I could send test trains up the incline).

Here's the old incline, with the very bad track connections at the bottom and the Grand Canyon jump across to the MPD board at the top. I've already started removing support blocks and thinning them by at least half of their original width to maximise the amount of track underneath that can be reached.

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The old board joint at the top of the incline was on a curve in the track - never ideal - and it caused some stock to derail. Now I cut a chunk out of the MPD board to attach to the incline and change the place at which the two met.

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The MPD board off-cut was clued and screwed to the incline and an extra support put in place underneath. That also meant sawing off part of the metal support bracket under the MPD board.

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With the board joint now in place and level across the very much smaller gap, I could concentrate on laying the inside track (which would have the tighter radius). Constant testing produced a curve which was free of any wheel lock-up, and placing the track joint beyond the right-hand side of the bridge (under the hammer handle in this photo) meant no awkward rail joiners just where the curve tightens up.

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While we're waiting for the glue to dry, here's a shot of the main baseboard, pulled out into the middle of the room and with the controller section loosely reattached.

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At the top of the incline I took out the cork and replaced it with hardboard of the same thickness. This is where the board joint will go.

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Extra droppers were soldered under the track so that both ends of the incline have a power feed, and rail joiners on a tight curve aren't the only way of ensuring that power reaches the top of the incline. The track would also be soldered to the blocks which were salvaged from the old incline top (I had to - it's all I have of the stuff).

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After much track bending and testing with powered locos, I had a top-most part of the inner track that I was happy with, so this could be glued in place. It would have been next to impossible to take it up and use Copydex and still keep the perfect positioning, so I left it pinned in place and dripped in wood glue mixed with water.

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Twenty-four hours later I had an inner track incline that even a King Arthur could negotiate with ease. This test train also managed to achieve a new record for the furthest a powered train has managed to get on the upper level.

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Next it was time for the outer track to be tested and laid. This one was a little easier (not necessarily saying much!) as the curve was a little more generous. There's also a little banking going in under the track with the light grey card to offset the slight outwards tilt of the track without it.

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The next day the top section of track was laid (more testing, more track bending, more success). I did all the soldering across the board joint at the same time, much more neatly and unobtrusively this time than I did before.

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Here's a close-up of the board joint while the glue was still drying. The red wire is another extra feed wire which would be connected to the main circuit once the layout was back in position. The next job will be to saw across the tracks in the middle of the board joint to separate them. I've already done the inner one here and it's still pretty perfect.

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Cuts done, the track still lines up perfectly and smooth running has been achieved along the entire upper section of the incline. That lot took a week and-a-half of various sessions to complete. I also started adding some scenery formers in celebration.

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