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Stour valley dream - first trains around the room


Fen End Pit

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I finally managed to build the last sections of baseboard for my layout, these two sections were both odd shapes and needed to be drawn based on the reality of what I'd already built and not just from the overall master drawing. I've already discovered that 'square' means a different thing to builders and walls aren't always at 90 degrees to each other!

 

The short section over the right hand side of my desk carries a 3'6" radius curve which is does most of the turn back to get along the wall with the fiddle-yard. This meant that I could just support one end on the existing layout boards and the other on a leg next to the door frame. The result means that I can remove it relatively easily when I need to do anything serious with the 3D printer which can still sit in the corner.

 

The truly removable section over the door is almost straight and I built it with only a 30mm depth of framing as it is so small. The result is lightweight but very strong. The track is just ready-to-run P4 track stuck to a cork base.

 

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The baseboard ends have a strip of paxolin screwed to them onto which I've soldered the rails. The shaped piece of ply means that the removable section will sit in a rough alignment when it is put into place.

 

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Also soldered to the paxolin are some pieces of brass tube which form a simple bolt to get the alignment accurate and these also take the track power across the baseboard joint. I know from experience that I will need to modify these to add a sprung wiper contact as electricity tends not to reliably flow between two concentric brass tubes (yes really!)

 

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I put a brief video up on Youtube to show some of the first trains running round the room.

 

 

Some of the track in this section is still a little jury-rigged so I still have a bit of work to do on that front. I've still got to complete the back road of the fiddle-yard and wire up the two points at either end of the loop. I've also got to make a load more cassettes so I can start storing and swapping stock. I came up with a simple method for electrical connection between the cassettes. The end of the rail is soldered to a length of sleeper strip which goes across the width of the cassette. I solder two L shaped strips of brass (scrap etch) to these and then on one of them a short strip of phosphor-bronze to form a wiper. There are usually 3 cassettes in a row and I'm feeding power from either end so there is a bit of redundancy. I'll see how this works in practice.

 

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I am also considering a redesign in the sides of the cassettes. Having a low, narrow cassette with a length of track down it sounds fine but you can't get your fingers in to rerail stock easily. This is particularly impossible with bogie vehicles where you find the bogies have a mind of their own. Making the sides much lower would weaken the cassette too much so I've tried making it taller and then cutting some access holes in the side. Time will tell if this is better solution.

 

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Obviously this is one heck of a milestone in the layout construction and one I frankly didn't expect to get to this time last year. Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement both online and 'in real life'.

 

David

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I must pay tribute to the plywood engineering that's gone into progress thus far. Also the recuperative value of what David has achieved in the relatively short time since his dispiriting prognosis this time last year.

 

Having witnessed a couple of trains completing a full circuit yesterday evening, there is one major logistical problem to overcome. The last baseboard across the room door means that access in and out of the room is impossible whilst trains are running - and also prevents deliveries of tea to parched operators!

 

An urgent problem to resolve David, but congratulations on what you've achieved to date!

 

Geraint

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I'll add my congratulations to those of Geraint. A landmark moment, David. I look forward to the continuing story!

 

David

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