Now I have got the baseboard around out of the scenic section into the corner built I needed to make some track and think about fiddle-yard design. Off-scene I am happy with using ready to run P4 track rather than laying timber sleepers and plastic chairs. I decided that the corner might as well have a small cassette fiddle-yard so that I can use it to reverse trains when the loop over the door is not in place. I've built a B6 point on paxolin which gives access to the cassette or to the circuit around the room.
The cassette is a 'first attempt'. The intention is for it to hold two coaches or half a freight train and it is ~60cm long. The plan is that I'll have two lengths, one shorter one for locos and one for 'half-trains'. The ~60cm size means that I can store them, with the stock on them, in the IKEA drawer units I have in the railway room. I should be able to get about 20 cassettes stored in these. I don't like the idea of cassettes any longer than this as I think they get too unwieldy, seeing people at exhibitions moving four foot long cassettes around makes me very nervous!
The plan for the main loop fiddle-yard is that the yard will allow one loco and two train cassettes to be inserted into the loop, I'm thinking I can make some kind of 'expansion joint' which allows me to 'open' the cassette line, insert the cassettes and then close it again, clamping the three cassettes together. I've made the ends of the cassette so that they can be reversed and intend to try and build in some kind of electrical connection, probably into the corners at the ends. The lifting loops help when moving and I am planning a slot into which a 'gate' will fit at either end for moving.
At the moment there is no vertical alignment and the track is just stuck down with some contact adhesive. I am wondering about making a 3D printed shape which could combine a way to hold the rail, hold some metal rod as the basis of the power connection and incorporate a shape to help rerailing. Any thoughts on that welcome!
I have learnt one lesson from the prototype unit, clamp the ply base of the cassette to the bench while you stick the sides on to ensure it remains flat. Alternatively I might try adding some adjustable 'leveling bolts' to the underside so that rather than rest on the length of the ply it rests on a small number of points which could be adjusted to a specific level.
What do you think?