Back in April I mentioned that I was considering building an extension board for the layout that could be used at exhibitions.
The new board would hopefully have the following benefits.
1. It would eliminate the need to move the fiddle yard during shunting maneuvers.
2. If I give this base board full scenic treatment then the view under the bridge would be greatly improved!
3. My fingers couldn't be seen when moving the fiddle yard to set up roads for different locos and their accompanying stock.
4. Trains could reach a reasonable speed before entering or leaving the scenic part of the layout.
5. I could incorporate an area in front of the scenery to put a cup of tea or coffee!
The post generated lots of useful comments, which I've pondered at length! Despite the temptations of engine sheds and trailing crossovers that the comments raised, I've decided to keep things simple and concentrate on my initial brief. The layout takes quite long enough to set up in exhibition halls as it is, space is limited in the hire van and Al and I have to carry the wretched thing once I've built it!
The new board is 3 feet long, two feet wide and constructed from wood salvaged from the layouts "Mark 1 fiddleyard"
New board in position
I used C & L templates to work out which radius point to use, settling on a B 5.5 left hander. Grahame (BGMan) spoke highly of the point kits available from Greenwood Model Railway products, so I decided to give one a go. https://greenwoodmodelrailwayproducts.co.uk/shop/laser-cut-products/timber-track-base/o-gauge-straight-turnout-kit/ I can concur that the kits are excellent and the pre formed "crossing nose/wing rail makes point construction a doddle The point kits are available in standard 32 mm gauge and also in 31.5 mm and 33 mm gauges. I used a 31.5mm version to match the rest of the layouts track work. The only draw back as far as I can see with these kits is the fact that they come with 3 bolt chairs, which aren't really appropriate for a GWR layout. I decided that as my point is to be ostensibly "off stage" i wouldn't lose any sleep over it, I guess purists could always change the chairs for two bolt offerings from C & L!
Greenwood Point in position
I decided that for the sake of simplicity I would operate the point mechanically, rather than use a tortoise point motor which seemed a bit of a luxury for an off stage point! The bell cranks were "borrowed" from an old radio control aircraft project and the point is thrown by a simple slider switch which also changes the frog polarity.
Bell cranks, pushrods and polarity switch
I'm not a fan of backscenes with a 90 degree sharp corner, so a length of hardboard was spayed with water then bent around an old paint pot as a former and held in position for a couple of days. Once the water had evaporated and the sheet dried out, the hardboard held the curve pretty well. The backscene was then fitted to the base board using some inch square soft wood batten. MDF was used to form the back and sides of the shelf at the front of the base board for the all important tea/coffee mugs
Curved backscene and coffee shelf.
Expanded polystyrene sheet was used to build up the basic ground formation, this was then sanded using a Surform to create a a curved flowing surface.
Once the Polystyrene had been sanded and the resultant debris swept swept up, the sheets were glued in position using PVA white glue. Weights (tins of paint/drill bits) were used to hold the sheets in position while the glue dried.
Here are a couple of pictures of the view under the bridge, from the main layout. Obviously early days at the moment, but I hope people agree that it's looking more promising than the view of my fingers!
View under the bridge
I'm looking forward to getting out the static grass gun and adding some textures and colour to the embankments, but before that can take place I've got the "joys" of ballasting and point rodding to tackle!
Until next time.......