This coming Saturday (6th November 2010) sees the High Wycombe model railway exhibition at John Hampden School, High Wycombe. 'Bleakhouse Road' will be there, and should be located right next to Chris Nevard's lovely 'Combwich'.
Chris and I have been discussing how we may effect some kind of 'through running' between the two layouts. Due to the time constraints and logistics, however, a permanent link during the show was ruled out quite early on. The solution, hopefully is a 'Transfer Cassette', enabling trains to be run onto the transfer cassette in my fiddle yard, and then lifted out and carried over to the Combwich fiddle yard for it's onward journey.
Chris gave me the dimensions of his fiddle yard, which has a sector plate/turntable. Fortunately, this can be moved completely to one side, to enable the transfer cassette to be put in place and butted up to the layout track of Combwich.
The exit from the fiddle yard on Combwich is at an angle, due to the way the sector plate works, so the transfer cassette had to have this replicated at one end. The other end is a normal 90 degree join, where it will abut the cassette docking station on the BHR fiddle yard.
First of all, I drew up the following very basic plan:
The depth of the transfer cassette could not be more than 6mm (not including track), due to the dimensions on Combwich, but over the weekend I quickly found that I didn't have any ply of that thickness, nor did I really have the time to go to the timber merchant to get some.
What I did find, however, was some 5mm foamboard! By laminating that with some 1mm stiff card, I could get the required 6mm depth. Despite some initial warping caused by the PVA, the cassette was straightened and held down with some heavy weights when I came to glue the track on it. The sides were also formed of the same 1mm card, glued on with PVA and pinned in place with brass lacemaking pins.
The ends of the rails were soldered to copper clad sleepers, epoxied in place. Finally, some sections of brass were epoxied in place on the ends of the side sections and electrically connected to the rails. This at least matches my fiddle yard cassette connecting system, and hopefully Chris will have some wander-leads with crocodile clips or similar at his end!
Cruel close-up of the 'Combwich end':