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About Harlequin

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    West Devon
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    Professional programmer; amateur designer, gardener, self-builder, railway modeller.

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  1. Hi tigerburnie, If you're not using traversers or large format sector plates in the fiddle yards then you need some crossovers so that trains that enter on the southbound line can leave on the northbound and vice versa. This might affect the usable lengths of your fiddle yards. So it's really important to know exactly what will fit in the space available by drawing your plan to scale using accurate templates for the parts that you intend to use!
  2. You could just turn the locos for your mainline expresses (or any train, obvs.) using "loco lifts". They might be a good solution because they are cheap and simple, they protect your locos from handling, your fiddle yard can use simple fixed full length storage roads, you don't waste valuable space with run round points and you don't need the complexity of a turntable.
  3. Hi Pete, Can I suggest you start a thread in Layout Topics to cover the build/blog aspects of your layout development because the last few posts are not really about layout or track design. (Or maybe ask a Mod to move this thread to save time re-posting stuff.)
  4. Hi Kev, Don't worry, you haven't done anything wrong. Threads often do wander off topic and when that happens it's sometimes a good idea to start a new thread somewhere else.
  5. It appears to be lifting the wheels off the tracks because it's so stiff but that could equally be due to the warped tender chassis or undulations in the track.
  6. Sorry, but this is getting way off topic (the topic was "Design your own BLT"). @retiredoperator Perhaps you'd like to start a thread specifically about your layout?
  7. Scratchy old amateur photo effect:
  8. Hi Paul, I've added grid references around the outside of the design for added clarity. I've pushed the baseboard out to 2ft wide and added the extra branch siding with two kickback sidings because the space was available. In fact it might be a good idea to only use the inner kickback siding (the one that terminates at D2) to give you a little bit of clear bench space. Branch storage 4 is 1.1m long. I'm sure that the terminus board could be entirely cantilevered off the wall (I'll show you my idea later) so I don't think any support legs would be needed anywhere from A1 to J1. So the area A1-A3 and B1 is available for a trailing set of sidings off the Up line if you want and the space for supports from D1 to J1 is free for your DMU sidings. I've shown where the points for a middle "DMU" loop could be taken off the existing curves, while respecting the 2ft minimum radius and keeping the tracks spaced apart properly. Possible points off Up Storage loop 2 are shown in bright red. Possible points off Down Storage loop 3 are shown in bright magenta. I've also shown where the track has to be re-alignment at 2ft radius to fit these new points in. The red option would reduce Storage loop 2 from 3.35m down to 2.54m. The magenta option would reduce Storage loop 3 from 3.83m down to 2.08m. A red to red loop would be about 2.5m long and a magenta to magenta loop would be about 1.9m long. (All lengths ignoring clearance between tracks close to the points.) There are lots of other permutations: You could join red to magenta, forming a long crossover between the up and down loops. Or have two terminal sidings separated in the middle somewhere (as you were suggesting). Or maybe don't use either the red or magenta options and instead have a short crossover between Storage loops 2 and 3 in F1 and G1 with spur sidings off a double slip in the middle. Or... I made a small suggested tweak to the terminus fiddle yard: Since the bottom siding has to be kept clear enough for traffic to enter the kickback siding I thought it might make sense for it to be used for the run round loop too because that also needs a clear track to be useful. So I moved the crossover down to the two bottom sidings. (I should really labels those sidings!) BTW: Am I referring to "up main" and "down main" correctly or should they really be thought of as "up relief" and "down relief", with the real main lines off-scene somewhere?
  9. AnyRail - doing awful things to good plans.
  10. Remember DCC can be used to control more than just locos: You might install DCC-controlled carriage lighting, with the pleasing ability to turn lights on and off in different compartments, optionally randomly, and to make them flicker in various ways. You might like to use something like the Hornby TTS vent van to provide atmospheric sounds (but the actual Hornby implementation is of questionable value, especially for steam era). One of my favourite sounds in my 14XX (not YouChoos) is simply a blackbird singing - very atmospheric. You might have DCC controlled trackside bits and pieces. And point motors, of course - but that's getting into a slightly different area.
  11. You old stock might not run smoothly on the Code 75 track if the flanges are large.
  12. The simplest way is to buy the decoder, speaker and sound "project" from the same supplier so that when you receive the decoder the sounds are already programmed onto it and it's ready to install. Which supplier you choose depends on whether you like their sounds for your chosen loco - different suppliers offer different recordings, different quality, different features, etc. You can usually listen to the sounds on the supplier's websites before you buy. For instance, here is the YouChoos page for the 14XX: http://www.youchoos.co.uk/Index-Shop.php?L1=Project&Item=GWR14XX (The "listen" button is orange, near the top right.)
  13. I was intrigued by this problem but while I was working it out AndyID had already posted the solution I arrived at (which might not quite meet the OP's needs but is electrically very simple). So that my evening wasn't completely wasted (!) here's my version: (Different naming scheme and slightly different isolator positions than AndyID.)
  14. That is the Holy Grail of small layout design, of course! But does this suggested design have satisfying operational interest? A lot of the moves now take place off-scene in the fiddle yard(s), which can be a bit uncomfortable. The least satisfying operation (to my eye anyway) would be getting a passenger train on Platform 2 to cross to Platform 1 so it can leave on the notional correct outbound track: The carriages would have to be moved from P2, across to the outbound track and into the fiddle yard, back into P1, only for them to reverse the move they just made and head back out to the fiddle yard! They could have just departed directly from P2.
  15. Touchscreens are elegant in principle but in practice I find they can be a bit annoying. I'm sure everyone is familiar with this sort of experience: Tap <nothing happens>, Tap again <a little animation is shown but you missed the button you were trying to click>, Tap again <the display scrolls, not what you wanted>, Tap again <Finally! The button activates>. And note that the bigger the touchscreen, the more of a physical workout you will have when operating the layout! IMHO it's hard to improve on a keyboard, mouse and a normal monitor because you have more controls (keys, buttons and wheels), more precision, and better feedback (no hand blocking the view and useful visual hints about the UI under the pointer position). Yes, it would be a good idea to do it in stages where you can get basic DCC running working as soon as possible before implementing the other stuff. And as Pete hints, you could then get different specialists in for different stages.
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