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  1. Just a note to say the R3679 Network Rail HST I received had replacement body shells already fitted - but very poorly. To the extent that not all of the screws were properly seated. A warning for anyone buying these that it is definitely worth inspecting them on arrival, especially if you aren't likely to run them for a while.
  2. Struggling to process all the comments - but have made some further amends. I've moved the loop into the top left corner, and have the fiddle yard tracks accessing the loop. I've also indicated where the entrance way to the operating well is. If I go with the ramp idea, then I will likely have these on hinges so that they can lift up out of the way, perhaps with the scenic layout on hinges too, so I'm not having to crouch down to get in/out! As others have rightly pointed out, I'll need to think about the interference re baseboard frame and point motors. Also, I'm perhaps most nerv
  3. Quick update to show the ramp line running into the reversing loop. This frees up a little space and also means trains can leave the fiddle yard from either end and get onto the ramp line. Likewise, anything coming down the ramp line can either go direct to fiddle yard, or do a quick reverse. I expect I'd keep 3/4 car DMU/EMUs in the sidings on the right hand side. From here they can quickly get to the lift... or continue on to the ramp line... I figure I can probably tidy up the top left hand corner with the reversing loop.
  4. Forgive the quick and dirty nature of the below - but it's a bit of a quick update. I've shrunk the layout, to give myself approx 50cm at one of the layout to gain access to the deepest sections of baseboard. The added advantage is that on the scenic level, I'll have an alterantive point of view, which I'm sure will add some interest for me (even if it means crawling under the boards to get there!). I've also kept the lift for the moment, but also added a ramp line, up to the scenic level. On the basis of a 2% incline, expect this will take between 1.5 and 2 laps of the layout to give me 40cm
  5. @gordon s, I've contemplated this possibility. My intention is to ensure that the scenic layout "up top" is modular and removable, in order that I can gain full access to the fiddle yard and do any repairs etc as needed. I may also try to work into the trackplan every effort to keep complex trackwork to the fore in order to minimise the need to remove the top section... Will see how that goes! I'm also minded, once I've settled on the final fiddle yard track plan, to look at how I might further segment the fiddle yard boards to make them smaller and more removable... Will see how f
  6. Great idea @H2O - and I can't quite believe I hadn't thought of this. Since I intend to make the lift platform itself blend into the 'scenic' part of the layout 'up top', it would be a shame to not incorporate some sort of through line so that I might still be able to make good use of the fiddle yard and perhaps get trains ready to appear 'upstairs'. Will try to incorporate both your suggestions in an updated track plan shortly. @RobinofLoxley you are right about the need to get the stock lift to land neatly in place, the same place, each time it goes up and down. Coming
  7. @BR Blue, thank you, I'm struck by the "less is more" point. I have followed Everard Junction for some time and I know that when he re-did his layout, this was something he was very keen on trying to do. I'm hopeful that having a pretty big fiddle yard might help me keep a "less is more" focus on the scenic area. @Peter-C, yes, been to Oxford quite a bit too. I'm mostly using "Oxford" as an excuse to run Thames Trains/FGW/GWR/Chiltern/Virgin/Intercity/Cross Country stock. In my head, 'Oxford Junction' is a reimagined 'Oxford' and 'Oxford Parkway' - bigger and better than both (hope
  8. I'm posting the layout build over here (Oxford Junction - OO Gauge), but would welcome thoughts on my fiddle yard layout. The space itself is approximately 5.35m (17ft 6in) wide and 3.5m (11ft 6in) deep. The fiddle yard will be beneath the main scenic layout, and access between the "upstairs (scenic)" and "downstairs (fiddle yard)" will be via the three-track 4-car long lift, marked in grey below. This allows a total of a 12-car train (so a decent freight or HST) to be transported in one go (granted it will need to be de-coupled into max 4 car segments). I've built the
  9. Some more progress today, extending the baseboard frame, adding the adjustable feet to the legs, and generally making the space more spider-proof, i.e. sealing up some of the cracks and crevices where the blighters seem to lurk. I don't want to find any trains covered in cobwebs!
  10. Hoping to make the most of the bank holiday - and off to a good start today getting some of the other framework put together so that you can see the beginnings of the fiddle yard level. The furthest board in the photo below will see (hopefully) three lines from the loco-lift turn into one (ambitious, I know), and the track will then circle around and on the left-most board the single track will expand into an approx 10 lane fiddle yard, that will loop around behind the camera. I've also got some adjustable feet that I may yet add to the legs of the board, depending on how level or not I find t
  11. Thanks @RobinofLoxley. Yes, you are right would be stacking trains. I'm increasingly of the view that the trackplans above are going to look wildly different in time. I will probably get a layout planning thread running to help with more of that side of things and keep this one focussed on the build process and progress. On which note, I've figured out how to upload a video of the inaugural loco lift rising - and falling!
  12. Just a quick update to report that the 12V DC power supply arrived today and have connected up to the linear actuator and it worked brilliantly, transporting the inaugural train - a Bachmann Class 168 of Chiltern Railways - up and down a few times without any issues. Will figure out how to do a video on here and then post that later.
  13. Not a huge amount more to progress, beyond getting the actuator attached and adding some bracing to the underside of the lift platform to help keep it to a good shape, and to help distribute the forcefrom the actuator. It is also becoming clear to me that the layout i have planned is quite the monster and that the development of the scenic level will undoubtedly be quite tough, as I have a layout up to 1200mm deep and at about 1100m off the ground. It basically means I'll have no choice but to build a modular/removable scenic level, so that I can do much of the work and then slot the items int
  14. Finally made some progress on the loco lift today - with the results below. The frame for the lift is pretty good. After cutting the timbers to the required lengths, I put it together using some metal brackets and screws to speed construction. The lift itself currently runs on two 45kg-rated ball-bearing drawer runners. The drawer runners can extend, I think about 500-600mm, but the linear actuator (not pictured below) has a maximum of 400mm, and to be honest anything above 400mm and the scenic level (the upstairs!) of the layout starts to become too high to be properly enjoyable. Next steps,
  15. Just a quick update to say that I'm hoping to now make some good progress on the loco lift - utilising the linear actuator, the guide rails, and newly arrived 12mm birch plywood. Pleased to say that at 130cm long and 15cm wide it easily accommodates a 4-car DMU. In this case I've tested with a Bachmann Class 220 Virgin Voyager. The intention is to have two tracks, but it could take three - and the upshot of that would be the ability to accommodate up to 12 cars... and therefore a full-length HST! The intention is that the lift will make use of a total of four guide rai
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