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Inspired by Brent June 1947


The Fatadder
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Personally I prefer switches unless using Panelpro on a computer, though it probably depends on the handset you are using as to how convenient it is. If you really want to control your turnouts and signals with DCC and are looking for a cost effective decoder for your Tortoise motors (or Cobalts come to that) and aren't too worried about feedback to your control panel about positioning.

 

Then I would suggest using the MERG kit, costs about £10.00 plus membership, controls 4 slow motion turnout motors. I have a couple built-up  for controlling relays, the relays then switched the Servo board inputs for servo operation. I think from memory I'd have to put some extra components in (they weren't required for relay operation but I still have them) if anybody is interested (at cost). I was going to use them on a layout but client decided on switches instead.

 

I would add that a separate power supply for the decoders is necessary and programming them may need the use of a Sprog as the Handset may not be up to doing multiple instances of the decoder.

 

I would be very cautious about using the MERG decoders in this situation.

 

I had one on Blacklade until recently - the other board had NCE Switch-Its , then Digitrax DS64

 

I've found the MERG decoder extremely vulnerable to any short . A short on that board usually meant the decoder went dead , and required "turn it off and turn it back on" to reboot . Pulling the plug on the 16V AC supply is an irritation on a small portable layout - it might be completely impractical on a medium sized permanent layout

 

(The MERG decoders use an independent 16V AC supply to drive the motors , but take a data signal by a separate connection to the DCC system)

 

In addition the decoders are very vulnerable to programming signals . Any programming of locos will scramble the MERG decoder. You then have to connect the DCC inputs of the MERG decoder directly to the PowerCab with flyleads to re-program. That's a "drop the boards, find the fly leads and the programming instructions" job. For that reason I didn't fit a second MERG decoder to the board with the PowerCab input , and explored other decoders  (I have been told the Lenz LS150 is also vulnerable to programming signals)

 

The MERG decoder was ripped out in a cold fury a few months ago 48 hrs after it went dead and wouldn't reboot at a club event , leaving me unable to change points on the station board. It's been replaced by another DS64, which I had had on hand as a replacement since Gaydon and which so far has been entirely bomb-proof . Unfortunately the DS64 isn't a cheap piece of kit, and requires a 12V DC supply (no problem - both boards have a stablised 12V DC supply for LEDs). Possibly the MERG decoder needed reprogramming tto restore - but it was scheduled for replacement , and I was past caring.

 

Motors used are Tortoises (+ 1 Cobalt). Best Practice is to have all the accessory decoders on a completely separate power district , and I'm afraid mine are on the main DCC traction bus. I also have a subjective impression the DS64 is delivering a more positive and effective throw of the points

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Ideally I want a full leaver frame, but the budget won't stretch.

 

So I am torn between buying another large amount of wire plus another 10 switches and use a traditional panel.

 

Or, buy 3 NCE 8 point decoders, with the plan of adding a panel later. I think I'm right in saying you can either buy a panel which controller them or an adaptor which allows switches to be used and that with the latter I could use a bank of the basic Hornby or peco point leavers to provide the signal into the button board?

 

Controlling the points via an iPad would also appeal, particularly if there is reasonably priced software which allows you to input a track plan and then press the screen on the point you want to change

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Yet another evening of tortoise installation and track wiring, resulting in the loops wiring completed. Two more point motors installed (Plymouth end of yard) and the equivalent two points at the Exeter end wired up ready for motor installation tomorrow.

 

Under testing the three points that have had tortoise installed this week have performed very well (with a 45xx running through at full speed in both directions on track which will only ever be used at low speed.) now I know it works on DC with the loco most likely to run there, I will fire up the powercab tomorrow and test some bigger locos.post-54-0-08855100-1489788097_thumb.jpg

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Going DCC would give you so many options, and tidy up the wiring. I've a lot of wire under my small baseboard for 11 motors. But they are mostly going to the same 2 places, each side of the bus wire. Again, I'm not having to troubleshoot long runs into individual switches. 

 

I'm going to use Panel Pro with an old Android Tablet. (Well that's the plan). I love the route setting, initially I though it was going to be too much of a cheat, you should be changing points properly. But in the fiddle yard it's great. I just select road one and three points throw together, this makes operation quite simple.

 

Should you want to have physical buttons or levers for some sections, there things like the Cobalt Alpha. https://www.dccconcepts.com/product-category/the-cobalt-collection/cobalt-alpha/ I've not used it, but a cracking idea. Physical switches that can be connected to the DCC bus. This could easily be added later.

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Another evenings work and the yard is now fully wired and the remaining two point motors have been installed. Track is tested (again with 4526 on DC with a 20 year old Hornby controller) The track performed perfectly, but one polarity switch on a tortoise is playing up, I am not sure if it is because I am hand turning the point so I have left it alone until the point is tested under power. (a job for tomorrow as it requires the power supply unsoldering from the current control panel.)

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Anywhere here is the current state of the wiring (ie a mess but it works!)

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I am now 99% sure that I will be switching to DCC for the points, so hopefully will get an order placed for some parts soon.

The next job - the branch side of the down main to branch crossover, then its time to build the missing board (which given it involves working with wood I have been desperately putting off.)

 

 

 

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A silly mistake limited tonight's progress.

 

Attention has turned to the Kingsbridge Branch junction.  as has previously been discussed the limitations as a result of the limited space available has resulted in some major compromises here (to the point that I still debate ending the scenic section at the bow string bridge.)  The line curves the wrong direction, while the down loop is missing completely.  In the place of the latter is a facing crossover between the down main and the branch.  The branch side of which was half completed this evening.  

 

This is a B7 point (on a curve) with one route heading in the direction of the down main and the other continuing towards Kingsbridge.  The upper rail through the point is a continuation of the approach track from the double slip, so this was the first to be glued in position.  This was followed by the soldering (and fitting) of a 1:7 vee, along with the track which will eventually connect with the lift out board (and the down main point).  As soon as the track was glued in place, the ends joining the lift out board were soldered to a strip of copperclad.

 

Next the branch chairs / flex track bases were threaded onto the rail (with the branch lower rail extending to form the lower rail of the point.)  The sleepers were glued down, leaving the chairs for the point loose.  Once glued again the ends were soldered to the copperclad strip and cut to length (forgetting that the lower rail had not been fitted in place.)  Naturally this resulted in the rail being 5mm too short, requiring the rail through the point chopping out and relaying (cue a couple of iterations attempting to get the rail the right length!)  

post-54-0-05180600-1489961173_thumb.jpg

 

With this complete, attention turned to the design of the lift out section (which may still  be bracketed...)

However I doubt that any actual progress will be made on it's construction until I get back from Madrid on Thursday.

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No oportunity to get outside to the layout last night (or until I get back from Madrid on Thursday). I did however manage to build the first of 3 small huts, to be located at the Plymouth end of the Avon bridge, near to the water tower and next to the cattle dock.

I don't have any good photos of these, so for the moment I am using readily available parts. This example being from Coopercraft and included in a large batch of wagons purchased off eBay a couple of years ago.

 

Whether or not it stays in the long term, it fills a gap for the moment (or at least will once it has some paint on it...

post-54-0-98294500-1490082041_thumb.jpg

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Back to England and two packages waiting for me, a star at the post office (to collect on the way to the office tomorrow) and a new Antex TC 50 soldering iron on the doorstep

 

My first thought getting out to the garage was to try again T fixing the double slip. The old tie bar was removed, switch blades cleaned up, and a new tie bar formed.

This time I used a cutting disk in the Dremmel which significantly sped things up.

 

It was quickly soldered into position, the small (clean) head along with a lot more heat made the right joint between the two inner switch rails a lot easier.

It just needs a carful brake made in the pcb and a lot of solder between them (razor saw cut I think.)

 

So I then figured I may as well install the motors so that I could test properly. Typically the shortening of the switch rails means it now overlaps a support joist. Again the mistake in the early days of using 2 by 1 Not 4 by 1 comes back to hurt me. In this case I think there is nothing for it but to remove a chunk of the support bar.

 

At which point I called it a night and came back inside

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Back to England and two packages waiting for me, a star at the post office (to collect on the way to the office tomorrow) and a new Antex TC 50 soldering iron on the doorstep

 

My first thought getting out to the garage was to try again T fixing the double slip. The old tie bar was removed, switch blades cleaned up, and a new tie bar formed.

This time I used a cutting disk in the Dremmel which significantly sped things up.

 

It was quickly soldered into position, the small (clean) head along with a lot more heat made the right joint between the two inner switch rails a lot easier.

It just needs a carful brake made in the pcb and a lot of solder between them (razor saw cut I think.)

 

So I then figured I may as well install the motors so that I could test properly. Typically the shortening of the switch rails means it now overlaps a support joist. Again the mistake in the early days of using 2 by 1 Not 4 by 1 comes back to hurt me. In this case I think there is nothing for it but to remove a chunk of the support bar.

 

At which point I called it a night and came back inside

RIch, I know this will sound like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted but I left as many joists as possible loose until all the point motors and signals are in, for exactly that reason.

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The problem is not so much the 2 by 1 joists, but the sub frame under them.

 

I have a 2 by 2 frame every yard which is screwed to the floor and the 4 by 1 spars which run the length of the garage. These are at a fixed spacing to match the under layout storage.

 

Because the 2 by 1 ribs are much shorter than the Tortoise, if a motor falls above the frame (as it does here) you can't move anything...

 

For the fiddle yard the ribs are not screwed in for precisely that reason. But again the sub frame may cause issues.

 

 

I have given it some thought and I think the solution here is to build some sort of under board crank to extend the range

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A little afternoon progress (with hopefully a lot more to follow this evening.)

 

The lifting baseboard has now been built, and is now waiting for some hinges to be fitted before it is ready to go. In the mean time I have glued down the track plan ready to go.

 

Track building on the new board will commence this evening, after which I suppose I had better start on the fiddle yard.

 

This has highlighted an issue, with two points accessing the fiddleyard both having point motors over the joint with the lifting section. My plan is to lay the templates for the loops and through line and then adjust the points to fit, before finally adjusting the loops to match up.

 

It is certainly the priority, as getting this complete will mean I can run my first continuous run of the layout.post-54-0-66864800-1490462336_thumb.jpgpost-54-0-67889400-1490462354_thumb.jpg

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Track laying has progressed, the up main and branch were both laid with Exactoscale bases, while the down main has been laid with individual sleepers. I was about a third of a pack of bases short!

 

Again copperclad was used for the last sleeper next to the joints. This now needs soldering to the rails, while there are a lot of chairs to thread onto the down main. (Tomorrow's main job)

 

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Then onto the fiddleyard....

 

 

I also finished off a little more renunbering, 7250 and 4292 both were fitted with the etched plates (commissioned from Narrow Planet) to go with the bufferbeams done previously. As usual Hornby had printed the originals too big...

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This was followed by 2846, for which I still need to buy a set of tender wheels.

(And replace a missing hand rail)

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There is a reason for the diverging mainline tracks here.

There will be a rough model of Tigley tunnel here (somehow incorporating the branch)

The reason being that my 3 year old wanted to see a tunnel...

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Last night it was time to make some real progress on the fiddle yard. The first job was to try and get the old layouts and unused boards up into the loft space. the 3 four foot boards were fine, but the longer section of Blackcombe was just too big and for the moment is on its end resting against Brent.

With that done, the remaining boards were screwed to the batons and the hinges were screwed to the lifting section. This has highlighted another problem, if the hatch is open you cant open the garage door (and there is barely enough space to stand between the layout and the door.) Now thinking it should have been a drop down section rather than lift up...
Eventually (depending on how long we end up staying here), I do fancy buying a new garage door opening outwards rather than up and over. Must get on and do some costings...

Back to the layout, there are two major issues with the fiddle yard. At the Plymouth end I made a mess of the Templot plan (with the down main diverging from the up), this was corrected by eye rather than fixing the Templot drawing. Of course this has had a major knock on effect in the fiddle-yard, with the down main now clashing with the lowest siding of the up fiddle-yard.
At the Exeter end there is a different problem, the first fiddle-yard point on both the up and down mains at this end had the switch blades crossing the lifting section.

At the Plymouth end I have glued down the templates, in their original formations. I think that by adjusting the curves of 2 lines, and changing one point from a B7 to a B6 will solve the problem.
At the Exeter end its a bit more tricky, the down sidings work perfectly (and actually look like they line up pretty well with the realigned Plymouth end.) The Up line on the other hand is a lot more problematic. There is a very long first point, shifting this along by 3 inches to clear the board joint means the rest of the up fiddle-yard finishes somewhere in the garage wall. I think this may need more radical redesign, significantly reducing the length of the point would make it fit so I think this will be best adjusted in Templot and then reprint the point fan.

Once the two point fans are acceptable, my intention is to then join up the points with straight lines to fill in the gaps to add the actual storage roads. Points will be from Copper Clad strip (every 4 sleepers or so), while the straight track will initially be the same (I suspect I will run out of either rail or strip and then end up using peco track to finish it off.

For the moment I have ignored the Kingsbridge fiddle-yard, as this will be fitted around the rest so will be added last.

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A further hour in the garage this evening has resulted in a little progress on the Exeter end of the fiddle-yard.  I have redrawn the entrance point as a B8 (thus cutting about 3 inches off its original length without increasing the angle by too much.  At the same time I have also tightened the radius to ensure the left hand exit maintains its position.  The right hand exit does now tighten towards the down fiddle-yard, however this should actually be a benefit with the realigned points.

 

I have also placed an order with Hattons for a box of 25 lengths of Code 75 Peco flex track.  I think this should be enough to build all the storage lines (if not I should have spare rail and copper clad left over from the points.  For the first time in 2000s I have also ordered a bag of Peco rail joiners to assist in joining them together...   The aim is to initially make 11 2 yard lengths, along with one 3 yard.  These will initially be taped in position between the Templot prints of the points to ensure alignment.  Once happy the remaining track will be cut to length and installed. 

 

The plan is to try and get the four entrance points in place (and working) first, which will enable trains to be ran, this will be followed by laying the basic vees / rails for the other up / down points (along with the track joining them up.  The aim being to get the Up storage finished (allowing a lot of the stock currently left on the scenic side to be stored in the fiddleyard.)  The switch rails / check rails will then be added (along with the Tortoise) before finally turning attention to the Kingsbridge fiddle-yard).  The construction here will depend on the amount of parts left over.  If there is plenty of rail and copper-clad, it will be hand built.  If not I will buy a couple of Peco large radius points and do it the easy way.

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After a little time working on the Fruit C kit, I headed back out to the garage to have a look at the fiddleyard for Brent (and the large box of Peco track which arrived from Hattons while I was at work yesterday afternoon.)

 

I started with the Down fiddleyard; 3 yards of the flex track were connected with some Peco fishplates and then overlaid between the left and right hand sets of points. This was repeated for each of the four fiddleyard roads, before a little tweaking of alignment and then testing with a couple of coaches. The longest sidings will take 7 + a loco but it gets rather tight around the overhangs on the points, so some alignment tweaking will be needed. I have some doubts about the points I have used as they seem to take up a disproportionate amount of space, (in order to maintain the minimum radius I used very long gentle curved points which probably wasted about 6 inches either side.)

 

Once the down fiddleyard was more or less confirmed, attention turned back to the up. It was clear that there was a greater amount of space available between the two yards than initially planned, so a little rearrangement (and a couple of iterations of recurving the replacement B8 entrance point) and I got an alignment I was happy with. This was promptly followed by gluing down the templates up to the end of the points.

 

It was now time to start chopping up copper-clad strip, I have decided to go with one copper-clad strip for every forth sleeper on the plan (and will be working one block of 3 points at a time). Again the plan here is to start with the Up fiddleyard (given that both the Exeter and Plymouth approaches are complete). Once the points are semi-finished (i.e. outer rails and vee fitted but no switch rails) attention will move to the other end (and the fit out of the straight track). The idea is that there is a chance some vee angles may need to change in order to provide greater separation between the tracks. Working to this principle the outer rails were soldered onto the sleepers on the left hand points, at which point I called it a night.

 

post-54-0-53484800-1492675801_thumb.jpgpost-54-0-12322800-1492675721_thumb.jpg

Photo of the work so far:

 

I have also discovered a couple of issues with some previous work, first up the point between the up main and the single slip has stopped working. It feels like the mechanism is too stiff (so presumably a heat expansion issue). This is one of the remotely operated motors, so much more complicated than the others. I need to get under the layout and remove the motor, check the clearance and then rebuild. I have some much thicker tortoise operating wire (as in much thicker than the thick wire I am already using). I am thinking I will replace the operating wire with this to beef up the power.

 

The other issue is with the radius of the branch track as it approaches the fiddleyard, there is a lot more overhang than I would like (I think it is getting close to 24inch radius). I need to add a mock-up of the cutting to see how it looks with some scenery blocking the view, otherwise it will need to be lifted and realigned.

 

post-54-0-87588000-1492675813_thumb.jpg

 

The problem area is just out of view to the right here (with an impulse buy in the form of the Hornby LNER long van which just jumped into my basket when I was buying the track.

 

Track jobs to do:

- Up Fiddleyard

- Down Fiddleyard

- Branch Fiddleyard

- Fix point motor issue

- Single Slip at Plymouth End / siding on exit

- Point between Down Main and branch / down main over lifting section

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After a little time working on the Fruit C kit, I headed back out to the garage to have a look at the fiddleyard for Brent (and the large box of Peco track which arrived from Hattons while I was at work yesterday afternoon.)

 

I started with the Down fiddleyard; 3 yards of the flex track were connected with some Peco fishplates and then overlaid between the left and right hand sets of points. This was repeated for each of the four fiddleyard roads, before a little tweaking of alignment and then testing with a couple of coaches. The longest sidings will take 7 + a loco but it gets rather tight around the overhangs on the points, so some alignment tweaking will be needed. I have some doubts about the points I have used as they seem to take up a disproportionate amount of space, (in order to maintain the minimum radius I used very long gentle curved points which probably wasted about 6 inches either side.)

 

Once the down fiddleyard was more or less confirmed, attention turned back to the up. It was clear that there was a greater amount of space available between the two yards than initially planned, so a little rearrangement (and a couple of iterations of recurving the replacement B8 entrance point) and I got an alignment I was happy with. This was promptly followed by gluing down the templates up to the end of the points.

 

It was now time to start chopping up copper-clad strip, I have decided to go with one copper-clad strip for every forth sleeper on the plan (and will be working one block of 3 points at a time). Again the plan here is to start with the Up fiddleyard (given that both the Exeter and Plymouth approaches are complete). Once the points are semi-finished (i.e. outer rails and vee fitted but no switch rails) attention will move to the other end (and the fit out of the straight track). The idea is that there is a chance some vee angles may need to change in order to provide greater separation between the tracks. Working to this principle the outer rails were soldered onto the sleepers on the left hand points, at which point I called it a night.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2131.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_2132.JPG

Photo of the work so far:

 

I have also discovered a couple of issues with some previous work, first up the point between the up main and the single slip has stopped working. It feels like the mechanism is too stiff (so presumably a heat expansion issue). This is one of the remotely operated motors, so much more complicated than the others. I need to get under the layout and remove the motor, check the clearance and then rebuild. I have some much thicker tortoise operating wire (as in much thicker than the thick wire I am already using). I am thinking I will replace the operating wire with this to beef up the power.

 

The other issue is with the radius of the branch track as it approaches the fiddleyard, there is a lot more overhang than I would like (I think it is getting close to 24inch radius). I need to add a mock-up of the cutting to see how it looks with some scenery blocking the view, otherwise it will need to be lifted and realigned.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2135.JPG

 

The problem area is just out of view to the right here (with an impulse buy in the form of the Hornby LNER long van which just jumped into my basket when I was buying the track.

 

Track jobs to do:

- Up Fiddleyard

- Down Fiddleyard

- Branch Fiddleyard

- Fix point motor issue

- Single Slip at Plymouth End / siding on exit

- Point between Down Main and branch / down main over lifting section

Nice to see some good progress there Rich, especially to think its just down the road.

 

I was also very tempted by that ex LNEW van when I saw it at Thornbury Toy Fair, but I had company at the time, so resisted.

 

All the best

 

TONY

 

ps if youre at the SWAG party next week, please say hello.

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It's certainly starting to come together, though it's still a fair way off starting the real scenic work. Once the track is done, all of the point rodding needs building before I paint and ballast the track (at which point work on buildings can start...)

 

 

Yes I will be at the SWAG do, looking forward to it. I remember demonstrating diesel modelling way back at the first one in Taunton (and have only made it back once since.)

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Another evenings work on the points, the first two vees are in position as are the other rails on those points (and the top rail for the third). The latter is being changed from a 9 to a 7 to better match the profile of the exit.

Foolishly I am trying to do this without a new template as the existing can't be removed without damage to the adjacent points.

 

Rapidly deciding I really dislike soldered point construction, too much flux fumes. Will see how the other side goes but spending £40 on some plastic sleepers and more chairs is very tempting.

 

The first yard of the upper track is now glued in place (after a lot of adjustment to the point to get a curve I was happy with and that ran well with the test stock.) to maximise the use of space (in order to increase the radius of the curve, the top track overhangs the edge of the board. There is s half inch gap between the deck and the wall, I have lined the rail up with the edge so thecsleeper overhangs by 6mm or so.

 

I am currently using an LMS 6 axle dining car, The lwb lner van and a king. Tomorrow I plan to rig up some power and test under power with a king and a 2800 (figuring these are likely to be most temperamental

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Another day and further progress on the fiddleyard, although at this rate its going to be a fair few weeks until I have it completed...

 

Today I have built the last vee (in the end sticking with the 1:9 which was originally planned), I have also filed up 3 pairs of switch rails.  I usually make the switch rail and the wing rails as two separate assemblies, this is mostly because my Dremmel results in a 1 - 1.5mm slot if I use the cutting disk which looks a bit rubbish (all be it functional in OO) 

Given that the fiddleyard doesnt need to look good, I have taken the easy option of forming the wing rail and switch rail with the same length and then isolating with a slot. 

This fan of points consists of a B8 and a pair of D9 (I hadn't noticed quite how long the latter are!) 

 

I have ran out of thin copperclad strip for tiebars, so these are fabricated from the full depth sleeper with about 0.25mm filed off.  1mm diameter holes are being used to match the extra wide wires on the second hand Tortoise motors. 

 

Other than a couple more check rails (which hopefully should be soldered on this evening), the first fan is now completed and has passed the initial testing with the LWB van.  Next it is back to cutting sleepers to get the other end built, after which the actual fiddleyard tracks can be finalised.  It will be good to start storing stock in the fiddleyard rather than over the scenic section.

post-54-0-69350100-1492884038_thumb.jpg

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Another small update for this evening, after the rest of the family had gone to bed I slipped out to the garage for another hour of work on the layout. Nothing spectacular, but the point fan at the right hand end of the up fiddleyard has now been fitted with copper clad sleepers. While the remaining check rails have been soldered onto the left hand points. I have also made a start chopping the centres of the sleepers with the Dremel to isolate the rails. (a job which will hopefully be completed tomorrow if I get a chance.)

 

The next job will be adding the vees and outer rails to the right hand fan, and then the actual fiddleyard tracks can be glued into position reaching the next major milestone.

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I almost made it to my aim for the weekend, but fell just short of the mark...

The outer rails and vees have been soldered onto the right hand up point fan, really reducing the time taken to fabricate the components now. (Although I didnt get round to filing the switch blades, so that will have to wait until Friday.)
post-54-0-44284900-1492984398_thumb.jpg

Not sure how this has ended up upside down, on the phone it looks fine...

I was then distracted by installing some more flex track, starting by adding another yard to the rear track. Moving on to the next track, after a bit of testing I have been using a back to back gauge as a spacer which just happens to give a perfect minimum clearance between tracks. With this decided and marked out, the track was glued into position with Evostick.

While this dried I switched back to the rear track, cutting an eight inch section and soldering it to the end of the remaining yard of track. this was then fitted in position between the right hand point and the existing track. So, once those two switch rails are soldered into position on Friday I will have a complete circuit of track at last!

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Finally, here's a view of the whole layout. Its a bit of a mess, but starting to come together. Hopefully over the bank holiday I am going to get a chance to do a bit of a tidy up out there (once the fiddleyard is built of course). I want to clear up a lot of the space under the layout (and take a lot of the rubbish that is currently under there to the dump). I want to clear up some space in which to box in the spray booth and compressor so I can do some more painting.

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Edited by The Fatadder
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I almost made it to my aim for the weekend, but fell just short of the mark...

 

The outer rails and vees have been soldered onto the right hand up point fan, really reducing the time taken to fabricate the components now. (Although I didnt get round to filing the switch blades, so that will have to wait until Friday.)

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Not sure how this has ended up upside down, on the phone it looks fine...

 

I was then distracted by installing some more flex track, starting by adding another yard to the rear track. Moving on to the next track, after a bit of testing I have been using a back to back gauge as a spacer which just happens to give a perfect minimum clearance between tracks. With this decided and marked out, the track was glued into position with Evostick.

 

While this dried I switched back to the rear track, cutting an eight inch section and soldering it to the end of the remaining yard of track. this was then fitted in position between the right hand point and the existing track. So, once those two switch rails are soldered into position on Friday I will have a complete circuit of track at last!

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Finally, here's a view of the whole layout. Its a bit of a mess, but starting to come together. Hopefully over the bank holiday I am going to get a chance to do a bit of a tidy up out there (once the fiddleyard is built of course). I want to clear up a lot of the space under the layout (and take a lot of the rubbish that is currently under there to the dump). I want to clear up some space in which to box in the spray booth and compressor so I can do some more painting.

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Go for it Rich. The feeling of elation when you run the first train round is worth waiting for (I was going to say can't be beaten, but in fact I can think of one or two things that probably qualify).

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Go for it Rich. The feeling of elation when you run the first train round is worth waiting for (I was going to say can't be beaten, but in fact I can think of one or two things that probably qualify).

Its a little annoying that work need me in Sevilla this week, else I would almost certainly give the railway club a miss tomorrow and spend tonight installing the remaining switch rails and tomorrow doing the wiring.  

 

Still, its nice to think that by the end of Monday I will have managed that first circuit of the layout.  I think this is one of the reasons why I am planning to sacrifice some modelling time for a bit of major tidying of the layout room.  It will make the video of the  first circuit look a lot better....

 

 

I have been putting a bit of thought into another refinement to the garage this morning, replacing the up and over door with a pair of conventional doors.  The benefits would be twofold, in that it will make getting access to the garage a lot easier, and secondly it means a lot less of the door needs to be opened to get into the garage.  The latter is particularly useful in the rain, given at present you have to fully open the door in order to clear the lifting hatch.  Given that I need to provide storage space under the door end of the layout for the crates containing my wife's instruments / props (she has just started a franchise for a baby / toddler music class in Stroud), she is going to be needing to go into the garage in all weathers (and I dont want the layout getting wet!

 

If I switch to side opening doors, I can put up a stud wall partition 2ft into the garage which would both protect the layout from the elements when the door is open and also protect it from sight.

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