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Ian Morgan

Camford Junction in 2FS

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Since the retirement of '70K Coley Park', and the moving away of most of the group members, the Basingstoke Area Group of the 2mm Scale Association has languished for a while. However, we now have a couple of new members, and a start has been made on a new group layout, designed by Peter, called 'Camford Junction'*. The initial phase of the layout will comprise a double track main line with a double track secondary line diverging from it, both being at a higher level towards the back of the layout. In the foreground, at the lower level will be a Traction Maintenance Depot (TMD) and a DMU stabling yard. The layout will be set in the last days of British Rail, just before privatisation.

Following a couple of tutorial evenings, the new members, Clive and Robin, have been busy building 1:6 Easitrac points for use in the TMD and yard. The main lines will use flat-bottom rail, so the 1:8 crossover points have been built by me (Ian) using copper-clad sleepers.

The first crossover and some lengths of the secondary line tracks were laid last December, as seen below. Note the use of some old, and heavy, flourescent light ballast units that are used to hold the track down while the Easitrac glue sets. Also, some paper is used beneath the copper-clad sleepers to bring the rails to the same height as the plain Easitrac sleepers.

 

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* The name Camford is an alternative portmanteau to Oxbridge.

 

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Now that the elevated main line tracks have been laid, I wanted to make a start with the hardware and wiring below the baseboards before track laying in the lower  depot area started. Firstly, individual dropper wires were soldered to each separate length of rail, and pushed down through holes drilled in the baseboard. The dropper wires are single strands from a multi-strand cable. Each one is like a piece of fuse wire, but being just a couple of inches long has been found completely reliable on a number of 2mm scale layouts we have built.

Below the baseboards, the dropper wires are joined to solder tags screwed to the woodwork. These will later be linked by proper, multi-strand hookup wire.

 

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The photo also shows a cheap relay module found on eBay. These relays will be used to connect the four analogue controllers to the various track sections, dependent on the selected routes.

The points will be operated by cheap RC servos. These are mounted in aluminium 'Dingo' servo mounts, which allow the servo to travel fully while only moving the actuating wire a few millimeters. This is important for slow and quietly smooth movement of the point blades. The mounts also include micro-switches that can be used to switch the frog polarity and give position feedback to a control panel.

The under baseboard tie-bars I designed for this layout are 3D printed, and are now available from the 2mm Scale Association shop.

 

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The layout will use the Merg CBus layout control bus (LCB) which is designed to reduce the amount of long runs of multiple wires, requiring only 4 wires between a control panel and the layout. Various actions, such as pressing a button, or a train being detected in a section, will cause numbered 'event' messages to be broadcast across the bus. Other modules will be taught to act on specific events, switching relays, moving servos, lighting LEDs, or whatever. There will still be a lot of wiring, but most will be short runs, contained within a single baseboard. The bus concept is also more flexible than conventional wiring, as modules can be taught to act on new events, or perform different actions for existing events, as the layout evolves. This photo shows a CANACC8 module (which produces 8 steady-state outputs) that will control the two relay modules. I still have to attach a CANSERVO8 module, that can operate up to 8 servos, but this will also operate some of the depot points, so I need to determine the best location for it to minimise the wire lengths required to the servos. Servos can jitter if they pick up electrical noise in their wires, especially with analogue locomotive control. Surprisingly, DCC locomotive control is not such a problem.

 

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To assist with setting up and positioning the point tie-bars and servo mounts, this little servo tester I found on eBay has proved very useful. It can move the servo to its centre position at the push of a button, or you can use the knob to manually move the servo, or it can work automatically in 'windscreen wiper' mode.

 

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So, next week, I can start adding some wires.

 

Edited by Ian Morgan
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A start has been made on the wiring proper now. So far, I am still only working on the elevated main line tracks that run along the back of the layout, and only one of the two baseboards that comprise this phase of the build. This wiring connects the sections of rail to the relay boards and the point frog switches on the servo mounts. This is not quite complete yet, but I have added a number of P-clips to keep the wiring a bit tidier, and hopefully to protect it in-transit when exhibiting.

 

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The relays will be operated by Merg CANACC8 modules, only one of which has been fitted so far. The other module is the CANSERVO8 that will operate the servos. The 2 wire CBus and 12VDC and 5VDC power supply buses also have to be added.

 

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I still have to add the all the feed wires from the four analogue main line controllers to the relays. The relays will switch the relevent controller to the required track sections depending on which route is selected. One section of track can be controlled by any of the four controllers, depending on which route is required. Each controller is associated with one of the exits from the layout to the fiddle yards (Up Main, Down Main, Up Secondary and Down Secondary) and will only be used when a route to that exit is selected.

 

I am using 25 way D connectors and ribbon cable for connecting the five analogue controller feeds (the motive power depot will have its own analogue controller) and the main 12VDC supply between boards and to a central power case. The ribbon cable wires have been paired to reduce the resistance, and three wires are used for the 0V of the main supply, so the 25 way ribbon cable only provides 12 connections in total. Small veroboard modules have been produced to break out the 25 way ribbon to 12 screw terminals.

 

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The final photo shows that all this wiring is inside the elevated section at the back of the layout. The rest of the layout will be the extensive TMD and stabling yard, which will have a lot more points and servos, but will only have one analogue controller to worry about. There will still be a need for relays to control section breaks where more than one locomotive can be parked in the same siding.

 

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After a few club-nights the main line wiring on one board is finally complete. The amount of wiring would have been a lot less if we had gone for DCC, but I am the only member of the group with DCC fitted stock, and it is not of the right era for the layout, so I lost that battle.

 

The relays, controlled by Merg CBus modules, switch the various track sections between the 4 main line controllers. There are only 3 points on the main line on this board, controlled by the black Merg CBus CANSERVO8 module.

 

The wiring along the edge of the layout consists the 4 controller feeds, 12V and 5V power supplies and the CBus pair. The wiring down the other side of the raised section is the feed from the relays to the track sections. The expanse of virgin white board, where the documentation is laying, will be home to the MPD, and will be covered with servos and more Merg CBus modules eventually.

 

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Meanwhile, the second board has had most of its hardware fitted and will be ready for wiring up to commence while track laying for the MPD area can start on the first board. This board also has just 3 points on the main lines. The tie-bars have been fitted and the servos will be fitted next week, hopefully. Note, the elevated secondary main line diverges from the main, main line on this board, running along what will be filled, brick arches.

 

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A busy club evening, with Robin building more points for the TMD area, Graeme fitting point servos on the second board, and Pete and I painting track on the first board in preparation for ballasting.

 

So, for a change, some views of the tops of the baseboards.

 

The two scenic boards:

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The first two crossovers:

 

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and some of Pete's stock that will be running on the layout, one day:

 

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Progress slowed a bit because of problems with track alignment across the baseboard join. It was decided to 'bite the bullet' and install some hardwood strips and long PCB sleepers at the joins, before we proceeded further with track laying and ballasting. This is now in place for the centre join on the main lines, and the track across the join has been relaid. More hardwood strips will now be inserted for the other board joins.

 

Meanwhile, painting of the rail and sleepers has also been progressing, so ballasting of the main lines should commence soon.

 

Ignore the 3rd rail electric stock, I only placed it for the photos to wind up Pete. He will not let me lay third rail on this layout.

 

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A major milestone was achieved this evening, with trains running on part of the layout for the first time. I have been putting together a collection of cheap, ready made electronic modules with an Arduino to produce a quintuple analogue DC controller that is operated via commands sent through the Merg CBus. It can be operated using Merg hand-held controllers (CANCABs), or via a PC running JMRI and smart phone throttles. It is still a bit experimental at the moment, but is developing into a usable system.

 

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The one baseboard of Camford Junction is fully wired up for the 4 main lines, and this was used for tonight's test. Unfortunately, only N gauge locomotives were available, and their wheels and flanges do not pass through the finescale pointwork, limiting how far two of the tracks could be tested. I also only have two CANCABs and did not have time to set up the PC and WiFi network, so we could only run two trains at a time. However, the test was reasonably successful, as can be seen in the video:

 

https://www.flickr.com/gp/ianm42/n789wU

 

So, now I need to get on with the wiring of the second baseboard in an effort to have trains running to and fro in time for a display at the Basingstoke model railway exhibition in March.

 

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Before Christmas last year, The Committee decreed that Camford Junction should have all the scenic track laid and some trains running in time to show it on the club stand at the Basingstoke exhibition in March (11th and 12th). It may look like we left everything until two weeks before the deadline, but things have been happening behind the scenes. The gang have built all the points and track, assembled the Dingo servo mounts and prepared 2mm Scale Association under-baseboard tiebars. Actual track laying was delayed by the problems with the baseboard joins (which are now resolved) and by me turning the baseboards upside down to wire up the main line tracks. But now, track laying is proceeding rapidly:

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This board will have the last three points laid this week. The troughing for the carriage washer has been installed beneath the concrete sleepered track, and etched drain grills added, although they are barely visible.

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The left hand board is being sculpted to fit the inspection pits for the loco shed. These were salvaged from the previous layout, 70K Coley Park.

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With a fair wind behind us, we should have trains running on the main line, and possibly part of the yard, by the end of this week, so we could be a week ahead of schedule!!

Edited by Ian Morgan
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Before Christmas last year, The Committee decreed that Camford Junction should have all the scenic track laid and some trains running in time to show it on the club stand at the Basingstoke exhibition in March (11th and 12th). 

 

With a fair wind behind us, we should have trains running on the main line, and possibly part of the yard, by the end of this week, so we could be a week ahead of schedule!!

Which track is going to get the token piece of third rail?

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Which track is going to get the token piece of third rail?

 

Well, as you are laying the track, it is up to you :notme:

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 The inspection pits of the diesel depot have been installed this morning - left hand end of the layout - together with the lead into the DMU house at the right hand end of the layout.  Turnouts for the fuel tank siding to go and then all that remains for track laying is the sidings (four to the left, two in the middle and three to the right).

Edited by Western Star

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Excellent, and hopefully Robin is mass producing the 2mm Scale Association buffer stops now he has figured out how to build the first one. There was bewilderment and torment on his face as he was soldering the origami etch that suddenly turned to joy when he finally removed the unwanted parts and revealed two beautifully formed sides of the buffer stop.

 

As for the weights holding down the tracks while the glue sets, we also have a set of large fluorescent light ballast units that are useful for this job.

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Another quick update, trains can now run the full length of the layout on the main lines, tracklaying is continuing apace, more buffer stops are appearing, and some temporary cosmetic arches have been added (to be replaced by properly modelled ones later):

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Who knows what else might get done before our exhibition?

 

 

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nice progress by the group  and congratulations for your article in the MERG magazine

 

Nick

Edited by nick_bastable

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Looks like a great start. Also love the class 442 in one of the pictures - shame it won't appear on the layout much!

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congratulations for your article in the MERG magazine

 

Thanks Nick. For some reason, it did not say 'To be continued' at the end, but hopefully part 2 will be in the next issue.

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... tracklaying is continuing apace...

 

... more buffer stops are appearing...

 

Who knows what else might get done before our exhibition?

Track laying has stopped... finished... completed... thanks to an overnight visit by the Track-Part-Fairy.  All that is left are the two roads of the DEMU depot and they are pending delivery of the depot building - we hope that the building is going to be completed in time for the show...  just one week to go!

 

Not only are buffers stops appearing where buffer stops were expected to appear we have installed an extra buffer stop on the end of the non-existant siding to the rear of the upper level...  where the rails were removed and sleepers left (as stick-in-the-muds).

 

If you wish to know what else gets done before the show then come to the Basingstoke Show on 11th /12th March and we shall be glad to explain all.

Edited by Western Star
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Camford Junction survived the weekend at the Basingstoke exhibition. We had trains running to and fro on all four main line tracks, and could even control them from mobile phones - no mean feat for a non-DCC layout. There were some glitches in the track alignment still, and lots of paint, flux and glue to remove before we get faultless running, but it went better than expected. The yard area is still to be wired up, but was used to display an impressive collection of locomotives and stock. A number of buildings, huts and other lineside bits and pieces are appearing, although ballasting and groundwork will need to be completed first. We also need to start thinking about fiddle yards to complete the layout.

 

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whose wife owns a knitting machine ? :jester:

 

nice progress people  (although 3rd rail really is a must)

 

Nick

Not on the SWML to Exeter. We did the 3rd rail thing with Bognor Regis, but the Class 442 Wessex unit was bought for our planned Battledown Flyover project that never happened.

 

Pete

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Looks like a great start. Also love the class 442 in one of the pictures - shame it won't appear on the layout much!

It's up for sale if you'd like it.

 

Pete

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The only downside to the weekend was that some thieving twunt stole one of my locos from the layout between late Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning before 09:10. It was a Class 37/0 in Civil Engineer's 'Dutch' livery that had been renumbered from 37035 and the etched arrows and depot plaques had been applied, so if anyone sees it anywhere please let me know.

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We now have our main depot buildings! These are bespoke buildings constructed to our designs by Weston Models at a very competitive price and we are very pleased with them.

 

The loco shed is based on Knottingley and includes an additional building for stores and workshops, and the DMU shed is in a similar style to Reading Upper Triangle Turbo Maintenance Depot.

 

They will of course be detailed, with lighting, roof walkways, ventilators, guttering, internal pipework and various miscellaneous items.

 

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