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Well, this has been in the planning stage for well over a year now, so I'd better start the doing stage!


The layout is based on St Margaret's MPD in Edinburgh, but with a few major compromises!


Here is the OS map from 1896, in which the track plan seemed to have the best balance of interest vs fitting in the space I have.


St Margarets Map 1896

And my interpretation (North is now down the page!)

St Margarets final

Track is almost the now-common blend of Peco code 75 points with SMP bullhead flexi, but with Peco flexi for the mainline, as that was flat bottom rail by the period I'm modelling. There are a few other bits of Peco in there - bits less than 50mm long are left as Peco due to the faff of matching sleeper heights, and a section that will be deep in ash is also Peco as it's cheaper! Oh, and 5 inspection pit kits are in there too.
If you've looked fairly hard at that track plan, you may note that there are a couple of sets of overlapped/interlaced points: There was at least one Barry slip in the real St Margaret's (possibly two, looking the OS maps), and putting in a Peco double slip looked a bit toylike when I knew what should be there, so I've hacked up some points to give a reasonably close approximation, which I'm calling an Outside Barry slip :-)

2014 08 12 14.27.44

There will be more points-hacking, as the mainline track spacing will be the closer-to-scale 45mm centres.
I commandeered the A0 plotter at work :-)


All three baseboards together makes a much bigger layout than I'd imagined! Yes, I have measured the space it's going in...


Full printout

And the start of baseboard framing - the wood is reclaimed, however it has been sawn and left for 6 months in the shed the layout will eventually be in, and no sign of warping or twisting. It's pressure-treated, so hopefully will put off the woodworm!

Frame with plan


And to preempt some of the questions:


The plan is to model sometime mid 50's to mid 60's. Not exactly sure yet, as I have some late crest locos, but also some blood & custard coaches. I'm also particularly fond of the BR express blue livery. However I'd also like a Clayton or two and maybe some 03, 04 and 08 shunters...


Control will be DC for the mo, as my parents bought me a nice panel-mount Gaugemaster dual controller with inertia last year, and I'm on a very tight budget, ruling out the cost of decoders for the mo. Points and eventually signals will be servo-driven, using several arduino-based boards.


The right-hand end of the mainline disappears under a tunnel (under London Road in real life), but the left-hand end is open. The plan to hide the hole in the sky is to move the St Margaret's signal box to that end rather than leaving it in front of the tunnel mouth.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I turn my back for a few days, and we're already on page 11 of Layout Topics! I clearly need to update more often!!


I've started on gluing baseboard frames together, which is satisfying...

2014 10 08 17.15.52


Except when it doesn't go quite right...

2014 10 08 17.16.08


I had laid everything topside-down on a very flat floor, but the drill must have climbed up the wood when putting in the pilot hole for the screw, so the cross bracing is now slightly less than 2mm proud of the end piece... Not really sure whether to try planing down the high bit, or shim up the low bit!

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Duly planed, and the curved front strips glued and screwed in - it's a bit of a hybrid construction! All the timber for the other two boards is cut, other than the slots in the back ply strip, as that needs a test fit to mark it! They will hopefully take me a bit less time than the first one! The board with the turntable will be a bit trickier to get straight though, as there isn't a single beam across the middle, due to having to miss the turntable and some other points!


Middle frame

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A trip to Peterborough with my father on Saturday resulted in bringing a few bits n bobs home, including a couple of locos :-)


Firstly, from the Tetley Mills stock sale, an ex-LMS Crab, weathered by Dave Shakespeare (thanks again to Gilbert/Great Northern, Tony Wright et al):


Tetley Mills Crab

Secondly, a birthday present from my parents, a rather less mucky Peppercorn A2

Tudor Minstrel 2


both were given a quick run on my ballasting experiments plank, and are the smoothest locos I've played with yet!


The second baseboard frame should be finished off sometime this week, so they might just have somewhere to run before the year is out... :O

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The frames are almost done, and I hope to get some ply down on them this week - there's just a little bit of figuring out to be done on how the coaling ramp will be supported.


I can then start the fun bit of tracklaying :-)


Any ideas on how to get the plan onto the ply? I'd ruled out drawing squares and trying to draw the plan on, as I'm really not good at drawing... Gluing down the 1:1 plan was top on the list, but PVA will probably wrinkle and distort the plan, and Scotchmount (which was suggested at work) seems to me to not be sticky enough, and I'm concerned the layout will fall off the ply at some point!!


Having just done a search while writing this post, it seems that punching holes in the trackplan along the rails, then marking through the holes to give a follow-the-dotted-line outline on the baseboard might be the way to go. I have the added complication of using two thicknesses of cork for matching rail heights on SMP and Peco track, so the plan will need to be marked on the ply to position the thin cork for points, then on the cork to position the track...

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On my layout (nowhere as complex track work as yours) I lightly pinned the track down so it was in place but could be lifted vertically 3mm.

I generally used pre-cut straight roll of cork split it lengths down the centre line of the track, if you are using straight pre cut you will Ned to do this to accommodate the curves.

The cork was glued and then slid in from each side, the track was and cork was then held in place with plastic push pins


you could use a similar method by taping the plan on the baseboard and then lightly pining the track in place and the cutting and puling out the drawing as separate pieces of paper

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LongRail - thanks, will consider it, but am still leaning to the dotted line through pinched holes. The cork will be laid in tiles as it's an extensive yard area - the photos of St Margarets I have don't even show a shoulder or cess along the mainline...


I've just about finished the frames today, so will be playing with sheets of ply at some point in the coming week, and also methods of joining the boards!


3 frames

Thanks for all the comments and ratings so far!
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm almost at the point of having some baseboards. Yay!


However, in the meantime, to pull this thread back from page 11 of the topics list yet again, I'll put in what I have, which is some Peco track templates adjusted for 45mm track spacing.


2014 11 03 13.46.48

2014 11 03 13.52.24


(No actual points were harmed during this production. However, real images of track mutilation may surface soon!)

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Right, some baseboards!


The left-hand (shed) end:



Frame with plan


2014 11 21 17.17.50

The right-hand (turntable) end:

2014 11 18 13.55.35


2014 11 21 17.17.43


There's a little bit of sanding between boards to do (mostly where the coaling ramp crosses a baseboard joint), and painting the boards, then I can get on to laying some cork tiles (two thicknesses for peco & SMP) and track!! I have this crazy idea that I might get something running by Christmas!

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  • 4 weeks later...

A bit more progress, though not enough to run with the trains-by-christmas idea...


Some corking:




The coarse stuff down the middle is 3mm cork, for the mainline, which will be 1mm above the shed yard level. The finer stuff is 2mm cork for the Peco points in the yard. The gaps will be filled with 3mm cork for SMP flexi (leaving a bit of a gap around the mainline for some sort of cess), except that little hole taken out the side of the mainline, which needs 2mm cork with cereal packet shims to give a smooth transition between mainline and yard levels.

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  • 2 months later...

Finally some progress - helped by my daughter having three birthday parties to attend this weekend! Some battens and framing up in the shed to support the baseboards, and a little mock-up to give a sense of scale. Please forgive the tension-locks on view everywhere, and the lack of detailing and weathering. That will come much later, in particular not before working out a good solution for loco storage so I don't have to handle them as much!


Also on the to-do list - much better lighting is required!!!


2015 03 07 15.51.58

2015 03 07 16.21.58

2015 03 07 16.21.29

2015 03 07 16.42.11

2015 03 07 16.41

2015 03 07 16.41.47

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  • 2 months later...

Long time no see...


I haven't disappeared just yet - reading my favourite threads most days, but not very much time for modelling stuff at the mo. Most of my hobby time has been spent getting a homebrew guitar amp working, as it had several intermittent issues that were playing hard to get!


Amp mkII


Given the interesting skillset required for railway modelling, I do often wonder what other hobbies/creative outlets people here have when they're not modelling!


Anyway, I've managed to spend the odd few minutes here and there in the shed, laying more cork.


2015 05 04 20.44.43

Usual state when working:

2015 05 04 20.44.29

The dropped track for ash wagons required some more creative approaches for gluing down the cork - wrapped in the blue paper are random blocks of greasy steel that were lying around at work (the paper was just so I didn't need to de-grease them!):

2015 05 14 13.38.28

Mating Peco with SMP requires the track base to be adjusted for the different sleeper/chair depths, so I'm using 3mm cork under the SMP, and 2mm under Peco. However, the problem with using metric descriptors for imperial sizes becomes apparent, as the 3mm is actually over 3.2mm, and the 2mm is about 1.8mm. a cereal packet shim has been used under all the 2mm cork to make up the difference.

2015 05 04 20.45.30

A very blurry pic showing the difference in trackbed depth:

2015 05 04 20.45.05


The left and middle boards were turned 180deg to give better access to the far side. The coaling ramp is now corked. Left to do is the 2mm cork under the inspection pits, and whatever depth is necessary for under the turntable.


2015 05 07 17.54.26

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  • 1 month later...

Barely anything to report, but the cork for everything but the ends of the mainline section is done. the mainline needs a bit of thinking once all the other track is down, for reasons that will become clear then.


Meanwhile, some preliminary laying of points to get a bit more of an idea how things will look. Two sets of SL-E198 long Ys and an inspection pit kit still missing - hanging on for an eBay bargain I'm afraid, unless someone has some spare they'd pass on for a good price!!


2015 06 19 2 small

2015 06 19 1 small

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  • 9 months later...

No updates for far too long! The project hasn't been abandoned, it's just that my other half seems to think that my 5-year-old and 5-month-old are a higher priority...


I've been working on point control in the meantime, as I don't want to lay track then find I need to take it up again to fit something later!


Some Arduino boards for control panel input and servo control:


2016 04 14 13.19.59

Also I've been trimming some of the unwanted bits off the Peco track, and fashioning some traps. The last shot shows how tight it is around the shed entrance. The prototype had traps interlaced with the points, but there's just too much track to build for this project, especially given the speed I've been going so far:

2016 03 29 11.10.39

2016 03 29 11.19.17

2016 03 26 16.36.29



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