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Blog- Heworth Sidings - Heworth Sidings - Update - 22/11/2014

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As the last update for the blog was written towards the end of June, there's been quite a bit of activity to catch up on.


TINGS 2015 Countdown - 9 Months


Heworth Sidings has been invited to attend The International N Gauge Show for 2015 (12th / 13th September), so we have now have a 'real' deadline to aim for.


Retaining Wall


Construction of the retaining wall is now largely complete. We've revised our original plan to have the wall curve on the Left hand side of the layout, and have now changed it to use straight sections, broken up by embankments. I think this is probably a little more prototypical and it also gives us a little more room on the baseboards to add scenic detail around the Sidings.


Here are some pics of the changes and also a pic showing the detailing progress on the disused bridge which covers the on-scene / off-scene access.













The Main Line ballasting is pretty much complete, apart from small areas around the points where the motor arms come through the baseboard. These need to be carefully done so that we don't risk damaging any of the motors.


The Sidings have also been ballasted recently, again we've left the small area's around the points, but we have also left some small areas without ballast where we intend to fit Magnets for uncoupling. We've decided to use a different colour of ballast for the Sidings as these would typically get dirtier and wouldn't be as highly maintained as the Main Line, however the contrast between the two types of ballast looks a bit harsh, so this will need some more work.


Here are some pics shortly after the ballast has been put down.















Block Detection / Computer Control


We now have working block detection on the Scenic Boards and as we use a Digitrax Command Station, we are using Team Digital BlocD8 detectors. These modules connect directly to the Loconet bus and provide 8 track sensors on each board. We are only using block detection on the Main Line and Waiting Loops, so at the moment we have a single module attached under each board. The installation of these boards is very simple, they can be powered from the DCC Bus and you just need to loop the track feed wires through a detectors. They appear to work well straight out of the box and you can either set the detectors up as a range of 8 addresses or set each detector with a specific address.


We are also going to be using some form of computer control on the layout, the ultimate goal being to automate the Main Line movements. But initially we want a system that will help us operate the layout. We have been looking at a few products and each have their pros / cons, but currently our front runner is JMRI. It's not the most visually appealing, but when you start looking at route setting, block detection, signal control and automation it's 'logix' really allow you to do some neat things.


This is the current JMRI Panel we are using for the layout. The Yellow numbers are the points, the Blue numbers are the Block Sensors.







To provide signalling on the layout, we are using CR Signals excellent 3 Aspect masts which are available 'ready to plant' and in kit form. For our use, we've 3D printed some bases for the signals which will lift them slightly off the baseboard and allow us to easily replace them should we need to. The 3D printed bases accept small magnets and when some small lengths of steel rod are glued to the bases of the signals, they stay in place quite neatly.


Here are some pics of the signals and bases on the layout.











There is a small amount of video taken from our Open Weekend in September.





Cheers, Mark.

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