Wednesday, 27 April 2016 21:32

So you have a Vague Idea.

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Well, then you discuss it a little with a cohort and see if it carries water. If it does, you start to flesh it out a little more and so on with the odd discussion here and there until you think it is ready to unveil. So that is how CR 16-01 "A Small Yard in the Area West of Station" came about for the HO club layout.

A few years back when the layout was being built it was decided that maybe one day something could be made of the space to the back right of the station area. To that end a point was installed when the 4 mainlines went in at the station for this possible future something. So in January of this year I thought it might be time to do something about it and threw around some point templates and lengths of track as well as some dummy buildings, so as to see if anything jumped out at me for us to do there.

Three points and four lengths of track seems to be about the most to squeeze in yet keep enough space for buildings and scenery - there was no use turning it into a squeezy yard of some type - we have yards around the place and we need area to operate in and to/from.

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So I wrote up a CR which was then proposed, looked at and voted on. We then had a green light to proceed. Arrangements were then made to obtain the points and track and away we went. Since there isnt't a terrific need for speed in these things, as we prefer things to be done pretty much right first go, I was in no hurry to break the speed limit.

The first step was to mark out where the track was to go. On the left it was just two short lengths where locos could rest waiting for a call to help push a train up the helix. These could also double for freight transfers for three to four wagons, so I expect in time we will install some ramps for general freight to be loaded and unloaded onto general freight cars like gondolas and box cars. For the two tracks to the right, I was thinking of a maintenance of way area like at Mayne in Brisbane. We could have one of the tracks fenced in with a gate and piles of sleepers, ballast and maintenance stuff in there waiting to be loaded onto a train. The other track would be outside of the fenced area and maybe the MOW trains could sit there. Again maybe a loading ramp could be installed for loading and unloading.

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With a Nikko pen outline of the track now on the deck, the cork for the roadbed could be cut and glued into place. I used a thin bead of Liquid Nails spread out with a paint scrapper to glue the cork down. I then ran over it with a roller to make sure it was all 100% flat with no bumps to affect the trackwork that was to come. On the same day I was able to give the cork a quick coat of grey paint to seal it so that the track glue wouldn't all get soaked up when used later on.

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The next working day saw the points and track all cut to size and all sharp edges filed away so that track cleaning rubbers and such would catch and get ripped when used on this new trackwork. Once cut, I laid it all out and made sure I had it right and got out the correct track joiners and hoked them in for a look see. All looked good, so that was plenty enough for the day I reckoned.

The real work started the next time I came down - I glued the flex track down. So I took all the track apart and got ready to glue it down, remembering of course that I had forgotten to drill the holes under the points for any future point motors that may come along. So out with a big drill bit and cordless and holes soon followed. Now, I was ready to glue down some track. I started with the left hand side and gotthe two lengths of flex track and the two points for them all into place and then smeared out a then bead of Liquid Nails with a paint scrapper over the cork very thinly and then quickly got the track into place. Of course there was no glue under the points in case they ever need to be removed/replaced in the future. I used some of the blue sandbag snakes to hold down the track while it dried - an hour or so well and truely sees it done. The right hand side was now put in place and glued down the same way. Again being a slacker, that was enough for the day.

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Next work day saw the sandbags come off and the drill come out again with a small drill bit so as to make all the holes for the track feeder wires to be placed. The usual figure 8 solid core Detononator Wire from Bunnings was used, so a 2 mm hole would suffice. I drilled all the holes then roughly measured out all the required droppers so they would all link back to a single main electrical block I would install. Now you would think that is a lot of wire going back to just one block and normally you'd be right. But since this is a small yard it was acceptable to join some tracks to others and hence reduce the number of links to the main electrical block. So here is the math:- We have 4 sections of flex track which in reality was made up of some short lengths of track that were lying around. So I soldered these short lengths together to make just the four lengths required. Now for the two left hand lengths, I soldered short jumpers between them thereby requiring only one set of wires from them to go back to the main junction block. The same was done for the two right hand flex track lengths. So all up there were three points and the twqo feeders from the flex track making a total of five wire bundles heading for the main block - much more manageable I reckon.

Once all the droppers where in place I got all the tools and headed under the layout. Luckily the large main feeder bus had plenty of slack in it, so I was able to not have to cut it - I just bared some insulation and doubled it over and inserted it into a large terminal block and screwed it down. For all the dropper wires, I gathered the red wires together and twisted them tight with a pair of pliers and trimmed them up neat and screwed them into the relevant terminal block and then did the same for all the white wires. Theory then said it should all be complete and ready for power.

So I double and tripled checked my wiring and then turned on the power... no puffs of smoke and all lights lit up as they should. A test run of a loco over all the points proved I must have got it fairly right. So that was the end of the day for me as to work. The remainder of the day was for running trains. It was then that I found a problem (insert sad face here) the track on the right hand side had a pretty pronounced lean towards the station and you couple leave any wagons there - they'd just roll fast towards the station! Bugger is all I could say. Another day for that I reckon.

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So today I checked out the deck and yep, it was definitely not level over there. So under the layout I went to see what could be done. With some judicious cutting and rescrewing I got it almost right. From the top of the deck I was able to get a small circular saw at it and carefully cut along the sides of the track to relieve the tension and allow the deck to drop down to a level position. A test with my few very free rolling tankers then proved all was level and good to go. So I was then able to do the last job and insert some missing sleepers where all the track joins were and use some 50/50 white glue and water mix and a fine dropper bottle to apply it.

The afternoon was again used for running many freight cars in and out of the new area - all very successfully. By the way, the buildings currently in place there are not the real ones - I put them there to make it more fun while I was playin' trains.

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Read 1043 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 21:56
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