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Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Hopefully you can make out in the photo above that some more track and sleepers have been laid. The three points on the first board are now glued down and a fair amount of track laid around them.

Here's the first photo of stock on my layout! There's a NWNGR coal wagon and brake van along with an FR 3 ton slate wagon n the first 14" siding. The WD Ambulance van is on the siding at the end of the loop and the NWNGR workmans' coach is just on the crossing from the loop onto the main towards Beddgelert.

The underneath of the layout is already covered in spaghetti so I thought it was high time to actually complete the wiring diagram for this board and try to cut down on the wiring looms as much as possible. As you can see thre's quite a bit already and this doesn't include the point motor circuits or electromagnets. I did think about getting away from a load of this by going DCC, with the real aim of realisitc slow speed running. However the more I looked at decoders and my stable the more I realised that only locos the size of Russell or above would really be able to accomodate them so it's been put on hold. If anyone's got any other info, experience or cunning ideas then I'm more than open to suggestions.

Friday, 7 March 2008

PW under way

Although this week has seen a lot of experimentation I have actually made some progress. With the siding point laid the sleepers were glued in place for both that siding and the other one. Rails were then soldered in place on the top siding. After a bit of fiddling I've found that a small coping saw cut in the rail only causes a small bump from the stock. As a result the rails have been cut into at the top to represent the 30ft rails being used, matching the sleeper spacings. This looks great at the minute but I wonder if I'm being too pedantic and it'll disappear when it's ballasted/plastered in. That said the rail breaks are great for insulation gaps. Later I'll gently rub off the copper to insulate the two rails and add mock fishplates to the joints. A great advantage of laying onto glued sleepers is that I don't nee to use fishplates to join the rails. Each sector is powered by wires soldered to the bottom of the rail and run down through the baseboard.

The experimentation has revolved around couplings and uncoupling. To lay the track I needed to finalise the uncoupling magnets. So to test and work out how high to place the Greenwich permanent magnets and SEEP electromagnets I had to make up some couplings. For those to work I had to devise my way of mounting the couplings at the right height to the stock. I copied someone's idea of pinning the couplings to a balsa block at the right height and, after a load of work, decided this was weak and awkward. The best idea I had at the end was to place a blob of Blu Tac against the coupling height gauge, stick the coupling gauge in it and then offer up the wagon; much better!

So now I have some wagons with couplings, knowledge on how to place the magnets and therefore was able to place the magnets and lay the track. All in all a lot of work to lay a 14" siding but work that needed to be done! The baseboard frame is also making good progress which is fortunate a I don't want to lay much more track until the board and frame are as one.