Sunday, 7 June 2020

More on the Turntable

The turntable installation is now more or less finished on Burghmire. I added the approach road. I also managed to slow the turntable rotation quite a bit by running it off one battery instead of two. I shall try fitting a resistor, at the suggestion of a colleague, to slow it down even further. I still need to fit a buffer stop. That can wait until I have a better idea of the stock I plan to run, as overhangs can vary.

Getting everything level was a challenge. The shelf the turntable sits on slopes away from the main baseboard and is set at a lower level. Also, the rail height on the turntable is much deeper than the code 40 that I have used for the rest of the layout. Fortunately, everything seems to have worked out well.

The turntable is really for the long term. Not for locomotives, but for some very 'interesting' railcars I hope to model in the far future. Not the usual candidates either. I think that with a tiny layout like this, the stock is proportionally far more noticeable and important than on a large layout. Running unusual and interesting stock should add a lot to the interest and the atmosphere.

If ever the real Wantage had a turntable, it would probably have had to be off scene, like mine. Where it is located, it can be used if stock needs turning at Burghmire and at the far destination too. One turntable for two completely different places.

Here is a better view of the baseboard as a whole, viewing from the operating side. I still need to make a simple locking mechanism for the sector plate. I must also add a fascia to the 'public' side of the board - but probably only towards the end of the project. Otherwise, this board is now more or less complete.

Here is a photo with it attached to the scenic board, viewed again from the operating side. The scenic board is about to get the same kind of treatment as recently applied to the fiddle yard board - i.e. fitting the point operating switches and fitting a shelf to tidy up the appearance. This board will also need a few uncoupling magnets. The layout will then be fully operational.

Thought is also going into the scenery for the layout. The general layout of the railway buildings will be inspired by Wantage. Unfortunately, the real scenery around the tramway station there doesn't work very well in such a limited space. I need everything to be far more crowded and full of detail to make the layout atmospheric and interesting to view. I will also strive for a different architectural style to leave observers in no doubt that Burghmire is somewhere totally different to Wantage.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Fiddle Yard Progress

I decided to fit the shelf to the fiddle yard board as my next step. Best to experiment here first before doing the same on the main board. I am generally pleased with the result. As expected, it considerably tidies up the appearance at the back of the baseboard.

I managed to conceal the operating wire for the point mechanism too. The cover is experimental - I shall do a proper job when I do the ones for the main board, in due course.

The turntable was something of an afterthought. I bought a kit a short time ago, but couldn't think where best to put it. The wide space on the new shelf is an obvious site, on reflection. The turntable revolves a bit too quickly to operate with any precision at the moment. I shall have to work out a way of slowing it down. The mounting spacers etc will be tidied up once the glue has fully set.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Here We Go Again!

Apologies for another prolonged absence - due mainly to life, which has got in the way almost totally over the last year or more. I should be able to see more free time from now onward, but model railways will still conflict with other interests and obligations to some degree. The deadline for the 2mm Scale Association's Diamond Jubilee Layout Competition has been put back a year until June 2021, so I still have over a year to complete Burghmire. At my pace, that is unlikely, but I shall give it a try.

First on the list is to get the pointwork on the main board operational. I have continued with the idea I used on the fiddle yard. So far, the plywood projections to hold the point switches have been installed. The wire-in-tube connections from the tie bars have also been installed.

As with the fiddle yard, the protuberances look a bit odd at the moment, but will eventually help support a shelf for coffee mugs etc. so it will all look neat and tidy in the end.

Here's the underside. You can see some of the wire-in-tube installations at top right.

I haven't mentioned it here before, but I was working on a small 2mm finescale layout before the DJLC was announced. It has a strange history. At first, it was just a mock up for an idea I had for a new layout, made out of old scraps of plywood and timber. I then realised (with some prompting from colleagues) that I could just lay the track and it would make a great test track. It has a steepish gradient and slightly exaggerated superelevation, making it ideal for testing for any stock I build. The baseboard is such a hotch potch of bits and pieces there is only one name I can call it - 'Sadbuttrew'!

 It worked fine. I even took it to a local area group meeting where a colleague tested a new loco chassis on it. The more I looked at it though, the more I saw a scenic layout emerging in my mind's eye. With that in mind, I altered the shape of the baseboard slightly and relaid a short section of track on the left hand side. This meant moving a couple of the point switches. I recently installed Blue Points for those. It is now fully operational again. There are only 4 turnouts, including an interlaced 3-way, as shown below.

I saw this layout as an opportunity to set myself slightly loose from the straightjacket of British railway modelling. I had some nice ideas for developing it scenically, including a backscene cobbled up from fantasy artwork found on the Internet. Not quite real, but believable - in another world.

Looking back, I wish I had just continued with this layout, rather than starting Burghmire, but it's too late now.

Next on the agenda is to get the scenic board on Burghmire fully operational - basically just installing the slide switches that will operate the pointwork and connecting up a few wires. I can then start on some scenery. Hopefully, the next update won't be long!

Monday, 21 October 2019

More Wiring

The scenic board wiring is now more or less finished, all to my usual untidy but logical standards.

As with the fiddle yard, the orange wires are soldered to the turnout frogs and will be connected to the point switches in due course.

Because the layout is likely to be laid out on a table or bench for operating sessions, I am making the wiring connections between the baseboards easily accessible. For the track power feeds I am using Phono sockets and leads, mounted as this photo.

The scenic board has 3 such sockets - one at each end for connections to adjacent baseboards via jump leads, and a central one for plugging in the controller.

Using these sockets I can plug a controller into any single board for test purposes. I can also isolate a board easily when the layout is up and running, to help find short circuits.

I have adapted my DCC controller so that it can be plugged into any one of these sockets. I can also plug in a DC controller (though not at he same time, of course). DC can be used for testing the layout and test running locos before I fit decoders. DCC will be used to test locos with decoders fitted, or for when the layout is in operation.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

A Working Turnout

I have now installed the first turnout mechanism and conducted extensive testing. After much deliberation, I chose a wire-in-tube system operated by a small slide switch. I needed a system that was compact, but accessible. The big problem with slide switches can be that they move such lightweight baseboards when being operated. The ones I finally chose require only a light touch, so are not too bad in that respect.

I incorporated an omega loop in the mechanism. I mounted the omega loop and the slide switch on a plywood strut extension from the back of the baseboard. It looks odd at the moment, but the strut will provide intermediate support for a shelf I plan to install later. Everything will then look much neater.

The strut is basically a plywood sandwich with a gap for the slide switch to fit tightly into.

This configuration has been designed to enable the mechanism to be adjusted from above the layout if required - important when the layout is likely to be laid out on a table top or bench, rather than on legs.

This is the underside of the baseboard, showing the polythene tube containing the operating wire. The tube had been mainly secured in position with a generous amount of wood adhesive. The end next to the points is solidly secured with some scrap plywood. The end of the wire is bent at 90 degrees to engage with the tie bar above the baseboard.

I am using a modification of the moving sleeper tie bar idea to operate the point blades. More about this another time. After extensive testing, I am reasonably happy with this concept.

Wiring on the main baseboard has begun, but is not yet far enough advanced to record here.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Fiddle Yard Wiring

The fiddle yard was wired up this evening and the first loco ran. Before this, I stole some rail from another layout to complete the track laying.

I am wiring for DCC. With such a small and intricate layout, it seems the sensible choice to me. Sectioning the track for DC control would cause great inflexibility.

Here is the underside of the non-moving part of the yard. It still needs tidying up. I used 2 bus wires and connected all local track feeds to these. Two wires only go to the sector plate. These are connected to individual track feeds under the sector plate itself. The green wire is for the frog on the turnout. This won't be connected to anything until the point operating mechanism is installed.

I forgot to take a photo of the underside of the sector plate before I fixed it back on the baseboard. However, this is the top view of the complete board.

Finally, the first loco running on the baseboard, under DC. Sorry, but the quality isn't great.

The loco found a few stray lumps of solder that need cleaning off the rails, by the looks of things. I also need to do a few other very minor adjustments before I am completely happy with the running. It was getting late though, so I decided to let things be until another time. This loco does wobble a bit at speed, which may account for some of the rough riding.

Next step is probably to install the point operating mechanism. Then, I shall do the wiring process etc on the main baseboard.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

A Bit of Progress!

It has been a long time since November 2018, when I made my last entry about the construction of Burghmire. Unfortunately, a number of unavoidable things got in the way of modelling.

The most recent meeting of my local 2mm Scale Association area group presented a good opportunity to get things moving again. I busied myself by sticking all the sleepers in position ready to lay rails on the main fiddle yard board. Since then I have soldered most of the rail in position. I shall have to procure more rail before I can complete the job. Enough laid for the time being though. Everything lines up well, which is a great relief. The Templot plan worked perfectly.

In operation, two of the static left hand roads are through roads from the scenic section. These are the main line (third from the bottom) and the gas works siding (fifth from the bottom). All the rest are storage sidings. On the sector plate, one of the roads will act as a shunting spur. The other four roads will be for stock storage.