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entry 20 Aug 2012, 09:52
Almost a year since my last post and probably closer to two since any actual layout work was done I think I'm back into the project.

I even took down part of the baseboards with the intention of never going back and selling all my trains. I sold an awful lot but at the last my wife suggested I keep some or I'll only regret it. I did keep some and left some of the tables up and I am seriously considering starting again.

I've re-worked the layout completely. I was never too sure that the station at the top would look right and was probably a bit too short. The freight area may not have worked either as there just wasn't enough room to put cranes and what not.

I feel much happier about this design. It seems to work well. The only downer is that there isn't a length of track where the trains could be seen just thundering through the countryside.



Comments welcome - not sure how many folk look in these.

How likely is this to happen? - I'll be making a start end of September if not before.

How likely am I to finish this one - who knows. By summer of next year I'll either be a long way in or taking it all up again. We shall see.

entry 17 Sep 2011, 19:00
Final layout (maybe)


entry 16 May 2010, 10:15
On Thursday I passed an important milestone by getting all 4 of my main lines laid and in a position I'm happy with. I've changed my laying methods from the fiddle yard by laying the track before adding the droppers. It makes soldering a bit harder but at I get the table holes spot on in the right position so the track isn't pulled out of position by a slightly off-centre hole.

One thing that has always been in the back of my mind is that the lines make the layout look essentially like a big set. Once scened there won't be much in the way of hills for the trains to wonder through. The only large hillside will be in the south east corner to hide the fiddle entrance - there will be a small road bridge to allow access to the TMD car park. If theres enough room I'll put a farm building on the hill but I've been thinking of a small cameo by having a car rally being held on some dirt roads on the hillside. I've seen OO gauge Mitsubishi EVOs so these would lend well to the scene and painting network rail hi-vis jackets yellow would make for good marshalls.

I've been thinking of having a bridge disecting the south west curves entering the out of town station - as some do on other layouts to hide the sharp curves. However I may put the bridge in the other corner.

So for a complete tour of the layout:-


The rebuilt city station curves coming from the fiddleyard. There will be a big roadbridge here to hide the fiddle.



The city station will be three platforms. I have a plan to have the Faller modern image bridge which will be modified to suit the over-track city allowing passenger access to the platforms. The black marker line you can see is where the raised city section will be. One the right where my watch is will be the entrance line to the freight area. This will be fenced off from the station.



The curves leaving the city station. As mentioned before these will be covered by the cityscape. I will build the base of the cityscape once I'm ready to lay the frieght yard.



A view over the bridge. Still not decided what will be underneath the bridge, road or canal. I bought some Knightwing bridge supports and girders for a little play as to how its going to look.



The main junction itself. Allows up and down access to all lines. Having said that I'm tending towards not having bi-directional lines. I've been thinking of getting some sort of timetable together based on the lines in the fiddle yard and the stopping points around the layout. I'd like to have a rough idea before hooking the layout up to a PC.



On the right of this picture will be the intermodal freight yard. Funnily enough, 4 mainlines passing by an intermodal yard is exactly what happens not to far away from my mothers house in cardiff.

From google maps:





The smaller station will again have three platforms on will have the TMD on the right. In the distance once the scenery is added the lines will go under a bridge into the hilside tunnels.



Here will be under the hillside - hence my rather lazy use of R3 curves for all four lines. At being R3 I shouldn't have any problems with stock. The sidings for the TMD would be visible in this shot if they were laid. Its all a bit tight down here so I may have to tweak the layout once I get to this stage. The concrete sleepered tracks that just stop are sidings for the fiddleyard.



The fiddleyard. 6 of the 9 lines are 250cm or more. There is a junction at the far end that will help with switching but could be dropped in favour of only using the main junction which would then allow 7 of the 9 lines to be over 250CM. the two lines on the right are shorter which I suspect is going to be a problem when it comes to having the layout run by PC. If the fiddle is used as a ladder then only two smaller trains - departmental workings or DMUs only will fit. I've considered linking the bottom right siding (in picture) to what is currently the headshunt for the TMD. This would allow the smallest line in the fiddle to be used as storage for small workings coming on scene via the TMD. [




I've also made a slight change to the plan is as much as I've added a third line to the wagon repair shop in the freight yard. Pikestuff do a 3 line shed that would suit well here.

I've also added the proposed link from TMD to fiddle. It doesn't look right to me so unlikely to be used but thoughts welcome.



Adding the point motors and droppers now and will be working on detectors and all the gubbins to make the layout PC controlled. Once thats done I can work on reliability and some scenery and finally see some trains rolling.

entry 28 Apr 2010, 19:24

Have taken the last couple of months off from the layout to study for an exam. Exam now done and waiting for the results in June.

Didn't get any work done as such but I did rip up the north-west entrance to the station. I was unhappy with the curves and the other side looked far better which was a shame because the north-east curves will be hidden under the cityscape.

Last night I re-positioned the two curved points and relaid the curves. Looks far better and chose to use cork throughout as I was unhappy with the underlay.

Also not sure if already mentioned but I have found a local chap who has a computer controlled layout and it really is fantastic to watch. I'm 90% sure I'm going the same way with computer control because it will allow far more trains to roll at once.

I'll be putting in as many nights as possible before our "summer" kicks in and it becomes too hot in the loft - might do some early mornings if I'm awake and I don't make too much noise. Not much has changed so no pics. Hopefully I'll get the mainlines laid over the next month or so then I'll get some pics and a vid up.

Ta smile.gif

entry 24 Feb 2010, 20:23
Well I took some pics of the work completed of late.

The station lines are down and laid. I haven't wired properly because I've decided to control the whole layout via PC and its early days in my research.

So the station lines -









I'm not totally happy with the curves but they don't look too bad for a first attempt. The west curves are very close together but I've tested them with the Voyager coach and MK3 coach which are my longest stock. The eastern curves look better but they will eventually be hidden by the town over the top. Once the mainlines are down I'll do extensive testing and if I have derailment problems or clearance issues I'll just have to relay.

You may see in some pics, I've left quite large gaps between rail sections. I've done this because the layout is in the loft and its very cold up there. In summer it gets very hot so the idea is the gaps will allow expansion - my biggest concern is that I've left the gaps too big - some are a good 5mm.

These are test pics for the platforms. I'm going to use Peco platform edging with wood inserts for strength.





I've test laid the mainline junctions and positioned the points so the point motors won't be blocked by the table cross members. It looks great and I really can't wait to see it in action.



I finally took the plunge and chopped up the table. I may have made the depth too much and still not completely sure what I'll put there. There will be more bridged in the foreground so maybe an dimly lit back road or a neglected canal.



Finally, some of my recent and most favorite purchases. Living near to Milford Haven refinery I had to have a 60 hauled fuel train. I have seen pics on the net that the loco did indeed pull the fuel train from Milford Haven.

I also needed to cure the steam itch so it had to be Tornado - it may be the first of a couple actually. I also bought a Bachmann Brake coach which is very similar to the support coach used by Tornado.




Oh, and heres "bertha" - if it wasn't so dangerous I'd live it "as is" as I love the cowboy way I've mounted this thing biggrin.gif


entry 14 Feb 2010, 17:17
At last I have a working fiddle yard - nearly!

I finally found a transformer with enough oomph to power the Masterswitches. After trying a laptop supply, a bench power supply and a gaugemaster cased transformer I finally found one online that works - for the heady sum of 12. It needs encasing though as its just plonked on some wood at the moment.

I say nearly because of the Peco microswitches mounted to the peco motors - how utterly rubbish they are. I've had to replace 3 or 4 already and I haven't even been using the layout. A couple were even DOA but its pretty much impossible to prove. Not happy there.



It looks like I haven't done much and that is partly true. I've dropped the table where I want to put the bridge and almost all the station lines are actually laid.

I have now got to put up the bridge, mod all 12 long points to frog switching, lay the cork and then lay the track.

I'm also reseaching computer control. Its expensive but will really help to get the most out of the layout. I could have two or three trains per line!!

entry 21 Dec 2009, 19:22
Well its nearly Christmas and I've been working the current layout for a smidge over 3 months. Work has slowed a little due to it being very cold in the loft but once the heater has got the place above freezing its quite comfortable.

I had promised a short vid of the fiddle but I'm still waiting on a suitable power supply for the Masterswitches. Should be arriving mid Jan.

In the absence of the vid, I'm posting some pics of the work so far and a corrected layout - plus a fine Computer Aided Drawing of my plans to add a bridge over a motorway scene.


Corrected layout - doubt it will deviate much from this.




And so the completed fiddle - the track isn't stuck down and will be made as straight as possible before being stuck down.

Northwest end of the fiddle. I'll be moving the sockets shortly. The farthest two lines are the through section of the mainlines.



Southwest end of the fiddle



The fiddle yard control panel - the first of four dedicated control panels (Fiddle, Mains, Freight, TMD). I was going to do something complicated and pretty but decided this would do the same thing. It all works and is quite satisfying when it all lights up. smile.gif



Control board for the Northwest end



And the Southwest end



Curves into the station - all the curves are just over radius 3 and above.





Station lines - in the stations and off scene I'm using cork, on scene the DCC Concepts underlay. Bit trick in the curves to start with but I quite like using it.




And finally, to make the boards quick to build I didn't bother with levels and bridges etc. The scenic break into the Northwest fiddle is going to be a dual carriageway/motorway so I thought why not have the motorway carry on to the other side of the layout but the motorway drops down and goes underneath the lines (its in the Southeast corner at the start of the mainlines junction and freight entrance)

To illustrate what I'm going to do I inlisted modern technology for an artists rendition of the finished scene.



If the layout looks as realistic as the above pic I'll be very surprised!!

entry 26 Nov 2009, 12:21

Very close the completing the fiddle yard!!

Ony got a couple of MS to wire and the control panel and its done. Will post a vid asap.

entry 16 Sep 2009, 20:30
Couldn't resist laying some track and rolling some trains



entry 13 Sep 2009, 21:08
First, I've tweaked the design a bit. Managed to make half the fiddle equal. I'm thinking of having a couple of fiddle/passing lines on the flyover above the fiddle.

The tables are now complete and now I have the exact measurements of the tables for the layout. Another reason for the design tweak.




I didn't want the tables to be complicated so its all run of the mill flat base for the track to be laid on. Only incline will be the two lines over the fiddle and that need only be about 80mm high - just needs to clear the train below.



Looking from the station table. Freight yard on the left and fiddle on the right. Apart from the incline the only construction work required is a small border around the far edge of the tables - for scenic background.



With a bit of luck, a station will join the track!

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