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entry 2 Jan 2012, 12:28
Worked on getting the underground sections laid today. I want to ensure that as far as feasible each underground section is a single strip of 914mm flex where possible. I have two tunnels, one hidden route, and a couple of raised town areas. I could manage the single lengths through the tunnels, but the hidden route is simply too long and has required three segments. The main reason for this approach of course is to minimise any failures due to poor connections. So I have soldered one dropper to each single piece and two to the longer segment. Hopefully this will do the trick.

Each section that will be underground has had cutouts put into the baseboard and back boards as required to ensure access once the terrain goes on top. In some areas this has meant a number of holes, whereas others, such as the Whaley Thorns area it is simply one large square cutout below. Fairly confident that I can now get at just about every covered section that contains trackwork or electrics, even though I may require a dentist's mirror or periscope to actually see what I am doing in there...

I am using Trackrite underlay from here in Australia. It is a dark grey foam that provides a nice cushioning and comes in a variety of profiles depending on what is required including tapered on both edges with a track insert, tapered on one edge with track insert (for double lines), flat, etc. Seems very flexible too, haven't had any issues working it around even my tightest turns without having to break.

So I have now glued the underlay into the covered sections and then glued the track on top of that, both with PVA. Wherever my droppers are soldered I have drilled a small hole in each side of the underlay and baseboard to feed the wires down to the power bus below. This has made them almost invisible even before ballast goes on, which has made me quite pleased. I am also finding my soldering is improving rapidly after a long break since last needing to do it in anger. Although still finding it a challenge to get a good join soldering upside down under the layout for the bus connections. Might need to rethink how I go about that one, not too keen on having molten lead rain down on me in 32C heat.

I have also been able to glue the Bolsover Tunnel cover into place. This is just a piece of appropriate cardboard bent to shape, painted black on one side using poster paint, and then glued with PVA to the raised track bed. I then tightly taped around it with electrical tape to ensure a nice secure fit while the glue dried (and as an ongoing security that it stays put). As can be seen in the pics this is now ready for some plaster cloth over the hill.

Finally today had a chance to play with the Carr Vale viaduct area, which is really a big flat valley with a lake and the River Doe-Lea passing through. It was an 8 arch viaduct about 70ft high. Looking at pictures it seemed very utilitarian with none of the garnishes I have seen in some others. I believe it was demolished in 1952. A rail line passed under the viaduct on the Bolsover branch line to Pleasley. I haven't put this in my run at present, but may look to add it in the future linking up to my hidden route at the front of board. Likewise some of the things such as Carr Vale townsite, station and factories probably won't squeeze into my layout. Unfortunately the nature of compression means we cant add everything or the board would be 200ft long. So, overall happy with the viaduct template I threw together to see what I would effectively fit in place, now I can work on getting an actual model done up for it.

I may now throw on some plaster cloth next where the newspaper has been placed. Haven't done it before so I am a little cautious, but it seems like a straightforward process. I shall commence with a small section a hope for the best.
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