Saturday, June 4, 2022

Container depot

With all the track now laid on the layout it was time to re examine to see how it all works together. A purchase of 13 bogie container wagons gave a reason to incorporate sidings somewhere on the layout to create some shunting interest. Ideally both inside and outside corners are ideal for this purpose. The container sidings were laid out on the inside of the curve and were within easy reach for shunting.

Early design days

As can be seen by the above photo the outside of the curve will have a siding for cement and a private siding general goods. Having a siding that would only have capacity for 10 container wagons meant that a shunt would be required to load/unload the remaining three wagons. This is not a problem as it adds interest and a lot more shunting required.

Two sidings for containers

While the idea of shunting to unload the 13 container wagons was ideal and added interest , with a growing fleet of wagons it was considered more ideal to provide extra container wagon capacity in the actual container area. To achieve this an extra siding could be attached to the front of the existing two sidings laid.
Can we squeeze in an extra siding?
It was easy enough to attach the timber for the extra siding and the end result turned out for the better. The only downside was that the control panel only shows two sidings. This is not really a problem as the points to these sidings are hand thrown.

A wye point would lead into the third track

The new Y point in position

The third track to the container depot came off the dead end track closest to the edge of the baseboard. This was the only work around to get the extra capacity. Not 100% ideal as to shunt the inside siding this track has to be clear enough to get the required number of container wagons into the siding. Again it adds some interest to shunting. Luckily there was enough room behind the control panel to squeeze in this extra track

The third container track now in place

It was fairly straightforward to add the extra track and next job was to add some paving around the tracks. This was done by using cork sheeting which is easy to cut and takes colouring well. As a guide to cutting out the cork sheeting the top of the rails were painted and then the cork rolled over the paint as a cutting guide. Afterwards the paint can be cleaned off.

Cork sheeting is laid between and around the tracks

I think the cork works well and the sheeting was purchased from the Spotlight store. It is certainly easy to colour. I decided to go for a bitumen look rather than doing a concrete finish.

Cork in place ready for colouring

Colouring added and ballast added to inside track

Marvellous how hindsight works. In the above picture I have laid solid loading areas around tracks 1 and 2, what I should have done is have the loading areas around the inside and outside tracks and have the middle road ballasted and available for the overflow of wagons. This would have meant loading on the edge track and further loading on the inside track where the ice cream bucket is. Oh well live and learn.

Weeds are starting to grow already and two dogs turn up

AN8 has the honour of shunting the first container train

There is a lot more detail to go into this area, such as containers, lighting etc etc. That will be on another blog in the future.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

The Last Bit

 Well finally the last and most important bit of the puzzle has been completed. That bit is the liftout section that completes the double track around the room. It is only a short piece that lifts out across the doorway. This then allows access to the room when the layout is not in operation.

This section has a facing crossover on it which allows trains on the outer circle to crossover to the inner circle. This will be used mainly for locomotives heading towards the loco depot. At the moment it is not powered but the panel has provision for its use, the buttons already in place. It is planned to use top mount Peco point motors as it will be easier than mounting them underneath.

Liftout section in place and outer track under construction

Facing crossover in place

Cork is laid under the main line tracks mainly to provide a shoulder for the ballast. At each end of the liftout section the track has been soldered to printed circuit board to ensure a stable link between each baseboard, so far it has remained stable and still lining up despite the recent rain which hasn't effected the timber.

As can be seen in the above photos 'safety boards' have been installed along the edge of the liftout section as a definite safety requirement. A derailment or a bump or a misalignment across the join could result in the train heading towards the floor. Better to be safe than sorry.
One end of the liftout has a tapered edge that easily allows the section to be lifted out from that end.
A rather large white bolt lock has also been installed as another safety measure as can be seen. Once the bolt is secured across the unit is locked into place. Unless a smaller tight fitting replacement can be found this will have to do for now. It will be painted and blended into the scenery.
Two VR B class locos wait for the last section to be built, then trials begin.
So now the layout has been completed around the room and all that is left now is to start running a few trains. The hard part has been done.