20 June 2009

Nearly time to hang up the spirit level

Today the last of the trackbeds went in. It completes the branch line loop round to the station, and adds some sidings on F1. That completes the track bed construction - although I still have some tweaking to do, as always!

The level area will house a small depot (for freight or locos, I'm not sure yet). The curving trackbed to the right is the branch line that climbs up from its wiggle through the mainline supports.

The level board is the closest this layout comes to the construction method I used on the old portable layout (see this post). The surface is 6mm MDF, which is not ideal but is what I had left (all the plywood has been used or cut up). It is well supported by the timber frame, and won't ever have high-speed traffic, so should be OK. It's not fixed yet but there are enough surfaces in good contact to make that a simple task next time I'm up in the loft.

Here's a slightly wider shot of the same area showing the station throat as well:

I have also spent some time tidying the loft and organising the "bits and pieces" that I am gradually acquiring - including, most recently, a consignment of nuts and bolts for fixing the baseboard tops to the frames along the back.

Next up, a continuation of the first fix...

11 June 2009

Progress... but not entirely as we know it

I did make some more progress this weekend, although (for various reasons to do with faulty boilers and a car in need of a new door) not as much as I'd have liked.

The branch line now meets up with its access point to the storage sidings. I still have to add the track bed round to the station on B1; that will be the last piece of track bed construction that's required.

And so to the first fix. Below is a close-up of the junction between B1 and B2, showing the bolts that secure the top board to the frame. A lot more of this to come.

And here's an overview of the entire construction so far:

06 June 2009

The first fix

I've decided that the next few weeks are going, of necessity, to be a bit boring. Boring, at least, from the pictorial point of view. Before I can lay any track, I need to give the framework and baseboards a "first fix", i.e. a thorough going over to make sure that everything is level, solid and safe. This means countersinking all the trackbed screws, tweaking the levels at the section joins, and fixing the top boards to the frame on the back sections.

Today I began the first-fix process by working on board B1; here is the result:

Comparison with a previous shot of this section in this post shows the new cross-bracing added today, along with the white fix-it blocks that will hold the top board in place. This section is now ready to have its top board added. I want to make the top boards detachable if possible, as I still worry about having to get at the tracks below for cleaning, re-railing or whatever.

It's nice to revisit these back sections, having not done anything with them for several weeks while I've been concentrating on the front sections. I sometimes wonder whether I am merely putting off the track-laying by finding things to do; but all this work is necessary and if I don't do it now, I would have to do it later and that would be much harder.