26 September 2009

More progress on the new loop

Since the last post I have been busy fixing, aligning and generally securing the trackbed for the new loop and the re-routed inner loop. It doesn't look much different, actually, but is a lot steadier than it was, and ready to accept track when needed.

I have also taken up the old branch line trackbed (sob!) and installed a new one (or most of it) along the front of the layout. This, when finished, will connect with the outer loop near the sidings on F1. The new branch line isn't the most exciting of routes but should make for a more manageable gradient.

Having got this far with the new loop, basically having both ends of it plumbed in and ready, I've decided not to do any more work on it for the time being. It will be easy to return to it in due course, without any disruption to the main layout. So once the new branch line is connected up I will return to the first fix and the track-laying. I really want to run some trains now!

Finally, a gratuitous shot of my birthday present from Karen. A very welcome addition to my motive power fleet!

14 September 2009

Track plan revisited

While watching the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday I came up with a new version of the track plan, this time in Visio. I wanted something that was less literal and more schematic, something that I could eventually use as the basis for the layout control panel (with point motor studs, indicator LEDs, that sort of thing). Here is the result:

Black tracks are "visible" parts of the layout. Blue tracks are the sub-surface lines. Green is the new "relief" loop. The track labels should largely speak for themselves.

I am pleased with this as a first attempt. It will, of course, need some revision. But when I am finally happy with it I should be able to have it screen-printed onto something that can form the front of the control panel.

13 September 2009

Progress on the new loop

As hoped, I've at last been able to do some work on the new loop. The alignment is more or less (barring the usual tweaks) in place at both ends of the loop. Here is the loop junction on F5, with track added for illustration.

And here's the new spur on F1 looking towards the back of this section (the section is currently resting on others along the back). Not a good photo; sorry.

On F5 I now need to realign the outer trackbed (F5o) as there's no longer enough clearance where the new loop spur crosses. This means starting and, of course, finishing the outer gradient further round the loop.

The other casualty of the F5 realignment is my neat little branch line feeder than snakes to and fro among the trackbed supports. The newly moved gradients now don't allow clearance for this any more, so I will reluctantly have to move it. The easiest solution will be to take a spur off the F5o mainline feeder, just after it emerges from under the new loop spur. This might also soften the gradient on the branch line, so it's no bad thing (although a less interesting alignment).

08 September 2009

We'll gather lilacs...

If anyone has been wondering "why haven't there been any Middlehampton posts lately?" it's because the holiday season has given me almost no loft time in the past month. Plenty of thinking time, but no actual doing time. And that's been very frustrating (although the holidays have been very nice).

I am hoping that this will all change shortly. I have a new loop to build, after all, and the time it takes to build it is time I didn't expect to be spending on construction at this stage. I thought I'd be well into the track-laying, and able to work in the evenings without needing to bang, drill or saw something every five minutes. So much for the optimism of July.

I have actually done a little bit of real work; specifically, I've put in the new lower-level trackbed on F1 to provide a feed from the storage sidings out to the new loop. The layout is a building site once again. Now that the holidays are over and the weekly routines are restarting, I expect to be able to do more work, and will post photos when I have something to show for all my thinking time.