Test Track

Track laying

So what’s happened in the last week? Well, I’ve been laying the track that makes up the second set of storage sidings on the Southern and Eastern sides of the room. It’s a long and often tedious job, starting with the turnouts which need to be wired up before they are pinned down. Then the point motors need to be wired and installed. Each motor has eight soldered connections and the turnouts have three, so for this part of the project that’s 121 solder points, 121 wires to be routed back to the connection blocks, 121 wires to be cut and stripped and 121 screw connections to be made. As I write this today, I have laid around 40% of the storage tracks, hopefully one more day should see that work completed and then I can start work on the second helix.

Baseboards Planning Track

Back to the drawing board

I’ve been using Anyrail software to plan the track layout so after finalising the pointwork design for the second storage yard, I printed the plan off at full scale.

The Anyrail track plan being assembled sheet by sheet.
Storage sidings in the southeastern corner
Creating the board extension under the track plan.

he main benefit of this is to make sure that the point motors will not be positioned where there is framing below the plywood baseboard. I knew that I would need to expand the baseboard on the approach to the helix so with the paper plan in situ, I was then able to measure and cut the timber to size.

The triangular extension is built
The extension immediately becomes a workbench!

I then took the opportunity to position the oval rings which will make up the second helix, screwed them to the base and then drilled 12mm holes right through all of the support lugs. This will make the helix construction easier and ensure that all of the holes are aligned accurately.

Finally, I began laying the pointwork at the eastern end of the storage sidings, the southern end is already complete so as soon as the eastern end is complete I’ll lay the flexi track in between.

The pointwork leading into the base of the helix.

Yet another tidy up.

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have had to stop and tidy up before carrying on with the next phase of construction. In an ideal world, I would have the room or building site, a separate room for storing materials and a workshop for cutting timber. In the real world, it’s all in the same room so I have to clear an area for working in, the materials are stored on the other side of the room and any cutting takes place somewhere in between. It can be a bit awkward, building in a store room / workshop but as the build progresses, the amount of space increases as the materials and components are used up.

Permanent legs fitted
Angled section built

Following on from yesterday’s construction of the first of the upper baseboard frames, I fixed the framework into position with permanent supports at the front. I also finished off the angled section which will support the track bed as it leaves the helix.

I then moved the framewood and plywood from where it has been stored on the eastern side of the room to its new home on top of the new framework. This has cleared the way for the next bit of tracklaying, the second storage yard which will, along with the second helix, form power district 2.

Benchwork cleared ready for the next stage.
A bit of working mess!
Tools, track and cable fill the centre section.
New area for storing materials….
and doubling up as a workshop!

Interestingly, the installation of the upper level framework has immediately helped me to start visualising how the scenic section might take shape which has in turn inspired me to get cracking with the next section!


More bench work!

In my previous post, I described how I had started on the second storage yard which is part of power district 2. Today I put together the benchwork which will support the scenic section above the first storage yard. This is purely so that I can store the building materials that are currently sitting on the low level benchwork on the opposite side of the room. I am now able to shift everything on the eastern side of the layout so that I have enough room to construct the second storage yard and adjoining helix.

The framework is made from 4″x1″ softwood (95mm x 20.5mm in reality) and sits directly above the lower bench. The crossmembers are spaced at approximately 400m (16″). An inverted ‘L’ girder, which is attached to the studs in the wall, gives support on two sides and temporarily I have fixed timber supports at the front. I am thinking of using threaded bar for the front supports so that there is a facility for levelling the structure. The framework still needs to be fixed to the wall supports, another piece is still to be attached to the helix end at 45ยบ to give support to the track leaving the top of the helix and the front edge supports still need to be constructed.

Inverted L Girder wall support.
Western wall support.


Additional lower level brace.
The ladder frame takes shape on the floor.

The upper benchwork in place with temporary supports.