Monday, 24 July 2017

The Disappearing Fiddle Yard

The last couple of weekends I've been building a "domestic" fiddle yard for Hexworthy. If I exhibit it I'll use the large 5-track traverser/turntable I built for Awngate, but while ideal at exhibitions it is big (and frankly, ugly), and the Household Authority has made clear it is not welcome as a permanent addition to the lounge!

All I need at home is a couple of sidings, as I don't really do serious operation. The layout fills the bookcase so the sidings need to overhang (over the printer and hamster cage!). A slimline, low-profile design was needed.


This is the result - a discrete tapering shelf, which attaches to the layout using the same split hinges. OK, the shelves need tidying, but the layout is reasonably neat. But if that is still too intrusive, simply lift the end up...


By use of some paste-table type hinges (left over from a previous incarnation of my son's trainset) the fiddle yard swings up, and over...


Until it is stowed over the layout. When I've made a lighting pelmet for the front of the layout the stowed fiddle yard will be largely hidden.

I had planned to make this a simple deck for a point and a couple of tracks, however this would have meant very short trains if the board was not to hit the ceiling! (Yes, I did check). The front edge track entry position, and tapering front edge, also made a useful arrangement of tracks tricky. However I realised a sector plate would work well - albeit, is more complex to make, especially as it has to hang upside down!


The deck of the fiddle yard is a double thickness of PVC foamboard, the top layer forming the sector plate supported on the lower deck. As seen here a lip was fitted to the rotating edge of the plate in a slot in the deck, supporting it when upside down - and hopefully ensuring no vertical movement of the deck tracks relative to the entry track.

Talking of track, the next job is to lay some!


Unknown said...

This is a splendid idea. Not only has Michael had the idea, he has engineered the solution to the point of execution... What I'm trying to say is, "This is Great!" I would like to see more of this and determine how to do it as I am facing a similar problem... every layout that I see plans for seem to ignore the fiddle yard as if it doesn't need to be included and therefore doesn't take up any space. Many layout plans only focus on the space taken up by the scenic portion of the layout and most of the time that does not include even a head shunt, let alone a fiddle yard. Folding layouts have been a focal point of my armchair railroading and planning but this could get me out of the armchair and actually building a layout again. Thanks!

Michael Campbell said...

Thanks Gene, I'm glad I've inspired you. A fiddle yard is an essential aspect of this type of layout if it is to be rewarding to operate, and in this case it is a fiddle yard that takes up no space at all - when not in use! I seem to have a bit of an obsession with fiddle yard design and have learned, for example, that the requirements of home operation and exhibition use lead to different ideals. In this case the solution is different fiddle yards. That said, building a folding and easy to operate FY is much more of... a fiddle... than a basic design!