Monday 31 December 2012

Train Set Season

You may remember a couple of years ago I built a train-set for my son. He's gained a couple of locos and some wagons, but for a recent birthday we gave him some more track, and also another train set (a second-hand bargain from a show) for Christmas. This means a bit of work adding a second circuit to the board, but this is the season for train sets.

First job was to remove the existing track. It was laid in the garage in November 2010 when the temperature was well below zero, as a result when brought in the house the rails expanded, although the track didn't move the curves had a negative camber! When released the diameter of the oval expanded by about a quarter of an inch. I then had to plane off the no-more-nails type glue, as it hand't worked well, this time I stuck to track pins. Hint: Hornby pins are larger than PECO, but strong enough to go into plywood.

The job was made more complex because of the folding board, this means the track needs to be cut at the board joint and soldered to small brass screw heads to ensure secure alignment. Also every rail needs a wire to bridge the gap, laid above the board because of the double-skin board design.


Further complications are that Hornby and PECO have different geometry for their curved points (I was using various points bought cheap at shows or off ebay), and the size of the board didn't allow two standard straights between curve and board joint. This restricted point placement, and meant I couldn't use the power feed tracks - I just wired back to a terminal block connector for easy connection of controllers.

This shows the final layout, as you can see I had allowed for the extra tracks when I painted the board, and there was space for the outer platform and siding. I Think I got the maximum number of tracks on for maximum fun! All points are within reach of one side of the board too. With two controllers I can now play with my son!
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Wednesday 12 December 2012

Putting the brakes on

Some of you may know Mike Beard, who has been describing on the NGRM-Online forum the re-build of his own Egger coaches, a more extensive rebuild than I have tackled. He mentioned to me a while back that he was looking at 3mm Scale Model Railways products for detailing the coaches. But it was a pleasant surprise to find a pair of brake handles in a Christmas card - thanks Mike!

Of course coaches like this usually did have brake standards on their balconies. They didn't take much fitting, and as you can see from the rather poor photo below, they do add more interest to the end of the coach.

The size is spot-on too, so Mike was onto something looking at 3mm scale, but surely the poor 3mm scale people would need a stepladder to put the brakes on?
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