Seeing plans on paper is one thing, knowing it will all fit into place is another. Once your layout reaches the point where you can finally put some track down, it is also your final chance to make any last minute changes. Taking turnouts out of packets and positioning flextrack on your layout board for a last minute visual is often the best way to make sure you are happy with how everything will look and operate. As you will see in the photo above, I made the last minute call to flip the double slip in the centre of my plan, and remove the locomotive lead track for the goods shed siding. The subsequent shuffle of left and right-hand points then enabled me to position an opposite facing siding on the right side of the photo, making operating a small layout that little bit more challenging.
|Transferring my paper plans to the layout base was as simple as tracing around the track outline with a lead pencil.|
Once happy that my sidings would each handle a couple of wagons, and with the realisation that I now had an overnight storage siding for my Xplorer passenger train instead of just parking it in the platform road, I transferred my final track arrangement to the layout base. Doing so was as simple as tracing the outline of each track piece with a lead pencil.
|I test fitted each section of track, and found I had to trim back some of the sleepers/ties where the PECO turnouts joined.|
After trimming back some of the railroad sleepers as we call them here in Australia, (or railroad ties for my US readers), I added rail joiners to my block of PECO turnouts, and ensured each piece fitted together perfectly. As the body of turnouts are positioned in the centre of my layout, the pieces of PECO flextrack were each long enough to run to the layout end without the need to join another section of track. I then made sure I scribbled marker points where each of the turnouts joined together as shown above. This will help keep everything aligned when I next fix the track in place.
|The track-work all cut and positioned into place in Philden yard.|
As it turned out, I had exactly enough rail joiners in the one packet to complete the track-work for this section of my layout. Although I still need to add some removable staging through the mouse hole door, I will concentrate at this stage on completing this section of my layout and getting some trains up and running. Next up I need to fix the track in place, but as usual, that is a story for another day.