The Easter Weekend gave me a chance to get the track laid on the short extension that has replaced the even shorter 2 track fiddle yard that once stood on my HO scale bookshelf layout. Although I was careful when planning the track angles that centred around the solitary PECO medium radius switch on this scene, the bend on the inside mainline did present clearance issues for my longest piece of rollingstock (the 2 car Xplorer passenger train) as it emerged from the other side of the mouse-hole. Thankfully all issues have been resolved, and the track is now wired up with trains running into my beach-side Port Authority Yard.
|While not a problem, the bend in the mainline creates a tight clearance for my longest piece of rollingstock.|
|And its likewise on the No. 2 track with the angled overhang of the long hood of my largest locomotive.|
|The solution was to fan the wall abutments on the mouse-hole opening.|
|Though not completely hidden, my 2 car Xplorer now appears to be stopped just around the bend beyond the overpass.|
|The aerial view. Try to remember that this was once just a plain 2 track fiddle yard.|
Once I was happy with the rail joins and the flow of the 3 tracks emerging from the mouse-hole entrance, I then soldered the feeder wires, checked that everything ran smoothly and spiked down the code 100 flextrack into position. With this layout built for simple analogue DC control, I used 2 on/off micro toggle switches to control the power flow to a), the concrete sleeper mainline, and b), the other 2 Port Authority tracks with the black flextrack. I left them visible because I think I can make them look like track side ground throws when I finish detailing the scene. Plus it keeps them handy when operating. I built the concrete slab loading yard from 3 mm balsa wood and painted it using the same technique I showed in my post Building an Abandoned Siding. The finished balsa strips were then glued to the plywood base with openings for the toggle switches to pop-up from beneath and be screwed down with the washer nuts they are supplied with.
|I copied my own Building an Abandoned Siding post to create the concrete for the Port Authority Yard.|
|The two micro toggle switches remain visible and control the power to the mainline and the 2 Port Authority tracks.|
|The No. 2 track would make an ideal location for a locomotive provisioning point...|
|...while there is room for the loco to be shut down and still have 2 wagons occupying each track.|
With the toggle switches in place, the track work is effectively finished, save for detailing and hand painting the individual sleepers as I like to do. While I can now resume running some trains for the first time in almost 2 months, I also turned my attention to getting the seawalls of the Pier finished. For this I used Busch HO scale printed card stressed concrete. Glued to 5 mm balsa wood which is then glued to the timber bench work, it was rather simple and gives me a starting point to scratch-build the short bridge section that will span the gap along the edge of the ocean.
|I used Busch printed cardboard sheets for the concrete pier walls.|
|Glued onto 5mm balsa wood, I fitted them hard against the channel for the perspex sheet that will soon follow.|
|Trains are now operational on the new extension, while the first signs of the Port begin to take shape.|
So the trains are running again. I can now rest easy knowing that I will have the layout ready for its third exhibition in a little over a month's time, given that it will be exhibited from the other side and the above scene will merely double as the hidden fiddle yard until it is completed and ready to be debuted to the public.
I suddenly have a 3D view of what constraints I have to work within, unlike the life-sized paper plan I drew up that first convinced me this would work. While the layout isn't grand in terms of size, I have to admit I am thrilled with the bones of what you see above. Just last year you would have been looking at a simple 2 track staging shelf against a painted black background where trains escaped from the visible layout through the mouse-hole opening. Now I have provision for a short bridge and some scenery that will fall away towards the waterline at the front of the layout. From this point on, it isn't going to take me long to finish the scene. But as usual, I'll let that be a story for another day.
See also; When paint doesn't match... and By The Beach Extension