Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stiil Making Progress.....

Work has continued on the layout these past few weeks since I last posted on this blog. We did have one major hiccup which caused us some anguish until Saturday afternoon (yesterday).

Raymond had started laying the track  and pointwork around past the Durango Station as seen in my last post but when the track passed across the join in the plywood to the section that heads directly towards the back of The Shed there was a rather significant peak in the track. This was obvious of course as the two sections of plywood were not smooth across the join with one section significantly higher than the other. We tried shimming up the plywood that was lower but that did not work. I had recently purchased a new 600 mm long spirit level to assist in lining up the track on the newly installed turntable and to augment our 900 mm long spirit level which was just too long for some tasks.

Looking towards the right-hand wall of The Shed

The main line and passing loop passing the Durango Station site. The building will be situated on the left of the left-hand track

The track now heads down towards the back of The Shed and the future helix. The join in the plywood which caused us so much heartache can be seen across the centre of this image

Placing this 600 mm long level along one sheet of plywood, even though we had reasonably aligned the two plywood panels it was like a ski-jump. The plywood on the second sheet just seemed to drop away. I recommended rebuilding the two sections of plywood and the baseboard framing to ensure the plywood sheets were in proper alignment.

This would mean lifting the track which Raymond had laid, something he was loathe to do. "We always seem to be redoing track" he says. He perservered last weekend trying to level and properly align the two plywood sections to no avail.

Raymond had been quite ill during the week and came home early on Wednesday. One of Raymond's very talented skills is his ability to think about a problem and come up with a viable solution without having to try it out beforehand. He has displayed this ability many times over the years and impressed staff at the former Railway Historical Centre (RHC), where he worked as a volunteer, when he worked out how to overcome a serious problem with a commercial archival database we were using. He went home with me one evening after work and appeared despondent but next morning he was keen to get to the RHC and test out a solution he had come up with during the night and it worked. This time despite the discomfort he was feeling with his illness he came up with a solution which he put to me yesterday afternoon.

I had gone to see my elderley father by myself on Saturday as Raymond was still not 100% and on the way home I called into Austral Modelcraft to purchase another twelve sets of points and packs of fishplates. When I got home at lunch time he put to me that we needed to lift two sections of track across the plywood join and then sand off the peak where the two boards met. He even directed exactly where we needed to smooth out the hump which was difficult to see. Numerous judicious sanding strokes were needed with a lot of level checks in between. I even broke three sanding belts in the process and had to take a quick trip to Bunnings mid-Saturday afternoon to buy several packs of sanding belts of different grit sizes.

The main line is in the foreground as it heads towards the planned helix. A row of buildings with a road in front will provide a street scene across from the third track which will be behind the flatcar.

Again we can see the plywood join which caused us so many problems as we look towards the section that will contain the Durango Station

Looking towards the right-hand wall. A Raggs to Riches Conoco Oil Depot served by a fishtail siding is planned for the left-hand side of this section and the piece of homasote nearest the camera is a Stoney Creek Designs Scrap Yard kit also to be served by a dead-end siding.

Finally we were satisfied and today Raymond relaid the track. Testing it for level and the runnability of rolling stock it appears perfect. Raymond has since spent the day installing Cobalt point motors and doing the wiring. He had run the Bus Wire yesterday afternoon and now, using suitcase connectors he has wired up the running track and point motors.

This feverish activity is to be ready for the Tuesday Nighters who are coming over this Tuesday night. We think everyone (except Scooter) will be pleased with our progress.


  1. I'm never happy. Have you built the Helix yet?

  2. Yeah. Raymond said you weill "bag" him tomorrow.
    We tested a Forney and then a big K-36 and a K-37 2-8-2 on the new section through the pointwork etc. Works fine.