All the track is laid and working

I pressed on and laid the rest of the track. I had a lot of point motors to clean up from previous layouts. Each point motor is installed on the foam core using double sided tape for the initial placing and then I run hot glue all around the edges. I don’t use the DCC Concepts provided double side foam because I used that “years” ago on other layouts and the screws won’t hold. This means that I have to clean off the hot glue and peel off the double sided tape. I then give it a wipe with IPA and put some more tape on.  As there are   17 points on the main board, this is quite a big job.

It is all done now and all of the track is down. I finished the wiring up yesterday to find that I had a short. Now there are two ways that the track is powered across the board joins. One is via bus wires and the other is simply by the track connections. There are three tracks that cross over the board joins – one in the connection to the main station and the other two are via the two oval tracks. Everything went fine until I connected the front rail connection to the outer loop. This created a short. My first action with a short is to disconnect the track from the bus, which I did. There was only one connection to the bus from the outer loop on the “left hand” board. Once this was disconnected, everything worked fine. On looking at it, my simple mnemonic for wiring – “black to the back” works fine until the loop track comes round the front where it has to be “red to the back” as the inner rail is, obviously the front at the back and the back at the front.(I loved writing that but it might be difficult to understand – unless you have been there yourself). At the moment, I have left it unconnected and am relying on track connections across the join.

OK, so I now have a fully working railway which has some scenic panels fixed to the back. Actually, they aren’t fixed but slot on so they can be removed if required. This will be temporary whilst I have two separate boards but eventually the panels will be joined. I am also waiting for my friend Mark to come round and tidy up the joins between the panels. He painted the back scenes for my previous HO railroad and they don’t match when applied to this one.

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Here is a panorama of the whole thing put together.

1 Anchor Street, Ipswich - England, United Kingdom

I now have all of the track laid and wired except for the branch which will be left until later.

One problem that I have resolved is how to hold the two boards together at the front during the time when I am keeping them as two boards. I have a set of tools for working on foam care. This is the one that is most useful making the join.

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This cuts a “V” in the board, making it possible to fold the board in a 90 degree shape as in this example:

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I made two tubes, one which fits inside the other. The outer tube is fixed across the join and then split into two. The second fits into the tubes very firmly and holds the two boards in alignment.

Lastly, I have to report that I changed my method of running the track across the boards. As I had to continually pick up boards and move them until all of the wiring was done, I found that the track ends were getting pushed out of alignment. I have gone back to an old way of doing things, as if it was a fold up layout and that is to use joining stretchers of track. All six of the tracks that cross the baseboard join were cut back by 50mm. After finally getting the wiring completed and having fixed the boards strongly together, as above, I then cut 6 x 100mm lengths of track across the join. I will leave these loose until I, finally, fix the boards together.

Lastly, I thought that I might show how complex the underneath of the left hand board was. This has the majority of the points installed and the wiring was quite tricky.

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As you can see, I had to reroute some of the strengthening struts to accommodate the point motors. This is easily done with foam core – just cut away and hot glue some new in!

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