Monday, 12 November 2012

Left-hand Fiddle Yard

After a lengthy hiatus over the summer due to our house move, the second fiddle yard has now caught up with the first. The design is similar but not a mirror image. For one thing, there will be only a single approach track at this end.

The first photo shows the general arrangement, with some Farish Mk 1 coaches to give an idea of scale. Four of the six rollers can be seen.

The second photo from underneath shows a lesson learnt from the first fiddle yard: use diagonal bracing for simpler construction and greater strength!

The layout in its entirety, assembled for the first time in the new railway room:

Monday, 25 June 2012

Fiddle Yard (2)

Here is a progress update on the right-hand fiddle yard. I plan to start its left-hand companion after this one is finished so that I can learn from my mistakes. As you can see, there is quite a deep plywood frame, so as to match the scenic board. I plan to install sockets for the controller in one of the spaces underneath, and use this as the main control position (operating from the front). Spare surface space alongside the approach roads will probably see some loco storage spurs.

The turntable itself is mounted on a roller-bearing like the one shown below right. It came from Squires, I think. Six of the roller bearings shown below left are set into the framework to give the deck some free-rolling support. These came from Station Road Baseboards.

I have yet to finalise the manner of electrical connection, and to decide whether all roads should be live or not (the electrics will be dcc). Then I should be ready to attach the balsa trackbed and lay some track. I optimistically went for six roads. Between the two fiddle yards, this should house all of the stock I build for some years...!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Fiddle Yard

With baseboard construction phases 1 (scenic board) and 2 (legs) complete, I've made a start on phase 3: the fiddle yards.

I had decided that turntable style yards would be the most convenient operationally, with all locos needing to face the direction of travel (I assume there would have been a turntable at the Ullapool terminus). The first hurdle to overcome was cutting 35cm-diameter circles from 6mm ply for the turntable surfaces.

A little research showed that a practical way to do this was with a router constrained by a trammel. I picked up a cheap router for £30 which I am very happy with and has done the job nicely: certainly the loudest and most powerful piece of woodworking kit I now own! It came with a 6mm(-ish) bit so I used that. It also came with a "circle-cutting" attachment, but the maximum diameter was, of course, 33cm. So I made up a simple trammel from a scrap piece of ply, which screws securely onto the router base, and is bolted through a hole at the centre of the workpiece.

Following received wisdom (on YouTube) I made several shallow cuts rather than trying to do it in one. The vacuum cleaner attachment was fantastic at removing the sawdust as the cut progressed.
I now have two finished turntables, and their approaches. For simplicity I opted not to cut the latter out separately, so they have slightly the wrong radius, but I can correct for this with the layer of balsa I (currently) intend to lay as a track base on top. Note that the track approach is at a different distance from the front of the baseboard at each end of the layout. The approaches also differ in that one will be double track, the other single track. Experiments with Templot have convinced me that there is sufficient length to "splay out" the double approach tracks to meet the turntable at the correct angle. I'll trim the turntables down to the required width in due course.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Corrieshalloch: main baseboard

Since my previous post, construction has begun and proceeded at a reasonable pace (for me). The main baseboard framework is complete, along with its supporting legs. Construction is from ply (a mixture of 6mm and 4mm). I was lucky enough to find a timber merchant who would not only supply the required 8"x4" sheets but also cut them into a complicated jigsaw of pieces (for a small fee).

As you can see from the photos, there is a simple plywood box with horizontal supports for the trackbed. The cut-outs in the sides and ends are simply to reduce the weight: a curved backscene (probably cardboard?) will eventually go in front. The top photo has some (too modern) stock to give a sense of scale. Legs were inspired by Chris Yates' article in MRJ 209, albeit using softwood rather than metal: the baseboard just rests on top and is prevented from sliding off by raised lips on the legs.

The second photo was taken today and shows progress this weekend on the fascia/lighting pelmet. This supports a cheap IKEA fluorescent tube.

The legs are still waiting for adjustable feet to be fitted to the bottom ends, after which I want to start on the two fiddle yard boards. (Unfortunately this will be one of those layouts where there is more length of fiddle yard than scenery, but I didn't want to be over-ambitious with the amount of scenery to finish.)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Introducing Corrieshalloch...

I'm starting work on a new 2FS layout project. After much deliberation, I've chosen a fictitious station on the projected but never constructed Highland Railway line from Garve to Ullapool. Corrieshalloch station is (in my imagination) squeezed between the main Garve to Ullapool road (now the A 835) and the Droma River, at the location now known as "Braemore Junction" where it is joined by the A 832. This is just south of the scenic Corrieshalloch Gorge, from which the station takes its name. The long access road to Braemore Lodge also leaves the main road near this location, and I am supposing that the station was located at this meeting of routes. Incidentally, the local Braemore estate was purchased in 1857 by none other than John Fowler. At the time he was civil engineer for the ground-breaking Metropolitan Railway in London; he went on to become chief engineer for the Forth Rail Bridge. The model will be set in about 1910 (once I have built sufficient locos and stock...)

The Plan

Lying roughly mid-way between Garve and Ullapool, I have assumed that the Highland constructed a passing loop here. As you will see from the plan below, the model depicts only half of the station. This enables the full scenic area to fit in a length of 1060mm (3'6"), dictated by the dimensions of our car (not a big one!). In part, this is the reason for modelling a fictitious location. I just couldn't fit in a real Highland station, at least, not an interesting one. Hopefully the plan retains something of the spatious feel of the real locations.

I've chosen a through station rather than a terminus as I think it is better representative of the long cross-country lines that defined the character of the Highland. Fiddle yard boards will be added on either end, with the current idea being train turntables. For buildings, I envisage a typical HR goods shed and signal box, a row of railway-workers cottages, and a station building based on the design at Garve or Strathcarron. I want to exploit the vertical dimension too, so the land rises from the river at the front of the layout to hills at the back.

The following sketch is based around a Templot track plan. I hope to produce an improved version of the latter before tracklaying, including such things as interlaced timbering and catch points.