Steady progress - the Down main line is built, wired, and tested with its final electronics. The Up main line and the dummy branch to Malmesbury are built and fit-tested, with wiring and electronics under way. The electronics are my new all-purpose plug-together modules, slightly customized for this location to reduce the number of cabes from the layout, with a one-size-fits-all test panel. The picture shows all of the track for the rail side of things, with canal and road still to go.
This little test track shows how things will work on Dauntsey, my next linear motor layout. This model will have several points, and feature some simple automatic shunting. This is basically how the Up line through the station will work, although stretched from the 2 feet track shown here to 6 feet in length, allowing for 3 or 4 full-length trains.
The next layout will be a 1:480 scale model of Dauntsey station on the GWR main line to Bristol, set in the 1930s. The station closed in 1961, but has all of the features I was looking for: double track main line, small goods yard, refuge siding, road overbridge, nearby canal with lock. The model will be approximately 6' x 2', covering most of the area shown in this picture from Google Earth. A few changes will still be required, such as moving the down refuge siding from the SW to the SE side of the bridge, and adding another road west from the hamlet.
The road queues at the level crossing on Outer Melbourne do not work quite as well as hoped, due to using an older track design so that it could be finished in time for its first exhibition. This is testing out an improved version of the road track that permits proper queueing. Too late for Outer Melbourne, but ready for the next layout that needs it. And it even works with N Scale cars.
The next linear motor layout will be of a 1930s GWR location, so it was worth seeing if I could make some acceptable trains for it, especially the 4-wheel goods stock. These are in 1:480 scale, since that way 2 wagons are exactly 24mm in length (the minimum possible) and many coaches are 36mm. Both are magic numbers that work especially well with the linear motor track.
The layout is now ready for its first exhibition, and is basically complete. There are a few rough edges, and the cars queuing at the crossing aren't quite working right yet, but it is good enough for now.
That nerve-racking moment when the layout gets turned upside down to shake off the excess scatter has come and gone, and it all looks very much like what was planned. (sigh of relief)
Getting the roads working is one thing. Getting decent-looking road markings is something else entirely, especially when they need to line up with the underlying linear motor track.
I ended up defining a small computer language to describe the roads, then writing a small Windows program to read this and generate the graphics. These were then printed with an inkjet onto self-adhesive label paper, sprayed with a couple of coats of matte acrylic, cut out and stuck to the track or cardboard foundation, then sprayed with more matte acrylic.
The minimum set of trains for the layout is now basically complete, with 7-car Tait and Harris sets, and a parcel coach. If I have time before its exhibition debut in August, I may see about building a Hitachi set as well.
This is still early test software that can only handle light traffic, running whatever trains and road vehicles I had ready to hand.
British and Australian model railway layouts in OO, N, T and others.
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