Shifting Sands: Baseboards and Track

Part of shiftingsands.fotopic.revisited

Based on material posted to in October 2005, updated through to 19th December 2005

This collection of pictures should grow over the coming weeks as the project takes shape. The trackplan for the 3 x 2 ft layout is shown for reference, this is what the finished article should look (something) like.  To get this far involved several changes and it could still change during construction... 

The baseboard is something of an experiment. Following my use of a corkboard to carry my test track I decided to see how the idea could be developed to act as a base for a scenic layout.  Here is a 
view of the corkboard-based baseboard with track laid on the board to check the trackplan will fit and to get an idea of how it will look. Trestles are from Netto!

I have used 'L' section timber to strengthen the board as this will hold the board flatter than strip will allow. Some offcuts of quarter-round material plug the gaps and will allow chocolate block connectors to be screwed into place.  The small pieces towards the corners hold the board on the trestles.

A view of the join between 'L' section and outer frame. This is carefully cut to ensure the upright section of the 'L'meets the outer frame.

Preparation for track laying has included the modification of points by removing the splayed sleeper on the diverging track and pre-drilling pin holes to speed things up when work commences. The sleepers of the Peco 'crazy track' have had the ends cut straight to better resemble better cared-for permanent way. I have also pre-soldered DPST slide switches and fishplates to speed up tracklaying. 

To get an idea of how the track should look, this is the permanent way of the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway.

As might have been predicted, a change in trackplan offered itself up during marking out of the baseboard. With a shuffle in the bottom right hand corner I will be able to incorporate a shed/workshop scene. I have a number of items of workshop 'junk' that will be of use for this so I'm pleased that I have been able to find somewhere for them on the layout. 

By the end of the first day, the hidden sidings, curve and station throat points are now in place.

Track is laid on a balsa wood roadbed to allow the point operating rods to pass under the track, a typical installation is seen here.

By the end of the second day (18/10/05) all the track is now laid and the next task will be to complete the wiring and test the electrics before test running can begin. 

30/10/05: All wiring is complete and test running has been successful. I have also installed six MicroTrains uncoupling magnets to the layout, which required careful pining down of the Peco 009 track as part of the inner rail fixings need to be removed when the sleepers are cut away to fit the magnet. Four section switches are housed in this little panel under the right hand end of the layout.

Magnets were tested prior to final glueing in place, as seen here with 'Cumbria' and a Black Dog Mining wagon.

Test running has used my original coaching stock built from Routemaser bus kits, as the new stock is not ready yet. This situation should be resolved in the next week or so when the new stock is complete.  I may have to create a method of coupling the tiny MicroTrains couplers on the curve in the platform.

'Cumbria' is seen in the headshunt. I have placed a piece of foamcore board in the place of the backscene, screening the hidden sidings.

One little job that I undertook was to 'pack' the switches with thin wood or card to stop them wobbling around quite so much!

19/11/05: Once I was happy with the trackwork, the areas of the layout around the track were built up with scrap cardboard as a basis for scenery, and to give me an edge to work up to when ballasting. Track was spray painted with a Railmatch 'Frame Dirt' spray can, with points masked off and completed by hand. Ballasting is now underway and is a tedious task but has to be done! 

A view of work in progress, a contrast to the tidiness of earlier photos!

19/12/05: Ballasting is now completed and test running continues. Work is now turning to the station platform area, with the platform itself under way from 1mm ply wood, covered with card and then textured with Green Scenes Concrete texture paint.  This section of the platform will be removable, complete with the station buildings.

O9 Modeller would like to thank Mick Thornton for his help in creating this page.

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