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Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:57 pm
by Dragonfly
Evening all,

So, while I still have my N-gauge coffee table layout to finish, a house move has since provided me with a bit more train-playing space in the shape of half a double garage. While a significant portion of this is taken up with storage, the intervening months has given me plenty of time to get rid of a lot of junk and rearrange what's left. This has left me with one 4-metre section along one wall to be earmarked for a layout.

I also wanted to try a few things I hadn't before:
- A proper mimic panel, using BLOCKSignalling's Point Position Indicators
- Electrofrog Streamline points
- A better baseboard system, with alignment dowels, adjustable feet, and just to be overall better manufactured than before.

All this started last July, in fact, but I wanted to make a little bit of progress so I had something to show, as it has been a slow year, in all honesty.

So, what we know so far:

The Background
Kidneston (pronunciation varies anywhere from Kinston and Kidney-stone) is a mid-sized village in ...nominally Shropshire, in an overlap of GWR and LMS catchment, but Rule #1 will apply and I do have Eastern Region stock to run, so it may well be occasionally relocated to south Lincolnshire. Era is to be in the post-war years up to the early 60s, so stock ranges from GWR Panniers and 56xxs, and a WD Dean Goods, through to early green diesels and DMUs.

The station is a small terminus at the end of a quite long branch line. The railway which built this line then added a second branch line from here, leaving from the same end (conversion to a through station was not practical due to local geography), however this was not profitable and closed to passengers in the 1920s, now remaining open to serve local freight/colliery/quarry workings and WD operations. The War Department have taken over most of this branch now, in similar style to the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway, and built a number of camps and facilities along its length. Civilian freight traffic is permitted as far as the first former station along the line, but no further.

The Plan
The plan was introduced on this thread last year, and has been modified a little more between then and now. It currently looks like this:


The primary branch line approaches from the bottom left, through a road bridge, and the tunnel at the top left is the secondary/military branch.

The goods yard arrangement may be odd, and awkward in some respects, but I've gone with the reasoning that a lot of this kind of station had their oddities. It will make operation more interesting, I'm hoping.

I may want to straighten out the bay platform a bit, to widen the platform. It doesn't need to be parallel to the primary track... We'll see.

And the fiddle yard is to use cassettes.

The Layout (so far)

As the size and arrangement of the layout is set by the area available, I set to work on the baseboards before doing the plan. Learning from mistakes made on previous layout attempts, I opted for something a bit more rigid but also a bit lighter, using a box-section plywood structure and 50mm softwood cubes in corners. As my previous attempts at precise cutting all failed, I took to the Internet to get it all pre-cut. I used Smart Babel for this, who gave me a very good price, considering, so I got all the pieces calculated and put in an order.
(Smart Babel appear to have gone through some changes since then. I've since started using WoodSheets instead)

The wood arrived in July 2017:


And so I set to work on the Display Units seen on my Workbench thread here:


In September I got around to putting the boards together:


The leg setup is pretty crude, in all fairness. Cheap timber from Homebase (on sale at less than £2 a length at the time), so cut to 900mm long to fit safely inside the frame, and attached using large lockable hinges (these.

But it does stand up:


(Attachment limit reached. On to Post #2!)

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:02 pm
by Dragonfly
And they do connect together well:


At this point I moved focus to the control panel. As I'm planning on being able to operate the layout from the front or back, I've gone for a standalone unit. Built out of the aforementioned cheap timber and ABS boxes, I built it quite sturdily:


Track control will be through a choice of two Modelex controllers, one panel-mounted on the left hand box:


...and one walkabout, with a switch to select which.

The right hand box is for the mimic panel. First draft of this was made with various car-lining and craft decoration tapes. The latter of these is a bit glittery, but worked as a first attempt:


Point control was/is to be via studs and probe, and isolating sections (lots of them!) via the switches at the bottom.

Power input and walkabout sockets added:


(Attachment limit reached. On to Post #3!)

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:09 pm
by Dragonfly
Wiring was then begun, and made a bit of progress:


But I'm not happy with the mimic panel arrangement, so that's going back to the drawing board. Most likely I'll get one professionally printed and laminated using DoxZoo, who have printed me a first draft and my wiring diagrams very nicely:


I've since abandoned the idea of having the isolating switches separate to the diagram. The diagram has since incorporated them, and the letter system dropped.

So a few months passed, because... well, life. You know how it is.

Then in May 2018, I got around to getting back into the garage, and plotted the track plan onto the boards:


And during some spring cleaning, I took the boards, down, fitted adjustable feet to all the legs, levelled it all, and attached the back/end scene boards:


Then in June, I put down cork trackbeds.

By this time a little bit of misalignment has appeared, to the tune of about 0.5mm in some places, so cardboard has been used to make up the difference. Hopefully that will do, but we'll see.

Following this, holes in the cork (accidents or fiddly bits) were filled with a cheap Polyfill substitute and it all painted matt brown (Wilko's "Nutmeg Spice", if you want to know):


Next Steps

Well, that's where it's all at now. Next steps are:
- Build up the hillside at the left end, then put in the tunnel and road bridge.
- Cut and fit the end-scene board for the fiddle yard entrance, then paint the sky onto the backscene.
- Mark the important measurement points for the track, cut point motor holes, and start laying some track.
- Rework the control panel, reusing as much as possible from the existing one.
- Build a prototype cassette, to ensure it's strong enough (the materials I have are very light).

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:48 pm
by Mountain
I like the look of those Modelex controllers. Never had one though. One day maybe! :D

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:15 pm
by Dragonfly
I can well recommend them; I've operated with them quite a few times on a number of layouts. Very good units.
I often see him at shows such as Stafford, Trent Vale (Stoke), Crewe, Stourbridge... or have a look at their site here. Sooner rather than later though; he's been threatening to retire for a couple of years now. :)

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:21 pm
by TimberSurf
Although tardy with the updates! :lol: , you have come on a long way, will watch with interest. :)

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:19 pm
by Dragonfly
TimberSurf wrote:Although tardy with the updates! :lol: , you have come on a long way, will watch with interest. :)

Thanks very much, that means a lot. I will be incorporating an idea of yours as well (this) for background sounds, with any luck.


So I managed to get most of the weekend in the garage, mostly having a tidy up and working on an N-gauge building I'm doing for the club, but did get a couple of things done on Kidneston.

One end scenic board, screwed to blocks then glued to the board (unfortunately the structure of the board made screwing it down impractical), with track holes cut (may need to open them out a little, especially the back one to get a hand into the tunnel, but the front one is on a straight and just to a road bridge, so should not be a problem:


Using a few offcuts to mock up the basics of the hill scene at the end of the layout. This will comprise of a wooden structure with foam cut slopes:


And finally the new control panel diagram, done and sent off for printing:


Big circles are where switches go (for isolating sections), small circles are for studs and LEDs.

Visio can be a bit of a pig to use, due to lacking a couple of very handy features, but it did the job.

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:19 pm
by TimberSurf

Is there a reason three points don't have LED's? (or worse, no studs)

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:49 pm
by Dragonfly
They have LEDs, but no studs, as they're to be paired with other points (the blue edging shows which points are connected). It's a carryover from when I was planning to use momentary switches instead of studs, and so space was at a premium. Now that's not as much of a concern, I suppose it's not even necessary any more, but I'll be ambitious and give it a go.

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:32 pm
by Dragonfly
Although I've had a busy few days, with work and the Club's open day, I've had a couple of hours here and there to get a few bits done. This time involving track.

So first off, beginning with the main point of the station, the 3-way-er in the middle. All wires soldered in place:


Then holes drilled for motor pins and wires, and point pinned into position:


Soon followed by some of it's friends:


All wired up, with isolating fishplates where needed. Next step is to do some temporary wiring under the board so I can test it (works on the multimeter, but that's no substitute for using a train!)

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:53 am
by burnie
That looks excellent work, you do learn a lot when you first build don't you? I doubt I will ever dismantle my GC layout, the lessons learnt may not make another shot.

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:48 am
by Dragonfly
Thanks very much!
I'd done a couple of attempts at layouts before, which I have learned a lot from, but I've incorporated a lot of new ideas (for me) into this one, including the electrofrog points, a proper control and mimic panel, better board alignment, etc, so yes, it's still quite a learning curve.

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:55 am
by luckymucklebackit
Looking good Dragonfly - I only have the one live frog three way point at the entrance to one of the depots - never again as it was a nightmare to wire up!


Re: Kidneston

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:44 am
by Mountain
Nice progress.

Re: Kidneston

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:10 am
by Dragonfly
Morning all,

Not a lot to report over the past few weeks, haven't had much time to get into the garage. A few changes are being made, though:
1) A couple of additions to the track plan, namely another siding in the front yard, and the addition of a crossover to allow the first siding to operate as a loop.

2) I've decided to redo the legs. While the current setup works fine, the setup I've used with the thick timber and big locking hinges is a bit cumbersome, and takes up a lot of space under the board, which is especially a problem because of (3). The new leg setup will be detailed shortly.

3) I'm switching from solenoid point motors to servos. I'll therefore need the space for the servo mounts.
4) I've recently become a MERG convert, and will be adopting their CBus system for operating the points and isolating sections. While this does come with its own complexities and costs, it'll not work out much more expensive, as the servos and their control components are so much cheaper than solenoid motors. And as for complexity, so I'll have to do a little bit (a LOT) of soldering of PCBs and so on, that's fine. It still reduces the number of wires between control panel and baseboards from 60+ to 6. It also makes the electronics more modular.

But proof that it's alive, at least: Youtube