Test Run of the First Loop

It has only been two weeks since my the last update, rather than two years like before. But as I have mentioned, I am keen to get a layout up and running as soon as possible.

With that said, today has reached a major stage in the build. The inner loop is now complete, all be it loosely pinned into place so I have a good idea of how the layout will look.

After pushing some Mk3 coaches around the track by hand, I could not resist getting out one of my original DC controllers and connecting the wires to the track.

But which loco would have the privilege of picking up the power first? It could only be one, my very first model railway train which started it all, the Graham Farish HST in Intercity Swallow livery.

Now, I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting much, if anything to happen at all. After all, this power car is 22 years old, and it is showing its age with flaking paint. Gently placed it on the track without any coaches, ensured the points for the fiddle yard were set correctly to allow a complete loop, and slowly increased the power.

Not only did it start to move, it did a complete loop! After a few more circuits I then swapped out the power car for a Merlin liveried set in a 2+5 formation. Again, this completed multiple loops with no issues.

Finally, I mixed up the Mk3’s to create a 2+8 formation and apart from a little struggle on the incline, (only where the centre of the baseboard is slightly higher at the moment), that too ran faultlessly.

Now that I know I have a working loop and the HST’s have no issues negotiating the tightest radius curves, attention will no move to more permanently securing the track and adding the outer loop.

Starting to lay the track on my Model Railway

Scrolling through pictures on my phone it turns out its been nearly two years since I have done anything with my model railways. My last post on the Facebook Page was in February 2018, and that was completing the baseboards.

It was after visiting the Calne Model Railway show hosted by Bentley Model Railway Group I was inspired to get this layout built.

A few months ago I fitted legs to the baseboards and they have been stood in my man-cave ever since. Mainly holding boxes and covered with a green screen while I live stream Train Simulator on Twitch.

This weekend I grabbed the boxes of model railway items from the loft and went through them, and it turns out I have a lot more set-track and point work than I thought. So I started trying different configurations in the corner of our dining room table, working out the smoothest entry/exit points while maintaining the maximum fiddle yard length.

After taking pictures of my preferred setup, everything was boxed back up in an organised fashion and then the track laying began.

I had actually forgotten I had already layed cork on one of the baseboards, which wasn’t far off my new pointwork plan. First thing to do was position the point work for the fiddle yard on the inner loop. With this being a tight 9” radius curve, it was vital to get this in place as it would define the length of the fiddle yards and how the lines appear to the modelled area of the layout.

With this loosely tacked in place, some Flexi track was used to bring the line to the front of the layout in the scenic area. Once I was happy with the positioning of the point work, the track was more securely pinned in place. So that is now the inner loop on one of the two baseboards in place. I will work on the other half to complete the loop and then I can run some trains! After that, I will lay the outer loop.

I’m pleased with the outcome as I have managed to ease the curve off as the trains come into view while keeping the fiddle yard long enough to hold 2x 2+8 HSTs and 4x 2+7 HSTs.

As for the scenic section of the layout I’ve decided to keep it simple with a two-track mainline Up/Down, featuring a small fictional two-platform station for local trains such as 2/3 car DMUs etc. The focus of this layout is to essentially run my trains while practice building for future layouts I have planned.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the control of the layout. Due to it’s simplicity, (and the fact I currently only have 1 DCC-ready train), I will be running in DC mode for now. As my rolling stock collection builds it will be straight forward to convert to DCC at a later stage, but I will go into more detail about the electrics when I’m at that stage.

I’m determined to get trains running on this layout very soon, so watch this space for more updates!