Resources & Materials

I haven’t kept detailed records but I’ve probably been collecting resources and materials to help build my new layout for at least 4 years. There are track components and some timber and hardware that have been kicking around for probably 15 years and which will find or have found a home in the construction of the layout. I picked up some parts for construction when the Aussie dollar was high against the US dollar and UK pound a few years ago and I would guess this has saved me a considerable amount of money. However I purchased my fourth sheet of 12mm plywood today, my second bulk box of wood-screws (500 6Gx40mm this time) along with a seemingly never-ending line of 3X1 pine and some more 3mm and 6mm MDF. I also discovered that for some reason I have 4 right hand points of one particular type and no left hand ones and of course it was a left hand one I needed. That plan went down the drain quick smart!

This point is probably the most critical piece of track-work on the entire layout. It will serve as one leg of the triangle of track that permits the exit and entry of all trains into and out of the storage yard. It’s position is also critical because unless I get this right the radius of the main line curves will be smaller than planned thus restricting what stock I can run. In addition it sits on top of the junction of four pieces of ply, there are two changes of elevation commencing just beyond it (one up, one down), the track bed transitions from plain ply in storage to sitting on the white purlin tape just beyond it. To add to the fun eventually a line of track to the coal branch will cross about 11cm above this location, thus making it the most difficult point on the layout to access. What could go wrong? πŸ™‚

I’ve made very pleasing progress over the past week on the layout. What I really want to do is get all the track laid in the area of the curve that connects QW and Morpeth (the subject of the video I posted a week or so ago) so I can mask it off and spray the track with a flat earth colour so I can commence some scenery. This is very doable but to lay the two lines that exit this area of the layout I really needed to install the roadbed in the section of the layout just beyond it so that the track will be where it’s needed and not where I guesstimate it will go. So lots of cutting, chopping, line drawing and light installing have taken place to allow the laying of about 4 meters of plain track leading out of the curve to parts beyond.

The two lines that lead from the curve (you can see them in the photos coming through from the lighted layout beyond) exit this section via some holes I cut in the backdrop last week. Before I could build and install the benchwork on the other side of the backdrop, and thus lay the track bed over this, I decided I had to do something about the lighting over the curved section of layout. I pressed two lighting “trays” that have been sitting leaning against the walls of various sheds of mine for probably the past 10 years that were custom-built for Queens Wharf. I couldn’t see much point in making new ones. I decided not to make too many changes but the stands that I made to hold these above QW weren’t high enough so I had to purchase some more lengths of aluminium to get these to the required height and then install the lights and wire them up. Along the way I managed to blow a fuse and plunge everything into darkness but it all seems to be working as intended. The reason I needed to deal with the lighting at this stage was for similar reasons to building benchwork on a part of the layout that isn’t supposed to be the bit I’m working on. It was because if I leave it till after this particular benchwork is installed access to the area will be strictly curtailed.

The next step was to build some more benchwork which shouldn’t have presented any problems but because I didn’t make one simple check at the start I had to construct it three times and pull it apart twice. I eventually got it built and commenced cutting up lots of “bananas” of 12mm ply to act as track bed for the track to be laid on it. After my tribulations with the lights and the benchwork things went remarkably smoothly and by late Sunday afternoon I’d managed to get the track-bed at the storage yard throat installed and the point at this critical juncture positioned, ready for installation.

After checking and measuring half a dozen times and trying out different locations and ideas I managed to position the point for the yard throat in its final location. It ended up almost exactly where the plan (pictured in the foreground) said it was going to be. Wonders never cease! πŸ™‚ It’s just sitting in position in this photo but I’ve cut the hole for the point motor in the track bed and you can see the wired up motor sitting to the left.

The better half and I made a Bunnings run this morning and for once I bought more stuff than she did. But she’s building a house, I’m only building a model train layout! πŸ™‚ What this brought to mind was just how much material and resources you burn through when you really get started on building a layout of this size. I was doing a little wiring the other day and my normally pristine layout room went from neat to messy in a few hours. It’s an indication of how much stuff I’m using.

This may not look very messy to you but for me it’s a disgrace! I don’t like mess and I would normally have cleaned up by now but there’s no point until I finish producing the rain of debris causing the mess and that won’t be till I’ve laid all the track at this location and wired it all up.


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