Queens Wharf Yard

I’ve been happy with the progress I’ve been making on the layout recently but the decision to hand lay the track in the extended Queens Wharf yard has slowed me down considerably. That and spending some time away in sunny Queensland 🙂

This photo shows the whole of the new yard and sidings at Queens Wharf. I’ve marked the area where the oil depot will be located with an “A”. This will be bounded on three sides by track but road vehicles will be able to access the yard via a rail crossing at the front of the layout. “B” marks the spot where the oil unloading pipes for the depot will be located and “C” shows where a yard gantry crane will be sited. This siding hasn’t been fully laid with track so it ends some way back from the end of the line.

As I worked my way down Queens Wharf with track and wiring I came to the realization that all the wiring would essentially need to be replaced so there is a rather big pile of old wire under one section of the layout where I ripped it all out. I’m yet to do the same to the section nearest the camera which is why you can see wires dangling here and there. My reasons for doing this were both long and short-term.

The short-term reason is that as I’m already going to be under the layout wiring up the new extension it seemed crazy not to make a fresh start and redo all the wiring. There were dangling wires I had no idea the purpose of, hand written labels on scraps of masking tape that seemed to bear no relationship to what happened when power was applied and I also plan to add two new points and associated point motors to this part of the layout. None of the old points were labelled in any coherent or consistent fashion and they were all going to need to be programmed into the DCC system. Just having the point motor labelled with a #9 didn’t make much sense on a layout with probably over 30 points most of which are new.

The longer term reason is that I want the amount of time I have to spend under the layout to be at a minimum, so applying coherent labels to the point motors and other components like signals now (ones that have a code that makes sense and which I’ve recorded in a file) should make maintenance much easier in the future. There are going to be seven points within the boundaries of QW so starting at the Morpeth end (as the down end) the first point will be labelled QW01 the next one QW02 and so on down the line. Each of these point motors will have a number programmed into the DCC decoders and as QW01 will be the 9th point motor from the end of the line this will be its number, duly recorded in a spread sheet in a master wiring file I’ll complete as I go and hopefully never have to look at again.

Once I’ve finally laid all the track in the yard and soldered droppers to the rails I’ll work my way along the layout and systematically wire up the entire section. I’ll also install the various electronic components, things like an NCE Switch 8 or QSnap depending on the type of motors being connected. I’m determined to put these in locations that will be relatively easy to access at a later time when the layout is covered in scenery. There’s nothing worse than trying to work under a scenicked layout, upside down, in the dark with your head bumping the benchwork as you try to get a wire to stay connected to a screw terminal.

Part 1 Of Making a Point

I made the decision a few days ago I was going to make a video describing how I hand lay points. I quickly became apparent that I would need to break this down into a few parts. This video is part one where I describe preparing the track base and laying sleepers. Please let me know what you think to help me improve future efforts.