Since the last update, we have just about completed the two modules situated on the opposite side of the room to the main Gunnedah yard section, both are highlighted in green on the track diagram images.
The middle module contains the two colliery siding tracks, as well as the two main line tracks, and also has the set of points where the abattoir siding branches off what I am commonly calling the “Beyond Gunnedah” main line.
The last module contains the two main lines as well as the abattoir siding, which features a pair of points that form the runaround located directly in front where the abattoir building will be located, and the length of track at the end is where the cattle yard section of the abattoir is located.
Refridgerated wagons can be dropped off or picked up by trains in either direction and will be shunted into position in front of the abattoir building, and cattle wagons are also able to be dropped off or picked up by trains travelling in either direction, but with more difficulty depending on whether refridgerated wagons are present in front of the abattoir building.
As the two main lines approach the end of the last module they make a turn towards the front of the module, and this is where they will join the lift out/lift up/swing away/magically appear section across the doorway, that will also link to the proposed helix joining the top and bottom deck of the layout.
With any form of removable section of a layout, there is always the possibility of trains being run off the edge of the layout, resulting in a usually catastrophic trip to the ground 4-5 feet below. Because of this I have implemented a way of cutting off power to the last section of track by using insulating rail joiners and installing a pair of micro switches between the dropper wires and the main bus wires. In practice I only need to use one micro switch on either the black or red bus wiring, but as I have not decided exactly how or where they will be mounted, having two connected gives me some extra flexibility, so it’s worthwhile having both connected at this point.
There is nothing radically different to what has been done before, so lots of thought is still given to where track droppers can be located to make the wiring underneath as simple and neat as possible. Two of the attached photographs show underneath and above the end module from either end, so you can see that whilst the track is somewhat spread across the module, by careful placement of droppers the underneath wiring is kept quite central and neat.
However, in a slight departure I am trying another way of locating the wiring in place. I am still using cable ties to both keep the wires neat and tidily grouped together, but unlike before where the long tail of the cable tie has had glue put on it, and then a section of masking tape laid across it, this time the tail of the cable tie is cut to about 35-40 mm long, a very fine jewellers screwdriver is used to drive a very thin slot into the foam board, the tail of the cable tie is smeared with the same liquid nails style glue we use for the track and underlay, and the tail of the cable tie is inserted into the slot.
The tail of the cable tie needs to be firmly pushed into the slot which is merely a guide, and the foam grips the cable tie tail quite tightly, with the glue giving the extra strength needed. Testing so far has shown this to be very effective, with the added benefit of looking extremely neat. However, if need be it requires very little effort to remove the cable tie from the foam if any alterations need to be made to the wiring.
For me, one of the enjoyable parts of building this layout is the thought process involved in every facet, be it the bench work, track laying, wiring etc, and the evolution of the way in which things are done. There are things we are doing now that I wish I had thought of in the beginning, but it’s often not until you have actually done something that you come up with a better way of doing it, that goes for not only model trains, but life in general, old head on young shoulders basically!