Planning the Layout

I have planned a layout that is based broadly on parts of the GWML, with the plan being to bring in various sections that represent parts of the line, rather than a continuous flowing layout.  I thought it would make a change to have a main line going through a series of dioramas almost, ranging from a section outside Paddington, through a busy yard, onto a parkway station then onto to a branch such as the Stroud Valley line.

The idea being to incorporate as many operationally interesting aspects of the railway as possible. Here's an example, the main line just outside of Paddington,


I particularly like the high retaining wall, the slightly run down sidings and the "urban feel". This photo was taken from an HST on the way in to Paddington (hence the poor quality!). This will form the first section of the layout and is planned to cover two of the baseboard sections, I do intend to liven it up a bit by incorporating a diesel fuelling point.

The Baseboards

As any expert will tell you, the baseboards are the heart of your layout, if they're wrong then the whole project will inevitably fail.

Since I never paid attention at carpentry whilst at school, I've decided to build my layout using the sectional baseboards sold by Brilliant Baseboards. Saw them at Warley and after a long chat with the very nice bloke that runs the business, splashed out on my first section.

27 July 2008

The first section arrived last week and pressure of work and an enjoyable (?!) family holiday in the IoW has put initial construction off until today.

After a read of the instructions (unusual for me!) I set to work, the kit is of a high quality, made from marine grade ply and definitely worth the .

It slots together easily and after the application of some pretty industrial strength wood glue is solid as a rock...

first baseboard - 2








First completed baseboard









After this my wife did add the comment that she wished my DIY was up to this standard!

Cutting the First Sod!

15 March 2009

Well, here we are, after 8 months or so of prevarication and delay, I've finally got round to the real business, planning and laying the track.

I've got some pre-cut sheets of ply and using blocks, screwed it down onto the frame and am ready to get started. I've planned out this section over the last few weeks and decided on a 4-track mainline with siding behind which will incorporate a head shunt and fuelling point. At the rear will be a high retaining wall lined with trees.

I've laid a cork trackbed with PVA and chamfered the edges to create a "shoulder" for the ballast, the first piece of track is ready to go down...


From experience gained on creating small scale dioramas, I've decided to glue the track (the unanimous opinion from a question posted on RM Web!) and apply the ballast to the glue smeared cork, using masking tape to protect the cess.

Track Laying Finished

15 April 2009

All track is now laid and I've completed the first phases of the wiring.


The four track running lines being laid in concrete and the siding in wooden sleepered track to the left.

Turning the board over you can see the track power bus (blue & brown) and the accessory power bus (yellow and white).


Every piece of track is connected by droppers to the power bus.

The first Lenz Accessory Decoder has gone in and the first Tortoise. After a bit of trouble getting the point to actually snap across, I realised that the retaining spring was best removed and bingo, smooth, prototypical switching of the blades - dead pleased.

The next couple of weeks will be occupied by fitting the remaining four Tortoises and then programming the Accessory Decoder. I then hope to connect up my Lenz system to my laptop for a bit of computer controlled testing.


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