Take a seat..

…In case you fall over when I say ‘there’s some progress on the layout to report’…

There’s some progress on the layout to report!

For a while now I’ve been putting off doing the final bits of woodwork on the layout, namely the legs for exhibition use and the fiddle yard.  Having two sets of legs seems a little extravagant, but at home the layout sits on some Ikea trestles, these remain permemantly in place which enables the space beneath the layout to be used for storage without any disruption.  The ‘exhibition legs’ are taller too, making operation more comfortable when a chair is not available, and they collapse down to minimise the space they take up in transit.

The legs in the open position.

And in the closed position.

I cannot claim these as an original idea of my own, but of a friend, David Bickerton.  He used them on his layout ‘Pudley Lane’, and is also using them on his first narrow gauge layout ‘Mulberry Vale’.  David uses pockets of ply beneath the baseboards which the legs simply slot into, I decided to try an alternative, and have been using hand wheels purchased from BP Fittings that are normally used to hold headboards on to divan beds.  These are also used to hold braces to the legs, and to hold together baseboards.  They are a quick solution, and should make assembling a large layout a little quicker.

A selection of the hand wheels used on the layout, along with the adjustable feet fitted to the base of the legs, and the tee nuts which the handwheels screw into.

For a while I was concerned about wobbling of the baseboards around the fixing points, so I added some ply braces to help stabilise them and resist any movement.  This helped greatly, and when all the boards were assembled the stability improved markedly.

Excuse the mess!

The other piece of woodwork is the construction of the fiddle yard, again something solely for exhibition use, not at home.  For home use I am hoping to be able to build a small, very thin, extension to the layout to enable a fiddle yard to sit on my desk/workbench at some point.  This may take the form of a micro layout, but we’ll have to see about that, I may make the section between the tunnel and the desk scenic and simply have a couple of cassettes on the desk.  Anyway, back to the fiddle yard…

As it’s for home use only, like the legs, it folds up to reduce it’s size.  In this case that means that the fascia panel is hinged, and the end panel removable, so the height of the baseboard reduces greatly.  I’ve designed it so that it will be possible to retain cassettes under the fascia board for transport to help prevent any damage to them.

The fiddle yard in the assembled position, attached to the end of the goods yard baseboard. The diesel is sat on the DCC programming track.

And in the collapsed position, with the fascia panel folded down, and the end panel removed.

So when all assembled it looks rather large and, somehow, being up on legs exaggerates this!

Finally, the landscape has been altered a little around the tunnel.  Each side of the entrance to the tunnel was extended using polystyrene ceiling tiles, glued to the extruded polystyrene foam behind.  This will create much more of a cutting on the lead up to the tunnel, and helps hide the exit ‘off scene’ to the fiddle yard.  Since taking the photos my wife has been adding papier mache to the area, and it makes it look much more complete.

You can see how it looks with the addition of papier mache in the video below.

So, with all this set up, and the recent purchase of a Gaugemaster Prodigy Advance 2 DCC controller, what else was there to do but play trains?

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