Progress at last

Time to bring another period of blog neglection to an end….

Isle Ornsay is booked to attend the 009 Society member’s day at Barton le Clay in Bedfordshire this coming Sunday (27th). Both members and non-members are welcome, if you’d like to come along then details are available here:

With both this booking, and an appearance at Narrow Gauge South West in the middle of February I was determined to have worked my way through some of the list of improvements that were noted down after the layout’s last exhibition appearance.

The first, and probably most important of these was to solve the issue of stock derailing when being propelled through the two 12″ radius points that led on to the quay.

Here’s how the track looked before:

The original track alignment on the quay making use of two Peco ‘crazy track’ 12″ radius points.

For some reason these two points caused derailments, and after checking couplings, back to backs, flangeways etc. I could not work out the cause. I had always felt it was a bit of a compromise using these points instead of the newer 18″ radius offerings from Peco, so I removed them and removed all the track from the quay to start again.

For a while I considered a direct replacement of the 12″radius points with 18″ radius ones, but this would have left me with short sidings as shown by trial placement of the points below.

Note the drilled hole beneath the point showing the location of the tiebar of the old 12″ radius point.

Thanks to Dave Taylor, and some other members of NGRM they suggested that I move one of the points to the adjacent board, this would allow me to have two longer sidings and make better use of the space.

The proposed alignment for the new sidings using Peco 18″ radius ‘mainline’ points.

At Sparsholt I had discussed the quay with Bob Barlow, editor of The Review, and come to the conclusion that a tippler, and therefore the raised track, was unnecessary. So the new arrangement would be flat, which would make things much easier, and potentially more reliable.

This made much more sense, so the trackwork was altered and the foam underlay that I’d used before was cut and placed to suit this alignment.

The foam and track are held down with Copydex glue to allow for some movement if temperatures vary in the loft.

The two sidings completed. Their longer shape and gentle curve match the surroundings of the rest of the layout much better than before…

… and they provide enough storage for decent amounts of stock!

The servos that operate the points were relocated and wired into the ESU Switchpilot Servo control boards and tested. After a clean it has proved a very worthwhile alteration as stock moves so much more smoothly onto the quay now.

Another key improvement after Sparsholt was to improve the couplings. After a brief flirtation with Micro Trains couplings, which I decided weren’t for me, it was back to Greenwich couplings. I have a decent supply of these and it makes sense really.

Simon Cox has posted a useful video to show how to assemble these, I found it a very useful refresher before I began assembling a big batch for all those vans!

After a while, working in batches as Simon describes, you can get much better at building them and I found my success rate increased. The entire rake of vans now have couplings fitted and ready for the weekend.

I’ve not had time to develop a sequence, I think that needs more practice with more operators, but it will come in time. All the other things on my ‘to do’ list following Sparsholt have been sorted, so I feel much better prepared now.

If you are coming to Barton le Clay come and say hello.


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