Tried and tested

Well, Barton le Clay was an enjoyable show.  Thanks to the Beds and Bucks group of the 009 Society for putting it on.  There was a great range of layouts, and a good supply of traders to tempt the wallet.  I look forward to the next one.

The improvements to the layout made a big difference to the operation, the points that lead on to the quay really reduced issues with shunting, and made operation much smoother in general.  The additional storage in the sidings was useful too.

Another welcome improvement was the replacement of the uncoupling magnets with weaker ones.  This reduced the juddering of my Parkside Dundas Tralee & Dingle vans as their wheels were attracted to the stronger magnets used previously, as shown in the video below.

As you’ll see in the video, I found a solution to the juddering in the form of fixing a small block of foam that would rub on an axle to generate some drag.  This was not easy to achieve consistently without restricting movement so much that wheels didn’t rotate, so I decided to replace the magnets.

The ones I settled on were MOD2 from First 4 Magnets, these are powerful enough to operate the Greenwich couplings, and not too powerful to attract the wheels of stock.   They have the added advantage of being able to fit longitudinally between sleepers of Peco Mainline track with only minor trimming, meaning that they sit further away from the flanges of stock, thereby reducing the chance of them attracting wheels.  Mounting them this way also puts the longer aspect of the magnetic field along the track rather than across it meaning they are probably no harder to uncouple with than the stronger, shorter magnets mounted across the track.

It’s been really important to test the layout for some time to ensure it all works and will survive transport to and from exhibition, and reassembly repeatedly before making alterations harder by adding scenery to the baseboards.  So, there’s now been a good period of thoroughly testing the layout and I’m now happy with the way it operates, and believe that it will continue to do so well.  The only large job I’ve got before I can start on the ‘scenery proper’ is to build the lighting rig.  I’ve got all the materials and components to do this, but time may mean it has to be done after the next exhibition.

So, the next outing is to Narrow Gauge South West at Shepton Mallet on the 16th February.

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