Baseboards

Nothing particularly unusual about these. Each scenic baseboard is 2' 6" long and the frames are made from 2"x 1" softwood along the sides, with 1.5" x 1.5" softwood across the ends and middle.

The tops are from 3mm ply, as this is what I had to hand. If I were to start them again, i'd use 6mm ply instead, as the 3mm is a tad flexible. However, once topped with cork flooring tiles, it doesn't seem too bad, but I guess time will tell.

The fiddleyard is of the sector plate type. The frame is again softwood, however the sides are arranged as L-girders to prevent warping, as the frame has no top. The sector plate deck is 6mm, topped with cork flooring tiles and braced either side on the top by 1/2" x 1/4" softwood.

Trackwork

All track on the layout is Peco code 100 streamline. All the points have been modified to isolate the frog. The track is pinned in place before ballasting, and then given a spray of Railmatch sleeper grime, the tops being cleaned off with a track rubber once the paint has dried.

3rd rail has been installed using Peco Conductor Pots and Code 60 rail. It suggests for Code 100 to add the spacing washer, but i've found I didn't need to, with the pick-up shoes on my Hornby 2-Bil & 2-Hal running just on top of the 3rd rail.

Electrics

The layout is wired for DCC using my trusty 2-Amp NCE PowerCab. I've so far resisted the urge to upgrade to a 5-Amp booster, but may do so in the near future.

Whoever came up with the "DCC only requires 2 wires" quote, is up there with Henry Ford's "You can have it in any colour as long as it's black". Yes, 2 wires, as in the 2 BUS wires that run the length of the layout, but it's so far from the truth for supplying the power to the track. To ensure reliable running a wire needs to be run to each section of rail. If there is a joint in the rail connected using metal rail joiners, i've soldered either side of joiners. I've been caught out before by dirt / paint getting into the rail joiners, and causing issues.

As mentioned in the Trackwork section, i've done the "reliability modification" to the Peco points. On my previous exhibition layouts i've left the points alone, and left the switch rails carry the power to the frogs and change the polarity. However, on my last layout, I had problems with the switch rails not picking up power and therefore bad running. Not what you want in the middle of a show!

The modification involves isolating the frog from the switch rails, either by slitting the rails by hand (in my case i've had to do this on the Y points) or by snipping the metal wires across the gaps already provided (on the plain points and double slip), and bonding the switch rails to the stock rails so they are live all the time. The frog is then wired so that the polarity is changed by another means, in my case by using 2 Hex Frog Juicers. These nifty little pieces of silicon and diodes, aren't particularly cheap, but the do the job really well, and quickly. All it takes is a wire from each frog to an output on the Frog Juicer, with the juicer itself feed from the main BUS wires.

Points are switch using Seep PM1's wired up to a Gaugemaster CDU, and actuated by stud and probe on a control panel with a mimic board. The control panel also contains the interface for the PowerCab.

Scenery & Buildings

Scenery is ongoing at the moment, so more details soon.