(was Breitefurt)
Archive Diary, 2008

Track plan, 1990
Where it all began 1990
To view the plans, please click on the thumbnails.
(Images open in a separate window/tab
and are all under 100KB.)

track plan
Track Plan (2008/08/24)


Progress Reports, July-December 2008

Dec 28th – Still no photos as the layout is still on its side and my camera is causing problems! Most of the signals are now in place and I have started on connecting them to the terminal strips. (Some of those wires are so fine that I can hardly see them!) Once they are connected, I can then modify the track supply routing to allow the signals to control the trains and the trains to control the signals – the first step towards semi automation of the railway. (Image shows the signal positions at the east end of the station. Positions are not always prototypical due to physical constraints.)

Dec 13th – No images at the moment. I have been working on signals. I have a mix of Märklin and Viessmann and have found the latter very useful as there are several places where the Märklin base is just too large to fit. Unfortunately, Viessmann only do Hp0/Hp1 and Hp0/Hp2. Annoying as there are several places where the three-indication Hp0/Hp1/Hp2 is what is required. (For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the German signalling system, Hp0 is 'Stop', Hp1 is 'Clear' (go) and Hp2 is 'Clear' limited to 40km/hr - speed signalling rather than the British direction signalling.) I still have to put in another couple of Hp type signals and a couple of distant signals. Then comes the job of locating a large number of shunting signals. I am using colour light for the latter as the semaphore ones are just too expensive, esp. with the Euro going up against the pound. I'll post some photos soon.

Dec 3rd – I've written up a short report on the Elgin exhibition. To see it click here.
Now I am starting on locating the signals. I have a mix of Viessmann and Märklin but I don't think I will be able to follow my original plan if putting Viessmann at the front of the layout and Märklin at the back as the track layout prevents me from putting the Märklin signals where they should be. But first I need to know what distance they should be from the track and then check whether the trains will actually get past them without fouling them.

Nov 25th – Just an interim report. I will be putting up photos in the near future. Apart from suffering from a sickness bug, I had a great weekend. So, negative first.
Now the good news.
I'm far from being up to the Modelrail Scotland standard but hope to be able to attend other exhibitions in Scotland next year. So, the next stage is to make a longer control panel so that I can add the extra switches and buttons required to put in route selection and uncoupling as well as sorting out a few minor glitches and getting the branch line modelled. Also there is the dream of adding a second board.

Lessons learned: Probably other lessons as well, but I forget them.

Finally, there was considerable interest in my 1:450 and 1:900 scale trains, though the former was a bit unreliable at times due to a warped board.

Ready for exhibition Nov 20th – Big day tomorrow. I will be setting off at 1030 and will spend some time in Inverness before moving on to Elgin to set up the layout and check it all out. I have wired up some diodes (four per controller wired as two parallel pairs in series). Hopefully they will allow me to near zero volts and achieve smoother stops and starts. It will probably take some getting used to. The turntable has four pairs wired in series as the locos on that are virtually uncontrollable as supplied. I will write up a report, with photos, when I get back. (BTW, the two clamps are there to prevent the control panel hitting any part of the layout when it is folded back for transport.)

Wiring Nov 12th – I thought it was time for an update, especially with the exhibition being just 10 days away. I have, at last, started installing the wiring between the board and the switch panel. So far I have found some three errors, all of the causing short circuits, but I did manage to get a loco to move between tracks 0 (top right of board) and 2 (relief road through station. One major blunder; there are no connections to the four tracks connecting the station to the sidings! These will have to be soldered direct to the rails. More later.

Wiring Oct 26th – Apart from a few above board tweaks, practicing Backs Brandenburg No. 1 and being as sociable with visiting family and friends, the last seven days have been spent putting in wires and linking them back to terminal strips. It is taking far longer than anticipated and I am only half way there. The first big mistake I made was in having all the terminal strips by, and at right angles to, the sides of the board. The section still to be done will have them in two rows down the centre of the baseboard. I also had to repair a dud turnout and replace a spring in of the uncouplers (much easier than repacking it with a working one). But, as I keep telling myself, each wire added is one wire less. Finally, I tested the turntable.

Oct 19th – A red letter day! This morning I laid the last length of baseboard level track and pinned down the last loose lengths of track (I think/hope), though I will probably have to add a few extra pins where there are several turnouts adjacent to each other. I am going to leave the branch line for now and fashion a plywood base for it as the Märklin inclines are somewhat restricting as to what track one can use.
My next job is to get all the electrical connections (bar signals, which will be added later) brought out to connector strips under the baseboard and then produce some kind of loom or set of looms to connect them to the temporary control panel. Current thinking is to use small hinges to attach the panel to the back of the baseboard so that it can be folded back over the sidings for transport.

Wiring Control panel Oct 17th – I've been busy adding and terminating wires to all the places that need them, By the time I finish I guess there will be some 350 connections. It wouldn't be such a problem if it wasn't for the fact that Märklin use the same colour for both the curved and straight control wires on their pointwork. Grrr.
The other thing that has been occupying my mind is the temporary control panel to allow me to apply power to all the track sections. I spent a merry couple of days laying it out, drilling pilot holes and final holes and fitting the 55 switches and 20 push buttons. Now starts the task of wiring them all up. :o( , I know that there is a spelling mistake; it will be corrected. Also many of the switches have to be labelled as well.]

Sidingd en on Oct 7th – Found a few spare pins so have finished the through tracks in the hidden sidings. That leaves the two curves to and from the station. Oh, and I still have to finalise the tracks on the up (west) end of the station.
I have ordered a sheet of Aluminium so that I can make a temporary control panel for applying power to the majority of track sections and, hopefully, some of the uncouplers. Now I need to find some switches.

Station Building Oct 6th – Spent last few days trying to work out the best way to do the hidden sidings. In the end, I took a chance and go for it as it happened. The result is a very slight strain on a few joints, but I won't know if it really works until I can actually start running trains over it. However, now I have run out of track pins and so everything has ground to a halt until I can get some more. Just 6 1/2 weeks to go to the exhibition!

Station Building Oct 2nd – Well, things have started moving again (though not trains at this stage). A couple of days ago I mocked up the hidden sidings west end but it didn't justify a photo as there were problems. However, this afternoon I laid out all the pointwork for the east end.
A brief explanation of the tracks starting from the bottom left. The first two are holding spurs with two functions. First they can be used to hold trains that are too long to fit into the loop. The train pulls into the west end spur, backs up into one of these two and then can run back out onto the main line at a later time. The second function is to hold locos to allow a train to be reversed so that it can pull back out onto the down main crossing over to the up main via the centre track in the station. The next two tracks are the up and down main tracks. Above them are two loco spurs and finally there is a long train spur for the up direction.
From the front the six tracks on the right are respectively a) the long-train/relief loop, b) the down main, c) & d) bidirectional storage for shorter/push-pull trains, e) up main and f) up equivalent of a).

Sept 21st – Well, yesterday saw Breitenfurt at its first exhibition. I can only say that it was a great success and drew many positive comment. The trains behaved impeccably and the kids loved it. I took my cheap pocket camera and have posted a few photos. (Inverness Railway Exhibition 2008 webpage.)

Sept 14th – The last platform is now in place. No people here as it is too far down the train. Last night I modified the coaling facility to allow it to be placed further to the right. (I cut away some of the base so that the track immediately to the right now terminates right next to the crane hut.) Also, I decided to add a goods shed so used the Märklin one though whether I will keep it or end up using another is debatable. Today I cleaned up the running tracks (they were filthy) and ran some locos through the station, but I still have some trouble with stalling on (mainly curved) pointwork. I know that they saves space but I am beginning to which I hadn't used them; too late now, though.
(For those who are new here, the tracks behind the station are for a display of Z and N scale models at an exhibition in Inverness this coming Saturday, after which they will be removed.)

Sept 12th
Station West End Well, apart from finishing off the platforms (including adding one more length to the up platform) this is how it is going to be for the exhibition. Yesterday I bought some transparent plastic which I have put along the front to protect it all. I have added wiring to apply power to the track immediately in front of the station building. Tasks now are to select what I am taking to the exhibition with me and get on with a few jobs around the house.

Station Building Sept 9th – Today I started populating the up main platform. (Essential to do this before putting the roof on.) The people are cheap Chinese imports (200 of them for a couple of quid) but, after throwing out the totally unbelievable colours, they give quite a reasonable show. I will, however, use mainly Preiser figures for the down main platform as it is the one that will be nearest to the public. I have also started building the coaling station; Märklin and no instruction sheet so a bit of a Chinese puzzle. :o(

Station Building Sept 6th – Station building is complete apart from two finials (one got lost), two roofing strips and the rhone pipes. The latter two will be fitted once the lights are in place. I have started populating the platforms now. Whether I will use all of the 250+ people that I have is a moot point. The cut-away platform is only temporary and will be replaced at some time. Still having problems with the curved points - grrrrr!

Sept 6th – The realisation that the station building was N scale has led to me having to quickly build a new station building and this, in turn, had me questioning the scale of the Faller platforms as they look too high, but they are the right scale but a different era. Will do a photo later.

Sept 3rd – Final bits of track arrived and station layout it now complete i.a.w. the track plan above - Yahhhhhh!!!!!
(Discovered later that one track joint has a big step in it and the up exit route is skew-wiff - Grrrrr!)
Station mockup Loco Yard Sept 2nd – Just two pieces of track required to complete the station layout (hopefully). Much as I like it, the station building in the photo will have to be replaced with a somewhat smaller one – a Faller Z282710 – on the final layout.
I am going to have to start thinking about protecting the front of the layout soon (i.e. before the exhibition) as I keep knocking things when leaning over the layout. I had hoped to get hold of a polycarbonate box to fit over it all but that is out for the moment due to the cost.

Station Layout (Aug 30th)
Station trackplan

Aug 30th – Buffers added to turntable and ramp installed. "Current Photograph" added and will be updated periodically. (Note. The loco shed base will be moved back to where the track plan says it is.)

Loco yard Aug 29th – Busy day today. The turntable is in place – with one of the feeder tracks defining the exact position – as well as the two shed roads. (I guess it is time to build the shed and its lean-to.) For some reason, theory and reality don't agree so I am going with reality as it seems to work! (Click on image for a larger version.)

Aug 28th – Sadly, the wrong tracks arrived today so it will be a couple of days before I can complete the station track-work. However, I have now reached the point where I can connect up the turntable so now comes the tricky bit of 'digging out' the pit. Once it is in place, I can lay the second feeder track to it and add the four depot tracks.

Aug 27th – Big day today, with lots of progress. I cleared the board of all extraneous material and completed both the loops, shorted out isolation breaks and cleaned up the track. So, for the first time there have been two trains running. However, not everything was sweetness and light. The curved points still cause the locos to stall and some 2-axle wagons seem to have problems staying on the track when going through pointwork and over uncouplers and direction detection tracks. These problems must be cleared up.
I have some 55mm tracks arriving tomorrow and, hopefully, will be able to finish the turntable approach roads, at which point I will have to bite the bullet and make a large hole in the baseboard to accommodate it. Once in place, I can then lay the four roads by and in the shed.
A photo will follow when all the station track is laid.

Aug 26th – I started laying the turntable approaches today so dug out the coaling station kit to make sure that all was well and, arrrrgggghhh!, it is much bigger than the one I had originally meant to fit. :o(  So the whole area round there had to be reorganised and is an even worse bourach than it was before. New layout posted above. The main loco approach to the TT is via the outer track with the centre track being mainly for replenishing coal and sand. The second feed into the TT is there to help with shunting the supplies. I expect I will have to change the layout around the shed as well, but that will be much easier and less messy. The exact location of the TT is unchanged, thank goodness. Finally, I am thinking of changing the deep cutting on the right to a tunnel and making the tunnel on the left a cutting instead.

Aug 23rd – Isolators arrived so {temporary) outer loop is now complete. I've shorted out all the loop's isolator rails and one or two extra pieces of wire should see me using it as the test track, though one curved turnout is giving problems with stalling. Original test track has now been removed. Phew!
Rang the Inverness & District MRC to confirm whether I will be required to exhibit; answer, "Yes." So the layout will be on display on 20th September in whatever state it is at. I will also be taking along some of the more interesting items from my collection.

Station roads Aug 22nd – Well, here is the almost final mock-up of the last bit of the west end throat. (Cannot put it together yet as I have run out of insulating joiners. Also, I have to cut 1.4mm off a 55mm straight coming into the inner curve and my razor saw isn't here yet.) Just click on the image to see a larger one.
Fitting those two detector (switching) tracks was a bit of a fiddle as I had to remove the outer tabs so that they would not foul the adjacent rails. After one failed attempt on a rather scruffy old specimen, I think I got them both OK. The common wire is soldered onto to the bottom of the rail and will pass through the board out of sight (all being well). Once that is complete, I think I will just run a couple of loops round the back so that I have two ovals running and can scrap the old test track.
There is a chance that I might be asked to display some of my collection at a local model rail exhibition next month and it would be nice to actually run a couple of trains. I might even get a basic branch laid, and a turntable, out as well. We'll see.

Station roads Aug 20th – Thanks to the Mini-Club expanding rail all platform roads (apart from the branch terminus) are laid, as well as the three short sidings at the west end of the station (image). The branch platform will be tacked into place as soon as I can find my razor saw as I have to produce a 66mm length of track. (Click on image to see larger version. Line with train is the old test track.)
West Throat
Aug 18th – Well, that's a fair chunk of the west end pointwork in place (just one more to do) and the wires passed through the board - see photo.

Aug 16th – A propos my earlier comments about bits that stick out of the sides of model rail track (e.g. point motors, uncoupler solenoids), I fed the problem to AnyRail and they are investigating implementing a fix. :o)
I am still not entirely happy with the layout around the branch line facilities at the station and the entry into the loco shed and turntable but I cannot see any way round that other than to move the station building further to the left.

Aug 11th – Replaced temporary images with better ones. Wires have been fed through the board now. More need adding but that can be dome later. BTW, in case you are wondering, the inner loop with the train is actually my test track (testing trains and my layout ideas); it will remain until I can switch to running on the new layout as I like to see, and hear, the odd train running.

Aug 10th – Station East End throat is now complete with just holes to drill to pass the wires through the board (and ballasting). For some reason the layout I worked out on my computer didn't work so, after a quick visit to the Märklin Gleisanlagen-Buch, redesigned the trackwork and all was well. I have also started on the West End throat and that should be ready in a couple of days time.

Station East Throat Aug 9th – Thank goodness I didn't get a syringe yet. Started laying pointwork and second track (yellow in the track plan) and discovered what the layout design applications don't tell you*. As a result, am having to make several awkward design changes to the track arrangement in the station. I'll post a photo when I have laid a bit more track (and tided up all the clutter on the baseboard).

(* AnyRail very kindly modified their library to include the connection plates so this should no longer be a problem. Thank you AnyRail.)

July 2008 – Laid my first length of track using Tracklay; it went pretty well but I was worried about using it under the complex pointwork at each end of the station. So, after consulting an experienced modeller, ripped it up again and pinned the track direct on the baseboard (well, on the cork covering the baseboard) so now need to get hold of a syringe to apply the PVA-water mix.
Not too happy with the Märklin platforms; every one has a subway access which is not very prototypical. Also they don't butt up against each other properly so will need filing down.

Pre-July 2008 – Sadly, earlier entries, recording the very early developments and experiments have long since disappeared. However, photographs do still exist and I will post these up one day. The images shows the oldest (January 2008) track plan that I can find for the layout. The trains actually run and the turnouts can be routed (though I cannot remember how)!
Station roads Station roads

Thank you for looking.

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