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Track Plan, late 1980s
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2012 Diary
November 24th – Delighted to say that Breitenfurt – Ost has a page now on the Simply Trains website. You can see the page by clicking here. The rest of the site is well worth a look too, with lots of other layouts.

November 9th – Well, Elgin went well and Breitenfurt – Ost was awarded the shield for Best Operating Layout. (Best of Show, as voted by the public, was a slot racing exhibit.) The layout drew considerable interest and many positive comments. The trains ran well, with not too many mishaps. When there was a derailment, my policy was to clear it and get the trains running again, and it made sense. As usual, I have written a report with pictures of all the layouts present and you can see this here. Here are a few of Breitenfurt – Ost from the report.
Image 1: A Prussian G8.1 waits on track 1 for a Bavarian B VI (track 2), with the coaches of the royal train, to continue its journey. Meanwhile the Rheingold hurries through on track 4. A light loco and a Bavarian Gt 2x4/4 lie on tracks 5 and 6.
Images 2 & Image 3: Views of the station from the up and down ends.
Image 4: The Gt 2x4/4 eases its way down the branch line with a couple of wagons of stones.
Image 5: Three preserved Bavarian B VI's, Der Adler, a Glaskasten and a CII have been brought out of the shed for a public afternoon open day.

    October 30th – No point really in posting more photos of the scenic side of the layout. Apart from those three lamp-posts on the hill there is no change. However, if there is one thing that bugs me at exhibitions it is children poking their noses round the back of the layout. I've only once had a childproof barrier and that was in Dundee – it was heaven. So, today I fitted wings to each end of the layout to discourage peepers. Whether they will work is another matter. So, that is all you're getting this update: pictures of wings! There is a reason why the are called Image 1 Image 2
Versteckt Anschlußgleise, or "hidden" sidings.

        October 26th – Work on the layout still progresses, albeit slowly. I thought, after Zedex, that I would just leave it alone until after the next exhibition, in Elgin next weekend. But it was not to be. Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4
For a start, the base of Gleis (track) 2 up starter was fouling the plate that carries the supply connections to the track, lifting it so that locos passing the signal it tipped over slightly. I had never noticed this before, nor had it given any problems. However, at Zedex it started derailing some locos. One razor saw later and that is sorted, and locos don't over-run the signal slightly when it is at danger due to a slight wiring modifications I did at the same time.
       Other modifications are the addition of a lighting on/off switch so that I don't have to grovel on the floor to turn them on/off. Three new street lamps have been added to the hill though only two work as the third is so high up I cannot drill through the baseboard to connect up the wires. And, lastly, I have added a 'floodlight' at the door end of the loco shed. It is not very effective bit it works.

      October 16th – Well, that's Zedex over. I'm back home after 1200 miles and 23 hours of driving. There are a number of reasons that made it worthwhile but never again, sadly.
Having got lost around the M6(toll)/ M42/M40 area, I arrived with less than half an hour before the exhibition opened. so it was a good hour into the expo before I had much running. For pictures of all the layouts see my exhibition report here. I only managed two photos and a short video scan of Breitenfurt – Ost. I am hoping to add a few more later if I can get permission from the copyright holder.
       Image 1: The up end of the station passenger area.
       Image 2: The down end of the station. Very quiet!
       Image 3 (video): A video scan of the layout from right to left (6.3MB); turn down sound.

  October 9th – Well, the layout is as ready as it will be for this weekend's exhibition (see above). The image shows a 'ground level' image illuminated by a simulated sunset. ( Image 1 )
Over the last few days I completed some minor wiring changes, added an on/off switch for the lighting, added some extra ballast between the tracks but then rubbed most of it off as it was too bumpy. The platforms have a few more passengers (there are some more to add). The fold-down sticky fingers guard has had its cloth tape hinge strengthened. It is now high enough to stop little fingers hitting the station lights. So in a few minutes we will shift it all downstairs so that I can get on with testing the trains upstairs and put the ' skirt' in place ready for transporting. I am feeling dangerously confident that everything is going to be OK.

October 3rd
        Another few good days. I took the bull by the horns and, going for the 3 in/4 out configuration relaid the left end pointwork (Image 1). Removing and inserting point work is hell! Still, it all works.
The next task was to modify the programming of the matrix board (Image 4) to cover the new routes in and out of the yard. In wasn't really too much of a problem as it is just a case of removing one of the route selection buttons and its associated wiring. Exit routes, on the other hand, required the removal of one route (removal of a loco storage spur) and the reprogramming of track 3 to the up main (which had involved a double slip and a trailing point onto the down main but now just requires a single trailing point). (See images 2 & 3.) To make matters worse I decided to change some of the turnout designations. The image shows before and after trackwork.
       Image 1: The revised pointwork. (Note the burn marks in the cork from the time I accidentally
           burnt out several point motors!)
       Image 2: Old and new compared (for narrow screens – image width 725px).
       Image 3: Old and new compared (for wide screens – image width 1230px).
       Image 4: Modifications required to the routing matrix (work in process).

  September 25th – Been a busy couple of days. Having just about sorted the required routing control wiring mods for my changes to the hidden sidings (see below), I then decided have a look at another alternative. The original idea allowed incoming trains to access four tracks with only three tracks being available to departing trains. My worry was that this was susceptible to errors when a train was accidentally routed to the special track used for reversing direction. Instead of the 4-in, 3-out arrangement I decided to look at the idea of a 3-in, 4-out arrangement that would reduce the opportunity of mis-routing trains. It also meant less facing points being used at speed. While the concept is better, I suspect that the realisation will be more difficult as I don't want to have to remove the matrix boards to make changes. The image shows the existing and two possible replacement arrangements. Finally, I replaced the ON-OFF-ON switch feeding the two branch hidden sidings with an (ON)-OFF-(ON) switch so no more ramming the buffers while chatting to expo visitors.
On the scenic side of the layout, I finally managed to wire up the new double slip (at the entry to track 5, serving the branch line platform). This means that I am back to being to run a maximum of three trains on the branch though two is more practical. In addition I managed, finally, to remove the redundant uncouplers that had being hanging from their wires and getting in the way.

September 23rd – So, the signal box has lights and looks great in a darkened room. It has five LEDs connected in parallel in a daisy chain. They can be fed by one of two resistors (150 ohm and 330 ohm) giving a bright interior for 'daytime' and a dimmer one for 'nighttime' viewing/photography. I still have to unglue the box and get rid of swarf from drilling a hole for the wires.
In addition to lighting the box I have been working on the 'marshalling yard' at the back of the layout. As far as I can ascertain, there will be no problems at the left hand end of the yard and possibly one minor problem at the right. Still a bit more to do so am hoping to have all this sorted ready for Zedex. I have already started on modifications at the right hand end but will complete the left end first, it being the simpler one. If the worst comes to the worst, I will still be able to run a partially modified system. Images of the changes including logic tables will follow.

        September 17th.
A selection of photos from Inverness.

More to follow in report.

  [Later on 17th] – Have spent much of he day working on the probable changeover to a new, more streamlined, layout of the Hidden Sidings. The image shows the old and new layouts so that the two routing maps can be compared. Also, note the removal of both double slips. While the two double slips gave no running problems (they did cause up/down conflicts), I felt that it would be better to get rid of them and the loco spur on the left. (The other one may go as well.) The next move is to create logic tables and see if it is possible to use the existing configurations of the matrix boards to set up all the routes.

  September 16th – The good news is that my back scene has come to light. Apparently a janitor had put it in a cupboard and hadn't told anyone. I guess, at the shift change, the new janitor reported its presence. Many thanks to the members of the Inverness and District MRC for their help in recovering it. Phew!
Following on from my last report, I have already lifted and relaid several lengths of track so there should be no more problems with derailments. In addition the faulty double slip is out and I am awaiting its replacement plus a few more 55mm track lengths to fit where uncouplers have been removed. Also, one good thing about the signal box crashing to the floor and getting slightly crushed in the panic is that I got the roof off. This means that I can fit lighting without having to build a new one. So that will be done in a few days. It has already been glued into place so no more accidents. Looking at the signals I should be able to fix them.
  I still need to put period lights on the branch line platform, add a few more passengers and fit some lights on the hill. At the back of the layout, I will be adding a few extra spring loaded switches so that I can operate some of the turnouts manually. This has already been done for the two double slips in the down sidings area but I also need to be able to use the crossovers between tracks 3 and 4 as well as the adjacent short siding. Finally (as I cannot think of anything else, there is the major task of relaying parts of the hidden sidings (Anschlußgleise). (The new layout is shown in the second image above.) I am hoping that this will not involve too many modifications to the route selectors. (Power is selected manually).
Well, tat's all for now, apart from adding one or two images tomorrow, so I'm off to bed.

  September 13th – Well, the was a bit of a disaster as far as Breitenfurt was concerned. First of all the layout was playing up even before I left (because of the ballasting mostly). The expo was spread across two floors of an hotel and, needless to say, I was (two floors) upstairs. To get it up we had to tip the layout onto its end to get it in the lift. As a result, the signal box, which I had forgotten about, fell and all but demolished three signals so now all four signals at the up end of the station have broken posts and their arms are no longer attached to the motors on two of them. Fortunately the motors were not affected. In addition the newly fitted starter signal for Gleis 4 (outer track) decided not to work so power had to be supplied to the track manually via a switch on the panel. Actually, this didn't matter as, because of a track fault, I could not use Gleis 3 so only one train could be run anticlockwise at a time anyway. On Gleis 3 locos and coaches were derailing by the up signals – the result of a fishplate being under a rail. It's sort of worked OK for four years, so why now? And, finally, my backscene disappeared during packing up while I was taking boxes down to the car. Inverness club don't have it and the hotel doesn't have it so the club has emailed all the exhibitors to try to track it down.
Turning to the trains, several of the locos (all, I think, with 5-pole motors) kept going short circuit after a few minutes running so had to be replaced with older, more reliable, 3-pole ones. Other than that the trains worked well. In fact, at one stage I was running a train consisting of an S3/6 (built in 1972) with three guard's/baggage vans and seven coaches – 40 axles and no wheel spin! It looked like a real train! (Of course, the coaches were the old Bavarian ones which are shorter so the whole train just fitted in the platform length.) One annoyance was the occasional derailing of lifting of some locos by the detector rails. The lifting problem could be easily resolved by moving the detectors to positions where the trains are moving a bit faster, but that is virtually impossible where the connectors are under the platforms.
Going back to the signals not working, can anyone recommend an adhesive for the plastic that Viessmann use for their signal masts? Nothing I have seems to work. [Resolved]

Since getting home I have removed the bad length of track and have inserted new rail lengths. Trains will now be able to pass in both direction at speed. Hooray! Well that's all for now. Pictures to follow.

August 28th – Having knocked just too many things off the down platform, caught my jacket on several lamps and broken another signal arm. I have started on fitting the new front onto the layout. It's only a temporary fix but it looks good, and much tidier than before. My only worry is that it might be a millimetre or two too high. It's not the end of the world but would mean moving the hinges on the skirt on the exhibit. At least, if the worst comes to the worst, for Inverness I could leave the skirt behind. Also, the signal I repaired to replace the down started has decided to stop working. So that will have to be removed and anther one sorted out and put in its place. Problems, problems, problems.

    August 25th – Well, things are beginning to look up (and down). The layout has been turned (a two man job) so that I can work on the scenic side again.
       Before turning it I did some repair work on the electrics. First was the bridge lights which had stopped working. Turned out to be a dry joint, so easily solved. [Looking at the photos, the lights could do with toning down; they should be much more yellow.] I have added two momentary action switches to the control panel to operate the two double slips in the "yard". Saves me constantly having to lean over the scenery to change them. I also fitted new connectors on the power supply cables to make them more reliable. An attempt to boost the turnout switching using a CDU proved abortive, so that was a waste of money. (Yes, I know, I should have realised that it wouldn't work. Finally, I got all the signals working, specifically at the up end of tracks 3 and 4; they are not used but good to know that they can be although it will be necessary to replace two turnouts before they can be put fully into service.
Now the down side. I caught my cuff on the signal at the down end of track 4 so had to buy a new one to replace it. My problems with loose grit are still plaguing me; I hadn't noticed before but the motors for the two turnouts giving access between track 1 and the branch line are almost impossible to move. I will have to have to covers off and see if I can get all the grit out. Ditto the double slip into track 5 (branch platform) although this does work some of the time. The loco detectors at the down ends of tracks 2 and 3 (the relief road), used to reset block signals, no longer work and the latter has to be crossed with care or the loco can lift off the rails.
So the tasks for the next few days are to fill the two holes that used to have the two up starters on tracks 3 & 4 and then to ballast (very carefully) from the bridge to the next lot of pointwork and then do something with the 'wasteland' around the goods yard. Then the up ends of the platforms, as well as the branch one need to be populated. In addition, I would like to make new ends to the layout that are more effective at hiding the hidden sidings from prying eyes.

August 15th – About a week ago I was given an invite to exhibit Breitenfurt – Ost at the next Inverness exhibition which takes place on 8th and 9th September. As a result, I am working on the layout to get it back into top condition, the first task being the removal of the two up starter signals on Tracks 3 & 4 to a new location some 22cm nearer to the station exit. This was a fairly simple action, especially as one of the new positions already had a hole drilled to take the signal. Re-wiring was relatively simple even though an extra terminal strip had to be fitted. However, now the signal on track 4 no longer works! This is not too much of a problem as it is not used for exhibitions anyway.
Much more serious is the fact that if the layout is put into Auto mode, some signals cease to operate. Two signals that were working no longer function, one of which is mentioned above. (The control circuit has still to be tested so it may be that the signal itself is OK.) However, the other one was fine up until a few days ago. I suspect that one of the loco detector tracks has stuck in the "detected" position and is, therefore constantly trying to disconnect the relevant route(s) and set appropriate signals to danger. Looks like a lot work will be needed to resolve this problem.
On the good news side, I found a dry joint in the lighting circuit that was stopping the bridge lighting from working. That has been fixed. Also I have added two switched to the control panel to allow remote operation of the two double slips in the area of the branch line sidings and loco servicing facility. Maybe one day I will have all that working!

June 28th – Well, now the downside. My lack of any experience, and my not-to-steady hands, meant that I was not too good at applying both the glue and the sand. So far, five turnouts and one double slip have been surrounded by the sand. Sadly, sand got into the mechanisms of all of them, mainly affecting the tie bars. Of these, I have managed to get four of the turnouts working again. However the remaining turnout, while having moveable blades will not respond to the point motor. Similarly only three blades on the double slip work. I am hopeful that I will be able to sort the turnout but I will almost certainly have to change out the double slip. In addition some uncouplers are affected. I may well remove them as they have never been used and are unlikely to be, apart from a few.

June 26th – Well, a couple of days ago I took the bull by the horns and started laying sand between (and in) the tracks. While I think the result looks good, I am worried as to whether I will be able to run any trains again. Between my unsteady hands and the loss of clear vision in one eye, I've made quite a mess of it. Goodness knows what it will be like ballasting the track itself. I've posted 3 pictures of the areas I have done to date with a couple of shots of the same areas a couple of years ago so you can see the difference. The difference is much more noticeable in real life.
There are two ways I've done this. To start with I painted the area to be covered with a mix of 1 part PVA, 2 parts water and 2 parts methylated spirits. Having cut off one of the corners of a bag of sand to create a hole about 3mm long, I then poured (a generous amount of) sand onto the glue. After a couple of hours I then used a Dustbuster with a fine nozzle covered with a fine nylon pop-sock to suck up the loose grains of sand. A very slow and tedious procedure. For the area between tracks 3 and 4, I decided to add the sand first and smooth it out with finger and the dribbles the PVA mix over it. Frankly, apart from, possibly, giving a slightly thicker coating, I cannot see any difference. So, having started the process, I must now plod on until the whole layout has been completed and hope for the best. On completion, I will then have to repeat the process putting ballast between the rails. Got to find a better way of applying the sand/ballast to the trackwork.

NB: I have removed the Skype button. I suspect it didn't work and was responsible for error records in my logs.

March 25th – Photos from the Dundee, Elgin (partial) and Moray exhibitions are on line (open in new window).
Also, here are a few photographs (down to my usual standard!) of details around the layout. They had to be taken using telephoto due to limited access. I might try again once the layout is returned to its bench in my room. If they are any better I will replace these.

March 22nd – Moray MRG exhibition is now behind us. It went well but with the usual problems of locos getting to the end of their tether. Report to follow. Report from last year's Dundee expo is now on line. I'll try to be quicker with the Elgin and Moray ones. Some pictures to follow.

March 14th – Been chaotic these last couple of days what with one thing and another not going as it should. One of the platform lights is broken and a couple of others are a bit too dim. Parts of barrow crossing are still missing and need some work doing on them. However, tonight I took some more night time shots of the layout (four with and one without, moonlight), so here they are. That's me pretty well ready to load the car tomorrow.

March 7th – Bahnhof Breitenfurt – Ost by moonlight.
  Well, I've been experimenting with the camera and here is the first of several photos I intend to post during the next week or so. [Dark room, 100ASA/60"/f22/ white balance: tungsten, one flash aimed at the ceiling above camera.]

  March 2nd – Finished off the lighting in the row of houses except for one that didn't have a hole in the baseboard to feed the light source through. I will leave it dark for now and see what the effect looks like. As I mentioned earlier, I am working from behind the scene so can only see the effect through a couple of rather grubby mirror tiles. Even like that it looks pretty good; viewed from the proper side it should look much better.
That's all the work complete for now so am hoping to move the layout downstairs this weekend, or early next week. Once it's there I will be able to take pictures.

March 1st – After messing about with various resistors, I have come up with formulæ for 1, 2 and 3 LEDs. So, that is three buildings done and seven to go. If all goes well, I might even change out those two lamps on the branch line platform.

February 29th – During the last couple of days I have been experimenting with house lighting. Using an 8Vdc supply, I started with a 3k9 ohm resistor feeding two LEDs. Although there was a dim glow, probably about right for candle light but overcome by the external lighting. Next I went for 20mA (60mA shared by three LEDs using a 100ohm resistor). This gave a good bright light but it was possible to 'see' the lights shining through the roofs and walls. The problem is that I cannot get into the building to do anything about this. For the third building I used two LEDs with c.10mA. This was better but still too bright and still giving a certain amount of leakage through the roof in spite of fitting a shade over the top of both LEDs. Next move will be to go for 5mA. Another problem is that, because there are no floors in the buildings, it is not possible to blank out lighting from parts of the buildings. No pictures yet as I cannot get round to the front of the layout until it is moved downstairs.

    February 25th – Thank you Spiratronics – 20 new LEDs arrived by return of post and yesterday I managed to get the roof back to 'serviceable'. Today I fed the wires through the bridge, platform and baseboard, again. This time I made sure I had the resistor already in place, ready to receive the wire.
Now, there is one problem with my layout that is a pain in the neck. Normally I can only work on it from the operators side, especially if I want to work on the wiring, and turning it is an absolute pain and requires two people and a trip to the other end of the house and back. This means that most of the time I have to lean over the control panel and the background to get at the layout itself. Very unwieldy. I had already managed to knock off one of the railings from the steps but I was sure that the canopy was in the right place and weighted it down with a reel of solder while the glue set. It wasn't until I looked at my photos that I saw the gap. I can only hope that I can fix that once the layout is downstairs and I can access both sides.
Usual apology re the quality of the photos. It's difficult looking through the viewfinder and taking pictures leaning over the end of the layout, especially with all the junk I have on the floor!

February 22nd – Disaster. Having assembled the canopy with its lights and tested them using a current limited power supply, the next job was to wire up the assembly, pass the wires through the bridge, platform and baseboard and then attach them to the lighting power bus. Finally, the roof was to fixed to the bridge sides.
All went fine until I turned on the power. The layout was tipped away from me so that I could work on the under-board so when I turned on the power I could not see what was happening. By the time I got to the end and looked round it, the LEDs were glowing red and a moment later there was a loud Crack! and that was that: seven dead LEDs. And no suitable spares.

February 15th – At last, some activity! Having been asked to attend the Moray MRG's exhibition next month (link above) I have been working on the lighting for the station. Gone are the chunky N scale platform lights and in their place we have proper lighting suitable for the layout's period. (They are not, strictly correct as they are the design used in Baden, but they look OK.) Sadly these lights are no longer manufactured so I spent a while buying up old stock. They are now all connected up and fed from an 8Vdc supply, giving them   warm orange-yellow glow suitable for gas lighting. At the time of writing all but one work and make an impressive sight. I will take some photos later.
In addition to the station platform lights, the canopy of the footbridge is now fitted with lighting. The next task is the attach a couple of power leads and fit the canopy in place. The problem is having to drill a 3mm hole down through the bridge, platform and baseboard to take the wires. Finally, I will have to select a suitable resistor to get an appropriate level of light.

Thank you for looking.

Some pictures from events at which Breitenfurt was exhibited.
Further information for exhibition managers.
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