Following a couple of local exhibitions it was felt that the difficulty with changing the train formations on the clockwise rotation was onerously difficult which led to the public viewing the same 2 formations going round for quite a while.
To improve this a number of ideas were suggested culminating in the decision to extend the overall length of the layout by 2 feet. This was to enable a larger fiddle-yard and cassette to be formed. We would end up with 2 long roads in each direction and the ability to use the cassette method to change the formations without affecting the main running of the layout.
Another advantage would be that we could run 5 coach length trains with a platform that could cope with it.
The start of the project was to design and build the point work entering and leaving the new fiddle yard. I started on the board with straight point work as I thought it would be more straight forward! I used templates downloaded from the Scalefour Society website of which I am a member. These suited my needs and have worked out really well.
This view shows the templates in place and the copperclad strips being positioned. I purchased suitable crossing vee's and switch blades from C & L Finescale and then set about building the pointwork. I started by laying the continuous rail at the top of the picture and worked my way down using that as a guide to where the frog should be. This was the first time I had attempted anything more complicated than a straightforward point and the tandem seemed a bit daunting, but if you just follow the template, all worked out OK, I did keep checking the gauge as I went along.
After many hours of cheerful rail laying, gauge checking, cutting and fettling, I got to the stage where the tandem and two following points were almost complete.
This layout give us the 4 roads for the main fiddle yard and the single line leading to the cassette. Of course this now meant that I had to do the same the other end, but this time on a curve!
I found that 4 curved points gave me the correct number of lines but trying to cut paper templates to be able to bend them proved impossible. Enter Templot, only having looked at this program and never used it in anger, this requirement looked ominous.
Following online tutorials and trial and error I came up with the design below.
This did take me a while, but very satisfying once it was complete. I then printed it all out and stuck the template onto the already prepared baseboard. The usual and never ending job of sticking down the copperclad sleepers then commenced.
Work has been carrying on with the fiddle yard project and finally all trackwork and pointwork has been completed.
Using the copperclad method has been very cost effective as although pre made P4 track is very good and I would not hesitate to use it on the main scenic sections of the layout, for the fiddle yard the copperclad method is absolutely fine.
Below are a few images of the main fiddleyard boards, most of the wiring has been done. This just involves soldering on droppers to a bus bar underneath and I will be showing how we will be using MegaPoints solenoid moteors and frog control shortly.
We have built in a cassette loading and unloading section to enable us to swap complete trains to further increase the selection of stock that runs through the layout. The design of the pointwork allows us to do this from either side of the fiddleyard., one of our main criticisms of the previous fiddleyard.
Now ready to fit point frog relays and solenoid control boards