BMRR#4 – Area 1 track and backscenes

Update #4 of my N Gauge model railway has been a long-time-coming. This instalment consists of work to the project earlier in the year. Video for this edition ended up sat in my editing software for some reason, namely that I was procrastinating about something, I forget exactly what, and the whole thing ground to a halt because I seemingly couldn’t progress with actual work until the video was done. It only took a few extra photos to finish it, so I don’t know what the big deal was.

Here is that video:

There are some missing stages from the video, particularly certain photographs of the actual progress.

I’d planned how I wanted the track in Area 1 to be laid out and then I had the wise idea to have the track on a kind of embankment.

For this I used strips of corrugated cardboard glued down for the entire lengths and pieces in between where the point-work would be. I then PVA glued along the edges and stuck this down to form a bevelled edge.


Once dry I smeared on some filler to fill in the gaps and smooth everything off. This however, being water-based caused the corrugated cardboard to open up so I had to address this with more filler.

I sanded the filler down and then coated all in some paint to form a base-coat ready for when I would be adding ballast (something that will happen at a later date).

This whole thing didn’t work all that initially because of the edges opening up but also because when the filler had dried, it made everything very solid; I was hoping that the cardboard would act as sound-deadening, similar to how many model-railwayers use expensive cork, but this was lost with the filler added.

But there it was, my base to work on so I laid the track.

The biggest challenge was laying all of the point work as using two crossing and short Peco points at the right-hand end of the Area had dictated that I use short spacing pieces of track (less than 10mm long) to join the Fleischmann points at the left-hand end of the Area.

To make matters more fiddly (in the fiddle yard no less) the profile of the Fleschmann track turns out to be different to the Peco track I was using for the straights, and so fitting the rail joiners, either metal conductive ones, or nylon/plastic insulating ones, was tricky. I had different ones to try but neither worked well and for the nylon ones I would trim down the joiner at one end so it was flat at the Fleischmann end so that track could just sit on it and be superglued in place at a later date when everything is all properly lined up.

I was also installing point motors along the way and these were quite the challenge to get operational as more often than not when I tested any one it would move but fail to properly switch the point, either one way, or back again, or either way at all. For this reason I concentrated on getting the the track lined up so it would at least work as through traffic as part of the two loops that this area will ultimately be part of, rather than worrying too much about it functioning (or not) as a fiddle/shunting yard.

Feeder wires were added as each segment of track/pointwork was laid. I could at least wire these temporarily without switches so I could run a train the entire length of the Area and across the points.

I have since moved on to building the backscenes. These consist of a length of batten that runs round the back of the baseboard with upright pieces fixed to the top with angle-brackets to the height of the backscenes. I then used various pieces of masonite or plywood I had, mostly reclaimed for the backs of old cupboards, screwed into place.

The next instalment will see the progress of that.


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