Thursday, 8 July 2021

Joining the Dots

In my most recent post, I likened the unpacking and reassembly of the modules to a game of 3D Tetris. Well that game is nearing completion as all but two modules have been placed in their new locations and the focus now is building new layout elements which will link the existing, 'joining the dots' so to speak. To date, new modules have been built for the Singleton/Newcastle staging area and the linking modules which lead to the Yellow Rock module. This includes the Singleton Hunter River Bridge. This project was started about two years ago ( Singleton Hunter River Bridge ) but has been dormant during the turbulence of the past 12 months. An update of this model will be included in my next post. A temporary structure has been inserted until it can be replaced by the completed bridge. 

The following photos show the module stacking completed to date.

The two branch line termini Kingston Plain above Mount Windeatt. 

The other side of the module combination above shows the completed Singleton/Newcastle staging area below with a yet to be reconstructed Muswellbrook/Werris Creek staging area above. The Halls Creek bridge module together together with the partially constructed Hunter River bridge have been temporarily stored on the upper left. Ultimately, this will be the home of a Philip's Creek module.

The coal mine module above and Yellow Rock module underneath. The coal mine will again be adjacent to Philip's Creek. 







 Another view of the same combination. One of the advantages of this new home is the inclusion of a roller door at the rear of the garage. This permits better access during the rebuilding phase and will allow emergency access during normal operations.


The location of the Singleton Hunter River module with a temporary structure in place. Philip's Creek (yet to be installed) will be above this module. The front joist appears to have a significant distortion but this is one of those camera quirks. It is a rectangle 2400*600.

The Philip's Creek modules will probably stay in their crate for while. As these modules are scheduled for a significant makeover, it's best to leave them out of the road until I'm ready to do that work.

Long time readers of this blog will recall that my usual construction technique sees the track bed laid on 100mm of styrofoam which in turn sits on a 70*19 timber frame. I described this in more detail in the post . With the new construction it became necessary to source more styrofoam and a trip to Bunnings was necessary. While there, I found a new product, XPS Handy Panel supplied by a company called Bastion. It comes in sheets 1200mm * 600mm with two thicknesses, 50mm and 30mm. This is a stronger product than the normal white styrofoam, it can be sawn neatly with minimal mess and, with care, one can even drive screws into it. It is considerably more expensive than the normal white styrofoam so I have restricted its use to below track level and will continue to use the normal white styrofam for the final terrain shaping. 

I have also used it for the piers and abutments of the Singleton Bridge but more details of that will be included in my next post.


I have also started to experiment with LED lighting strips as a means of illuminating the lower level modules. A quick initial test was promising but I'll need to set up an network of extension cords and power boards to ensure that I can switch the lights on from one location. The Singleton/Newcastle staging area will be the first area to be illuminated.




My method of wiring is also changing. Instead of running wiring underneath the modules, I am starting to chase wires into the surface layer of foam and run it to a control panel in the front which is also connected to the DCC bus wire. Subsequent scenery work will conceal the wiring.

The past few weeks have seen some fairly intense activity on Philip's Creek but, for domestic tranquility, that work rate must taper off as other non hobby activities demand attention. But, at least now, I have a reasonable start point. In the mean time, the rolling stock is being unpacked and placed on any available space. It's pretty crowded but at least all of the rolling stock will be visible and not locked away in boxes.

More to follow!!

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