There are six points on Minories, all operated with Tortoise slow action point motors with Exactoscale baseplates transferring the movement of the motor through a tie-bar under the baseboard to wires soldered to the underside of the switch rails. There are stretcher bars between the switch rails, and although these do provide some mechanical joints between the two switch rails, the core drive is from the under-baseboard tie bar. If you want to find out more, these instructions via the C&L website might help:
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One of the more frequent questions I get asked at exhibitions is how the track is built. Modelling in EM there isn't much choice for anything other than plain track, but my track building goes back to my teenage OO days.
Despite living only a couple of miles away at the time, I originally stumbled across The Model Railway Club at a Model Engineering show at Wembley Conference Centre when I was probably around 11 or 12. A demonstrator (to this day I can't recall who) was busy making track, and after a moment of asking myself why would anyone bother, I suddenly saw why, as it looked infinitely better than the Triang and Hornby track I had at home. The demonstrator explained what he was doing and why, and encouraged me to 'have a go', and in the process encouraged me to visit the next IMREX (also at Wembley at the time) and Keen House.
Class 127 4-car DMUs formed the local passenger services on the Midland main line south of Bedford, so have always been on the list of stock required for Minories. A club member started work on a unit back in 2007, but it didn't get very far. In the interim, I made a 3-car 116 which provided the Midland service pending the arrival of the 127 - which made it's first exhibition appearance at the National Festival of Railway Modelling in October where we got some very kind comments and questions about how it was made, prompting this blog.
Both the 116 and 127 units are made from Lima class 117 bodies, and the techniques are similar, the key difference between the models of the 116 and 127 on Minories is the windows used.
Our invitation to the National Festival of Railway Modelling has been the incentive to get a few more things progressed on the layout.
A major resignalling scheme has seen searchlight starter signals mounted on an etched brass gantry installed, replacing the Berko 3-aspect signals originally installed as a temporary measure hours before the first proper exhibition in 2007. The LEDs in the new signals have common anodes whereas the old signals and the remaining ground signal were common cathode, which meant reconfiguring the wiring on the 'interlocking' which clears the correct signal based on the route set. I hadn't written down how it was originally wired, so the most tedious part was working out the existing wiring had worked...
The original signal box, again built as a temporary stand-in from a Prototype card kit, has been replaced by a small cabin, kit bashed from a Peco kit.
Baseboard joints are a necessary evil if you ever have to move your layout. Scenically they create what is often an obvious rift line across our otherwise beautiful handiwork, but operationally they can be a major cause of unreliability. So I try to make the joints as unobvious as I can, but robust enough to stand the knocks and bangs that happen to all portable layouts and maximise the chances of good operation.
It is very difficult to make a board joint better later – so I spend time getting the basics right.