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Empire Mills Summer 2016
As we indicated in May, we have an exhibition in Peterborough in October, and so the summer has been focussed on getting ready for that. As we started to fiix some problems with the track with (including some damaged track ends at board joints, the fiddle yard and some unevenness in the track itself) we encountered more problems. After some soul searching we realised that trying to fix the specific problems would probably just create more and that without decent working reliable track we would struggle to operate the layout well. So the decision was taken to relay all of the track.
As we lifted it, we realised that some of the problems were caused by delamination in the camping mat foam used as underlay (possibly the glue?), and that whilst it looks good the butanone bonding of plastic chairs to woopen sleepers isn't as strong as using plastic sleepers. I used the same techniques discussed in previous blogs for points and board joints to build the track in situ using some 1/8" cork as underlay. The added challenge here is building track in situ on wider boards than I'm used to or easily have space for in my workshop (who knew 6" made such a difference..) and with the scenery in place.
The cork was cut into 1" wide strips to make it easier to lay, bend to shape and glue down. We took the opportunity to flip the direction of the crossover at the left hand end of the layout, to potentially allow the layout to have another fiddle years on the other end, and become sidings on a through line. With the new turntable in the existing fiddle yard (See previous blog) that should enable the layout to be developed If the group wants to in the future.
The hot weather, holidays and the medal rush in Rio delayed the work, but by the closing ceremony all but the back siding had been relaid and (perhaps like the prototype?) over bank holiday weekend the point motors were realigned and the track feeds connected up to allow for a test run.
We now have a couple of weeks until our first proper running session in the Club, and around that and before the exhibition we need to finish the cosmetic work on the tracks - a few more sleepers and chairs to slot in around board joints, painting and ballasting and then getting the existing scenery and new track back together,
If you would like to get involved in the project, please get in touch.