Model Railway Update – Track Laying, Wiring & a New Train

It’s been quite a while since the last update on the model railway and work has been progressing along in various places.  The last couple post have been around control and getting DCC to work on the Raspberry Pi, however I thought it was time to do an update on the general state of the layout and other works.

Track laying update

Work has been continuing at a steady pace on the laying of the track.  Recent work has focused on the good yard at one end of the layout.  This has the second most complicated piece of point work now all in place and the main sidings have track all the way to the end of the baseboard.  This is good as this is the area where the lines will go into the engine shed and then disappear under the upper station for more length.

In the other direction I still need to lay the sidings, however the corner is currently being used as tool storage.  I also need to work out exactly how long I want the other sidings to be, so I suspect that these are going to sit unfinished for quite a while longer while I work on other areas.

The good thing is that I now have somewhere to store some trains off the main tracks, however it would be more useful if they were powered so I could move the trains there under their own power.

At the other end of the layout the tracks have now reached the stage where I need to be working back from the point work which will sit on the viaduct.  This work is now well under way and will probably be the subject of another blog post (hopefully in the not too distant future).

Wiring Work

One of the next major pieces of work to do in the near future is to really think about the wiring of the track.  Currently only the two main lines are powered and these are via a pair of buses running under the track.  For now these have been wired directly to the two channels of the DC controller so I can run trains, however now I’ve got some of the sidings laid I’ve hit a crunch point where I need to make some decisions of wiring in order to get them usable.

The original plan was to wire the layout for DCC control and therefore keep the wiring under the layout simple.  There would effectively be about 4 or 5 major zones which would be connected back into a pair of DCC boosters (see Christmas post for more details about them).

The issue I’ve reached was the inevitable one of the majority of my rolling stock is DC. While a couple of them have DCC sockets and I’ve got the decoders for them they’re not yet fitted, but the rest are pure DCC so will require a full conversion.  The more I look at the rolling stock the more I’m not sure that I would actually convert some of them.  Thomas and Percy for example are likely to be used on a layout for my son at some point, so converting them would cause issues there.

So I’ve reached the point where I think I’m going to have to go for a hybrid wiring setup.  My current thinking is to wire in about 15 different zones and then bring those all back to a central control panel.  This would then use 5 way switches to enable each area to be switched between the 2 DC controllers and the 2 DCC boosters, plus off.  I’m not planning this to be the pretty mimic style control panel as I’m not expecting to be using it large amounts during operation, however it should allow me the option to chose between DC, DCC or hybrid running as required.

The next stage is to order the switches and vera board and hopefully with some time soldering then I should be able to get the sidings up and running fairly shortly afterwards.

New train – GNER Intercity 125

The other piece of major news is the addition of another train to the layout.  The layout seems to be based somewhere in the North of England, probably in the York style area.  I’ve currently got an Intercity 125 in the original livery, Regional Railways local services, and a post privatisation Transpennine Express, all of which fit that area.

What I’ve been thinking about and watching on ebay for a while was a GNER Intercity. This would fit in the post privatisation era for this area, as well as being (in my opinion) once of the nicest liveries of the recent era.  So one came up on ebay at a good price and ended up on the layout.

The following photos show it in test on the layout.  It appears to be a good runner, with the only apparent issue being the rear lights are not working.  As such it’s probably a good candidate for conversion to DCC early and at the same time I might look at fitting one of the LED lighting conversion kits available from ebay.


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