Friday, October 27, 2006

Hidden (sidings) under a bushel

I want to post today on my emerging plans for Rhyd Ddu's hidden sidings. My feeling is that to keep interest going on the layout, the siding should be able to 'rack up' a number of trains ready to go. This requires a number of sidings, each of which a similar length (garratt + 6 coaches is my standard at 3 1/2 feet). All of this points to cassettes, a sector plate or a traverser.

The necessary baseboards for all these 3 options are actually quite similar, what I am keen to do though is to create a system that is reliable, easy to construct and extendable in the future. My feeling is that cassettes are a bit of a faff to make and that a scetor plate is actually only a less flexible version of a traverser. Indeed, there may well be more than one output from the layout side of the hidden sidings, perhaps into a stabling siding, also not in the public view. Long-term, it might also be nice to extend the layout from the other end of the hidden sidings too.

Another thought is that trains will mostly end up with the loco at the wrong end of the train when they stable in the hidden sidings. Therefore an easy way of moving locos to the other end of the hidden sidings needs to be included.

So...what's the plan?? To allow mulitple outputs from the hidden sidings (both ends), a sector plate is really out and cassettes are indeed a bit too fiddly for me. Thus it look like a traverser, but I have some concerns over using the traditional design where the traverser floats on kitchen drawer runners. Why? - because of the big gaps that are created either side of the traverser that stock could fall into (ouch!).

Thus, I am proposing a slightly different design, where the traverser will 'float' by having highly polished surfaces between the bottom of the traveser and the baseboard top. The traverser still moves easily, but the gaps are gone. At either side there will also be short spurs where locos can be moved onto other traverser roads using push-to-make switches, separate to the actual layout.

So it's traversers here we come....


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