Monday, January 18, 2016

A Dropped Leaf means More Yard Work

Don't worry, I did my share of raking back in November. This time of year, I'm all about a different kind of "yard work" and the dropped leaf actually made my yard bigger. Here's the 'splanation...

Lately, I've been working on the "west end" staging yard (which will represent New Haven/Cedar Hill and points "west"). I started the yard a few weeks back, and after working on some other areas, it was time to get back to it.

As I explained earlier, the yard needs to be sturdy since it's right in the aisle and will have to put up with some folks leaning on it. Nothing innovative - plywood base, on a 1x3 open grid frame, supported by shelf brackets mounted onto the legs of the module. Simple and strong.

I didn't want to have to transition down from the cork to plywood level - especially going around 24" radius curves and a complex of turnouts. So I decided to just run cork throughout the yard as well.

Marking tangent centerlines based on cork roadbed snugged up side-by-side (2" centers), and using a section of 24" radius track to mark out the curves. I'll plan to use rerailers to make it easier to add cars.

This picture saves a thousand words - suffice it to say, the heavily modified turnout had to be moved, and here it is in its (hopefully) final resting place. I just didn't have the heart (or time) to write out a play-by-play of what it took to move. At least it's done, and didn't fall apart (yet). You can also see how the yard throat is mocking up. Note the beginning of the cork in the background.

Yard throat turnouts - yeah, it looks like I'm going to have to modify me some more switches...
Now, the module that the yard is attached to is 8 feet long - but the resulting yard tracks will be much less than that since I lose the throat area and have to get pass the curves and fouling points before I have clear tangent yard trackage.

Sooo..... I got the bright idea of extending the yard(!) Here's where it ended . . .

Air Line liftout in the back/corner

Overview shot
I figured I could get another 2 feet of length if I did a drop-leaf section. That would continue to allow access to the house electrical boxes (always a good thing) AND, hmmmmm.... 2 feet times 4 tracks equals 16 more cars capacity. Bonus: the resulting length just happens to be the same length as the tracks in the east end staging yard.

I've done a 2 liftouts and a drop-bridge so far on this layout - doing a drop-leaf would be a no-brainer, especially given all the benefits it would bring.

I built another open-grid/plywood section and clamped it to the end of the yard.

Then I added hinges - actually a bit easier said than done, when you're trying to mount them in place. Next time, I'll attach the sections and hinges at the bench. Yup - that's an even dozen screws - and all done above my head.

It just so happens that the front of the yard overlaps the end of the wall by about 3/16" - but no need to extend it any further. And I hold the end up with a hook & eye I had on-hand.

And here it is all finished and in place.
The toughest part of this project was attaching the hinges - but that was because it didn't occur to me to extend the yard until after it was already in place. Next time (if there is a next time), I'll definitely build all this at the bench.

I still have a good amount of work left to do - finish laying out the turnouts and transitions to the yard tracks, install the cork, modify the turnouts, and install the track - not to mention wiring it all up. And I'm planning on covering it all up with a top/shelf which will be hinged to the front. Pretty clever, if I don't say so myself - it'll provide a handy work area, but at the same time will protect all the staged trains.

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