Track Tracer

I needed to accurately measure the edges for new platforms for our club model railway layout, so I updated my earlier design of track tracer:
The lower wooden block is grooved so that it accurately tracks the rail line; the pencil lead (with a weight on top to provide pressure) draws a line on the plasticard in order to cut it to match the track.

These are the platforms constructed using the tracer:
Each platform is around nine feet long and split over three boards. The platform edges are commercially available plastic mouldings.

 

Country End Ballasted

Very gradually, the track from the halt to the country end of the layout has been ballasted.

The area in front of the warehouses also needed a bit of tidying up (there used to be a short siding there). This will need a bit of weathering at some stage to match the new and old!

Some more grass was also needed in front of the houses by the country station:

The canal area has also been tidied up:

New Tracks Laid

Finally, after what seems like ages, all the new track has been laid, positioned properly and glued to the baseboards.


The curve at this end of the platforms was quite critical to get right, and the signal you see on the left had to be moved out so nothing hit it…

This will all need ballasting in due course.

The village has been tidied up but more will need to be done once the level crossing is finished and the platforms rebuilt.


 

Level Crossing Rebuilding

As part of the new track installation, the intention is to have the gates of the level crossing driven by servo motors, and a rough prototype was  constructed to test this:

The next stage was to work out how fix the level crossing, gates, servos and rails on a removable plate, as the mechanics are far too complex to work on under the layout…

A suitable hole was cut in the baseboard:

This double sided glass fibre board has the rails soldered on, and will have the gates mounted on top, with the servos underneath.
Plastic card will cover most of this and make it look more like a road:

The main tracks were then soldered to fixed copper strips each side of the level crossing board, keeping the alignment with the removable part correct.
The covers nicely hide the soldering!

Once this track was in place, new track could be laid towards the Country Station – this has not yet been fixed down:
And track laid (but not fixed down) for the halt platforms:
The track at the town end of the platforms still needs to be joined to the rest of the layout – a project for later.