Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Crowley OO Gauge Scenic Model Railway Layout Part 3 Laying Peco Setrack Components

Close up of Peco OO gauge track with painted rails and weeds added
Peco OO gauge Setrack track components were fixed to the railway layout baseboard using impact adhesive.  Crowley is going to be a DCC OO gauge micro layout and so wire droppers were soldered to the outside of the rails where required, passed through holes drilled through the baseboard close to the track.  The wire droppers are connected beneath the baseboard.  I used Peco PL-38BK black connecting wire and PL-38G green connecting wire, one colour for the outside rails and the other for the inside rails.  This colour coding makes the task of connecting the wire droppers under the model railway layout much easier.
Railway Modeller Shows You How booklets
When laying and wiring the track I followed the instructions supplied with the Peco equipment and referred to some of the excellent Railway Modeller ’Shows You How’ booklets.  These inexpensive publications are available from many good model shops.  I bought mine from Monk Bar Model Shop in York.

I painted the track rails a suitable colour to weather them, taking care to clean paint off the top of the rails as I went along.  Paint too high up the inside of the track rails would prevent electrical current being passed to locomotive wheels and so interfere with smooth running.  The paint was also used to hide the shiny silver blobs of solder which I do not wish to be noticed.

The Peco Setrack components were ballasted with Javis granite chippings fixed in place using a 50:50 mix of PVA and water.  A couple of drops of washing up liquid were added to the mix to help it flow more freely through the ballast.  I worked on ballasting the track six to eight inches at a time.  I find that it is worth investing as much time as is required into this labour intensive part of building a model railway layout.  If track is well ballasted, the overall appearance of the model railway is much more visually impressive.  Also, if photographs of rolling stock are to be taken, it must be remembered that the camera tends to show up areas where assembly standards are more relaxed.

I have added weeds here and there to start the scenic work.  The weeds suggest that the branch line is not as well looked after as it once was, possibly the start of a gradual decline before closure.  Some of the tufts of weeds hide the blobs of solder which attach wire droppers to the track rails for DCC operation.
Curved siding on the front right of Crowley railway layout
When viewed close to track level, the siding at the front on the right appears to be a long, smooth curve.
Close up of a short length of straight track in the curved siding
Looking from another angle it can be seen that I have used a Peco Setrack ST-202 short straight at the beginning of the siding which has required the use of one ST-221 first radius double curve to fit the space available.  There is a good reason for this.  One of the simplest uncoupling methods when operating OO gauge rolling stock is to use tension lock couplings with Peco ST-271 uncouplers.  The ST-271 uncouplers only fit onto straight track components.  I therefore start a curved siding with an ST-202 short straight to accommodate an uncoupler.  I wanted to avoid use of first radius curves as stated in my last blog post on Crowley OO gauge model railway, but I feel that the use of one ST-221 double curve in this particular location will cause few operating limitations.  I would rather be able to have the option of shunting wagons in this siding than the benefit of a second radius curve.
Modified Peco ST-271 uncoupler
When adding Peco ST-271 uncouplers I modify them.  I cut off the locating lugs with an appropriate knife before assembling the unit.  I stick a strip of double sided tape along the base of the uncoupler which enables it to be secured to the top surface of the sleepers.  This adaptation enables slightly more flexibility when finding the preferred location for the uncoupler.
A locomotive and wagon over the Peco ST-271 uncoupler
Southern class M7 steam locomotive 249 shunts an open wagon into the curved siding.  The uncoupler has pushed the coupling hooks up to disconnect the locomotive from the wagon.
The locomotive moving away from the wagon left in the siding
The M7 reverses away from the wagon shunted into the siding.

Crowley is one of my OO gauge scenic model railway layouts.  To see more model railway layout baseboards I have designed and built visit my website

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