At Narrow Gauge South West 2011, Colin Kennington exhibited his small 0-16.5 layout Greengate, which was featured in the 7mm NGA’s Small Layouts Handbook, as well as advertised it for sale. After parting with the requested quantity of portraits of Her Majesty, I crammed it in the car along with the layout we were exhibiting that day, two adults and a tired child. There are some photos of the layout as it was on the day in Roving Reporter Mick Thornton’s Picasa Web Album of the event, Photos 082 to 085
Since then, I’ve done very little to it, deciding instead to understand it’s quirks and foibles through play at home and exhibiting it at Narrow But Nice 2011 from which I’d come up with a (short) list of things that I wanted to change.
- The points are operating by sliding old rail under the baseboard, crude but effective and reliable, so it stays.
- Not quite so good was the need to flick a separate switch to change point polarity. That caused too many short circuits so had to change.
- There are currently no isolating sections or uncoupling points, so shunting sidings is a bit of a chore and there’s a good choice of them to use on such a small layout. Two more things that need looking into.
- Finally, clearances are a bit tight, such that long Bachmann stock won’t operate on the layout at all. A particular problem is the town wall over the exit to the fiddleyard, which will need some surgery.
Having started the list, two of the listed issues were addressed last night. With the help of a fellow Area Group member, who I don’t think lurks here, the layout was converted to use my Digitrax Zephyr DCC controller. I was utterly amazed that it only took two hours to accomplish this, half hour of which was wasted trying to find a slitting disc!
In converting the layout, we removed the need for the polarity switches and simplified the wiring. Going DCC also alleviates the need for isolating sections. For uncoupling, I’ll probably try neodymium magnets as they are small and quite easy to retro-fit. Clearance is still under consideration because I don’t want to destroy the layout but I do want to put my own stamp on it.
I still need to do the other bits but they’ve been pushed back by the need to convert some locos! Don’t hold your breath for rapid updates but I will post back as more happens.