Slow progress on the Top Deck layout of late; the garden has taken over for the time being. However, there are some tasks which take a great deal of time and attention, none more than building turnouts and finishing the back scene. Well-built turnouts are critical for reliable operation and a properly finished back scene is critical to the finish of a layout. So both have been carefully constructed and finished recently before any work can commence on the train roads at the front of the layout together with new baseboards and track for the branch. All of the embankments, tunnel structure and hill side behind the mainline will be built before the train roads are installed and the mess carefully controlled with dust sheets and a powerful vacuum cleaner. This is important because below, on the two lower decks is my Montana Rail Link layout.
Looking in the opposite direction: the track at the real Folkestone East location does tighten up for Martello Tunnel. The train adjacent to the location of the signal box. My black pen scribbles are being replaced with correctly marked in track centres so I can place the foam underlay correctly. 1:6 turnouts and a 1:6 diamond crossing have been constructed for this location which will be a cross between the post 2000 track formation and the previous one. Space and the need to reconcile a straight railway into a square room means some shortening of the junction into the train roads. I had to reclaim some space to make it fit!
The turnout leading from the main line into the train roads is placed at last, a 1:7 built on a Timbertracks turnout base using Peco track fixings and flat bottom rail. The cross-over from Down to Up line is curved were it is straight on the real location. I could have placed it on the straight, but this would have moved the junction down by several feet, shortening the train roads from 10-car to less than 8-car capacity between buffer stops and the start signal gantry. Compromise and pragmatic layout design is what it is all about and the model is an adaptation, not a scale model. Hence, some careful scenic work will be required to disguise the entrance to one of the fiddle yards seen in the back ground.
This pictures shows the finishing work to the back scene – the last of the filler needed to hide the joins and make it as seamless as possible. The layout is quite narrow, concentrating on modelling the railway and little beyond the boundary fence. After all, it is *supposed* to be a scenic test track! The land will be built up behind the track and planted with medium sized trees, using Woodland Scenics fine leaf foliage. Regarding the choice of stock, more on that soon – I have some work to do on the fleet so I can run trains representing the early 1980s to present day. Hence the creation of a hybrid track plan based on the post and pre-2000 formation. Makes operation much more interesting!