Older Construction progress of the Branch Line Terminus

Click on the pictures for a larger view

4th December 2009: The Advanced Starting Signal has been accurately located and the signal operating mechanisms have been manufactured and fitted.

The final 5 inch buffer stop extension board has been made and the track has been glued in position on it.

1st December 2009: The first two pictures show the Home signal has been positioned and accurately located.

The third picture shows the Platform Starting signal has also been positioned and accurately located.

The fourth, fifth and sixth pictures show the signal operating mechanisms have been manufactured and fitted for the Home signal.

The final picture shows the operating mechanism for the Platform Starting signal.

The signal lighting feed and return wires have also been wired. This is seen best in the final picture where the brass spring wire (seen at the bottom of the picture) provided the positive supply, and the wire connected to the signal retaining bracket using the ring crimp provides the negative return.

29th November 2009: The complete Branch Line Terminus has been set up together with the adjoining board from the main layout. A full functional test was carried out and no faults were found.

25th November 2009: The 1933 Austin TT Vincent Bodied London Taxi has been completed.

23rd November 2009: The cranks and operating wires have been added to finish the platform starter signals.

22nd November 2009: The first three pictures show the handrail on the Home signal structure has been painted and the operating cranks and wires added. The back blinds have been soldered onto the back of the signal arm spindles. This signal is now ready for fitting to its baseplate.

The handrail and bottom of the post for the Starter signals have been painted as has the bottom of the Advance Starter post.

The remaining signal arms and shunt discs have been prepared (although the Yellow on the shunt disc still requires another coat of paint and the aspect spectacles glazing).

18th November 2009: The handrail has been made and fitted to the Home signals. The return wires from the lamps have been connected to the hand rail and the lamps have been powered up.

Painting of the main bodywork on the Taxi has been completed.

17th November 2009: The decking has been glued on to the structure for the Starting signals. The return wires from the lamps have been soldered on to the handrails and a test illumination undertaken with signal arms temporarily in place.

The decking has also been fitted to the Home signal structure. A piece of wire has been passed temporarily through the front handrail posts to help support the decking while the glue dries.

A start has been made on painting the Taxi.

16th November 2009: The feed wiring for the lights in the platform starters has been added.

The wooden decking for these and the home signals has been painted.

The posts for all three main signal structures have received two coats of white paint. They may even need a third because the paint keeps soaking in to the wood.

11th November 2009: Wiring for the signal lamps has been started on the 3 arm Home signal. The first picture shows grain of wheat bulbs have been inserted into the holes previously drilled out in the lamp castings. One leg of each bulb is terminated on a pin inserted in the rear of each doll. Fuse wire then runs down each doll, joining at a pin inserted in the back of the main post before continuing down the post to a further pin near the bottom onto which a feed wire coming up through the brass baseplate will be connected in due course. These wires will be almost invisible once the structure is painted and the decking is added.

The circuit will be completed by connecting the other leg of each bulb directly to the handrail on the decking when this is added. One of the handrail posts is extended through the bottom of the decking and will be soldered on to a small brass plate which has been fixed to the underside as seen in the second picture. An etched brass ladder will be soldered to this plate and the signal baseplate from which a return connection will be made to the power supply.

The third picture shows the handrail post soldered to the plate under the decking for the platform starters.

The fourth and fifth pictures show the goods yard crane has been painted in grey and the detailing painted.

The final two pictures show that construction of the 1933 Austin TT Vincent Bodied London Taxi has been started.

8th November 2009: The post, dolls and supporting brackets for the Platform Starters (3 & 4) have been assembled and the finials added.

Notches for the dolls have been cut out of the front edge of the decking which is made from a lamination of thin plywood scored to represent the planking. The hand rail and uprights have been made up from 0.6mm diameter brass wire and soldered together.

The post and dolls for the 3 arm Home signal (11, 12, 13) have been assembled. Thin strips of wood are glued on in front of and behind square sections of balsa wood between the dolls and the whole lot is held square with pins and some weight while the glue dries.

Once again cutouts have been made in the front of the decking for the dolls and the uprights for the handrails have been inserted. The handrail itself will have to be added once the decking has been painted and added to the structure because it will be more difficult if not impossible to add as a completed unit due to the longer dolls on this signal.

Cast white metal support brackets have been added as have the pieces of wire to limit the travel of the arms which are shown temporarily in place with No. 12 in the Off position for a move into the main platform.

1st November 2009: A start has been made on the signals.

The lamps for the Advance Starter and Newchapel Town Distant have been fitted to the post (first photo).

A piece of wire has been added near to the bottom of the post to form the pivot for the balance weight levers (second photo).

Pieces of fine wire have been added near the signal arms to act as stops to limit the travel of the arms (photos three and four).

General view of the signal with the arms temporarily in place (fifth photo).

A start has also been made on getting the parts together for the platform starting signals (photo six) and the Home signal (photo seven).

26th October 2009: The P Way hut has been weathered with a light spray of "muck".

A start has been made on preparing parts for the signals.

The lamp castings have been drilled out to accept grain of wheat lamps and small pieces of brass tube have been added to form the bearings for the signal arms. The completed assemblies have been primed and painted.

The balance weight lever castings have been drilled to accept the pivot pin and operating wires.

Mounting spindles have been turned from brass rod and one end threaded.

Brass baseplates have been made up. The holes at either end will locate on pins to be driven into the top of the baseboard to ensure accurate location. The spindles will be soldered to the baseplates with the thinner end protruding up through the hole near the centre to form a spigot onto which the wooden signal posts will be glued in due course. The spindles have been cross drilled for pivots which will carry operating levers to transfer drive from the operating mechanism to the balance weight crank via wires which will pass up through the baseplate. The lower threaded end of the spindle will engage in a bracket mounted under the baseboard and a retaining nut will be added to hold the signal in place against the thrust of the operating mechanism.

18th October 2009: As a diversion from all the wiring work, a P Way hut has been assembled and painted. Also a concrete lamp hut has been assembled and primed. A pair of resin cast huts have had their corrugated roofs added and they also have been primed awaiting painting. Finally a crane for the goods yard has been constructed and primed.

4th October 2009: The jumper cables from Boards 3 and 4 have been made up and terminated.

The third picture is a view from underneath the layout showing them plugged into the bottom of the control panel.

27th September 2009: The jumper sockets were found to be sitting too low in relation to the cover board and have been raised slightly on small blocks to make plugging and un-plugging easier.

The various cutouts have been made in the cover board and this has now been fitted.

Boards 3 and 4 have been erected to allow the holes for the control panel mounting brackets to be drilled. The legs to support the front edge of the control panel have also been made.

20th September 2009: The first two pictures show the wires to the jumper sockets have been terminated.

The third picture shows the completed baseplate fitted in the bottom of the cabinet with the wires from the lever frame, diagram etc. waiting to be terminated.

The fourth picture shows these cables terminated in the "plug-in" terminal blocks. A support block has also been added in the middle to provide extra support for the middle of the cover board which has yet to have the cutouts made for the jumper sockets etc. before it can be fitted.

The final picture shows the cabinet powered up for testing of the diagram with the route lights showing a route set out from the bay platform.

13th September 2009: The baseplate wiring has been added. The pins seen protruding from some of the terminal blocks are to allow a second row of terminal blocks to be "plugged in". The cables from the illuminated diagram, lever frame etc. will be terminated in these and will thus be easily disconnected if the baseplate has to be removed from the cabinet for maintenance to any of the components hidden behind it.

The mounting blocks have been painted and the sockets for the jumper cables from Boards 3 and 4 have been mounted. The wires from the sockets are ready to be terminated in the terminal blocks immediately above. The small jack socket mounted bottom right is for the incoming telephone line from the rest of the layout. A length of telephone cable will be run from here to the standard master socket (top left).

6th September 2009: The controller faceplate has been fitted together with the telephone cradle.

The power controller sub assembly has been mounted inside the cabinet.

A start has been made on the baseplate for the cable terminations, relay units etc. Most of the components have been fitted. The wood blocks in the foreground are for the sockets into which the jumper cables from boards three and four will plug.

30th August 2009: A current limiting resistor and spark quench diode for the solenoid, which operates the electric lever lock, have been installed in the underside of the lever frame bay.

Captive nut plates have been made and fitted in the top rear corners of the cabinet. These are threaded to accept bolts which will secure brackets that will attach the cabinet to the layout side rails.

The cover board for the bottom of the cabinet has been made. The cut-outs in the bottom corners are to allow legs to slot in and support the front of the cabinet. Further holes will be cut in the cover board in due course to allow incoming/outgoing cables to be plugged in.

The illuminated track diagram and lever frame, together with its lifting cover plate, have been fitted. The power controller has not yet been fitted due to an electrical fault which is still being investigated.

The final photo is an underside view showing the general arrangement. When the power controller circuit board is ready it will be mounted on the left of the middle bulkhead.

28th August 2009: The remainder of the wiring to the LEDs has been completed. The numbered wires will be terminated in the bottom of the control cabinet in due course.

The wiring to the track feed switches has been added.

The controller faceplate has been wired up.

The power controller PCBs have been mounted on a baseplate which will be mounted on the rear of the bulkhead behind the lever frame.

The boards have been wired together. The terminal block on the right will connect to the power controller faceplate. The four wires on the left are for the incoming supply and the controlled output.

The wiring loom has been added to the microswitches on the underside of the lever frame.

The control panel cabinet has been painted.

23rd August 2009: Sanding, filling and undercoating of the control panel cabinet has continued (three undercoats so far) and it is now almost ready for the top coat.

19th August 2009: A start has been made on wiring the illuminated diagram. The cathode of each LED has been wired back to a separate resistor in the resistor panel. The anode of those LEDs that form part of a group indication have been connected together. The feed wires will be added next together with the track feed wiring to the section switches.

The control panel cabinet has received its first undercoat. When dry it will be lightly sanded and filled again with car body filler where required, then sanded and undercoated again.

14th August 2009: The screw heads and other blemishes in the plywood have been filled with car body filler and sanded ready for the first undercoat.

The fascia for the power controller has been laminated and mounted on its backplate together with the various components. The completed panel will be mounted from behind the aperture in the cabinet in due course.

The LEDs have been inserted into their bezels from behind and secured by pressing on retaining collars.

The track section switches have been added.

The panel is now ready to be wired up.

9th August 2009: The back plate for the power controller has been made and trial fitted. There has been a minor redesign of this for ergonomic reasons which has necessitated enlarging the cutout in the top panel.

The telephone cradle has been mounted on the left hand side of the panel.

A surround has been made for the lever frame. This has been hinged at the back so that the lever frame cover can be raised to show off the mechanical and electrical interlocking.

Holes have been punched in the illuminated diagram for the LEDs and section switches.

The final photo shows the diagram has been placed on the aluminium backplate and the LED bezels have been push fitted in the holes.

2nd August 2009: Three more blocks have been added at the back of the cabinet to accept screws through the baseplate to support it along its rear edge.

The holes have been cut out of the top panel for the illuminated track diagram and power controller. The edges have also had a preliminary sanding to bring them flush with the cabinet sides. The inner corners of the cutout for the lever frame have also been tidied up.

The backplate for the track diagram has been trial fitted.

1st August 2009: The front, middle and rear edges of the top panel have been bevelled using the router (first photo). The inner corners of the cutout will need finishing by hand.

Wooden blocks have been added in the front corners of the cabinet to take the weight when the removable legs are inserted from below into the recess formed by the plywood battens (second and third photos).

In accordance with prototype practice, the Advanced Starting Signal (Number 14) will be interlocked with the block instruments controlling the single line connection to the rest of the layout. This is achieved by an electrically operated lock which prevents lever 14 front being pulled unless a "Line Clear" has been received on the block.

The lock assembly, which has been machined from brass, is operated by a solenoid (of the same type that we use to operate points) mounted on the inside of the front panel (fourth photo). The solenoid is connected via a piano wire linkage to the lock itself which is mounted in front of the tappet associated with lever 14. In the normal position, the lock arm is held by spring tension against the right hand end stop preventing number 14 tappet from moving forward out of the frame thus locking the lever in the Normal position (fifth photo).

When a "Line Clear" is received on the block the solenoid is energised and this pulls the lock arm to the left moving it clear of the tappet allowing the lever to be operated to clear the signal (sixth photo). The travel is limited this time by the left hand end stop and excess travel of the solenoid is absorbed by the omega loop in the wire linkage.

When the departing train enters the block section and the instruments go to "Train on Line", the feed to the solenoid is cut allowing the lock arm to rest on the left hand side of the tappet under tension from the return spring (seventh photo).

As soon as the lever is replaced in the frame, the tappet moves clear of the lock arm which is then returned to the locked position by the return spring. Thus it is not possible to clear the signal again until another "Line Clear" has been given on the block.

26th July 2009: The top edge of the front, middle and rear bulkheads have been bevelled with a router to match the angle of the side panels.

The top panel has been cut slightly oversize and is awaiting attention from the router on the front, middle and rear edges before being drilled for fixing and making the cutouts for the panel diagram at the rear and the power controller faceplate to the right.

In the bottom of the cabinet, battens have been added around the edge to support a cover board and a base plate added which will carry the various relay units, busbars, cable terminations etc. on the underside.

19th July 2009: A start has been made on making the cabinet for the control panel. The cabinet is being built up around the lever frame sub-assembly.

The four sides are complete and the lever frame sub-assembly is in place. The top edges of the front, intermediate and rear bulkheads require bevelling to match the sides. The illuminated track diagram will be mounted behind the lever frame. The power controller will be to the right and a telephone for communication with the rest of the layout will be to the left. The busbars and fuses, circuit boards for the power controller, relay units for control of the panel indications, plug couplers and other wiring for incoming and outgoing circuits will be mounted on the bottom of a baseplate to be added underneath the lever frame in due course.

11th July 2009: The remainder of the upper tappets have been filed and fitted.

The perspex cover fitted over the locking tray prevents the tappets lifting and bypassing the locks. The locking has been tested and tight locks identified. After several time consuming iterations of removing all the locking components, fettling the notches in the affected tappets, putting it all back together and trying again, all operates smoothly.

The finishing touch is the upper cover which is hinged at the front (so it can be lifted to enable the locking to be admired from time to time!). The cover incorporates a paper sheet prepared on the computer which shows the numbers for the levers together with the locking table. The table shows that certain levers require others to be pulled first (in the "Released By" column) and also shows which levers become locked (in the "Locks" column).

5th July 2009: During the process of marking out the tappets, the holes in the locking bars were also marked "L", "U" or "B" to denote whether the locking pin applies to the (U)pper, (L)ower or (B)oth tappets.

The pins are short lengths cut from brass rod which is an interference fit in the locking bar holes and these have been pressed in to the locking bars using a drill press.

The pins have been filed to the correct length using an offcut of tappet strip with holes in as a template. The non-business end of each of the single pins is merely filed flush with the locking bars.

All 76 pins have been fitted to the locking bars which have now been put back into the frame. Operation of the levers has been checked to ensure that the tappets eject the pins smoothly from the notches. This has necessitated a number of strip down and re-assembly operations for fettling. It's now nearly right although there are one or two locks which are still a little tight and will require easing.

A start has been made filing the notches in the upper tappets. The first three have been fitted and the operation of the pins in the notches is being checked as each tappet is fitted.

21st June 2009: The lower tappets have been temporarily refitted and connected to the levers with their wire links and the lock bars inserted. With careful reference to the data tables provided with the kit, the notch positions have been marked in the lower tappets using a fine pen through the locking pin holes in the lock bars.

The upper tappets were then added and the notch positions marked. The lines show the actual notch position and the two dots at the side indicate the side that has to be filed out in a gentle curved ramp shape to eject the locking pin when the lever is moved.

The third picture shows the notches being filed out in the tappet for lever number 2 (the first of the lower tappets). The notch seen on the right hand side is for locking which operates when the lever is in the Normal position. The double notch to the left is for locking which operates in both the Normal and Reverse positions.

The fourth picture shows tappet number 2 complete and refitted in the frame.

The remaining lower tappets have all been finished and refitted.

15th June 2009: Since the miniature PCB mounted switches provided in the lever frame kit did not appear to be sufficiently durable for an exhibition layout, it has been decided to replace them with commercial microswitches. This has meant that new brackets have had to be made. The first two pictures show the slots being milled in the brass angle to clear the end microswitch in each group of six.

The brackets have now been mounted on the underside of the lever frame using long M3 screws and spacers (which were machined from brass tube) and the pre-drilled and threaded holes in the main bearers of the lever frame.

The microswitches are mounted on two lengths of M2 studding and are adjusted to align with the levers using nuts and washers either side. The gaps in the centre group of microswitches correspond to the Facing Point Lock levers which do not actually operate anything on the layout.

4th June 2009: The wire links which connect the levers to the tappets have been fitted.

The levers have been mounted on their spindle in the lever frame assembly.

3rd June 2009: The holes for the LEDs and section switches have been drilled in the aluminium backplate for the track diagram.

The resistor bank for the LEDs has been mounted on the back of the backplate.

The levers for the lever frame have (finally!) been painted and varnished. We can only assume that the etch primer used initially had "gone off". A new tin of primer was used this time round and appears to have done the trick.

17th May 2009: Painting of the levers for the lever frame is currently being delayed by a paint adhesion problem which is being investigated.

In the meantime, the heatsinks which were machined from aluminium angle have been fitted to the main PCB for the power controller. The power transistors have been installed and this board is now complete.

The positions for the LEDs and section switches have been marked and pilot drilled on the aluminium plate which will support the track diagram.

11th May 2009: The levers for the lever frame have been cleaned up, masked and sprayed with brass etch primer ready to receive the top coat.

10th April 2009: Filing of the locking bar guides has been completed and the locking bars fitted (first photo).

The locking bars were then removed and the slots in the front and rear tappet guides filed to ensure the tappets slide freely (second and third photos).

With all the lower tappets in place, the locking bars were put back in and the upper tappets added (third photo).

Some of the intermediate locking bars which fit between the full length locking bars required light filing along their full length to ensure free movement between adjacent bars (fourth photo).

Once all the intermediate locking bars were in place, the upper tappets were added and everything checked for free movement (last two photos).

5th April 2009: The lever frame has been mounted in its baseplate which will form an integral part of the control panel in due course.

A start has been made on fettling the holes in the locking bar guides to ensure the locking bars can slide freely from side to side.

1st March 2009: The control panel track diagram has been drawn. The different sections are marked by different colours on the diagram, the red circles represent the section isolation switches, and the plain circles represent LEDs which are illuminated to show which track sections are live.

18th February 2009: The first power controller PCB has been completed (you may notice the middle relay has been removed - this was fitted in error and is not required in this instance).

The second power controller PCB is nearly complete with the exception of the power transistors and their heatsinks which have yet to be machined and fitted along the left and right edges of the board.

15th February 2009: All three of the PCBs have been etched. The resistors have been added to the LED resistor bank PCB, and the first of the two PCBs for the power controller is almost complete.

8th February 2009: The printed circuit boards required for the control panel have been cut out, drilled and marked out with etch resist pen ready for etching.

The first picture shows the two power controller boards and the second shows that for the resistor bank for the LEDs on the illuminated track diagram.

2nd February 2009: The main framework for the lever frame has been assembled. The wide slots at the front and towards the back will hold the tappets which will be connected to the levers (at the back). The small holes to the left and right will hold the locking bars. The mechanical locking will be achieved by pins in the locking bars engaging with notches in the tappets. There will be quite a bit of fiddling and fettling to get this all to work!

However, construction of the lever frame will probably not progress further for a little while yet. The next stage is to cut a base plate for the frame to sit in within the control panel. The various other components (i.e. power controller, illuminated diagram, LED resistor bank and jumper cable termination panel) to be incorporated within the control panel will be started in order to get an idea of their size. This will facilitate their laying out and thus enable the design of the control panel cabinet to be finalised.

27th January 2009: Cover boards over the dimmer units have had a hole cut in them to allow access to the control knobs. The one shown here is on Board 4.

Boards 4, 5 and 6 have been erected together and functionally tested (with some help!).

With the exception of the wiring between relay units and signal motors and the jumper cables between Boards 3 and 4 and the control panel, the board wiring is now complete. So far 300m of cable has been used!

The next phase of construction will focus on the control panel including the lever frame and power controller.

18th January 2009: The first photo shows the aluminium faceplates for the dimmer units have been cut out and drilled. The second photo shows the components have been added to the printed circuit boards. The third photo shows the first unit complete. The fourth photo shows the front of the first completed unit. The fifth photo shows all four units completed. The sixth picture shows the units being bench tested. All four units have been mounted on the baseboards – the seventh photo shows the one mounted on Board 4. The last two pictures show that, whilst the cover boards were off on Boards 1 and 3, the opportunity was taken to add the return springs to the point operating mechanisms.

11th January 2009: A start has been made on the PCBs for the four lighting dimmer units required for the various lighting in buildings and the signals. The boards were drilled and the tracks were marked out with etch resist pen before etching in Ferric Chloride solution. Finally the tracks have been tinned ready to receive the components.

8th January 2009: The equipment protective cover boards for Boards 5 and 6 have been made and fitted.

30th December 2008: Board 6 has now been wired up.

The jumper cable to Board 5 has been made up and terminated, as have the two jumpers between Boards 5 and 4.

13th December 2008: The sockets on Board 4 for the jumper cables to Board 5 have been fitted and terminated.

The wiring on Board number 5 including the jumper socket to Board 6 has been completed. The jumper cables to Board 4 have not yet been made up.

Some prep work has been started on Board number 6 which carries the main line (at the back) to the rest of the layout and the ends of the goods yard sidings.

7th December 2008: The return springs have been fitted to the point solenoids on Board number four.

The power intake panel has been made and fitted. The red and black terminals are for the 15v supply to operate the relays, point solenoids, signal motors and lighting circuits. The yellow and blue terminals are for the traction supply.

2nd December 2008: The equipment cover-boards for board number four have been made and fitted and the mounting blocks for the jumper cables to board five have been made, fitted and painted.

Some preliminary work has been carried out on board number five which has the main line at the back and the two goods yard sidings in front:-

The layout of components has been decided. The signal relay units and motors to operate the main 3 arm signal on the approach to the platforms will be at the front. The fuses and busbars will be behind these together with the dimmer unit for the goods shed lighting.

The framework for the cover board has been partially completed and finally the dropper wires from the track have been installed.

1st December 2008: The busbars, terminal blocks and relay units have been mounted and the ballast resistors added to the point solenoids on board number four.

The wiring on this board has been completed with the exception of the jumper cables to the control panel and board five.

The unterminated wires with labels on in the last picture, are for the signal box lighting dimmer unit which will be added between the two solenoids.

30th November 2008: Board number 4 (which has the station throat point work on it) has had the support work for the cover boards made. The dropper wires from the track have been installed, as have the point solenoids.

24th November 2008: The jumper cable between boards one and two, which was made up previously, has been terminated.

A new jumper cable between boards two and three has been made up and terminated.

All three baseboards have been set up together and tested – and it all works!

With three boards down and three to go, thoughts are now turning to laying out the various components on board four.

17th November 2008: Cover boards to protect the relay units, point mechs etc. have been made for the first three baseboards.

16th November 2008: Board number 3 (which contains the London end of the platforms and the repositioned point into the goods yard) has been wired up.

Space has been allowed for the signal operating mechanisms for the platform starters and the shunt signal in the run round loop.

A large cover board will protect the relay units, point solenoid and fuses etc. The nearside edge of the support woodwork requires notching where the wiring passes through.

The wiring is complete apart from the jumper cables to board number 2 (to the left) and the control panel to the right. The unterminated wiring towards the bottom right of the picture is for a dimmer unit for the signal lighting for the whole station. Another cover board will be provided in due course to cover this and the signal mechs.

9th November 2008: A wooden lid has been fitted to board number 1 for protection during storage and when travelling to exhibitions.

Board number 2 (which simply contains the two platform tracks and the run round loop) has been wired up. Busbars were mounted first together with the blocks for the socket for connection to board number 3 and more blocks for a cover board to protect the busbars. Dropper wires and terminal blocks were fitted before completing the wiring. The jumper cable for connection to board number 1 has been made up and awaits terminating.

2nd November 2008: The wiring on board one is now virtually complete (signal mech wiring and a dimmer unit for station lighting will be added later) and ready for testing.

30th October 2008: Positive and negative busbars have been installed for the 15v supply to feed the relay circuits, point solenoids etc together with a common return busbar for the traction supply.

The signal and point relay control units have been mounted. The space between the relay units and the point solenoid has been left clear to accommodate a signal operating mechanism for the shunt signal which protects the loco release crossover.

In order to ensure reliable running, we do not rely on fishplates for electrical continuity, we provide a direct feed to each separate piece of rail. Dropper wires have been soldered to the rails and protrude through the baseboard awaiting connection to the main wiring.

26th October 2008: The second point operating solenoid has been installed together with its current limiting resistor. Both mechanisms fitted to far are still waiting sourcing of the return springs.

Further prep work has been carried out on the underside of the baseboard. Battens have been added to support cover boards which will protect the point operating mechanisms as well as the relay units and fuses etc.

Terminal strips have been installed together with the mounting blocks for the multi-way socket which will connect this board to the rest of the layout via a flylead from Board 2.

Finally, the new woodwork has been painted and the board is now ready for the wiring to be installed.

19th October 2008: Clevis pins have been turned up from brass rod to secure the point operating rods to the solenoid armatures.

Operating rods and return spring links have been bent up from stiff piano wire.

The solenoid for one end of the loco release crossover has been mounted on board number one. The position of the solenoid is adjusted by means of the slots in the base plate until there is +1mm overdrive. This will ensure that the points are held securely when in the reverse position. The excess travel is absorbed by the omega loop in the connecting rod.

The short wire link on the other end of the point operating crank is ready for a return spring which will hold the points in their normal position.

3rd October 2008: The relay units have all been assembled and tested. The first picture shows the Point control units, the second shows the single and twin general purpose units and the third shows the signal control units.

The point operating solenoids have been secured with specially shortened M4 countersunk machine screws to the mounting plates which were prepared way back in May. The next stage will be to mount these on the underside of the boards and connect them to the actuator units which have already been installed. Then (at last!) it should be possible to make a start on wiring it all up.

28th September 2008: The PCBs have now all had the circuit designs drawn on in etch resist pen. Then the excess copper was etched away in a Ferric Chloride solution and the etch resist ink removed with cellulose thinners. Finally the copper tracks have all been tinned with solder.

The first three pictures show the boards for the signal motor control units. The final picture shows two general purpose twin relay boards, and four point motor control boards, one of which has been partly assembled.

23rd September 2008: All the component holes have now been drilled in the PCBs using the jig plates, and the mounting holes have been opened out to their final size.

The PCBs in the first picture are for signal motor control, those in the second picture are for point control and those in the third are for single and twin relay general purpose units.

The next step will be to mark out the required circuit tracks with an etch resist pen.

10th September 2008: The 4 PCB drilling jigs have been completed. All the PCBs have had their mounting holes drilled to 3mm (these holes will later be opened out to a larger size to accommodate rubber grommets). However the next stage (as seen in the fourth photo) is to bolt each PCB to the appropriate jig using M3 nuts and bolts to ensure accurate drilling of the component mounting holes.

The kit of parts for the mechanically locked lever frame has arrived sooner than expected (all the way from Australia). This will be set aside until the layout wiring reaches an advanced state and will be tackled as part of the construction of the control panel.

23rd August 2008: All 24 printed circuit boards (PCBs) needed for the layout, have been cut to rough shape and cleaned up on the vertical milling machine. Although using the milling machine to give clean edges to the PCBs may seem a complicated way, it is actually a very quick and easy way to mass produce the PCBs accurately and neatly! Although we already have in total about 100 of these 4 different types of PCBs in service on the current main layout, these new ones have been redesigned to fit more modern components and as a result are more compact. This means that 4 new jig-drilling plates made out of steel (as seen in the 2nd photo) have to be made. These jig plates have the necessary holes drilled very accurately to locate the relays, etc. on the PCBs. Once the jigs are completed, the PCBs are simply jig-drilled using the relevant jig plate.

16th August 2008: Although there does not seem to have been much progress recently, quite a lot has been going on. The design for the mechanically-locked lever frame has been completed using software provided by Modratec and the order for the kit of parts has now been placed (no photos, but see www.modratec.com). The remaining baseboards have had their undersides repainted and the point operating cranks have been refitted. Design work on the wiring has been completed (all 37 sheets of it!). A large box of wire, relays, solenoids, switches and other electrical bits and pieces has been delivered and work is about to commence on making the printed circuit boards for the various relay units required. If that's not enough, we have also recently taken Newchapel Junction on a 600 mile round trip to Model Show Wales in Llandudno!

6th July 2008: The cutouts for point operating mechanisms in the two baseboards which have had the old point work removed, have been filled in with balsa wood and body filler. This has been sanded down together with the old paintwork and new gloss white paint applied to provide a clean surface. The paintwork on the underside of the other baseboards will be similarly refreshed in due course.

29th June 2008: The rest of the track in the second siding has been laid which now completes all the track laying.

28th June 2008: The crossover has been completed, and the remaining two boards have been attached to the far end of the layout to enable the track for the two sidings to be laid. The first siding has been laid with a length of straight track which will run parallel to a goods shed. The raised sloped sides on the very end board are to accommodate grass banks which will run up to the bridge, which is located on the end of the neighboring board on the main layout.

23rd June 2008: The first pair of switch blades have been shaped and fitted to the crossover.

21st June 2008: The switch blades have been shaped and fitted to complete the siding turnout, and the crossover has had the last two check rails fitted.

19th June 2008: The crossover has advanced with both noses finished, all four wing rails in place, and the first two check rails finished.

18th June 2008: The check rails have been soldered into place on the siding turnout. The length of plain track has been laid at the near end of the crossover, and the crossover itself has progressed with the final two stock rails in place, and the first nose finished.

16th June 2008: The next length of siding track has been laid, and the second stock rail has been laid for the loco-release crossover. Lastly the second wing rail has been soldered into place on the siding turnout.

12th June 2008: The rails over and the track beyond the ash pit has been glued down. The nose of the turnout into the siding has been completed.

11th June 2008: The copper-clad sleepers have been laid for the loco-release crossover, and the first stock rail has been soldered into place for the turnout leading to the ash pit. The first length of track has been laid.

7th June 2008: The second stock rail has been soldered into place for the siding turnout, and the sleepers cut to length. The first length of track has been laid in the siding, and the balsa wood sleepers have been glued down for the loco-release crossover. The fourth photo shows the loco-release crossover and the ash pit in the foreground, and the siding turnout located in the middle. The final photo shows the layout from the opposite end (there are two more boards that attach to the near end of this photo which extend the mainline and sidings).

5th June 2008: The copper-clad sleepers have been glued to the balsa wood sleepers, and the first stock rail has been soldered into place for the siding turnout. Also the steps have been made for the ash pit.

4th June 2008: The hole for the ash pit has been cut out, and the balsa wood sleepers (that bring the copper-clad sleepers up to height) have been laid for the siding turnout.

3rd June 2008: The new alignment for the siding has been finalized and marked out. The original track has been lifted to accommodate the new turnout leading into this siding. Also the new alignment for the crossover has been finalized and marked out.

26th May 2008: The solenoid mounting plates have been made for the point operators, together with 17 shafts that will rotate in the bearing tubes. The 6 completed operators for the Branch Line Terminus can be seen.

11th May 2008: A batch of 3/32nd balsa has been cut into strips in preparation for the construction of the new points. The balsa strips bring the copper-clad sleepers up to the same height as the plastic sleepers of the Peco track.

7th May 2008: The 17 point operator bearing tubes have been made.

4th May 2008: Work on the 17 point operators has continued with all 17 operating arms made.

3rd May 2008: The first photo shows the new baseboard has been painted in undercoat and the underside has been painted gloss white.

Now that the layout has been extended by four feet by the addition of the new board, it has been decided to reposition the point leading into the shorter of the two sidings in the goods yard further away from the crossover. Not only will this provide additional much needed siding space, but it also means the point will no longer be across the baseboard joint as seen in the second photo.

The third and forth photos show the old point has been lifted and replaced with plain track. The new point will be let into the run round loop and positioned close to the near end (out of shot below the pictures) of the nearer baseboard. The siding will run out towards and then along the right hand side of the boards.

22nd April 2008: A batch of 17 point operators are being made – 6 for the Branch Line Terminus, and 11 in preparation for building the Motive Power Depot in about 2 years time. All the base plates have been made so far.

20th April 2008: Construction work has started once again on the Branch Line Terminus. The new extension board has been made, and can be seen in place. The track laid eight years ago can be seen on the original boards.

A Brief History

This project was actually started some eleven years ago by one of the group members with the intention of replacing an older branch line terminus. The project got as far as the boards being built and about 80% of the track being laid before being “mothballed” upon the arrival of twins.

Having reviewed the Branch Line Terminus as it stood, it was decided to extend it by one further baseboard (four feet) at the buffer stop end. This is in order to provide longer platform/run round facilities as these are considered to be too short for current traffic requirements. With this in mind, the existing loco release crossover at the end of the main platform has been lifted, the platform and run round loop lines realigned and extended. The new crossover will be positioned on the new board. The Branch Line Terminus track plan can be seen below.

Click here to see more recent construction progress of the Branch Line Terminus