The most important part of every project is to start it... in this case  it took, one could say, 30 years until the D-Day 10th September. The floor in cellar was finished and the work can start.

Helix N. 1

1.10.2017: Following the plans the first thing to start with would be the helix. There are two located in the opposite corner of the room. Each having together three tracks. Two are the double main track. The third track is the branch line. Owning to the station layout the branch line at each end of the station is on the "opposite" side of the layout and consequently has to cross the main line to be on the outer edge of the helix. This is crossing is done in the adjacent panels and the branch line join the helix on the level -1.  To have the hidden fiddle yard for the branch line one level higher the branch line leaves the helix on level - 3 (Helix 1)  or -4 (Helix 2).

Some pictures from building the helix 1 are here.

To build this it was more lesson to learn that proper work. From having the track to close, having the solder points to far away and consequently adding the small boards in between, to having the wheels to close or apart (I have tested it with FiNescale wheels, that were not 100% aligned) or not using the "worst case scenario" wagon for testing. The mechanical construction was not really helping and a few mm tolerance was a common thing. Well, as long as the track is aligned it does not play any role. Once finished quick load test to see if the locos can do it. For that an Arnold BR01 was picked up + 10 4-wheel coaches. She did not make it up. She could just make it with 8 coaches but even this was a struggle.

And this means

Helix N. 2

9.11.2017: comes with one more level. Together 5 levels with 6 cm per turn gradient (~1.3cm/1m). That shall improve the ridership. So far, I have tested the Arnold Br 01 with 10 express coaches and she can’t make it. The Brawa E 95 or Fleischmann E 94 with 31 two axes coal wagons is good. The E 94 also makes it with 25 4-axes coal wagons from Brawa. After all testing one could say that there is a bit of improvement but it may as well be that the Arnold loco with only three powered axes and no rubber tires is not built for such a train. I will still have check other locos (such as the Piko E18) what they can pull.  I have also tested the Br 50 with sound by Minitrix and she is good. The 25 4-axes coal wagons are not a big deal.

16.12.2017: The last top circle of the branch line of the helix N. 2 has to cross the main line. It has to get from the outer ring to the inner. This is to maintain the proper entrance to the station (this line leads to Marklissa; south from Luban). This configuration results into an additional building block with a simple single-track circle and tunnel entrance. Since there is a bit space in the tunnel, I have built two switches there. These two sidings are for “reversing” the EMUs. This shall save them the journey all the way to the bottom fiddle yard. No need to run so far if they have to come back the same way.

Few pictures from the building stage. The frame and the track underlay is ready. Next is to start with the track. I have prepared some filling templates for the circuit board sleepers. The rest will come as wooden from a 1.5 mm thin wood. The standard sleeper size is 1.6 x 16 mm.


24.06.2018: SPECIAL THANKS goes to Mr. Przemyslaw Janiszewski from Luban for his help trying to get more information on the station by posting a short article in the local newspaper.



newspaper article

Fiddle yard

23.07.2018: The very important but sort of hidden part of the layout is the fiddle yard or the hidden station. This serves as a parking lot for all the trains and shall be located 30 /24 cm bellow the main deck. It consists of two levels of track. The main line has 12 tracks (6 for each direction) and the branch line has 7 tracks (was planned to be 6 as well but somehow 7 have been built). Each track is then further dived into 5 sections – 2 entry section with points and 3 intermediate sections each 1.5 m long. This is given by the frame size. Electrically each section shall be separated thus providing a slot for trains with the max. length of 1.5 m. Depending on the final wiring (and how strong the locos will be - for the helix) I think 2 m trains will be also an option. They will just take two sections. In general, 18 full length trains for each direction can be store here.

The branch line fiddle yard has a similar design. It is just located 6 cm higher to enable a simpler crossing by the entrance to the helix. Also, the access from behind is limited and as a result the clearance need not to be that high.  

For each direction and one for the branch line there is a cut in the baseplate to allow for inserting a TrainSafe tube where the trains hall ne normally stored when the layout is not in operation.

The points are the Peco Code 55 medium and big radius which I will have to modify for the FiNescale operation. They will be power by servos.  The finished fiddle yard can be seen on the following pictures.

And the track is finished

27.8.2018: We are done. Or eat least the bottom part. Today the final rails of the zero level were finished and this means we can now go from one end of the helix 1 to the second end of the helix 2. In one direction this means covering approximately 52 m.  The east part of the fiddle yard was connected to the Helix 1 with a slowly descending curve. The Helix 2 only needed a small triangle to cross the missing 30 cm.  The following pictures shows the entire layout. What is missing now is to clean everything properly, test it with FiNescale wheels and do the wiring including the points. So next year we start with the station itself….