New Test Track

mortice machineThe old test track was built when we moved into our current premises some 15+ years ago. Sturdiiy built by Eddie Adams and others, it has served us very well, however with a change of premises in the offing, the chance has been taken to totally revamp the test track to both fit the intended new place and also to provide more running capability.

In the hope of moving to new premises next year, Bill Sowerby and Mick Quinn have been quietly engaged in making a new test track whilst using as much of the old one as possible. As you can see, the quality of Bills woodwork is top notch. Rumour has it that he used the need for building this as justification for treating himself to a new mortice cutter. 

Bill tells us:-

Once it had been decided that we would not be able to take the existing test track in its present form and to save expense it would  have to modified and rebuilt.  A survey was carried out with the members to see what their views and requirements were.  From this it became evident that we needed more tracks and a longer run for the O gauge, all with passing loops.  A width extension of 12” was added to the inside area of existing baseboards and the overall length increased by 2’3”,  making the overall test track size approx. 19’ x  21’ . This is being constructed in twelve various size sections.

The track will accommodate gauges for ‘O’,  ‘EM’   ‘N’ and ‘OO’ in Peco 100 and Finescale.   The O gauge will be available with a third rail,  all will have passing loops and be in DCC and DC.  We will have enough width on the board for further expansion and add further tracks up eight tracks.  Storage shelves will be available under the test track and access to the centre for further storage facilities.

Once assembled it’s then over to members to start relaying track and installing electrics and the controls.   

With grateful thanks to Bill for the photographs. 

proposed new test track1

Originally just one board and stand were made up and displayed to members as a get together in August at a time when such things were allowed!

Here, Mick Quinn can be seen looking down the track.

A view of the woodwork


Mick again, getting a close up view of the woodwork. The darker wood on top with the track is a remnant of the old test track which is being used as far as is possible, whilst the paler wood is that capably jointed by Bill with his new machine.

quality joints
On the subject of joints, here's a close up of one of his mortice and tenon joints.
Tenon joints
And one of some joints being cramped pegged and glued.

 Frames and Curves

Completed frames, resting.
Frames and Curves1a
The construction of the curves

Bill very cleverly managed to re-use some of the existing curved section and below, it can be seen nestled up against the new curve extension. 

frames and curves

Re-using some of the old test track required some clever joinery. The curves for the extension pieces were cut with the assistance of Eddie Adams on his band saw and Bill and Eddie used the original jig and template which was used when building the original test track 15+years ago. Amazingly,  Eddie dug this out from his workshop even after all this time. 

new board framework
Here it is with the top board fitted
new boards fitted
return section
 The return section from the long straight side section into the end section

Control Panels

Use has been made of sliding fixtures to enable the control panels to be mounted in drawers which can be slid out when in use and tilted if required
open drawer
 tilting panel
tilting contol panel surfac