Posted by: aj427 | August 14, 2013

Fiddle Me This

So it’s been a while since an update as I’ve actually been getting on with some modelling for once. Firstly it was time to test stock on the finished trackwork. This highlighted a few problems, most of which were found to be wheelsets with incorrectly set back-to-back measurements. The worst was my Hornby J94 which wouldn’t run over any pointwork at all. My back-to-back gauge wouldn’t even squeeze between the wheels, being a good millimetre too wide. Time will need to be set aside later to run through the fleet correcting these problems. All of my pacifics ran through without concern though (not that any of them will actually need to).

Next was a job I’d been putting off – the revamped fiddle yard. Last year I’d built a traverser but it was less than reliable and too heavy when fully open. This was cut up and turned into shelves. It’s replacement is a kind of sliding cassette system (caverser? travette?).


Last year we had a leak in our kitchen and the timber floor was ruined and had to be replaced. However, I managed to salvage a number of planks that were unaffected. These are of the engineered type – a thin walnut veneer on 6mm MDF with a thin ply backing. The interlocking edges have been cut off leaving planks 100mm wide. The ends are then cut at an angle to make a trapezoidal shape to match the layout ends. With the smooth and shiny veneer face down (to aid sliding) softwood strip wood was glued to the ply (the nominal ‘top’) to provide rigidity and prevent sagging. The planks are roughly 3.5′ long and are wide enough to have a double track section to match the mainline – when used for the headshunt/goods loop one track is redundant.


The cassettes rest on an open frame with plasticard ‘runners’ on top at either end. Inset into this frame are brass tube lined holes connected to the main power bus, positive at one end, negative at the other. These holes line up with similar holes on the cassette connected to the left rail at each end so as always to be at the correct polarity no matter which way around the cassette is placed. An ‘L’ shaped brass rod is inserted into the tube at either end to line up, hold in place and energize the cassette. The system is so far proving very robust and easy to use with the initial prototype cassettes. Making additional cassettes will be an ongoing process and I have enough planks for 5 of these double cassettes at either end.



  1. What is the advantage of not being hosted by RMWeb?

    • Lisa, advantages for me are better control of the look, images and image placement and other files you can host. If it was just those things I maybe wouldn’t have moved it but since I wanted to use it as a news/resource base (releases, instructions etc) for my commercial 3d printed models I thought an independent blog was the way to go.

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