Saturday, April 27, 2019

Building the extension connector

As I'm building my first station module, I do need to connect it to the existing Welztalbahn. Here's the curve on the south end of Emsingen. When I built this section of the layout in 2010 I didn't really consider extending it, although the thought of doing so entered my mind every now and then since. Now I'm getting serious. Most of the layout is built with sectional track pieces. I need to remove one curved piece to fit the turnout. Since the track continuation on both sides is fixed, simply disconnecting the track pieces is not an option. Cutting the rails with the Dremel tool resolved that problem quickly.

I used a wide artists spatula to gently lift the rails from the cork base and cut through the silicone caulk that held the rails in place until ballasting. Speaking of ballasting, I didn't do a particularly good job with this section 5 years ago, which made removing the ballast very easy. In the photo below I already marked where the track to the extension is going to lead.

Cutting into finished scenery always hurts, but the pain is over quickly. To my delight I realized that the baseboard of the curve extends all the way to the wall, so I don't have to worry about building a support structure for the new track. With the scenery cut away I can fit the turnout and new branch track. I will need to find a way to connect the rails on the station side with minimal damage to the surrounding tracks. This is the location at the top of the ramp where some locomotives like to derail, so I have to be extra careful to get track alignment just right.

Now that I knew where exactly the rails are hitting the wall, I marked and cut the opening. The Welztalbahn won't get catenary, so I can leave the opening fairly low profile and narrow.

Here's the opening with a test car. I will need to cut away a bit more drywall on the right hand side of the car. When complete, there will be a liner inside so that cars can't fall into the inside of the wall. I drilled a hole through the rear drywall to check alignment with the cabinet and shelving unit that are located on the other side of the wall. The connection is coming out exactly in the right spot as planned.

I can now finish the track installation on the Welztalbahn side of the wall, and make the Welztalbahn operational again, so I can run trains while building the Untergroeningen module and the connector section through the wall.

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