After having done very little work on the layout during the past few weeks, thanks to the weather and Christmas, we finally got back into it at the weekend.
Our first job of 2011 was to relay the curve in the down line as it passes the Oil Terminal and, whilst we were at it, replace the points leading from the main line into the terminal itself.
Originally this curve was formed using flexi track and, whilst it didn't seem to be a problem for the vast majority of our locos, the Class 37 and Warship (both Bachmann) did sometimes slow down and 'stick' when traversing this particular piece of track.
Quite clearly, despite the fact that we could see no discernible kinks, I had not created a smooth enough curve here for these locomotives to negotiate with ease. This is something that is always difficult to do with flexitrack - well, it's difficult for me!
Anyway, we have now replaced the flexitrack with 3rd radius curved setrack and I am pleased to report that it no longer causes our 37 and 42 any problems.
As I have mentioned, we also decided to swap the Hornby points, that lead into the Oil Terminal, for Peco ones and these are far superior and have a much more positive action.
I know that I have complained about Hornby track before - and especially their points - but, I will ask again, why can't they produce better points? They have been in this business long enough now, and do produce some great locomotives and rolling stock with fine detail, yet they persist in producing track that is not really suitable for the serious railway modeller!
Okay, mini rant over, now back to what we were doing at the weekend ...
So, after testing and ballasting the relaid track we then set about landscaping the steep embankment on the inside of the curve and which forms the side of the tunnel over the line to Saggy Bottom. That just leaves the top of the tunnel to be turned into a road, which we hope to do this weekend. Once that is done we will have gone some way to completing this awkward corner of the layout.
Another job we did this week was the installation of more points (Peco of course) that will, eventually, lead to our proposed diesel depot.
However, I will go in to more detail about that next time.