It took a while to persuade the guys at Model Railway Solutions (MRS) that our design was buildable. After a few beers down at the Dog and Duck, we persuaded Martin and Steve that it would be straightforward and easy to build - they are not so gullible now.
Steve Davies sent the CAD drawings over and the following month 88 CNC cut boards and about 1000 metal risers arrived at McKinley Towers.
We dry-built the first three levels which comprise the whole storage system and laid track on the uppermost board (Level C) to prove the design was robust. We then marked out the electrical feeds, point positions and IRDOT stopping points. This allowed us to create the template for wiring the boards in advance.
The drybuild of the extension
It was difficult to work on the wiring which was inverted and flipped, but once we got the hang of it we started fixing miles of cable. All the droppers sticking out onto the track made the board resemble an overgrown hedgehog.
Testing and more testing are crucial on a project of this scale. At each stage of the process we devised testing regimes to minimise the number of faults that would need rectification once the boards had been put in place and glued together. On Level A the boards are just 100mm off the floor making retrospective rectification of faults incredibly difficult. The placing of the risers and getting them cut to the correct length to take account of an uneven floor and a constantly rising grade proved to be a real challenge.
After one set of testing, a few more droppers were needed
Once the boards were fitted for a specific level, the track was laid over the template and aligned, while pointwork was pre-fitted before the boards were laid.
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