Laying Track II

I spent six hours or so this afternoon cutting and situating most of the track:

I also made a few recesses in the cork beneath the track. These are located in places where I will likely want to uncouple wagons while shunting. When I start amassing some wagons, I will replace the clunky Rapido couplers with Dapol Easi-Fit knuckle couplers, which will uncouple when reversed slightly while situated over a magnet.

After digging out each recess, I drove a couple of screws in:

Then I placed a rare-earth magnet into each recess, which held fast to the screws:

There are three magnets on the layout. I could have placed more, but there is a chance that they will occasionally cause unintended uncoupling, so I placed as few as I could while enabling me to uncouple and shunt in each section.

Here, I’ve moved the track aside to display the magnets:

GWR 0-6-0

I haven’t spent much time working on LSR lately, partially because I’ve been waiting for a DCC-equipped engine so I can test track before I finish laying it down.

About a month ago I finally ordered a Graham Farish class 64xx 0-6-0 (with pannier tanks) from Hatton’s. I really have a soft spot for class 0-6-0 engines—the DC engine that I have tucked away with my Inglenook is the same class (but is based on a U.S. prototype, with a tender instead of panniers). Hatton’s fitted the engine with a Bachmann E-Z Command 90-degree 6 pin DCC decoder before sending it across the pond, and the package was finally delivered today.

The long turnaround was partially due to Hatton’s having something of an inventory problem; a week after I placed the order I received an apologetic email stating that some items listed “in stock” were actually not. I called several days later to ask for clarification (“…is the order cancelled or on backorder?”) but it seems they had already processed my purchase without error, and it was in line to be fitted with a decoder and tested. I was told I’d receive an alert when it shipped. A week later I inquired again, and was told it shipped already, but the tracking number wasn’t registering, so they didn’t know which side of the pond it was on.

I’ve gotten used to the fumblings of model railway manufacturers and sellers in the U.S., so it’s actually kind of heartwarming that U.K. modelers are experiencing the same thing. Overall, though, Hatton’s seems to be a friendly, hard-working group, and they were communicative enough to make up for any gaps in their processes.

Anyhow, I’m excited to finally start tacking down some track this weekend and running this little bugger. I think I’ve already named it “Bellwether,” for being the first of the flock.

Forgive the bad lighting: