This is the cause of all the trouble, where the boards join is a mess. There is no solid connection and so the track doesn't always line up. By the end of Great and Small II I had got it perfect but I'd spent a day and a half swearing and trying to fish trains out of the impossible to get at bit I had stupidly created.
Apart from the brand new layout I wondered about a new connection but couldn't see how it could be done with the current geometry and then it clicked. New geometry. So for now Underhill lives. Plan A is to insert a new board between the current ones, this will turn an L shaped layout into a straight one about twelve feet long.
Spot the missing link
I grabbed a couple of hours today and taking my courage and the electric screwdriver in my hands I removed the end panel to see what would be possible.
What I found when I removed the end.
To do what I want to do I needed to be able to straighten the track out so that it joined the new board in an end to end junction rather than half way round the corner as in the MK1 version. With very little poking about the polystyrene came out leaving the mod rock shell unsupported but perfectly sound. The bit of timber was PVA'd onto the baseboard so took a knock with a hammer to loosen it but out it came.
Next phase was to remove as much of the plaster 'ballast' as possible, this actually came away easier than I thought it would. Although the track has been damaged in the process of demolition there is enough left sound to cut and connect a new bit to make a decent new board join.
This shows the general idea.
Next I turned the screwdriver and crowbar on the matching end of the Three Bridges board. In principal this bit should be simpler to change, it will need a piece of wood inserting in the gap where the other board connected.
This shows the cheese factory with the baseboard gap behind it.
A previously un-viewable angle now revealed by the removal of the end.
Next job is to work out how to make a reliable, repeatable join between the old boards and the new middle bit. I have a plan but this time I will give it plenty of thought before plunging into woodwork world. I'm quite enthused with the new look layout.
I'm also having thoughts about extending the far end of the Underhill board and completing a run round loop... one thing at a time though.