Yesterday was Risex 2010 and we were exhibiting Chertonwell. It's a nice show with good mix of layouts, traders and demonstrations. Phil Parker popped in and commented on the test track we have on Chertonwell so I thought I would say how we did it. He has beaten me to an actual blog on the subject here.
On Chertonwell we run a lot of trains. Normally there will be 10 at any one time. Over a day that amounts to some 70 train hours of continuous running. As a result they can get dirty and need a good clean.
We decided that somewhere to clean engines would be good. What I did was take a piece of chipboard which was cut in two and had the corners cut off. I edged it so that items couldn't roll off - didn't stop us losing a spring yesteday which escaped whilst dismantling a loco. The board is hinged down the middle, In the picture you can see the timber in the centre of the board with hinges on top so it folds flat.
I glued settrack to it so I didn't have to fight the springing of flexitrack and the wires go to two banana sockets. Just over on the right you can see the flexible wiring to allow the board to close. The board bolts to the layout when in use by the coach bolt whose wing nut can be seen at the rear. The layout has a separate controller built in, the controls being to the left of the photo.
We literally bolt in on and plug in two banana connectors and it's ready to go. The only addition since first use is a resisitor that allow the current flow to the loco to be measured. Very useful for seeing whether any current is actually flowing.
It's a really useful feature of the layout and we would be lost without it.