Prince Street has been built on a base entirely made from foam core sheet. While this material has been great and I’m still quite glad I chose to use it, it does present one with a few challenges not posed by traditional plywood model railway benchwork. In my mind, the greatest challenge stems from the lack of screw or nail-holding ability in the sheet so some workarounds become a part of the design.
Being block-wired my layout has a few isolated sections of track where I can park a locomotive while doing something with another one and I needed a place to mount the switches that would be used to switch power on and off. I had thought about a few options, including just CA glueing the switches to the foam sheet but settled on an idea inspired by a household electrical fuse panel.
This model electrical panel uses a 0.020″ thick sheet for the face plate. The hole cut in the centre matches the switch and I cut it tall enough to fit four switches in total. Since this sheet alone won’t afford enough material for the mounting screws to “bite” into I built up the cut-out’s perimeter with about 1/8″ of styrene. A quite few knife passes and I had a place to set the panel into on the benchwork and a little contact cement holds the whole thing in place. Tonight I’ll predrill the holes for the mounting screws and get the switches in and then wires out to each of the isolated track sections.
Of course, now that I can turn track on and off, this really underlines the urgency with which I actually need to power the layout in the first place.