During the last operating session, one of the old Hankscraft turnout motors finally failed. I purchased these back in the late 1980's and early '90's and they have performed extremely well. However, some of them are getting a little long in the teeth and I expect I'll be replacing more in the near future. Fortunately, the shaft was loose in the motor so the points could be moved by hand. The crews just needed to hit the pushbutton route on the panel to be sure that the power routing to the frog was correct. I cut the power to the motor to keep it from turning and everything worked fine for the rest of the session.
The switch machine in question was on the east end of the passing siding on the Sand Fork Branch. The branch runs the length of one wall and is directly above the old west end staging yard. For more on demise of the old west end staging yard, see this free video on TrainMasters TV: https://trainmasters.tv/videos/tmtv-2013-11-act-iib. Fortunately, I built some removable foam panels so that I could replace the switch machines if necessary. I removed the trees, which are just wedged in place, and viola- out came the panel. The photo below shows how everything looked at this point.
Removing the old motor was easy- replacing the new one, not so much. The only way to access it is through the opening above. The photo below shows how everything looks from underneath the railroad.
The challenge was in holding the new motor in place and lining up the first screw in one of the old holes, all without being able to see anything. I fiddled with this to the point of total frustration when the solution occurred to me- double sided tape. I applied a small piece of tape to the top of the motor and then pressed it into place. I could then adjust it from below to line up the screw holes. Within about three minutes of applying the tape, the motor was mounted and working.
Unlike the infamous abandoned west staging yard, the idea of adding these removable panels was a good one. And thankfully, it worked just as intended.