Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Progress on the track work alterations...

Last night I continued on with replacing the troublesome Walthers - Shinohara turnouts.  The next section was the mainline coming out of Harrisburg into Lebanon.

When finished the I had removed four Shinohara turnouts and replaced them with one PECO - Code 83 #7 Curved turnout this replaced a crossover that again was not required.

Below is the existing track work with the Shinohara crossover in place...

The PECO turnouts fitted quite well and was virtually in the same place as the longest radius Shinohara.  The added advantage is the the smallest radius for the #7 Curved PECO is still 28", I suspect that the outside is something around 32 - 36" mark.

I also managed to realign a few of the curves coming from Harrisburg into the new PECO turnout, this has made the curves flow much better and also centred the spacings between the other tracks/sidings.

One of the offshoot advantages of re-justifiying the turnouts & crossovers and replacing them with just one turnout is that I now have spare detection blocks to use in other areas (I had maxed out my BDL's) also the flow is much better and operations will benefit greatly from this exercise.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Fixing a persistent track work problem...

This week I have been fixing a persistent problem that has been bugging the layout for around the last twelve months.

When I originally did the track work for the layout I used a combination of PECO Code 83 track & turnouts and Walther's Shinohara Code 83 turnouts.  The build quality between the two is quite obvious when comparing the two.

For the first three to four years the Shinohara turnouts have been fine.  I had to adjust a couple of the point ends on a couple but apart from that there were no issues.  But over the last twelve months they have required regular maintenance and tweaking to keep the point closed against the rail even under Tortoise switch machine tension.

After our last ops session it was also noted that several of the turnouts were in fact out of gauge by at least 1 - 2mm on several of them.  So I have decided to replace them all with PECO - Code 83 #7 LH & RH Curved Turnouts.

This has also allowed me to do another turnout & crossover justification for the existing track work.  As the original operating plan and track work has changed since going down the switching layout path I have removed several turnouts & crossovers too.

First job was to remove the crossover coming into Rutherford.  As there is a crossover in Rutherford itself the Shinohara crossover was removed and replaced with track only...

On the other side of the backdrop (to the left of photo) was another two Walthers - Shinohara Turnouts, these have also been removed...

The top set of Shinohara turnouts (crossover) was a constant source of maintenance & tweaking throughout the year.

With the removal of the turnouts coming into Harrisburg this required a chance to clean up and realign the track work and turnouts.  The photo below shows the newly installed PECO #7 Curved turnout coming into a #8 RH turnout which is also Code 83 PECO too.

When looking from the other direction the flow of track has been improved greatly and it has also removed the excess curve that was there from using the original Shinohara turnouts as can be seen by the existing cork road bed to the right of the track.

To finish off I also removed a slight hump that existed from the mainline coming from Carlisle Junction (from the left) to the right into Rutherford right underneath the backdrop, the transition is now a perfect grade into level with no more hump.

Next step is to work my way around the remainder of the layout and replace all of the Shinohara turnouts.


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas has come a little early...

This year Christmas has come a little early for our layout.

Two shiny new Athearn - Genesis RDG GP39-2's, a LokSound Programmer and two LokSound - Select Direct - sound decoders to go into the GP39-2's.

So my spare time over the Christmas holidays has now been planned and will be spent doing decoder & speaker installs and also learning and programming with the LokSound Programmer.

Merry Christmas & have a Safe & Happy New Year to all of my friends and blog followers...


Saturday, 17 December 2016

Harrisburg West - Interlocking...

Over the last two days I have been working on completing the Harrisburg West - Interlocking  Signal Bridge and dwarf signals.

This set protects all the westbound traffic from Harrisburg into Lebanon.  The triple head mast protects the main (Track 1) and the double head mast protects the passing siding (Track 2) located on the signal bridge.

The double head dwarf protects the Industrial Track (Track 3) & the single head dwarf protects the other Industrial Track (Track 4).  I could have added more masts to the bridge but to be honest they get overly crowded with wires when there is anymore than two.

Again extremely impressed with he colours of the RR-CirKits Tri-Coloured LED's...

Next phase will be to finish the next interlocking a Lebanon and begin to program in the logic into JMRI.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Harrisburg West - Signal Bridge...

Yesterday was again another day of wiring up trip-coloured LED's and constructing the bracket masts for the Harrisburg - West signal bridge.

This signal bridge sits on the outbound sound of Harrisburg heading towards Lebanon.  It protects the interlocking section for westbound trains into Lebanon on the main, and also westbound trains from Track 2 in Harrisburg as it re-enters the main just before Lebanon.

It has a three (3) head mast to protect the westbound main, and a two (2) head mast to protect the westbound passing siding (Track 2).

This signal bridge is the first one to completely use the IHC plastic kit heads & bridge.

Below was the last mast that needed to go on the signal bridge.  I know have the process down to produce a mast with multiple heads, the IHC plastic kit has worked out to be a great asset.

The below photo shows both mast attached to the signal bridge.  The triple head has had the wiring run through the conduit and fed down through the frame work ready to be wired up under the layout.  The two head mast is still waiting for all the wiring to be run through the bridge frame work.

Close up shot below of the two head mast.

More after I have finished off the wiring and installed onto the layout & programmed.


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Another Signal Bridge after holidays...

So after returning from a week of family holidays from this (this was the view from our holiday house) and the warm weather...

It's back into building more signal bridges & signal masts...

Still using the IHC Plastic kits with he searchlights at this stage.  First installation is a triple head mast.  I had to test fit the twelve (12) wires into the styrene tube first to make sure I could feed the all through.

Next step was to glue in place and ensure it remained plumb while the glue setup.  I would normally give it a hit with some instant set but it has seemed to have gone off and doesn't work.

To ensure the mast was plumb to the signal bridge framework I used a square to check...

Tomorrow I will make up a double head mast and attach that along with feeding the wires through and connecting to the SE8C board.


Friday, 18 November 2016

Steel Mill Track Work installed and ready for wiring...

So yesterday I finished off the track work for the Steel Mill and Harrisburg Industrial Area.

Next stage will be to install the feeders for the track work power and the tortoise motors for the crossover.

The whole scene is now starting to come together nicely.  Once the power feeders are in place and the track work is ok, it will be time to get the operating crew back again to test it all out.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Harrisburg - Steel Mill & Industrial Area - Track Work...

So yesterday was a day of installing the track work associated with the new Steel Mill and the remaining Harrisburg Industrial area.

First was the siding for the Electric Furnace, this will hold two 52' gondolas or a larger single 65' one.  I wanted a second siding but couldn't get the room to add it, it will make the operations side of switching more interesting having to shuttle two in, and two out spotted on another siding.

The remaining track work was associated with the siding that feeds the Mill area and the remaining industrial area of Harrisburg.  This included another siding for a larger industry, and two separate storage/spotting tracks to allow switching to continue in the area.

There is also a crossover from the main to the siding to allow run-around moves to be performed.

As can be seen in the above photos the plastic base for the rolling mill has the rail pre-formed into the base itself.  To allow the movement of the coil cars & gondola's there will be an idler car (50' flat car) that will be used so that the switcher does not have to enter the unpowered base area of the rolling mill.

This is overall shot of the Harrisburg Industrial Area...

More soon...

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Harrisburg - Steel Mill...

So this week another shipment of railroad goodies arrived from my good friend in the USA (he ships over all my eBay purchases) filled with the last lot of structures needed for the Harrisburg - Steel Mill area.

To move forward with the Steel Mill area I needed the structure kits so that I could place the physical base plates on the layout to see if the track work would work and also if it fit with the location too.

First kit was the Walthers - Electric Furnace kit.  I made up the base plates and steel framework section to check the location of the kit on the layout and also check the overall size and how looked on the section of layout it was earmarked for.

This kit is huge and makes a great view block, it is going to be located at the the entrance (on the left) to the main section of the layout.  It will have one unloading track fed from a siding and one ingot loading track that will run through the rolling mill.

Another shot looking down from the Harrisburg Industrial area towards the steel mill.

More soon as I work on the remaining kits and placement...

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Harrisburg Industrial Area - Alterations...

So today was one of those days that had a few things to be done, and not a lot of spare time to get stuck into anything substantial on the layout.

I managed to build another IHC plastic Signal Bridge in readiness for the next one to take shape.  Whilst positioning the signal bridge I was mulling over the Harrisburg Industrial Area and how I was going to best use  the space and thinking about how to operate it.

Some of my moments and best ideas come about sitting and looking at the layout while having a cuppa, and trying to think about how to operate an area.

Today turned into one of those days.  I recently obtained a Walther's - HO Electric Furnace kit after much searching along with a Walther's - HO Rolling Mill kit too.

These two structures will represent my portion of the steel industry that formed part of Harrisburg's golden railroad years.  This section is a recycling site attached to the greater steel mill which on our layout will be a photo backdrop of the real thing.

The area that these two kits will be placed is on the left of the main entrance to the bigger section of the layout.  This will add some serious bulk to the entrance of the layout and will hopefully give some real industrial grime and mass to the area.

This section has now worked out better than the old arrangement as reach in is no longer an issue for operators due to all the industries and trackwork being relatively close to the aisle and fascia too.  I have also managed to get some storage track for possible one or two spots as well which is always a bonus.


It will also allow me to have a city/commercial area in the next section along that would have created reach in issues for operators.  I always some city area to model as well so that the layout had an even balance of believability.

Next phase will be getting the turnouts and track work altered and re-installed.


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

First Signal Bridge complete...

Yesterday I finished off the first of our layout signal bridges.  The Harrisburg - East bridge has two triple head masts.

These masts are Tomar - Triple heads that have been converted to fit the IHC Plastic signal bridge kit.  They are also fitted with RR-CirKits Tri-Coloured LED's as the searchlights.

The installation is fairly straight forward but extremely time consuming, these two masts devoured the better part of full two days to install the LED's and feeding the wires through the bridge/conduit and wiring up.

Below masts from left to right:  Stop & Approach Medium...

The second mast (the left one above) went much better with the wiring install as I was able to feed the wires into the mast a lot more cleanly that the first effort (mast on the right).  This was mainly to do with the difference between the wires used.

These masts and the trip coloured LED's are perfect, they can be seen from some distance easily and the colours are easily distinguishable from one another too.

Once the next bridge is in place it will be time to program the two and then onto detailing them at a later date.


Saturday, 15 October 2016

More signal masts being produced...

Well I have had a few busy weeks with work and not much time dedicated to layout at all.

So the last two days I have spent building more signal masts for the layout signal bridges.  It's time consuming but in a weird way I find it relaxing, when things run smoothly of course.

Recently I had a big win and found some old IHC plastic signal head kits, along with the corresponding signal bridge kits too.  The bridge kits are in fact the old watering bridge kit that IHC made but it is the exact same mould that was used for the signal bridge too.

So I have completed my first IHC plastic signal mast for one of the signal bridges.

These kits are very easy to make and very adaptable too, they are perfect for the tiny 1/8" (3mm) Tri-Coloured LED's that I am using as there are no issues with shorts on brass and they are just glued together.

The detail is not quite as good as the Tomar kits that I have previously used and the wires cannot be run in the brass tube so they are exposed.  But neatly bundled and secured to the mast and once painted black they will be barely visible.

Many, many more of these to be built......

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hershey Chocolate Factory...

So here is one completely out of the box...

About two weeks ago I was having a conversation with a fellow modeller on the MRH forums about the industries going in and around Harrisburg on our layout.

And the discussion led to the suggestion that I should model the famous "Hershey's Chocolate Factory" in Hershey, Pa.

Well with that suggestion I thought what a great idea, quite an iconic industry that would certainly lend itself for being rail served, and a prototypical one that may be suited to an area on our layout.

So I broke out the Reading System Map that I have and low and behold the Hershey area fits perfectly inbetween Rutherford & Lebanon, this works both operationally and prototypically for the layout.

Once this seed was firmly planted into the brain, the ideas started to flow.  Because as luck would have it I have a unfinished section of layout that is around 10' (3m) long that is situated between Harrisburg, Rutherford & Lebanon.

This section is ripe for a backdrop building using a combination of Walthers - Modular kits and scratch building other kits to make it work.  So after a little research of the rail served portion of the factory I have made a starting plan to model the rear of the factory that ran along the mainline and was the unloading points for the raw product.

There are two unloading spurs off a storage siding.  This will work great with the pre existing track work that has already been installed too.

I have also purchased the well photographed twin brick stacks (Walthers kit) & water tower to include in the scene to help sell the authenticity of the real industry.

More soon as this project develops...


Sunday, 11 September 2016

More structures around Harrisburg...

The last week has seen some major structure building going on, in particular the area around Harrisburg.

As this is to be a heavy industrial area the structures needed to fit the feel & what would normally be seen in the area.

Along with the Walthers - Modular kits several other kits have now been constructed.

The area is now at a point that has a good mix of structures and can easily be switched.  There is some minor track work alterations to be made for the rolling mill loading building.

Next stage is to continue to move around adding the structures and tuning the areas.

Update:  I said I would post up a view of the finished area and what it would like with the street running scene through these buildings.  Here is a plan of what it will look like with the paved road running over the sidings & crossover...

More soon as the build continues...

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Latest Industrial Area - Harrisburg...

Over the last week I have been planning and constructing two more Industrial Areas for the layout.  The two new areas are located at Harrisburg & Columbia.

The two areas represent a major part of the switching operations for the layout and have two or more separate industries within each of them.

The Harrisburg area serves a few purposes, the first being a view block as you walk into the layout so that you cannot see the western portion or the layout, and also a "given" that I wanted to model a "street running scene in at least portion of the layout.

Below photo shows the structure as the view block:

The first step was to set out the buildings and the road network around the installed track work...

I'm using the Walthers - Modular Kit system to build these two industries.  When finished they will view block this corner off from the western portion of layout (in the background).

Below is the work table setup to make the Walthers - Modular Kits into structures...

The above photos show one of the completed industries which is a three (3) storey warehouse building with side loading/unloading dock which will also have a paved rear unloading area too.  This will support two 50' boxcars.


Scene below is the Harrisburg area looking back east, also with another industry in the background in place.

Next step will be to add the other structures, and begin working on adding the road network and paved areas around the structures...