Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Customisable Roads - Version 2...

Today I began working on the second version of my roads, this one is a modern crossing with rubber & concrete.  The line marking has been done to the MUTCD (manual for uniform traffic control devices) Standards.

The brilliant part of the system I'm working on is the ability to work in layers, meaning the possible combinations and variations that can be added are only limited by your imagination.


I'm waiting on some matte paper to arrive so I can do a test section and see how it handles scenery along the edges and the use of a sealer such as Dullcoat.

Jas...

Monday, 11 May 2020

Next Project - Roads...

Have been experimenting with a new concept for scalable, customisable roads, that can be installed in minutes...

First versions below:

Plain suburban street, basic road markings...


Railroad Crossing with detail road markings...



More soon as I perfect the technique...

Jas.


Thursday, 7 May 2020

MRH Article - Building a Helix & Staging Deck - Part 1...

Latest article completed for Model Railroad Hobbyist (MRH) on how I built my Helix & Staging deck.

The article is on Running Extra which is a pay per view read (about $1.50 USD).

Building a Helix & Staging Deck - Running Extra - May 2020


Sunday, 19 April 2020

Layout Upgrades...

Time for another upgrade for the layout tonight, reconditioned desktop PC with triple monitor setup.



Two screens running the JMRI Panel, and the third for dispatcher information - operations paperwork and the layout camera system.



I’ve also upgraded to the latest production release of JMRI too.  Upgraded all the drivers and everything has fired up on first go...

I’ll be able to use my laptop now with TeamViewer to upgrade the blocks that need reinstalling too.  Life just got a little easier.


Jas...

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Latest Reading SW1500 to join the roster...

After sometime in storage I decided to break out my Athearn RTR SW1500 - Reading #2673.  This was a rare find some years ago that I just had to have.


Reading #2763 was the only SW1500 to be repainted in the all green scheme before it was absorbed into Conrail in April 1976.  It was repainted after it was wrecked.


This switcher has been updated to DCC with a ESU LokSound - Select Direct V4 decoder, Sugar Cube speaker, ESU - Power Pack Mini, LED lighting upgrade, and Athearn - Power Truck upgrade.  It has also been programmed for running with the ProtoThrottle too.


These are such great runners when converted to DCC, operating them and switching with the ProtoThrottle has taken the enjoyment level of operations to another level of realism.



Jas...

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Installing micro 0402 LEDs...

Over the last couple of days I have been working on installing some micro 0402 LED's as part of my upcoming article.


The new style are are fantastic to work with, in fact they have made the process of installing & upgrading a lot easier.  They are pre-wired and just need to be glued to the light pipes I've installed to replace the stock Athearn light bulbs.


I've also managed to add a cabin light to the SW1500 switcher too.



Having such a flexible LED opens many more possibilities to install in various locations on my locomotives and switchers.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Next article on the way...

Working on the next article for MRH today...


A decoder install with sound & LED upgrades.


Friday, 21 February 2020

Wiring of the Shippensburg Yard lead...

Continuing on today with more wiring of the Shippensburg Yard entrance. This is also the interchange from off layout staging into the Shippensburg Classification Yard, it is also the yard lead entrance from Harrisburg.

To ensure reliability into the future I have wired all of the PECO - Code 83 switches with power to the stock rails so that they do not rely on the points for power routing.

With the upcoming addition of ESU Power Packs to all locomotives this should eliminate any dodgy electrical issues.


The entrance to the classification yard will be one whole block controlled by either the yard master and/or dispatcher for inbound and trains. Next step is to wire in the power feeders & connect the Tortoise wiring.

The bottom switch has the Harrisburg Yard Lead on the left, and the Main from Gettysburg (off layout Staging) on the right.


Next task is to wire is the switch stock rail power feeds & wire up the Tortoise Motors to the SE8C's and push button on the fascia panels.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Back to the layout for 2020...

After nearly a 3 month break with school holidays & renovations taking up any spare time, I finally have made it back onto layout.
Today was spent checking over what needed to be completed since making the changes to the Shippensburg Yard entrance & yard lead.



I also managed to re-install some of the Tortoise motors that had been removed.

Monday, 25 November 2019

New track work design installed...

Productive day today, got the new track configuration in for the Shippensburg East - Yard Lead.


As an added benefit it allowed the Harrisburg East Lead to be straightened out too, I also connected the yard lead to the Harrisburg East main.



Much happier with the flow with the new design, and operations will benefit greatly from the changes too.


Next phase is to wire it all in to the blocks, and then install the Tortoise Motors...

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Never be afraid to make changes on the fly...

So today is another one of those days that highlight the constant changes that can be, and that are often made to a model railroad as they are being built.

It's often the case of a fresh set of eyes can change things, and the below case is just another example.  The yard lead into the Shippensburg Yard will undergo yet another change that will make operations much better & smoother too.

The old version only allowed switching to occur from the centre of the yard, via the yard ladders in the middle.  I wasn't able to do any classification/blocking via the yard lead that has been added from Harrisburg East.  I'm not sure why I didn't pick it up, but whilst playing around with the AnyRail file last night it dawned upon me that I had it wrong...



The new version is a simple design but one which now also allows trains to be classified & blocked from both ends of the yard, and also can utilise the new longer yard lead from Harrisburg East.



It also allows trains to exit the yard into the staging deck (via the helix) and back onto the layout via Harrisburg.



The point is, don't be afraid to make changes as you go, sometimes the first idea is not the best, but if you're willing to change and adapt ultimately your layout and operations will benefit from it...

Jas...

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Harrisburg East - Yard Lead...

Today centred around getting the turnout installed from the Harrisburg East - Mainline.

This turnout is the start of the new yard lead for the Shippensburg Classification Yard, it runs from the south side of the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg East, over the double track truss bridge and joins up at the classification yard entrance at Carlisle Junction.


I also installed the Micro - Engineering bridge track to the double track - truss bridge too.


Jas...

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Track work on the Shippensburg Yard entrance...

Today I got the Shippensburg Yard lead entrance secured down after wiring the Peco turnouts and drilling the holes for the Tortoise fulcrums, and installing and marking the location of the insulated rail joiners for the blocks & detection.





I also got the crossover from the north arrival track in too after they were wired, the remaining east & west yard ladders are all manually operated Peco’s.



Next stage is to install the remaining track, install the Tortoise Motors, and attach all the feeders.

Jas...

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Altering Fascia Panels for Shippensburg Yard...

Working on the alterations to the Harrisburg East, Carlisle Junction & York Haven fascia panels today.

These are being altered to add the additional track for the Shippensburg Classification Yard.  The track work has been added to allow greater flexibility for operations.

The layout flows east to west (right to left) in the photos below starting from Harrisburg East moving left finishing at York Haven.







Next step will be to print out, laminate and install onto the layout fascia.

Jas...

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Working on the Shippensburg Classification Yard...

Working on the alterations to Shippensburg Classification Yard today, the changes will allow local freights to be made up from an arriving freight from “the rest of the world” via Staging.



There are two small three (3) track storage tracks so that freight can me sorted via either westbound and/or eastbound traffic onto the layout.  There are two yard leads within the middle of the yard allowing for continuous operations.



There is also the ability to make up outbound freight to either the “rest of the world” via staging direct, or via Rutherford Yard.  The added double track truss bridge now shifts the yard entrance to the south side of Harrisburg.



The classification yard also has the ability to allow through freight from staging direct to the layout without interfering with yard operations.  The addition of the extra long yard lead from the south side of Harrisburg also give the ability for the yard switcher to move bigger cuts of cars now too.



Jas...

Monday, 30 September 2019

Staging Deck wiring schematics...

Things have been a little quite on the layout front over the past month.  We have been doing some more renovations on our home, including a full kitchen renovation that has been taking up most of my free time.

Today I began designing the Staging Deck wiring schematics for an upcoming article.  They can be quite complex to map out but I think they help a lot of people see what is required to make everything work, hopefully they will give some modellers the confidence to tackle some more complex layout wiring.

The schematic below explains how the additional NCE PB5 - Booster has been added to the layout and now powers the Staging Deck.  Importantly it shows the booster case screw ground wire, between both boosters, that is required for the detection on the Staging Deck to work with the Standalone - LocoNet, JMRI and Panel Pro.



Jas...

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Changes to the Shippensburg Classification Yard...

Over the past week I have been working on the changes to the Shippensburg Classification Yard.  After our last ops session it was clear that in order for the staging deck to work properly I needed to make the classification yard a little bigger, and more flexible.

Below are the changes that are currently being made:



The yard will have both westbound & eastbound storage tracks and also a longer yard lead from Harrisburg (South), this has now been extended to the south side of the Susquehanna River bridge, which has also been widened to a double track truss bridge.


The southern entrance to the yard lead now exits the via a #7 curved turnout before the Rutherford Yard turnout and will allow a much longer yard lead for cutting cars.


More soon...

Jas.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Power Pickup Issues...

Over the last week I’ve been trying to solve the issue of sporadic electrical performance on my Athearn RDG SW1500 switcher, I’ve been looking at fixes that will bypass the weak points in the wheel to truck, truck to decoder electrical path.


When looking at possible solutions one stood out to me as the most direct route from wheel/axle to the decoder. By soldering on thin/flexible decoder wire directly to the brass square bush, I now have a direct connection from the axle to the decoder, this means I have bypassed the four weak points in the Athearn design. These being the brass square bearing to bronze side frame, side frame through the rivet, rivet to brass/metal tabs & finally the plastic caps for wire to decoder.



It also means that the test SW1500 is now also “all” wheel pickup too, that’s eight wheels, grouped into pairs and directly connected to each of the four LokSound - Select decoder tabs. I’m still testing the new truck combination and what level of track/wheel cleaning is required to get the best performance.




Videos to come when I’m happy with the setup & performance...