Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Changing Signal Types...

Whilst installing the last couple of dwarf signals onto the layout, I was pondering the issue with sight lines for operators with dwarf signals being behind rolling stock.


So realising that I had several Tomar single head masts that I hadn't used yet I decided to convert a couple with the RRCirKits - Tri Coloured LED's.  The choice has fixed the issue as the signal head can be seen from above the rolling stock.


Clearance has worked out perfectly too,  they also add a nice change visually to the layout signal system too.

Jas...

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Back into the layout again today...

After a few weeks off I am back into the layout again, installed a few more dwarf signals.


And also did some modifications to the Panel Pro - Panel.  The layout actually is designated as the Harrisburg & Shippensburg Division - 1975.
Below is the entire panel as it looks on both of my dual monitors at the dispatchers desk.


Jas...

Saturday, 1 September 2018

September Layout Update...

Been a little quiet over the past two months on the signals and the layout progression...

One reason was my recent vacation to San Diego, CA to visit friends and do the whole Legoland adventure with Toby my youngest son.

I've also been busily preparing my next article.  Which is a three part series on the complete Layout Signal Install which will start in October's issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist (MRH), with Part 2 & 3 following in November & December's Issues.


Major effort getting all this together and into a format for the online magazine.  Hopefully it is well received and helps out those wanting to go down the path of installing detection and signals on their layouts.

Jas...

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Installing the last of the dwarf signals on the layout...

Over the past week I have been working on the last set of dwarf signals for the layout.  
These are again the Tomar brand that I have converted to include the RR Cirkits - Tri Coloured LED's.


The making and installation of these now goes very quick.  I have the process down to about 30 mins to make up the LED including soldering all four 36 Awg wires, glue in the LED, and paint the casing silver.


Next step will be to install the Digitrax Terminal Strip Mounting Kits (TSMK) and wire them up to the SE8C boards.


This is the final lot of signals for the signalling system on the layout.  Once these are installed and operational it will be the final stage of the detection and signalling completed.

Jas...

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Switching with the ProtoThrottle...

A quick video of some switching today with the ProtoThrottle and a LokSound - Select Direct equipped Athearn - RDG SW1500 switcher.


The CV's in the Select Direct have been changed as per Joe Atkinson's post on MRH to take full advantage of the ProtoThrottle features.

The ProtoThrottle connects to my NCE system via the CabBus via a wireless XBEE receiver.  Setup was completed in about 5 minutes.




Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Fascia Control Panels...

For something a little different today I decided to work on finalising the Fascia Control Panels that control the switch machines, and adding the signals on them too.

Now that the signals & logic are all added to JMRI & Panel Pro I am now able to add these onto the Fascia Control Panels.

The below Fascia Control Panel is located at Manheim Junction the busiest area on the layout and a major Junction for movement around the layout.


As can be seen, it is a major interlocking on the layout...

Jas.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Programming of the last Signal Mast Logic...

School Holiday's currently here, so limited layout time.  Being Winter too doesn't make the layout a warm place to be in.
But it does allow me to get the remaining Signal Mast Logic (SML) programmed into JMRI & PanelPro.


The brilliant part about the JMRI and having the layout running on a laptop is that I can do all the programming whilst running the LocoNet Simulator to check the logic.

The last remaining SML is associated with the last few dwarf signals are installed.  Be under no allusion if you plan on having signals & detection on your layout the programming of signal heads, signal masts, blocks, turnouts & SML is just as big of an undertaking as what it is to install them too.

 

And the trick is to document everything as you go, I cannot overstate this enough...


Hopefully within the next month I will have all of the logic programmed and the layout will be ready for operating sessions via dispatcher to see if any changes are needed.

Jas...

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Final Signal Bridge in place...

The final Signal Bridge is now in place on the layout and ready to be wired into the Digitrax TSMK & SE8C and then programmed into JMRI...


Once this is installed it will be onto building the last lot of dwarf signals and then the signal install will be finished.

Jas...

Saturday, 23 June 2018

The final Signal Bridge has been completed...

Yesterday I finally completed the last of the Signal Bridges for the layout.  It has been a major effort to get them all completed and there are ten (10) of them across the layout.


They are mostly searchlights, but I have one with G Type heads on them.  They are all (apart from the G Type) heads using the RRCirKits - Tri Coloured LED's in them.


I have learn't a lot making these from the first bridge that had Tomar masts that were adapted and scratch built to fit.  The process is now quite easy, and I can produce them quite quickly too.

The final stage in the signal installation is to make a few more dwarf signals and get them onto the layout and I'm finished.

Jas...

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Second train test on the helix...

This is more testing of the helix yesterday.  This train will be the average length of my consists that will operate on the layout.

This is being pulled by two Atlas Silver Series RDG - MP15DC's both are fitted with LokSound - Select Direct Decoders.



Jas...

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

First train running on the helix...

First run of a train on the helix.  The rolling stock is some of the longest & widest that will traverse it.

Train ran perfectly without issue through the entire helix and into Shippensburg Classification Yard...


Jas...

Monday, 18 June 2018

Final stages of the helix build...

So at the end of last week I have the helix installed with track but not wired into DCC as yet.  I still have to glue the blocks in between the loops in place.  The staging deck will be constructed once I finish the signal install.



The sub road base plywood has been reinstalled above the helix, including new timber for the fascia to be re-installed.  The track work that forms Carlisle Junction that was removed is also getting done again too.






The last two photos show the limited amount of room between the last helix loop and existing bench work & sub road base plywood, which is just enough to clear a hi-cube boxcar.




Once the track work is re-installed I'll wire up the helix and conduct a test using a four & six axle locomotives and several variants of rolling stock to test out the performance of the helix.

Jas...

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Helix to Layout base transitions...

So today was spent working on the two transitions from the future staging level and the finished layout level where the helix exits onto the return blob. I also cut & set in place the blocks for ruling grade on the first loop.


The last section of the last loop transitions from a 28"R to a 24"R to allow for the layout track work to connect.  I have tested this section of track with both 40', 50', & 60' rolling stock and all run smoothly through this section...


With the helix to layout transition I decided to run Code 100 all the way up to the Code 83 #7 curved turnout where the helix connects with the layout track work. Because the helix & staging area will eventually have its own NCE booster, PSX-1 Circuit Breaker and Detection this join needed to be double insulated.



I managed to get the alignment between Code 100 & 83 really well aligned. This was achieved using track pins & shims, the insulated rail joiners are Code 100 and allowed the Code 83 to be manipulated to align with the top of the Code 100 rail.


The transition from the helix to the staging level needed some adjustment to the layout framework and tweaking of the curve leaving the helix. I had to add a short section of straight track to get the alignment to work, but the added benefit will be that it allows for a re-railer to be installed before entry into the helix.


Next step is to secure the blocks between loops with white glue and finish off the track work from the helix into the staging area.

Jas...

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Setting the ruling Grade...

So today was spent getting the initial grade set on the first turn of the helix and installing the blocks to set the ruling grade on the other loops.




It actually took a little time to get it consistent across the entire helix but I’m happy with it now. At this stage unless I can think of an easy way to install the all-thread rods I’ll be sticking with the timber blocks.



I made myself up a grade level by using a short spirit level with a piece of styrene rod which is 4mm (5/32") set at 200mm (7 7/8") along the level. So when the level showed “level” (the Bubble in between the lines) this meant the grade was set at 2%.




Next stage is to work on the transition from the finished layout level into the helix. The radius from the curved turnout is set at 24”R and then transitions into a 30”R section and then into the 28”R helix.



I have to also make a small notch out of the rear of the layout deck near the backdrop to given another 10mm (25/64") clearance for my high cube boxcars.  They fit now but to be safe I will be giving them a little more wiggle room.

Jas...