Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Sunday 30 November 2014

Track Work on the Classification/Staging Yard begins...

Well this week was the beginning of the installation of the track work for the Classification/Staging Yard.

The yard will be operated as a functional stub-ended classification yard and will be one of the two main staging areas for the layout.  The second staging yard will be located beneath the top northern deck, and will be fed by the return blob near the paper mill.

The reason for starting the yard now is that it forms part of the new "wye" for the layout, it is also part of the blocks that will be detected & signalled first.  So I need to at least complete the entrances, it will also help with any future ops sessions that are held.

Diagram of the Classification Yard...

The first step to get the track from the centre peninsula yard lead entrance was to make a small span across the void that was the existing layout roller door opening.  This was made with 12mm - 5ply plywood, I also added 100mm side to either end in case of derailments in there that could see the long drop down to concrete below.

Next stage was to lay out the north & south yard leads to check alignment and the curve radii.

Below is the North Yard Lead entrance...

Below is the South Yard Lead entrance...

After the yard leads were checked I placed the first series of turnouts into place and roughly placed the start of the storage tracks to check spacings and alignment.

The yard is split into north & south storage tracks (3 tracks each) with a common escape track that is fed by a series of crossovers towards the end of the yard.

Next step will be to finish of installing the remaining plaster sheet for the sub roadbed, and install the 3mm cork sheet and lay the remaining track.


Sunday 23 November 2014

First Digitrax - BDL168...

Now that the first stage of the LocoNet has been installed I decided to install the first BDL.  These are pretty much the same as the SE8C in regards to setting up the backing board.

The backing boards are being setup on the same size a the SE8C boards.  The only real difference between the two installations is the wiring size.

The BDL connections require a larger diameter wire size as they will be carrying track power, I've opted for 1mm Solid Core wire for the connection between the 44 pin connector and the terminal blocks.  

The solid core wire also assists with forming the wire to fit nicely on the board terminal strip, one trick that I have picked up is to give the end if the solid core a tap with a hammer to slightly flatten the wire so that it passes through the terminal strips on the 44 pin connector.

The above red wires represent one (1) detection zone, which incorporates four (4) detection blocks, there are four (4) detection zones on the BDL which allows for a total of sixteen (16) detection blocks.  Once this board is complete it will be placed in the South Bend Curve area, and the blocks will be connected from there.


And finished...


Saturday 22 November 2014

Relocation & Rewiring...

With the forward progress of the detection & signalling installation it was time to relocate the layout PC and the NCE DCC Command System.

I had my good friend Brendan over during the week to set up the LocoNet & LocoBuffer to the layout PC.  This meant that I had to relocate the PC to its new nook and rewire the layout to it and begin the installation of the LocoNet.

The new are housing all of this is directly behind the dispatchers nook, there is a small open ended box that houses the layout PC allowing for easy connection to it, cross ventilation and easy access.

I've also cleaned up all the wiring in the area and began the process of clipping everything up to keep it neat and tidy.  The power board above the PC is a surge protected board that supplies power to the lower board which has individual switches to turn off each piece of equipment.

The NCE DCC System sits on top of the PC Box along with the LocoBuffer box.

This little nook has room for a swivel chair on rollers so that I can work on the wiring with ease, once the layout fascia's are finished there will be drop curtains installed around the layout to hide all of the under bench areas & storage.


Wednesday 19 November 2014

Altering track work to install Tortoise Motors...

The last couple of days has seen some more alterations made to the track work around the centre peninsula.

To install the Tortoise Motors I have had to shift a few turnouts, when I originally did the track work for the layout I had decided to just use Caboose Ground Throws.  Now with the installation of detection and signalling the mainline requires the Tortoise Motors to be installed.

One issue has been several area that had timber framework for the layout blocking.  I adjusted the track work and replaced several turnouts to get it all to work.

It has worked out quite well as I have removed the Walthers Shinohara turnouts from the area and they are all now PECO Code 83 - Insulfrog Turnouts.  The track work is now also flowing a lot better through this section and I have gained a little length in the sidings on the right (nearest to the fascia) and this will help with operations too.

More photos soon.


Sunday 9 November 2014

MOW crews alter track work for the Layout Expansion...

UPDATED:  10/11/14...

Well today I spent a couple of hours altering the track work around the south/east portion of the existing layout.  I've updated the photos below to reflect todays progress.

This section was originally the layout staging area, consisting of three tracks around 10' (3m) in length.  With the addition of the new layout area, and the staging/classification yard this section needs to join with it.

The existing staging area will become a mainline (working from fascia to backdrop), passing/storage siding and lastly the industrial spurs.  The industries will all be background buildings and will be predominately be scratch built with styrene.

The photo below shows the new classification yard lead running into the passing/storage siding, this allows trains to either enter/exit the yard onto either the passing siding heading westbound (towards the bottom edge of the photo) or through the #6 crossover onto the mainline (nearest the fascia).  The RH turnout to the right is the first of the industrial spurs for the area.

This section will be joined to staging/classification yard and form the layouts first "wye", it will also be adding more switching opportunities again with narrow bench work.

The photo below shows the possible installation of a #8 (Medium Speed) Crossover that I'm considering installing, this will give the dispatcher another method of allowing opposing trains the ability to change into or out of the passing siding onto the main.  It will also serve as a runaround/spot storage for locals & switchers to switch out the industries along this area.

And below is overview shot of "South Bend Curve" and the series of crossovers connecting the Northern & Centre peninsula areas of the layout to the South end.  The yard lead connects to the lower section of the classification yard and also forms the "wye" as mentioned above.

More soon.


Thursday 6 November 2014

More Signal Goodies...

Well this week I received some more Digitrax SE8C's & BDL168's, I have my LocoBuffer - USB for connecting the LocoNet to the PC & JMRI.  I also got another 12 Tortoise Switch Machines (bringing the total to 30) in this shipment.

I've decided to get 100m of CAT6 cable for all of the detection & signalling wiring, and this will be standard I will use throughout.  I have made up the second SE8C too, I've not got this one down to about 2 hours to make. 

I have another lot of Tomar double head - Searchlight signals here, and am waiting on another order of single & double head dwarf signals to arrive direct from Tomar.

Over the next few weeks I will begin by installing the power bus for the SE8C boards, work on installing the remaining Tortoise SM on the main, and begin connecting these to SE8C's as we go.


Saturday 1 November 2014

My first Published Article...

Well yesterday my very first published article has appeared in Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine, it was written some time ago but very happy that the team at MRH accepted it and now published it.

It has always been one of my goals to write an article when I started in the hobby, I'm a firm believer in sharing and helping out others who,are getting into the hobby.

Here is the direct link to the article: