Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

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...

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Signal Placement Schematic...

As we roll on with the signal install I realised quite quickly I needed a schematic that showed the layout in full so that I could work out the signal placement of the bridges & masts.

The ideal solution was right in front of me on the layout.  The fascia panels that I had made in Excel for the switch machine push buttons were ideal.

Over the last couple of days I have been sticking them together and working out the placement of the signal bridges relating to interlocking locations and the placement of the signal bridges, masts and dwarfs.

The diagram is perfect as I can reference the whole layout and even begin to figure out the programming of the signal logic as we go.

Even this schematic surprised me about how many signals are actually required to control the movement of traffic.  The system we will be using on the layout is mostly ABS through JMRI.  It will have the ability to hold aspects and manually set routes too.

Next step once I have the placement and number of signals finalised is to begin building the bridges, bracket masts, masts & dwarf signals.


Tuesday 9 August 2016

Triple Head Signal Mast on a Signal Bridge...

So in the last week I have begun installing the new signal head masts.  To start I have decided to incorporate more signal bridges on the layout than just a standalone mast.

As in the previous posts I have used the IHC Signal Bridge kit for this.

First step of the Triple Head installation was to convert a Tomar - H876sl into a Signal Bridge Mast.  This involved cutting off the bottom section & base.

The next stage was to feed the twelve (12) wires into the mast for the three (3) searchlight heads.  Luckily the bottom head didn't need to be fed through with the middle & upper head, although all twelve do fit into the mast.

Once the wires were threaded through it was onto soldering on the wires for the LED's, this involves checking each LED as it is finished.

When the LED is fitted I add a clear domed light pipe to act as the sense and hide the physical LED.  It also helps spread the light evenly out through the whole aspect opening.

When the three heads are connected and installed it was time to install the mast onto the signal bridge.  This was fairly straight forward actually and surprised me how well it looked when completed, the mast is actually secured to the bridge by black wrapping wire and is quite sturdy.

As you can see the aspect color from these RRCirKits LED's are superb!  Once the signal bridge is painted and weathered the wires will virtually disappear.

Here is a short video showing the signal aspects programmed for the triple head...

Monday 25 July 2016

Creating Operations Paperwork - Harrisburg Division 1975 / Switch List...

With another Ops Session scheduled for Wednesday with four of our wider operating group I decided that I needed to create some form of Switch List for the guys to know what & where to spot cars.

I have borrowed some of the format from the JMRI - Switch List generator form.  It has been designed on Excel and when I refine it down again I will add "drop down" data for the cells so the forms are easier to create.

These will be used while we develop the Layouts - Operating Scheme, and will help the guys get used to the layout and also give the sessions some form organisation.

This form should be able to be utilised in the JMRI - Operations Program, this one took about an hour to make and fill in.  Once I have the data compiled and easily referenced from other cells it won't take long to make one up.


Wednesday 20 July 2016

Installing Signal Bridges...

So moving right along and beginning stage two of the signalling of the layout I have begun the task of converting many of my bi-coloured LED's into the newer Tri-Coloured ones from RR CirKits.

I've also decided to make a shift in the direction I was taking with the type of signals we are installing on the layout.  Originally I had planned to install masts & dwarfs only, but I have now decided to also incorporate signal bridges.

One of the reasons was that they really set the scene, and I do like the challenge of getting something like this built and working.  I managed to get some help from a guy in the USA by the name of Marc Samuelson, Marc is a Norfolk Southern engineer and is the signal installer and guru at the Lehigh & Keystone Valley RR (LKVMRR) in Bethlehem, PA.

Marc has installed many of the their signals on signal bridges.  One of these is the IHC Signal Bridge kit.

These kits have long been out of production and sometimes they pop up on eBay, Marc and I were actually bidding on one complete kit a little while ago (I won the bidding too) and this is how I learn't that these were perfect for our layout and the area & era.

Luckily enough (shear luck actually) I have sourced enough kits for the entire layout.  These are a little different a "Watering Tower" kit by IHC but the exact same molds for the steel structure.

So one section of Harrisburg has four tracks (main, two passing sidings & industry track) converging into one single main.  The interlocking past this section has a few crossovers and is all curved.  To incorporate the CR1988 - Signal Aspects of Slow Approach & Slow Clear I needed to install triple head masts.  I purchased two of the Tomar H-861 Triple Head Searchlight masts for this purpose.

So to begin I have made up the first of the IHC Signal Bridge Kits, and placed it in the area that it will be located.


The next stage will be to upgrade the triple head searchlight to the newer Tri-Coloured LED's and install it onto the signal bridge.