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Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Friday 26 February 2016

Track Work Alterations Finished...

The last two days I have been working on finishing off the remaining changes & additions to the track work for Rutherford Yard and the Locomotive Servicing Facility including the new switch lead and river crossing.

I needed to add two double slip switches to the Rutherford Yard lead and add the switch lead which extends over the Susquehanna River (duck under) to the servicing facility.  I was also waiting on a second Walther's Single Track - Truss Bridge which has now been finished and installed and the track work connecting the switch lead to the servicing facility is complete.

This will allow locomotives to be cut out of consists for maintenance, re-fuelling and/or sanding and keep the yard clear.  It will allow interchange locomotives from the Shippensburg Classification Yard to also use the servicing facility too.

The final stage was the alteration and addition of the two double slip switches to the Rutherford Yard lead, and the addition of the switch lead too.  These three key additions allow the yard to be switched and for cars to be cut and blocked without having to block or interrupt the main.  It also allows locals to be dispatched to either the south (through Rutherford & Manheim) and to the north (via Carlisle Junction & Shippensburg).

The next stage is to test out the yard for operations and begin to map out and build the operating sessions for the layout.


Friday 19 February 2016

More programming of the Panel Pro - Panel...

Whilst waiting for my next lot of track and turnouts to arrive I decided to work on the programming of the turnouts and blocks into the layout panel.

It is quite a mind numbing and repetitive task, but it is made a lot easier as JMRI can be quite portable even though our layout is run by a fixed desktop PC running Windows - XP.

JMRI has a neat little feature called WebServer, this allows you to remotely run or see what screens you have open in JMRI.  So yesterday whilst programming the turnouts I need to record each of them on paper and the location and if they had an associated block (detection section) connected to them.

To do this I had WiThrottle running on my iPad (which has WebServer in the app too) and had the LocoNet Monitor tab up and running on it.

To ensure that the fascia push buttons are corresponding with the turnout address on the SE8C and that what is recorded is correct I can use the LocoNet Monitor to see the exact address being used by JMRI.

This allows me to move around under the layout and record on the layout sheets and label them as well without having to continually move back and forward from the PC to the area I'm working in.  I can also bring the physical layout panel up to in WebServer to check block detection as well.

When all of this is recorded it's time to input it the information into the panel in Edit Mode.  This is time consuming and requires a lot of double checking, sometimes need to be "inverted" so that they are showing the correct position on the panel and layout.

This is also a great time to see if the panel is corresponding to the physical layout relating to block and turnout positions.  Once completed it will be time to add the signal logic to the centre peninsula area, we will be running the APB System on the layout.


Friday 5 February 2016

Fascia installed for the Loco Servicing Facility...

So today was an odd job day as I I'm waiting on the cork sheet for the loco servicing area, and some more turnouts from the USA.

So I decided to install the fascia to the Locomotive Servicing Facility area, this is also the dispatchers area & work bench (all underneath) so it was good to get this area finished and not have to worry about dust anymore.

The fascia is again the 3mm - 1/8" MDF board and continues on with the theme of the remainder of the layout, it is a little shorter as it has to just cover the LED tube work light and not block the dual monitors for the dispatcher.

The ability of the MDF to be able to be bent into a fairly tight radius makes the fascia flow really well and eliminates hard corners or angles.

To soften the corner on this section I have installed a hardwood end cap that is rounded and finishes off the end without any seams visible either.


Locomotive Service Facility...

Over the last two days we have been in the process of installing the Rutherford Yard switch lead which leads into the future Locomotive Service Facility.

In order to get the track levels and alignment right I decided to start the service facility track work.  I had planned on a certain design but as normal it turned out to be a little different to the original on the plan.

The track to the left is the Gettysburg Interchange that runs into Carlisle Junction, the track on the right is the switch lead for Rutherford Yard that runs over the Susquehanna River over the new bridge that has been installed.

After the track design was finalised and photographed it was time to install the plaster/drywall sub roadbed to the service facility area.

Once some 3mm - 1/8" cork sheet arrives this will be placed over the plaster/drywall and the track work will be reinstalled.

I also installed the Midwest - Cork Roadbed to the switch lead & interchange tracks leading to the facility area.


Update on the new switch lead & river crossing...

So after adding the new timber frame to the duck under and cutting out the plywood top I decided to continue on and place the new switch lead bridge that crosses the Susquehanna River and install the river canyon into the timber frame work.

The river is cut into about half of the timber frame work and contoured to provided a steep and gradual slope on either side.  The bottom will have a 3mm - 1/8" plywood bottom placed onto it and padded to stop those pesky head strikes on angled timber.

I also had time to install the front fascia for this section too...

The fascia continues the theme from the rest of the layout although a little shorter.


Monday 1 February 2016

Construction of the new switch lead & bridge crossing...

So while waiting for the other double slip switch to arrive to complete Rutherford Yard track work I decided to start building the new frame work for the extension to the duck under.

The decision to extend the duck under was to allow the new switch lead for Rutherford Yard to extend across the main aisle of the layout to the locomotive service facility above the dispatchers desk.  

The original version of the mainline bridge crossing from Harrisburg to Carlisle Junction over the Susquehanna River was designed to be lifted out if needed.  And since starting five years ago the lift out has maybe been out twice.  So the decision to make it permanently fixed has been made.

The existing frame work is quite sturdy so it only requires a little more to be added too.  The pine timber is 120mm x 19mm and is covered with 12mm plywood, the river contour will be cut out at a later stage.

First step was to add the extra pine frame work:

The new frame work and existing is screwed back into the major benchwork, and if really needed could be removed at a later date.

Next step was to add the plywood top:

The addition of the new switch lead required the deepening & widening of the lead running in the bench work next to the mainline.  It also required the alteration of the plywood that was placed in the wall cavity to stop locos & rolling stock taking the long drop down to the floor.

Once the grade and alignment was set it was time to add the Midwest Cork Roadbed, then once this had set to the bench work the grade had to be levelled to remove any undulations.

Then when this was correct the track work was added and checked along with the radius of the curve.

When I was happy with the track, roadbed, grade and radius of the curve it was time to setup the location of the new truss bridge.  Fortunately the new bridge will be the same Walthers - Single Track Truss Bridge, so setting up was a matter of using the existing one for reference.

Next stage will be the installation of the remaining cork roadbed and track work...