Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Monday, 12 November 2018

The very last signal to be installed...

This week marks the end of the detection & signalling journey on the layout.

I have this final staggered signal mast to be installed and I have completed the signal portion of the layout build.


I still have to install detection on the staging deck which will begin when the signals are all installed.  But this mast will be the last one required on the layout, and will be the conclusion to four years of work installing it all.

Jas...

Friday, 2 November 2018

MRH - Detection & Signalling Article - Part 2...

Yesterday Part 2 of my three part article series was released in Model Railroad Hobbyist - Magazine (MRH).




https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/magazine/mrh2018-11/electrical-impulses

Part 2 follows the installation side of the two systems on my layout.

Jas...

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Last couple of dwarf signals...

Over the past week I have been making the last few single & double head dwarf signals to be placed onto the layout.

I also had to re-position the Shippensburg signal bridge to be in a more prototypical position after I installed the new Peco - Unifrog - Double Slip Switch.


The re-positioning has allowed for an extra 8-10" of mainline track to be gained between the previous block boundary/signal mast.

Jas...

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Western Maryland on the Operating Roster...

Today I took delivery of the latest editions to the layout fleet.  I've been wanting to expand the Operating Railroads on the layout to those that interchanged with the Reading Lines.

The best part about the WM was that it lived on in it's Circus Color Scheme into the Conrail merger era.  I'll be able to shift the layout to after April 1976 with multi-road lash-ups.



The SD40 & GP35 are both Athearn RTR models that have been out of production for sometime.  



The caboose is an Atlas.  Next stage will be to add LokSound - Select Direct decoders to both the SD40 & GP35 with sugar cube speakers.

Jas...

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Latest locomotive to join the roster...

This week the latest locomotive has joined the Reading roster on the layout.

This is a HO - Kato Reading Lines GP35.  It was the original #3647 Kato OEM model that has been re-numbered to #3642 and weathered by Chris Thompson.
































The GP35 will get a LokSound - Select Direct with sugar cube speaker and LED lights shortly before joining operations.

Jas...

Monday, 1 October 2018

MRH Signal Article Series...

My next article for MRH has been published in the October issues.  The three part series running through October, November & December is on the installation of the detection & signaling system on my layout.



The first part is on the planning and considerations required when considering signalling.

https://model-railroad-hobbyisut.com/magazine/mrh2018-10/electrical-impulses

Jas...




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...

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

More Helix Loops & Track Laying...

Today was another day of cutting out helix sections and laying track.  The process is going fairly well, the time consuming part is laying the track and aligning it with the gauge to match the radius.



The RibbonRail radius gauge makes it easy to maintain the correct 28" radius, I'm also using it as a spacer for the stitching screws.

The addition of each helix sections goes quickly, and using the stitching plates to secure the sections is an easy method to secure them.  At the end of today I have managed to get two full loops completed.



I also collected today the materials for the helix supports.  The method I'm using is 3/8" All-thread placed through each deck and secured with washers & nuts.  This method allows the grade to be set by adjusting the location of the washer & nut along the all-thread. 


Hopefully tomorrow I will have the remaining sections of the helix with track work completed and ready for the grade to be set.

Jas...

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Helix Base Framework completed...

Today I finished installing the framework for the helix base. Fairly simple construction that can be removed easily, the helix base is supported in several locations.



I have decided to use Peco Code 100 - Flextrack for the entire helix & staging area. It will save on cost compared to Code 83 and the higher rail allows for the flex track to be screw downed with stitching screws in the helix.


The stitching screws wok extremely well as they act like a flat head screw with a washer, but are all in one.



I have installed on section of flextrack today and secured in place with the stitching screws, I have also checked the radius with a Ribbon Rail 28" alignment gauge.


I'm hoping to have the remaining loops cut out tomorrow, and then beginning installing them and the flextrack as I progress.  I will also be purchasing the all-thread, nuts & washes for the supports too.

Jas...