Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Friday 30 November 2018

One section of Staging Deck complete...

Today I installed the remaining section of the north side of the staging deck.

I now have 14 feet / 4.3 metres of usable space to place six staging tracks and one arrival/departure track.

One of the great aspects of having the extra height underneath the layout, is that even with the staging deck I have managed to maintain enough room to store all of my storage bins under the staging deck.

The ability to roll along with my chair and select locomotives & rolling stock from the storage bins, then place them onto the staging yard will make it an effortless job.

There will also be the ability to "switch" the staging yard too if someone is keen enough, due to the height of the staging deck.

Back to work for the next week, so more soon.


Thursday 29 November 2018

Tweaked Staging Yard Ladder...

This morning I decided to tweak the Staging Yard ladder.  I had a couple of S Curves in the ladder and wanted to see if I could remove them.

The plan now looks like this:

First step was to extend the helix track out into a position on the Staging Deck area so that I had the right angle/reference point to work from rather than guessing it.

I also changed the turnouts to Peco SL-95 RH Turnouts, the alignment has worked much better, and I have eliminated the S Curves, along with increasing the staging track lengths a little more again.

The entire yard ladder flows much better, and has no S Curves.  The staggered alignment of the switches now allows the fronts of any locomotives to be seen while staged too.

More soon.


Wednesday 28 November 2018

Staging Deck - Yard Lead...

A suggestion was made to try a modified - pin wheel yard lead for the staging yard.  My original plan was to use the standard yard lead to allow for expansion for a caboose track and locomotive storage.

After some consideration I thought I would try the pin wheel design in AnyRail:

Once it looked like it would work in AnyRail I decided to use some PECO - Track Templates to test out the pin-wheel design on the staging deck.

I first had to add another section of plywood and connect it to the helix.

Next I cut out the track templates and checked the alignment from the connection with the helix to the staging deck.

The modified pin wheel design will give me an extra 4' (1200mm) of staging tracks and works really well.  It will also assist in being able to see the fronts of trains when they are staged.  This staging yard lead is going to be adopted and installed shortly.


Tuesday 27 November 2018

Staging Deck Installation begins...

Today I started the installation of the staging deck for the layout.  It will have six (6) tracks for storage, one arrival departure track, and a return loop.

The plan below shows the location of the deck, the tracks and return loop.  It also shows the connection between the helix and staging.

The track and turnouts are all PECO Code 100, I have departed from the Code 83 simply because of cost.

The staging deck is 5 layer plywood screwed directly to the supporting frame, the track will be secured down to this using caulking.

So far a have two sections installed, and am waiting on more turnouts to arrive so that I can get the yard ladder installed.

More soon...


Friday 23 November 2018


Four years ago today I began the installation of the detection & signalling system after I decided that I wanted to see a fully functioning signal system on my layout.

Today I wired up the last dwarf signal, and completed the entire installation!

It has involved a complete re-wire of the layout DCC system, the installation of digital power management, the standalone LocoNet, eight (8) Digitrax SE8C's, four (4) Digitrax BDL168's, one (1) Digitrax DS64, hundreds of metres/feet of both copper wire, CAT6, and 10 pair ribbon cable and 87 LED's...

Twin 23" monitors for the Panel, a year of programming signal logic into JMRI/Panel Pro...

Hours, days, months and probably a full year, have been spent underneath the layout wiring it all in, connecting multiple wires to terminal blocks, labelling wires, soldering, feeding, and clipping wires.

I have had tremendous help from three great friends who have come along for the journey, and without the help from them, this day wouldn't have arrived!

So to:

Brendan Dennis, Noel Purdy & Dennis Hare.

Thank you for offering your time so freely and for all your expert help along the way!  
To the others in our operating group that have helped with the ops sessions to test everything out, and for your advice, than you too!

Below is a photo display of all the dwarfs, masts and signal bridges that are now installed and fully operational on the layout...

For now, that concludes anymore signal installs unless there is a need when we start operating.  I can now move onto getting the staging deck installed so that I can begin operating sessions.  The only thing required to do is to install detection on the staging deck when it is completed.

Thank you to everyone who has followed along, made comments, offered help, and supported me during the install.  Stay tuned for a lot more existing stuff soon...!


Wednesday 21 November 2018

Connecting the last couple of signals...

So today I connected the last few dwarfs and final signal mast to the layout...

The triple head mast on the right protects the crossing & interchange from Carlisle Junction from Gettysburg (Staging), into the Shippensburg Classification Yard.

The two single searchlight dwarf signals protect the storage tracks for Hershey Chocolates before they enter back onto the main.


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.


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).


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