2016-2017 Ninth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 29, 2016

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  1. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Another hectic week around here but I did still get a few things done on the layout.

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    Got the tracks connected on both lines between the Wesso section and the helix. This included the transition between Micro Engineering code 55 on Wesso and Atlas code 80 on the helix. Also got a coat of primer on the fascia and lighting valance that I had put up last week.


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    Got a finish coat of my "train room trim" color on the bottom of the LED light panels for the Carlin section. Also started to wire the lighting circuit. Shown here with one cover off and the other on and the whole thing sitting on edge to do the work. The rounded notches on the bottom are for the shelf brackets to go through when this section is in place on the layout. I realize that this strays a bit from my stated goals for the party but I had been doing some house painting projects during the last week and once in that mode, just looked around the train room for anything ready to be painted.


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    Here is the same section in it's place in the layout. Once LED lights are installed on those panels the staging yard will be lighted. It may be some time before track and scenery are started on this section but it will good to get the yard lighted.

    Another thing that got accomplished within the last few days was that my wife got a new laptop and gave me her old one to use as a decoder programmer that I can keep in the train room. I was able to install Decoder Pro and got it working. I know for many that would be an easy task but I am not so computer savvy and for me this was the weeks biggest accomplishment !
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Spent the last 2 weeks getting ready for yesterday's open house/operating session.
    1. I completed installation of some more tortoises for turnouts previously using ground throws in the Darst block;
    2. revised some of the routes through the Peoria Helix that I'd originally set up 2 weeks ago;
    3. put up some fascia labels for the Darst block, the Peoria Helix, and the Bartonville Helix (Pekin Helix already had labels and fascia LEDs to indicate routes selected from 2 weeks ago);
    4. added another tortoise and LED on the layout (like a dwarf signal to indicate turnout position) where the passing siding joins the main in Darst block;
    5. put in a tortoise and 2 LEDs (as dwarf signals) in the Bridge Jct block. This ground throw was a little hard for operators to reach, but installing the tortoise helps operators and also makes it possible for a dispatcher to control that turnout in the future.
    Pic of the added Darst LED.
    Pic of the Bridge Jct LEDs. Because there are lower deck lighting and an L-girder under the turnout, the tortoise is mounted on top of the layout hidden in the white tank near the LEDs. 6. Shortly after my last progress report, I finished putting in the fascia push buttons for the North Yard turnouts in the Keystone Steel and Wire Mill, and took pics today. The first pic shows the panel inside the Keystone Mill aisle and the second is the North Yard seen from the main aisle. Operators bringing cars from the large rail yard and the scrap yard work KSW's North Yard from the main aisle and the Mill Job operators work it from the Keystone aisle.
    7. Late last week I put "water" (glossy enamel spray paint on foamboard) in the Bartonville Water Treatment Plant.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
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  3. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Long weekend means life has more opportunity to sneak in. My nieces are growing like weeds! ;)
    If the sun comes out, the train room is too hot to occupy :( So my efforts have been curtailed.

    But still, I managed to buy some steel rod and trim it to length; I now have a compass for my plunge router.
    [​IMG] (click to embiggen)
    The little wood block is screwed to the middle of the curve, and the metal rods adjusted by friction to the right length. One improvement it needs are set-screws on the wooden block, to hold the radius more precisely.

    [​IMG] (click to embiggen)
    With the router jig I made a curved stencil, with tangent track on one end and 400mm radius on the outside (about 16") and 360mm radius on the inside (about 14.5"). Stencil can be used on any curve on any surface, and flipped over to be used on any other curve.

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    Using my new stencil, I made halfway-accurate markings for the centre lines of the tracks on the staging deck. If I want to use cork, I can lay it around the curve and glue and spike it. If I skip the cork, I can lay flextrack around the curve directly.
    The staging deck is no-way scenic, being dominated by the helix supports, does it need cork? :)

    Loving the progress shots (y) making me a little jealous that y'all have scenery and I have.. plywood.
    Oh yeah, I went back to check how long I have to finish my first goal of running a train on the staging deck; and 9 March is a Thursday, not a Sunday...
     
  4. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Again this week I strayed from my previously stated goals and instead continued work on the lighting for the staging yard.

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    Finished wiring the Carlin section for the LED lighting panels and got all of the LED units installed on the two panels, 8 on each panel. From past experience with the double stick tape this LED units come with, I peel it off each one and attached them with E6000 adhesive.

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    Here is the backside of one of the panels showing the wiring.

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    It is nice to have the staging yard and display case lighted.

    Also got down to my local hobby shop and picked up some more Micro Engineering code 55 track and got a deal on another PSX-AR on ebay, both of which will be needed as the layout grows.
     
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  5. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    In addition to work on the layout itself, I spent a lot of time setting up a schedule of what trains would be where on the layout at any given moment. This is a (rough draft) graph of the schedule:
    There are 26 trains going to and from the East Peoria Yard, which is modeled on the upper deck, to 13 Regional cities modeled on the lower deck (the Northern and Southern Divisions). And there are 9 trains (all turns) that move cars from the EP Yard out to industries and rail yards in the Peoria and Pekin area (Eastern and Western Divisions modeled on the upper deck), and then bring an equal number of cars back to the EP Yard.
    Time Table Pic:
    I used the time tables developed a year or so ago and (tweaked extensively in the past few months) to figure out a sequence/order for the trains to run in, that minimized how often and how long one operator must stop his train and wait for another operator to finish their job, and that also minimized people meets in the porch area (a 4.5ft x35ft former fruit cellar with one door but 3 mainline tracks looping into, around, and then back out to the main 35ftx35ft area of the basement/trainroom). Depending on which mainline a train is on and the amount of switching necessary for that train, an operator needs 4.5 to 9+ minutes to loop through the porch area...and since the aisle is only wide enough for one operator at a time, trains on the 3 mainlines had to be scheduled as if all 3 mainlines were using the same track. I settled on a schedule that worked (on paper, at least); but, Saturday's session was not a true test of the schedule because we were intentionally working at a much slower pace than plotted in the time tables and on the graph (that is, instead of 4 to 10 minutes between trains going through the porch, we had 10 to 15 minutes, and sometimes more). As a result of not sticking precisely to the schedule, no operators were forced to wait to get into the porch area.

    On the other hand (...sigh...), the reason we had so much time between trains through the porch area, was because of problems in the East Peoria Yard. Even the intentionally slow pace of the session could not disguise the significant delays I had inadvertently designed into my selectively compressed yard in 2003. At that time, I had not included a track along the back of the yard shown in an actual blueprint of the EP Yard from the 1950s. That track's purpose, (I finally realized on Saturday) was to allow locomotives access to the classification tracks on which their trains had been built without interfering with the yard switcher simultaneously classifying cars nearby. Contrary to my post two weeks ago, I AM going to have to change the ladder in the middle of the yard, after all.

    I suspect I never had this problem in previous op sessions because, in the past, there were only 1 or 2 operators on the mainlines instead of 4 or 5, so they didn't bunch up so much in the porch and in the EP Yard...and, even if they did, the delay was seconds instead of minutes.

    After getting the train schedule set up early last week, I scrambled to create paperwork for the Yard Master to use in building the trains with the correct types and numbers of cars, and having them ready to depart on the correct tracks in the correct order. In past op sessions, I had set up all trains and staged them all on the correct tracks in the EP Yard and in the 13 regional cities. For this session, I pre-staged some the trains outbound early in the session, but the YM was to build the outbound trains leaving later in the session by using cars that arrived on inbound trains during the 1st half of the session. Bad planning on my part...I still had too many trains ready to go, so the YM didn't have enough room any place to put the inbound cars. To remedy this, we tried to send out the pre-staged trains a little sooner in the order than actually scheduled, but that solution doubled the number of trains trying to access the classification tracks, so the YM still struggled due to having too many other locos getting in his way.

    Ah well, I'm learning... and I believe the next session will be better because of lessons learned.


    This is part of the list of outbound trains sheet that the Yard Master used to structure which trains he built on which tracks:
    It shows each outgoing train's name, departure time (although we just took them in order for this session, not on a clock schedule), the number of cars in the train, and types of cars. Each track in the yard had a label for the train being built on it. For example, the first outbound train of the session was the AM Scrap Job on Track 9 in the A Yard, and the paperwork shows departure at 0:00, 14 cars, all gons with large scrap loads; the second was the CIM Transfer (on Track 3 in the B Yard), with paperwork showing 0:24 departure, 16 cars (2 Corn Products cars +2 scrap metal gons + 12 mix cars (any kind of car available) = 16 cars.
    Because the YM's list of outbound trains to build throughout the session was several pages long (wide), and because the YM would be progressing across each page as the session went on and would (at some point in the future), need to start the next "day" over at the beginning of the list, and was in danger of getting pages out of order, I taped the list into a tube that could be folded flat and still fit on a clipboard:
    All the YM has to do is flatten the tube so it shows just the trains that he has to work on next. I also put some hooks on the suspended ceiling rails so he could hang his clipboard up out of the way yet still refer to it as needed.
    The YM also needed a way to assign cars to the 4 Local Jobs (to industries in East Peoria, Peoria, Pekin, and Bartonville). So, for each of the 4 Local Jobs, I developed a car selection checklist that guide how many of what types of cars could be accepted at industries in the various cities. The Peoria Local Job Yard Master Checklist looks like this:
    He must put 2 scrap gons in the Peoria Local Job, and then fill in the rest of his 12 cars from the options below: up to 9 box cars (because the Peoria Local has industrial spots for 9 boxcars, up to 2 center-panels, 3 2bay covered hoppers, etc until the train has a full compliment of 12 cars.
    As he puts cars on the track, he checks off a circle for each car he puts on the track until he has the proper number of cars in this train. (And never has to read the tiny N-scale letters/numbers, nor juggle car cards for every car passing through his yard.) The YM's checklist lists car types alphabetically, so, if he has a box car to classify, he looks at the top of the next checklist for the first train that still needs more cars AND has not yet filled all of the boxcar circles yet. Since there are usually only 4 or 5 specified cars out of 12 to 18 cars needed per train, it may be possible to completely classify 12 cars in just 3 or 4 pushes/pulls.

    I also developed switchlists for the operators to fill in (somewhat like a rail agent would) showing which cars in their train would be delivered to which industries served by their train. The first stop for each of the Local Jobs is a satellite yard where they assign each car to an industry, and then block their train for the most efficient switching before proceeding with picking up and setting out cars in each industry. Many of the industries still have the index cards describing what types of cars go where in that industry. The East Peoria Local Switchlist showing the Industry names, Max # of cars that can be spotted there, the types of cars that can be spotted at that industry, and boxes for the operator to insert each cars RR initials (and maybe color or other identifying detail) to distinguish each car from similar appearing cars.

    This week I'm going to reconfigure the ladder in the middle of the yard, and do some work on several locomotives that didn't perform well.
    If I have time before going out of town this Friday, I'm also going to address some electrical concerns I noticed last Thursday and only partially resolved for Saturday's session. I eliminated the full system shut down that was occurring whenever locomotives passed to a different power manager by tweaking the short circuit sensitivity CVs of my Command Station and 2 boosters; but learned Saturday, that I also need to connect the grounds for all 3 devices to eliminate the persisting buzz-but without shutdown-that still occurred Saturday whenever locos passed from one power managed block to the next.
     
  6. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Another ATSF Admirer posted:
    "Oh yeah, I went back to check how long I have to finish my first goal of running a train on the staging deck; and 9 March is a Thursday, not a Sunday..."

    Yep, My mistake. Good catch.
    I've edited the original post.

    Don't beat yourself up about how much plywood shows today...Underneath EACH AND EVERY beautifully sceniced layout you can point to, is a sheet of plywood, foam, hollow core door, etc that once had ZERO scenery. So, think of yourself as being in good company, because tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, you are going to be working diligently to make your layout just as beautiful as theirs.
     
  7. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Supporter

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    And pour just as much resin on the shelves below the layout as everyone else... Somehow all those 2-part "beautiful lake" compounds find every gap in the riverbed and flow downhill :)

    I think the important thing this time around is, don't rush things. Rushing leads to mistakes. Mistakes lead to frustration. Frustration leads to giving up.

    Keep up the good work everyone, and I look forward to more status updates :D
     
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  8. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    Accomplished almost nothing this weekend. I sorted about 170 cars at Ravenswood yard for checking weight and truck maintenance in the near future. I had a self-inflicted "Mid-Layout Crisis" leading into the weekend. I decided I wasn't happy with the "linear" nature of most of the layout. I have fiddled with XTrackCAD a bit on Saturday and cannot come up with a way to utilize the current sections of Ravenswood Yard and put it into a large curve. The room is too narrow at 11'-3" and the main line curvature would result in 20" radius, not acceptable to me. So, I'll live with the current plan because it was necessary to maximize the shared space with the kids as a play area.

    Anyhow, I'm all out of flex track and things are tight now since it is the winter season. I just refuse to be a moron with my finances.... been there, done that. Anyhow, I think I can come up with smaller things to do on the layout to hold me over another month. I am going to build 4 more Fast Tracks #6 turnouts this week, I need to install one for a spontaneous steel fabricator business I decided to add at the west end of Ravenswood. Another one will replace a bad Shinohara turnout and the last two for future track progress around Sanoma and Elizabeth.
     
  9. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  10. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I can relate to that, it is in those times I have to find something to work on that I already have all the materials for.
     
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  11. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Back on goal this week working on the 3 ft section that I call Gloconda.

    Bridge abutment for WP bridge on west side of Humboldt River at Gloconda.

    The bridge abutments for both bridges had already been painted and now I am adding some weathering with black acrylic wash. Maybe later I will also add some rust streaks, etc. with weathering powers.

    Air brushed the CMV through truss bridge with Floquil Oil Silver a few days ago. Then today started to apply some weathering washes and some dry brushed rust in a few areas. Really like how the wash brings out the details on this bridge.

    The sectional concrete bridge for the SP line also got painted. In the photos below the bents for that bridge are covered in blue painters tape.


    View of WP bridge from east side of the Humboldt River.

    I have also been working with the river itself. Using artist acrylics started with a coat of black. Then using a blend of black, brown, blue, and two different greens to get what is seen in both of these photos. I like the look when it is wet as it is in the photos but after it dries it seems too dark and of course no luster. Hopefully a coat of gloss medium will help. I am also considering using Enviro-tex but may try the gloss medium first. This river will appear several times in the layout and what ever I have here in Gloconda I want to be able to reproduce the same look in those other areas.

    View of WP bridge from west side of the Humboldt River.
     
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  12. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Long Weekend means more time to work on the layout! Until the sun chases me out.

    [​IMG]
    I did some quick experiments, with tracks spaced 30mm apart, Mk.1 fingers just fit between to fix derailments without making more, and with tracks spaced 40mm apart, there is room to spare.
    So I fit 9 tracks on the staging yard with the four closest to the aisle at 30mm and the five further at 40mm. I can (just!) fit my head under the shelf to get a closer look at any problems :)

    Much of Saturday went into building the framing for the staging yard Approach Selector Track; measure twice and jigsaw once.
    [​IMG]
    The underside of the selector track arm has two washers to reduce friction and help vertical alignment. The pivot pin is a M4 bolt that turns freely inside a brass tube. I don't intend to carry power over the pivot.

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    Cork is glued down with PVA and the PCB is done with "supa glue", which grabs quick and will hold wood to metal fine for non-load-bearing work. 4" to the right of the pivot a black centre line marks where the track will be glued and pinned (to help it not move around), and equally the first 4" past the PCB on the arm will also be glued and pinned. While the track in the middle will slide sideways freely - the selector track arm cork is wide enough to support the track over "the pit" :)

    [​IMG]
    Here I have soldered brass stock to the PCBs, a slightly-smaller diameter of stock then slides tightly inside the fixed tube and this forms my alignment mechanism: a little brass bolt on the wide part of the arm, which is slid back, the arm moved by Armstrong to the next track, and the bolt slid home to guarantee alignment. The bolt can carry power, and I will probably use this to ensure only the aligned staging track is powered.

    Tip to anyone building one at home: space the tracks further apart!. The bolt will be at left-rail polarity, but it almost touches the right rail of the next lane in places. :( With 20-25mm between tracks, I have just enough space to carve an insulating gap, but 30mm would have been nicer. Of course, yard tracks 30mm and approach tracks 30mm, that might lead to some fun curves at the yard throat!

    Finally, since I opened the tube of caulk anyway, I decided to glue down cork on the entire staging deck.
    [​IMG]

    I will experiment with this cork to see if the caulk can be lifted with a putty knife, or if this is a permanent glue. Ultimately I want to find a glue/caulk which will hold track through a 16" curve with a minimum of fuss, but can be lifted with a large flat object (like a putty knife) every year or two to make required changes. Most American brands are not available this far south, so I am on my own!


    So, in all a productive weekend. If summer stays around I won't get much done in the evenings. Generally next will be to lay track on the staging deck and start ironing out wrinkles on the selector track, and then lay track around the staging deck. (and that's Goal One for this layout party) :D
     
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  13. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Still waiting for the ordered turnouts to arrive.

    Lessons learned from last week's operating session...and subsequent Layout Party goals:
    1. I need to have full job descriptions for every operator done by the next session. Only a limited number had the updated job descriptions which included the new routes/switches to use and new forms for managing switchlists and blocking cars for more efficient switching...the remainder used the old job descriptions which relied on industrial cards on the fascia for guiding switching tasks.
    2. I had way too many trains already staged in the yard, so arriving trains had nowhere to be classified; and the single lead in and out of the B Yard meant the yard switcher trying to classify cars and all the arriving/departing trains competed for the same track. Soooo...I've redesigned the main yard by adding:
    a. 4 more A Yard classification tracks;
    b. separate leads for B Yard Tracks 1-9 and B Yard Tracks 10 though 20. The trains will be built on the corresponding track in the reverse order they are run, and when the next session starts, they'll be staged so that half are already built on Tracks 10-20 and can depart on the Middle Lead (which serves B Yard tracks 10-20) while the other lead (B Yard Lead serving Trks 1-9) is being used to build trains to be run in the 2nd half of the session. When all trains on B Yard Tracks 10-20 have been run, the yard switcher works Tracks 10-20 from the Middle Yard Lead and trains depart from Tracks 1-9 by the B Yard Lead.
    3. There will now only be 5 arrival tracks instead of 6, but the reconfigured yard will have a running track from the Arrival Yard to the Main and Diesel Shop that permits locos to drop off cars in the Arrival Yard and park in the Diesel Shop area without interfering with yard switchers working either the B Yard or A Yard Leads. I'm also changing the A and B Yards so that all trains bringing cars from local industries to be sent out to regional RR cities will be classified on the B Yard tracks (i.e., will be used to build trains that go north or south out of the B yard to regional RR cities); and all cars coming into the yard from regional RR cities to be sent to local industries, will be classified on the A Yard tracks (i.e., will be used to build trains that deliver cars west and south to industries). I had been having both trains to regional cities and trains to local industries being classified in both the A and B Yards, but now, all regional city trains are built and depart from the B Yard, and all trains to local industries are built and depart from the A Yard. This adjustment, in combination with separating arrival and departure leads from classification leads, will allow much more efficient scheduling of arrivals and departures.
    4. I need to tweak how I've scheduled transfer trains to and from industries in Peoria, Bartonville, and Pekin, and how I've staged cars in those industries...too many of the industrial jobs (AM/PM IBS Scrap Yard Jobs, AM/PM Keystone Mill Jobs, AM/PM Corn Products Jobs) were staged in a way that made it necessary to complete the industrial job before the PPU AM/PM Transfer Jobs to those industries could be run (slowing down departures from the A Yard.) Next time, I'll set up these jobs so that the in-plant industrial jobs don't even start until the AM Transfer train for that industry has been run. This way, departures from the Yard can occur without being dependent on whether or not the industrial job has been finished (because the cars to be picked up by the AM transfer job will have been already staged by the PM shift's operator during the last session, or by me when I set up for the session. And if problems arise and a particular AM industrial job isn't completed, the PM Transfer Jobs can still be run, as long as someone, probably me, swaps out any unfinished loads so the Transfer Job operator can still pick up the proper number of outbound cars to keep other jobs running smoothly.
    5. I had overlapped the schedules of 4 interchange and industrial switching jobs in the long, narrow, dead-end aisle of the Porch, but this caused too much congestion and delays. So, I'm going to spread out these 4 jobs over several hours, instead of concentrating them in a single hour in the middle of the op session. This will allow the PPU Pekin Local Job, the PPU SF-CIM Transfer Job, the CIM Switching Job, and the SF Switching Job to avoid delays caused by getting in each others' way when more than one is switching in the narrow the Porch aisle.

    Over the past weekend, I did a 3-way swap of my wife's writing desk for my daughter's rolltop desk for my 2-drawer table/dispatcher's "desk". Monday, I moved a bookcase, some shelves, and one of the legs on my upper deck to accommodate the 42W"x32.5D" rolltop desk. Sadly, yesterday I discovered that, even with the "rolltop" portion removed, the 30.5" high desk-without-rolltop was too high to fit through the 29.5" stairwell door to my basement/trainroom...so my wife now has a beautiful rolltop desk, my daughter and grand-daughter have a lovely little writing desk, and I'm still stuck with my functional but small 20"x34" dispatcher's desk.

    Ah well,... At least I got some more trees and shrubs planted on my layout, yesterday; and (after about 4 years of looking at the bare OSB panel that forms the bottom of the channel) have started to put some "water" in the channel by the Keystone Mill's barge facility:
    While working in the area, I cut out a slightly different mock-up of the roofline for the silos on the right at Allied Mills. It's closer to the prototype, but still needs a lot of work before I'll consider starting to kitbash/scratchbuild the final model.

    In order to address some electrical concerns that were only partially resolved for the op session, and to implement what I learned from a hobby shop owner/Digitrax dealer who participated in the op session, this morning I added a grounding wire between my Digitrax Command Station and Booster on one side of the basement/trainroom and a second Booster on the other side of the basement/trainroom. $#%^&*...No Joy: The buzzing still occurs when locos pass from one power managed section to another. Later this week, I'll contact the LHS owner about my next step.
     
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  14. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    This time I am the one who got the new computer after 11 years with the old one. Going from Windows XP to 10 is a big learning curve. This is my first post on the new computer.

    On the layout I got the segmented concrete trestle weathered. When I removed the blue painters tape I had on the bents to protect them pulled off some of the paint when I removed it. I touched up the paint by hand then progressed with some black weathering wash. Then I added some rust streaks with weathering powders. Have also started to finish the basic ground scenery around the abutments.

    Will next be adding some detail to the ground around both bridges and possibly some rock outcroppings. Then this section should be ready for track and attachment to the rest of the layout so stay tuned. Here are a couple of photos.

     
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  15. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice work!
     
  16. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Took some pics of the Keystone Steel Mill barge track, slag track, and channel after planting trees and bushes, finishing the water in this part of the channel, adding a retaining wall along the channel, and putting down some ballast.

    The ordered turnouts arrived on Thursday, so I've started reconfiguring the yard.
    There are now 4 new classification tracks under the blue box where the B Yard lead and south end of the 6 arrival yard tracks used to be. The 3 tracks to the right of the blue box are the Middle Lead (to B Yard Tracks 11-20), the B Yard Lead to B Yard Tracks 1-10 and 11-20, and the Arrival Yard Lead to the 5 Arrival Tracks. The last track is the Main which goes from Wesley and Wesley Junction at the south end (A End) of the yard to P&PU Junction at the north end (B End) of the yard.

    4 new A Yard classification tracks; Middle Yard Lead to B Yard Trks 11-20; B Yard Lead to Tracks 11-20, Trks 1-10, caboose trk, and Arrival Tracks 1-5; Arrival Yard Lead; and Main. I realized this morning that my right hand crossover between the B Yard Lead and the Middle Lead isn't where I had intended to place it. I'll need to shift it down to about where the pile of turnouts is, so the yard switcher can pull cars from the Arrival tracks onto the B Yard Lead AND onto the Middle Lead as well. My whole reason for reconfiguring the yard, is so I can build trains in one half of the B Yard in the morning from one lead, while trains built the previous shift (operating session) can depart from the other half of the B Yard on the other lead without interrupting the yard switcher. And then, during the 2nd half of the day (operating session), the yard switcher builds trains in the other half of the yard, while trains built in the morning depart on the other lead.

    Except for the misplaced crossover (and some poorly aligned turnouts that I just noticed in one of the pictures), most of the other turnouts are positioned where I want them, so I can continue re-connecting them to the tracks that didn't need to be moved. Then, I'll re-solder feeders, and re-install the ground throws.
     
  17. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    I decided over the weekend to do a significant realignment of Ravenswood Yard on the bottom level. Right now, there is a straight 37'-6" run from Westbound staging to the first curve at Silverton. I've never really like this arrangement as it felt too "linear". I also had concerns with being able to reuse the sections I already had built. Here is the lower level track plan today:

    39.5x11lo_png.png

    After measuring and thinking over the last two weeks, I came up with this realignment. I'm hoping to be able to put the realignment at a certain grade so that I can squeeze staging underneath the engine facility and the lift-out. I'll build another lift-out for staging if necessary. My only concern is the 22" and 24" radius curvature of the main tracks at Ravenswood. I shouldn't have any problems here, the rest of the layout has 30" radius curves or higher.
    22x11lo.png
     
  18. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Supporter

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    This week has been working on the selector approach track some more, and hiding from the summer.. rain? It's not very summery this year! Not much heat, but way too much humidity.

    [​IMG]
    So I encountered a problem. The brass stock I was going to use for aligning the tracks is so large it collides with the passing trains, guaranteeing a derailment. Very annoying, and glad I caught that this early.

    Out comes the soldering iron and off come all the little brass tubes. Good thing this is an out-of-sight thing, because the pools of solder are getting ugly :)

    Instead I will go with Plan C: vertical alignment holes.
    [​IMG]
    I've drilled oversize holes and then fitted the brass stock in them, so I keep a metal-on-metal contact.
    Although, the multi-meter says I have 0.5 to 5.5 ohms of resistance across the brass stock. In short, it is probably too corroded to carry current. and if I mechanically polish the metal, it will change shape and probably not work as a locating pin anymore.

    I've also built the half-lap sliding joint on the curved end of the selector track. I had some more luck here. I think the answer is just that old saying - "slow and steady files the rail."
    [​IMG]
    The sliding rails are on the left and they are on the inside of the rail joiner. The stationary rails on the right are soldered to the rail joiners on the outside. And both are filed to a point so they slide past each other. Then, to stop the inside rail "picking" at the approaching wheels, I filed the top of the sliding rails, so they sit below the stationary rails. In the end, because the swing arm only moves about 45 degrees total, the rails only change in length by 2-3mm (1/10-1/8") each, which means this joint is probably over-engineered!

    With the swing arm working, I have started gluing down the staging yard tracks. With the weather, I am usually doing 1-2 tracks a night and then weighing them down for the caulk to cure. Currently (Tuesday) 7/9 are done. I am also rolling my test double-stack well-car over each joint after it is soldered, so I can fix any mistakes before they are permanent!

    At the same time I have spiked down the three turnouts for the staging deck proper and started looking at how to actuate them. Two are well clear, the third has a support beam right under it! The offset hole on my tortoise means it would fit under the plywood; but I need a new geometry for the spring wire to actually throw the turnout when it's not in the center hole...

    So certainly a week of challenges. This week I hope to get the rest of the yard tracks down before life drags me away. It would be nice to actually run a train around under it's own power; but I have to temper my haste - "slow and steady doesn't kink the rails" and all that.
     
  19. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Over the weekend and on Monday this is what I got done on the Gloconda section.

    Added a few small rock outcroppings to the area around the river from both plaster casts and actual rocks.

    Next started adding some of the Scenic Express grass tufts of various shades, placing the greener ones at the edges of the river.

    Also used some Woodland Scenics coarse ground foam in a couple of shades of green to represent the type of scrub brush common to deserts areas. Here is an overall view of the area without the bridges.

    Late last night the Gloconda section was mounted in place on the layout. This is a view of it now with the bridges again set in place. Next I will be blending the scenery at the seam between it and the Wesso section, then making the final install of the bridges and installing track.
     
  20. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice bridges :)

    I got ahead of myself
    [​IMG]

    Okay, it's not Monday, and it's not ATSF, but I got an engine onto the track :D

    Longest wheel-base engine coupled to long wheelbase cars to run backwards and forwards through the trackwork on the staging deck. Because longer cars find derail places faster and frequenter than short ones.

    This one manages to run from the long siding where trains will change direction, to a pretend helix, without any issues at all. So I am impressed with that. We'll see if it remains true when I finish the loop and get the staging yard in place!

    Typing of the staging yard,
    [​IMG]
    I also cut insulation gaps in the alignment board for the staging yard with Mr Dremel, and checked they were no longer shorted with Mr Multimeter. All the cork is glued down now, and I can finish adding the short track lengths at the far end of the board. Then I can solder feeders and install it onto the layout.

    Next to finish the loop around the other side of the helix and actually run trains on the staging deck. Maybe I should try a Kato SD40 in yellowbonnet next? :cool:
     

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