2014-2015 Seventh Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 13, 2014

  1. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    I now have a final "Phase I" track plan as approved by the zoning / land grant authorities:
    [​IMG]
    I hope to get it built and wired for three train operation by March 1st.
     
  2. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    2014-12-27%u00252B18.54.41.jpg

    So, I picked up a sheet of 3/4" foam, and cut it to the rough dimensions and laid out the track. Getting closer!

    If you're thrown off by the odd track coloration, this is because I'm reusing some track that was in early stages of weathering (I have a system, of sorts) Combined with some new pieces that I needed given the track plan, it does look funny.

    Overall I'm pretty happy with how the plan translated to the board. Still have to check the geometries but as it stands it looks like it will measure 33"x61" which is perfect.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2014
  3. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well, now I'm REALLY cookin'! Made some real progress today...

    layout1_1228.jpg layout2_1228.jpg

    This is largely what I hoped to accomplish, which is good since I probably won't have any significant time to work on it anymore until mid-January. I'm excited about how things are going. No major surprises from the design phase to now.
     
  4. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Your foam base looks beautiful, Doug. Will your view block down the center be a vertical sky backdrop (yielding a 15 to 16 inch deep shelf on each side of the layout), or will it be formed by hills, trees, and structures--but not sky--that prevent seeing the far side of the layout?

    For what they're worth...some comments about view blocks on my layout:
    In one portion of my own layout, I have a view block formed by 2 to 3 inch tall trees on a 2 inch thick foam hill down the center of a peninsula that is about 5 feet wide. The upper deck is at 65 inches from the floor, but a raised floor on one side of the peninsula puts the functional height of the upper deck at about 53 inches. I am 5'8" tall and, when working the yard on one side of the peninsula, I can only see trains moving on the other side of the peninsula when I deliberately lean forward and/or stand on tiptoes. This picture from several years ago shows me standing by the peninsula on benches that were replaced 2 years ago by the raised floor.
    [​IMG]

    In another area of my layout, I originally had a helix separated from the sceniced portion of the upper deck by a 7 inch high vertical sky view block. Operators in front of the sceniced area could only see into the helix if they deliberately turned toward the helix and leaned forward to look over the view block. I had always been dissatisfied with the unrealistic appearance of this view block because the sky abruptly stopped at the entrance to the helix, and the sky of the helix view block was obviously shorter than the sky of the 16" backdrop that extended along the back of the entire upper deck.
    [​IMG]
    When a water leak this fall necessitated repairing scenery in this area, I made the trees go all the way to the top of the helix view block, so there were no longer any unrealistic edges to the sky on the shorter view block, only on the top of the backdrop...and that edge could be eliminated from sight by carefully framing or cropping any photographs.
    2014-12-29 10.58.14.jpg 2014-12-29 13.09.53.jpg

    Personally, I prefer view blocks made of trees, hills, or structures to vertical sky view blocks, because any vertical edges of sky view blocks seem very unrealistic even when disguised by smokestacks, and (for me, at least) 16" from aisle to a horizon of trees or buildings seems much larger than 16" from aisle to a vertical sky backdrop. Using view blocks instead of vertical backdrops also offers the possibility of viewing (and photographing) at an angle instead of straight to the back of a shelf...which means you can see a panoramic view of scenery that could be as wide as the diagonal length of a layout.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2014
  5. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Dave,

    That's an interesting comparison of the two approaches. I can't say that I would disagree with your preferences, but in my case it's not really an option...I nearly have to use a vertical sky backdrop. In general, rural Texas is FLAT, and often barren. I model a somewhat unusual area in that--in the span of about 25 miles--the terrain goes from board flat, to rugged/rolling/wooded (and including one of the steepest rail grades in Texas) then back to board flat.

    So to model the town (flat) side there would be no appreciable trees (and certainly no elevation changes) to speak of.
     
  6. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Progress
    I have a derision on table shape
    I have a track plan
    I have one decision to make
    • Will the yard lead go up over or under the main line?
    • Will the yard lead go under the main line?
    [​IMG]
    I have Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of this week to make it happen.
    Oh,
    The cloths washer broke down today. That could influence progress.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Argh. Well, hopefully the layout can be a stress reliever.
     
  8. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

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    I would take the yard lead up and over the main. Keep the main flat . But its going to be quite a grade, probably 4% anyway . The other option is to branch the yard lead off to the outside of the main and keep everything flat . That would slightly reduce the radius of that curve though.
     
  9. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks, yes, I believe it will be.

    Yes, the 4%-5% grade would be steep but not for a 4' train with a Kato AC4400 on lead or a couple of Atlas geeps. I'll stage short steam locos in the interchange yard for Jelani, (my wife's grandson).
    Edit Follows:
    I did up a version with the yard lead up and over. It occurred to me that when I expand it the train length will increase but then I can extend the yard lead into the 'new' area.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2014
  10. theskunk

    theskunk TrainBoard Member

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    So, I'll bite. I'm in. :)

    I've actually sorta started today with a project I've wanted to take on for a while now. I've got small 2x4 n scale that I built a while back and I would like to see it to completion. [​IMG]

    The next step, started today, is to create a wooden basket to hold it, add some legs, and put it on wheels.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I also learned to check your mitre direction on your cuts ;-)

    [​IMG]


    Next for me will be the organization and leg building for the remainder of the prior layout to determine which modules can be reused:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  11. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Welcome to the Party, theskunk! It's never too late for anyone to join...and as we get past the holidays, I expect others will be dropping in, too.

    Are the small layout and the larger modules set up to go together in one configuration only? Or, are the tracks that lead on and off of each module precisely located so that multiple configurations can be arranged? For example, could either of the single tracks that leave the small layout at 0 inches elevation (not the bridge overpass) connect directly to any of the 4 tracks that leave the larger keyhole-shaped module or the 4 tracks that leave the long narrow module propped under the window?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2014
  12. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Due to my wife's surgery, I spent the first week of the Layout Party working in our dining room on the bridge kitbash/conversion as an alternative Party goal instead of downstairs in the trainroom working on my originally proposed goals. Now that she has recovered sufficiently for me to spend more time down in the trainroom, I've temporarily placed the shortened bridge and partially completed counterweight tower back on the layout until I can complete the original Layout Party goals.
    2014-12-30 11.50.27.jpg

    My first Layout Party goal was to install kill switches for 5 stub tracks in the East Peoria Yard Engine Facility. Early last week, I electrically isolated the 5 tracks immediately after their turnouts with yellow plastic insulating rail joiners and used a black marker pen to "hide" the joiners. Over the weekend, I ran feeders from the bus wires to the toggle switches, rerouted the track feeders to the toggles instead of to the bus wires, soldered everything, and installed the toggles in the fascia board. When I checked the turnouts leading to the 5 tracks for electrical conductivity, I discovered the feeders to the tracks had also provided power to the diverging route rails for 4 of the 5 turnouts, so I added some new feeders for 4 turnouts.
    The "after" picture of engine facility tracks taken yesterday from the front side of the engine facility looks almost exactly the same as the "before" picture in Post #6 taken several years ago from the back side of the facility, except for the toggle switches that can be seen in the fascia board.
    2014-12-29 17.26.03.jpg

    This week, I'll be working on electrically protecting some turnouts on the mainline so trains can't enter incorrectly thrown turnouts.
     
  13. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Trains Running on the Grey and Grandure X!!!

    @Mike C.
    You said:
    > "yard lead off to the outside of the main and keep everything flat ."
    In the end that is pretty much what I did. Even though I hate using the diverging rail as part of a curve It worked best and saved about 3"s of depth. Sigh.

    Notes:
    • Pics and new drawing tomorrow.
    • I will finish basic wiring so I can have 3 power supply running.
    • 'The Grey and Grandure' part will be somewhat redone with #4 turnouts, (which I know I have but can't find).
    "Three Power Supply Running"
    I will use 3 power supplies:
    • One for the 'Main Line' / oval
    • One for the 'Grandure Yard'
    • One for the 'Grey and Grandure / Interchange Yard'
    These will share overlapping blocks which will be controlled with DPDT switches. When the main line is expanded I may use a 4th power supply and use a standard block control system.
     
  14. theskunk

    theskunk TrainBoard Member

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    So that's another thing that is on "the list"... Not sure if it will happen this year or not, however the large key-hole module "should" be able to connect. I actually would really like to use the 2x4 as some type of reversing loop, but I am admittedly unhappy about the 11.5 radius curve on the 2x4, meaning it might end up as a branch line only in place to get to a higher elevation for an excursion and logging line that if like to build at some point.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  15. theskunk

    theskunk TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG]

    Part one is complete!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Good News:
    Jelani, (5yo wife's grandson), loves the trains and is trying hard not to crash them.
    At the throttle of the 'Hiawatha' from 'Fox Valley'. (4 car train in front of rail yard)
    [​IMG]

    His eyes on me:
    [​IMG]
    "Zebra'" train about to pass.
     
  17. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bad News

    Arrrrgh!
    The reason there is no updated track plan is because I made a major mistake in the original. I knew something was off but could not figure it out. Everything 'fit' sorta but did not make sense. Finally I compairred pics of the layout to pics of drawing. I drew the 'Grandure Yard' 1' deep. I then drew the left hand loop in space originally available to the 2' deep yard. Ooooops.
    The entire 'loop' needs to be redrawn 18"s to the right. That will shorten the tracks and in particular how the 'interchange yard' connects with the main line.
    Not the first time I've made mistakes like that. :)
     
  18. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Grey and Grandure with encircling main line and interchange yard:
    [​IMG]
    The yard sticks along the front edge have been 'overlayed' with one foot rulers so I can easily adjust the drawing.
    I am hoping to find my #4 turnouts but it is not looking good at the moment.
     
  19. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    This week I have electrically protected 2 mainline turnouts to prevent trains from going through misaligned turnouts and installed bi-color (red/green) LEDs from Radio Shack near the TOs, so operators have a visual indication of whether the points (which are not easily seen from the aisle) are properly aligned.

    The first TO leads to a spur serving the Central Illinois Grain elevator and McGrath Ag Services. The TO has had a Tortoise motor for 11 years but only the motor is wired...no wires go to either of the single pole switches built into the Tortoise. The TO is located on the underside of an upper deck, 24 inches into a 30 inch deep shelf, and is secured in place with adhesive caulking instead of screws. To further complicate matters, the Tortoise is behind the fluorescent lights for the lower deck...meaning I have about 9 inches between the surface of the lower deck and the underside of the light fixture and the L-girder supports for the upper deck. Since properly positioning the actuator wire in the original installation was extremely difficult, I opted to wire the Tortoise in place instead of removing it from the layout.

    In order to route track power to one of the mainline rails only when properly aligned, I had to solder one wire from the bus wire to one of the single pole switches on the Tortoise and another from the Tortoise to one of the mainline rails, which I had isolated from other track power using yellow insulated rail joiners painted with a black marker. By twisting myself like a circus contortionist, I was able to put wires through the tiny holes in the Tortoise single pole switch contact pads and then solder them in place (not a pretty soldering job, but ultimately it was functional). I also soldered the feeders to the rail and to the bus wire.
    For the LED, I drilled a 1/4 inch hole between the straight and diverging tracks of the TO and fed the wires from the LED down through the hole and spliced them into the wires powering the motor (adding a 10K resistor to one of the wires). In the pic, notice that the LED seems more pink than red...so I'll probably replace the 10K resistor with a smaller one in the next days.
    [​IMG]

    The other protected TO is at PPU Jct, which is the second of 8 turnouts in the Peoria Helix. The process of wiring the PPU Jct TO was identical to the CI Grain elevator, but was MUCH easier because I had easy access to the Tortoise contact pads while standing inside the Peoria Helix. The pic shows the LED positioned where trains on the main leave East Peoria Yard on the upper deck to enter the Peoria Helix. The TO onto the helix is just out of the picture to the left. The loco is on the main to the Peoria Helix and the other track (East Peoria Yard lead) dead ends at the edge of the picture. As in the other picture, the LED is too dim to show due to its 10K resistor, so I’ll replace this resistor, too.
    [​IMG]

    As I've done on other R/G LEDs protecting turnouts on the layout, I'll cover half of the LED in black paint or make a cowling, so it looks more like a dwarf signal.

    Next week, I'll be working on the background trees between the engine facility and the Interstate bridge.
     
  20. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    The layout is an absolute mess right now, so I won't be able to show off any work completed. However, I do need to document the work completed to this point.

    I thought I had set ambitious goals for layout progress, apparently I didn't go far enough. In 2-1/2 weeks I have:
    *Laid the spur track for the A&P warehouse with feeders
    *Laid all rails and switch for the coal truck dump and team tracks, all with feeders
    *Laid all rails for the HVAC distributor and Rolling Mill shared spur, with feeders.
    *Replaced a faulty #6 turnout for the above shared HVAC/Mill track, with feeders.
    *Added feeders to dead rails on the main line crossover installed 4 years ago.

    While laying all that track, I discovered some dead spots caused by improper feeder/buss connections. I just cut out all of the buss lines this morning and packed up the NCE PowerCab to get it out of the way. I am now in a place where I have to simply stop and starting taking things one at a time. I can't weather any rail until I can be sure every works smoothly after buss lines and feeders are complete. I can't redo buss lines until the Dyna-Plast coatings tracks are installed so I can put all the feeders on the buss at the same time.... which means it's time to start demolition of the old yard area and planning for structure placement.

    Very pleased with progress, but a bit messy.
     

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