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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    I stopped using the Woodland Secnics ballast a long time ago because I found it seemed to float after applying the diluted white glue and ended up on top of the ties. I've been using the Arizona Rock & Mineral ballast for quite a few years now and have been very happy using it. I have also found that the ballast will end up darker than what it looks like dry after the diluted white glue is applied then drys so something to consider when choosing color. Scenic cement from Woodland Scenics does not darken so much but also does not have as good of holding power for ballast and I just use it for ground foam scenery.
     
  2. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Today I used blue painters tape to mock up roads....

    [​IMG]

    Now just mentally swap out the two wooden laser cut kits from Micro Trains with a big warehouse....
     
  3. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow this week went quickly ! But I did make some significant progress on the layout and over the past couple of days got all 24 feet of backdrop installed.

    [​IMG] Backdrop9.jpg
    This is the same area I showed last week but now the backdrop is permanently mounted. The view looks different because the Wesso section was removed to have better access to the area.


    Backdrop10.jpg
    Before actually starting the installation, I had spent some time experimenting with several different adhesives before deciding on using 3M photo mount spray shown here.

    Backdrop13.jpg
    Here is an overall view showing most of the installed backdrops. Having this done really paves the way to make more progress on the layout. Within the next few days I will be posting on my layout blog a more detailed account of the backdrop installation if anyone is interested.
     
  4. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    that is an impressive backdrop. :)
    And I think the date on your photo is a little off... :whistle:
     
  5. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks, Yes while most people have some trouble writing out the new year I seem to have trouble with the month !
     
  6. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Member

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    How do you come across such a lengthy backdrop? I could never find anything more than 3 feet and I never used backdrops on the old layout but I want to incorporate Backdrops and I think you call them halfscapes in my new layout, I want to split the layout in parts with the halfscape type look. I have one side which would be 11 feet that would be nice to have a Backdrop like you show.
     
  7. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is actually four 6 foot sections to get a total of 24 feet. The ones I am using are N EXP 006A and EXP 006B. Then I have another set that are reversed images. When put together in the correct order you get a 24 foot continuous scene. I got them from Backdropjunction.com. So a couple of these might work well for your application.
     
  8. WFOJeff

    WFOJeff TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice, I see there are 3 types of material to choose from, which did you decide to go with?
     
  9. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I went with the vinyl and used my own adhesive.
     
  10. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Received some stationary decoders I'd ordered. Ordered some #6 turnouts for the steel mill track reconfiguration.
    Repositioned the ends of some classification tracks in middle of the main yard that were too deep toWARD the back of the shelf, so now I only have to reach 29 inches instead of 31 to 34 inches to reach the groundthrows. I'll still not be able to comfortably reach/use the 2 farthest classification tracks, but I can now access 4 more tracks in the middle of the yard that, until today, could only be comfortably reached at their other end.
    This improvement in ground throw access was so significant that, for now, I won't need to make the more drastic shifts in trackage in the middle of the yard that I had expected to make when I posted my original Layout Party goals.

    The Yard Master will be classifying cars in the middle of the yard, standing on a bench that is 24 inches tall. This pic shows the aisle where the yard master will be standing on the tallest bench while classifying cars. Other operators will be able to pass behind the yard master on the 12 inch high benches.
    [​IMG]
    Since the yard tracks are on the upper deck at 65 inches elevation from the floor, when the YM is standing on the 24 inch bench, the shelf will be functionally 41 inches high, so he'll be able to comfortably reach to the back tracks to uncouple cars.

    The 2 classification tracks behind the loco will (still) not be used, but 4 more of the tracks in front of the loco can now be comfortably reached for uncoupling from the aisle.

    The ground throws for the tracks behind the loco can still be reached with the ground throw extender tool I devised a few years ago from an electrical connector and a brass rod.
    [​IMG]
    The brass rod was about 2 feet long and I had to tape the entire rod so setting it down on the layout would not cause an electrical short if it crossed the tracks. The length made it a little unwieldy, so in addition to improving the track configuration for the Yard Master to classify cars in the yard, this week I used a wooden dowel to make a shorter/more easily manipulated tool for reaching the ground throws at the back of the shelf. I also sharpened the other end of the tool so it could be used as a pick for uncoupling cars. This is a video showing how the sharpened dowel works as an uncoupling pick.


    Because the toothpick was sharper and smoother than the dowel sharpened in the pencil sharpener, it uncoupled cars much more quickly. Also, the smaller diameter toothpick was less likely to bind on the coupler knuckle, so there was less chance of inadvertently knocking the truck askew and derailing the car. To get the same success with the wooden dowel as I got with the toothpick, I'm going to pare down the point with my Exacto and sand it as smooth as the toothpick.

    While fine-tuning the routes through the helixes, I decided to use the newly arrived stationary decoders to add some routes in the steel mill yards. This led to rewiring some of the push buttons I had been using at one end of the mill, and/or swapping normally closed for normally open buttons so operators can trigger routes with buttons as well as with their throttles. I still want to replace a broken button and recess it and 4 others along the very narrow (20 inches) Keystone Mill aisle.

    Only 2 weeks until my open house/op session, so I want to finish the steel mill buttons and routes tomorrow, upgrade the water-damaged scenery that I thought I would get to right after posting my last progress report--probably finishing that on Tuesday, get nicely printed job descriptions and multi-segment track warrants for each train we'll be running (probably working on these every evening this week), continue cleaning loco wheels and tweaking consists (which is about 1/3 done), and finish cleaning track (about 1/3 done).

    Man, I LOVE being retired, and having time to do all this fun stuff!!
     
  11. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    I had debated with myself if bamboo skewers might make good uncoupling sticks. About 8-10" long and 1/8"-3/16" round, pointed by default. Used in making food somehow; shish-kabob maybe? or just holding unwieldy burgers together. If smoothness matters, they will need sanding :)

    I have been working on my layout, I have just been lax at getting a computer and the pictures together. :)
    I have sawn out the jigsaw puzzle for the staging deck and rasped it to fit; and now it is screwed down in place. So in theory I can trace out centre lines and lay cork and even track. ooh, aah.
    I plan on having visitors about the house this coming Saturday, so can show off my handiwork and piles of sawdust ;)

    Started on the box framing for the staging yard proper; planning on using the Selector Track (so only 16" pivots, not all 5'). Which means 5' of framing with a recessed portion under the selector track and the rest with a flat top the same height as the rest of the staging deck / helix base.

    In theory, working for a living means spending money for trains ;) But the CFO says something called a "mortgage" comes first. I seem to be buying the train room off the bank one square foot at a time o_O
     
  12. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here is what got done on the layout during the past week or so.

    TBparty10.jpg
    I got the 7 foot long Wesso section of the layout attached to the exit from the helix. I used 5/16 bolts and then added a few wood screws to prevent up / down / sideways movements. This bench work section was also secured to the wall studs in several places. Made several holes in the frames between the helix and Wesso for wiring and installed the main DCC bus wire.


    TBparty11.jpg
    This is another under the bench work view showing the other end of the DCC bus wire connected to the PSX-1 circuit breakers. All of the turnout motors, stationary decoder, control panel, wiring, etc. was done on this section some time ago.


    TBparty12.jpg
    Next cork road bed was installed to connect the lines from the helix to the Wesso section. Hopefully track will follow soon.


    TBparty13.jpg
    Hard board fascia was installed along the top deck of the helix and most of the Wesso section and cutouts made for the Wesso crossovers control panel and a Digitrax panel.


    TBparty14.jpg
    And last I put up another 5 feet of lighting valance so that it extends as far as the back drop does.
     
  13. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    One photo for y'all :)
    [​IMG]
    Staging deck pieces all screwed down.
    Tool shelf is inside the helix to the background. Main staging yard is even more background.

    I have started reading up on how to make a perfect circle with a router (or jigsaw). Thinking I could make a plywood "banana" stencil with 15" and 16" radius and tangent on it, which will let me draw curves without needing a centre ;)
     
  14. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    I continued work on the locomotive facility at Ravenswood by adding two tracks, there will be two more between the new tracks and the caboose track, all leading to the turntable.

    There will be some sort of shop (Roundhouse, Brick building or "modern" steel building) on the other side of the turntable. It is 1970, so anything is possible with the roundhouse. I've always wanted to chop part of the long hood off an old Athearn GP7 and put a Walthers EMD 567 prime mover in it and stage it outside the shop, so that will finally happen in the near future.

    Anyhow, photographic evidence of expanded engine facility:
    unnamed1.jpg
     
  15. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    That will be a real cool scene !
     
  16. Another ATSF Admirer

    Another ATSF Admirer TrainBoard Member

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    No real progress this week. Been a long week at work. Cleaned and dusted the shelves in anticipation of visitors, pulled a muscle vacuuming the house :( party went well tho. :) Had a quiet Sunday.
    This week, fix a bookcase in the house and maybe get back to the staging deck. Niece's birthday on Saturday tho..
     
  17. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    I am considering ripping my switching layout apart and building a FreeMoN module with the same plan....and it's Girl Scout Cookie season here....
     
  18. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    I've seen a lot of great work done in the FreeMoN format, and you can still use the module(s) as all or part of a home layout.
     
  19. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    That's what my plan is
     
  20. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    Goal 1) Complete track work at Ravenswood engine shop.
    No progress this week, I need to build one more turnout for this area before I can go any further.

    Goal 2) Intall turnouts and track for Union Foundry at Silverton.
    Installed a #6 turnout for Union Foundry last week. Tinkered with it this week, ready for ties now.

    Goal 3) Connect feeders to buss and test helix.
    Not Started

    Goal 4) Resume track laying on upper level to stone arch bridge.
    Heating bills too high right now to buy more flex, maybe in a couple weeks.

    Goal 5) Continue scenery work around westbound staging tunnel.
    Nice progress here, see picture below!

    Goal 6) Build Westbound staging.
    Built the connector behind the wall from the layout to the staging in the attic. Unsure of how many tracks I can fit, I planned on 4, but I'd like to get to 6.

    DSC_3629.JPG
    Painted some background hills on the backdrop. These will eventually be covered by trees for the most part, but they provide a horizon you can see through the winter trees.

    DSC_3637.JPG
    Painted clouds on the backdrop over the middle part of Ravenswood yard. I used a piece of cardboard cut out freehand and sprayed with a rattle can of spray paint. I am pleased with the results.

    DSC_3639(1).JPG
    And finally, I built a connector from behind the wall next to the layout out to the attic where Westbound staging will be located. This is only about a 5' run, but this should be the hardest part of accessing the attic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017

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