Dec 24, 2012
Interesting looking at your panel. The mileposts really give a feeling of distance.
I also added more shoo-fly track by adding the two branches that implement the reverse loops. Eventually these branches will support a complex arrangement of sidings for a mine and town. For now I just want to validate that the reverse loops play nice with the main line. The 90 degree level crossing is a Shinhara C70 that I grafted on to my otherwise all Peco C55 system. Eventually I will install 3 more level crossings. So far things are working out well.
Just caught up on your progress...excellent! Keep them coming.
Thanks for the encouragement, folks.
The CTC panel is an essential item. I have over 30 turnouts just on the main line and two branches.
It's one thing to get the wiring right feeding the frogs and minimizing track alignment defects, and a whole 'nuther thing to dispatch the layout effectively. So far I've only had a few track problems. The homasote roadbed has a few more sags than I would like but I'm glad I didn't add more support under the table that would have complicated access to the underside. I wet the track between sags to loosen the glue and then gently raise the track level and add cardboard shims underneath as needed. Then I reapply the glue/water mixture and the track sag is fixed.
One problem I have is the scissor crossover is powered by Tortoise machines where I used the offset pivot hole. The offset pivot hole causes the points trip wire to protrude farther out when the switch is normal than when the Tortoise is aligned directly under the switch. Locomotives hit the protruding wire when the switch is thrown. I will try swapping out the Tortoise for Peco solenoid machines.
I have great joy running trains without having to nudge the table to coax locomotives stalled on dead frogs, and being able to leave the room while trains are running and not come back to a general pileup. I also look forward to running trains more often as opposed to solid weeks of wiring, scenery or laying track. Now I can do bits of each as I feel inspired.
Wonderful progress Nancy! Nice to see your trains running! Your CTC panel looks great!
This is an interim status update. With warmer weather work has slowed. This past week I laid all the track in Linden Yard. I still need to wire it up and the plan is to complete the remaining track and then flip the layout on it's edge and do up the wiring. I estimate wiring will take a month or two. In the meantime the main line is operational so I get to run trains while I continue laying track in the yard and sidings. Here are a couple three pictures showing Linden Yard. The track is held down with push pins until I put the glue to it.
East end looking west:
Here's the west end.
With the arrival of colder weather I have had more time to work on the ML&S. I have about half of Linden Yard operational. It's nice not to have to park trains on the main. I have 40 of 63 turnouts operational and ordered Team Digital turnout controllers to get the remaining going.
My main line is a two track, twice around loop. I use a scissor double cross-over on the main to take advantage of what I call the "Mobius Effect". A train running on Main 1 will traverse Main 1's length and at the crossover move to Main 2. After traversing Main 2 a train will cross over back to Main 1. Without any effort by the dispatcher a train will traverse the entire length of Main 1 and Main 2.
Linden Yard is nestled between Main 1 and Main 2 and has 4 approach or lead tracks; each going to Main 1 and Main 2 at either end of the yard. A train entering the yard from either Main can leave the yard on either main track. I incorporated a double cross-over in the yard to take advantage of the Mobius Effect. A train can leave the yard onto either Main 1 or Main 2, cross over to the other main, and return to the yard at the opposite end of the yard.
Dispatching this layout is a challenge.
I'm happy to see progress is being made! When might the next open house be?
You'll never need to worry about boredom.
An informal open house is always possible. The layout is just getting to the stage where enough track is operational to do some switching as well as main line running. In another month or so most the the yard and branch tracks should be ready. When I am satisfied the track is reliable I will shift focus to scenery.
Boxcab50, no boredom but enough head slapping for bone-headed moves that wouldn't happen if someone is focused just on dispatching or running. Most often a train stalls on approach to a misaligned switch. Second up is throwing the wrong switch and nailing the train that is pass over it. I am still challenged to look at the CTC panel and mentally translate the train's location and direction on the layout relative to the panel.
Oh well, back to the drawing board!
I had a nicely running consist and decided to add some rolling stock that I haven't run in a while. The ensuing disaster highlights the still incomplete and relatively untested layout; several derailments due to low hanging coupler trip pins with the finale being a string of cars taking a flyer while rounding a curve and ending up on the floor.
I need more scenery to catch these operational growing pains.
Yikes. That is a big growing pain!
It's only a flesh wound!
I have intentionally held back on scenery until the track has been thoroughly tested. So far the track has been mostly reliable and the few issues that have come up I have dealt with. There are no fatal flaws like in my first two layouts where trains would derail or stall with annoying regularity. The next time I flip the table to do electrical work I will glue the screen to the roadbed that is the foundation for the hardshell. I need just enough scenery to catch trains from taking the big fall when disaster strikes.
I don't know what railroads call it when they put a tunnel in where there wasn't one before; un-daylighting? ML&S construction crews have been busy this weekend and both mains are blocked between MP 32.7 and 35.3. The blockage will persist through the next 3-4 days.
A passenger train detours through Linden Yard to bypass the tunnel work. The yard is plugged with trains that aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
I have one area...just inside the door...on a horseshoe...with a 2% grade...on the edge of the aisle...that makes me flinch. No troubles...yet. But its over 3 feet to the hardwood floor if/when disaster strikes :-S
I built up the edge of the incline in hopes that it will catch the cars or locomotives should they tip over...so they dont take the plunge. Being right on the aisle there isnt much else I can do. Just a breathtaking view for the passengers on THE Excursion Train to look out the windows straight down 500+ scale feet to the canyon floor below. ;-)
Usually they speak in terms of a changed alignment.
I would flinch too. A car derails and the rest of the train string lines. I lost an 11,000 gallon tank car that landed on a rug and broke up the walkway on one end. Three tankers took the plunge and two survived.
BoxcabE50, the alignment has been there since day one and now there a tunnel. I guess there are some aspects of railroading that just don't translate to the 1:1 world.
The Operating Department was not pleased with the new tunnel. The clearances were too tight for comfort and the whole structure was too overbuilt.
I will create a new core and try making the walls by layering gauze soaked plaster rather than casting in place.
By looking at this picture...
...couldnt you just make a shear rock face wall where the screening is and not make a tunnel ? Just thinking out loud...
*Btw...I like the chunk of rail up there in the center of the pic ;-) I have a 1 inch sliver I found along the BNSF tracks in Holbrook Az