New Layout: The CSX Dixie Line

CSXDixieLine Jul 28, 2008

  1. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Mike, There will be a backdrop on the lower and middle levels (the scenicked levels) but not on the upper staging level. There will be a Masonite fascia board along the upper level to keep the staging yards out of sight, and I will probably run a 3" or so high backdrop-like strip of Masonite along the back of the upper staging level as well to prevent derailed locos and/or rolling stock from falling into the gap between the back of the roadbed and the room walls.

    As for the unevenness and gaps in the backdrops, I think the most important thing I need to do is go back and re-drill the holes for the drywall screws holding the Masonite to the benchwork. It took me a while to realize just how deep I had to countersink the holes so the screw heads would be below the surface of the Masonite. The screw heads are not recessed enough on the first few sheets I installed, but after a while I got the right feel for it and got the remainder correct. That Masonite is really hard and has pretty much killed my countersink bit.

    This will be my best friend for addressing the gaps and screw heads :):

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    Jamie
     
  2. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Lighting Changes

    This weekend I finished the layout lighting on the lower level in the area that will be Emerson, GA. Here is that area shown with only the layout lights turned on:

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    I made some adjustments to the lighting since the last update. I noticed the backdrop was not evenly illuminated near the top; these dark spots were caused by some of the lights being positioned too close to a joist that was blocking the light. To fix this, I simply rotated the lights so that the bulbs would be just a bit below the benchwork:

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    This resulted in even lighting of the entire backdrop (the dark areas in the picture below are mostly due to irregularities in the color of the Masonite backdrop; not due to uneven lighting):

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    In this last photo, you can see how the CFLs "peek" out below the benchwork. The lights will be hidden from view when the fascia boards are installed. Also, I switched from 40-watt "soft white" CFL bulbs to 60-watt "daylight" CFL bulbs because the soft white bulbs were way too yellow and didn't provide quite enough light. The above pictures were taken after I changed to the new lights. I highly recommend the "daylight" CFLs because of the cooler and cleaner light they produce. Jamie
     
  3. JKD

    JKD TrainBoard Member

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    I love this thread. The layout is looking great, and I'm taking lots and lots of notes. Keep up the great work! :thumbs_up::thumbs_up::thumbs_up::thumbs_up:
     
  4. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Track Plan Version 2.1

    Since I got a little burned out on sanding backdrops and wiring electrical boxes, I decided this would be a good week to do some more revision work on the CSX Dixie Line track plan. The main change is that the track plan now represents the change of the helix from a circle to an oval, and the addition of the Emerson, GA scene to the lower level. I have a detailed description of the changes on my website.

    Here are the revised track plans for the three levels:

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    Jamie
     
  5. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Jamie, I'm a little confused about that NS staging track on the middle level. Where are you gonna put that thing? Are you gonna end it just before the helix? Obviously you can't take it down any, unless you cut out your benchwork, so I figure the main line coming out of the helix at Franklin Minerals be higher up than the NS staging track. Please tell your plans. :tb-smile:

    -Mike
     
  6. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    I promise to let you know as soon as I figure it out :)

    Anderson, TN area:
    Probably what will happen is the NS line will join back up with the CSX line out of sight then one line will go into the helix to north staging (Nashville for CSX, Memphis for NS). The NS line in the foreground will need to be hidden somehow in front of the Franklin Minerals mine--unless I decide to hide the CSX line in the background and model the NS line in the foreground (unlikely although easier to do). Anderson is getting up into the Cumberland Mountain area so I do have some high terrain to play with if I try to hide the NS line in the foreground.

    Ladds, TN area:
    Where the NS line branches off, I will probably branch it off to the other side of the CSX line from where it is now shown. This is not inline with the actual track configuration, but it would allow me to route the NS line through the backdrop and over to the other side, where it would join up with the other CSX/NS line to go back to the north staging. Remember, NS trains will only be on the middle level and staging level, never on the lower level so this would work out.

    Other staging option:
    I have also thought about just placing the NS connections in a separate staging area altogether. This would probably be in an adjacent room. This is unlikely since I want that room to be reserved for the Sequatchie Valley RR extension, should it ever get built. I figure that would be 2-3 years from now anyway.

    Remember that for now I am only building the lower level, then I will move on to the middle & upper levels at some point. So having some areas of the middle level just "roughed in" for now is OK (for now). I am not sure at what level of completion the lower level will get to before I start building upwards--maybe right away, maybe not for a year or so. Those NS connections are definitely the tricky part right now.

    Jamie
     
  7. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Hehe, ok Jamie. :tb-smile:
    Could you flip the NS and the CSX trackage at Stevenson? Or is that interchange prototypically correct? Sure would be easier to hid the NS tracks.

    -Mike
     
  8. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    That is the one place that I really would like to preserve, since it is a signature scene. Would be really hard to pass it off with the lines swapped...

    A southbound CSX autorack train passes the Stevenson depot (background) and meets a waiting northbound CSX autorack train:

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    A southbound CSX stack train passes the historic Stevenson depot & hotel and the classic 44-tonner and caboose on display as part of the Stevenson Railroad Museum. The BNSF locomotive is awaiting its turn to proceed onto the CSX track via trackage rights, leading a Georgia Power Plant Scherer unit coal train:

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    Another NS Plant Scherer coal train with run-through BNSF power is passing the Stevenson depot and is about to enter CSX trackage:


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  9. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    One more Stevenson pic--this is a view looking northbound up the CSX tracks from the depot. The truss overpass is the one shown as Old Steel Overpass on the track plan. The CSX autorack train with UP power is a northbound sitting on main track #2 at the north end of double track waiting to meet one or more southbounds. Hmmmm...maybe I will do this area as an autumn scene... Jamie

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  10. Cleggie

    Cleggie TrainBoard Member

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    An ambitious plan and I like it. I think having the lower level to run trains before you tackle the uppper levels is a good idea. Like all plans there will be changes where you realise things don't work the way you think they should. And, in the mean time you can run trains while you figure it out. That has been my approach, helps avoid teminal burnout.

    Looks like you have the lighting sorted and the benchwork looking good. Bring it on (with pictures) I say:thumbs_up::thumbs_up::thumbs_up:
     
  11. stickman716

    stickman716 New Member

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    show some pictures of the helix
     
  12. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    No helix just yet, although I should be purchasing the first batch of materials this upcoming week. Will post updates as soon as I have something going. Jamie
     
  13. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    120-Volt Electrical Work Completed

    After a two week break from the train room, I returned to the layout and finished (finally!) the 120-volt "power strip" that distributes electricity to the layout lighting and (eventually) the DCC system. This clears the way for me to finish the lower level lighting. Afterwards, I will get back to the backdrops on the lower and middle levels. Jamie

    120-Volt Electrical Plan and Photos

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  14. Scott Teague

    Scott Teague TrainBoard Member

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    You got put the line in where the 2 lines meet at the north end of Cartersville.

    Scott
     
  15. Scott Teague

    Scott Teague TrainBoard Member

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    Why didn't you just cut the end of the lights and junction them together instead of all of those recepticles???

    Scott
     
  16. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    I am currently working on that part of the track plan. I'll probably have the K&A Sub branch off of the W&A Sub and then go into one or two staging tracks. In fact, I snapped a few hundred digital photos of the Emerson/Cartersville area last weekend looking for ideas of things to model and to get a better idea of how I should design Cartersville. Got a lot of pics of the ATCO-Goodyear plant, which is a good thing since they have started demolishing the place.

    I'm a glutton for punishment :) I was actually going to just splice them all together but saw the "power strip" concept on another layout and liked it quite a bit. This way I have plenty of places to plug in lights, tools and power supplies for DCC and other things such as signal systems. Plus, I already had all of the stuff laying around from when I finished the basement a few years back. It was a pain wiring 37 different boxes, but in the end I think it will work out better. I can also turn everything on/off with a single switch.

    Jamie
     
  17. SD90

    SD90 TrainBoard Member

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    Awesome progress! Your layout looks very professional, everything looks perfectly straight and level. Very nice work, I can't wait to see the first train running!
     
  18. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Upper Level backdrops Done

    Ugh...the air conditioner in the basement died! Oh well, I am going to wait until spring to get a new one (although I can get a good deal on the end of season closeouts now). Pretty warm down there--especially with the dehumidifier going full blast--but I wandered down today and installed all of the backdrops on the upper level (technically the middle level, but this is the upper scenicked level). Oh well...here's hoping for the cooler autumn weather to arrive soon! Jamie

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  19. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Backdrops Raedy for Painting

    Since the last update I have been spending a lot of time with a tray of drywall mud and a 6" finishing knife. Alas, all of the joints and screw heads have been covered and sanded and the backdrop--all 150 linear feet of it--is finally ready for primer and paint. And speaking of backdrops, previously I was thinking of doing a simple blue sky fading to a lighter blue at the horizon. However, since I recently read the new MR book on how to paint backdrops, I think I am going to take a stab at painting some things like clouds and land forms. At least I have lots of leftover Masonite scraps to practice on :)

    Here are a couple of pics showing the backdrops with the joints and screws filled and sanded. If you look closely in the second pic you'll see where I (finally!) installed some padding on the underside of the benchwork across the doorway. No more head injuries!

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    Jamie
     
  20. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising TrainBoard Member

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    It was almost worth spending the money with Backdrop Warehouse just to NOT have to deal with joint compound:tb-rolleyes:!

    Looks great, Jamie! My shoulders are hurting from the very thought of all that sanding!
     

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