US modeller in the UK - The beginnings of a layout thread

GEfan Nov 12, 2018

  1. jlbos83

    jlbos83 TrainBoard Member

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    I have been known to go sit in the parking area for a trailhead that is near that bridge! I lived in Lincoln (UK) for a few years in the late 90s, I enjoyed actually travelling by train around the UK and Europe.
     
  2. GEfan

    GEfan TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Jeff,
    How remarkable - I am about 45 minutes from Lincoln (UK)!

    A busy couple of weeks will now get in the way with work unfortunately taking precedence! However, I picked up the two boards I have acquired from my mate today and just quickly set them up on the lounge floor! I have purchased some DIY trestles to stand them on normally.

    IMG_9256.jpg

    I helped my mate build these about 12-14 months ago for an O gauge project he was doing, but subsequently decided not to progress, so when I said what I was thinking about doing, he offered the boards for the price of the wood. Good deal :). All lit with 12v DC LED led strips across the front of the lighting pelmet that itself provides something of a nice inward view of the layout. These two will be used purely for the scenic section, as denoted by the pink track work on the earlier plan.

    IMG_9257.jpg

    Also did a couple of shots of the two locos, a) to test out what the iPhone 7+ camera was like with N gauge locos, and b) to see how the lighting worked. Overall I think its come out really good, and its encouraging me to push on with the track base and scenery now!

    IMG_9262.jpg

    IMG_9271.jpg
    I am having a bit of a rethink about the two loops at either end, given that I need to allow a good inch and a half for a double stack to go under the top line, I am a little concerned that the climb is going to be a bit too steep in what is a very short distance. So may rethink how trains get on and off the layout. The actual track on the scenic area could be slightly graded to make it less of a climb to one end, and I think that could be the way forward.

    In this view, the two locos (sat on their boxes) are very roughly where the proposed girder bridge over the river will be located

    IMG_9273.jpg

    Hopefully the next update will have some scenery base and maybe even track work on!
     
  3. jlbos83

    jlbos83 TrainBoard Member

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    The steep grade might be an issue, but in your current configuration your trains are going to be really short, so you might get away with it! Perhaps some experiments are in order? Those pictures look great!
    An advantage to modelling this area is there is almost never water in the rivers (despite their names), so you don't have to model it!
     
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  4. GEfan

    GEfan TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Jeff,
    Not sure how many people are looking in, but I'll keep adding info as I go. Hopefully, I'll find a bit of time to get the two end boards (one of which will allow trains to double back on themselves, the other will provide access to the hidden sidings) built by next weekend, but work is getting in the way!
     
  5. Dave McDonald

    Dave McDonald TrainBoard Member

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    Looking forward to seeing you progress.
     
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  6. jlbos83

    jlbos83 TrainBoard Member

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    I hate when that happens!
     
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  7. fordy744

    fordy744 TrainBoard Member

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    Once you start looking you find more and more coming out of the woodwork, given the stigma with trains over here people are less inclined to openly shout about it, and then to mention modelling US that seems to be another hush word recently but yes there are quite a lot of us.

    Sadly time isn't on my side and what little time I get I try to do some modelling rather than photo and write about it. Sadly no Eastern Steam LAyout but a little western switching exhibition layout along with a FreeMo module is as close at present. I actually operate on a HOn3 exhibition layout as well as dabbling myself, too many interests in that regard.

    I like the plan for the layout and those boards look a great start! I think it would be interesting to model the grade on the scenic section...

    Ironically I'm in Lincoln...
     
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  8. jlbos83

    jlbos83 TrainBoard Member

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    I miss seeing the Cathedral every day! And the green! Arizona lacks that! But, we have a lot less rain, and a lot more sun!
     
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  9. fordy744

    fordy744 TrainBoard Member

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    sadly the more and more ugly modern university buildings that are built in front of it, the harder and harder it is to see the Cathedral nowadays... Those are both good reasons to be in Arizona and I'd swap it in a heart beat too.
     
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  10. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen Permanently dispatched

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    2 Kato 6 axle like those should pull just about anything up even 3%, though you will have to drive them at those grades, maxing the throttle and then dropping it quickly when about a 3rd of the set gets over the top of the rise. I have dragged around 28-30 freight cars, all I own, up a 2.5% long grade with not the best track work with 2 Kato AC4400 and 1 ES44AC. I am sure just 2 of them would have done the job but I run a trailing unit to act as a break for any decoupling, to prevent runaway expensive rolling stock. I tried an experimental helix at like 3.5% and 2 Kato AC4400cw will haul 8-10 freight cars up that, no problem except for the drivers skill and the throttles response. WiFi DCC lag issues can be a little exciting, and lord help me if a call comes through on my phone/throttle as I am cresting the rise :eek:

    I personally get a huge thrill out of the trains straining to get up a grade. If I let off the throttle they can get stuck on the grade and need a helper or to back down and try again, if I dont let off the throttle at the right time things can get pretty scary for the expensive rolling stock as everything goes flying over the crest way too fast. It is very fun to deal with a steep grade and a long set if one has the motive power to just barely get over it.

    I am new to railroading, but have heard accounts that US rails have grades and situations like that where throttle management is needed to keep the train on the rails and moving forward. its apparently a lot more than just push the lever and go when it comes to long sets over multiple grade angles where some cars are rolling downhill and some uphill.
     
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  11. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    A little late to the party, as for adding sound, ESU deserves a serious look. They have the best sound library and some of the smoothest movement.

    Your plans are intriguing, I look forward to seeing your results!
     
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  12. GEfan

    GEfan TrainBoard Member

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    Guys,
    Thanks for the input. Things are slowly moving forward. Acquired a couple of sets of double stack wagons for height checking and also testing out the trackwork. The points are here, and the metre-lengths are on order, here next week. On the boards front, one of the ‘off-scene’ end boards has been built and the other one would have been had the rain kept off! Still, it’s progress! Only another 10ndays of work and i’ve finished for the year :)

    Forty, small world. The exhibitions layout sounds interesting. Yes my thought was to see if I could get part of the grade on there.



    Can definately see the advantages of that! What’s the railroad network like in Arizona? I usually have the Tehachapi rail cams on when working at work. Live steamed over YouTube is a great way to get rid of a few hours!

    Ken,
    Thanks for the valuable feedback, really interesting and useful. I think controlling trains is half the fun. Putting something on and just letting it run. Round and round is the easy bit. Yes real driving is an art form, managing power, traction and trailing weight, along with the DPUs of course. Far easier today than years gone by, but still takes a lot of skill.

    Cheers David. Don’t worry about being late, I am glad you arrived!! I’ll look at ESU. I think i’ve decided for the moment to work on non-DCC Sound, just keeping to straight forward DCC. Partly on cost grounds, but also to avoid driving myself mad! Still fancy upgrading at some point tho.

    Cheers for now.
     
  13. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    ESU makes the LokPilot motion decoder for non-sound applications.
     
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  14. GEfan

    GEfan TrainBoard Member

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    Cheers David.

    Managed to get the other end board sorted today - so just the 9 1/2 inches x 6ft hidden sidings board to create and the woodwork is all done. I may be able to get all four boards (two scenic, and two ends) erected later this week with any luck, so I'll post a couple of pictures. I have also orders some of the Woodland Scenics polystyrene risers to see if that helps with sorting out the grades. First time I have used anything like that so we'll see.

    Family seem to have acquired a few wagons for me for Christmas I am reliably informed, so with a couple of other rail fans in the family, I am just hoping they've got the right era!! Time will tell I guess.

    Also just in case anyone was confused by yesterday's comment, it should have said I normally have the Tehachapi webcams on when working at HOME! Not work :) Oh if only hehe!
     
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  15. jlbos83

    jlbos83 TrainBoard Member

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    The SP (now UP) Sunset Route runs through Tucson, so there is a pretty steady stream of trains running through my area, There is also a line from Tucson down into Mexico, bringing in cars and produce. The line also serves a couple of copper mines south of Tucson (one of the branches runs maybe a half mile from my house). There's not a lot of mine traffic, but I do see it now and then. Hoppers/gondolas taking the concentrate from the mine up the smelter in the middle of the state.
     
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  16. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    When the UP, which had already merged with the Western Pacific, merged with the Rio Grande/Southern Pacific, it gave them the sort of monopoly in the region that the government used to make a show of preventing. So, trackage rights deals were created, particularly to Klamath Falls, where the WP connected to the BN.

    There's lots of fine scenery on the old WP.
     
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  17. jlbos83

    jlbos83 TrainBoard Member

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    I forgot to mention that the SF (now BNSF) mainline runs across the northern part of Arizona, through Flagstaff. Lots of railroading in AZ.
     
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  18. GEfan

    GEfan TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Guys,
    Just a quick up date to show things are still moving. I have just acquired another Kato loco, this time a ES44DC BNSF model, its a standard DC loco, so will need to pick-up a TCS drop-in decoder to go with it.

    The track for the layout is now here too, so hopefully once I finish work for the year on Tuesday, I can start to move forward with things a bit! I am just hoping the grades at either end will work ok. I have also had a conversation with a chap about building a couple of signals for the layout, so the incentive is now there to push on and get something running!

    Hopefully a more exciting update, and some pictures will follow in the next few days.
     
  19. GEfan

    GEfan TrainBoard Member

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    Hi everyone.
    I thought I'd post a picture, that might help to show the little bit of progress I've made, and put what I am doing into perspective. I have still got the storage siding board to make that will sit behind the scenic boards, it was just too bitterly cold to be outside today, but I did manage to commandeer the lounge this afternoon and erect all the boards. Its the first time I have had them up together and I am glad to say all fitted together well, and measurements were taken for the rear board.

    IMG_9325.jpg

    Excuse the wood beneath the trestles, who ever built my lounge must have spent lunchtime in the pub I think, as the floor is so uneven! So to level it out and stop and chance fo the trestles damaging the carpet, I put these timber buttons down.

    The full layout will be just over 10ft long when erected, and it has proven to be me that it could possibly be displayed at an exhibition if anyone in the UK was ever interested in such a thing, and assuming the scenics were up to the necessary standard! I have no immediately plans for such things however, this is being built for my own pleasure to run at home, either in the lounge on bad/cold weather days, or in the garden during the summer.

    I estimate it took about 20 minutes to set up, so probably about 30 minutes to set up with stock, and a similar time to split apart, which is a shame in some respects as it minimises the run-in time, but having said that, its better that nothing, as I have no where I can set something up permanently.

    In other news, I have acquired the decoder for the new loco, and also purchase a USB-LocoBuffer to allow me to experiment with computer control of the points and signals.

    Things are moving slowly :)
     
  20. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Well things moving is an accomplishment in itself! Looks like a real good start!
     
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