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Tom Harbin
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I accidentally highjacked Kyle's thread on his On30 track plan. 
Rather than continue to highjack his thread, I am starting a new thread for my railroad, currently called the Yellow Creek Western.

If you would like more information on it, I have a blog at trainblog.tharbin.com. 
I'm just going to add enough here to give a little background information on what currently exists and where I would like to take the layout. 
I will break this into two posts. The first (this one) will give the background and the second will be the redesign. 

I am hoping to get some feedback like Lee B and KitbashOn30 started to give me on Kyle's thread.

The original layout was called the Summit Ridge Railroad after the name that was on the station. 

It was not designed to be an actual layout but rather part of a Christmas Village display in our living room during the Christmas season.

The layout is roughly 3.5 x 6.5 feet. 
Rather than a simple oval of track, I added a few sidings. 
The idea was that I could switch between a passenger train and a freight train by moving one or the other to a siding,
and to have a few places to park other cars to make it look more like a railroad.

The layout was built on a 1" slab of pink foam and I used some WS 2% risers to add some grades. 
The layout was supposed to be stored most of the year so it was kept fairly thin and light. 
Originally the track was Bachmann EZ track just laid on the board.

The original track plan:






That was quickly changed but I never made a track plan. 
Basically, added some of Bachmann's filler pieces to enlarge the loop, turn it a little more toward the "staging yard" and straightened out the inside siding.

Before I finished the initial landscaping I pulled off the EZ track and ordered some ME On30 code 83 flex and switches. 
I just did not like the look of the HO track and it was obnoxiously loud. 
The sectional look also made it too toy-like for my tastes.

The ME track installed easily. 
I should probably add at this point that other than an N Scale sectional layout-on-a-door built 30 years ago, this was my first layout.

This is a rough approximation of the final trackplan. 
Note that this was done after the fact in AnyRail so it is not exact. 
The trackplan was actually devised real time by fitting flex into the scenery utilizing the areas and ramps from the Bachmann track.







Since this topic area is about layout planning I should add the minimum radius is 15
(except for one tiny spot that is about 14 and 7/8 just to annoy me) 
and the switches are all #5 with servos under layout.

This was how the Christmas Village looked two days before Christmas. 
Much left to be done but...







Since then, I went back and painted/ballasted the track, did more SculptaMoulding, added ground cover etc.

I will follow up with another post that explains where the layout is today and where I would like to take it.

Thanks,

Tom



Tom Harbin
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Continued...


The layout was moved to my office after Christmas and never left again. Just too lazy to move it back to the living room. 
After reading many posts about the problems with snow scenes (yellowing, dust and dirt, etc.) we decided to make it Christmas season but not snow covered. 
I puttered at the layout for several years in tiny dibs and drabs probably only a few hours per year and ran it occasionally--and all of the Christmas season.

I eventually added a freight station that was a Rusty Stumps laser kit but I never finished it.

The layout looked like this just before things changed:







The reason I took the photo above was because a friend gave me 2 dozen trees, a 0-4-2 Porter, a Davenport, another Zephyr and 18 pieces of ME On30 code 83 track.

I decided it was time for a change. 
The two spurs that acted as staging were too short, even a few inches longer would have greatly increased their usefulness.  
Their is no passing siding, no escape tracks no way to turn an engine let alone train etc.
This was, and still is, a display layout.

First thing was I decided to move the freight station to the end of the staging area and extend the tracks. 
Then move a depot back to the end of the long inside spur.







My wife mentioned that she liked my building more than the ceramic ones and maybe I should replace the buildings with my own.

5 minutes later:







I needed to add some foam for the new freight station location anyway so I decided to enlarge the layout. 
I built two 8 foot L girders and attached them to the desk frame I was using and moved the layout to one end. 
My first thought was a reverse loop.







It did not take me long to decide it was worse than no reverse loop, at least as configured. 
I also figured out that the height, while fine for a living room display, was too short for a layout. 
I added 1x6 crossbeams to elevate it more and to give me someplace to hang stuff.







I have found out that I enjoy building someone-else's-designed buildings quite a bit, 
so I'm currently playing with building placement and realigning the "street" to handle more normal-sized O scale buildings.







So why am I writing this? 
Well I don't really want to throw this layout away just yet. 
I'm learning a lot from tinkering with it and it has some emotional attachment as well.

I would though like to fix it though and hopefully add a little more than chasing its tail to the layout before I retire it. 
I'd rather not mess with the back half if I can avoid it because getting those switches in where I could actually use the spurs was not easy. 
I played with it quite a few times to get something that worked. 
I will pull up at least the one section of the loop just in front of the small rock between it and the staging spur. 
It is the under-radius spot.

Since I am pulling that up I could pull up the front switch as well. 
I have already pulled up the staging tracks back to the switch and I will pull up the switch. 
I am going to, will attempt to, build FastTrack #4s in the staging area.

While I would love a larger loop (I like the train running while I'm working fairly often so I need a continuous run) I don't see an easy way to do it. 
I am considering just adding an engine terminal in the currently unplanned area.

The short inside spur is currently thought to be a team track and the long one a passenger depot.

Thoughts, suggestions (other than start over)?

Tom



Si.
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Hi Tom  :wave:



AWESOME story & photos covering the 'history' of your railroad !  :thumb:



I really enjoyed reading the story ...

... just the kinda thing I like about Freerails ... 'Reality Railroading' !  ;)



I always admire the 'pioneering spirit' of the adventurous 'build & extend' kinda 'track non-plan'.  :cool:

I think it can work very well & it looks like yours is a good example of that.



What to do next ?  ???
I'll leave ideas about that to the top brains of the Forum !  :brill:

But I might have an idea or two  .   .    .      L:



:moose: :moose: :moose: :moose: :moose:




Si.


Kyle Moore
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I thought the conversation in my thread was very interesting though :2t:


It looks like a great small setup, if you were looking to do more I would probably try to use the yard (not sure if it is called that) as an area to extend into a larger space. 

I was thinking like a small 4 inch shelf to run around the room and when you are transporting the layout a way to disconnect the layout from the run around. 

That could also add some space for larger trains as well.


Tom Harbin
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Kyle,

My wife likes that idea also. 
I can't see a way to make it work in the room I'm currently using however. 

Here is an attempt to show the room:







The green area is the current layout and the yellow area is the currently proposed expansion area. 
The wall that the layout is on is 9'11" long. 
The window goes from about 3' up to about 7'. 
Since it is a south facing wall, the window gets a little warm in the summer so for 9 months of the year I have an insulated curtain that covers it. 
There is also a full slat-fin shade in the window casing that is normally closed. 
Things do not last long exposed directly to the window, even with the shade closed.
There is also a walk in closet door that I forgot to show on the longer of the two short walls opposite the window wall. 
That closet door stays open all of the time to help cool the equipment in it (computers).

For additional information, the largest loco that will run is a Bachmann inside frame 4-4-0. 
I have relegated the Mogul and the 36' passenger cars to a display shelf. 
The coaches will be 22' Mount Blue coaches (one already built). 
I still have the 18' Bachmann freight cars but they have been removed and will be replaced with 14' Chiver's Fineline cars and possibly a few 12' and 14' Silver City cars.
Since both the the passenger and freight cars are close to a scale 6' width, I may use On2 track spacing instead of On30.

The time frame I'm aiming for is the late 1800s, probably around 1880-1885.

Thanks for the input, it is an appealing idea. 
I may move to another room that would allow at least an L-shape but I want to see what I can do with this space before I give up and move.

Tom 

Michael M
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Tom,

Careful with the track spacing.  

You may need room to get your fingers in there to re-rail cars or for uncoupling.  

I keep a minimum spacing of 3.5" on parallel tracks on my 35n2 layout, but a little more is better.



Tom Harbin
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Michael,

That is a very good point. 
Right now there is little switching going on as the "layout" wasn't really designed for operation (not sure I could have done a decent operations layout anyway). 
Also the two spurs in the "staging area" are torn up for now.

When I do switching moves I use a RIX decoupler but there is always the odd (Oh #!##!).

The layout is so small that I try to economize everywhere I can. 
I am even switching to shorter cars to make it look bigger.

To make it worse, I am seriously considering switching to Link and Pin couplers.

Thanks

Tom

Lee B
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Tom Harbin wrote: I am hoping to get some feedback like Lee B and KitbashOn30 started to give me on Kyle's thread.





Careful what you wish for!
Seriously, the two spurs at the upper right, I'd put them together at the end with a turnout and just enough track for a loco to 'escape' from a head-in switching move.
I'd also not have the interior spurs end so close to the mainlines. 
Trust me, they look odd when you do that (I cut a spur on my own layout back quite a bit after doing so before the scenery went in).
You could also run a one-car spur to the mainline where it curves at the upper left, for operating potential 
(with a ramp for flat cars or along the side of the track for side loading for a boxcar).


Kitbash0n30
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Tom Harbin wrote: The layout is so small that I try to economize everywhere I can. I am even switching to shorter cars to make it look bigger.

That makes sense.

Don't have an On30 layout at home right now, 
but I built new bodies for some Bachmann HO 4-wheel cars in Thomas the Tank Engine range when some came available at close to half price.

Also used some  HO scale 36ft old timer, and Athearn 40ft, car frames. 
Well, dang, don't seem to have ever put any decent images of them up on Flickr.
Had a number on P-bucket until that day when ...

Okay, cars in background here will give the idea,






Another advantage of really short cars is that there is minimal coupler displacement from track centerline on really sharp curves.






Tom Harbin
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Lee,

Do you mean the two spurs at the upper left?

I was going to change that to three spurs that are just a little longer. 
If you look at the last photo of my second post I have an overlay of what I was planning to do. 
The overlay just uses Bachmann track sections since I didn't have FastTracks #4 pieces in AnyRail.

I understand what you mean about the escape track. 
I'll see what I can do. 
The reason they stop short of the back of the layout is that I plan on having a creek wind around from behind the spurs to the left of the freight station.

I agree on the other spurs being too close to the mainline. 
The short one looks better now that it is a team track but still not great. 
The long spur to the depot looks dumb. 
I have a small extension of the "mountain" that is at the end that helps and I may make it taller when I convert the "mountain" into part of the cut, 
but cutting it back some would probably be a good idea.

I need to think about your last suggestion a little. 
I don't have a lot of room for my buildings as it is but another spur of the mainline would be good.

Tom

Tom Harbin
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KitbashOn30,

That is a great idea with the Thomas cars. 
I just purchased 11 Chiver's Finelines On30 14' cars. 
I already had one I built years ago (and finally painted). 
I didn't think ahead though and ordered them all with standard trucks.
I would like to have a few 4-wheel cars as well and that would be a great way to do it!

Also, I like the paint scheme on your Porter. 
Is that a Banta cab on it?

I have a bunch of Bachmann 18' cars but I figured the 14' cars save me an inch per car which means longer trains and more cars per siding. 
I also switched out the Bachmann 36' coaches for Mount Blue 22' coaches (only one built so far). 
Makes the loop seem less like a loop.

Tom

Tom Harbin
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Well here is one plan I am considering. 







It eliminates the small loop, replacing it with a large outer loop and moving the freight area inside the loop. 
I may make the outer loop smaller and move the freight area back to the outside as I really don't like having everything inside the loop. 
Disregard any little s-curves. 
I haven't tried to "get it right" as a plan but rather a concept.

I also need to work on the run-around on the freight siding as I want to have 9" or so between it and the "mainline".

I also may change part of the cut for the right hand of the loop into a tunnel through a hill. 
That depends a lot on testing my existing structures for fit.

The spur that goes nowhere just before the freight spurs will probably lead to a 9" turntable and some engine/caboose facilities.

The shorter inside spur may also end up shorter and acting as a spur for a yet-to-be-decided industry. 
Currently it is a team track. 
If I do change it I will add another spur for a team track to the freight area.

I am playing with a few more ideas but this one seems the best so far.

Tom

Tom Harbin
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The other main "concept" I am looking into is to scrap this layout and build a shelf layout of 119" x 30". 

That would actually fit the space better but since I require a continuous run, that would force me to use 12" curves, 
which relegates my 4-4-0s to the display shelf or a little chunk of goes nowhere on the layout while the Porters run the loop.

Tom


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Tom Harbin wrote: KitbashOn30,

Also, I like the paint scheme on your Porter. Is that a Banta cab on it?



Thanks! 

Is the stock cab with some paint experimentation.



Kitbash0n30
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I don't recall whether you have said or not, and I don't feel good and am not going to look back through the thread
is there enough layout space available in a suitable room configuration to move that freight area to a shelf perpendicular to the oval, 
and thereby make the layout a sort-of "L" with one really fat part and one really skinny part?



Tom Harbin
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No there isn't but I think I see where you are going with that. 
I'm going to look at the other rooms again to see if that idea might fit one of them instead.

Hope you feel better.

Tom

Tom Harbin
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Well, I haven't made any real progress on the track plan yet but I have made a little progress on the planning-the-plan part. 
I add a couple of photos to keep it from being too dry, I hope.

Every time I get ready to scrap the existing layout either I or my wife get cold feet. 
We just plain like it for whatever reason. 
At the same time I want to move forward and have more operational potential. 
There is really no where else to put the layout and it is already too wide (about 45 inches) for the room's other uses.

As much as I like my 4-4-0s, I like critters even more and the space really needs to be 119" x 30" to not interfere with other activities. 
The 4-4-0 needs a 15" radius to be comfortable whereas my Porters and Davenport can use 9". 
That is obviously a much better fit for the space.

The current layout will be kept but not expanded, but possibly extended for the moment.
I am currently converting it to an old-southwest layout.







Here is a view of the main street as it stands.

I've stripped off all of the fences, ground clutter, plants, trees etc. and most of the talus.
I've filled but not sculptamolded the "skating rink" and laid out the basic idea for the town site.







I'm planning to bring the freight station inside the yard tracks to maintain the current footprint for the layout. 
We plan to take it back to the living room this Christmas season and use it as a "Southwestern Christmas Village". 
Then we will decide its fate. 

The unfinished (well they are all unfinished-but the one with no outer side walls, windows or doors yet) 
is a Stoney Creek Meat Market/Land Office and the red paper is the footprint for the Stoney Creek Bookstore. 







In the meantime, I am starting to plan out (in my head so far) the new layout. 
It may replace this one or connect to it. 
If it connects it will probably have to go on a second level as going around the room is just not possible. 
I'm planning either a point to point or point to loop (or possibly a loop to loop) 
mining layout with 9" minimum curves and 4% grades based very, very loosely on the Morenci Southern with a hint of Coronado. 

If I can figure out something that is not too ugly, I'd like to connect the mining scene to this layout via the outside staging yard track. 
If not, this layout will probably be scrapped as I don't really have someplace to store it during the non-Christmas season.

Thanks for looking,

Tom

Tom Harbin
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Just a quick update.


Since I'm bored and I really like little, portable layouts, I'm designing a 2' x 4' On30 layout. 
9" minimum radius, #4 FastTrack turnouts, ME code 83 On30 track, 4% grades and only 3" vertical clearance. 
Motive power will be steam critters and Porters. 
Cars will be a Mount Blue 18' Combine and some Chiver's 14' cars or shorter.


The plan is not done yet. 
I want to add at least one escape track to a possible additional micro-size layout. 
That one would be triangular in shape and contain just a wye and maybe a building or two.

Here is the plan so far:







While I basically like it, it does have some issues (I would guess many really small layouts have issues)
The tracks are too close to the edges, I'll protect them somehow.
I don't have a good place to escape to the wye layout--if ever built; and I don't have a place for the ore cars to end up.

I should have labeled the plan but I'll try to explain. 
The lower depot is at the end of the stub siding near the trestle. 
The train backs in using the longer siding off the main. 
There will be another depot at the top of the loop just above the outside tunnel. 
The siding near the upper depot is on the mountain and leads to the mine.

I had planned to use the other lower siding for engine service or freight but it could be a smelter. 
The smelter could also be off layout if I build the wye.

Any comments?


Michael M
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It always makes me nervous when tracks come too close to the edge of the layout.  
Too much chance for a prized loco to take a nosedive.

You may be trying to fit too much track into the space available.  
Get some scrap cardboard and lay out your 2' x 4' space.  
Take a few track pieces and lay them out to get an idea how things look.  
Tape together a few buildings out of some scrap cardboard just to see how much real estate they take up. 


In many cases less is more.



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Hi Tom  :wave:



I have to agree with Michael ...  :old dude:

... not enough space at the edges of the benchwork makes me VERY NERVOUS !  :w:



I tried a while back, for a maximum track in 4' x 2' type of plan.  :shocked:

My scale is 1:35n2, but the track is still 16.5mm & some locos are 'upscaled' On30.

So my 2' gauge stuff is not really much bigger than a lot of 1:48 On30, except for any structures.  L:



I came up with this track plan, which I think is really pushing the limits for what is possible in 4' x 2'





The heights of the track on the SAVAGE GRADES involved are shown on the drawing in inches.  :shocked:

It might be that I could get away with slightly less 'loading gauge' clearance by 1" maybe.  L:

Track radius is drawn as 10" except for the switches, which are drawn as 24" radius.

The idea is for a mine on the left of the scene & some ore-bins on the right of the scene.  :mex:



It may or may not help you much Tom ?  ???

But I really couldn't pack much more in here, especially parallel tracks at different heights !

The space to the 'concrete canyon' of THE FLOOR is still only 2" in places as well.  :w:

Mmm .  .   .



:moose:




Si.


Michael M
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Si,

Didn't Woodie do a On20 layout some time back?  

Can't find the thread right now.

But I think it was about 3' x 5' in size, and had a passing track and one or two sidings.



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Michael and Si,

I like your track plan Si. Seems to be very aggressive grades there!

Unfortunately, I have to agree with both of you. 
The tracks that close to the edge make me nervous as well and will be almost impossible to scenic well.

I did mock up part of it last night and got out a Porter 0-4-2 and a Mount Blue coach (I haven't built the combine yet but they are the same size). 
Turns out the combo is a little longer than I thought (11") so the depot lead is 2" too short for the passenger train to clear the inside spur switch.

On top of that since it is a twice around my high point is only 16' above the canyon floor.
Might as well just toss the ore off the cliff. It looks silly.

What I really wanted was a very small loop to loop but could not figure a way to fit it in.
This layout needs to have a continuous run. 
I find that having a small train slowly puttering around a track is very relaxing, kind of like the effect of a nice salt water coral reef aquarium in the room.

Part of my current train of thought is to keep the original Yellow Creek Western as is with a few fixes and add a connector track to the outside world.

If I come up with a plan for this 2'x4' that works, it will also have a connector. 
Then I can build a wedge shaped mini that is just a wye and possibly a depot that the original layout and this one can connect to. 
Then the trains on the big layout (3.5'x6.5') with 15" curves can connect to a depot on the wye. 
Likewise the small layout (this one) would be able to also connect to the wye. 

That gives a transfer point for both railroads and a way to reverse a train for both,
but still allows me to take the main layout into the living room for the Christmas season,
and still have a small roundy-round in the office that could be taken out to the public.

I'm not planning on them being parts of a sectional layout and no real scenic blending,
just three layouts that I can connect together and that fit on one wall of my office.


Thank you both. Looks like 'm back to the drawing board, well computer screen.

Tom


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Michael,

This made me think. 
I could actually go as far as 3'x4' for the layout. 
I just had 2'x4' stuck in my head. 
The 4' though is an absolute maximum.


Tom

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There's no reason why you can't just keep your current layout...at least for the time being.

Add a couple of switches so that you can connect additional sections later.


Atlas had a shelf layout with a wye.  

As I recall it used three wye switches and 18" radius curves but was very compact and only took up a few square feet.



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Tom,

That's the one!  

Glad you found it.

I was thinking the layout was larger than 2' x 4', but maybe it just seemed that way.



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Michael,

Is this the one you are referring to  Gila Tramway ? 
I just happened across it. 
Great thread. 
Thanks. 

You are also right about the less is more. 
If I look at almost all of the layouts that make go WOW they have much less trackage than the average. 
They are also usually point to point although they may have a continuous run added for convenience.

Tom


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" I could actually go as far as 3'x4' for the layout. 

I just had 2'x4' stuck in my head "



Hi Tom  :wave:



I had 2' x 4'  " stuck in my head "  as well.  ;)

Probably because I didn't want the damn thing STUCK IN MY DOORWAY !  :f:



2' x 4' in my opinion, is just about the biggest 'sensible' chunk of benchwork that's practical.  L:

OK we can give & take & stretch that a bit if needed.  :P

But I need to be able to move a module, without extra hands help & not damage it or the scenery.  :f:



My doorways, as I'm sure many peoples are, measure a pretty standard 2' 6" wide.  L:

Also it is difficult & a pain in the neck & back ! to constantly have to reach much over 2' to scenic a wall fixed module.  :f:



I'm still tinkering with my 2' x 4'  SAVAGE GRADED  track plan.  L:

I may have to 'break the rules' & extend over the 2' x 4' sensible size !  :shocked:



I've got some more ramblings on 'grades' which will have to come ...   L   a   t   e   r   .    .     .      :slow:



:moose:




Si.


Tom Harbin
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Si,

I have decided to stay with 2'x4' for this module.
It is really just something to play with in the office while the big layout is in the living room, and for all of the reasons you mentioned. 
I'll just simplify the trackplan considerably. 
I'm also going to use 3% and maybe one 2% grade as I have some WS risers laying around that need a good home.

I did cut the 1" foam to 2'x4' 
(one inch in pink with scoring or 1" blue with coved edges are all that is available without ordering bulk through a distributor up in Phoenix)
I also laid out the now defunct track plan on it to do a reality check. Not a pretty thing.

That said I will probably put building the 2x4 on hold until the end of November,
as I need to get enough of the main layout rebuilt to move it to the living room for the  Christmas season. 

I still want to get it planned out though. 
I'm thinking something closer to the Gilpin Tram or a few others I have seen in magazines and at carendt,com . 
 
I have a problem however, if I don't stay out of the "Narrow Gauge" forum I will never get anything done on either layout. 
I went there yesterday to see why a moose on a mountain was so mysterious and what all this talk about 35n2 was all about. 
I never even got to the Moose. 
I spent the entire morning lost on a charming French island which led me to the Mogollon (at least I was nearer home) which led me to Silver City and eventually the Gilpin. 

I was supposed to teach myself how to build a turnout yesterday, didn't happen.

I started to get out my track supplies and now I'm bogged down reading about bars that are owned by domestic animals.

Tom 

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Tom, Michael...the Gila Tram is doing fine. 
It's a 2 by 4 foot layout with 10" radius curves.
After I built it, a close friend got really ill and couldn't work on his HOn30 layout so I gave him the GT along with the little Shay and ore cars. 
He ran the train around and around every day and got to enjoy seeing a train run. 
After he passed, his wife wanted me to have the GT back so it has a place of honor in my little office where I watch the Shay and 0-4-4t run almost every day...around and around.
BTW, the Shay and Grandt Gilpin ore cars are over 20 years old and still operate flawlessly. Such memories...

Woodie


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Woodie,

You have really forced me to neglect my MRR duties. 
I spent many hours reading your threads on here instead of working on the railroad.
Actually, time very well spent. Thank you for sharing. 
Now if I can just keep from thinking about RC/battery control and 35n2 long enough to finish something in On30.

Still running after 20 years? 
If I remember correctly the Shay started out as a MDC HOn3 two-truck Shay didn't it? 
I always thought they were "problematic".

Your story about the Gilpin Tram is very touching.
I have been thinking about building something small for a friend that no longer has the time but loves trains. Just may do it.

Thanks,

Tom


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Well I did force myself off of the forum long enough to start my first home-built turnout.

Not scratch built since I used FastTracks everything and still it only came out okay. 
But it is very smooth. 

I still need to cut the frog isolation gaps but want it to set up overnight first, 
then some stain/paint/whatever and it hopefully will be part of the new freight yard in Yellow Creek.






Tom

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I didn't really know where to put this but since I have the post about my first turnout here, I figured this was as good a place to ask as any. 
It is a plain vanilla Fast Track turnout with PC ties.

I finished cutting the rails and painting/staining the turnout but I have a question. 
My question is about the PC ties under the points. 
How do you paint them or whatever so that they aren't shiny copper? 

I used an acrylic primer and then acrylic paint on the pc ties and they look okay at a distance but the paint just scrapes off under the points when they move. 
I thought about a chemical blackener but thought I remembered reading that they should not be used on copper-clad board. 
Am I over-thinking and just should have blasted the turnout with auto primer or one of those camo sprays?

Tom

 

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Try a chemical blackener. 

They do not build up like paint.

Jose.



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At the urging of a few others here I've been making my own stub switches.  

Surprisingly they actually work pretty well.





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Jose,  thank you. 
My concerns were 
a) would the blackener delaminate the copper from the board and 
b) would the blackener somehow compromise the electrical or mechanical solder joints.

Michael, you have more courage than me. 
If I wanted to do this layout "right" I would be using stubs as well but I figured if I could just get a working slip switch I would be happy. 

I understand the geometry for a stub is actually different though the diverging route and I haven't found a good template for it either. 
I think I read that the diverging route is actually curved all the way through instead of returning to straight right after the frog. 

Also can you build that at the workbench and then install it? 
It seems to me it would be two separate pieces that have to be aligned very precisely.
I'm not sure I could do that with my current subroadbed (just ties glued to the foam board). 

I would really like to be using stubs and harp stands but I am just learning to crawl when it comes to "real" model railroading skills. 
Are the stubs in your build thread? 
I have started to read it but then forced myself to go build a turnout.

Tom  


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Tom,

I draw out the stub switch on a piece of paper and construct it at the work bench.  
I find them much easier to make than point switches.  
The hardest part for me is the frog.  

For alignment I solder a short piece of brass rod on the outside rails of the stub.  
This keeps the lead track from going too far one way of the other.  

I make a very crude Harp Stand out of styrene.











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Michael,

Those look great. I just may have to try my hand at it.

Thanks,
Tom

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Just as a follow up on the turnout. 
I tried Jose's suggestion. 
I first dipped a piece of my PC tie material into my A-West Blacken-It and it did not seem to suffer any ill effects. 
Now my Blacken-It is at least 20 years old so it may not be quite full strength.

Anyway I then tried it on the turnout. 
Trying to use it on a built turnout meant I had to brush it on but still it took away the shine which was my main concern. 
It did however create just enough of a surface roughness or maybe thickness to bind the points a slight amount. 
I think it will work itself out okay.







The wood ties and the PC ties are close enough in color that it is really not noticeable unless close up and the shine is gone.







I still have to finish the weathering but I think I'll call this experiment a success. 
I figured the first turnout would probably be a throw away but, while not good, it is okay and will probably be a part of the yard ladder.

Tom

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Tom,

Very nice work on the switch (turnout). :glad:

You're much neater at putting it together than I am.  

I tend to get a bit sloppy, but then I don't worry about gaps in the rail using BPRC.


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Michael,

BPRC; I can't think about it. 
I keep going back to the Narrow Gauge forum and reading the threads over and over (instead of building my layout). 
The idea of not having track wiring is VERY appealing. No gaps, no dirty track issues, no gobs of track wiring...

I still need to justify what I already have which includes a half dozen DCC engines and TWO command stations (just Zephyrs and one was given to me but still...).

Thanks for the compliment on the turnout. 
I am rather surprised that it was as easy as it was, mainly due to the hand-holding of the Fast Tracks stuff but I actually feel like I could build one on a paper template now. 
That's not bad considering the only flex track I ever laid is what you see on this little layout.

Speaking of the flex track, after seeing it next to the wood/PC tie layout--well I will probably need to hand lay some of the track and eventually all of it. 
Too bad, I started this expansion to use some of the 18 pieces of ME flex my friend gave me.

Tom


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Tom,

I started out using flex track, but at the urging of some here on this forum I started hand laying track.  
Since you are not building your own turnouts why not give hand laying a try?  
You could still use the rail from the ME flex track.

Since I use BPRC I generally use brass rail which is cheap and sometimes even free.



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Thought I would give a little update.

I have been working on another structure for the town. 
It is a Stoney Creek Designs Meat Market/Real Estate Office.

















While I'm waiting for some supplies for the structure I've gone back to my track "plan".







Since I still need to tear out the switch that goes downgrade to the freight stubs and the rail that goes to the left at least as far as the small straight area. 
[I think] I've decided to tear up all of the track and hand-lay new track throughout.

As for the track plan, simple. 
I'll do the landforms and basic "town" layout and then put tracks wherever there isn't a building. 
Good plan huh?

Si, there is so little "track plan" in this thread that maybe it doesn't belong in this forum.
Do you have a "Pipe Dreams" or maybe a "Round-To-It" forum?

Tom


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" Si, there is so little "track plan" in this thread that maybe it doesn't belong in this forum.

Do you have a "Pipe Dreams" or maybe a "Round-To-It" forum? "



Hi Tom  :wave:


Sounds like you're being a bit hard on yourself !  :old dude:

You seem to be very busy with 'Expanding' as your Thread suggests !!  :shocked:



There is nothing worse than succumbing to the 'Must have a HUGE layout instantly' mindset.  :Crazy:

That's a sure fire way to catch 'anti-creativitus', for which there is no known cure !  :w:



I think your Thread is GREAT !  :bg:

You are entertaining me for one & probably many others who are thinking about and/or making a practical layout.  L:



You have covered masses of stuff one doesn't always think of when layout building.

Plus of course loads of  C :cool: :cool: L  other stuff like your new ^^ structure.

Keep up the nice work & always remember you can do 'it' however YOU want to !  :P



As for what Forum you are in, it's your choice.  ???

We are not running a prison camp here at Freerails ... thank goodness.

But if you wanna say get The Yellow Creek Western moved to the On30 Forum, we can do that no problem.  :thumb:



:)




Si.

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Si,

If you're fine with it here, so am I. 
At least I'll know where to find it. 

I've been keeping the non-planning part as short as possible to not get too far from planning versus building/re-building. 
Guess I'll just go for it and if someone thinks it should be moved to On30, I'm fine with that also. 
I just need someplace to vent and get ideas.

Tom

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Hi Tom  :wave:



The WORST THING to do as a Member ... is NOT POSTING ones ideas & models etc. !  :f:

There is a place for everyone & everything here at Freerails.  :)

I think the diversity of the ideas & models here, is what makes Freerails a mine of railroadin' inspiration !  :thumb:



It's all part of Mission Modeling anyway !  :shades:


Post whatever takes yer fancy at the time is my general theory.  :brill:

The story just   g   r   o   w   s   .   .   .   :slow:



:moose: :moose: :moose: :moose: :moose:




Si.

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Before anyone asks. 
I know it would be faster to just make a new baseboard and go from there. 
I have three, no four, reasons to recycle instead of replace:

1. I can no longer get standard 1" 4'x8' sheets of foam anywhere remotely local (that wording just sounds wrong but I'll go with it anyway). 
I used to be able to get both half inch and one inch pink foam in four by eight sheets from Home Depot, 
or one inch (with lipped edges) blue foam in two by four sheets from Lowes. 
Home Depot now only sells the one inch four by eights but they are now scored which significantly weakens them as a baseboard.

2. The "cut" at the right hand side was the single hardest, messiest and longest single job on the layout. 
It was made with all hydrocal rocks from Woodland Scenics molds. 
The biggest is maybe three inches by four inches. 
They are all stacked, rotated, cut up, etc. to make the cut.

3. I have enough foam on hand to "finish" this baseboard but not enough to replace it.

4. Where's the fun in doing it the easy way?

Tom 


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Sometimes a fresh canvas is the best way to start rather than trying to force things to work.

I've got a re-build that I'm slowly working on and just thought it better to start from scratch.  

It was a little scary to make the decision, but I'm glad I did.  

All kinds of new possibilities are presenting themselves.

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Hi Tom  :wave:



I thought I'd add a few of my random thoughts to the party.  :P

My last 'layout' would now be considered historical ... Cos it was made  s o o o o o  long ago.  :old dude:



I didn't know $4!7 about 'operations' back then & maybe still don't !  L:

But I got lucky with my 'non-track' plan.  :shocked:

Whacked the track down 5-mins after getting it back from the store.

And BINGO ! ... A reasonably good, but entirely lucky loada track down.


- - - - - - -





The single biggest problem for operations on this ^^ trackplan ...

... is the fact that the tracks in the centre are both facing the wrong way.  :f:



If they were facing in the opposite direction ...  :dt:

... you could switch cars from the fork on the left, to the tracks in the centre no problem.

But as it is, without a runaround-loop, which would not be needed if the centre tracks were reversed ...

... you cant !  :f:



I'm sure you've already realised that, but it might help anyone looking in who hasn't ...

... it's just the kind of thing that can happen if you are an operations neewbeey, like ME !  ???



:mex:




Si.

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Si,

Very good point about the points (switches)!

I do realize it, when I'm doing operations, and then promptly forget it again when I think about track planning!

If I end up tearing out all of the track I can actually fix at least the longer inside stub.
Notice I said if. I'm still debating the whole rebuild/replace dilemma. 

On one hand I think it is an interesting exercise to take a fairly typical Christmas Village and turn it into a model railroad. 
It is also interesting how you extend a foamboard layout. I have decided the L-Girder backbone I built has to go. 
It was a comfortable way station but too old school and semi-permanent for where I want to take the layout.

I think I have a way to expand it without resorting to external support but I'm not sure I want to go there just yet. 
One problem is that right now, if I just slap down some track to replace what I tore up I could give this to someone with no layout. 
It is already set up for DCC with servo controlled points, even a programming track. 
Once the track is all off; if I decide to scrap it--I just scrap it.


I may also have an answer to my foam availability problem, Polyiso. 
Steve Hatch uses it for his modules and it is available locally in 2". 
Never considered it because of the foil sheathing.

I know I should probably just throw the whole thing in the dumpster and build a 30" x <= 119" layout (in sections).
But I can't give up my 4-4-0s just yet.

You said you're okay with random thoughts, well there were a few.

Thanks for putting the switching problem in words. 
Maybe now I will remember it when I "plan".

Tom

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Tom,

I'd still like to see a run around track in there somewhere.  
It really can come in handy, and even if you are not using it much cars can still be spotted on it.

I have a small oval of track that I first started with and sometimes use it to stash ore cars that are getting in the way.  
The prototype does it so why can't we?


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Michael,

Thank you. I agree. 
Whatever I do there will be a run-around somewhere. 
My thinking is that if I keep this layout it will go in the lead down to the yard stubs.

I didn't think about it before but the scoring they have now on the foam is at 16", 24" and 32". 
Pretty convenient, if I'm building a house. 
Since it is nicely scored, if I replace the layout it will be 24" wide or 32" wide, not 30". 
If I sacrificed a little more of the room, and shortened it to miss the curtain, 
I could maybe, just, squeeze in a 15" radius with a little fudging into a 32(+)" width. 

Just thinking out loud, well, out keyboard.

One of the reasons I'm leaning toward all hand-laid track is to give me more flexibility with the switches. 
The problem there of course is that I'm laying directly on foam. 
I can't see that being successful with hand-laid but I'll never use cork again after seeing what it looks like after a few years, 
homasote is a non-starter, decent Lauan plywood is a distant memory. 
There are no door skins at the dump... 

I am considering some heavy card stock as some have reported success with it.
The layout is small enough that I could even use thin basswood sheets, 
but that would presume that I have some idea where I'm going to put the tracks. 

I've pretty much convinced myself that I cannot design trackwork in 2D. 

Tom

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Woodie has built layouts laying the track and switches directly on foam.

Could you pre-build the switches at your workbench and then install them?

I'm hand laying my track and switches.  

There have been a few problem areas but usually a few extra spikes and some CA will fix it.

With a 32" width you will probably end up with a 13" or 14" radius.  Call it 13.5". 




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Michael,

Interesting about Woodie's layouts. I didn't realize he built some that way. 
Guess I need to improve my reading comprehension. 

I can, and probably will, pre-build at the workbench, 
although a part of me really wants to go "old school" and just use wood ties and spikes. 
After all, I still like wax-paper :bg:.

I agree on the radius. 
I'm thinking that with a cantilevered bridge out into "space" I could squeeze in a 15".
Otherwise the 4-4-0s go on the shelf or I see if they can be modified to work okay on 13ish" radius.

If I just rebuild the current baseboard, it is actually 42" wide at its widest point, 
and I have 3" of 1x6 sticking out behind the layout that could be used to go out to 45",
but I cannot go that wide the full length. 

I would not build a replacement that wide though. 
The ideal for the room is 30". 
I could squeeze in a 32" without too much hassle and maybe a little more, 
as long as it is not at the window-end of the room. 

Tom

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Tom,

Could part of the loop be a removable, fold-down, or fold-up, section?  
That way you could get a 15" radius without intruding too much into your space.

I pre-build my switches at the workbench using a few strips of brass to solder the rails to, then install it on the layout with ties and spikes.  
Since I run battery powered locos I don't worry about gaps but you could use PCB ties and cut gaps in those.

I was looking at the Polyiso that you mentioned.  
Not sure about the foil covering, but it looks like it might work in place of the pink foam.


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Michael,

Good idea about the fold-up/down section. 
I'll explore that option as I envision, or I mean plan the layout.

I'm probably going to build the trackwork at my desk 
(I use the same desk for my work and model building) 
using PCB ties as I'm basically a lazy and impatient modeler. 

You did remind me though of a technique that someone used to use. 
They built at their workbench and put soldered brass strips on the top of rails to hold everything together, 
spiked it down and then de-soldered the brass strips. 
That is also an option worth exploring.

Steven Hatch (Railway Engineering) is using the Polyiso for his layout. They strip the foil off of it. 
I did a little more searching on the topic and found a guy writing about it in a blog on Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine. 
According to him removing the foil is tedious as it comes off in little strips, 
but the big advantage is that it is not attacked by common spray paints 
(not sure if he means enamels or lacquers or both but I guess he means solvent-based).

The main thing I like is availability. 
Seems it is the most common foam used for new construction, 
as it is more fire-retardant than pink/blue/green, shrinks less and has a higher R-value/inch. 
I'm thinking of it for baseboard work and the other stuff for contours (if the Polyiso proves to be fiddley).

Tom

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Note to self:

"Reread sections on THIN bead of glue under ties, in MRR for dummies"







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" ...  THIN bead of glue ... "



Hi Tom  :wave:



As Murphy always tells me ...

... you're  %£$@*&  if you do and  %£$@*&  if you don't !!  :f:



I guess it's YOUR round then.  [toast]



;)



Si.


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Just wanted to give a quick update.

I have removed about 75% of the existing track from the layout and will remove the rest in the next few days.
It will be replaced with all hand laid track.
I will not replace the track however until I figured out what direction I am going with the layout.

I've decided to change one On30 Porter 0-4-2 that is already apart, to BPRC,
and see how I like it before I re-lay track.

Tom


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Howdy Tom, will you like an r/c Porter? ABSOLUTELY and POSITIVELY!
Good luck on the track, it is easy once you get going and like the r/c, you'll never look back.

Woodie




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Another quick update.

Since my layout is now devoid of track (almost), the Southwestern Christmas Village didn't seem possible but...

I took the 2x4 that I cut for a mini layout and placed all of the current structures and figures from the Yellow Creek Western on it,
put some BP votive candles in the buildings and placed it on a table.
My wife liked it so much that she did not set up the ceramic village. 





Tom


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Since it was close to Christmas and many suppliers were on reduced hours or closed,
I decided to wait a couple weeks to order some BPRC supplies.

Just so I didn't totally neglect the layout I did a little more work on the Meat Market/Land Office building.
The building was not designed to add interior detailing but I try to build my structure to add interiors/lighting someday in the future,
if I ever feel competent to do so.

Anyway, I could not come up with a plan that I liked for making the roof removable on the building.
Since I wanted to add a wood porch to the front anyway, I decided to make a foundation/ floor for the building.

I started by building a foundation from balsa.
I designed it to try to look like the "foundation" had been extended twice,
first to add the rear part of the Land Office (left side) and then to add the shed to the rear.
I then started to add balsa floor boards that fit inside the walls to help block light leaks.










The "slot" in the floor is where the wall fits.
I had to stop on it for now as I need to solve a problem with the left side wall before I can build its floor.
In the meantime, I have added rafter ends and the battens to the shed.





I haven't designed the porch yet as I need to have a better idea of where the building will be sited first. 

Tom


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Another update:

I had decided to remove all of the track from the layout and replace it with hand-laid track.
While I was doing that, I started really looking into BPRC and what I wanted from the hobby.
The upshot of that was that I have decided to change to BPRC and not wire the new track.

I got to this point before sanity prevailed. 





Since I have decided to go "all in" on BPRC, here is my new, improved, track plan.





Still needs a little work...

Tom


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Hi Tom  :wave:



Your new building is  L :cool: :cool: KIN'  C :cool: :cool:



Radical decisions on track, layout & new R.C. elektrickery !  :shocked:



You seem to be finding your 'mojo' after much experimentation.


:thumb:


It probably all seems like 'work' now ...  :f:

... but I'm sure that you will be congratulating yourself later for it.  :bg:



Less is more ... a rolling stone gathers no moss ... how many grains of sand on a beach ?

What the hell am I on about ? ...  ;)



:java: :P



Si.


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Si,

Major paradigm shifts have a way of letting you reflect.

I did do a little more on the building (and the Porter) between other activities.

I finished the floor.





The "empty" area is a piece of the shed that is completely sealed off, no doors or windows,
that I left open in case I decide to add self-contained lighting.

I also started to add some of the trim and battens.















I also finished disassembling the Bachmann Porter 0-4-2 that will be my first attempt at BPRC conversion.

Once I set the new layout board (currently 8 foot by 32 inch) in place,
it occurred to me that the tracks were now only going to be a suggestion to the train as to where I would like it to go.

That opens up all kinds of ideas, some pretty strange.
I thought about just putting a fence around the outer perimeter, maybe add steerable axles, and play Bumper Trains...
Hmmm, maybe I'm onto something there.

Seriously, the decision to change to BPRC has re-enthused me for the hobby.
I plan to de-clutter and simplify all aspects of the hobby.
I'm dropping out of several DCC and related forums and re-kindling my electronics genes.

Now if I can just get some parts...

Tom


Michael M
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BPRC will set you free!

I'm glad I made the switch from DC.

Since I'm building my own switches, BPRC makes life easy. 
The idea of trying to gap those stub switches would be just too much for me.


Tom Harbin
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Michael,

Even though I don't have equipment yet, I'm committed to BPRC.

Gapping switches doesn't really bother me,
but all of the non-railroad-related electrical minutia like reverse loops, powered frogs, etc,
just cause us to design layouts based on electrical connectivity instead of something simple and railroady like
"we need to be able to spot a car over there".

On small layouts like mine it isn't really much of a concern but it does interfere with the creative process.
I don't have any creativity to spare for powered rail nonsense.

Tom


slateworks
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That's a fine looking building you're developing Tom. I love all the angles.

Tom Harbin
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Doug,

Thank you for the complement.
I wish I could take the credit, but it is a Roger Malinowsky (Stoney Creek Designs) laser kit.
I'm building it with very minor modifications
(scribed the inside walls to simulate planks, added floor/ceiling between first and second floors and added a floor/foundation for the building)
so the credit goes to Roger and his wonderful kits.

Tom


Tom Harbin
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Another update:

I have started to assemble a test track to get all of my equipment operating correctly again,
play with using "ground throws" to see how I like it (I've always had either solenoid- or servo-powered switches in the past),
to see how I like operations-based "playing with trains" to see if going to point-to-point agrees with my idea of fun,
and to performance test each loco in anticipation of butchering it for BPRC.





The switch that is blue-taped in the middle of the table is the heart of my new testing center.
It is the DPDT center off switch I was using for my programming track.





To the left, DC. To the right, DCC. In the center, wait for it..., BP.

Since I took the photo above, I found a 5-0-5 Amp meter in my parts and have added it to the DC circuit.
The goal is to profile each engine to figure out their requirements for BPRC.

For the record, this is still an expansion of the Yellow Creek Western.

The square footage of the old layout was about 19.5 sq. ft. whereas the "new one is currently 21.3 sq. ft.
and will probably grow by another roughly 7.5 sq. ft.
so a whopping huge 28.8 sq. ft.

Tom
 


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