Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finishing Up the Turntable

 Well, after the dust settled and the family had left, I had a chance to go back downstairs and work on finishing up the turntable. All the hard work had been done. First I removed the homasote to be able to recess the tee nuts. After that, I took a piece of 1/4 inch rod and cut it into 2 1/2 inch pieces to replace the long pieces you see in the background.
 This shows a tee nut in place and a short rod with a nut. I also added a fender washer to the undertable assembly.
 We are using the level to be sure we keep the turntable level as we tighten the nuts.
 So, this is the recessed openings for the tee nuts and the nuts on the rods. In all, we had 8 of these assemblies - 2 per corner.
Here we have the finished product. Turntable in and homasote back in place. Now I have to go and finish the yard throats and start building turnouts again.

Help from the Family

 Well, after eating, playing, sleeping and even running the trains, Jason and Dylan wanted to work on the trains so first we pulled in 3 sections of 8 conductor wire that was about 50 feet long in each section. Jason drilled the holes under the layout to carry the wire. Dylan and I cut it into lengths and then Jason and I pulled it into place. It will be used to power the 8 hidden storage tracks.  Dylan is wondering about why he wanted to work rather than just run the trains while Jason is loading the air hammer to lay some sub roadbed.
 Dad takes a picture break with his son before we lay the sub roadbed in the yard entrance on the east end.
 Dylan is moving some of that 8 conductor wire out of the way as we prepare for another project.

 Jason is hammering down that sub road bed near the yard throat and Dylan is supervising closely with plenty of questions!
 Dylan and Grandpa are running the train on the track behind me using our radio throttle.
 Here is the BIG project. We have to place the turntable into the structure of the engine storage area. This is what Jason and Dylan have been walking on in the earlier pictures. The turntable assembly weights about 20 pounds and was made in Niagara Falls. It is an aluminum based structure with a heavy channel across the bottom that holds the motor.
 After we used a brace and bit to drill up from the bottom in the corners of the box I had made a long time ago when I framed the area, we sketched the area using those corner markers on the top. After that, we centered the turntable, trying to fit the mounting brackets into the box. Once located, we used the walls of the turntable as a template to draw our cut line. Jason is shown here cutting the disc out. We also placed a couple of pieces of plywood to hold the disc from falling through as he cut it.
 Here I am removing the cut disc from the hole. You can see the hands of Dylan as he closely supervises. I am holding the two pieces of plywood that we used to hold up the disc.
 This view shows how close the walls of the framed box were to the sides of the turntable.
Jason and Dylan are looking at the upside down turntable as we check the hole for fit before we work from the bottom. We went on the hang the turntable from some 1/4 inch rod using tee nuts.  We had to stop then as they had to go home, but a lot of difficult work was done.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Main Line is completed for one track!!

 Well, a big day - on December 20th at 4:05 PM the main line was connected and we are now transcontinental! I guess I should say - trans-basement. I am on a press to have a train running around the basement for the grand-kids who arrive on the 23rd and it looks like we will make it. John Roberts and Walt Johnson came by this week to help complete the work and these pictures show the result. In this shot the test train is leaving Milton and heading up the grade to Northumberland.
Here is the test train on the grade to Northumberland. We are pushing a boxcar with a Masonite pad  under it to clear the dust ahead of the engine. In the distance on the wall are the supports for the future construction of the branch up through Glen Burn Colliery into Shamokin to the right.
 We are now in the future yard area. The yard tracks will be behind the train. We are in a big horseshoe curve.
 The train is coming down the long straight along side where the future Northumberland station will go.All these views will disappear once the view block goes up. I am delaying that until I complete the track work as it is easily accessible from this side. Below the train is the end of Herndon as the track goes into the hidden 8 track sidings underneath the yard.
 This is a view of the train as it leaves Northumberland by curving around the bearing wall. Herndon is below and the track is starting into a grade up to meet the train.
Here is the power crossing the Susquehanna on one of what will be two bridges over the river. We have temporarily placed a single track bridge where a double track will go. The single track bridge will be in the background, along side the double track bridge so that the branch will  come down the hill, over the river and  into the yard.
 A view of the train leaving Northumberland with the the branch line crossing the main in the background.
 The proud railroad president admires his handiwork.
 This is a view of how the train comes off the horseshoe curve in the yard area and then proceeds down past the future station site.
 Looking back from the same site to see the west side yard entrance.
 A distance shot of the exit from Northumberland as the main arcs onto the truss bridge over the Susquehanna. The line then bears left to drop down into Herndon, crossing under the branch.
This is an overview of that area showing the two horseshoes, the branch rising and the main falling. This is where we started construction about 4 years ago!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Starting on building the Main yard

 As you can see, we are coming up the hill from the horseshoe curve after Milton. We are approaching the main yard limits by the power pack. The homasote is down and I am starting to lay out the location of the crossing from the westbound main to the eastbound main to allow the trains to come out of the yard up by the saw. The drill track will end by the power pack.
Now we have entered teh yard and are looking at the trammel where I have drawn the yard track center lines . You can see the two main tacks to the left, then the two arrival/departure tracks and then we have 4 yard tracks and a thoroughfare track on the extreme right (out of the picture) 

 Another view of the trammel that shows you how the yard bends around in a 180 degree curve. The yard tracks will be about 40 feet long so I will have a decent capacity for freight cars. When I finish laying this out, I will be able to drill the yard from both ends. Thus, I will put a caboose track on each end for convenience.
In this view I am showing that I have elevated the main tracks 1/4 inch above the yard tracks. The Arrival/Departure tracks are 1/8 inch higher than the yard. When I lay the tracks, the main will be code 140 as will the Arrival/Departure tracks. The yard will be code 125. All this is an effort to show the lighter duty track that the yard was generally laid with. I will also vary the ballast color.

This is a view of the east end of the yard. the throat of the freight tracks will be between the yellow card stock (used to try to even out the variances in thickness of the homasote) and the coke can. To the right of the Coke can, the engine service tracks and, hopefully, a small passenger car yard will peel off to the right.

This is an overview of the area that will house the diesel storage (beyond the red and white box) the turntable (center rear), the roundhouse (far left rear), and the passenger car yard. The main will continue 
off to the right of the wide column and the branch will form the end of the drill track and parallel the main beyond the column. I still have to cut the last of the homasote and lay it in down by the column.
The goal for the next month is to get one track complete through the yard (the westbound main) so the grandchildren will  finally see a train run around when they come for Christmas so time is running out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Still working up the hill

Well, you can see that I have built the curve up to the staright away which will soon have us at the yard limits. I will continue with this process until I reach teh top of the hill at the entrance to the Northumberland Yard. We have measured the length of the yard tracks and they are 40 feet long. So, I will have to build a pretty long drill track on each end for the switchers to use.

Coming up the hill

We have the homasote down and have put on the plaster shoulders. This picture and the following show the work from the hidden track up to the start of the yard trackage.
The horseshoe curve is now built. We are coming up the hill to Northumberland.  After the plaster is dry (two coats) we then paint the whole surface with flat black paint to simulate cinders.  

Continuing to build the main line

Well, I have a new computer and a new operating system and needless to say, I am having some learnings about how to post to the blog. It started with problems loading the pictures, now posting the text and who knows what else will be a problem. That is why there have not been any posts for a while. But we are struggling up the learning curve and this is the first evidence of progress. Meanwhile, I have continued working on the layout so you will see some concentrated postings to catch you up on where we are now. I have build all the substructure for the main and am now trying to get the homasote down. These shots show the building out from the hidden siding into Milton which is just west of the main yard. You can see the laying of the cut roadbed, the N scale cork that is used for super elevation on the curves and then the plaster shoulders in palce. We are approaching the big horse shoe curve at the end of the room that turns us back up hill towards Northumberland.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finishing the main line - Part 2

Well, here we go! I have completed the roadbed and spliced it together while it was on the framework. Then, I temporarily raised it up so I could cut the end where it meets the yard. I did not splice that to allow it to float while I set the actual grade.

In the first couple of pictures, you can see that the roadbed is aligned, and there are temporary supports to give me the idea of what we have to do (to determine the actual percent gradient) and to cut the risers. You can see the cross members are cut and laying on the roadbed.

There is a sag in the roadbed as I have not established the final grade. It turns out that it is a bit steep so I made the grade 1.85% on the curved portion to compensate for the drag of the train on the curve. I stiffened the grade to 2.3% on the long straight away as that will be about the same rolling resistance.

The risers are now in but just held by clamps as I start working with the level and looking at the edge of the roadbed by eye to take out minor sags. I also have to cross level the roadbed with the small red level.

We are getting closer to the final grade as I work my way up the grade with the two leveling tools. I also use a 4 foot ruler to slide on edge to see that the roadbed is not wavy under the yellow level.

Well, here we are with the finished grade. It took two days to get it all set from the curve on the bottom up to the yard at my right. Total distance is about 550 inches with 9.5 inches of elevation change. I had to include a long vertical easement at each end as I have some long wheelbase engines.

It really will look nice when the track is snaking around here. That is the next step - roadbed and then track. I have to use the trammel to draw the edges of the roadbed so I can lay that and prepare it for the track.
I have left the trammel in place so I do not have to re-establish the center point.