Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Working around the engine terminal

 Actually, I thought I would let you see what we are doing to make some land forms in the Narrow area on the branch. This is our first area I plan to use to get through all the steps associated with the scenery. I will learn a lot here about how to do it better than I had in the past. You can see the webbing under the rosin paper. Once this is completed, we will put plaster cloth up to form the hardscape.
 This is a view further around the curve. I have placed an old gas station where it will be located on the PA highway that goes by. The yellow knife sits on the future river bed.
 Okay, now lets look at the engine terminal. I have a large group coming in a couple of weeks so I thought I would get a bunch of track down in this area since it has sat incomplete for a couple of years. Sadly, I have decided to sell the terrific Ogle brass coaling tower since the RR did not use this type of structure at Northumberland. So, the grey Suncoast tower - a Fairbanks Morse type, which was used here, will be the facility we use.  Fuel tanks for the diesel fuel will be placed, along with sanding towers.
 I have added one half of the garden tracks off the turntable, which is operable now. The power pack in the front runs it. The shorter tracks are on the left side, facing the diesel storage area. The first five are for H type locomotives. They are 20 inches long. Then they stretch out to 2 30 inches for the longer power.
 I have been using a track gauge made by Pat Mitchell to ensure that the tracks are aligned. It has worked like a charm and the cars just roll on and off with no problem. I have bent the last bit of track open to ensure an easy connection.
The really long garden tracks are on the right side. They are 36 inches long and will accommodate all the really long engines.  We do have a couple of short tracks for the Jordan spreader and a scale test car.
 Here is a close view of using the gauge to set a curved engine lead from the coaling tower to the turntable. The turntable will actually pull the track over using that gauge until I get a nice curve that I like.
 Here I have now added the four tracks that feed into the engine area. The first track is the coal and fuel oil delivery track. The next two are through tracks that go under and next to the coaling tower. The one on the far right is a cinder track that will pick up the gon's that will be loaded with cinders that the engines drop as they come in for service. It will have to be switched using the turntable as it is not connected to the outbound tracks.
 These are the longer garden tracks. That last engine to the right is a heavy Lackawanna 2-8-2 that has been scratch built. The big hole on the right side of the turntable where there are no tracks is where the roundhouse and its tracks will go.
 This is the three tracks of the coach and express yard. They are about 6 to 8 feet long. That vacant land to the left of these tracks is where the roundhouse will be. It is going to be a thrill to get that in place! Right now I am laying out there to spike down these tracks that cannot be reached from the aisles. So, once I get all the terminal in and wired, I can then do the roundhouse.
 This is the view now with the structures sitting in place. There were double water tanks at this location. Between them and the coal tower is the coal delivery track. I am also going to put in the piping to unload tank cars there which will be used to fill the diesel tanks behind the water tanks.
You can see that we now have 6 modified I1's completed. One is in the paint line. 2 more to go.

This is the view from the front of the diesel storage and servicing area.
 All I need to do now is to wire all this and then add structures and ballast. It is beginning to look like an engine terminal though. One thing I need to do is decide where I am going to put that last sand tower. The tracks are too tight for it to go between them so that is why it is at the throat of the area.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Under the table

 Well, the time has come to start addressing the control wiring for the main line and the yards. So, first I have to drop the leads from each switch to power the frogs and route the power to each track. Here you see the wires are in the holes through the road bed and have to be soldered to the rails. There are so many, it looks like I have color coded weeds.
 Each turnout takes a total of 7 wires to handle all the power routing. We have about 16 turnouts on this end of the yard so that was a lot of drops to put in.
 Under the yard, I am building the terminal strips for the power in and the power routing I will have to do. I will place the panel in front of this area but wanted to build this while it was in the open. I am not using DCC so that is why I have to have so many blocks. The track blocks are on the upper terminal strip.
 More colored weeds to deal with. The stripper is sitting on my paper record of what I am doing. I will never remember what I did if I do not write it down!
 The cabling underneath is growing. I have to keep the wires up to clear the trains on the lower level. Fortunately, most of the wring and switch motors are on the outer periphery of the yard.
 Now I have to pull the heavy 12 gauge power supply wires throughout the whole layout. This is my rig for feeding the wire that I am pulling. The color coded wire is the power side of the circuit. I actually have four main circuits.
 I pull about 10 feet at a time and then go back and pull more slack to allow me to go further. The resistance of the wire is pretty heavy due to its gauge so I have to do it in stages.
 Now I have top pull the ground wires for each power circuit. These are ribbon wires of up to 8 flat strands of 18 gauge. I reduce them to two pairs (four wires) and then mark the edge of the strand so I know what is the correct ground for a given circuit.
 Here is a self portrait of me marking at the wire with a black magic marker. It is rather tedious. The total time for the pull was about 6 hours. Unfortunately, something has happened underneath as I pulled the heavy wire by some turnout motors installed earlier and created a short. The power supply failed before I realized I had a problem. I have  rebuilt the power supply but I have not determined the source of the wiring problem. I have confirmed I have a problem but I do not know yet where it is.
 So, back to the panels and start disconnecting wires until I have eliminated the short. Then I will be able to solve it, once it is located. This is why things take time!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Adding even more color

 Well, after doing the fascia, it was time to think about the backdrops as I am now adding some webbing to begin land forms and the backdrop has to be done before I can do plastering in the foreground. My daughter, Julie, came for a couple of days to squeeze in some time showing me how to work with acrylics to create distant hills. We went to Michael's and bought a selection of colors in tubes along with a No. 12 round brush.
 Julie, is showing the palette of greens and the colors she used to create them before we started. We gravitated towards the darker greens as it is summer and the hills seem to be darker than in the early Fall.
 I first put up some Masonite scraps to show the top of the land form. I do not want to glue to the sheet rock as that will make a mess when I am gone. I made a mistake and carried the Masonite over a valley and we had to go back and repair that later.
 Julie has started with the distant hills and they came out surprisingly well. She is essentially just pushing the brush onto the wall to create a tree canopy.
 Rose came down to check out what was happening in the train room with her Mom. Fortunately, Memere was able to keep the children occupied upstairs and at a local beach while Mom worked with Grandpa.
 Here is a view of the start of what we were doing. In the narrow strip it looks great.
 Now she added the valley after I took out the offending Masonite. The foreground of the hill will have to be covered with some sort of trees in 3D to make this work.
As you can see, the distant view looks like trees on a hill side - so that works. The problem is that there is no room for anything significant in front of the backdrop. The track is just about 5 inches from the wall. So, I had planned a road to be there but I am going to have to find some building photos for a small town. I will paste them to the wall as building fronts. I will also add some trees to go into the space behind the station and the other building. I will have to go out and find weeds to make trees out of. I have plenty of weeds around here but I need something like Goldenrod. I am also going to spray the top of the hill with a white to blend it more into the blue and make it look further away. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

A little color

 Well, as I finished the fascia around Weigh Scales, i got very ambitious and decided I had looked at bare Masonite long enough. So, I painted the fascia for the whole interior layout aisle with a color that I thought looks sort of like PRR Dark Green Locomotive Enamel. It is a very dark green which is good and bad. The good is that it covers well and hides dirt. The bad is that it shows dust easily, especially from your hand if you brush it. This view is looking back from Shamokin, the only unbuilt area on the layout.
 As we walk down the aisle we go by Shamokin Creek Narrows on the right and the entrance to Northumberland Yard on the left.
 Here we arrive at Weigh Scales and the panel is in and the jacks for the local cab are installed. Weigh Scale is now complete except for scenery.
 Coming around the corner, the end of Weigh Scales is to the right and the future Icing Station is to the left where the construction material is.
 We now look down the aisle to the bridge over the creek and Paxinos is ahead on the wall. The yard curves by on the left.
 The east end of the Yard is on the left and Paxinos is along our right shoulder. I decided to start recessing the control panels here to avoid problems with people walking by.
 Around the next turn and the diesel engine terminal is on the left and Crowl is on our right. Reed is in the distance.
 Around the next turn and Reed is on the right and the turntable is coming up on the left
 The end of the aisle and the main crosses the Susquehanna on an arch bridge . The double truss bridges are on the far left.
 Here is a close up of Weigh Scales panel. A nice long gathering yard with a couple of industries. The color is much brighter than actual due to the flash.
This is looking towards Shamokin on the left and the high bridge up to Mt. Carmel. I have to finish this carpentry and fascia soon so I can finish the painting of the green fascia.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

More Weigh Scales

 I have carried the fascia around the curves at the Narrows. We a;so started putting some webbing in as a base for the future scenery. I have done some seaming to prepare the surfaces for painting but have had a problem with the paint.
 A long view showing the seaming and filling. The paint I selected is a dark green and and it is chalking when you brush into it.
 This is the west end of Weigh Scales., so it is a very long thin yard. About 40 feet. The paint company told me I have to prime the hardboard to avoid the chalking problem.
 So, here is the primer going on - I am at the entrance to Shamokin where I ended the fascia for now. The area above us is where the Glen Bourne Colliery will be. There is a space for a small yard there. We will walk back to the west end of Weigh Scales.
Here we are at the Narrows looking back to east Weigh Scales.
 Now we are looking down the length of the yard. The local throttle plugs are sticking out so I can easily paint around them,
And here we are back at the west end of Weigh Scales. The next installment will be with the color coat and the panels installed.

Working on Weigh Scales

 Well, we have to finish Weigh Scales so we have an operating gathering yard on the branch. First thing was to add a couple of sidings for Feed Mill and a Creamery. Tough working in a corner but they are in.
 We added the fascia and now I have to cut in the panel. So, using a jig saw and a guide, I cut out the opening that we had made in the framing step. I then lined it with 1X1's to provide a recess and mounting point for the panel.
 The clamps held everything securely while the glue dried. I then sanded it all flush.
 Here is the extent of the fascia. I have now carried it all the way around the next set of curves.
 The interior of the panel cavity as we begin to add the wiring. That is the switch machine power supply on the shelf. I also built a local throttle that is now on the shelf to the left of the switch machine PS.
Unfortunately, the pictues are a little out of order as I just got a new camera but here is the fascia clamped while the glue is drying.