Completing the Staging Transfer Table (Round 1)

I’ve started laying track on the layout, starting with the “west” staging that is the Canadian National Railway staging, representing the Dufferin Yard where Exhibition Station now stands. The way the layout is set up, I have to mirror what I’ve done for the “east” Canadian Pacific Railway staging representing Parkdale Yard. My original plan was to build in the closet first so I could make mistakes where they would be more out of sight. Over time, I decided that it made more sense to start in the main room, because I’d have room to work and see what I was doing so that when I’m working in the more constructed closet, I’d already know what I was doing.

Scenes from Tracklaying, using a heritage brick from the Don Valley Brickworks as a weight to hold track down while the silicone caulk sets to hold the track in place.

Once all four tracks were laid, I cut the gaps in the rails so that the transfer table could slide. I did this with my dremel tool and a flex shaft attachment so I could get in close and control my cutting. I don’t have any pictures as it’s hard to take pictures of yourself doing this. Once the gaps were cut, I slid the table, and noticed my first mistake. I had the table pushed in too far. the drawer slides have a point where they stop resting on the hard stop, and to close them the last 1/8″ or so you have to push hard. I’d intended to not use this as it could cause rolling stock to fall over off the rails, but I’d failed to check where everything was sitting before laying the tracks.

Cutting rail gaps, its hard to take pictures of yourself with a demel tool cutting gaps.

After some frustrated looking at it, I realized I could easily move all the pieces of track not on the transfer table to fix the alignment. It took maybe 45 minutes including the time needed for the new silicone caulk being used as glue to set and hold the track in place.

Realigned tails and then laying the balance of the track in staging.

Getting everything lined up meant I could spend some time rolling equipment on and off, and looking for places where there were misalignments or issues. I found and fixed a few, I expect when I get closer to full operations, I’ll need to come back and file some rails a bit to provide a bit of alignment give, but overall I’m happy with it at this point, as I can now look at getting started with wiring it up so I can actually run powered tests across it so see how things work.

Video of a first test of the staging, before I installed a safety shield at the back to make sure equipment couldn’t take the fast way to the floor off the back side!

Friday I was able to go to my local plastics supply store and buy some pieces of 1/8″ acrylic sheet cut to the sizes I need for the spaces I need to have a safety guard for now. There may be a few other areas that need to be guarded once the layout gets closer to completion, but for now, its mostly around the staging transfers when I get them done. The clear safety screen is now in place. I’ll need to run a bead of caulk between the foam and the acrylic as there’s a bit of a gap and a little bit of caulk can keep that from becoming a dust mess full of bits of construction debris.

Acrylic safety shield on the back to make sure equipment doesn’t take the fast way to the floor off the back track.

The final task I did today was install a kitchen cabinet handle so there is an easy way for operators to move the transfer table. Eventually I’ll add a skin of black styrene or ABS to make the facade of the layout look presentable, but that’s a well down the road task.

Installing a Kitchen Cabinet Handle for the transfer table to make it east to shift and align.

At the end of the day, I’ve now laid a touch over 17 feet of track, though it only covers about 4.5 feet of benchwork length with the four staging tracks on one end. Its nice to see some track in place at the 11 month mark from when we closed on our house and moved.

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