Tuesday Train #160

IMGP3189RawConvA Niagara Falls bound Saturday GO Train passes CN Train 394 from Chicago to Toronto coming down off the Niagara Escarpment at Bayview Junction in the Royal Botanical Gardens on June 22, 2019.

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Peninsular Musings

I’ve written about the peninsula for my layout in passing in posts, and at least one post on mocking it up, but now that I’ve been living with it mocked up since April (4 months), I now have a good feel on what I do and don’t like about it. I like that I’ve gotten it down to a size where it does what I need it to for the layout, but where it isn’t so big that it completely blocks traffic in the room. I don’t like how small the room feels when the peninsula is in place but nothing is happening. When I took the peninsula down for the wiring and tracklaying to proceed last weekend, I walked into the room and went wow its a bigger room without the peninsula, not necessarily the response I wanted.

IMG_7814Peninsula mockup before trimming it down.

My original plan had been for it to be hinged and swing over to the front of the benchwork to free up space. Over the four months I’ve had the mockup in place, I’d been coming around to having it be permanently mounted, but having taken it out now, I know that would be the wrong decision. Keeping it movable, even just swinging it around is necessary to open up the room for a whole variety of reasons. because of the buildings on the peninsula, I don’t want it to be completely removable as then I’d be constantly having to take the buildings off and put them somewhere else, having it hinged and swinging away does the best of both worlds, easy to store, and opens up the space.

June 07 18 - Liberty Layout - West.anyExtract of the Track Plan showing the slimmed down 22″x40″ Peninsula

The peninsula will swing to the right of the plan above, so that it would be against the benchwork between Jefferson and Atlantic when its stowed. In working on the trackwork, its also become clear that I need to actually build the peninsula benchwork sooner rather than later, even if I don’t permanently install it, just to support the track and get the alignment right. I have a few ideas on how to do the hinge and alignment pins to make sure that the benchwork and track always align and hold in space when it is put in position for operating.

IMG_9205Flying trackwork, this needs a peninsula badly to let me finish making sure this trackage works when complete both on the main benchwork and the peninsula.

I want to get the trackwork and scenery on the wall mounted benchwork done and finished before I start working on the peninsula in earnest, but I can build it, get the track in place, and take it down, or who knows, maybe once its in place, I’ll be happy its there and be able to work around it. While I putter away at the trackwork in the coming weeks, I’m going to think about when I can do the woodwork to build the simple box and legs so I can have it in place for a bit, then take it down to finish the phase 1 construction of the layout.

IMG_9236My printed survey showing the footprints of the buildings on the peninsula, and the roughed in track lines. Just waiting for a wood box framework to get installed.

So, its continued progress, slow and steady. I know now how I want to handle the peninsular, and doing it hinged to start, its easier to change my mind and go permanent later, rather than going hinged as decisions like casters on the legs are now a must rather than an option.

More Sunday Trackwork

Last week I had friends over and made a big dent in the trackwork. I took last Monday off work to recover from that and clean the house and putter on the layout. In the week since, I’ve made a fair bit more progress in starting to rough in the track beyond what was glued down last weekend.

IMG_9205Working on the complicated crossovers that lead to the sidings on the currently non-existent peninsula.

In the week since, I’ve worked on some little clean ups and starting to advance getting the track ready to complete the primary trackwork between the two ends of the layout. it’s a slow process, and one where making sure the tracks aren’t so sharp or misaligned now will make the layout run much better down the road. A single days help from a couple of friends has set me up with things I can work away at on my own for a half hour here or an hour there when I get home from work, or need to clear my mind while about the house.

The most complicated bit of trackwork left are the switches and crossovers to the peninsula shown in the image above. As I’ve been working on this, I still don’t have the peninsula built, and I haven’t settled on it being permanently affixed or hinged, but as I’ve worked on the track, I definitely need it in place to allow the track work to be properly aligned and cut if it is going to be hinged/removable.

IMG_9226A success, these switches I got adjusted and the holes for the frog wires and throwbars drilled myself and down into position to let me start working on the track alignment at the east end of the layout in the closet.

As I’m roughing out the track, I’m also looking at making sure I am happy with where elements are going, and that I have enough room for acceptable representations of the buildings I want to model that are served by the layout. This has seen me move pieces from the track plan a little, but for the most part what I’ve designed is becoming a reality in the space. Its a good feeling and it is giving me continued motivation to push ahead with work seeing things come together as they have.

Looking to and from the closet, the glued down track stops at the switch in the foreground on the left image. the gap from there to the glued down track in the closet is currently being roughed in.

I have a lot of things to do, I’ve been struggling with my soldering technique, and supplies. The “no clean” flux I have is useless, it just runs away from where I put it and I can’t get solder to do simple things like tin the end of a wire with it. Writing about my adventures in soldering is on my to-do list, but I’m probably going to wait until I actually work out my soldering problems so I can provide some insight on how i finally got competent at it (I’ll settle for competent, capable or good would be outstanding achievements!)

Royal Hudson Glamour Shots

IMGP3393RawConvA view of CPR 2850 inside my John Street Roundhouse diorama.

I promised this when I posted about my Rapido Trains Royal Hudson. This is a photo heavy post of images of the model. Not much to say about it, just sharing images of a gorgeous model!

Pictures of the Rapido Royal Hudson inside my diorama of Stall 15 at the Canadian Pacific John Street Roundhouse.
A couple of camera phone closeups. I don’t have a macro lens, and gettting in tight with the big camera is hard as it’s too close for it to focus!

Today Was a Good Day to Lay Track

Just under a year ago, there was no layout in my house. Then, with a lot of help from my friends Ryan, Doug and Trevor, we built benchwork in a day last August. Today, I had a work session booked with friends to work on tricky bits of the layout with many hands and for me to learn things from people with more experience than I have in layout construction, so that I get myself set up to be able to make more progress myself when time permits.

The first task of my day was a quick run to Home Depot to pick up a few pieces of trim lumber. I finally figured out how to get some decent lighting into the closet and the CPR Parkdale Yard staging yard. I made a valance board that is installed onto the shelf using baseboard lattice trim, and glued around the metal shelf frame using No-More Nails caulk adhesive. Then, using a supply of self adhesive LED Strip lights leftover from the set we bought for our kitchen cabinets, I installed a strip of the lights behind the valance. Now, there is ample light for working in staging, and for anyone operating there to see what they are doing. An easy couple of hours of solo work which made wiring in the closet so much easier (didn’t make the space any bigger, but made it brighter at least!).

 

 

 

 

The two pictures show the new valance board clipped onto the shelf railing while the glue cures, and the second shows the lights on and working and brightening up the staging yard.

Today, I had two friends, Dan and Trevor coming over to help. Both are experienced modellers, and Dan built all the switches for the layout, including the monstrous Bat’leth of track that fills one whole corner of the benchwork that Dan built. It needed some final adjustments before laying, and then filling in the pieces to connect the switches up Mowat Avenue from the staging yard to the first corner of the layout. It took time, but Dan’s meticulous and super skilled, and he was able to make minuscule adjustments to track and locomotives/freight cars that had them running far better than I have managed.

When Trevor arrived, we set to work on installing the layout power bus, the main wire that gets connected to the DCC control station and then to all the individual pieces of track. For the bus, we used 14 gauge speaker wire, its big enough to carry a lot of power and info, but easy to work with, and already paired. Using plastic mounting bases, that you connect zip ties into, the wire is loosely held for now beneath the benchwork but the zip ties can be pulled tight once the work is done to keep the wiring from moving once all the slack is taken out as I move along the layout and connect wiring from each of the pieces of track.

Once the bus wire was run around the room, we (and by we mostly Trevor if I’m being honest!) started to connect the track at the west staging, and figure out how we would wire the sliding traverser shelves so there was enough slack for the shelves to move, but not so much that it would hang or not work.

 

 

 

 

Trevor working on the less sexy part of layout building, the wiring, but its super important to make a layout run.

Dan built all the individual switches using Fast Tracks jigs and supplies, but before we could install them, one in particular, a large combination piece with five switches and two crossovers we called the Bat’leth because of its resemblance to the Klingon weapon on Star Trek needed some little cleanups and testing with my rolling stock before it could be glued down. Between some fine filing on the points, replacing and adjusting wheels on locomotives and freight cars, equipment now seems to run flawlessly through the switches. With that, we could move on drilling holes for the switch throw bars and the frog wires to drop through the benchwork. After sorting out all the bits of track that go between the Bat’leth and the walls, we were in a position to apply a layer of DAP Alex Clear caulk and get the track glued down into position.

 

 

 

 

Trevor works on wiring the west staging traverser, while Dan works on adjustments to the switches he built for the layout. On the right, the Bat’leth is now adjusted and glued down in its corner of the layout curing.
Proof I did some work thanks to Trevor. A picture of me working on my soldering skills, and on getting the track glued down and aligned with Dan.

With the day’s work winding down, we had some fun testing that the wiring actually worked, and that I could control a locomotive on both ends where the track is connected, and not short out or blow anything up. After today’s work, about 1/3 of the “visible” track that will have scenery is installed is glued down, and when timer permits, I can move on with installing wiring drops and laying more bits of track. As usual at the end of a good work session, we were stopped by both the time of day, and the running out of supplies!!

 

 

 

The First powered test on the CPR Staging, running over the layout bus (main wiring line) from my ESU Lokprogramer at the other end of the room. Means everything we wired (mostly by Trevor) was done right!

 

Trevor brought his O-18a, a locomotive which would have been very at home in Liberty Village. The video is a short test on the CNR Staging at the end of the day.