Monday, 30 January 2017

Completed Turnouts

Turnouts ready for install.

Some months ago I completed the build of a number of turnouts.
As I now would like to install the mainline on the lower level, I need to use some of them.

Over the last weekend I added the wooden ties to the turnouts and then I decided I would weather them before installing on the layout.

To weather them, I simply cut some thin strips of masking tape and placed the tape between the point rails and the check rails. This will assist in reducing the amount of paint in this location and stop the point rails from sticking (An issue I had on the old layout). As the turnouts are hand built, there point rails and the closure rails are the same polarity so there is no reliance on the contact between the point rail and the check rail for electrical conductivity.

Here is a picture of the turnouts all ready for painting..
I use olive drab for the paint colour.

Here is a picture of the turnouts painted, tape removed and rails cleaned.

Now back to the track laying..

Monday, 16 January 2017

Helix Build

3 Turns of the helix

For some time I have thought I would like to build a helix on a layout. Well, now is the time. The new layout has 2 of them. The first is a single turn spiral between Willsboro and Pt Henry and the second is the 3 turn helix from Willsboro up 200mm to Cooperville.

This weekend I set about building and installing the helix.

As I wanted to maintain good clearance between the levels I opted to use 4.8mm masonite rather than the 12mm ply that I have used for the rest of the layout. with a 2% grade and 200mm of climb, the helix is oval in shape and is designed with 3 turns or loops. The space between decks in 64mm less the 3mm of cork and the track it self. So the actual space between decks in around 59mm.

In order to build the helix, I cut 3 rectangles, all the same size and then cut the oval in the middle.
I allowed enough space for 19mm pine blocks to be place on both the inside and outside of the track to hold the levels apart. I then placed all 3 prepared shapes together and made a single cut across the 3 levels in exactly the same place to enable the joins between decks.

The key for the build was getting the first deck right in terms of grade correct and then the next 2 levels would be simple.. All worked per the plan.

I added track to each level as I built it and track feeders and then moved to the next level.

The track is not yet connected to the relevant BDL168, but that's not far off..

So here are the pictures showing the progress..

Now to build the next level..

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Back into building the layout

Time to cut more timber.

The Christmas break of 2 weeks off work and the Australian hot summer and enabled me to get back into the Railroad Room, in between Michelle's job list...

There has been a fair bit of progress made over the last 2 weeks.

First off, lets start with the updated design. A few minor changes here and there. The main addition was changing the Whitehall North switching lead into a branch line / interchange. This will enable a nice long switch lead that does not impact on the main line and will enable a interchange train to be staged out of sight in the staging / helix space.

Here are the updated plans.

Lower staging

The main deck with the new longer switch lead and interchange.

The main deck showing the helix.

The upper deck.

As of today, all the main deck and lower staging is built.
I have laid the south or lower staging tracks and the run up to the main deck.

I have also installed a 2 track drop bridge across the door way and made in place interconnecting tracks that but up to the edge.

Here are the progress pictures.

As part of the start of the track laying, I had the need to crack open a new box of Atlas Code 55 flex. 3 more to go after this box of 50..

Once the main deck was done and the track installed on the main over the bridge, I installed the main deck electronics boards and then added the track power bus, loconet and DC power feeds to them all.
(Please over look the messy Loconet cables for now on the DS54's, there is some clean up works to be done.)

Once the main deck electronics and bus wires were installed, I added the block detection for the drop bridge and the track that leads to the drop bridge. Then ran the first train over the drop bridge..
(May there be many many more!)

Well, that's the progress thus far.
I now need to clean and weather / paint the turnouts I have made before they can be installed and then I will get stuck into the main line through Whitehall and on the Point Henry.

Please check back soon to follow the progress..