Wednesday 30 April 2014

First Hand Laid Turnout Installed

Roll your own they say.!

Some time ago I built a few test turnouts as I need to build around 40 turnouts for the layout.

Turnouts 1 and 2 were ok but # 3 was quite good and I was really happy with it.

This week I finally got my hands on some Pliobond glue and used the Fasttracks quick sticks ties that came with the Fasttracks Jig.

I then added the ties to the turnout and then installed it into the layout.
After a few minor tweaks the turnout was installed and I was able to run a loco and cars through it in no time.

Here are a few pictures of the installed turnout..

See this short video here or on Youtube.

In terms of other work. I managed to get 2 more turnouts installed last night and have another 7 to go.
Stay tuned for the next update.

Monday 28 April 2014

Whitehall Yard build continues

Tortoise machines everywhere!

This weekend I managed to install 8 tortoise machines including the frog power wiring as well as 3 blocks installed for the yard tracks..

Here are a few progress pictures.

Whitehall South End. 8 Tortoise machines installed.

Whitehall North End. 13 Tortoise machines to be installed.
All in position and orientated correctly (due to timber work below) ready for the track feed wires to be installed for frog power.

Once I get the Tortoise machines installed, I will then complete the 3 remaining yard blocks to be powered up and detected. The blocks are a quicker job so will probably be done before the tortoise machines.

Stay tuned for the next update.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Track Gangs hard at work

Eating through Atlas Code 55 Flex.

After a short break and some running of trains, it was time to get back in the saddle and lay some more track.
This time I chose to build the Whitehall yard. The yard consists of 32 turnouts.
Of the 32, 4 had already been installed as part of the main line installation.
Then a quick count back on available turnouts in my stock soon reviled a short fall in the number needed to build the complete yard including the loco facility. I found I was 8 short... darn it.

I was able to complete the main yard tracks and the north run around including the switch lead track.
Here are some pictures of the finished product.

Once finished, I ran a train around and manually moved it into its position to get a feel for the yard length. The standard train length for the layout is 2 x 6 axle loco's (or 3 x 4 axle) + 20 x 50ft box cars and a caboose. The train that is in the yard has 3 x 4 axle loco's (C 420's) + 2 x 40 ft box cars (track cleaners) + 21 x 90 ton hoppers + a caboose. So as you can see it is a bit longer than the standard train length but still fits into track 3 of the yard.

Looking at the yard and the space available between the run around track and the isle, I still have space to add another track if needed. However, I think I will hold off for now and see how things work. I think a main line passing siding, main line, 6 yard tracks, plus a bypass track should be sufficient for the layout needs.

As this is just the track work, I now need to install the 20 tortoise machines and apply power to the track. Hopefully I will complete that in the next week or so.

Stay tuned for the next update.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Cab ride on the Champlain Division

Lets do a tour.

I loaned my fathers small 720p HD camera and mounted it on a flat car and took it for a spin around the layout.

As you will see, I started at the back of North Staging and progressed south bound from there to Plattsburgh, Pt Douglas, Willsboro, Whitehall, Ft Edward, Saratoga Springs and then into South staging. Once in South staging the train continues through south staging, to the return loop and then takes the diverging route back to North staging.

Here is the video.

Link to the Youtube video.

Next I will place the camera on a flat car that is 3 or 4 cars back from a loco and do another tour.
Stay tuned for that!..

Thursday 10 April 2014

Layout room walk around

A short video.

Recently, after getting things up and running, I did a layout room walk around and took video from my iPhone.
Here is the video clip. It is the no frills version so no editing.. Just straight video.

YouTube Video Link

Hopefully this will give you a feel for the size of the room. It is 7.5m x 6m.
The main deck of the layout is 1400mm from the ground (in most places)

We have power!

Main line track power completed.

It seems I have been slow to update the blog re my progress..

So here it is..

On the 30th of March 2014, I completed the track power installation (including block detection) for all of the main line.
On that day I was then able to run a train around the entire layout (less the branch line that has not been installed yet).
When I run a train at a nice slow pace, and just use the staging by pass track, it takes 10 to 12 minutes for the train to complete 1 lap.

So that's another major milestone completed!.

Soon after I completed that, I set about installing the passing siding or loop tracks in each of the main towns. This includes Whitehall, Willsboro, Ft Edward and Saratoga Springs.

These are now installed and powered and managed via block detection.

I can now run trains and have them pass via the DCC managed turnouts and I can monitor the train location using a basic JMRI panel I created for the main deck and the staging deck.

Here are a few pictures of a train making its way around the layout and also some trains I have staged in the North and South staging yards.

Location of the Cement plant at Ft Edward.
Ft Edward with Rod's FVM GP60's undergoing testing and sound updates

A trio of RS2's ready and waiting to depart from Plattsburg
Plattsburgh North End

A quartet of RS11's making their way with a wood pulp train to Plattsburgh

The RS11's entering Willsboro

RS11's heading to Willsboro

Saratoga Springs main line 
The back end of North staging

Power at the ready in North Staging

Power at the ready in South Staging
Whitehall - Testing the location for the main yard

North end of Whitehall

North end of Willsboro.

Here is a view of the test panels I have set up in JMRI.
The panel is only to test turnouts and also block detection.

So that's the update.
All installed tortoise machines are powered via the DCC electronics.
95% of the blocks that are to be detected on the layout are installed and working.

Things are progressing really well.

Now to paint the staging track a rusty brown, install Whitehall Yard, install some fascia boards and then have some guys over for a shakedown..

Let the fun begin.