Saturday 14 June 2014

Open Day on the D&H

Time to put the D&H into service.

After a few months of hard work to get the layout to this stage, I decided it was time to have the guys around to put the D&H through its paces.

The shed door opened at around 12:30 and fairly soon after the guys started to arrive with throttle in hand.

Before long, and after a quick orientation of the layout, trains were running.
The staging tracks soon emptied and there were trains everywhere.. (all part of the plan!). This was a layout shakedown afterall.

With the long runs between towns and no dispatcher and no signals, the guys had to check ahead to ensure that there was a clear track. A few backup moves were needed on the odd occation and one or two trains ended up going through the staging bypass in order to clear the line into staging..

The layout ran very well with only a few minor issues, that, have now been diagnosed and partially resolved. (I found a few loco's with the wheel gauge set to narrow and were picking a particular point, and also a brand of low profile metal wheels and some cars were picking the curved turnout in Ft Edward, after some slight modifcation to the height of the point rails this will be resolved.)

Here are a few pictures from today.

A big thanks to the guys that came to help run the railroad today.. Im sure I wont have any trouble finding engineers to run trains when the town trackwork is completed.

Thanks to:
Rod Warren, John Fahey, John Colliver, Chris Elliott, Bill Black, Graeme Meyer, Ron McFarlane, Greg Johnstone, Noel Purdey, Dennis Hare, Barry Davies.

I had a great afternoon and it was a pleasure to host the afternoon and see the layout in operation and with the room full of people.

Im really pleased with the way the design came out and the isle widths seemed to work very well with plenty of room to pass by with 12 people in the room all at once.

Now to move a few of the turnout panels and split a few to make staging easier to operate..

Thanks for catching up on the progress of the layout build.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Town turnout Panels

Electrical Department of the D&H hard at work

Over the last week, I have been busy getting ready for my first open shed on the D&H.
The aim of the open shed is to open up for some of the guys to come and have a first look at the D&H and run trains over the route. As all the towns have passing sidings and Whitehall and Willsboro track work is completed, I decided that I needed to install turnout control at each town.

Per my earlier post, I have already completed the North and South staging as well as Whitehall. So I set about making the other 4 town panels.

To make the panels for each town I use the following process:
  • Create the artwork for the panel in Microsoft Excel
  • Print the panel on normal A4 size paper in a colour inkjet printer
  • Laminate the page and cut out the panel
  • Mount it on re painted 3mm MDF using thin double sided tape around the edges of the laminted panel
  • Predrill the holes in the panel using a 3mm drill and then drill the final 7mm holes
  • Mount the push buttons and solder the wires to the buttons
  • Wire up the buttons to the inputs on the various loconet devices that are configured to throw the turnouts.

All in all, the finished product is neat and clean and very quick to make. So, if there are changes then I can remove the buttons from the panel, create new artwork, and remount on the 3mm MDF or just cut new MDF.

Here are the finished panels for the rest of the towns and the staging by pass.

As the track work in all towns apart from Willsboro is not yet completed, I have only wired up the turnouts that have been installed.

Once the fascia is installed, there will be holes cut in the fasica for the panel to sit in and make the finish neat and tidy.

Now for the big clean up starts to get the shed ready for the open day.

Thanks for checking in..

Thursday 5 June 2014

Staging turnout panels.

More turnout panels for the D&H

After the sucess of the Whitehall turnout panels, I progressed to the staging panels.
With this brought a key decission. Do I create panels with individual buttons for each turnout, OR, do I create a panel that has 1 button per staging track.

The idea of having 1 button per turnout is to enable the turnouts and layout to be operated with out the computer. Where as, if I set up the panels using 1 button per staging track, then the button is connected to a input on the DS54's and that then relies on the JMRI Panel Pro panel to throw the route. Also, turnouts at the other end of the staging are on different DS54's or different brand boards like a SRC16 then making them run a route using the internal memory within the boards was going to be a challenge.

I decided that if the layout was to be run with out the panel, then, it would likly only be me and I will know the turnout numbers, where as if people are coming to operate then the JMRI panel will be running so it can manage the turnouts.

This turnout control for a routes is only for the staging.. All other turnouts on the layout will be individually managed using fascia buttons for each turnout.

Here re a few pictures of the North and South staging panels. They are only temporarily installed for now to enable them to be used until the fascia is installed.

Also, over the last few days I completed the turnout install for the Whitehall loco facility. Once the tortoise machines were installed and all track power has been added, I then loaded up the loco facility with the remaining D&H loco's I have.. (yeh I know it is over loaded, but I wanted to get all my toys out.. lol).
So with 12 trains in staging each with at least 2 loco's and in some cases 3 or 4 on the point, all D&H loco's are now on the layout.

So things are well on track for the open day next week.
I plan to complete the Willsboro panel before the end of next week.

Thanks for checking in.

Monday 2 June 2014

Turnout Panels arrive in Whitehall

Turnout Panels.

Now that all the track work is completed in Whitehall including the loco depot, south end switching lead track and caboose track, I decided that I had better get a turnout panel installed for the large yard at Whitehall.

As the yard is long, I decided it would be best to create 2 complete turnout panels for the yard to enable them to be located at each end of the yard.

The thinking is that if there are 2 people switching the yard and it is likely to get busy, then the engineers can complete run around moves while staying in the one place at a given end of the yard. So, as an example, if a engineer wants to run around a train or cars at the opposite end of the yard, he can stay in one place and operate all turnouts in the yard from the one location wile communicating with the other yard engineer so they dont get in each others way.

Here are a few pictures of the panels that have been made and are all now functioning. They are temporarily installed using G clamps.
Over the next few days I will make the mounts for the panels. The panels will be recessed into the fasica of the layout and at a slight angle to enable easy viewing.

Here you can see both panels installed in their locations and temporarily held in place by G clamps.

This is the northern end panel.
This is the southern end panel.
I will take a few pictures of the newly installed loco facility and post in the next day or so.
Thanks for visiting.