Sunday 5 June 2016

Timber work and South Staging installed.

Boy I really enjoy laying track!

Well, it has been wet and cold this weekend, well not snowing like a US winter but cold enough for Melbourne.

I started off by completing the install of the bulk of the cross members around the peninsula and the Whitehall section of the layout. I also prepared the area for South staging.

Along the way I have made a few minor adjustments to the outline of the layout, mainly in the Whitehall area where the loco facility is going to be located. I decided not to narrow the layout down to 200mm and kept it to 300mm all the way along.

Here are a few pictures of the cross members installed.

During the day today, I also found the box that contains all the electronics from the old layout and spread them out so I can then see if any can be left on the boards from the old layout.

Then, the fun began! Its track laying time!

I installed the base 12mm ply for the staging section and also installed the main line out of staging up and along the wall. This is a 2% gradient from 1200mm (from the floor) up to 1300mm (from the floor) where the staging track will meet the line coming from the Fairhaven branch line. From there it will go over the drop bridge at the door way and onto Whitehall.

I usually use Atlas Code 55 flex track for my layouts. This one will be the same, however, as my track supplies were low, I managed to obtain from old Railcraft Code 55 flex and ME code 55 flex both weathered and un-weathered.
As I have never used Railcraft / ME before and wanted to ensure that the layout looks the same, so I decided to use the small stock of Railcraft and ME flex in the staging yards.

The first piece I picked up was the weathered ME Code 55 flex track.
Well, I have to say, I'm NOT a fan of the ME weathered flex. It is very difficult to manage / bend and or keep straight. So much so that I think that if I picked up this ME weathered flex as a beginner I would seriously think about going to set track!. Fortunately, I am familiar with Atlas Code 55 flex and I only had about 4 lengths of the weathered track so I only used it on the straight sections. The ME un-weathered flex is much easier to use, but, still not as good (in my opinion) as the Atlas Code 55.

During the install process I made a few changes on the fly and added an extra return loop in staging. So now I have 2 tracks that are return loops and 3 that are dead ends. 2 of the dead end tracks are not long enough for a full size 2 loco's 20 cars and a caboose, but thats ok as I will have some shorter trains including a pass so wont be an issue. I have also made the same changes to the North or Upper staging section as well so the layout wont get unbalanced by different size staging yards at each end.

As you can see in the pictures, I even managed to get a train out of their boxes and place it on the track and test the track work (by hand not with the loco's) to ensure everything ran smoothly.
The turnouts all need to have MP1 turnout machines installed to ensure that they are held in position.

Here are a few pictures of the completed south staging.

After the track work was completed I dug out a box of wire from the old layout and sorted out the mess. I then laid out the longer lengths that I will use as the track power bus and the DC power bus.

I will again use a DCS100 plus a DB100+ booster for the layout.. The DB100 is probably over kill, however, as I have it, I may as well install it to spread the load.

Next I will install the main power bus and power up the south staging tracks to I can test the MP1 turnout machine and the track. Stay tuned.