Friday, August 20, 2010

Trestle & Turntable

I’ve now started the planning stages of the main control panel and wiring, and have purchased more than half of the components. I plan to build the unit out of wood, covered in aluminum cladding. I’m still not entirely how it will look, but I’m going for an all-in-one unit with all of the switches, lights, and wiring, which will fold somehow under to table to hide away when not in use. I’ve also painted the turn table to make it look a little more unique. I also stained the trestle a dark, rich brown colour. I used a toothpick to paint on little bolts.

Painted wooden train trestlePainted atlas turntable

I have also completed further testing and all the layout works great. The cab and cars I have are absolute crap; however they run smooth, so once I get brand new cabs and stock, I assume they will work even better.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Laying Track - Part II

The track on my layout is 99% complete, with just a few small items to finish. I have almost completed the turn table, however it still needs to be painted to get rid of the “plastic sheen,” so it is only tacked in place, thus the approaching tracks aren’t attached either at the moment. I also painted and installed the bumpers, 5 in total on my layout. They look pretty decent, however may need a little more detail added in the future. My turnouts also look and fit great. I tested them with a few cars and they see to carry the cars very smoothly.

Atlas turntableInstalled Atlas turnouts

I’m still not sure how the descending grade from the trestle is going to work out with a full set of cars and engines. It’s just so steep as it needs to drop down 3.5 inches in a very short distance, leveling out briefly halfway for the crossing. This is the one part of this whole project that has me worried. At this point the layout is divided into the planned 12 electrical blocks, using insulated terminal joiners. I have also attached all terminal connectors, feeding the wires through drilled holes to the underside of the table (pictured below).

Completed track on right half of layoutWire leads to terminal connectors

Tomorrow (which I guess now is today), I plan to paint the turn table to make it look a bit more realistic, and finish attaching the approaching tracks. The big project now is to start the wiring and construction of the control panel. The under-table switches and wiring components also need to be done at this point. I also need to test me track with an engine, so for the mean time I will probably just attach all the terminal connectors to one main wire and control box, just to test things out. That will be a next weekend project.

Completed track left half of layoutCompleted track right half of layout

Completed model train layout track work

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Laying Track - Part I

It’s been a little while since my last update, and it might seem like not much has been done, however this is not the case. I’ve spent most of the time since my last update planning the wiring in more detail as well as the design of the main control box. I have a diagram drawn up, but I need to make a few changes before I post it on here. As for the actual layout, I’ve been working on attaching the track to the roadbed, as well as installing the terminal connectors to each isolated track section. Below are the 60 degree crossing as well as the right side curves and trestle. I have not yet attached to track to the trestle or bride as they still need to be finished with paint and stain.

60 degree rail crossingTrack installation

In the next photo are the remaining 4 turnouts that will be at the front of the layout. They have been measured about 10 times to make sure they fit, along with assorted Atlas track pieces. I will attach these track pieces last as I want to complete the rear sections first and not have to lean over the delicate switches all the time. At this time I have also laid the descending track from the trestle to the 60 degree crossing. This part is the one the worries me the most. I have tested this with an old Canadian Pacific engine it works fine, however it isn’t prototypical at all and I haven’t tested it with cars. I will just hope for the best. Also notice in the background track right before the bridge the terminal connector wires coming below the track and though the main benchwork.

New Atlas Mark 4 turnoutsNew Atlas Mark 4 turnouts

As for the left side of the layout, the curve of the figure-8 is complete, leaving the outer main curve as the last large section of track that needs to be completed (other than the front section). This entire curve will be flex track. Also notice my new track bumpers that will be used at the ends of the staging area and soon-to-be turn table. I also built my own terminal connectors by soldering bare wire to the bottom of track connectors. I have installed a bunch on the layout already, and they hide great. I did this by drilling holes the width of the wire right beside the track, right through the roadbed then running the wire through to the underside of the table. They are almost impossible to see.

Track installation on left side of layoutHandmade terminal joiners

I will be working on the remaining track and start wiring during the next few weeks. Under-table switches, turn table, and the control box are also on the list for things to start working on.