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Ogden & Cache Valley RR - Layout Construction

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  • Member since
    February, 2007
  • From: Shenandoah Valley The Home Of Patsy Cline
  • 1,820 posts
Posted by superbe on Monday, December 18, 2017 3:52 PM

Santa Fe all the way!

Kinda getting worried, no update in quite a while. 

Watching the layout being built I couldn't help thinking about the painting and ballasting all of that track. The thought of it is overwhelming. The rubber has hit the road as they say, but I hope I'm wrong.

Bob

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 303 posts
Posted by Onewolf on Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:13 AM


It's been a long time since I updated the layout build thread so here goes....

Starting in late August I took about 3 months off from active construction on the layout because of a number of distractions:  Hurricane Irma was a minor distraction, I spent about a month working on a new 90 gallon freshwater aquarium setup (and aux 40 gal Discus 'grow' tank), and then I had a significant distraction at work.  The company I worked for for the last 26.5 years implemented a new 'site strategy' as of Nov 1 that resulted in our 140 person local development/engineering team being shut down.  I had an opportunity to relocate to the new San Fransisco office (no way!) but I decided to take my 'package' instead. I was provided a generous severance package which included about 15 months salary in a lump sum and 15 months of benefits (health insurance, etc) paid for. Since my wife is working and her salary covers our 'nut' I plan to take 3-4 months off and work on a long 'to-do' list around the house and to make as much progress on the  layout as possible.

I got back to working on the layout in early December.

I installed the occupancy detection boards and status display circuits for the helix.



The back side of the helix status/control panel:



Here's a (high speed) video of the helix occupancy display as a train traverses the helix:

 

I fixed an issue with the double gapped track where the track passes through the backdrop on it's way into the 4 track staging yard in the model workshop room.





I layed carpet tiles under the helix



I installed plywood subroadbed for the classification yard two lead/drill tracks.



I installed (removable) 1/8" masonite panels over the two wndow openings and painted the blue backdrop along this wall (finally!)





I installed a status panel for three PSX circuit breakers for booster #1.



I installed Tortoise motors and NCE Switch-It mk II boards with toggle switches to control the three turnouts for the four staging tracks in the model workshop.



I moved the Digitrax UR-92 radio receiver up next to the upper level return loop control/status panel (in the center of the room).



I decided I wanted a ice house/platform facility on a yard siding to provide ice for the reefer fleet. I wanted enough ice platform length to service 6 reefers and enough spur track length to handle 12 at a time. This required adding additional plywood roadbed adjacent to the two yard lead tracks.





Yard leads (with loco run-around) and reefer ice service track are done.



I finally got my order of 46 Peco turnouts required for the yard and loco service terminal (Along with 125 sections of Atlas code 83 flex track).



You can see the printed copy of the yard throat area I needed for reference purposes.



Starting to work on the yard throat. It's fairly complicated because of the two arrival/departure tracks and two yard leads having the ability to simultaneously work two different sets of classification tracks without interfering with the other yard lead.



There are two caboose tracks, the track that allows yard lead track #2 to access the second set of classification tracks, and the main classification yard ladder track that connect the yard lead tracks to the thoroughfare track.



Gluing down arrival/departure track #1 and dry placed arrival/departure track #2.



My technique for connecting track feeders. I bend the tip (~1/16") of the 22 ga solid wire and flatten it.



I place the flattened tip on the base of the rail.



After soldering. After the track is painted and ballasted the track feeder will be virtually invisible.  There are over 100 pairs of track feeders for the main yard/loco service terminal.



I have added a DCC Specialties "PowerPax" for the DCC programming track and a RRampMeter to show real-time DCC voltage and current to booster station #1.



Booster station #2 also has a RRampMeter and a 5V power supply for the two RR-Cirkits BOD-8 occupancy detection boards used in the lower return loop and staging tracks.



Booster station #3 has a 5V power supply for the five RR-Cirkits BOD-8 occupancy detection boards used by the helix and upper return loop/staging tracks. It needs a RRampMeter.



Booster station #4 provides power for the main classification yard and locomotive service terminal. It needs a RRampMeter.



Over the last month I have systematically gone through all of my "era appropriate" locomotives to verify functionality, install DCC decoders as needed, configure long DCC addresses, lubricated as needed, test run, and added to JMRI DecoderPro 'Roster'. I have about 42 'era' plausible locomotives (as well as about 25 non era appropriate diesel locomotives (post 1959). In my freelance world the Utah Railway will be running a couple 2-6-6-4 NW Class As and 4-6-4 Hudsons in addition to their 2-8-8-2 steamers.



I have started researching methods for weathering the track. The layout has about 1200 ft of visible track and 86 visible turnouts. Most of the 'how to' videos show people using masking tape to cover the points and pivot points on turnouts to prevent them from getting sprayed in order to avoid electrical conductivity issues. After the spray paint dries they come back and manually touchup the masked areas with a paint brush. With 86 turnouts that would be tedious and I concluded that if I had a very precise mask object I could avoid the manual brush phase. So I created a couple mask objects using TinkerCad.com and my 3D printer.



I created a mask for the pivot points as well.

I modified the points mask to taper the areas that sit between the stock bars and the inside of the rails.



They seem to work great. The points mask works for both the Peco #6 and #8 turnouts, but the pivot mask geometry is different between the #6 and #8 turnouts.



After removing the masks.



I noticed all three of my Athearn RTR Gas Turbine Veranda locomotives bounced severely when crossing the #8 double slip switch and they caused frequent shorts on the frogs of the Peco insulfrog turnouts. I measured the width of the wheelsets and found all 14 axles on the locomotives/tenders were out of spec/narrow on all three locomotives/tenders. Internet research showed I wasn't the only person who noticed that problem. So I purchased an NSWL 'the puller' and adjusted the wheelsets/axles so they are within NMRA specification and now the locomotives/tenders run MUCH better.



Video of the Athearn Gas Turbine loco/tender bouncing across the #8 double slip switch:


Video of the Athearn Gas Turbine loco/tender crossing the #8 double slip switch after fixing the wheelsets so they are in spec.



Working on gluing down the 8 classification tracks in the main yard. The eight tracks vary from 174" to 218" inches long and they can hold up to 250 40ft cars or 205 50ft cars.









The yards 'car shop' facility in the foreground.



All the 'missing' ties have been placed.





Doing some testing on weathering/painting track.



It's time to start making decisions on ballast color. Here's some of the samples I got from Arizona Rock & Mineral company. I have about 1200 feet of visible track that will need to be weathered and ballasted.  Oy.

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: Northern Virginia
  • 5,130 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:19 AM

You seem to have all the various aspects down cold and it's coming together nicely.  Very impressive.

I see you have Peco code 83 turnouts.  They do seem to be pretty nice - I'm looking at MicroEngineerin #6 for my next layout.  What brankd of flex track are you using?

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 303 posts
Posted by Onewolf on Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:28 AM

riogrande5761

You seem to have all the various aspects down cold and it's coming together nicely.  Very impressive.

Are you using code 83 Peco turnouts?  Flex is which brand?

 

The vast majority of turnouts are Peco Insulfrog: Code 100 Large in hidden areas and code 83 (#6 and #8) in visible areas.

The only non Peco turnouts are two Walthers code 83 #8 curved turnouts, one Walthers #8 double slip switch, and five Micro Engineering code 70 #6 turnouts.

The visible flex track is almost entirely Atlas code 83 and there is about 75 feet of Micro-engineering code 70.

The hidden flex track is a mix of Atlas code 100 and Peco code 100 (leftover from previous layout).

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 531 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, February 10, 2018 9:22 AM

Hey One Wolf,

Thanks for the update. Glad to see you're back. I can understand why it's been a while. It must have taken that long to compose and post that post. All those photos and a cohesive narrative to boot! How did you get all that stuff into the small little tiny editing window provided by this forum? Most impressive. Bow

Anyhow, great work on the layout. Great update. I'm gonna take a little while to read it over and study the photos. Saturday morning, coffee on the veranda, but no newspaper today, tablet instead.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog

  • Member since
    January, 2018
  • 24 posts
Posted by RWSlater on Saturday, February 10, 2018 9:42 AM

This is one impressive layout you are building onewolf. I have been following along for a while now. 

Robert

  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: Northern Virginia
  • 5,130 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, February 10, 2018 10:44 AM

I haven't used the Peco or ME code 83 so far, only Atlas code 83, along with Walthers/Shinohara for specialy like curved, 3-way and double slip.  How do they compare in your experience?  The ME are a bit more economical so significant cost savings over a large order.

I'm thinking of using Peco code 100 large in staging.

I haven't decided insulfrog vs. electofrog, although he who should not be named over at MRH recomments electrofrog for less chance of electrical pickup issues and they wear longer.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 303 posts
Posted by Onewolf on Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:10 PM

The Peco code 83 (and 100) turnouts are MUCH more robust than the Micro Engineering code 70 turnouts.  The Micro Engineering turnouts look better. While both the Peco have a positive throw spring machanism, the Peco is much more secure.  Every one of the Pecos function flawlessly when installed. Every one of my Micro Engineering code 70 #6 turnouts required 'tuning' to get them to function properly.

The only problem I have had with some of the Pecos (both code 100 and 83) is that some out of spec locos/rolling stock will cause them to short across the frog.

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: East Central Florida
  • 303 posts
Posted by Onewolf on Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:12 PM

ROBERT PETRICK

Hey One Wolf,

Thanks for the update. Glad to see you're back. I can understand why it's been a while. It must have taken that long to compose and post that post. All those photos and a cohesive narrative to boot! How did you get all that stuff into the small little tiny editing window provided by this forum? Most impressive. Bow

I compose my status update posts using Notepad and copy/paste into the forum 'reply' window.  :)

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

- Photo album of layout construction -

  • Member since
    February, 2007
  • From: East central Missouri
  • 994 posts
Posted by Santa Fe all the way! on Monday, February 12, 2018 1:09 AM

Thanks so very much for the update! Ive been following from the beginning and have thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Come on CMW, make a '41-'46 Chevy school bus!
  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Canada
  • 1,181 posts
Posted by wickman on Monday, February 12, 2018 7:53 AM

What a fantastic update. 

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