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Building a new club layout?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 10:52 PM

We actually started to lay track tonight!YesThumbs Up Or, at least we tried to lay track. We got one turnout down and then realized that we needed to drill the nail holes in the Atlas flex track. We didn't have the right sized drill bit on hand. Nor did we have a pin vise. Full stop!Bang Head

We did get a lot of other stuff done. Everyone who was at the club pitched in. Most of the peninsula cross beams are installed and we now have a really good idea of what the peninsula will look like. It is bigger than most of the members anticipated, but we have managed to allow for some decent aisle space so we won't be having to squeeze by each other in the aisles.

Everyone has agreed that we will add jumpers to the turnouts. I appreciate Randy's suggestion that we set up an assembly line but we still have yet to buy a proper soldering iron. What I might do is install the jumpers on a few turnouts and then ask the members if they think they can do the same on their own at home. Several have said no already, and I am a bit concerned about cold joints and melted ties, but we do have to get the members involved in all aspects of the layout construction.

I have to admit that I got rather ticked off tonight. I had brought in a bunch of sandpaper a few weeks ago to be used to round the edge of the cork roadbed off. It was nowhere to be found. I expressed my displeasure rather vocally about the fact that some (expletives deleted) person had put it where it couldn't be found. Finally one of the members decided to go through all of the tool boxes (we have several) and voila, there was the sandpaper. This particular tool box hardly ever gets opened. It's only used at the shows. Why anyone in their right mind would put something that was being used constantly in a box that was rarely ever opened is beyond me!AngryAngry

I'll get some more pictures of the peninsula soon.

If the last spike is the Golden Spike, what do you call the first spike?

Dave

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:02 AM

hon30critter
If the last spike is the Golden Spike, what do you call the first spike?

Um... Virgin Spike?

Sandpaper? All of my Midwest cork was leveled and profiled using the Stanley Surform "Cheese Graters" I mentioned in an earlier reply.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Stanley-Surform-Shaver-21-115/100654913

They are the perfect tool for taking the edge off the beveled side.

For leveling, the longer "Plane" model is ideal:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Stanley-6-in-Pocket-Surform-Plane-21-399/202262007

Once you use one of these on cork you'll never go back to sand paper. I have used the plane to give a slight "superelevation" by giving just a bit more pressure while shaping the inside radius. Not much, mind you, but just a bit.

On my mainline curves I used .015" strip styrene.


 

Dave, you are conjuring up a lot of supressed memories from my "club days"Whistling

I had just purchased a new $40. battery for my Makita cordless drill. (Back when 7.2 volts was tops) The following week, during a work session we needed the spare battery. Not in the charger you say?

Where in blazes did that battery go? Twenty-plus minutes of searching tool boxes, shelves, even the loo. No go.

Super Angry  So, a little while later one of the guys hollers "Found It". Sure enough, there it was, wedged in the bottom of the door jamb holding the door open that warm Summer night! No one 'fessed up to that one. Fortunately it didn't split open! The plastic groove was forever messed up so that EVERY time I put that battery in the drill I was reminded of the knucklehead that decided to use it as a door wedge!

 

Cheers! Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:12 AM

Dave, when I read your description of these group sessions, I vicarioulsy worry that the sessions border on chaos. You are the President of the club. Why not become more autocratic and call for a more disciplined approach to this whole effort?

It seems to me that you need to find the few guys with the highest level of skill to do the framework and track work. The other guys can act as assistants or apprentices. I would worry that the final product may suffer from too many inexperienced hands.

No offense, I would just like to hear that this project is proceeding quite nicely.  Good luck with all of this.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 6:53 AM

richhotrain
Dave, when I read your description of these group sessions, I vicarioulsy worry that the sessions border on chaos.

Rich, you need not worry. I think you might be reading too much into my comments. We aren't quite in a state of chaos just yet. I apologise if I am making things out to be worse than they actually are. All I am doing really is venting about the every day obstacles that we are encountering. Perhaps I'm being too honest or maybe too dramatic, but I don't think anyone in the club would be offended by my observations. All is going well!

We have already done what you suggest in terms of selecting a few capable members and having them take the lead on the various aspects of layout construction. Most of the rest of the members are quite willing to help out. Last night's activities were a great example of that. We got a lot done and most of it was according to plan. There were a couple of framing pieces that had to be done over, but that is no big deal. The framing is a bit complex.

By the way, I am the Vice President, not the President. The President is doing a far better job of it than I could do in that position.

Dave

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 7:14 AM

Dave,

What kind of jumpers are you adding to tthe turnouts? Atlas turnouts right?

Bad idea in my opinion (remember I'm the Atlas turnout fan).

If you are talking about jumpers to the points, waste of time.

Because the Atlas turnout is not power routing, but is prewired for feed through, the points are powered from both ends on the selected route, the pivot point of the points in made in such a way that it is very electrically sound.

Jumpers there are just an opportunity restrict their movement and cause problems. The points rely on the fact that they "float" somewhat until they are pushed against the stock rail. 

To stiff of a jumper sounds like a problem, as does soldering on the flange side of the rail/point - the back seems too hard to reach to do that cleanly?

Sheldon

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 7:27 AM

hon30critter

By the way, I am the Vice President, not the President. 

Dave, I was reluctant to mention vice in the same breath as your name.   Laugh

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 7:29 AM

 That crimped part that clips the points to the flat piece of metal that connects the points to the stock rails and closure rails is a weak point, always has been. Not as bad as the old Atlas turnouts that used actual rivets, but still it is a poor method of contact - effectively a rail joiner that is always moving. A jumper there isn;t going to keep the points from moving, unless you solder on some .032 brass wire or something. Decoder wire is the thing to use, multi-strand #30 is super flexible and won;t break like anything solid that is repeatedly flexed. Plus th emovement is slight enough anyway.

 As for track nails - caulk, my friend. Caulk. You would have had half the track done in a single night.

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 7:38 AM

hon30critter
We have already done what you suggest in terms of selecting a few capable members and having them take the lead on the various aspects of layout construction.

Dave,If I may ask? How do you select the better track layers? I consider myself above average in track laying and still been passed over several times at various clubs for helping with the track work.

At one club I was never asked to help on any project even though I volunteered my help.. I didn't stay long there.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 8:03 AM

rrinker

 That crimped part that clips the points to the flat piece of metal that connects the points to the stock rails and closure rails is a weak point, always has been. Not as bad as the old Atlas turnouts that used actual rivets, but still it is a poor method of contact - effectively a rail joiner that is always moving. A jumper there isn;t going to keep the points from moving, unless you solder on some .032 brass wire or something. Decoder wire is the thing to use, multi-strand #30 is super flexible and won;t break like anything solid that is repeatedly flexed. Plus th emovement is slight enough anyway.

 As for track nails - caulk, my friend. Caulk. You would have had half the track done in a single night.

                                         --Randy

 

 

I'm just going on my own trouble free experiance, and that of fellow modelers who's layout I operate on. 20 year old layouts built with Atlas code 83, zero failures......

As for laying track, agreed, caulk, my preference, clear "PolySeamSeal" adheasive caulk.

Why? Because it is thicker/heavier, and takes a set quickly.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 8:14 AM

Boy, I sure agree with the caulk idea.  While your laying track, the caulk stays flexible enough that you can still go back and make slight alignment adjustments, as needed.

I've been following the build, Dave.  Anxious to see the results.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 9:14 AM

 I picked the Polyseamseal brand because when I got caulk, it was 30 cents a tube cheaper. I saved 60 cents on that layout! Also they either were out of DAP clear, or the only DAP clear they had was the silicon stuff. It worked well so I just used the same on the next layout.

                          --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 9:51 AM

Yes that is a good question, why nails, caulk is so much better. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 11:35 AM

Regarding who does what on the layout construction.......

The one "actual club" I belonged to that has a layout, has always largely been a benevolent dictatorship.....the guys who started it were all very skilled craftsmen, new people asked to help and were mentored my them, the old timers controlled ALL projects.

In the end things were done only to the highest standards by those with the best skills in that area.

I learned a lot there and quickly became part of several projects. 

But now at my age, a club is just not my thing.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:17 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
What kind of jumpers are you adding to tthe turnouts? Atlas turnouts right? Bad idea in my opinion (remember I'm the Atlas turnout fan). If you are talking about jumpers to the points, waste of time.

Hi Sheldon:

I don't have a turnout on hand to show you the modifications. When I get some more turnouts to modify I will post some pictures.

As far as the points being stiff after the jumpers are applied, they are not. The jumpers are long enough that they impart almost no resistance to the point movement.

As far as where I am soldering the jumpers to the point rails, I have found it quite easy to solder the jumpers inside the hollow bottom of the point rails two ties away from the pivot points. The jumpers come out of the bottom of the point rails and are soldered to the closure rails and the stock rails about six ties from the pivot points. The resulting jumper is about 1 1/2" long. I use stranded 26 ga. wire. Again, I'll post some pictures when I do more turnouts.

We have debated installing jumpers and the nay sayers who have seen my jumper installation have no problems with how they are done. Again, they do not measurably restrict the movement of the point rails. When the point rails are moved from side to side they stay where they are positioned. The jumpers are not pulling the point rails away from the stock rails.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of installing the jumpers is cutting away the cork roadbed to allow space for them to move. We will have to make sure that we don't let the ballast glue get into the clearance space for the jumpers. I have a solution for that too.

We said when we started out to build this layout that we would not cut corners. Not installing the jumpers amounts to taking a chance, i.e. cutting a corner.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:38 AM

BRAKIE
Dave,If I may ask? How do you select the better track layers?

Hi Brakie:

Selecting who to lead the track laying really amounted to who came forward to do the job. One member has taken the lead. He has had a layout for 20+ years and his methods are sound so he naturally fell into the position. There are other members who will be laying track following his lead when we get to that point. We are making a concerted effort to involve as many members as possible in the construction so hopefully we won't be leaving anyone out in the cold. We are certainly not going to say to a member that they can't work on what they want to, and we will teach them to do the job correctly.

The biggest challenge might come when we start to do scenery. We have made it clear that poor scenery construction will be torn out and re-done. Some of the scenery on our portable layout is, how shall I say this, lousey! What we propose to do is to build some scenery to our standards and then say to the membership that that is the standard to which we will work.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:43 AM

richhotrain
Dave, I was reluctant to mention vice in the same breath as your name.   

Rich:

I have several vices and I am proud of them!! I have spent my entire teenage years and adulthood perfecting them!! If they take me to an early grave at least I will go out smiling!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh     

DrinksBeeron me!

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:58 AM

rrinker
As for track nails - caulk, my friend. Caulk. You would have had half the track done in a single night.

We are using nails because they allow for easy adjustments to the track position. Once the ballast gets glued down the initial method of installing the raw track won't matter. We have already decided that the track gauge will be checked at every nail so if we bend some ties that can be corrected.

Keep in mind that we will likely have several people laying track. Inevitably some of that will have to be adjusted. IMHO using track nails will make adjusting track cleaner and quicker.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 08, 2018 2:17 AM

gmpullman
Dave, you are conjuring up a lot of supressed memories from my "club days" I had just purchased a new $40. battery for my Makita cordless drill. (Back when 7.2 volts was tops) The following week, during a work session we needed the spare battery. Not in the charger you say? Where in blazes did that battery go? Twenty-plus minutes of searching tool boxes, shelves, even the loo. No go.   So, a little while later one of the guys hollers "Found It". Sure enough, there it was, wedged in the bottom of the door jamb holding the door open that warm Summer night! No one 'fessed up to that one. Fortunately it didn't split open! The plastic groove was forever messed up so that EVERY time I put that battery in the drill I was reminded of the knucklehead that decided to use it as a door wedge!

It would seem that we are condemmed to deal with knuckleheads! Propping open a door with something inappropriate brings back a rather sour memory for me too. When I was an Air Cadet long ago my dad gave me a very special gift when I became a senior NCO. He gave me his drill staff (I hope I have the term correct). It was a leather encased wooden dowel about 30" long which he had been given when he was the senior cadet in his highschool squadron in the 1940s. I took great pride in carrying that staff while on parade with my own squadron. Well, one particularly hot and steamy day the staff went missing. I found it pinched in the side door of the squadron hall holding the door open. Unfortunately the leather had been damaged beyond repair by the pressure of the door. I was crestfallen. I have never raised a fist to anyone but I came pretty close that night when I found out who the idiot was who had used the staff as a door stop. The memory still causes me stress. Thanks for letting me vent.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 08, 2018 2:25 AM

gmpullman
Sandpaper? All of my Midwest cork was leveled and profiled using the Stanley Surform "Cheese Graters" I mentioned in an earlier reply. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Stanley-Surform-Shaver-21-115/100654913 They are the perfect tool for taking the edge off the beveled side.

Hi again Ed!

I have heard about using a Surform toll to round off the edge of the cork roadbed before you mentioned it. Coarse sandpaper seems to have done the job quite well so rather than spending money on a new tool we will continue to use the sandpaper. I have noticed that the results are a bit inconsistent. It seems that it is easy to miss sections, or not round them off enough. That's where oversight by the senior members of the layout committee comes into play. So far, so good.

Dave

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, February 08, 2018 4:23 AM

hon30critter
It would seem that we are condemmed to deal with knuckleheads!

A new battery I can get, your cherished gift from your dad —  I can see where you would have wanted to have a "Staff Meeting" with the perpetrator.

I sometimes read those Darwin Awards books. Amazing the dumb things humans can do!

Well, 'nuff said about that stuff... we're here to stay abreast on your club progress.

Cheers! Ed

 

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, February 08, 2018 7:14 AM

 I think I would have made the perp do several extra rounds of PT - not for using it as a doorstop, but for taking it without permission in the first place. Unless the perp was an officer, then I can see how something so dumb could happen. Not much you could do there, but something along the lines of what was hinted at by Bryan Cranston's character to the Colonel in Last Flag Flying. (my GF's nephew is an extra in that, and visible on screen briefly - they needed AIr Force, sinc eitt was supposed to be Dover AFB in Delaware, but they filmed it in Pittsburgh, where he is stationed, and they used some guys from his unit in one of the pallbearer scenes.)

 I know the feeling though. I have a special commemorative edition Winchester lever action that was to be my 16th birthday present, but my Dad was never ever to give it to me since he passed away when I was 9. He had it hanging in the family room in a display case he made, and somewhere about 10 years ago, the neighbor's son broke in (not really, in the neighborhood I grew up in, all us neighbors had keys to each other's houses and would check up on one another when someone was away, or feed each other's pets, etc) and tried to steal the gun to get money to fuel his drug problem. It wasn't locked to the wall, but there were special brackets that used a two-prong tool (like, cut a wide slot down the middle of a flat blade screwdriver) to unscrew. He just tried ripping it out, ended up leaving it laying on the floor because I gues she didn't know how long my Mom was going to be away. There is a nasty nick in the barrel from metal on metal contact, and the stock is nearly ruined from all the chunks and gouges. I even have the original box, and a set of posters that came with it. Right now it sits in the box, one of these days I will take it to someone and see what they can do.

 

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 08, 2018 11:36 PM

rrinker
I have a special commemorative edition Winchester lever action that was to be my 16th birthday present, but my Dad was never ever to give it to me since he passed away when I was 9.

Sorry for the loss of your dad, especially at such a young age.

I'm sure the Winchester can be restored although the value will take a hit. Unfortunately the sentimental value will always be tarnished by the kid's actions.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 09, 2018 8:28 AM

 If only he was a kid - at the time of the incident he was about 50 years old. Unfortunately his life of addiction caught up with him a few years later and he passed away.

 Anyway, back to trains, which is the first hobby I inherited from my Dad, and still participate in. Sentimental value is all many things have, which is why I have several locos that I will likely never put DCC in and run (not to mention some of those have old style deep flanges and won't run on Code 83 anyway). The cars too, still have their plastic wheels and truck mounted X2f couplers - they are now display items. One loco is the only thing I've found which I think is truly impossible to convert to DCC without cheating and putting the decoder in a trailing car, simply because the loco body IS the motor, there is no shell. 

 Instead I will represent family members with structures on the layout, or specific scenes. WHich gets me back on topic here - the club I used to belong to had a 'sponsors' train - the layout was designed to be a realistic creation of the area, so adding extra businesses to the towns, or putting other things ont he layout wsn;t going to fly. What they did was make up a train, highly colorful instead of realistic paint schemes, fitted with signs, making each car about the height of a double stack so it would still clear all around the layout. Each corporate donor got a card with their name and information in large type, and this train ran at all public shows. That turned out to be quite a successful way to secure support from local community businesses.

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, February 09, 2018 9:36 AM

Now that is a clever idea, any idea what the sponsership fee was.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 09, 2018 5:06 PM

 Don't recall, I wasn't part of the club officers, I was mainly a wiring guy (unlike the Army, the club actually put people in jobs they were suited for). Not even the head wiring guy - they already had someone doing that before I joined. Just like I wasn't the head DCC guy for the modular group from the historical society.

 It couldn;t have been too much, this was more than 20 years ago (though they may still carry on), perhaps $50 per year or something. It's only $120 or $150 for a corporate sponsor for the historical society today, which gets you listedont he web page in in each monthly membership newsletter, and any bulk correspondence - like when they sent out an email for a show or railfan trip, after the information there is always a page listing the corporate sponsors.

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, February 09, 2018 9:27 PM

Randy, the sponsors' train is a great idea! If you don't mind I'm going to steal it. Why would you mind? I've already stolen so many ideas from you that it is not funny!

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 10, 2018 3:08 PM

 Wasn't my idea, so steal away! I think the cars carrying the display cards, the loco, and the caboose were lettered for the club name. Just plain Athearn gons I think.

                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:52 PM

We finally laid the first turnout and about 10 ft of track tonight!YesThumbs UpBeerBig SmileSmile

Also tonight I brought home about 50 turnouts so I can install the jumpers between the point rails and the closure and stock rails. Hopefully it won't take too long once I have the assembly line up and running. I did seven turnouts last night in about 1 1/2 hrs. I'm sure I will get faster as I go.

We are almost finished cutting the cookie cutter sections. We have about five pieces of Homasote and about 10 pieces of plywood still to cut. So far almost everything has fit together as intended, and any modifications have been minor. We have been able to get a good idea of what the elevated track will look like and how big the industrial areas and towns will be. The club members seem to be pretty enthused.

We made a decision to go with my 90' Walters turntable and the smaller Walthers roundhouse, at least for now. We debated buying a 130' Walthers builtup and two modern roundhouse kits but that would set us back by more than $500.00 Cdn. whereas mine is free. If, down the road, we feel we need a bigger turntable then we can spend the money at that time.

You may recall I did a thread on modifying the Walthers 90' kit to make it run smoothly.  I replaced the bogie wheels with brass wheels from NWSL and installed brass bushings where the original design was plastic on plastic. Everyone is happy about how it operates except for the sound. If it is run at very slow speeds the sound isn't too bad but of course some of the guys had to crank the power up to see how fast it would turn. That's when the gears get a little noisey. Once it is installed in the layout hopefully it will be a bit quieter.

There won't be any indexing. We will use an old power pack to run it back and forth and it seems to be easy to control. We will see once we have some track down whether or not it can be spotted accurately.

I took my scratch built ice house to the club and people were impressed if I may say so. The only challenge may be that it might be too deep to fit where intended. We will know that as soon as we get the track down in that area. We will use a Tichy icing platform.

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:06 AM

I have seen RTR turntables from Walthers on e-bay on occasion for cheap. bought mine for $50, seen 130' go for under $100. Put in what you got now and just keep a watch. Heck, I just bought a Winchester coaling tower off e-bay, been looking for awhile and it is from a defunct company from over 20 years ago, new in box.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 3:25 PM

rrebell
I have seen RTR turntables from Walthers on e-bay on occasion for cheap. bought mine for $50, seen 130' go for under $100.

Hi rrebell,

I believe it is a case of 'buyer beware' with the Walthers turntables. The ones that are going cheap are likely older kits that were not well designed and didn't work properly. I have done the 90' kit and it took a lot of work to get it to run reliably. I had to replace the molded plastic bogie wheels with brass wheels (the originals weren't even round), clean a lot of flash out of the gears, reposition the drive system to get the gears to mate properly and add brass bushings where the originals were plastic on plastic. The newer built up versions also have a completely different drive system which I believe is much quieter, and the indexing system is included. The older versions required that the indexing kit be purchased separately.

Dave

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