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Building a new club layout (and other club related activities)

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  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 18, 2019 11:31 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
In my opinion, the best layouts are those that are planned in advance for the types of operation the owner desires. In my case, that is all types - switching, mainline CTC/timetable, and simple display loops.

That's what I tried to do with the club layout, despite my lack of experience with model railroading. I will say that John Armstrong's 'Track Planning For Realistic Operations' was a huge help in figuring out how to do things.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 2:12 AM

Hi guys!

I've been on vacation so please pardon the dearth of posts. Had a great time.

The club is going headstrong into getting an operations system set up! We asked for volunteers to sit on the Operations Committee and half the club signed up! That's a first! These guys really want to do some serious train running.

However, now we are faced with the problem of having too many chefs in the kitchen. Design by committee often does not lead to the best possible outcome, and the more members in the committee the worse things get and the longer it will take to make decisions. To be fair, some of the members have very detailed knowledge of how a railroad works because they actually worked on them in the real world, and others have operated enough on their own and other layouts to have a good understanding as well. 

To avoid death by committee, we have decided to change the plan a bit. We will begin by having a couple of the members of the Executive Committee do some research ourselves. We have a few offers of assistance from local modellers and clubs. The tricky bit is that the people who have offered outside assistance do not want to be innundated by having a dozen people show up on their doorsteps.

Once we have some suggestions prepared we will present them to the Operating Committee for their consideration. We will allow for a couple of weeks of cogitation, and then we will ask the members of the Operating Committee to come back to us to present their operating suggestions on an individual basis. They may or may not base their suggestions on what the Executive Committee has presented.

Hopefully that will give us a broad range of choices, from which the Executive will choose or design an initial operating scheme. I say 'initial' because there will be nothing preventing us from trying other systems down the road, but we need to establish and work with a single method to start.

I invite you to suggest systems as well, as some have already done.

Sorry for blathering on!

Dave

 

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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 10:49 AM

 There are a whole bunch of operating layouts in Western PA that mostly use tab on car. Here's a thread with a decent explanation of how they do it from the late Bob Hartle (cmrproducts on the forum, he was one of the organizers and active members of the rotating operating group in that area).

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/38241.aspx

                               --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 12:43 AM

Thanks Randy,

I have seen articles on that sort of system, and obviously the tab systems work. However, personally I think that having the coloured tags or pins on the cars is totally distracting. I don't want to watch coloured tags go around the layout. I want to watch train cars. That's just me. I will present the option to the Operating Committee, but I think we have already decided how to proceed.

We had a very good impromptu conversation on Tuesday night with regards to operating options. The members seemed to all come to the same decision without much disagreement (contrary to my fears). We decided to start with a simple card system without any frills. JMRI can wait, as can any other options, until we have learned how to use the cards. Down the road we can explore other options.

There are still some details to work out as to what card design to use and who will do the work, but we have moved forward significantly.

We were also able to 'complete the map' more or less by deciding on place names for all the communities and industrial areas, as well as various spurs and junctions. Previously we had been referring to them simply as "Area #...". In most cases the names we chose pretty much reflect actual locations in central and northern Ontario. Some are a bit whimsical like "The Cowpath" which we used to identify one of the reverse loops, but there is an actual section of track located close to Hamilton, Ontario which officially bears that name.

We also honoured a bit of history. One of the areas will be called "Thornton", named after the business magnet who gathered several dozens of tiny local railways together to form Canadian Pacific National (thanks Wayne). 

Another spot will be called Reesors Crossing. That was the location where several lumber mill workers were killed and injured by some of the local farmers in 1964 because of totally unsubstantiated rumours that a huge pile of lumber that was waiting to be transported to the mill was about to be burned. The lumber had been gathered by the farmers over the winter. Whomever spread the rumours told both sides that the other was about to torch the pile out of spite. Neither side had any intention of doing so, but the potential loss got people pretty worked up. Word got around and both sides showed up at Reesors Crossing to protect the lumber pile. Unfortunately the farmers showed up with their shotguns loaded. Things errupted before anyone could address the issue. The incident is rarely mentioned in history books.

We also got all the spurs numbered, although there may be some revisions to the system we chose.

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 8:04 AM

hon30critter

Thanks Randy,

I have seen articles on that sort of system, and obviously the tab systems work. However, personally I think that having the coloured tags or pins on the cars is totally distracting. I don't want to watch coloured tags go around the layout. I want to watch train cars. That's just me. I will present the option to the Operating Committee, but I think we have already decided how to proceed.

We had a very good impromptu conversation on Tuesday night with regards to operating options. The members seemed to all come to the same decision without much disagreement (contrary to my fears). We decided to start with a simple card system without any frills. JMRI can wait, as can any other options, until we have learned how to use the cards. Down the road we can explore other options.

There are still some details to work out as to what card design to use and who will do the work, but we have moved forward significantly.

We were also able to 'complete the map' more or less by deciding on place names for all the communities and industrial areas, as well as various spurs and junctions. Previously we had been referring to them simply as "Area #...". In most cases the names we chose pretty much reflect actual locations in central and northern Ontario. Some are a bit whimsical like "The Cowpath" which we used to identify one of the reverse loops, but there is an actual section of track located close to Hamilton, Ontario which officially bears that name.

We also honoured a bit of history. One of the areas will be called "Thornton", named after the business magnet who gathered several dozens of tiny local railways together to form Canadian Pacific. 

Another spot will be called Reesors Crossing. That was the location where several lumber mill workers were killed and injured by some of the local farmers in 1964 because of totally unsubstantiated rumours that a huge pile of lumber that was waiting to be transported to the mill was about to be burned. The lumber had been gathered by the farmers over the winter. Whomever spread the rumours told both sides that the other was about to torch the pile out of spite. Neither side had any intention of doing so, but the potential loss got people pretty worked up. Word got around and both sides showed up at Reesors Crossing to protect the lumber pile. Unfortunately the farmers showed up with their shotguns loaded. Things errupted before anyone could address the issue. The incident is rarely mentioned in history books.

We also got all the spurs numbered, although there may be some revisions to the system we chose.

Cheers!!

Dave

 

Uh, got the story wrong. There was a union strike of loggers who worked for the mill and the farmers were filling in the for the lack of wood. They had always sent wood to the mill but were asked to up it. The strikers had attacked small piles of wood here and there making the wood useless so the farmers banded together and created a huge pile. The union showed up to stop the shipment and were met by the law and the farmers. The union members pushed past the officers and the farmers opened fire. Farmers were armed but union was not. It was 400-500 union vs 22 farmers. People were charged but nothing happened but some fines as far as peniltys but a number of union people were killed.

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 2:56 PM

rrebell
Farmers were armed but union was not.

So it was a pitched(fork) battle?

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 3:43 PM

rrebell
...We also honoured a bit of history. One of the areas will be called "Thornton", named after the business magnet who gathered several dozens of tiny local railways together to form Canadian Pacific.....

Sir Henry Thornton, an American, was responsible for the formation of the CNR, not the CPR.  There's a very informative thread on his many achievements (most of them formerly unbeknowst to me) to be found in this thread in the Classic Trains Forum.  An absolutely amazing individual.

Wayne

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 9:19 PM

rrebell,

Thanks for correcting the story. I was getting it third hand from one of the other club members, and we all know how that works.

None the less, it is an interesting piece of Canadian history, somewhat in contrast to our usual passive mannerisms.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 9:23 PM

Oops, another goof up. Actually, I was told that it was CN but my wee brain got it backwards when I was typing. I corrected the post.

And thanks for the article on Sir Henry Thornton, Wayne. Very interesting! Amazing talent!!

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 04, 2019 11:28 PM

Hi folks,

I got another control panel completed tonight. This one was a tiny bit more complicated in that two of the toggle switches have duplicates on the control panel on the other side of the peninsula. The double set of toggles control access to a passing siding that is positioned so that the operators can only see one end of it at a time. I can see this making things complicated if someone doesn't ask for permission to throw the turnout on the other side of the peninsula before it is clear.

One of the other minor complications is that we need to drive four LEDs for each turnout, two on each side of the peninsula. We have been driving the switch position LEDs through the tortoise motor feeds. That works fine for two LEDs which is all we have needed so far, but I am told that when there are four LEDs involved, the tortoise will move very slowly. If the problem is serious enough I guess we can simply drive two of the LEDs off of one of the tortoise internal switches (the other is being used to control frog polarity). I'd rather not do that however. I would like to have the tortoise switch available for signals.

I'm going to start a thread in the Electronics/DCC forum to get some clarification. Edit, I think I've figured out at least part of the solution. We are using redundant LEDs in that we have two LEDs for each mainline turnout. One is on the main. The other is on the diverging route (where else would it be?). If the main is clear the LED is green, and the LED on the diverging track is red (suprise!!) All we need to do is eliminate the diverging route LED. That gives us enough power to install another LED elsewhere without slowing the tortoise down. If our members can't figure out that if the main is clear then the diverging route isn't and vise versa, then we are all in trouble!!

Cheers!!

Dave

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 07, 2019 12:17 AM

More progress at the club on Tuesday night!

We have started to install the scenery base in earnest! We actually now have a couple of layers of 2 1/2" foam in place in the peninsula, and what is even better is we now have a hole in the foam that will become a quarry!

Sorry, I didn't have my camera with me. My hands were full because I delivered two more control panels to the club and I had my briefcase with me as well. Besides, the quarry hole is still pretty crude right now so please give us some time to develop the scene a bit better.

Speaking of the control panels, all of the panels that I have built so far are 'draft versions'. I'm glad I didn't spend the time making them fancy on the first try because almost all of them will require some modifications before we make the final panels. Making the panels has kind of been like shooting at a moving target. In several cases the track arrangements have been modified slightly without me being informed of the changes. That's not a problem at all. Making changes is a natural part of installing track, especially in tight spaces. When the final 'deluxe' versions of the control panels are produced they will hopefully match the track patterns properly.

I'm looking forward to making the final control panels. I have some really nice poplar 1 1/2" square stock that I will mold with my router and radial arm saw to make the frames. We were talking on Tuesday night about what colour to use for the background. I love the look of control panels with a black background but I'm leaning towards a white background with black track. The reason is that I can easily print the diagrams in those colours and they look super crisp and clean. I can use 110 lb. stock instead of regular printer paper so there will be no bleed through of the colour of the masonite back panel. The temporary panels have been built so that the toggle switches and LEDs can be easily removed without having to unsolder any connections. It will be easy to transfer them to the new panels. The only soldering will be to correct the minor changes in the control panel arrangements.

Here is an example of one of the temporary panels:

I have to figure out how to eliminate the gap in the printing but that's just a matter of adjusting the printer controls.

Take care everyone!!

Dave

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, August 07, 2019 7:15 AM

You probably can't eliminate the gap - on the printer. Very few printers can print right to the edge, there's a minimal margin needed for the paper transport to grab the paper. But you can remove it after the fact - I'd use a paper cutter if you cna find one, a straightedge and knife would be a poor second choice. Trim up the edges square, removing the margin space, and then the two pieces should line up nicely. It won't be completely invisible, for that you'd have to have the panels printed at a shop or office supply place where they can print it on paper large enough that one piece does it.

                                  --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 Water Level Route on Wednesday, August 07, 2019 8:16 AM

rrinker
a straightedge and knife

If you end up having to go this route, align them one slightly over the other however you want the print to end up and cut them both at once.  Just like splicing cork roadbed.  Ensures the edges mate perfectly.

Mike

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 07, 2019 8:41 PM

rrinker
Trim up the edges square, removing the margin space, and then the two pieces should line up nicely.

Hi Randy,

I was hoping that would be the case, but it isn't. If the margins are cut off, the pages do not line up properly. If the margins are left in place, everything lines up nicely but there is a gap in the printing as you can see.

I will play with the margin settings. Right now they are set to '0'. That may be the problem because of the limitations of the printer. I'm thinking that if I add in a small margin then the printing might line up with the margins cut off. I'll play with it tonight and let you know.

Thanks,

Dave

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 07, 2019 8:59 PM

Okay, success!

I widened the margins a bit and the pages will line up without a gap after the sheets are trimmed.

Trimming the sheets accurately will be the next challenge. Thanks for the suggestions on how to do it. I won't have to worry about that for a while. We are going to use the temporary control panels until we are fully satisfied with the track arrangements. That may be months or years. We already have a list of possible modifications.

That brings up another interesting issue with developing the layout. The layout is already pretty track intensive but that doesn't seem to stop people from suggesting that we add another track here or there. I'm trying my best to prevent people from adding tracks where simple operational methods will address the challenges. The prototypes did not add another track every time they had to do a little manouvering to get at a car!

Don't misunderstand me, some of the suggested changes will add greatly to the operating possibilities. We have decided to operate for a while before we make any changes, which is exactly what I'm sure many of you would have suggested.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:01 AM

Hello group! (I almost added 'ies' to the term group, but I actually don't want to feel quite that close to all of you!)Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Sorry for my sick sense of humour.

We supposedly held an operating session on Tuesday night, but in truth it was the same old round and round while trying to avoid head on collisions. It still astounds me how many people haven't yet learned to look at a turnout before going charging through it!!!Bang HeadBang HeadBang Head I still have faith that we can conquer that mountain!

In response to previous requests for more pictures, here are a few shots:

The first is a view of the roundhouse floor placed loosely with a couple of trial track sections temporarily dropped in place:

Thanks in advance for all the wonderful comments on how nicely the floor is weatheredSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh, but that's not the point of the picture. If you look at the two pieces of track that have been dropped into place between the turntable and the roundhouse, a good eye will recognize that one is Code 83 and the other is Code 100.

Here is a closer view:

A couple of our more cost conscious members had suggested that we could use Code 100 track here because we had run out of Code 83. Placing the two codes beside each other answered that question pretty quick! The difference in rail sizes is visible but not overwhelming, but the difference in tie sizes kind of slaps you right up the side of the head. Problem solved! We ordered more Code 83 track!

Here are a couple of other shots from Tuesday night:

The staging yard is under construction. It is also a huge mess! It would seem that this is the area where all the crap has been deposited over the last few days! You all know how that works!!

See the hole in the foam? That will be the quarry. The backgound hills will be built up about 9" to 12" behind the quarry so it will look like it is built into the mountain. The other side of the mountain will have a ski hill with a small chalet. The forground scene will feature the Walthers Glacier Gravel Company:

Here is a group shot during our operating exercise in avoiding collisions session:

What you may not notice is that we have have five additional double tube LED overhead lights installed. The room is much brighter! The landlord was nice enough to cover half the cost.Big Smile The (predictable) problem is that now the original single tube fluorescent fixtures look rather dull. We plan on changing those a few at a time over the next year or two at our own expense. It won't be huge bucks.

Finally, I would love to show you a video of this wee beastie in action:

It is a Rapido and it was working beautifully, that is until I pulled out my camera. Then it just quit moving.Bang Head It still had all the sounds and lights (lots of lights!), but it refused to budge. Crying I will leave it up to others to comment.

Cheers guys!! Thanks for your interest!

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 7:28 AM

hon30critter

Hello group! (I almost added 'ies' to the term group, but I actually don't want to feel quite that close to all of you!)Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

 

 

 With Rush retired, we need some Canadian group to follow, eh? 

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 9:12 AM

hon30critter

 

Thanks in advance for all the wonderful comments on how nicely the floor is weatheredSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh, but that's not the point of the picture. If you look at the two pieces of track that have been dropped into place between the turntable and the roundhouse, a good eye will recognize that one is Code 83 and the other is Code 100.

Here is a closer view:

A couple of our more cost conscious members had suggested that we could use Code 100 track here because we had run out of Code 83. Placing the two codes beside each other answered that question pretty quick! The difference in rail sizes is visible but not overwhelming, but the difference in tie sizes kind of slaps you right up the side of the head. Problem solved! We ordered more Code 83 track!

 

Hi Dave,
I like the yellow caution zone around the pit rails.

As far as the size of the ties in front of roundhouse, wouldn't the normal situation have the ties amost buried flush in that area?...so no worry about size of ties or code of track??

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:58 PM

railandsail
As far as the size of the ties in front of roundhouse, wouldn't the normal situation have the ties amost buried flush in that area?...so no worry about size of ties or code of track??

Hi Brian,

Good point! The ties won't be quite so obvious once the scene is finished. I actually thought about 'paving' the whole area between the pit and the roundhouse floor but I like your suggestion better.

Thanks,

Dave

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:59 PM

rrinker
With Rush retired, we need some Canadian group to follow, eh?                                   --Randy

LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Thursday, August 15, 2019 8:13 AM
Nice pics. Looks great and fun. Thanks
  • Member since
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, August 16, 2019 3:31 AM

Bigjim7
Nice pics. Looks great and fun. Thanks

Thanks to you Jim for your positive comments!

Dave

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