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Crandell's (Selector's) New Layout Progress Thread

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  • Member since
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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Monday, February 6, 2012 6:25 PM

I'm not a modeller per se, Gabe.   I prefer to freelance.  I just wanted to build a helix this time, hopefully one I can use in another layout if I decide it fits function somehow.   I didn't want a folded loop, but I like the idea of the rails running around me.  A helix allows me to build a large mountain with the trains popping in and out of view as they spiral up or down, out of portals and across bridges.  It also allows me to have a largely flat layout for a change.   My last was a hilly folded loop with a duck under and central operating pit.   The grades were too ambitious, and it was single track main.  This time it will be double and somewhat faster with better quality trackwork.   I enjoy watching trains run, but I also enjoy some switching.  This one will have a vastly improved and larger yard, faster twinned mains with a double crossover, a reversing wye where the tail doubles as the descent to the sub-layout staging butt-end yard.

I like steam locomotives from a variety of railroads, and do not wish to constrain myself to the terrain, climate, grades, engineering practices, and cultural artifacts of one railroad or one locale.   So, I wing it and do it my way.  Hopefully some of it will ring a bell now and then to my imagery viewers when I get around to some images of the finished layout or finished parts of it.

Crandell

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Posted by gabeusmc on Monday, February 6, 2012 8:14 PM

Thanks. Just wondering.

"Mess with the best, die like the rest" -U.S. Marine Corp

MINRail (Minessota Rail Transportaion Corp.) - "If they got rid of the weeds what would hold the rails down?"

And yes I am 17.

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Posted by pastorbob on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 8:43 AM

Crandall, I have been reading this with great interest but stayed out until now.  I want to tell you a little about my layout, which I call the"Santa Fe in Oklahoma 1989."  I actually started it in 1983 shortly after Andy S came to shoot photos and do an article in MR on my previous railroad, which was a freelance called the Mojave Western.  I started tearing it out and began construction on the Santa Fe, so that enough was done to show for the NMRA national in Kansas City in 1984.  That was no easy job.

My Santa Fe is three levels in a space 29ft by 33/36 ft.  The top level is mostly all Oklahoma  City and surrounding territory to Guthrie where it goes into a helix.  The building of helix's was not the state of art it is today and a lot of trial and error went into it.  The actual helix today rests under Oklahoma City Flynn yard.

the middle deck represents Enid OK which was/is a major grain elevator location on the old Enid district which ran from Guthrie to Kiowa KS.  The   middle deck includes the towns between Guthrie and Enid.  At Enid the railroad ended for a time.  But eventually I decided to add a bottom deck (which was a staging yard) and managed to include Cherokee OK, Kiowa and on into Waynoka (staging).  This was not a helix but a long  hidden grade that ran around the layout on a gentle grade.  Waynoka is visible staging, so it is sceniced. 

The design at first was a problem but we refined it.  One problem was the town of Cherokee which had elevators, small yard, and was a junction with another hidden staging representing the old Santa Fe line down through OK.  We learned to stage grain trains in the yard, the guy working Cherokee yard got a head start during an op session so he wouldn't be trampled later and was/is good.

I admit I didn't use a lot of the ideas in MR, but it all came out okay and the NCE DCC enhanced the system.  The proof of the pudding is that in year 2012, the railroad (with a few enhancements) is still fun and still operating.  And I have the layout I had always wanted.

The railroad also includes a portion of the BN (SLSF) running from staging (Cherokee yard, Tulsa) to Avard.  All on the middle deck including running through Enid and then into west end staging.

Bob 

Bob Miller http://www.atsfmodelrailroads.com/
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Posted by pastorbob on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 9:19 AM

Someone emailed me about photos of the Santa Fe in 1989.  Just go to my post and use the link following my name.

Bob Miller, mmr138

Bob Miller http://www.atsfmodelrailroads.com/
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Posted by selector on Friday, February 10, 2012 10:05 PM

Bob, it looks like a tremendous effort and result you have there.  Thanks for the link.  You have quite the empire! Cool  Sorry to take so long to reply.  Been busy, ya know....

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Friday, February 10, 2012 10:21 PM

I have been beavering away on my descending ramp, laying Code 100, filing rail ends, aligning them and their supports, soldering feeders, running 14 gauge house wire (solid core copper) because my runs were going beyond the 20' range, and I wanted top voltage.  I will use 16 gauge speaker wire for sub-buses in each module. I soldered the various feeders to their sub or the bus itself when it seemed convenient, and I placed the PSX-AR from the old layout under the helix's descending spiral ramp and wired it all up.

Here is the PSX-AR.  The two illuminted LED's are good news.

My strong desire today was to get a steamer up the ramp on that side of the loft to test joints and continuity, but also the general alignment, curves, and grade.   I chose the BLI J Class because it doesn't like undulating track.

It ran up there just fine, and around the spiral.  When I backed it, though, the tender derailed at a joint between modules, a gap really.  I found the cork/rubber roadbed had lifted a bit so that one rail was high.  I squeezed some goop under the roadbed, left some up the side and onto the plywood sub-roadbed as more of an anchor, weighted the rails, and have left it.  I also backed out the retaining screw on the rail end on the other side of the gap, which is on the adjoining module.  Tomorrow I will test again.

I am still having fun, still doing a lot of thinking.  I did have an odd miss today.  I was watching the J run up on her first climb and 'thud....".   What the....!?   Looked closer and it was jammed up against the fortunately soft spruce joist just above the headlight.  Woops.   I forgot to use the jig saw to cut out an arch in the joists under which the descending ramp runs on the module closest to the door.  I had to take off the support for the roadbed in one case, at a join between modules natch, cut out the arch to get overhead clearance, and then try to realign the roadbed and rails again.  Took some doing, but nothing to sweat about.  It's all back as it was, but with clearance. 

It was sweet to get power to the new layout.   It means the old one is officially scrap as it is now 'cold'.  I had to move the Super Empire Builder items over to the loft today to get the train to run, and I have removed the diagonal pit bridge on the old layout as well.  So, slowly, a screw or other component at a time, it is being decommissioned.

I was pretty confident the DB150 base station/short circuit detector would work properly the first time I threw the toggle, and was gratified to not get that horrible beeping signifying a fault.  The only fault was in my track alignment, and that was more a glue...well, a misglue, really.  Clown

Crandell

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  • From: Lake Havasu City, Arizona, now in Guthrie, Oklahoma
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Posted by luvadj on Sunday, February 12, 2012 8:45 PM

You really have gotten a lot accomplished in a short amount of time Crandell. I'm looking forward to seeing you progress.

Bob Berger, C.O.O. N-ovation & Northwestern R.R.        My patio layout....SEE IT HERE

There's no place like ~/ ;)

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 2:24 AM

Thanks, Bob.  Well, I figure the bottom ramp is a go, so I commenced the installation of the ascending ramp and got this far today:

Also, I have mentioned that I have been cutting metal joiners into halves, and then each half is again halved so that I can easily fit them onto the two ends of flex track on curves where I run the sliding rail about five or six ties deep into the adjoining length of flex to avoid kinks.  Here is a macro shot of one such join:

Crandell

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 3:14 AM

Crandell,

either you work 24/7 on your layout, or you must have little helpers coming in at night!

Bow

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Posted by cudaken on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 9:33 AM

 Thanks for the up date Crandell!

 

              Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:35 AM

Ulrich, you won't believe this, but I last had worked on the layout Friday.  It was only for about three hours today that I got back into the loft.  It was a weekend's 'thinking pause' for me while I figured out how to erect the new ramp.  In fact, I think I may have to dismantle it and re-orient the cresecent pieces that comprise the ramp.  I will run out of arc room when I complete the 360 degrees closest to the wall the way it looks now, and I know why.  I changed the 'on-ramp' part where the transtion into the ramp starts at the commencement of the curve.  I cheated by starting it to soon, and it meant the far end, near 360 degrees, is encroaching on the crossing and the wall beyond.  Oh well...live and learn.  It will only cost me an hour and a bit, but I'll have it right by the time I start to lay tracks.

Crandell

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Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:37 AM

I don't comment often, Crandell, but I'm really enjoying seeing your layout take shape.

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Posted by joe27 on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 8:38 PM

Crandell,

I don't post very often and I have been in a deep funk since I moved from Arizona to Maryland but your layout progress has been an inspiration for me to get started on my new,but much smaller layout. Your benchwork looks great and I can't wait to see your progress as you build this layout. Great job!

Joe

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Posted by gabeusmc on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 7:25 PM

Operate the layout Yet? Big Smile

I know I would be operating.

"Mess with the best, die like the rest" -U.S. Marine Corp

MINRail (Minessota Rail Transportaion Corp.) - "If they got rid of the weeds what would hold the rails down?"

And yes I am 17.

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 8:03 PM

Thanks for your comments and compliments.  I'm afraid my handiwork won't be winning any awards any time soon.  It may look good in imagery, but in person it looks like what you would expect from a guy who hadn't gotten any skills builiding since Grade 10.  I do fret about its stiffness and strength, but when I put my weight on it or 'reef' on parts of it, there is very little discernible movement.  Followed by an explosive expulsion of breath...and drop in blood pressure.

Gabe, I have run a steamer, a J Class 4-8-4 towing a single small passenger car up the ramp and around 3/4 of the spiral in the helix until it ran out of powered rails.  It was only in backing it down the ramp that it ran into a high join rail end, which I found attributable to insuffiicient caulking under the roadbed.  I squeezed some into the gap, weighted it, and forgot about it for a day.  Sliding under the helix for a better look next day, the rail tops are aligned.  It was sweet running one of my favourite locos up the first rails laid.  It was just as sweet to find that all my connections were correct and robust.

Yesterday and today I corrected the ascending spiral ramp in the helix.  It is much better now, and I continued it. to the point where it has commenced its long descent outside that module across a double wide girder bridge (maybe a truss, not sure), and it will turn a corner to join the yard on its main layout level.  It was well enough aligned, in all aspects, on its robust 2X4 short risers that I felt comfortable using a jig saw right away to cut away two gaps which will get bridges, and between which will be a tunnel...a half-tribute to the Othello Tunnel complex on the Kettle Valley Railway.

Here is the 'corrected' ascending ramp with bridge gaps already removed in the roadbed.  I am using 1/2" sheeting ply, by the way.  It will be hidden anyway, and it is plenty flat and sturdy to do its job.

Here is a side view, moving 90 deg to the right of this view and the camera about 7' forward from the position in the last shot.

Crandell

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Posted by cudaken on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 10:39 PM

 One of theses days I will build my new layout! Sigh

 But in the mean time I will watch you work.

 Thanks Crandell!

          Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by MudHen_462 on Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:47 AM

Your benchwork looks fantastic, crandell! It would win an award in my book, that's for sure.

Your train room is awesome just in itself....

Bob

 

 

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Posted by BRVRR on Saturday, February 18, 2012 9:16 AM

Crandell,

I'm very impressed with your progress so far. It is obvious that you have put a lot of thought into your new layout.

I can hardly wait to see the finished project. In the mean-time I will watch your progress and enjoy the show.

Thanks for sharing.

Allan

Remember its your railroad

Allan

  Track to the BRVRR Website:  http://www.brvrr.com/

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Posted by cudaken on Thursday, February 23, 2012 9:51 PM

Bump

I hate Rust

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Posted by gear-jammer on Saturday, February 25, 2012 8:32 AM

Crandell,

I just found your progress thread.  I don't get over here very often.  Looks like you are having fun.  It is easy to go crazy on the benchwork.

I have one question.  If your benchwork is 29",  do you operate mainly from a chair?  Even as short as I am, it makes my back hurt thinking about bending over.

Great Job.Thumbs Up

Sue

Anything is possible if you do not know what you are talking about.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:22 AM

 OH, it was Ken bumping the thread. LOL I saw it was updated and I figured, oh, he's got the layotu finished now Laugh

 At this rate you WILL have a second layout finished before I even get all the track down on my first one. I guess I need to start workign a little faster. But then I do things like I just did - picked up 3 undec USRA hoppers to turn into covered hoppers. I have too many projects going, that's my problem. Or at least that's my story and I'm stickign to it., As long as we're all having fun, right?

                            --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 selector on Saturday, February 25, 2012 6:53 PM

I appreciate everyone's interest and encouragement.  It happens that I am in Indio, CA, at the moment visiting my aged father.  I have done nothing on the layout since last Monday, and it isn't looking good for this coming Monday either.  I will return Wednesday, and commence laying track on the newly completed ascending spiral ramp.

Sue, the layout's mean surface elevation is now 25 inches, not 29.  I learned that the batter of the walls and the wide main curves I wanted would not allow sufficient 'gauge loading' for the larger locomotives and rolling stock.  So, I had to drop it for more head room.  Honestly, it isn't much of a loss, but it is so much easier to work on than at 36+".  I have an older computer desk rolling chair that I will definitely put to good use.

Crandell

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Posted by gear-jammer on Sunday, February 26, 2012 9:06 AM

Can't wait to see it.

 

Roll on Crandell, roll on.Laugh

Sue

Anything is possible if you do not know what you are talking about.

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Posted by cudaken on Friday, March 2, 2012 11:45 AM

bump

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Friday, March 2, 2012 5:33 PM

I am back home from the visit down south, but I have things on my plate for the first few days before I can return and get myself out of a jam over the turning wye.  I have to lay some tracks, figure out where to put the Atlas Code 83 30-degree crossing (or else hand lay one to fit better), and then test it all before I can continue with 'building'.  I figure this will take me until next Tuesday at the earliest.  Once I have the helix$1***$2scissors-type wye figured out, the rest should be easy.  The only head scratcher that will remain for me is the yard, and that's months down the road.

Crandell

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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, March 9, 2012 10:23 AM

Crandell - progress???

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Posted by selector on Friday, March 9, 2012 11:09 AM

Slow, Mark, with a couple retraces of steps in laying my rubberized cork roadbed at the place that has the 30 degree crossing and scissored turning wye.  I think I have the geometry right so that even my Sunset Selkirk with its 30" minimum radius will be able to use both legs.  I have tracks laid on most of that complex, and will finish it this weekend with any luck.  I'll post a photo later today.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Friday, March 16, 2012 7:31 PM

A lot of time has passed since I last updated, but a lot has happened, not all of it related to building the layout.  We had hurricane winds and very heavy rainfall this past weekend, so bad that much of Vancouver Island was without power.  We were down long enough that I felt concerned for the freezer contents and the stuff in our fridge.  So, for the first time since buying it three years ago, I hauled out our 6.6KW generator and fired it up.  I isolated the house from the mains by throwing the main circuit breaker and then plugged in the generator using the double male chord I had made years ago in anticipation of such a necessity.  I had powered the house for only  three hours when the power came back on line.  That was just one intrusion...there were others.

What I have been working on is the scissors-style turning wye.  I have fiddled with the curves, soldered up the segments leading away from the 30 degree Walthers Code 83 crossing, and generally got ready to test the critical steamer on the various curves and the approaches to the crossing.  I powered up the area with my Super Empire builder and promptly got five quick beeps...and a refusal to power the rails.  CRAP!  What had I done wrong?  I finally decided, after much thought, that the first easy test would be to cut through the tiny soldered joiner quarters I have decided to use (instead of the way too long full metal joiners), but only the four on opposite sides of the crossing...one route IOW.  Powered up the DB150, no beeps, and I ran that gorgeous Selkirk around the curves I felt were going to be the closest to its minimums.  Success!!  

The steamer ran over and beyond the crossing, about a foot into the unpowered curved arm of the wye...meaning the Walthers Code 83 crossing is not DCC friendly or that it affords isolated routes...it must be powered with a reversing mechanism and gapped.  Well, that, in turn, means I will have to relocate the PSX-AR and move it over to reverse the crossing...only that litle bit, or the entire route to which it is still soldered.  Not sure what I'll do just yet...I suspect the latter, and leave the two isolated segments to be fed separately by their own feeders.

This has been a big pause, sleep-loser, and point of irritability for me for the past 10 days or more.  I can now rest easy, ballast the tracks here to fix them in place, and get on with laying roadbed and tracks for the rest of the double mains.   I should fly from here.

I'll get some photos in the next couple of days to show how it is looking.

Crandell

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Posted by MudHen_462 on Friday, March 16, 2012 9:38 PM

Glad you found the solution to your problem... I'm looking forward to your progress reports.

Bob

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Posted by cudaken on Saturday, March 17, 2012 8:46 AM

 Thanks for the up date Crandell.

          Ken

I hate Rust

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