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

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  • Member since
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Posted by selector on Monday, May 7, 2012 10:11 PM

I had good intentions...I really did.  But that darned handlaid turnout didn't turn out to be what my J Class appreciated under its wheels.  I should have known.  Instead of mucking out the loft and taking some images, I spend the afternoon removing some rail elements on that wye, making others, soldering them in place, and then fiddling until the J said I was off the hook.  And that's just the J! Tongue Tied

I shoulda known...the NMRA gauge doesn't lie.  I had some places where the rails were simply too far apart in the middle of that turnout, and once I decided to move them to their correct spots, everything else changed, especially the frog point alignment.  So, I had to do some surgery.  Fortunately, I didn't wreck anything, and the new rails I inserted did what they were meant to do from the outset.

I'll try again tomorrow to do the clean up and take some photos.  First, though, I have to make and solder into place some feeders.  If the J goes through that turnout at speed in all directions, I'll consider it a good job and take the photos.  The new feeders have to be soldered into the rails on the points side of the turnout where there is no power.  I managed to get the J to back up to the point where it lost power, and that was close to the points in the wye turnout.  No lifting wheels, no jerking or stalling, so I think I have the gauge and geometry solved.

Of course, the J has 70'" drivers in scale.  What will a NYC Niagara do with its 79" drivers, or a Pennsy J1 do with its even longer wheelbase?  I guess I'll find out.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Monday, May 7, 2012 10:29 PM

Oh, I guess I should mention that I liked my arrangement for a programming track as part of the trackage on the old layout so much that I replicated it on the new one.  On my last layout, there was a handlaid wye turnout where one route afforded access to the turntable and roundhouse.  The other went across the bridge that was part of my reversing loop and diagonal bridge...if you remember.   Anyway, right after the wye turnout I had gapped the rails so that I could wire the rest of the lead, terminated naturally at the turntable pit, with a separate toggle.  I'll explain.

It is an SPDT switch with the two central (incoming) posts on the rear of the body and the two end-posts that are the output.  I wired it so that the incoming posts doubled as power to the switch, itself, and also the leads to the gapped turntable lead track.  So, on the two central posts, I had two sets of wires, one the output from the DB150 base unit, and the other were the feeders to the turntable.  When the toggle was thrown to cut off the end output posts of the toggle switch, the switch still got power, but the wires wrapped around the same input posts also fed the feeders to the turntable lead.  and that was my isolated programming track.  Nifty, simple.  Later, once the programming was all done, I simply threw the toggle and the power coursed through the end posts to which the main bus was screwed.  The rest of the layout came alive once again.  Worked like a charm.

On the new plan, there is a separate passenger station/depot track.   Partway along it, near where the depot will eventually be, I have placed a turnout leading to a parking track for diner cars needing cleaning and replenishment.  This was prototypical.  I have placed a gap soon after the end of the turnout's diverging route and fed the rest of the parking track via a separate feed, and that would be the central input posts of the aforementioned toggle switch.  So, the very same arrangement as before, but this time it is a handy parking track much closer to the aisle than the turntable and roundhouse will be on the new build.  Photos in the next day or so should make it all clear.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Friday, May 11, 2012 9:27 PM

I had a great day today.  I finally got the handlaid wye turnout tuned about as good as I can get it, and then I ran my two toughest critics through it.  Those were the New York Central Niagara 4-8-4 and the PRR J1 2-10-4.  Their initial passages were...uh....lumpy.  I had to adjust the height of the frog point a bit and then things smoothed out considerably.  I had no jig for this, so I built much of it in place.  The geometry is a bit wonky, so I knew I would have to fiddle with rail heights at some point to get it smooth.   I breathed a huge sigh of relief and actually enjoyed running trains for a while. 

The locomotives, that is.  Then I decided to try both engines down the turning wye with the 30 deg crossing.  For some reason the Niagara, my first foray down that track, stalled and restarted repeatedly at the Peco turnout just prior to the portal leading to the Netherworld staging and the tail of the wye.   I had a sinking feeling that maybe my PSX-AR didn't survive my construction and installation.  Finally I noticed that, in an earlier attempt to trouble-shoot, I had cut one of the rails on the through route to see what effect it would have.  Nothing, it turned out, but I misplaced my mental note to solder that gap closed once more.  I saw it, soldered it, and my stalling troubles, or rather the Niagara's, went away.  The J1 did nicely after that.

One thing I have noticed is that the Walthers 30 deg crossing is a rough ride through it.  My approaches are very close to straight-on, so it's not as if the loco is suddenly being forced through the flange-ways after a jog right or left and hitches up a bit.  I have cleaned the flange paths carefully and know for a fact that there are no high spots caused by glue, bits of wood debris, ballast grains or clumps of them, etc.  But the J1, especially, did not seem happy sliding through its entire length, and that goes for both routes.  If anyone knows what I can/should do to these to get them to run more cleanly, please let me know.

I received the VERY nice double track truss bridge shipped from southern USA, and have set it in place.  I even had one lane of track set in place, soldered, and a few small dabs of transparent caulk drying at the moment.  I should have my twinned mains closed by Sunday at the latest.

I will take some photos in the next 24 hours and post them.

Crandell

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Posted by cudaken on Friday, May 11, 2012 10:05 PM

 Thanks for the updates Crandell. Can hard wait to see the pictures! You know I check everyday to see if there is a update!

                                Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Friday, May 11, 2012 11:57 PM

Thanks for your encouragement, Ken.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:29 PM

Here is a photo showing the lawnmower throttle cable manual turnout actuator.

I described the end-block in an earlier post.  This is necessary to anchor the sheath so that the cable will do what it is supposed to do at the throwbar.  I fashioned it crudely with bits of scrap 1/2" plywood, wood glue, and some latex caulk to act as a filler/retainer plug at the close end...the white blob.

I have been modifying the W/S double track concrete tunnel portals because of my spacing on the curves.  i cut them in half at the 'keystone' location using a fine saw, and then glue a wooden spacer in place with a new width near a full inch.  They haven't been painted yet, so you can see the wood spacer in place.  Notice that the grade has started to rise to the helix once more.

Finally, I received the truss bridge and have it in place.  I have two rails across it already, but I am out of Atlas Code 83 with more on the way.  I can substitute some Peco Code 83 if I get stuck, but I have an order in with Walthers that should be coming to me soon...I hope.  They have confirmed it, but I have no shipment notice.

Crandell

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Posted by MudHen_462 on Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:41 PM

Your layout is looking spectactular, Crandell!!!! 

Bob

 

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Posted by secondhandmodeler on Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:48 PM

Thanks for the update Crandell.  I'm enjoying watching you build since I know you don't like it! 

Corey
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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:48 PM

Crandell

That is really looking great. I am curious as to why you went plywood subroadbed instead of spline. I think you used spline on your last layout didn't you?  Just wondering.Hmm

BrentCowboy

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by selector on Saturday, May 12, 2012 4:00 PM

Fair question, Brent.  A bit of been there, done that, and also my previous supplier no longer had the capacity to saw the sheet of MDF into the strips I'd need.  Being lazy, I didn't want to undertake that chore.  I was intriqued by cookie cutter and wanted to at least be able to say I had built a layout with the two techniques.  The splines are slower, although they certainly do make nice sinuous curves in all directions.  Cookie cutter is faster, but you have to fiddle more carefully with the risers if you have joints over the risers or near them.  Both require clamps, glue/nails and screws.

It seems I decide in the back of my mind that I want to try something new as I contemplate a new build.  In this case, a flatter twinned main, the helix, and cookie cutter.  I have done the crazy grades, the folded loop, and the central operating pit with crossover bridge to act as part of the turning/reversing loop.  No regrets, but I don't want them any more.  

Okay, okay...and it meant I had to get a new electric sabre saw.  Smile, Wink & Grin 

Crandell

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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, May 12, 2012 5:12 PM

Crandell, I've done cookie cutter and did my current layout with spline and foam for no other reason that it intrigued me and I wanted to try something new as well. All I can say is someone better come out with some new building products and unique ways to use them by the time I start my next layout or I'll be in an awful state.Laugh

BrentCowboy

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by cudaken on Saturday, May 12, 2012 9:01 PM

 Crandell, looking forward to coming up and running the layout! Only 2 things that need to happen. I win the lottery and that you would have me! Whistling

 I will be checking my lottery ticket here in a little bit and I will let you know! Big Smile

      Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by canazar on Monday, May 14, 2012 2:47 AM

Wow, stumbled upon this!  Man, a guy gets off the board for a year and you get a wild hair!  I want to say this is ow your 3rd layout documented here?   I loved the last one...  but this project....  Ah man, I wish you the best as I am so jealous.  I love the room in your in.  I will be following along.  

Great job so far,Wow

Best Regards, Big John

Kiva Valley Railway- Freelanced road in central Arizona.  Visit the link to see my MR forum thread on The Building of the Whitton Branch on the  Kiva Valley Railway

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 12:27 AM

Thanks, John.  It is coming along, a step at a time.  I ballasted some of the rails descending to the bridge I just insterted.  For this stretch, I used as ballast some sand I brought with me from the valley terrain over a pipeline running north to Palm Springs through Indio where I visited my elderly father in February.  It is light in colour, a nice contrast to the local beach sand which is more salt and pepper with lots of grey.

I haven't updated my construction method and wiring for the lift-out bridge that carries the double crossover.  Here is a photo of its one end.  Under the flat top are four screws at each corner, around which are wound the feeders you see rising to the rails.  Those feeders are recessed in grooves I cut so that they wouldn't interfere with the setting in place and lifting-out actions and wear their insulation or dislodge them.  Their bared ends are wound around the exposed shanks of each thread and the tips are bent to make contact with the inverted L brackets on the shoulders of the supports on the bench.  The brackets have feeders soldered to them, and the screws under the bridge's flat wood top sit on the brackets. 

Here is the bridge in place.  I hope you realize it is unfinished, but functional now. Geeked

Crandell

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Posted by bogp40 on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 3:02 PM

Crandall, looking good. So you must have solved the problems of the lift out twisting on you.  Later on you can build a storage for it.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by Coquihala and Rock Creek on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 5:03 PM

This looks great.  Don't know how I missed this, except that I haven't been on much since January.  Love to see the progress of the layout.

Dan

If you cannot fix it with a hammer;

You have an electrical problem!

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 9:44 PM

Bob, you are right, I will have to think about a handy and safe place to 'hang' it besides in its functional place.  For now, I think I will just slide it under the descending track that goes to the underground staging.

Crandell

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Posted by cudaken on Thursday, May 17, 2012 8:20 AM

 Thanks again for the up date.

                  Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Friday, May 25, 2012 11:25 AM

I have done almost nothing over the past week and a bit due to family obligations.   Also, on Tuesday my wife had a very bad fall on a wet floor at work and suffered a concussion.  The security video was sickening to watch, according to the few who saw it, so it is a miracle she is still "with" me.  Even more miraculous is the fact that CTscan  and X-rays showed nothing of concern to the radiologist.  Between that horrible event and other family matters, I have spent perhaps five hours in the loft.

I have begun to frame the large mountain over the helix.  It looks terrible, but it only has to be a supportive skeleton.  The finished mountain will look somewhat better...I hope. Laugh

I'll do more work this weekend and post some photos next week.  Still awaiting my shipment of Atlas Code 83 with wooden ties.  Should be soon.....?

Crandell

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Posted by J.Rob on Friday, May 25, 2012 11:36 AM

Glad to hear that it is not serious injury for your wife. Concussions are nothing to laugh at but all in all things could have been much worse. Hope she has a speedy recovery and no other issues with anything else. Best of luck.

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Posted by nucat78 on Friday, May 25, 2012 1:08 PM

Without wading back through the whole thread, what's the "goop" next to the roadbed?  Is the track laid on top of it?

 

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Posted by Coquihala and Rock Creek on Friday, May 25, 2012 2:59 PM

Glad your wife's fall wasn't more serious.  I hope you get a chance to keep working but family comes first.  Even though we are torn sometimes Whistling .

If you cannot fix it with a hammer;

You have an electrical problem!

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Posted by selector on Friday, May 25, 2012 4:03 PM

nucat78

Without wading back through the whole thread, what's the "goop" next to the roadbed?  Is the track laid on top of it? 

The sub-roadbed is either half-inch or five-eights inch plywood.  Because of the spacing between the sub-roadbed, and their heights relative to the plywood top surface of each bench, I have built ground goop berms and fillers.  It is merely finely ground vermiculite, Portland cement, and plaster of Paris in the ratio 4/1/2 respectively.  I also add a pinch of two colours of masonary powdered dye, brown and "mesa" or a deep yellow.  Once the rest of the terrain has greenery, it should look a lot more finished and natural.

Crandell

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Posted by bogp40 on Friday, May 25, 2012 4:20 PM

Crandall, that Ground Goop, does make for a nice base, I also found  Durabond 90, Perlite, sawdust or vermiculite  has more working time and is more controlable and better clean up. Of coarse I always love using the powdered masonry dyes in all plasters and ground "base"

Glad your wife is fine, things like that can get quite scary. Your "life" and your Wife are more inportant that the hobby. Well of coarse for some, it is their "life" 

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by selector on Friday, May 25, 2012 8:01 PM

Bob, I have asked all the major building suppliers in the valley if they carry Durabond, but none of them do.  Maybe Victoria, Nanaimo, or Vancouver.  Calgary later this summer when I fly over.

Crandell

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Posted by fiatfan on Saturday, May 26, 2012 9:21 AM

selector

  Still awaiting my shipment of Atlas Code 83 with wooden ties.  Should be soon.....?

Crandell

I received this e-mail from Atlas yesterday.  Your track order may be in for a small delay...

Memorial Day Message from the CEO

Message from the Atlas CEO to our Customers-Distributors, Retailers and Consumers,

In an effort to stabilize pricing, while assuring the continuation of quality Atlas model railroad products, I made a decision approximately one year ago to transfer all Atlas product molds from a primary supplier to multiple suppliers. The transfer of more than 5,000 Atlas proprietary molds and tools was not as smooth as I had hoped for, however, the process is nearly complete.

The following is a current update on Atlas production.

1. N, HO and O Freight Cars and Locomotives- Atlas freight cars and locomotives are in full production at our new suppliers and are currently being shipped from Atlas to distributors. Watch our A-Z on-line shipping schedule for updates. http://www.atlasrr.com/ordership.htm

2. O Gauge Track and Accessories- Atlas has a complete supply of both 3 rail and 2 rail track products and accessories. 2 rail flex track is currently sold out at Atlas and is in short supply at retailers. Production is being worked on and will be available late summer.

3. N and HO Gauge - Our new supplier is currently testing and prepping primary Atlas track molds. Production will start in June and Atlas will receive the first shipments of N & HO track this summer. Consumers should check their retailers for availability. If individual consumers need a few pieces of track to finish or repair their layout Atlas will fill their order from a limited supply of customer service stock while supplies last. Cost is MSRP, no discounts.

4. N & HO Accessories- Atlas has a limited supply of accessories and retailers should be checked for availability. New suppliers have started production of these products and full availability will be achieved during the summer and early fall.

I would like to thank all of our customers- distributors, retailers and consumers- for your continued support of Atlas products. Especially during these last few years of tough economic times. I wish you all, your families and friends, in particular all our veterans, a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend holiday.

Sincerely,

Thomas W. Haedrich,
CEO Atlas Model Railroad Co. Inc.

 

Tom

Life is simple - eat, drink, play with trains!

Go Big Red!

PA&ERR "If you think you are doing something stupid, you're probably right!"

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Posted by cudaken on Saturday, May 26, 2012 9:57 AM

 Crandell, glad the wife is OK. Hope you found some track in stock.

     Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Saturday, May 26, 2012 11:09 AM

Thanks for your good wishes, everyone.

The track order was my first ever direct to Walthers.  My order status page says it was 'completed' and 'shipped' on the same day, 07 May.  The shipping method has a new code in MRR for me, and that is INT-PP.  I can figure out the INT, but PP could be parcel post or pre-paid.  They say it may take as much as four weeks to get to me in Canada, so I'm just going to have to be patient.

I have Peco Code 83 for the yard, but don't want to mix it with the Atlas out on the mains.

Crandell

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Saturday, May 26, 2012 1:48 PM

INT = International.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by cudaken on Saturday, May 26, 2012 7:42 PM

 Crandell, could you find time to take anymore photos? Does not matter if the layout has not changed much. We Like To Watch.

             Ken

I hate Rust

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